Sunday, September 26, 2010

Puzzles, Presentation, Movies Plentiful and a Prize!

Couldn't resist a little alliteration there...he he.
This post is alternatively titled The Year 3, September Snapshot.

I had recently mentioned that I was running out of juice with blogging...since the usual, monthly academic reports are starting to sound too monotonous for me, I have decided that this month, I will focus on the stuff we unschool or pursue for pure enjoyment.

Although we managed to get a little academics and even a few science experiments squeezed in this month, none of it was interesting enough to report, save a squishy goo-making experiment we did with the help of Mad Professor by Mark Fraunfelder (he of Boing Boing fame) and some writing (Yes...Writing! Wahoo!) that the kiddo dabbled in for the charter school's quarterly assignments. Plus, a list he's compiling all on his own...he's collecting, for curiosity's sake, words that contain at least three consonants in a row (e.g. mythology)...a wonderful, unschooled spelling/ vocabulary challenge, don't you think?

We had some ups and downs this month (as is usual around here). I once again almost tore my hair out about curriculum to use and we spent several days of the month being very edgy with each other as I experimented with various schedules. As much as I feel like thumping my forehead with frustration at my silliness, I don't regret it as much as I normally do. I am starting to realize that this is normal for me...I NEED to go through this phase in order to see sense. And once I see sense things are peaceful again...the more I resist this urge to change and dabble, the more stretched out the agitation. But once I allow myself to experiment and change and switch and purchase and return stuff, I feel secure and confident again. Ha if that made any sense at all dear reader, consider yourself hugged :)

Here's my fun stuff report:


Almost all of his leisure hours this month (and he had lots of it seeing that we did only about a week of "school") were spent poring over and solving puzzles from these books:
USA Today Giant Book of Easy Crossword Puzzles (he's completed almost 50% of this 300+-page book)
Einstein's Riddle: Riddles, Paradoxes, and Conundrums to Stretch Your Mind
Brain Games: Puzzles to Work Out Your Brain
A travel-size Code Breaker crossword puzzle booklet gifted by his Granny (Dad's side)


The kiddo is crazy about Jeopardy, the game show, and even if he appears to go goggle-eyed when I ask him to tell me the time (yes, it appears that he still has trouble telling time), he has mastered reading the clock well enough to not miss this show every evening at 7pm LOL. So, for monthly presentation day, he prepared and presented a slideshow about Jeopardy. The audience was our favorite homeschool group (about 30-40 grownups, teens and kids).

He even hosted a Powerpoint template-based Jeopardy game afterwards! Although he's presented several slideshows till now, this was the first time he took stronger ownership over the work involved, including typing in all the's comforting to know that he has matured enough over the past year to achieve this milestone. The snapshot is actually from the video I took so please excuse the grainy texture.

Movies Plentiful

Funny and fun flicks we watched this month (linked to trailers on YouTube):
It Happened One Night (thanks to Ruth for cluing me in to this movie on her blog) -- watch instantly on Netflix if you have an account!
A Night At The Opera
Big Fat Liar (also instant on Netflix)
IQ (linked to Wikipedia, instant on Netflix)
Letters to Juliet
Rugrats Seasons 2 and 3(also instant on Netflix)
Toy Story 2

and lots of Eureka, starting with Season 1. We especially love the theme song and he's learning to play it on the piano.

Does anyone know if this show takes a turn towards R-rated in other seasons? For now, I'd give it an in-between PG and PG-13 (which I am not too uncomfortable with). I had a similar issue with Numbers and had to heavily censor certain episodes until we mutually agreed to stop watching the series till he's older. Hopefully, Eureka will continue to be somewhat age appropriate in Seasons 2-4.

And...a Prize!

Back in January, the kiddo took the Johns Hopkins CTY-based SCAT test (Grade 2) and did well enough to qualify for the High Honors Awards Ceremony. We attended it this morning (at Cal State East Bay) and in true kiddo-style, he made the crowd giggle with his goofy pose for the camera after receiving the award certificate :) Another grainy video-cut snapshot (above).

One more P...or make that 4!

Peanuts on the Piano :) Remember this challenge? Well, the kiddo now plays both Linus and Lucy and the Pink Panther themes passably well and as reported in the August snapshot, has already earned his ice cream prize. As mentioned above, his next target is the Eureka theme. One of these days, I plan to get his piano teacher a huge gift...the man simply rocks! Since meeting him, kiddo has found a new lease of life learning music...he no longer feels as if he has to hold back his naturally crazy, jazzy style and I no longer worry that he doesn't pay attention to technical details. He may never become a classical pianist...nevertheless, he plays with joy and abandon...complete with wiggly shoulders and lopsided grin. And it's so fun to watch and laugh and enjoy the music with him instead of worrying about the details.

Other notable stuff
We attended a talk by a NASA scientist! Enjoyed hearing about the LCROSS mission and all sorts of theories and fun info on the International Space Station. Lots of thanks to Subadra and Yen for organizing this.
I don't usually give him a target number of books to read at any given period...but I was very pleasantly surprised all the same that he's finished reading 50 books since June, cover to cover. A number were read alouds but many were free reads and given his usual preference for not finishing what he starts, I thought it deserving enough to mention his 50-book achievement in this snapshot. As a reward, he received that Brain Games puzzle book I mentioned above from his Dad and will receive another bunch of books (what else? LOL) both as a reward and birthday gift in a few days' time.

Yup, he's turning 8! He's acted like a teen-grandpa rolled-into-one sweet, goofy, skinny package for a long time...but now, standing at almost 4 feet 6 inches, he is actually starting to look like a tweenage boy. Scary.


  1. My goodness, so many accomplishments! Congrats, Kiddo! This was such an enjoyable post to read. I love the image in my head of him sitting at the piano, wiggling and giggling. That sounds exactly how it should be for a young boy. :)4 foot 6 inches?! Wow! Keep up all the good work, Kiddo; you're "Aunty" in England is proud of you! :)

  2. And we are both so fortunate, "Aunt" Michelle, to know you and be able to follow your amazing blog :) Thanks Michelle! I had fun writing this post!

  3. Sounds like you guys have been having fun!! Congrats on the prize - and I love the pose :)

  4. Suji, I've watched Eureka from the beginning and can tell you it never gets above PG-13 in my opinion. DS (12) and I watched it all summer long. Love it!


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