Saturday, January 7, 2012

Happy New Year!

Getting caught up here at the Super-Awesome School. Or at least as "caught-up" as we will ever be! We've got lots of projects going on, including rearranging furniture, cleaning out kids' rooms and closets, and putting away the Christmas tree and decorations.

What's new? Well, both kiddos are starting 2012 as purple belts! Yup, they passed their karate exams and got bright, shiny purple belts along with new black gis. Good thing, too, because they were outgrowing their white ones.

We are trying something new in math and I like it a lot. The books are called Verbal Fractions and Verbal Percents by Michael Levin and Charan Langton ($2.99 on Kindle!) We are supposed to be tackling percents this month, but it was clear that we needed a teeny bit of fraction review so we're working our way through Verbal Fractions first. We just sit down somewhere comfortable with a cup of tea, I give the kids some scratch paper (which they barely use) and they take turns answering the questions. Couldn't be simpler and they enjoy it.

We usually follow up with some Daily Puzzlers from Laura Candler. I made a Daily Puzzler box, and the kids each draw 3 or 4 to solve. We're almost through Book B, which was a little easy for them, but I'm glad they got their feet wet before moving on to Book C. My philosophy: a little review never hurts!

Over the break I read a book by Robin Padron called How to Homeschool Math--Even if you Hate Fractions! Well, I don't actually hate fractions, but I did find the book extremely helpful. (I actually read it on my Kindle while walking on the treadmill--New Year's resolutions, you know!)

We are officially a month "behind" according the plans I made last summer, but I kind of expected that. Our world religions unit study was supposed to begin in November and culminate just before the holiday break. We started it January 2. So what? We are all enjoying it. Lots of good reading, and as many hands-on projects as I can find, including this Yin and Yang pony bead keychain from

We're reading The Story of Religion by Betsy and Giulio Maestro, with frequent pauses as we supplement with various library books about the different religions and philosophies. So far the kids have really enjoyed The Legend of Lao Tzu and the Tao te Ching by Demi and Confucius: The Golden Rule by Russell Freedman and Frederic Clement.

As you may already know, we have a particular interest in how Asian philosophies have influenced history! We hope to start a fun unit study on South Korea soon, probably next month. This year I'm still working on those perfectionist tendencies that keep me from starting a project until it is perfectly planned and perfectly ready. I'm learning to just jump in! :-)

Let's see...what else? Oh, I did let Dude take a "piano break" and join his sister's guitar class. I was afraid he would start hating music altogether if I forced him to stay in piano. So far he has been extremely motivated, partly because he wants to catch up with the class, and partly because he wants to show me that changing instruments was a good decision!

And the coolest part: I'm taking piano now! Since Dude changed instruments, the piano teacher had an empty time slot and I asked if I could take it! I remembered more than I thought I would (it's been, what, 25 years?) and I'm having a blast!

South Korean Flag

Hope your new year is off to a great start!
Wishing you health and happiness in 2012!


Sara said...

Happy New Year, and congrats on the purple belts!

Karen said...

Woohoo for the purple belts! That is awesome. I love the yin yang keychains. I need to show that to Kei. We are behind too but I don't stress it...We are loving life and learning and that is great! I love that you are taking piano! You go girl!

Jennifer said...

Just requested The Story of Religion from my library - it sounds perfect! Also, I think it's great that you're taking piano and loving it - that's something I plan to do someday too.

Sparklee said...

Thanks, everyone!

Jennifer, I wouldn't call the book perfect, but it's a good conversation starter. We supplement quite a bit because there is only a page or two per religion, until you get to Christianity. We have really enjoyed learning about eastern philosophies, Hinduism, and Buddhism. It's an education for me, too!