Leaving the Flock

The singing has returned.

Wow has November flown by! I can’t believe we have almost completed our first semester of homeschooling. This has been such a rewarding and amazing few months.

I adore the classes at the Microsoft store in Northpark. They host these for our homeschool group and the kids just love them! This time we learned how to build a flex sensor that lets you control a robotic finger with your finger. VERY cool!

 

On this day we enjoyed learning about a bug’s life cycle and stages at the Perot Museum during one of their homeschool science days.

Taking time to re-investigate the robotics and gem floors of the Perot…we stumbled into the (oil) drilling section and took the ‘tour’ of a rig. Being my husband’s industry made it that much more interesting to learn about.

We were riding scooters near where we live in the city when we stumbled upon this fine shop called Jackson Armory. They were incredibly kind to take time to show us a few of their oldest weapons. Since I would never remember the name of this impressive piece photoed, I noted the tag info:  AR Code MG42, Berlin-Borsigwalde, Mauser-Werke. The clerk told us that it had already sold and was going to its new home in Mass. They also have a tiny room of antique, rare books. We had the good fortune to see a Fore-Edge Book. If you are in Snider Plaza, I highly recommend taking in well-behaved children to see their treasures…..and it doesn’t hurt that Yummylicious is across the street!

AR Code MG42, Berlin-Borsigwalde, Mauser-Werke.
AR Code MG42, Berlin-Borsigwalde, Mauser-Werke at Jackson Armory, Snider Plaza, Dallas TX

This month at the DMA we learned about the secret language of flowers through the big, beautiful murals of Edward Steichen: In Exultation of Flowers.

In the studio, Jennifer taught us how to make art using paint, flowers… and gold!

It was that time again…..time to start from scratch with Zhen! This time Sebastian and I decided to use google to find a landscape image that he really liked and wanted to be inspired by. We discovered this painting, The Loneliness of Autumn by Leonid Afremov. It will be an 18″ by 36″ and I can’t wait to frame and hang it with the other two he has completed.

Sebastian is still loving his coding time with friends once a week at Techie Factory and Thanksgiving week he even got to attend a Techie Factory day camp with several more friends that were out of public school. They are having all kinds of winter camps too….should you be interested!

The Thanksgiving holiday was good to us. We spent time with extended family and friends. What a treat to have so many loved ones around us.

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My nieces, Sebastian’s cousins spent the Thanksgiving weekend with us. We took them to Spark, Farmer’s Market, the big AMC ‘with the good chairs’ and Yummylicious too many times!

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This month the beatboxing and music making from my son’s mind & soul came home. I don’t know where it has been over the last 24 months. This month it returned. 🙂 I am so thankful to get to work with and teach this joyous and loving creature.

Happy to Learn Math
The joy has returned to learning.
Leaving the Flock

Yayoi Kasuma, Warhol & note on Health

Well if you haven’t made it to the DMA yet to see the Yayoi Kusama exhibit, you should take 45 seconds of your life and go check it out. 😉 Yep, that’s what you get once inside, 45 seconds. Spend the first 20 or 25 just taking in the infinity of pumpkins and make sure to have your camera app open before you enter. Then your last bit of time can be spent snapping a few photos.

Yayoi Kusama Pumpkin Exhibit
Yayoi Kusama Pumpkin Exhibit

We found ourselves at the DMA for a homeschooler’s class on art and the senses.  The class discussed pieces of the collection found on the 3rd floor made of silver.

John Bramblitt, an artist joined the class to offer his unique perspective on ‘viewing’ art when one has lost the sense of sight. The kids discussed the other four senses and how art can still be enjoyed even when it can’t be seen.

John Bramblitt
Discussing how he ‘Views’ art.

John shared that when he eats different things he ‘sees’ various colors. He then uses this ‘sight’ to create his paintings. The hamburger painting represented all the colors he ‘tastes’. The kids then used scented watercolors to create their own paintings. Jennifer Sheppard in charge of this program does such a wonderful job at pulling together multiple concepts into these lessons. We appreciate her so much!

In our own art world, Sebastian is making rapid progress on the Dali. I expect it to be complete in another week or two. Here are photos for two weeks worth of progress.

When Sebastian finishes the Dali, we are trying to decide what the next replica will be and our search took us to learn about Andy Warhol. Sebastian and I read this book about Warhol and Sebastian wrote a short book report about it.

Reporting on Warhol

Meanwhile, coding at Techie Factory proceeds on with friends. They love programming Dash the robot.

 

These past weeks have been full of fun October festivities. Birthdays, carnivals, cold, cozy nights visiting friends and of course Halloween!

If the craziness of October wasn’t enough, we MOVED. Ugh! It was a short move just a few streets over to a new, modern flat in the city, but I FORGOT how painful moves can be. All in all, it’s over and we all survived. Sebastian was a HUGE help and got to use his measuring skills as well as handyman skills doing little projects for his dad and me.  These are the days that I am especially thankful for the flexibility of homeschooling. Time for us to do the things life requires as a family without external pressures is such a blessing.

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Since I want the focus of our blog to be on homeschooling, Sebastian, and our education journey, I don’t touch on my other interests or hobbies, but I am an avid researcher and advocate for alternative health. I could start/write a whole other blog about my journey, experiences, and research on the topic. In relation to homeschooling, I want to share a component that involves health. Over the summer I discovered that Sebastian had very high lymph blockage and really needed to focus on detoxing. He has learned so much about his own health and is an active, willing participant in improving and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. He dry-brushes, saunas, detoxes via ionic footbaths, sits through Rife sessions, takes time to reflect/meditate in nature, and makes a choice to abstain from wheat, gluten, and GMO food at every opportunity. Homeschooling gives us the opportunity to see that these lifestyle choices are supported every day. We are choosing to detach from ‘mainstream living’ and engage in a more aware, stressfree and ‘dis-ease’ free existence. I encourage everyone to re-evaluate their life’s pace, consumption habits (both food and stuff) and be sure you prioritize for your best mental and physical health.

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!

Leaving the Flock

Worldschooling, Dallas is our Classroom.

We made it through another week FULL of activities, friends, learning, and adventure. Here are some highlights from the week.

Last week marked the beginning of our Fine Arts class at Zhen. I was so impressed with this place. The lobby felt very ‘gallery-like’ and the students use real tools, like a variety of adult size brushes, acrylic paints, and 18″ x 24″ canvases. Sebastian was the only boy and 19 girls. The teacher is there to guide and give direction to the students as they re-create a painting of their choice. The instructor helped us select George Rodrigue‘s Meet the ‘Blue Dog’ as our first project & artist to study.  The bottom is a picture of the original and the photo with Sebastian is what he completed during his first session. Over the next week or two, while Sebastian completes this painting we intend to study the life and work of George Rodrigue.

We meet friends from our homeschool group at the Children’s Garden in the Dallas Arboretum. Sebastian and I had not been to this part of the gardens before. He had a delightful time exploring the treehouse and exhibits.

We were at the Arboretum to attend their fungus class.  It was a great small group, hands-on class all about mold and mushrooms. Afterwards, we were invited to take a look at this super cool, moving globe. The operator showed us past weather and specifically Hurricane’s Harvey and Irma form and move across the ocean to the US.

This particular day continued on with getting to re-visit our old stomping grounds at UP Elementary where we picked our friend Parker. The boys are attending video game club together where they get to play, talk, explore, learn, and grow their video gaming skills along with other kids. Then afterward they are taking a coding class where they learn computer programming using Scratch (developed by MIT) and Blockly (used to program robots and drones). In my dream world, Sebastian would have more and more classes about programming.  The co-owner of this great school, Techie Factory and I have been talking about a homeschool program, so if you are a fellow HS family local to North Texas and interested, write me for the details. From what I understand there is still space for others to join either of the after-school programs too!

Later in the week, we headed out to Sea Life Grapevine Aquarium. Well if you know this area, you know it is in the mall with Rainforest Cafe. Sebastian hasn’t been to this restaurant in several years, so it was a treat to see his excitement and reaction to all the ‘animals’.

Sealife was having ‘homeschool’ week so in addition to exploring the aquarium, we were able to attend a class on Cephalopods. We learned that an Octopus is thought to have about the same level of intelligence as a dog. They can fit through some amazing tiny spaces, too!

Fall is in the air and my boy loves gords! We had a marvelous day exploring with our friend Mason at Klyde Warren park, visiting the Farmers’ Market downtown and having the most delightful, healthy lunch at Mudhens.

Then we were able to visit the Dallas Museum of Art and take in beautiful pieces like Water Lilies by Monet. They had a lovely children’s area for the boys to burn off some creative energy with building tools and pegs.

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Water Lilies, 1908 by Monet
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Resting in the kid’s area.
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Building things.
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Pegs, board & string, so fun!

On this day Sebastian was working on adding sentences to his story. I left the room to attend to a task and when I came back, Sebastian said he had finished his writing and jumped on into the math for the day. I was so pleased with his initiative to start the next task without being asked.  As you can see on the 2nd page, he did all the subtraction problems as addition problems. It was a good lesson on reading directions since he had to re-do that page!

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Just a few more takes of my happy little learner studying compound words and his money math.