Thursday, December 3, 2015

Getting Back on Track

I had very good intentions to get back to weekly posting after we came home from our trip to Tennessee. Seven weeks later... here I am! My plan for the next few weeks is to include a picture with a short description of a part of our trip at the beginning of each post in order to give a summary of our adventure. The picture here is from the top of Clingman's Dome, one of our many stops in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. To get there we left the park visitor center and followed the Newfound Gap Road up the mountain, turning on to the Clingman's Dome Road. The drive took us to an elevation of about 6,340 feet. After arriving in the parking area we needed to hike about half a mile up a rather steep, paved trail, to get to the observation tower. The dome is at an elevation of 6,643 feet. The view is incredible and well worth the short, strenuous hike.

Since we've been home, the boys have been doing quite a bit of school work. Both of them wrote a short composition about our trip. It was interesting to see what each considered to be the important details and best parts of the vacation. EM expressed that he was ready to come home a few days before we did, but JT was happy to be traveling. A week after we came home, I saw a great deal for a weekend trip to the shore, but when I mentioned it to the boys, EM said, "We just got home! I don't want to go on any more trips." The plans wouldn't have worked out anyway, but if they had, I think I may have had to do a lot of persuading to get him interested in the trip.

We are working our way through the Lightning Lit materials I bought this year. EM is using the Seventh Grade books and JT is using the American Lit. EM recently read Alice's Adventure in Wonderland, thoroughly enjoyed the book, and did the activities from the guide. He is still very resistant to any writing assignments so I limited the work to just a few things. JT did not enjoy reading The Scarlet Letter for his most recent novel. The study guide had a long discussion about kinds of conflict in literature. We realized that JT's least favorite literature all has a large quantity of internal conflict which would explain why The Scarlet Letter was not an especially gripping read for him.

Since we have been home JT has also been working on reading and researching the Civil Rights Movement for his American history paper. He has read quite a few books, watched a PBS American Experience movie called Freedom Riders, and watched the movie Selma. The topic for his paper will be why the non-violent protests were effective. This week he has been putting his outline together and started writing his introduction. This paper will be his 10 page paper required for the PHAA diploma program. I would like to see him get it out of the way before Christmas break. Last year, the paper was the last thing he did for the year and I felt like it was hanging over our heads at the end. I'm glad he is making the progress that he is so we won't have to experience that again.

As of this Friday, we will have 82 days of our required 180 days completed. Even if we take a two week break for Christmas, our school year should end at the beginning of May. I feel like things are on target with their work and going smoothly even with our extended vacation in October. That's a good feeling to have!

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