Monday, December 3, 2012

Homeschool Update

Yeah, it has been a while since I did a homeschool update. I am just not feeling like resizing photos lately. So this will be wordier and less visual than usual...

Mikro and I have been having a blast this year studying classical composers, artists and inventors using the really excellent video sets put out by Devine Entertainment Company.

We have also been using the DVDs and CDs by Classical Kids, which are fantastic. Mikro' favorite from this series was "Beethoven Lives Upstairs."

My kid now walks around humming Beethoven and Bizet.

In addition to the purely classical, we enjoyed a wonderful performance by Black Violin at the New Victory Theater. These talented young musicians combine classical, jazz and hiphop to create something uniquely their own that gets the audience on its feet. Great show!


Mikro has also enjoyed making art. He is taking a "Crafty Kids" class at our local library, as well as continuing to participate in Sketch Tuesday and to explore on his own (and with mom). He'll be glazing some pottery tomorrow, weather permitting...

Here are some things he has made lately:








For math, we are doing a lot of review with Teaching Textbooks, trying to make sure he has his math facts down cold. We've done math a lot more creatively in the past, and we are still doing some living books, but after a really bad day when Mikro basically pretended not to be able to do simple addition, much less the multiplication and division that he is fully capable of, in order to get a reaction, he got a reaction. I decided that a little more regimentation and a lot less attitude were called for in our math work. He may like higher math better, but he is not going to goof off on the arithmetic bits, not on my watch. He wants a hard science career, and he is going to have to accept that math goes along with it, even the boring bits. So we've changed things up a bit, and I am having to admit that there is some value in repetition. I have been so busy bending over backwards to be the antithesis of drill and kill, that I think maybe I swung our pendulum a little too far into the freewheeling fun zone for Mikro to take being careful in his calculations seriously enough. We are working on that now. Sloppiness in adding or subtracting (because it's too easy and he doesn't care) will get him marked wrong someday down the road, even if he does the algebraic (etc.) bits all correctly. I don't want the "sloppy genius" thing to become something he is too comfortable with. I had that scrawled on nearly every report card, and it wasn't a good modus operandi, really. I'd like him to avoid making the same mistakes...

Science classes have ended for the semester at SMLI. The last few sessions were CSI topics like fingerprinting, DNA sampling, microscope work and blood typing, and a unit on air pressure in which the kids lifted a table with a classmate on top by blowing up baggies with straws. They had so much fun, especially when they got to ride on a hovercraft! Kev and Mikro have a big project going here at home. They are building a 3D printer, and learning to design objects to print using software like Blender and Tinkercad.

For history, we have been doing the Middle East. We still have a ways to go there, and we keep finding interesting rabbit trails that sidetrack us. Amazon Prime has some great videos that are available free to members, and we are enjoying them, as well as the great offerings from our local library system. We just watched a couple of videos on Jordan and Petra, which I knew almost nothing about before. We'll be reading a lot more folktales before we move on, because Mikro just loves folklore and fairy tales, and because I think you get a great deal of insight into other cultures by listening to their stories. We also cover American History every semester, and Mikro has been enjoying learning all about the election process, and the American Revolution. He has become a big fan of Cobblestone Magazine, and so have I.

Well, that's a basic idea of what we're up to. He also reads lots of kidlit just for fun. Recent favorites are the N.E.R.D.S. series, the Dinotopia books, the ----Ology books (especially Dragonology), The Dark is Rising series, and the Golden Acorn series. He can't wait for the fourth Jack Brenin adventure, and the next volume of Mouseguard, which we hope will be out soon...

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