3/4 Done

Friday marked the end of our third quarter of this school year. Only 9 more weeks and we’ll be free for the summer. I am busy lesson planning for the 2016-17 school year so I can have that free summer along with the kids.

We learned about the Great Depression, FDR, World War II, and Civil Rights. We’re working our way around the globe learning about various regions through the 90s. It’s interesting learning things that I lived through. We learned about the Easter Rising (Dublin) in depth. That was interesting since we were in Dublin exactly 3 years ago and visited Kilmainham Gaol where several of the leaders were executed. We learned about light and spin. We learned lots more Latin vocabulary words. Fritz has proven to be the one who excels at learning them the fastest. We learned about Cezanne, Warhol, and Renoir and enjoyed several of their works of art. We listened to works by and learned about Gershwin, Brahms, and Sousa.

Cameron finished reading The Call of the Wild by Jack London and also read The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy, Anne of Geeen Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery, and The Big Four by Agatha Christie. He is almost finished reading The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rowlings. He has continued an in-depth study of grammar concepts. He wrote several short research essays. He has finished through lesson 27 of Math-U-See Algebra I. He is still learning formal logic, writing in cursive, and has completed 13 lessons of vocabulary.

Fritz read King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table (which, to my surprise, he loved) and several poems (he wrote some poems, too). He has completed most of Math-U-See Delta and is now just doing a page or two a week to complete the book. He is good at dictation made great improvements in his ability to narrate over the last 9 weeks. He diagrams complicated sentences with ease. He completed his vocabulary lessons and sometimes writes in cursive voluntarily now (and it’s legible!).

Since Adrian started medication (Adderall) a few weeks ago, his ability to focus in school has made such a difference in his education. He completed most of Math-U-See Beta and is now doing about half a page a day through the end of the school year to complete it the rest of the way. He is in the third Explode the Code book. It’s really too easy for him at this point, but he likes doing it. He completed The Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading and has moved on to early readers. He has learned more cursive letters and is excellent at narrating short passages.

And as for grades…

History – A
Science – A
Art – Pass
Music – Pass
PE – Pass
Religion – Pass
Math – C (77%)
English – B (87%)
Logic – B (81%)
Latin – A (95%)

History – A
Science – A
Art – Pass
Music – Pass
PE – Pass
Religion – Pass
Math – A (94%)
English – A (97%)
Latin – A (99%)

History – A
Science – A
English – A
Art – Pass
Music – Pass
PE – Pass
Latin – Pass
Religion – Pass
Math – A (96%)

Spring Intra-School Tournament

Saturday the six of us competed in the Spring Intra-School Tournament. It was a long, exhausting day. We had to be there at 7:30 in the morning since Ani and Cameron worked at it all day. Adrian competed at 8:30, Jamie and I competed at 11:30, Demo Team was at 12:30, Fritz competed at 2:30, and Ani and Cameron competed at 4. They got pretty far behind in the afternoon and so we didn’t get home until 8pm.

Fritz (redbelt) got second in board break.

Adrian (camo belt) got a spirit award.

Jamie (red belt) got three thirds in forms, sparring, and stick sparring.

I (brown belt) got first in stick sparring and third in traditional weapons.

Ani and Cameron (first degree black belt) got a spirit award (Ani) and second in sparring (Cameron). They were so incredibly exhausted competing after working all day. They said they might do black belts first in the fall. That would be good.

Our demo team came in third (of six). They were so amazing especially since they practiced just a handful of time. The kids came up with most of what they did themselves.

Confessions of a Homeschooler World’s Greatest Composers Review

Like the Confessions of a Homeschooler World’s Greatest Artists, this year and last year we’ve been using their World’s Greatest Composers for music. So far we have learned about the orchestra, Johann Sebastian Bach, George Handel, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig Van Beethoven, Frederic Chopin, Peter Tchaikovsky, Igor Stravinsky, George Gershwin, Johannes Brahms, and John Philip Sousa. Over the course of the rest of the school year we will study Duke Ellington, Aaron Copland, and Leonard Bernstein.

Each composer unit starts with reading a book from the Getting to Know the World’s Greatest Composers series. These books are 32 pages long and talk about the composer’s life from birth to death and their major/most popular works.

We listen to several pieces over the course of each composer unit. For example, during the Sousa unit, we listened to The Liberty Bell, The Washington Post March, The Stars and Stripes Forever, Riders for the Flag, Sabre and Spurs, and Hands Across the Sea. We use a combination of youtube and our Amazon Echo/Prime music to listen to the composers’ works for free.

While listening to one piece by the composer, we circle all the instruments we hear. While listening to another piece, we write the names of the instruments we hear. This helps us to listen closely and really hear what is going on in the music.

While listening to a third piece by the composer, we draw whatever the music makes us feel (in this case, Stars and Stripes Forever made Adrian think of Angry Birds). While listening to yet another piece, we create an acrostic poem using the composer’s last name and words that remind us of the music.

Other activities include listening to a couple more pieces by the composer, recording the country of origin, years of life, and major composition on both a worksheet and a foldable that goes in the lapbook, a puzzle of the composer, and placing a picture of the composer on the timeline in the lapbook.

We have enjoyed using World’s Greatest Composers. We’ve learned a lot about several artists. Some of the activities can be a bit tedious, particularly since we repeat the same thing over and over for every composer. Overall, though, it’s been great since we’re actually getting music done every week.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

(Note: I was not compensated in any way for this review. I bought everything required to use this curriculum myself.)

Ani’s Room, Part 1

A few weeks ago we started talking about redoing Ani’s room. It has been tan and brick red since we moved in and she really didn’t like it. The carpet was original to the house (so installed in 2000) and looking pretty shabby. The remodel really began the end of last week.

The kids pulled up the carpet themselves. It is absolutely disgusting how much dirt ends up trapped under carpets (we’ll be replacing the carpet with wood floors).

Jamie cut up and removed the carpet and pad and I swept up the floor so it was all ready to prepare for painting.

Adrian and I washed the walls and got everything taped off and ready to paint.

We all pitched in to paint the first coat. Interestingly, the paint covered the red walls better than the tan ones.

Monday morning I decided to do the edges before getting the kids up to paint. Then I figured I may as well do the ceiling (by the way, getting the stick that screws into the roller was totally worth it!). Then I went ahead and did the upper part of the walls. And then I did the rest of the walls and all that was left was the windows so, 3 hours after I started, I was all done with the second coat.

Tuesday after work Jamie installed the ceiling fan. The bracing and wires were already there so it didn’t take long to get it in place and hooked up.

Now we’re waiting a couple weeks for the walls to get very, very dry so we can safely put tape on them for the next step.

Hangin’ With Mr. Warhol

The last few weeks the boys have been studying Andy Warhol and his pop art.

They were supposed to paint a Warhol-style self-portrait, but we got the idea to do it digitally using an app on Cameron’s phone.

Cameron and Fritz raced to put together a puzzle of Do It Yourself (Flowers). Fritz won this time.

Using the magic of digital photography and photo-editing, they created pictures like Warhol’s One Hundred Cans. They call them Cameron’s One Hundred Rubik’s cubes, Fritz’s One Hundred Empty Pill Bottles, and Adrian’s One Hundred Jars of Nutella.