Leaving the Flock

Oh my, oh my! It is Christmas Eve!

We started the journey into multiplication and cursive writing. It is a pretty cool thing when your child asks to learn a subject. Sebastian’s curiosity with learning to write in cursive could no longer be held back, so we jumped right in.

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I have noticed that as he learns and excels on a topic, this builds confidence. That confidence pumps up his self-esteem which in turn gives him the self-motivation and desire to learn and ‘own’ the next topic. It seems to just be continuing to feed on itself. Allowing him space and time to absorb the material as it comes naturally seems to be key in this confidence building.

Sebastian finished his replica of ‘Loneliness in Autumn’ just in time to give to me for Christmas. We had it framed and now it hangs in a prominent place in our home! I could NOT love it more! The final piece was framed in white and is 24″ x 36″.

Additionally at Zhen art this month, they made ‘printing pads’. They carved reverse images in the rubber mat and then stamped them onto heavyweight card stock. Sebastian made snowflake decorated cards that said ‘The Prescott’s’.

We attended ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’ at the Dallas Children’s Theater. This was a sweet way to start December. The actors moved all around the stage and auditorium on ‘ice skates’ (roller blades) so it was a fun to be in the middle of the action.

We had our monthly rollerskating date at Thunderbird Roller Rink and Sebastian got an early Christmas gift, Cardiff skates that clip on to his tennis shoes. What is lovely about these skates is that they can expand in size from a boy’s 12 to 5 (or girl’s 12 to 6). They are quick and easy to get on and off too! Bonus! There was a little adjustment to getting used to skating in them since the design is slightly different on 3 wheels, but it wasn’t long before he got the hang of it. While these are called ‘street skates’ they were allowed at the roller rink and we decided since they can be fast, we will restrict their use to the rink. Now since Sebastian has really gotten into skating and isn’t going to use these on the street, we decided to look at tennis shoes with the wheel also know was ‘Heely’s’. We decided on these since they also offer the light-up feature. He is normally a size 2 and I went with a size 3. They fit more like a 2.5, so I’m glad I sized up. We also did not install the 2nd optional wheel. I may let him on occasion for fun, but not when we are using them as everyday shoes. We also pulled the laces and put in bands similar to these, but ours were (and can be purchased) from Learning Express, too.

Techie factory has a new teacher, Mess! She is awesome!! Sebastian has been a coding fool. We have plans for him to attend Techie Factory’s weekend 3-D printing camp. This is something Sebastian has been asking to learn about so what a great opportunity! He will be studying a printer like this one. We will report back on the printer and camp in a few weeks.

More good times at the Microsoft store in Northpark Mall. A new group of puzzles for the Minecraft Hour of Code Tutorials came out and the group had a great time getting through them. On this day and evening (Dec 7th) that we were at Northpark the Dallas Symphony Orchestra played in the mall and it was AMAZING! Next year, I’ll be sure to look at the mall’s line up of holiday entertainment to plan to attend.

This month’s art class at the Dallas Museum of Art was all about families. Jennifer and the kids talked about families and looked at families in other cultures, specifically African nations. Afterwards, as a family, we worked on panels to represent our family. We used the eagle, trident, and P to represent our family. Our friend Florian used flags (Romanian and United States) and family initials to represent his family.  We used a technique to paint where you could only use dots to make your image, Pointillism.

After class, the boys had an empty DMA kid’s area to play in (Homeschool perk! Weekday public spaces are typically empty!!!) Afterwards the temperatures were moderate which allowed us to get lunch at the food trucks across from Klyde Warren Park. We were able to enjoy the park for almost 3 hours on this lovely afternoon. The boy’s soaked in every minute of playtime and green space. Win!

We attended this event called, The Compassion Experience. Here is what it is about, “Visitors will be given headsets and invited on an audio-guided journey through wheelchair-accessible and kid-friendly exhibit space, featuring replicas of the homes and environments of real children who have grown up under the weight of extreme poverty. Visitors will journey with the children from poverty to hope and will experience new countries and cultures along the way. Guests will hear the child’s life story through headphones, as told by professional voice actors in an immersive experience. The stories featured are all true and told with permission and direction from the Compassion-sponsored children who lived them.”

Over the month we celebrated birthdays, had dinners with friends, wore Christmas jammies and counted the days until TONIGHT! All my gifts are wrapped, Santa’s cookie plate is out and Sebastian is dreaming of sugar plums. I could not be more grateful for all the experiences and new friends homeschooling has brought into my life. All it takes is time and patience the rest gets filled in along the way. If homeschooling has been calling you, then take the leap in 2018! You will never regret spending more time raising, teaching, mentoring and guiding YOUR child. Merry Christmas! <3

 

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

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 &amp; 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.