Saturday, September 26, 2009

what's in store...and those first day photos

Sheesh...why can't I get my act together and keep this blog up-to-date?!!

"School" officially started a few weeks back. And I did take those obligatory first day photos. (Poor munchkins...rarely a day goes by when I'm not taking their pictures.)

Oh, how I love those gorgeous little mugs! And oh, how sad it makes me when they head off on that school bus each morning. :(   They began school this year on the 9th. And so far, they are having a lot of fun. I just can't believe how incredibly lucky we are that they both have such amazing teachers (they each have the same teacher as they did last year). Both have joined Chess Club again. And Gray has started the violin and joined the Math Olympiad team. Barring disaster, Annie will never be going back to public school, but we all feel confident in the decision to have the boys in public school again this year. Next year? Who knows.

Annie officially started the school year on the 8th. Off to MCC she headed for her Children's Lit class. Um yeah, she's loving it! Hardly a surprise. :D

This year, we're also tackling geometry, using a  DVD series from The Teaching Company. Though I've bought a few of their courses, this is the first one we've used. (Will hopefully use a couple more next year.) And we are absolutely loving it...I can definitely see why people recommend these courses so highly.

And for science this year, we're delving deeply into the world of environmental science. We're actually using the same textbook, Environment: The Science Behind the Stories, that Rich uses in teaching it at the community college. But we're just using it as a jumping off point. Since we're devoting the entire year to it, we've got lots of time to explore in all kinds of ways. Added bonus: Annie's Children's Lit class is on the same day as Rich's environmental science lab, so since she's already on campus that day, she's doing some of the labs with his class.

For U.S. history, we're exploring the 20th century. No textbook or anything. Just using a myriad of resources. Including continuing with our "history through literature" explorations. Annie just finished The Jungle by Upton Sinclair...and YAY!...she liked it. Here's her review. (I'd hate picking out a book she despised, but luckily that hasn't happened yet.) We're still deep into the turn-of-the century period, and will be for a few more weeks.

This first quarter of the school year, we're focusing on HIV/AIDS for health. We've been over the basic biology and whatnot in the past, so this year we're focusing on the history of the epidemic/pandemic and on personal stories. Among other things, we've watched movie And the Band Played On and read the graphic novel Pedro and Me by Judd Winick. (Annie's review.)

(As usual, PBS's Ed.Online has provided a wealth of resources! We've already watched videos for both history and health this year. Anyone homeschooling in NY is able to set up an account and have access to a wealth of free resources. I'm guessing that other states have similar programs through their PBS affiliates as well.)

Another wonderful resource we discovered is  the National Gallery of Art's loan program. They have a variety of materials that they loan out for free. The length of time one can keep the packets varies. (We're using their Art Since 1950 packet, and are allowed to keep it for 9 months.) While we're adding many additional activities and resources to our unit, it is a wonderful base. This particular packet contains a book, both with history and art appreciation information, but also with suggested activities for various age groups, a collection of slides, and several prints. We're currently exploring abstract expressionism, and have watched two different videos about Jackson Pollock (one biographical, one dealing more with his oeuvre), read a short book on Willem de Kooning, and completed an action painting project.

Music will be much as it was last year. Annie's continuing with her flute lessons. Oh how I love listening to her play. :D She already loves an extremely wide variety of music, so we feel no need to push her in that regard. As usual, we plan on attending at least a couple of live concerts each quarter, as well as watching several specials on Ovation TV. We watched one already about Lang Lang, the Chinese pianist.

For the most part, her phys ed requirements are going to be met through her everyday life. Bike-riding, soccer, tag, swimming, ice skating, hiking, jogging, etc. She will, of course, be playing organized soccer in the spring as well. She has a "time sheet" she fills in each week recording her activities.

Quarter one for practical arts this year involves sewing. We started with a simple hand sewing project--a yo yo Christmas tree ornament. Annie then learned the basics of using a sewing machine and has nearly completed her next project--napkins.

And for library skills, the final required subject, Annie is doing a series of four independent projects. Each quarter she is choosing a different religion to research, and then is completing a project. She's chosen Wicca for her first project, a 10-ish page report written in MLA style.

She hopes to take another language course from MCC during the spring semester, either continue with Spanish, or ideally, if it will fit in everyone's schedule, Arabic. As Arabic is what she really wants to learn, I hope we can find a way to make it work for her.

Annie has also become quite involved with the local library...but I'll save that for another post.


raidergirl3 said...

Debi, I hope I don't offend you to make a suggestion, but I read a book on AIDS last year, 28 Stories that was filled of lots of personal stories, from Africa. It was very powerful. I know there are probably tons of resources, but this was written by a Canadian journalist, and maybe you hadn't heard of it.
I also learned a lot about African geography reading the book.

Yay! Geometry - some things never leave you : If two parallel lines are cut by a transversal lines, alternate interior angles are equal. I rhyme this off in grade 12 physics all the time.

Debi said...

I would NEVER be offended by you suggesting a book! In fact, I'd like to thank you very much...I honestly love it when people suggest resources for us! And I'm so glad to hear you found 28 Stories so good, because after I have Annie read a few sections of a book called The Epidemic, 28 Stories is the book we're reading! I actually just read the introduction yesterday, and I'm already so impressed with the author. I know it won't be an easy read emotionally, but it definitely sounds like a powerful, and very meaningful, book.

Oh my, I wish I could say that geometry never left me! But I'm actually having a lot more fun relearning it than I thought I would. :D

Thanks for stopping by, and thanks again for the recommendation!

Jean said...

I love Annie's painting! Just my cup of tea. As for sewing, how about a quilt? She could do a small tied quilt fairly easily. Let me know if you want some suggestions. As for Arabic, the friend who did the Book Festival with me yesterday is from Saudi, with dual US-Saudi citizenship. We spent some time discussing Arabic dialects after hearing an author from Tunisia speak about her latest novel, which has just been translated into Arabic. Arabic is one of the languages I'd love to learn some of, but I think the next one I attempt will be Vietnamese, though not until after the black belt test in November. Oh, two packages will be coming. I couldn't fit everything into one box!