Leaving the Flock

Geocaching, Nighttime Hiking & the Crow

Mondays have started to turn into one of my favorite days of the week. They are typically quiet since we don’t return to the city until Tuesdays and it is nice to have this almost forced ‘scheduled-activities break’ day. This week we filled it with soaking in as much of the warm, fresh air and radiant sunlight as possible.


I have been adding to Sebastian’s academic load and boy, has he caught on! By that I mean, he wakes up, immediately brushes his teeth, comes to find me and ask for the day’s work. He now flies through double-digit addition & subtraction, that used to weigh him down. It is clearly time to move on to new math topics but it has been exciting for me to see his confidence skyrocket as he grasps and excels at these previously challenging subjects. We finished our unit on measuring (cm. vs in.) and will move into fluid & temperature measurement. In science this week, he learned all the planets as we have been reading and studying the solar system. We are also studying the basic functions & identifying of all the major organs and systems in the body.  As a science major, this stuff is right up my alley! A few weeks back we incorporated an app into our Spanish studies called Duolingo. This helps push him a little farther in sentences & grammar than just translating our spelling words. He also finished book 3 of the Diary of Minecraft Zombie series and will start book 4 in the new week. Please keep in mind this boy was still in kindergarten easy readers at the end of his first-grade year. To say I’m excited about his growth in reading and comprehension would an understatement.

This week there was progress made on the Dali! I’m starting to see the resemblance to the original, The Persistence of Memory.

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This is who I pick up post art class. Happy excited Sebastian, ready for dinner with his family.

On this day we were at the Crow Collection of Asian Art for a homeschool class about art installation with Danny Skinner.

At the Crow
At the Crow

This beautiful sculpture by Soheap Pich was made from rattan and bamboo in Cambodia.  The cannonball tree was the inspiration. Danny found the piece in New York when he secured it for display in Dallas. It comes apart into five pieces and was transported by truck to the Crow.

We heard inside stories about how works of art in the museum were installed. This piece of hand-carved red sandstone is the facade of a residence from the Mughal period, 18th Century India. Danny was telling us about its incredible weight (equivalent to four elephants) and how it is specially secured and supported on the second floor of the Crow.

Then students built sculptures of their own and used different tools art handlers use to install their works of art. This was very exciting for all the kids as they were able to display their pieces in the Crow’s display cases. Sebastian named his art ‘The Phone Coming Alive.’ He said the black pipe cleaner is the frame of the phone and the colorful pieces are the ‘Alive’ part. 😉

Coding class at Techie Factory included a STEM building challenge. They constructed structures to support this box from sticks & tape.

STEM Building at Techie Factory
STEM Building at Techie Factory

Another unit of study took us geocaching! We started with a lesson about the compass and how it works. Then we hopped in the cart and took off to find TREASURE.

Off to go Geocaching!
Off to go Geocaching!

While we didn’t find any treasure at either of two spots we went to, we did ALMOST find it at a third spot. We have learned a lot about how we need to dress and supplies we need to take when hunting. Long pants, sleeves, bug spray, and flashlights are a must if hunting in the woods while the foliage is still thick. We DID find a friend to join us AND some amazing views!!

I learned that “Native Americans would bend trees in order to create trail markers that formed an early routing system, which served multiple purposes. From indicating that water and food was nearby, to warning travelers of rough country ahead, these landmarks were important features in navigating the early Americas.” We saw one while geocaching!

Native American Trail Marker Tree
Native American Trail Marker Tree

To my delight, Sebastian was invited to attend a mile, nighttime trail walk at the Hagerman Wildlife Refuge. Afterward, they learned about the night sky & constellations. Thanks again to Nicole, Penelope & Pierce for inviting Sebastian!

Night at Hagerman
Night at Hagerman

 

Thanks for stopping by and have a GREAT week! ~Natalie

Leaving the Flock

Coding, Skating & Dali, Oh My!

The week’s highlight was right in our backyard at Northpark Mall, the Microsoft Store. One of my fellow smart, homeschooling moms, Andrea, was resourceful and booked a class at the NP Microsoft Store for our group.

Sebastian coding at Microsoft

They taught the kids all about the ‘Hour of Coding‘ website and the kids went through the beginner’s Minecraft module, Minecraft Adventurer. You can access the same program right from your own computer since it is web-based. There are lots of other popular themes besides Minecraft too. Sebastian and his friend, Ella pounded through all 14 lessons.

Sebastian & Ella
Sebastian & Ella concentrating at coding.

The each received their completion certificates and then got to access the actual Minecraft game from the Surface Pros they were using.

Hour of Code Completion Certificate
Hour of Code Completion Certificate

Sebastian even went to the front of the class to demonstrate coding for one of the lessons. <proud momma> I can’t thank REBECCA enough for capturing that moment in permanent digital bliss for me!

Sebastian Coding
Sebastian coding at the front of the class.

The Microsoft education coordinator, Ashley agreed to host more classes for our group and everyone is SUPER excited. Since our classes are in the middle of the week, the mall is not so crowded and after class who doesn’t LOVE lunch at La Duni where the kids can run in the CenterPark Garden.

While at the MS coding hour, I also learned from another mom, Robin about two great coding resources. The first is for learning about coding for apps and it is called TouchDevelop. The second is access to Scratch (a coding language) via MIT’s website found here. We haven’t had a chance to dig into those yet but will report back when we do.

On our fine art day at Zhen art, we were able to start a new painting. I could not be more pleased with the instruction Sebastian receives from Zhen the owner/teacher.

Zhen & Sebastian starting a new piece.
Zhen & Sebastian starting a new piece.

We have been studying Salvador Dali and his exotic, mind-bending work. Sebastian chose to replicate The Persistence of Memory painted by Dali in 1931.

The Persistence of Memory by Dali
“The well-known surrealist piece introduced the image of the soft melting pocket watch. It epitomizes Dalí’s theory of “softness” and “hardness”, which was central to his thinking at the time.”

Sometimes you have that ‘kind’ of day and the greatest thing about homeschooling is that you make the rules so why not have a DOCUMENTARY day! We had one of those days and ended up learning all kinds of cool things about the Hubble telescope in a piece called VAST. Then we moved on to Journey in Space, HD 4k……We are SOOOO tiny! There are more galaxies than grains of sand on earth. Unbelievable! We enjoyed these films so much we went out one evening star gazing and dreaming up plans for future star watching nights. We stayed up WAY too late for a school night! These are the moments childhood should be made of.

This was the week for our monthly skate date at Thunderbird Roller Rink. Sebastian only used the ‘walker’ about 10 minutes, in the beginning, to get reacclimated and then he was on his own.

We found ourselves at the Dallas Arboretum to meet-up with friends from our homeschool group and I decided to knock out my fall photo shoot with Sebastian and the Arboretum’s gorgeous pumpkin displays. Here are a few of my favorites of my muse, Sebastian. #SRP

Over the weekend we attended a Minecraft swim party at the Allen natatorium. What a fun indoor pool! I may have to inquire and see if we can set up something in the week for our homeschool group! 😉

A celebration for Sebastian' sweet cousin.
A celebration for Sebastian’ sweet cousin.
Leaving the Flock

A Quieter Week.

This was a welcome week. We had fewer outings and it was nice to downshift this week’s pace. We hit math, double-digit addition (with carrying) and subtraction (with borrowing) up to 100 pretty hard. I am super pleased with the progress we have made in the math department over the last 5-6 weeks. Now that I understand his learning style more, I’m not sure how he would have fared in a classroom with 22 kids. He soars under the one-on-one attention. I continue to feel validated on this decision to homeschool.

Sebastian finished the 2nd book in The Diary of a Minecraft Zombie seriesOn this day he had finished a tricky math quiz, so went out to lunch at one of his favorite places, Hopdaddy. While we waited for our food, Sebastian read to me from book 3.

This week was the big reveal of the completed ‘Meet the Blue Dog’. Sebastian was SO excited to show his dad the final work of art. We have decided to continue on with replicas of famous work and intend to frame & display them in our home. How cool!?!? Famous works of art but by SEBASTIAN! Since next week he will start a new piece, we made time for an outing to the UP library to find books on famous artists. While there, we found a book on George Rodrique, artist of ‘Meet the Blue Dog’. We learned that ‘the blue dog’ was named Tiffany in real life, a spaniel & terrier mix. His paintings for her started and transitioned to ‘blue’ as he dealt with her death and his grief.

Meet the Blue Dog
Sebastian’s replica of George Rodrique’s work.

This week at Techie factory, they worked with the video game creator Bloxels. Sebastian created a character for the game and then got to play it in another student’s world. He loves going to Techie Factory. In case you want to try it out, they are having a parent’s night out this Friday the 6th and they have ‘day camps’ on days that there is no school, like upcoming Columbus Day the 16th. You can still register for either event.

Bloxels
Creating a Character

We did make it to the Dallas Museum of Art’s ‘Who Are You?’ class. We learned about portraits and created our own self-portrait using a cut-out silhouette profile. You were to fill in the white open portion with things ‘all about you.’ Sebastian spent a lot of time creating his ‘Terraria’ masterpiece, hence the almost empty head. :-/ DMA will have another event in October for homeschoolers if you are looking to add to your calendar!

This year we were able to get homeschool (free) tickets to the fair. The process to apply starts earlier in the year, so when it comes around again for next year, I’ll post about it. Opening day was Friday, September 29th for the 2017 season. Opening day is a gem day to go. It isn’t ‘top of mind’ yet for people to do….so crowds are light, workers are happy, grounds are clean. Take note come next year! Interesting an article popped up in one of my homeschool groups about how to incorporate the fair with STEM & Social Studies curriculum. “The online curriculum combines the unique culture of the Fair with Texas history and agriculture, incorporating it into a TEKS-aligned program that focuses on STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, and math) for grades 4 through 12.”

The week finished with my husband getting the chance to share memories with Sebastian by attending a football game at his alma mater, SMU.  I’m told they played the Connecticut Huskies and won (28-49).

SMU Footbal Game
Showing love for his Alma Mater, SMU.

I love the memes and postings about homeschooling that friends are sending me…keep them coming! received_10155296822169051.jpeg

Yep, we have some canned answers to avoid situations like these too, but if I have the time and think the audience is receptive – I will always share my insight, beliefs & knowledge on homeschooling.

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or I might add to that last line to say …’to progress at the speed of the fastest child in the class.’ Hurry, hurry, we have to cram all the STAAR prep down their throats that we can! Thank God we broke free! Fingers crossed that you do too!