16 February 2017

Day 30 / 106 - Suite Seats

My husband's company has box and floor seats at Charlotte's Spectrum Center.  We've been fortunate to use the seats on several different occasions for both concerts and Charlotte Hornets basketball.

Late last fall, my son, and a couple of his friends, experienced a highlight of a lifetime while enjoying the courtside seats.  Hornets owner, Michael Jordan, was present at the game.   Throughout the evening, my husband texted me their play-by-plays. 

13 February 2017

Day 29 / 106 - Beowulf

During the fall term, I think my favorite week of History was the week we integrated subjects.  Rather than assigning my class an historical person or event to research, I assigned them a piece of Literature.  We spent the week researching the fine Old English poem, Beowulf.  Written nearly 11 centuries ago, this heroic poem celebrates the Geatish nobleman Beowulf and his victory over two monsters torturing the royal house of Denmark.

Throughout the week, my children read several different versions of the poem.  They also watched an animated version.  We illustrated the poem.  We knew the tale well by the end of the week.

In class, we discussed themes, conflicts, and epic poems.  We also mapped our characters.  I believe mapping characters is the key to making a difficult text understandable.

In class, we defined Beowulf as: Beowulf is the oldest known English epic poem that tells the tale of a heroic Geatish prince who rids the Danes of a plaguing monster.

Some notable hashtags: 

11 February 2017

Day 28 / 106 - Saxon Algebra I

This year, my son is learning and mastering higher-level mathematics.  Some days, I help him learn.   Some days, he teaches me.

If you know me, you know that my advice to homeschoolers of young children has always been -- Do math.  Play outside.  Read books.  That's the entire school day.  As we journey through the high school years, my advice remains quite similar -- Do even more math.  Play outside.  Read more books [including quality Literature as well as Science and History books]. I'm learning how to write transcripts and navigate the college admission process.  I feel that we are becoming well-versed in the collegiate standardized test process.  With all this new information, I still believe one subject needs to be emphasized more than the others.  Math.

If you have followed me on this homeschool journey, you know I firmly believe in not using a Math curriculum until children are older [middle school age].  Someday, when I have spare time, I'm going to combine all my math posts into one linkable page and present a nice resource of the variety of non-textbook math activities I've completed with my children throughout the years.  However, as children age and more advanced concepts are required from them, a textbook is needed.  For our high school math journey, we've settled on Saxon.  [As of today, February 11th, my son has completed 64 of the 120 lessons in Algebra I.  Again, if you know me, this is cause for celebration.]

Saxon is difficult.  Yet, I'm encouraged to press on with the curriculum because of a few recent discoveries.

First, because it is a full curriculum, after finishing Saxon Algebra I and Algebra II, students have mastered concepts in Algebra, Advanced Algebra, Analytical Geometry, and Basic Trigonometry.   If you are familiar with the transcript process, I just listed four math courses from two books.  There is great freedom here.  Because math comes easy for my son, he will probably journey well-beyond Saxon Algebra II.  But, for my daughter, I am confident in allowing her four years to complete two math textbooks which will rightfully earn her four high school math credits.

I have a new friend who was once a higher-level math teacher at a local elite private school before deciding to homeschool her children.  She reassures me that the Saxon curriculum is rich, and the material is more advanced than what is taught in high school today.  If students master the concepts presented in the Saxon tests, they are well on their way to math success.

Second, we have entered the world of collegiate standardized testing.  Our son has begun to prep for the PSAT, SAT, and ACT.  [My husband and I have actually gained quite a bit of knowledge of these tests over the past several months.]  What I am discovering is that the lessons from Saxon Algebra are more than preparing him for the math sections of these tests.  In fact, there are several concepts he has already learned in Algebra I that are beyond the math knowledge needed for any of these tests.  This is reassuring to us.  A recent conversation with a new colleague confirmed this truth.  This homeschooling mother shared with me that she never went beyond Saxon Algebra I with either of her children.  However, during their high school years, she made it a priority to complete every single problem in the Algebra I text.  Both her children scored over a 650 on the Math section of their SAT.  They were accepted into their colleges of choice with scholarship money.

07 February 2017

Day 27 / 106 - Mohammed and the Golden Age of Islam

Following Emperor Justinian, week seven of Middle Ages History had us researching Mohammed and the Golden Age of Islam.  I truly enjoy researching history from Arabia.  I don't think I knew any Arabian history until I became a homeschooler.

With my daughter, my second favorite way to complete a History research assignment is by producing a poster [we call it a magazine cover] like the one pictured above.  [My favorite way is with an acrostic poem.  More on that later.  I'm amazed at the amount of information we can unearth is one acrostic poem.]

In class, we defined MohammedMohammed was a central 7th Century Arabian figure who founded the Islamic religion.  Islam preaches that Allah is the one true god.

Some notable hashtags: 

05 February 2017

Day 26 / 106 - Sierra

On Friday morning, we made the hard decision to euthanize our faithful [almost] 9-year-old boxer/yellow lab mix.  She was well-loved.


She had been suffering for a few weeks due to a soft-tissue tumor on her right front leg.  In surgery Friday morning, the vet discovered the tumor was a high-grade sarcoma and the cancer was extremely aggressive.  We decided prolonging her suffering was unnecessary.  


If you are a homeschooler with a beloved pet, you know that that animal is known quite well by your children.  Even though my children only had nine years with Sierra, it felt more like eighteen years due to the fact that they were with her all day, every day, for the past nine years.  They were her primary caretakers, and they shared in all dog-keeping responsibilities.


I easily could have included hundreds of photos in this post.  Instead, I searched for one from each year of her life, each year that we've been on this journey.  The above Narnia picture is one of my absolute favorites.  It shows up on a much older blog post.

Side note -- At times Sierra was terribly behaved.  We attribute some of her behavioral issues to incidents such as these.  She was not a dog who liked to be dressed up, yet she often was.


The picture below was profiled before.  I'm not sure what pioneer animal Sierra was forced to be in this picture, but I'm convinced she was fulfilling her role nicely.  



Since Sierra was our pet during the Information Age, our devices are full of pictures and short videos of her.  I'm not sure if that makes her death easier or more difficult.  But during her short lifetime she brought us much joy, and she's definitely worth remembering.  



Last spring, my daughter was playing around with a new tripod as well as some settings on my camera.  She snapped the above picture.  The picture below was taken on Tuesday.  My children continued to comfort Sierra with kindness, as well as providing much care for her up until the very end.


We will miss her.

04 February 2017

Day 25 / 106 - Driver's Ed

Since I've now entered into the realm of awarding my son high school credits, it is only natural that this year he earns one-half credit for Driver's Ed.

In the fall, he spent five weekends attending Driver's Ed courses at a local driving school.  Then he spent the next two weeks driving with an instructor from the school.  The state of North Carolina requires graduating licensing with strict requirements at each stage, so his next step is to log 60 hours of driving with a responsible supervisor.  Fortunately, his responsible supervisor is my husband.  He has a year to complete this step, and he should finish by the time he turns 16 in September.

Wish us luck.

03 February 2017

Day 24 / 106 - Savion Glover Stepz

In November, my daughter and I [along with several of her dance friends] enjoyed an evening with Savion Glover.

If you are unfamiliar, Glover is an award-winning rhythmic tap-dancer who Gregory Hines called -- the best tap dancer of all-time.  His performance included an ensemble of dancers, under his choreography, that wowed the audience with their skills.  Glover's style is impressive.  Tap has always been my favorite genre to watch, and seeing it performed at a master level was incredible.