Friday, November 8, 2013

Randomly Recent

Yearly Snaps

Every time the leaves change colors around here, I whip out my camera, make kiddo comb his hair and force him into smiley positions all around the house and just outside. This is one of those times when I really count my blessings about how cooperative he is. I hated (and still do) photo-taking.

I have chosen a few to use in our yearly photo greeting card, the jpg of which I will feature on this blog when the time is festively appropriate. I am too cheap to use an outside photo card service and prefer to make my own.

New this year: Adrian is forced to pose too lol. He didn't seem to mind since he was carefully cradled in kiddo's loving hands.

Counting Hours

This school year is a trial run for high school. The nice thing about homeschooling is that you can be very flexible about such things. I like that I can do a trial run when he is in sixth grade or abandon it halfway if I can't and try again next year when he is in seventh. No matter how much I try to slow him down or plan a gap year into the mix, I think it is quite inevitable that we will need to seek out more college classes earlier. To give myself time to get the hang of things, I have started counting hours more carefully this year.

Averaging things out, he spent 15-16 hours a week on math for the first 10 weeks of the year. Some days it is because he works slowly, but most days it is just the sheer volume of math that he does of his own volition. I don't see this changing drastically over the coming years and I often wonder how I am going to document something like this in a transcript.

The usual advice with homeschooling transcripts, especially when compiling more eccentric ones, is to organize courses by subject instead of by year. Despite that trick, kiddo's transcript is going to look incredibly uneven. Almost all the time that other homeschoolers spend on writing and history is channeled into math here. I have been devising different ways to even out the spread but although my plans look good on paper, I can't seem to implement them. When will we get to all the writing and history that kiddo is supposed to do?

Loving Linguistics

Apart from math, kiddo is spending more time these days solving NACLO puzzles. He's signed up for the 2014 competition. He is not a contest-lover or an eager test taker so I am keeping my fingers crossed that the experience will be enjoyable to some extent. Kiddo is training for NACLO with a small group class and working on the puzzles that can be found on that linked NACLO site. If you have tons of change (or Amazon gift cards) stashed away, and dislike printing, you can buy the puzzles in two volumes here.

One of the fun things about the group class is that kiddo gets to create his own puzzles too! This has sparked further curiosity (an interest first prompted by his love of all things Tolkien) on linguistics in general and invented languages in particular. Kiddo just finished In the Land of Invented Languages by Arika Okrent as a free read and recommends it.

It never fails to amaze me how divergent our homeschooling path has become. I try hard every year to create a plan that looks "normal" only to have life throw fantastic (and sometimes crazy or scary) opportunities at us. Not that I am complaining. In fact, sometimes I do wish we had even more activities to choose from. However, I also wish I can predict what's in store so that I can worry less about throwing my plans (literally) into the recycle bin.


  1. Our transcript would be skewed to the drama and technology subjects rather than the maths. Our Board of Studies is starting to crack down on registrations (depending on which assessor you get) so I need to start actually "doing maths" with Billy. I just have to find something a format that he won't fight too hard about and that suits the BoS. Should be a piece of cake, right?! :)

  2. I don't think you need to worry about an unbalanced transcript. He's likely to choose colleges where that will be a feature, not a bug! My husband and I both went to Caltech, and one year I was a student member of the admissions committee. We were always looking for students to have demonstrated an interest in science / math *outside* of their required classwork. Given that none of these things are "requirements" in the first place, I'd say his transcript will amply demonstrate that he's motivated to learn math! (obviously, once you have targeted some schools, make sure to meet their minimum HS requirements - for example, I remember taking 3 years of foreign language because UC schools required 2 but 3 looked better on a transcript, or so I was told)

    Thanks for the info about NACLO! I'm already printing sample puzzles from their website to see if my kid will like them, too. :)

  3. You've just got to take the opportunity when it presents itself! I totally understand your dilemma about trying to fit all that kiddo's learning into a "normal" template for admission. Sounds like it's going to be challenging for you, but all the extra non-standard activities he is engaged in will surely put in him a very good position.

    Also thanks for the info about NACLO. I've never heard of it before, but it looks like something that Tiger might enjoy.

  4. Thanks for the support and suggestions, you guys! Fingers crossed that we will all be well-prepared when the time comes.


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