Monday, July 24, 2017

What we're up to: July

Ok, so maybe back in March, "monthly" updates were ambitious.  How about on a trimester basis? Good enough, yes? Good.

Much of our school time since April has been finishing one program and starting another.    It seems like every time we turn around, I hear, "Mom, I'm almost done this!"  We did take a couple weeks off in mid-April for Easter break, including a trip to Florida, but that didn't really seem to slow down the sprint to summer.

Planning Ahead

I've also been planning for the upcoming school year.   You can read about what we're tentatively doing here.  Jude's will need updating soon, as much of what was planned then was to get us to fall, and we're rapidly approaching that.

We have an extra kid at home for the moment. Celia finished up her school year with the school play (she had a Swing role in The Little Mermaid Jr.) and several recitals.  The Youth String Orchestra she plays with had their spring concert in early May, followed by her school violin and piano recitals in June.  She also took the Jury tests for both instruments and passed several sections of those tests.  (She'll finish the levels during the fall semester.)

She has been out of school since mid-June but has had plenty to keep her busy.  She has both summer Reading and Math assignments for next year and is currently working on No-Nonsense Algebra for an upcoming Crew review.  Her plan is to work on it for practice and the review, and then possibly continue with it over the winter.  She's considering homeschooling for high school, so if she completes the program (even only a lesson or two a week between now and June), she'd start 9th grade in Geometry.  She likes that idea.

She's pretty much taken Luke's place at home because he's been working with Neal almost every day. He has definitely learned the meaning of hard work and comes home every day filthy and exhausted.  It hasn't killed him yet and has actually indeed made him stronger. Stacking crates and unloading trailers by hand is a very physical job, and he has gone up a t-shirt size and down two pants sizes.  Last week, he had a day off and went up to RCGC and got his books for the fall semester.  When he graduated last year, he cleared out his cubby, and it got handed down to his brother. When came home with his textbooks and a few bags of back-to-school gear from Target, he asked, "Can I have my school shelf back?" I guess we'll be re-re-arranging for the boomerang child.

Summer Fun

We've opted not to take a big summer break - we've been working in the mornings/early afternoons and going swimming later in the day.  (Neal's parents have a pool and have given the kids a standing invitation to invade visit whenever they would like.)  Matthew and Celia are both working on their diving skills, while Damien is content to just fly off the end of the board.  Jude is content just paddling down at the shallow end.  Rather than taking a big break now, we're going to keep working and take some longer breaks when the weather is cooler.  We don't have a big trip planned for this summer, so maybe we'll do a few road-tripping days here and there once the fall comes.

Updates from March

We're still doing read-alouds, but the boys have done more reading on their own. Books from the Geronimo Stilton series have become favorites.  Damien has also just finished Because of Winn-Dixie, while Jude is working through Beverly Cleary's Ralph series. We finished Little House in the Big Woods, as a read-aloud and will start Farmer Boy soon.  

I had mentioned that Matthew was nearly done Algebra II with a perfect score; I am very proud to say that indeed finished the course with a 100 average.    Damien is one final test short of being done Math U See Beta and is eagerly anticipating the next book, Gamma.  Jude is on lesson 23 of 30 for Epsilon -- MUS Zeta is another new book to order soon!

Matthew continues to fill his list of electives. He's added Aviation History and Marine Biology to his wish list.  He's technically going into 11th grade, but his course load spans grades -- he had taken a break from American History II (a 10th-grade class) to study US Government (usually a 12th-grade course) at the same time as he began with the Constitution in history.  He's also a full year ahead in math (Trigonometry is usually a senior level class), and his rocket-speed in that is giving him room to add extra sciences.  As long as it's all done by graduation, I'm not worrying too much about what year things should be.

Matthew is still working on the lab portion of his Chemistry course.  He's been enjoying working with MEL Science kits and doing some really engaging experiments.

Recent Reviews

Just because it's summer doesn't mean we get a break from trying new things!  We've had a lot of new things to do.  Some have been really exciting, and others weren't such a great fit, but it's been great to try lots of new things.  Click through to see all the things we've been testing out! Some of our favorites were:

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