End of the Year Wrap-Up

End of the Year Wrap-Up

Yesterday was the last day of school for our 2016-17 school year. This means Ani is now a high school graduate. The year really seemed to go by fast, but we are still all very happy to have the next 13 weeks off. Usually, we do some work over the summer (math and language arts), but other than reading (for pleasure), we’re not doing anything but relaxing this year!

In science, we learned about the kingdoms. We filled in cladograms. We played with a dichotomous key. We learned about what happens to plants when they are exposed to acid rain. In history, we learned about ancient Greece, ancient China, ancient Japan, first North Americans, ancient South America, the Celts, and ancient Rome. We did some very interesting art projects. We continued doing taekwondo.

Cameron did math using Khan Academy. He wrote more essays (he’s happy to be moving on to creative writing next year). He read (listened to) The Odes of Horace, The Aeneid, and The Metamorphoses. He’ll be testing for his second degree black belt in a few weeks.

Fritz completed Math-U-See Zeta through lesson 13. He read the final 6 Artemis Fowl books. He’s gotten very good at writing in cursive and can form his own words properly now (no longer has to copy). He learned even more Latin words. He found out he earned a silver medal on the National Mythology Exam and summa cum laude on the Exploratory Latin Exam.

Adrian completed Math-U-See Gamma and then started working on 4th grade math using Khan Academy. It’s amazing watching him figure out the math for himself. He completed book 7 of Explode the Code. He’s gotten very good at marking spelling passages on his own. He finished Traditional Irish Fairy Tales and read Tales From Japan and Theras and His Town.

Grades
Cameron
English: C
History: A
Geometry: B
Biology: A
Art/PE/Music: Pass

Fritz
English: A
History: A
Math: A
Biology: A
Latin: A
Art/PE/Music: Pass

Adrian
English: A
History: A
Math: A
Biology: A
Art/PE/Music: Pass

Art in May

Art in May
Off: The boys had to turn off a screen and then take a picture of it. Cameron picked the TV with a reflection of part of our living room. Fritz picked Adrian’s Fire with a reflection of a drawing he made. Adrian picked Cameron’s old phone with a reflection of part of my Harry Potter phone case.

Art in May
Proposals: The boys each had to respond to one of three proposals. Cameron assisted in discrediting Bishop Berkeley’s theory of the non-existance of matter. Fritz imagined his feet in a mountain stream. Adrian dressed like his father.

Art in May
The Art of Complaining: The boys had to think of something they wanted to complain about and represent that somehow. Cameron was sick that day so he chose to complain about being sick. Fritz really, really hates cliffhangers (at the end of a chapter) so that’s what he decided to complain about. Adrian couldn’t think of anything to complain about so his complaint was having nothing to complain about.

Art in May
Emotional Furniture: The boys had to arrange furniture to portray confidence, envy, and melancholy. Fritz chose confidence, Cameron did envy, and Adrian picked melancholy.

History in May

We started off May learning about Celts using Year 1, Unit 17 of Layers of Learning.

We looked at some of the pages from our Ireland trip scrapbook.
History in May

We colored a map of where the Celts lived.
History in May

We learned about the Celtic calendar.
History in May

We made Celtic knots out of paracord.
History in May

For the rest of the month (school year), we learned about Rome using Year 1, Unit 18 for two weeks and Year 1, Unit 20 the final week.

We colored a map of how the Roman Empire changed over about 150 years.
History in May

Each boy picked a different Roman god/goddess and drew them and then shared with their brothers about the god/goddess they picked. Cameron chose Ceres, Fritz Neptune, and Adrian Jupiter.
History in May

We learned about laws in the Roman Republic and the Twelve Tables. We discussed what attributes make a good leader.
History in May

We learned about the Roman alphabet and wrote their names without the missing letters.
History in May

We learned about Horatius and Fritz acted out jumping into the water and swimming across with his armor on (apparently doing the backstroke).
History in May

We drew a picture of the structure of the Roman government.
History in May

We learned about Cincinnatus and made a fasces.
History in May

We learned about Roman roads and how some were even paved. We talked about what roads today are paved with.
History in May

We learned about aqueducts and made one out of clay.
History in May

We learned about the Roman baths and took a virtual tour.
History in May

We learned about the fall of the Roman Republic leading us right into our final week learning about the Roman Empire.

We did mapwork to show how the Roman Empire shrank over time. While coloring his map, Fritz said, “I know where the Red Sea is!” and pointed right to it. So at least something has sunk in over the course of the year.
History in May

We learned the Pax Romana and dressed in togas.
History in May

We learned about Hadrian’s Wall. Adrian found his name inside the emperor’s.
History in May

And, finally, we learn a little rhyme about the fall of the Roman Empire:

In 476, Rome was in a fix.
Little Romulus bid farewell
And mighty Rome fell.

Playing With Math

Since Adrian finished Math-U-See Gamma a few weeks ago, he’s been using Khan Academy 4th grade for math. It’s been fascinating watching him play with the math problems to find the answers.

For example, a couple days ago he started adding and subtracting mixed numbers. He doesn’t like the watch the videos unless he really can’t figure out what to do (he says he gets bored and can’t pay attention). So he had never done anything with mixed numbers when he jumped right into solving the problems.

The most amazing thing happened. He figured out the easy ones very fast (these are very basic mixed numbers with the denominators the same). Then he got to addition problems that required him to add a one to the whole number and show what was left of the fraction. He got it wrong the first time, but quickly figured out his mistake.

The subtraction tripped him up a bit. He tried subtracting the wrong way (1-5=4). When that didn’t work he got the idea to borrow a whole number, but he still didn’t get it right. He finally asked for a hint and looked at the first two they gave him and then knew what to do. He borrowed correctly, subtracted correctly, typed his answer, and was even given a “grit” badge for keeping with it until he solved it correctly. After that, with a few mistakes along the way, he eventually managed to get 5 correct in a row.

It’s really fun watching him figure out the math for himself. He’s not afraid to get answers wrong so he’s willing to try and try and try again. Once he gets the concept figured out, it’s solid in his head. It just makes sense to him. Honestly, for this particular kid, letting him play with math and figure it out on his own works way better than trying to teach him how to do it (probably because of that previously mentioned “I get bored and stop paying attention” thing).

Weird

Ani’s been doing some digital art on my iPad. She’s just learning how so she’s been using pictures as reference for what she wants to draw. Because of this, sometimes some strange pictures show up in my photos on my phone (since it shares an account with my iPad).

The other day I was going through my photos and was highly amused by this picture of a gnome right before this picture of Cameron giving a private lesson at taekwondo. The similarities between Cameron and the gnome made me laugh so much.

Weird

I Love Indie Authors

The other day I discovered that one of my favorite indie authors follows me on Twitter. It’s pretty awesome. Most of what I tweet are links to my book reviews on my other blog, including reviews I’ve done of her books.

This discovery started me thinking about just why I love indie authors so much.

1.) I get to be the gatekeeper for what I want to read. Traditionally, with books published via publishing companies, it’s those publishing companies that decide what is good and what isn’t. Make no mistake: There is a whole lot of independently published junk out there. December and January always sees a bit of an uptick of terrible books completed during NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month which happens every November). But there is also a whole lot of amazing independently published books. Many of these authors give away the first in a series on Kindle. After reading that first book I am the one who gets to decide if I want to keep reading the series, find other books by the author, or never download anything by them again. Let’s just say some indie authors have been paid well for that freebie I downloaded!

2.) The cost is usually a whole lot lower. Rick Riordan is a traditionally published author and I enjoy his books. But I refuse to buy his new ones as they come out because I don’t enjoy his books enough to justify the $14.99 Kindle price. That is nuts. Indie authors generally run $4.99 or less per book. Often much less. A couple days ago I got a box set of 5 of one indie author I like’s books for 99 cents. (These are Kindle prices… I pretty much exclusively read on my Kindle because I just prefer it.)

3.) Probably because indie authors are not as well known, interaction with them is a bit more personal. They often tweet a lot. I’m on a Facebook group run by one indie author I like. She’s always having conversations with fans on there. Last fall another indie author I like was making his way across the US and stayed at our house for a couple days.

Some Indie Authors I Really, Really Like: Andrea Pearson, Tony James Slater, Heather Sunseri, Karen McQuestion, Beth Labonte, Susan Kaye Quinn, and Julie Oleszek