I feel self conscious because there really isn't much to update, but because a few people have asked and for the sake of posterity I'm sharing an update on The Boys. Their education continues to be based in and directed from home even though The Boys are in their 2nd year at a brick and mortar K-5 charter school during the day. Buddy (11) and Pal (10) are in the 5th and 4th grade at their day school.
The BM School
Is a fairly good school actually. I could find things to complain about, since it's not perfect, but it's not the sort of place where The Boys lose ground in Reading or ELA just by being there either. Plus, the CS does provide opportunities in socialization, writing instruction and scholastic contests and teams that I can't provide in the HS setting so it's not the worst.
The Boys perform well academically and enjoy school well enough. They were both selected to be in the Advanced Math (4/5) class their second year, so though they are in separate grades, they have Advanced Math and French-Elective together each day, which is cool.
The Gil School
I continue to teach them mathematics and coach them in academics as a duo rather than individually. Because the GIL-school year starts in January, they are--to me--in the same grade. (whatever that means)
The scope of our home studies is still stream-lined and focuses on the things that we can do best, and that I (The Parent) feel are the most valuable namely: Spanish and Mathematics. When there is time for something else, we do IT related skills.
Spanish: We are working our butts off towards being fully conversant and able to function in the language as a communication tool by the time that they reach high-school. Time will tell if we'll get there, but we're cautiously optimistic. Their recreational media, such as DVDs, video games, music, books, and even some kids websites, are in Spanish. I mean, video games count as school, so you know...they're not exactly complaining. We opened ourselves up to outsourcing Spanish last year and it's been amazing for their linguistic abilities. I put them in conversational situations with natives as much as possible to put the pressure on them to speak.
They discuss their recreational media in Spanish as much as possible. We have a meal in Spanglish (and some times just Spanish). It's been a few years of constant work and effort but they're able to speak and converse in Spanish. Their grammar is not perfect, their vocabulary fails them from time to time, but we're slowly creeping towards competency.
Math: Thanks to the early acceleration, we enjoy the luxury of having enough time to continue to do math in the way we know works for us, which is nice.
As far as their education is concerned, math is where I pour the majority of my energy and time. After a long-stint of stressing and fiddling with various resources looking for The One Math Book, I realized that I was wasting time and energy on dead-ends and so did what I did in the beginning: Dedicated myself to using the collection of perfectly good, already-owned stuff on my shelves, and designing them a math-course of our own making, to suit our needs.
So, Gil and The Boys blaze their own math path once again. It's shaping up to be one of the best decisions I made concerning The Boys education. I feel better about the decision and the longevity in this path each week that passes. It feels like it did in the beginning when we'd just...do itTM
Information Technology: I like to expose The Boys to as much as I can of the IT field and I take the hard line with them that the computer is a tool, not a toy. We've dabbled a good deal in hardware, and their typing is pretty good (though probably declined from where it WAS), but their computer literate in using it to create, edit, organize and otherwise manage files of all sorts.
They can create simple static websites and assemble a desktop computer from parts and install the OS. We've repaired an android tablet as a project and we'll probably segue more into small device hardware. For I would also like to get them started with the basics of network administrator stuff and develop that over the next year or two.
I plan to teach them programming too, but we haven't been able to break out of the "dabbling in programming" phase yet. They've dabbled in programming, but it hasn't gone anywhere.
Other: At GEAR, I have always focused on teaching them a few skills/subjects exceptionally well, rather than many subjects. So that's what we do whether we're home schooling or after schooling. 3Rs and 1 or 2 other things. The Boys continue to play youth sports through the city. I still keep them in reading-material via the library--I'mjust not super formal about them. Since they read non-fiction in Social Studies and Science each week for BM school, I will often let them get Gil-credit too if they've read enough to speak on the topic coherently.