Thursday, February 18, 2010

the opera....

Yesterday the kids and I got the opportunity to attend the dress rehearsal of the Lyric Opera's production of The Damnation of Faust. Amazing, simply amazing.

I'm not saying that we really understood much of what was going on... but the music and the staging was wonderful. The kids were mesmerized... especially Alex. He knew more of the story and was totally into seeing it come together on stage.

There was quite a bit that was not exactly kid appropriate, but they didn't catch most of it (especially since it was in French and I know, Clara at least, stopped reading the subtitles at some point).

It is such an amazing experience for me as a mom and a homeschooler, when I sit back and realize that the kids and I spent the bus ride home (and part of the evening) discussing opera! Not Spongebob, or Hannah Montana... but opera! (don't get me wrong... we do have those discussions too) Apparently, we all had a lot of questions about what was going on and why things were acted out the way they were. We discussed our theories as to what we thought was happening. We checked the descriptions of the acts in the program to see what we may have missed. And then we fell into the our typical discussion of "what was your favorite part and least favorite part and why".

I know I say this often here... but we are so fortunate to be able to homeschool here in Chicago. What an incredible number of amazing opportunities we have available to us here!

Monday, February 15, 2010


One of the kids' favorite things about their lit and poetry classes on Wednesdays is that they get to have a bit of recess with friends after class.

Due to the snowstorm that hit on Tuesday, they brought their snow gear and played outside after class... building a snow fort....

They had a blast!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Alex's books

For School:
Meet George Washington (Landmark Books)
What's The Big Idea, Ben Franklin?
Phoebe the Spy
all of these are part of his Sonlight curriculum

Listened to on audiobook:
Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne
This was for a lit class that he and Clara are taking. I LOVE that I can download audiobooks from the library directly to my ipod (for free!!). This was our first real test of that feature and it went really well.

Read Aloud:
The Meanest Doll in the World

Read for Fun:
Dandelion Fire: Book 2 of the 100 Cupboards
A friend introduced him to this series and now he's hooked. He'll be excited to know that I just found that there's a book 3!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Beware the Jabberwock, my son!

On Wednesdays the kids have a poetry class with some of their friends. For the past few weeks they've been working on the Jabberwocky as a performance piece.

Today we finally got to see the show...

Ugh... apparently I have issues with uploading videos... I kid you not... it has taken me about 10 tries already! All five kids are in my video, but for some reason photobucket cuts off one whole side of my video! I'll have to try to figure it out... sigh.

Ooooohh... I think I got it this time!

Monday, February 1, 2010


The Lego Mindstorms NXT 2.0 kit has arrived at our house!!

Alex saved his money and finally had enough to place his order. It arrived on Thursday night just as we were heading out for the evening. It nearly killed him to leave it, but he was so excited that he actually had it that it was okay.

That night, before bed, he unpacked and repacked the box of parts so he would be ready in the morning. He then took the manual to bed with him and read it all so he would be REALLY ready :-)

In anticipation of the arrival of the box, he had worked ahead in his schoolwork so he could have Friday off.

The boy built and programmed ALL day....

He loved his first little bot... but alas, that love was short lived and it was quickly disassembled in order to build something else.

(demonstrating the jaws of the gator-bot he was building)

He built several of the examples from the kit over the course of the day. By Saturday afternoon, he thought he was ready to branch out into his own design. This really excited me. I must admit that I had a fear that he might build the examples and then be done... either from loss of interest or from it being more difficult than he had thought. I was glad to see that he was willing to give his own creation a shot even before he finished the sample projects.

So, Saturday night he built a gondola-bot that travels across his room on a piece of yarn suspended between his desk chair and closet door knob. He keeps tweaking the program, but right now it travels to the closet with a green light shining. When the touch sensor hits the door, it pauses, says "have a nice day", turns its light to red and travels back to the chair. When it hits the chair it again pauses, says "have a nice day", turns its light back to green and travels again to the closet. He's pretty proud of this so it goes on for quite a while! :-)

I can't wait to see what he builds next!!