21 June 2016

Day 91 / 105 - Sullivan Dance Centre: End of Year Performance

When we moved to Charlotte last summer, we knew we needed to quickly locate a dance school for our daughter.  This was her third major move, and therefore we were on the lookout for her fourth dance school.

With each move I have thought: Surely we are not going to find a dance school as wonderful as the one she's leaving.  Imagine my surprise when each time I have felt that we have located something even better.  

She's been training at Sullivan Dance Centre since September, and it has been such a blessing.  I anticipate writing more about it in the future because (if it's even possible) she's going to be spending much more time there next year.  But for now, I will say this -- 

When your preteen daughter spends upwards of 10 hours a week at one location, with other preteen girls, ideally you want her to leave the location being an even better person (not just dancer) than she was before she went in.  

We are overjoyed that we have found this school.  We love the programming, the faculty, and the other families involved.  The next few years of dancing will be wonderful.

Last weekend was their delightful recital.  [Also wonderful is this school hires a professional photographer for the recital.  Included are a few screen shots from their proofs, but we look forward to receiving all the photos soon!]

Day 90 / 105 - Pyramid Solitaire

We've been reviewing our math facts with a game I remember from my childhood, Pyramid Solitaire. The object of the game is to remove all the cards from the pyramid while making pairs of thirteen.

The pyramid is arranged with 28 cards in seven rows.  Face cards value at King - 13, Queen - 12, Jack - 11, and the Ace equals one.  Cards from the pyramid can be played once they are exposed.  We've been using a traditional three card flip from the stock.  The game moves pretty quickly and is fun for all ages.  Like most forms of solitaire, winning is rare.

As an added bonus, we're using these lovely National Park playing cards for some U.S. Geography review.

The game can be made easier for younger children by removing face cards and making pairs of ten.   Or rather than a three-card flip from the stock, flip cards one at a time.  

14 June 2016

Day 89 / 105 - Summer Pops

An annual Charlotte tradition is Charlotte Symphony's Summer Pops Series.  These five outdoor concerts, held at Symphony Park at SouthPark Mall, entertain thousands of picnicking concertgoers throughout June.  They are listed as one of the top events to be experienced by Charlotte residents.

Our daughter happened to be in the right place at the right time when conductor Albert-George Schram asked her dance school for volunteer dancers on Opening Night.  His desire was to get the audience to participate in a line dance, and then continue dancing as the orchestra finished with "Happy" by Pharrell Williams.

We had a blast!  It was a lovely evening, and we were so grateful for this opportunity.

07 June 2016

Day 88 / 105 - NC Powerade State Games

My husband and son headed to Durham on Saturday for the North Carolina Powerade Track and Field Games. It was a long, but exciting, day for both of them as they watched some incredibly fast athletes compete.  They walked away with a renewed vision for his upcoming training.

Because he has a September birthday, my son had to run in the 15-16 year old division even though he is still 14.  He placed third in the 3000 meters.  

06 June 2016

Day 87 / 105 - Times Tables Spirolaterals

This morning, we discovered more beauty in math by drawing spirolaterals while practicing our times tables.  How cool are these?

Like most ideas on this blog, I lifted this activity from someone else.  You can see complete instructions, as well as an instructional video, by clicking this link.  You'll recognize a pattern as you skip count, and then draw the design from the pattern.  It's a perfect summer activity to drill times tables without your children even realizing that they're drilling times tables.  It takes some concentration to execute the pattern correctly.

If you try out several multiplication tables, you will begin to see patterns repeat themselves.  But, we were surprised to see which tables shared a pattern.  It was quite different from when we experimented with Circle Patterns several weeks ago.  Make sure you try the squares and cubes, also!  

04 June 2016

Day 86 / 105 - May Happens At The Table

For the fourth time since the summer of 2009, my husband has worked in a different state than the one we have lived in.  It started with an internship in Boston while he was in grad school in Cleveland.  Then, he began working in West Virginia while the kids and I were attempting to sell our home in Cleveland.  The same situation played out when he began a new job in Charlotte, and we were wrapping up responsibilities in southern West Virginia.  Finally, since March of 2016, he has been working in Baton Rouge, Louisiana during the week while the kids and I still reside in Charlotte.

My husband changed jobs in March when an ideal opportunity dropped into his lap.  A chemical company was moving their headquarters to Charlotte this June.  They hired him for a Financial Manager position -- the only catch was he needed to commute to Baton Rouge until the office relocated.  Honestly, it was the easiest of all his very long distance commutes.  We were not attempting to sell a house and move while he was commuting, and his new company was very generous and flexible with his travel.  But, if you have a husband who travels and you also homeschool, you know that life is not always simple!

I feel that the kids and I have little to show for the time he was away, with the exception of a few pictures.  It's why I try to take pictures regularly.  Sometimes life happens so quickly and routinely that memories are forgotten along the way.  A picture or two will occasionally jog our memories and perhaps cause us to smile, even if times were difficult.  Here are a few things that happened around our table during the month of May.

Chocolate covered strawberries compliments of my daughter one afternoon.

Usually my husband was in Baton Rouge for four days a week, and he worked from home one day a week. Here we are working, eating, living, and schooling all around the same table, all at the same time.  

This week, there was a $5.00 buy-in with the pot awarded to the first family member to hit 50,000 steps.  My daughter nailed it in three days.  

On that same note, we were super excited for a Memorial Day 5-Mile trail race at the U.S. National Whitewater Center.  However, when we approached the start line, it began pouring rain.  So we bailed and went out to breakfast.  

Thankfully, I was able to visit my husband for a few days in Baton Rouge.  And, when in Rome .... or Louisiana.  

Louisiana has an Old State Capitol building which is a magical castle that overlooks the Mississippi River.  There is quite a bit of history to the building, and it has been rebuilt several times.  The picture above is just the rotunda. It is breathtaking.  My photo does not do it justice.  [This photo has nothing at all to do with a table, but I wanted to share it.  I randomly wandered into the building one day, and I'm so glad that I did.  If you ever make it to the deep south, you must visit the Old State Capitol.]

Fortunately my husband's time in Louisiana has ended, his new office has opened, and he now works a mere 12 miles away from home.  This might be the closest he has ever lived to his place of employment.

Happy June.

01 June 2016

Day 85 / 105 - Unplug and Read

For the month of May I attempted an experiment with my children.  The three of us were to unplug all devices and sit down to read independently for 60 minutes a day.

If you ask me if we are a family that reads, I would say 'yes'.  We do read often, we love stories, and we own lots of books.  I still read aloud to my children everyday that we school at home.  But I have begun to realize that as my children age, reading isn't habitual for them.  If they have down time, they gravitate toward a device.  I must admit, it's what has been modeled for them by their mother.  As we approach the summer months, we needed a reset.

So beginning in May, reading has been assigned for one hour a day.  Mom included.  Even on weekends.  (There were a few days we missed due to traveling, but not many!)  It's actually quite impressive how much can be read in only 60 minutes a day.  Personally, I finished three Shakespeare plays, countless Shakespeare resources, and I'm halfway through my first Dickens novel. My children have flown through a few books of their choosing as well as some 'suggested' titles.  My daughter made it through the wardrobe, and my son has enjoyed life in nineteenth century St. Petersburg, Missouri.

We're planning on continuing the assignment throughout the summer months (and hopefully by that time, it will become a habit) !!  I look forward to updating you on our progress.