Friday, April 8, 2011

Weekly Accomplishments - A long post.....

Weekly Accomplishments~
It has been a while since I wrote a wrap up post.  The trip to Chicago was pretty much our accomplishment for two weeks!  We are still on the post trip high.  The girls and I spent this whole week at home.  Grace was recovering from a nasty cold and Lilah just had the urge to dig her heels in and nest at home ~ love that about her!
Since we put ourselves into self-induced isolation, we were able to focus on academics this week.  
Math - We rocked in math this week.  Every day for at least an hour my girls sat at my laptop plugging away on Aleks.  Grace solidified her understanding of mode and range.  She also took the concepts of perimeter and area one step further, being given only two sides, or having shapes with many sides.  For these lessons she was allowed to use a calculator and loved it!  Lilah continued on in geometry also learning perimeter and area (of a grid).  She pushed further in her study of lines and rays and began to learn about angles.  We measured obtuse, acute and right angles and triangles.  For Lilah, everything has to be grounded in real life experiences.  I am going to focus on how we use geometry in real life to show her why it is important we know these things.  Perhaps we will make a triangle book like we did for multiplication.......

My goal for math is for each girl to finish level 3 and level 5 by the end of June.  Since they are both 1/2 way through, this should be a realistic goal.  Not finding Aleks until January put us behind in terms of keeping on a grade level track. But since they already knew some of the material from their work either in Singapore Math, or in school, they passed some concepts rapidly, until they were left with the concepts that had to be taught, which is where we are now.  I told the girls I plan to work on math through the summer to retain their knowledge.  
Grace has a goal to become a meteorologist.  This has not wavered for a few years now.  She is not the type of child to want to be 100 things at once...nope, not Grace.  She has only wanted to be two things in her 10 years, a veterinarian and a meteorologist.  Both require boatloads of math and science.  For kicks I researched universities that offer degrees in meteorology.  The two best are located in Pennsylvania, her father’s alma matter, Penn State and Millersville University.  I looked at the undergrad course load and the concentration of math and science was a bit daunting.  Calc I, II and III?  I told Grace that if this is what she truly wants to do, she must do math full force all summer to get ahead in her learning.  We will continue with Aleks into middle school math.  Then we will explore math classes in the community colleges (assuming her path is to remain homeschooled).
Science - 40 page chapter?  No problem for us!  We rock.  The chapter was about pollination by bees, birds, bats and wind.  We learned why most flowers will not self-pollinate but there are some that do and those that do are usually meant for us to eat!   The timing of where our book is going is just perfect. Next chapter is about leaves and the trees are just budding here.  We watched part of a Bill Nye video about flowers which covered everything in our reading.  I also Netflixed The Secret Life of Plants, which was recommended by my dear friend at Frog Creek.  She loved it.


My goal is to have Botany done by the end of June, leaving the summer off from structured book learning and lots of time for exploring all the things we just learned.... 
In the fall we will begin with another Apologia book of their choice.  I am so impressed with the quality and quantity of learning that has taken place through the botany book that I plan on staying with this program through general science in middle school.  When it comes to the labs, we will outsource these classes as well.
What we are reading...
Grace has her first book club meeting this weekend to discuss The Homework Machine.  I read this book also and I really enjoyed it.  I liked the diversity of characters, the plot line and while the thought the ending could have been stronger, it should make for a lively discussion.

Lilah left her Percy Jackson book in Chicago so while we wait for that she began reading Piper Reed.

I just finished The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother.  I read it in one day.  I felt a connection to the author since the story basically takes place in my back yard.  Grace took music lessons at the same school the author’s daughter began their lessons and her teacher was part of the Yale School of Music.  I have been thinking about this book constantly and I will write a post about it at a later date.....

What we are writing......
Lilah is working on an amazing story.  It is told from the point of view of a twelve year old boy!  She asked me whether or not I thought her stories would ever be published.  I replied that I believe with all my heart they will if that is what she wants.  Unlike Grace, Lilah would like to be a baker, a singer, a writer, a designer......she is not sure yet and that is perfectly okay!  I did put in my two cents that a career as a writer, either a freelance writer or a novelist would be a perfect fit for Lilah.  She could work from home, have a lovely laptop, have time to cook and bake and church out New York Times Best Sellers!  Since her two main interests are cooking and writing, we need to develop these two areas more.
Lilah enjoyed her classes in cooking and baking this year.  Since we refinished our kitchen there has not been a morning which I have had to make breakfast! She cooks every.single.day.  Eggs with toast, oatmeal with cream, pancakes with chocolate chips...all by herself, plated with panache and served to me at the counter top or the table.  I LOVE IT!!!!  Even Greg commented how fortunate I am and I wholeheartedly agreed.  We had a conversation a few days ago about how it is time for her to learn more than breakfast.  I told her I will help her learn to prepare an entire meal.  We discussed what that involves, a meat or protein dish, a vegetable dish, usually a starch dish all planned to be completed at the same time.  She wants to begin with sauce for pasta.  I told her to browse through my William Sonoma cookbook and pick out some recipes and we will make a shopping list........
In terms of developing her writing, I am going to finish out the year with creative writing for her.  She is doing vocabulary on her own and showing me what she has learned by peppering her conversations and stories with words she has looked up and internalized.   I need to begin researching writing programs that will further her skills and help her hone her craft without squashing her desire......
A great memory for this week......
The girls and went looking for a nice piano light for Grace to use while practicing.  We popped into the Steinway store, which is more a gallery.......There were no lamps there.  It was an art gallery of shiny, brand new, beautiful baby grand pianos.  Grace gasped.  An actual gasp.  I explained what we needed and said that upon walking in I realized we were in the wrong place for our needs, but the gentleman at the store gave us the grand tour anyway.  He showed us their recital/performance room where they will be hosting a concert tonight partnering with the Red Cross to benefit Japan.  Playing will be a 17 year old and a 10 year old.  The 10 year old flew in from California.  She is taking lessons with a famous teacher in New York City and she and her teacher regularly fly back and forth between coasts.  This reminded me a bit of the Tiger Mother.....but more on that later.  The gentleman asked Grace if she would like to play the 9 foot Grand Piano!  She sat and tentatively played one of her songs from memory.  Then the gentleman played her a short piece.  The quality of sound that came from that instrument was simply stunning.  It gave Grace a push to be the best player she can be.   I told her for the summer let’s get her a teacher at The Neighborhood Music School in New Haven and then she will have more opportunities to audition into ensembles or play as an accompanist for other students.  She does not know what her goal is for piano....if it is a hobby or something she may want to pursue.  All I know is that I love to listen to her play.

7 comments:

Karen said...

Grace seems to be on the same concepts as Kei. She was doing Areas this week also. We are not going to finish Zoology 3 but I want to start Botany when we do finish it. It was a toss up between Zoo 3 and Botany for this year. Your posts about it has been so awesome to read!

Love that Lilah is cooking so much. Kei cooks every single day too. Aren't they lucky that they have to time to do that?

Jotted down "Homework Machine" for Kei. Love LOVE the piano story. I can just 'see' Grace standing there looking around.

I have been wanting to read "Tiger Mother" and you just convinced me to do that sooner instead of later.

Happy weekend friend.:)

Theresa said...

Sounds like a great week.

What a great story about the piano store!

I was thinking about doing some sort of science curriculum this summer & Latin. Those are two things I wanted to do all year but never found time for and summer would be perfect. But I felt so burned out this week, that I am thinking we have to keep with the math, because like you, we didn't land on a curriculum until winter and maybe they can keep up with Daily Grams and just do their swim class, tennis lessons, art camp and nature camp.

I saw Amy Chua interviewed. I agreed with a lot of what she said (not the parts on public humiliation & no playdates). I am interested to read your thoughts on the book.

Jen @ Forever, For Always... said...

I look forward to your review of Tiger Mother. I love reading about the things you are doing with the girls :) Have a great weekend.

karisma said...

I would love to hear that piano playing too :-) I always wanted a piano and never ever got one. We know have electric drums, acoustic guitars, electric guitars, and a keyboard, loads of percussion instruments, but no piano.....hmmmm. I would also love a flute. hehe! Sounds like loads of learning going on at your place. I really love hearing about kids writing. My kids really don't like writing at all. :-(

Kim C. said...

Thanks for finding me and the kind words of support. I am looking forward to your review of Tiger Mom. We also are using a 3 month free trial of ALEKs. I'll be spending some time reading your past posts!

Jessica said...

Thanks for your comments! I wrote my post about Tiger Parenting this morning. It is not so much a review of the book but more about my emotional response to it. Look for it Monday!!!

Jen @ Forever, For Always... said...

Thanks for linking up :)

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