15 January 2017

Day 18 / 106 - Little Drummer Boy

Scrolling back through my blog, I was surprised to see that I hadn't posted about our drummer boy.

About a year ago, our son began taking drum lessons with a local musician.  Since then, for an hour a week, he meets with his instructor and rocks out on songs from Led Zeppelin, Def Leppard, Alice and Chains, AC/DC, Rush, Van Halen, and many more.

But, the real fun came in September when [for his 15th birthday] we purchased him a drum set.  He's even added a few pieces to the set since I snapped this photo.  Drums have been the perfect instrument for our highly active 15-year-old son because drumming doesn't feel like practice.  It really is all about playing [with] the instrument.

13 January 2017

Day 17 / 106 - Barbarian Invasions

Week four of Middle Ages History had us researching Germanic tribes, their barbarian customs, and their devastating conquest of the Roman Empire.

Side Note -- Week four was actually the first week of October.  I had every intention to 'catch up' on my blog last weekend, but our sole North Carolina winter storm left us without power all day on Saturday.

For at home study, my children and I watched several videos on different Germanic tribes and drew multiple maps.  Once you draw a map of the Roman Empire, you will never forget its boundaries.

In class, we defined Barbarians as: Barbarians were 5th century warriors from the Germanic and Asiatic regions who were fighting for control of the Roman Empire.

Some notable hashtags: 

Until this point, the Roman Empire had not fallen to a foreign enemy in almost 800 years.  St. Jerome was living in a cave in Bethlehem when he heard the news that King Alaric of the Visigoths had overthrown Rome.  He lamented:

My voice sticks in my throat; and, as I dictate, sobs choke my utterance.  The City which had taken the world was itself taken.  - 410 AD

12 January 2017

Day 16 / 106 - It's Fun To Stay At The YMCA

It's far past time I explain why I'm having such difficulty maintaining a blog this academic year.

In addition to educating my children at home, I also got a job.  I'm working for the YMCA.

Like many Y's, our local branch has always offered non-academic homeschool classes [P.E., Tumbling, Swimming, etc.].  Because we reside in an area that has a high percentage of homeschoolers, a few years ago our branch began offering several enrichment type classes.  These were well-received.  Therefore, a vision grew to build a drop-off academic program for homeschoolers that would operate at a nearby day-camp facility.  Last winter I happened to be in the right place at the right time, when the Y staff began brainstorming class ideas for older students.  Naturally, I had many.

Originally, I was hired to teach four classes -- Henle Latin, Grammar, Saxon Math 7/6, and my most favorite World History class [I really am planning on sharing much more about this].  Since then, my responsibilities have increased greatly.  I am teaching a few more classes -- a quick-skills math-game class for third to sixth graders [maybe my favorite] and an IEW Poetry memorization class [also a joy].  At this point, I'm also helping to administrate the entire program.   We have over 250 families in our program and well over 500 students.  We add to those numbers almost daily.

We have grown immensely in such a short period of time, so we now offer classes several days a week. We operate similar to a university model school.  Some students attend one day a week for just one class while some students are dropped off at 9 a.m. on Wednesday mornings and take class until they are picked up at 3 p.m that afternoon.  My children participate in several classes that I teach, as well as being exposed to many other learning opportunities -- Sign Language, Spanish, Art, PE, Cake Decorating, SAT Prep, etc.

Operating a homeschool program under the umbrella of the YMCA has unbelievable perks.  First and foremost, I'm an employee of the Y, so my membership is free, and my entire family gets a discount on any paid programming. I also get paid.  It has been a long time since I've received a regular paycheck.  As I mentioned above, we are holding our classes at a nearby day-camp.  This has brought me great joy.  If you have ever participated in, or helped to lead, a homeschool program, you know that usually you're utilizing some portion of a host church, which can be both a blessing and a curse.  A Y daycamp, however, comes with playgrounds, volleyball courts, basketball courts, swimming pools, disc golf courses, gaga ball pits [I was completely unaware of this game before this year, but is a crowd favorite], soccer fields, picnic tables, and more.  I'm sure you can envision how wonderful this is for a group of homeschoolers.

And, selfishly, my favorite part -- the Y comes with a custodial staff.  Again, if you've ever stayed long past the last hours of the co-op to make certain all the magic marker is magic-erased off the table, you will appreciate the beauty of a custodial staff.  Before Thanksgiving, we celebrated with a pizza party.  We order approximately 60 pizzas.  After the party, I was gathering up the boxes to transport them to the dumpster.  One of the cleaning ladies stopped me and said, 'Just leave the boxes next to the trash cans.  We'll get them to dumpster.'  I wanted to hug her.

02 January 2017

Day 15 / 106 - XC

Like last year, from July through November, our son ran Cross Country.  Different from last year however, is that our son was prepared with a plan for this year's Cross Country season.

Since he's a freshman, he graduated up to the high school 5K distance.  He ran in about a dozen meets, and his personal best for the season was a 19:17.  [He did run in a road-race during the height of his training, and he clocked in with a respectable 18:48.]  It was a great season.  Above all, he really, really, really enjoys it.  That, in and of itself, is worth the time investment in this sport.

I honestly could do multiple posts on his individual races and achievements.  I still might.  Since the season has ended, he has kept himself active with local 5Ks, earning awards at several.  He showed me today, marked on his own calendar, the date spring track practice begins.

01 January 2017

Day 14 / 106 - Happy New Year!!

This blog needs an update.

We have had a busy fall, but it has not been hectic.  We have been busy with many things that have brought us much joy.  However, our schedule has interfered with my organization to upload photos from my camera and to write brief synopses of our living and learning.

I lost motivation, and I had considered abandoning the entire idea of maintaining a blog.

But, my entire reason for keeping a blog is to chronicle the educational journey of my children.  I have faith that someday they will return to celebrate these memories.

So, I've resolved to organize myself a bit, upload dozens of pictures, and journal away our year [even the far outdated events].

2017 cheers to you and yours.  Best of luck with your new year goals.

18 November 2016

Day 13 / 106 - Dirty Dozen

In early October, my daughter participated in a 5K obstacle adventure race at the U.S. National Whitewater Center.  The 5K course included a dozen obstacles.  [The Whitewater Center has an amazing race series.  This entire blog could be about races we've participated in there.]

My daughter gets a little nervous before activities such as this, and she doesn't always want to complete them.  However, this time she was super motivated to earn the race day t-shirt.  She definitely earned it and has worn it with pride.

Day 12 / 106 - The Gupta Dynasty

Week three of our Middle Ages History class had us learning about The Gupta Dynasty.  [If you missed my original post on how this history class is structured, read it here.]

Throughout the week at home, my children and I gathered research on the Guptas, as well as on pivotal others during their empire [like the poet Kalidasa, pictured above].  My at-home goal is that my children read something, watch something, listen to something, and write something on each topic.  Some weeks are better than others.  

In class, after map and timeline work, we defined this influential period in India's history.  Our definition for The Gupta Dynasty reads:  The Gupta Dynasty was a ruling empire in India from 320 AD - 550 AD.  Because their strong military force kept peace, they made many advancements in arts, sciences, and culture.

Some notable hashtags: 
#zerotohero [the concept of zero as a digit was developed during this period]
#squadgoals [a military squad, including elephants and horses, guarded each village]