27 April 2012

Day 81 / 101 - Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Well, I've finally finished the 5th year at Hogwarts.  I say 'I've', not 'we've', because my daughter went ahead and finished it on her own about 12 weeks ago.  She's nearly done with book 6.  She began moving faster than I could keep up, which was my goal in reading this series to begin with.  I did enjoy Order of the Phoenix, but not as much as some of the others.  I appreciate how the characters are developing as well as the introduction of several new characters.  I'm looking forward to the Half-Blood Prince....

"I feel I owe you another explanation, Harry," said Dumbledore hesitantly.  "You may, perhaps, have wondered why I never chose you as a prefect?  I must confess...that I rather thought...you had enough responsibility to be going on with."

23 April 2012

Day 80 / 101 - AAU National Qualifier

My children competed in a district Tae Kwon Do tournament yesterday.  This tournament was the first step in determining whether or not they will compete in the National Tae Kwon Do Championship this summer.  It was one of the more intense tournaments I've witnessed, and my son left his match with a bloody nose.  However, I'm proud to report that he received a gold medal in sparring and a silver medal in forms.  My daughter received a silver medal in sparring and a bronze medal in forms.  Congratulations!

17 April 2012

Day 79 / 101 - Rote Memorization

I've mentioned before that, because of the ages of my children, I educate them using quite a bit of rote memorization.  As they age, and their brains develop, I will begin to unpackage and dig deeper into some of the information they've memorized.  But for now, we memorize.  And, we memorize all sorts of information...states and capitals, multiplication tables, history sentences, science facts, etc. We make it fun.  We sing.  We chant.  We play games.  We stand on our heads.  We talk in weird voices.  And more.

Sometimes I do wonder if my children will forget the information as they age, like Calvin states above.  However, Saturday night, I was encouraged by how long we can retain information in our brains.  My husband and I attended the 2012 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony in downtown Cleveland.  (OK, perhaps this post is just to state that we went to the ceremony).  The Beastie Boys were an inductee into the Rock Hall this year.  As they were being introduced, the presenter launched the audience into a brief rendition of Paul Revere.  I do have to say that this song was a favorite of mine in junior high school, and I listened to it religiously in 1986.  However, I don't think I've listened to the song once in the last 20+ years.  Instantly the words came back to me.  Every single one.  I was surprised.  And a little impressed.  I leaned over to my husband and said, "If I can remember every single word to this song, our children will be able to skip count the 8's to Happy and You Know It for a lifetime!"

11 April 2012

Day 78 / 101 - Life Lessons from the Prairie

My daughter has recently been obsessed with the Little House on the Prairie television series.  After reading the books, we began borrowing the DVDs from the library.  She's watched every episode of the first three seasons more than once.  Here's a conversation we had today....

Her:  I think we need to be more like the Ingalls.
Me:  Why is that?
Her:  Well, Ma never loses her temper at the girls.  But, then again, Laura and Mary always do their chores the first time they're asked.  Let's try to be more like them.

Yes, let's!  Let's be just like them!  I know my short-fuse and quick temper with my children is an area of weakness that needs improvement.  I appreciate that my daughter can also begin to see that she has weaknesses of her own that need to change.  We began to discuss these issues as well as how to implement change in order to maturely and humbly serve our family better.  I couldn't agree more.  Let's be more like the Ingalls!

I was so jazzed following our discussion, but it got me thinking.  We don't watch any modern day television.  In fact, I couldn't even tell you what is currently on t.v.  But, are there still shows out there that challenge an 8-year-old girl to obey, respect, and love her parents?  I'm not sure.  So, for now, we'll keep watching the Ingalls.

Day 77 / 101 - Beckley, West Virginia

We spent Easter weekend in Beckley, West Virginia.  It was not our first trip there, nor will it be our last (more on that in a later post).  We enjoyed our weekend at a more relaxed than normal pace, as well as getting the inside look at the operations of a coal mine.

Day 76 / 101 - Memory Master

Last Wednesday my son became a "Memory Master" for the second year in a row!

"Memory Master" is an honor bestowed on Classical Conversations Foundations students who have mastered all of the memory work during the twenty-four weeks of Foundations class. We define "mastery" of the information as having committed the information to long-term memory, which means we do not cram for a single test and then forget it. I focus on my children being able to learn this information, and retain it, for a lifetime.

The amount of information the students recite is lengthy. This year is Cycle 3, so my son has mastered, and can recite, the following:

-The entire timeline of 160 events from creation to modern times; 
-Twenty-four history sentences about U.S. history; 
-Twenty-four science questions and answers covering human anatomy, chemistry, and origins; 
-Multiplication tables through the fifteens plus squares and cubes, conversions, and math laws; 
-All fifty states and their capitals plus over seventy physical features on the U.S. map; 
-Twenty-four definitions or lists from English grammar; 
-Latin vocabulary lists and John 1:1–7 in Latin; and 
-The forty-four U.S. presidents.

During the process, he had to recite this information not only to me, but also to three other adults.  Becoming a "Memory Master" is no easy task, but we are super proud of him for how hard he worked and all that he achieved.  Plus, it's always a great party trick to have your child recite the Preamble to the Constitution or the Bill of Rights at family gatherings.  :)

Day 75 / 101 - Team Dance

This year my daughter has participated on a competition dance team with nine other young dancers from her studio.  Since Thanksgiving, she has been tap dancing several times a week rehearsing a routine to Mr. Sandman.  Before this year, I knew very little about dance competitions.  However, after a full winter of rehearsals and two very full competition weekends, I've increased my knowledge some.  Her group did very well, even winning the overall award for one entire competition.  Individually, she won a 4th Place Certificate of Merit for tap dancing from the Ohio Dance Masters Scholarship Program.

I must admit, I'm a little relieved to have the competition season behind us.  But, my daughter loves to dance.  Especially tap dance.  Once again, I'm so glad our homeschooling schedule permits us to pursue those activities that appeal to and interest her.

03 April 2012

Day 74 / 101 - Rubik's Cube

Technically, my son learned how to solve a Rubik's Cube during the 2010 - 2011 school year.  However, it still remains one of his 'toys' of choice, and he has mastered even new techniques on the cube that make it worthy of a blog post for this academic year.

Last winter, after some practice, he mastered the solution to the cube.  This always remains a most excellent party trick, especially for a 10-year-old.  When I was a child, I didn't even know there was a solution.  I really thought the only way to solve the puzzle was to take the individual squares out of the centerpiece and then rebuild it.  Or, remove the stickers, and then replace them.  But, there is a solution.  And, it's feasible to arrive at the solution even though there are 43 quintillion potential starting positions!

This year, my son can now solve the cube in under 2 minutes.  More importantly, he could walk you through how to solve one.  He has given a few 'How To' presentations on this topic this year.  He has learned short-cuts to best his time.  He has learned how to create fun pictures in the cube like the checkerboard (pictured above) or spelling out O-H-I-O on the sides.  Finally, he also can solve the cubes that have pictures printed on the sides.  This is near impossible, because not only do you have to have all the colors match, you need to make sure within each color, the squares match horizontally and vertically, too.

02 April 2012

Day 73 / 101 - Multiple Game

This math game uses a hundred-chart and a deck of cards with the face cards removed.  A board marker is needed for each player.  We always place our hundreds chart in page protectors and mark them with dry-erase markers, but bingo markers or pennies would work, too.

My children take turns drawing cards and placing a mark on a number on the hundred-chart that is a multiple of the number drawn.  The first player with 8 in a row wins.  My children always love to try to get 10 in a row.  It's not simple, because many of those numbers are prime, but it is possible when we play with the Aces.