• Attendance

    August 2012
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  • The “Class”

    Avery, Naim, Aaron

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August 27 – 31, 2012: Final Camp Week

This week, Aaron went to Zoo Camp and Naim went to NWCT drama camp. Nik took them in the morning and they had early care until camp started. Then I picked up Naim at 1:00 and we did stuff until 4:00 when I picked up Aaron. Avery only had two days of Goddard this week, and I took him out of both due to not being able to get him and get Naim at the same time.

Here is the description for Aaron’s Giraffe Camp: (The camps are separated by age, designated by a different animal. Last year, Aaron was in Tiger Camp, which focused on habitats. This camp focused on Adaptations.)

Long arms for swinging, spots
and stripes for hiding and sharp teeth for eating. Learn how
every animal has adaptations
to help it survive. Compare the adaptations of the forest cougar to the cheetah that live on the grassy plains. Learn why some animals can live in the cold oceans and others are suited for warm places. Watch our birds soar above you in the Wild Life Live show, and discover some of the many special adaptations that help animals survive all around the world!

Naim’s camp description was this:

Shipwrecks and Treasure Maps Ages 7-10
Ready for a theater adventure? If, Yar! then, it’s time to sail the seven seas with that scoundrel, Pirate Sam, and find that lost treasure!

So a highlights breakdown:


Aaron had an incident at Zoo Camp that I got talked to about. The same issue, something doesn’t go his way and he melts into a tragedy. Oh! This time was because he got in trouble for licking another kid. I think he was pretending to be an animal, it was spontaneous, and he was so surprised he got in trouble that he shut down. I did talk about the innapropriateness of licking someone to him, and he seemed embarrassed and “never wanted to talk about it again!” I’m never sure what I am supposed to say or do in these talks. I sympathize, but unless he is hitting or hurting someone or causing such a disturbance that other kid’s experiences are interrupted, I am not taking him out of camp. I pay them to deal with it. The only way he is going to get over this is by having opportunites to get over it.  If I shut him away, he will not ever learn to deal with things and work in groups.

Naim graduated out of the Little First Stage Theater and found out he gets to do his play in the big, main theater.

Naim, Avery and I went to the Children’s Museum. They spent a lot of time in the We Build Workshop.


No problems with Aaron. I think he said they went to the African Savannah and petted a hedgehog that day?

Naim, Avery and I went to the children’s museum again, where Naim proceeded to lose ONE soccer shoe. I took his soccer stuff with me so he could change there. They played a lot in the theater and the water. Then, about dead, we went to soccer. Oh, Naim got his part of Wrongway Wally in his play, which I was very relieved to find out only had two lines. Another thing that helped was that we got the script beforehand because I told them I could not help him with his lines without an electronic script. So we had the script a good two weeks in advance. We went over the whole script a few times and talked about the storyline.


Despite practicing and totally having his two lines memorized, Naim forgot them in class, because he had to remember so much other stuff he said. There was a lot of blocking and physical comedy in this play.

Aaron seemed to do ok and petted a bearded dragon and saw the bird show.

Naim, Avery and I played at Couch Park.


Aaron rode the zoo train and visited the Arctic exhibits and petted a duck, he said.

Naim did well with his lines.

Naim, Avery and I went to the World Forestry Center. Then we left soccer stuff at D’s in the morning, retreived it and went to Soccer practice.


They called me in the morning about Aaron having a meltdown again, but I never got the message. So they complained to me after school. This time it was because he was “out” in some sort of game. Again, just shook my head and sympathized, but it isn’t like he hasn’t been talked to about these things, so it seems like it is something we need to ride out. He had on a paper vest and they played “Adaptation Bingo.”

Naim did well in his play, we took Ruoda with us so that was fun. the pictures I took did not turn out well because of the lighting. I got a little bit of video with the same problem. There is a photographer that takes professional pics of the plays, so when he posts the pics, I will see if there is any good ones to purchase. Afterwards, we went to Tropical Smoothie Cafe and just hung around the steam train where Naim and Ruoda did a lot of races and I followed Avery around.

Naim’s Play Program.  I think that NWCT as usual did a great job getting a play together in really, 4 days. The costumes were done by a costuming class. The props were impressive. He had a lot of fun and we continue to love that place.

Despite Aaron’s troubles, he absolutely, certainly wants to go back to zoo camp next year. Naim is up for more acting, and I would put him in for the fall if we didn’t already choose soccer. Maybe in spring. It was very tiring and I think next year I will put Naim in something for the afternoon so we don’t have to kill ourselves for 3 hours and it won’t take all day just to pick them up. Well, they have fun, it only kills me to take 5 hours to pick them up.

Pictures for the week:


August 25, 2012

I love this website, Stag Beetle Power. We have benefited several times from her (a homeschool mom’s) free and low cost events list she does every month. I am also always amazed at how far and wide she travels with her kid. Car people, I know. I keep thinking that I’m going to call her up and see if we can hitch a ride. Anyway, today we went to one of her events on her list, “BugFest” at Tualatin Hills Nature Center, and it was a lot of fun. Aaron called it “the bug convention” which made me think of little bugs lining up to check in at the Doubletree. And in fact, one of the buildings was called, “Fly Inn.”

Anyway, this is another example of how Portland homeschools your kids for you, you just have to get them out and about. I know nothing of bugs and have very little interest in them. But Aaron especially likes them a lot. And so having them talk to volunteers/park workers who actually know their shit and are enthusiastic about what they are doing is so much better than anything I could teach them here. Where I would just go around and sort of look at stuff, both kids get into active, interesting and relevant conversations with these people. They have these entire conversations that just blow me away. They share what they know, ask good questions, repeat and apply what they just learned. I don’t have to do a thing, I just basically show up.

I remember once trying to help Nik find things for the older kids to do in Tennessee and we found a small science museum. I thought this was a great find. But K and R totally groaned and nixed the idea. The only time they had been there was on school field trips, and so they associated it with school and learning and boredom. They wanted to go see movies and run around at the mall and stuff. I don’t know, maybe the place was totally lame…but I just couldn’t help but think that if it hadn’t have been killed by school, they would just naturally enjoy a place like that. I remember going to different museums and events for school. It was cool to get away from the school routine, but other than that, it was just a bunch of boring management and stifling rules and listening to a boring tour guide or whatever. When you have no control over exploring, it becomes very not fun to explore these places. I like that my kids still have that joy of discovering everything around them. It makes it fun for me, to even spend a day looking at bugs. I’m even giving us a PE credit for this one, because once we get off the max, we have to walk a mile through the forest to get to the interpretive center, and then a mile back. It is a nice, shady nature walk, though.

August 24, 2012

We started Hooked on Phonics K Level 1 over a year and a half ago. (with Aaron after finishing the preschool program). Then Naim did 2 more preschool HOP workbooks and 30 of the 40 DER Lessons before we started it again. It has been a long time coming and lots of frustration to finish this one. But he did it and although he has a ways to go to be fully literate, he is a reader and he CAN read. This was a homeschooling milestone, because it was hard fought. And there are celebratory brownies!

So that ^ happened. And other stuff:

  • Naim reviewed Lesson 15 in DER
  • We did Calvert 7.10 about combinations and did some of the end of the chapter practice stuff. All is left is the Ch. 7 review and test.
  • Both did 2 pp. in their respective Sylvan books.
  • Naim did the bonus workbook in HOP and reread “Tim and Sam” and then we called that one finished.
  • Aaron did the worksheets for Lesson 4 in his HOP.
  • Sentence School was “Ben creeps. Ben leaps.” more on subject/verb agreement.
  • HWT was punctuation.
  • We made brownies in the afternoon.

Avery went to school and seems to overall be in so much better mood than last couple of weeks. Here is his Freely report. He was funny this afternoon in that he got his toy stroller into his crib, got into it himself and got stuck in the straps. He started crying and he was standing up in his bed with a toy umbrella stroller strapped to his butt. And then he didn’t go back to sleep. Sigh.

Aaron and Naim impressed us at Dinner with an impromptu demonstration of space-time and black holes using a blanket and various balls to show us how space time bends with larger mass and gravity is that force that pulls the smaller mass item (in our case a ping pong ball) towards the larger (soccer ball) item on the blanket (space-time). He actually said, “Do you want the Isaac Newton Theory or the more current Albert Einstein one?” That there is what you call being Unschooled!

We wanted to go to Oral Hull’s 50th Celebration this weekend. I have a soft spot for Oral Hull and was also going to see if I wanted to apply for the board. But we ran into transportation issues again. We asked for carseat and to not be driven by a specific driver that word on the street tells us is legally blind. (And this street is pretty solid as far as evidence goes.) I also strongly suspect that her previous vision loss caused losses to her visual cortex that she may have not been able to recover, which may be the reason she has no navigational (visual spatial) skills to speak of.  They couldn’t seem to guarantee that, (and there is talk of reporting her to the DMV, but it is not something that I, personally can pursue, so I’m leaving it to the proper authorities.) Although I like this person, I absolutely refuse to put my family in the car with her. I have seen first-hand how dangerous she is. And the fact that Oral Hull cannot seem to  take care of this matter which is likely an accident waiting to happen pretty much makes me want to end my relationship with them. It’s sad, though. Because there is a lot of good going on there. I’ll keep half an ear on them and see if anything changes in the future.

So, other plans for the weekend. Maybe bug fest?

August 23, 2012

Warm soccer summer days.

Housekeeping day…groceries, etc. Not much to report except that Naim had his second Soccer practice and Nik took him because he got home early. All seems well, there. Will have to make up for no fieldtrip on Saturday.

August 22, 2012

Avery’s Freely. Love this one: “We coordinated group support for an individual as we sang “The name game.” I believe they sang the song, but the sentence sounds like they did an intervention on a kid that OD-ed on gummy-vites. Heh. Anyway…

Big Kids:

  • Both kids watched Lesson 14 in DER. Naim did the questions and reviewed workbook. I decided to start them both in Discoveries in Reading when Naim is finished with this.  Aaron is either going to watch it with him or read some books to me while he waits.
  • Did Lessons 7.8 and 7.9 in Calvert Math on probability.
  • Naim sorted word cards for Sylvan, Aaron did 4 pp.
  • Naim read “Tim and Sam” for HOP. This is the final book. We are going to do one more day, and read the book again and call it finished.
  • Aaron did Lesson 4 in his HOP. Read Chick-Chick the Ping-Pong Champ. The book had real photographs of world landmarks and Aaron knew most of them and what  country they were in. (i.e. Eifel Tower, Great Wall, Taj Mahal, Niagra Falls.)
  • Sentence School, “Ava works. Ava rests.” talked about subject verb agreement.
  • Aaron read Mat Man on the Go for handwriting and they did sentence school sentences on the white board. They also drew and labeled Mat Man on the white board and did workbook page.
  • Naim did a bunch of letters and all the numbers practice on the handwriting app I have on the ipad. Need to get him a stylus, though, for better transfer of skills to paper.
  • Watched brainpop about Big Bang, Mars, other stuff.
  • Went through Little Passports stuff about Mexico.

Aaron took over the white board after the whole Mat Man activities. Here is the result. Something about Cats and Dogs Revenge.

August 21, 2012

No outpost today. So we went to outdoors in, had a picnic on the Hillsboro Plaza and then played in the fountain. I was still recovering so was taking it a bit easy for this field trip. Maybe Thursday we can do something more substantial.

Also Naim started soccer practice tonight. He is the tallest kid, but I am not seeing that as being a big deal so far. We ran into Merlin in old Orenco and he gave the kids candy. Aaron and Avery played at the playground with some other soccer siblings, and Naim liked the practice. I nudged myself forward to trying to be social with a bunch of Public school moms/dads that have a whole different vibe than VH parents. I can’t tell you at this point whether this is good or bad or neither. One parent just went off on her toddler for throwing a piece of bark mulch at Aaron. Aaron told him to stop and he did, so I left it as problem solved. But the mom came over after the fact and made her tiny kid apologize and then put him in time out. You would not necessarily see that big of production made out of something like that at VH, especially if the kids handled it themselves ok. But, it has only been one day. I’m down with the Public School moms! I can be diverse. They seemed nice enough. Practice is every Tuesday and Thursday and games every Saturday from now until the end of October. Lets see if I live through it. (No worries about Naim, its more about me, all about me, enough about me so lets talk about me.)


August 20, 2012

Avery went to Goddard and I continue to get a kick out of the freelies. It gives me sympathy for the teachers who have to write that they talked about the first Olympics and signed the word “past” to two year olds, But the bigger question is, do the “curriculum specialists” or whoever at Goddard headquarters really believe this shit (are they that out of touch with child development?) or do they know that this type of stuff sounds good to parents who choose not to really think about whether they are really reaching the kid’s zone of proximal development and just like the sound of all that stuff. At two, I just want my kids to be able to explore a lot of sensory experiences and to have a language rich environment (which means using language to talk about things that two year olds actually understand and are not completely abstract.) I actually think they DO do this there, just that the reports are just so stupidly over-the-top. I would actually like to really KNOW what my kid does all day and not be given a load of BS. I know some of it is true, but I don’t feel it should be my job to pick the truth out from the crap.

I tried to have school today but was too sick and nauseous to pull it off. throwing up all weekend. It is the usual problem, which I am now hoping is some kind of perimenopause thing, which would be good because that is normal and not something like cancer, and can be dealt with to an extent. Very, very very annoying. Four solid days of pain, dizzyness and vomiting.

The one thing that did happen is that we looked at the “Sergei” file for the first time, including listening to the taped interview. I have told them bits and pieces about Sergei, but this is the first time they showed interest in reading the file. It is also the first time that Nik has ever seen/listened to the file. So, it all went well. Nik having a background where Belarus was as close as Idaho is to us and then living in Little Poland in T.O. helped fill in some of the cultural blanks. That was really interesting. It is amazing the back-ass wards and really, nonexistant world cultural education I got growing up in the midwest. Although my immediate family was never overtly racist, they were not knowledgeable and there was a lot of racism in my extended family. I grew up with no concept of Belarus, and Russia being the evil USSR that was a one dimensional comic strip bad guy. All I knew of Poland, I am embarrassed to say, were of Pollack jokes. The admiration that Nik has for the Polish and for the eastern bloc countries from Estonia down to the Ukraine is something that I just never grew up with. He tells of independence, athleticism, high priority on education especially math and sciences, and of problem solving and “get the job done” attitude. It fits in beautifully with the little that we do know about Sergei. Having him here to give first-hand (or at least second-hand) knowledge of these cultures was, I think, a huge help in giving the kids a more full picture of the unknown part of their genetics, and done in a much more positive way than I probably ever could have done. I think that instead of technically being half Belarussian Ashenazi Jews being this strange foreign thing, it gave them a sense of pride in it. I can see them getting into this file every few years, and each time getting a deeper understanding of the information it entails and what it may mean, if anything, to them. As their donor sibling, Jonas’s mom said to me once, we cannot cross these bridges for them, we just have to be available however we can when and if they want to cross it themselves.