Winding down the school year

The smart girls are winding down the 2012 school year.

I have been quiet on this blog, and have been spending more time on another one of my blogs but we’ve had a very busy year.   I thought I’d recap some of the highlights of the girls’ year.

My oldest daughter, M, was accepted into the fourth grade gifted program at school.   She had a self-contained gifted classroom which was a wonderful experience for her and her classmates.   They had some interesting projects to work on like a design project meant to solve a problem, a science project, and experimenting with the diet of two albino rats.

We inherited one of the class rats when the project was over.

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One of the highlights of the year was singing with a symphony orchestra at Christmastime.  Their school’s choir teacher has connections to the orchestra and the fourth grade class, along with some third and second graders sang Faith Hill’s “Where Are You Christmas”.  We weren’t allowed to take pictures during the performance, which made me sad because as a chaperone, I had to watch from the sidelines and couldn’t see my daughter sing.  It was a smashing success and the children sounded like angels.

They got a standing ovation from the audience.  It was amazing.  Afterwards, the conductor made himself available to autograph the playbills for the kids.  He was an amazingly warm, talented and child-friendly guy.  It was his passion to involve kids in his programs as much as possible.

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The fourth graders also put on a Christmas concert for school which was very cute and a lot of fun.

They went to the Lyric Opera House of Chicago for a field trip, and they performed an opera, La Cerentola (an Italian adaptation of Cinderella), for the school.   I helped out with the set design with other parents and the teacher.  It was a very “charming” performance.

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As if that wasn’t enough for her, she’s also taking a once a week keyboard class offered at school by the assistant music teacher.

It didn’t surprise me that my daughter wanted to try out for the Spell Bowl.  Their school won their division.
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But it did surprise me when she decided to try out for the math bowl as well, because she frequently tells me she doesn’t like math.  Their school also won their division for math.

They worked out of a fifth grade math book which for her was a bit of a challenge.  For the first time, she wasn’t just making easy A’s.

She had a research paper to write, and the teacher allowed her to write it on her favorite subject, the Blackhawk’s hockey team.

They interesting novels to read such as the art mystery Chasing Vermeer with it’s puzzles to solve which was a lot of fun for the kids.  It was set in the Hyde Park, near the University of Chicago, which was exciting to me, since I worked there for 3.5 years.

About the same time, I came in to give a presentation on forensic DNA analysis for their classroom.  I love giving lectures to young students.

She’s also involved in her second year of softball and is enjoying it.

Middle daughter, K, the second grader, dabbled in a few after school activities – art class and chess club in the fall – but after one session each, decided to not take them again.  She’s now in glee club and seems to be enjoying that.

The district decided to move the gifted program down to the third grade, so they started testing the second graders this year, and she passed the first two portions, and we are just waiting on the results of the last portion and the letter, which we’ll receive sometime in the next couple of weeks.

She’s participating for the first time in softball and seems to be enjoying it quite a bit, and following in her sisters footsteps and enjoys the position of catcher.

Littlest one, E, the first grader, was asked to be a student council representative.  She wasn’t really interested in doing other extra curricular school programs this year, though, she was asked if she wanted to.  She was my daughter I thought would never learn to read, because she was more interested in counting than her letters.  She is now reading chapter books and is about a 3rd to 4th grade reading level.

We’ve had some amazingly awesome and fabulously free field trips since last August.   Just prior to the start of school, we attended the Full Moon Fire Jam.

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In September, we went to a Storytelling Fair.

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In October, we went to our yearly trip to see the harvest festival at a local historical farm.  Here they are learning how to make hand-dipped candles.
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In November, I went to a writer’s conference.  I figured it was high time to have some enrichment activities of my own, since they get to do lots of fun activities throughout the year.

Over Christmas break we went to see the holiday lights at Brookfield Zoo for the first time.  We had friends who gifted us with five free tickets.

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It was cold, but not intolerable and the hot chocolate was delicious.

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In March, we learned about maple syrup tapping.  I’d been wanting to go for years, but kept forgetting about it.  We finally made it out this year.

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And we went to Starved Rock over spring break.
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And took them to the arboretum in April now that we ended up getting a family membership.

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This upcoming weekend is Civil War Days weekend, and I can’t wait.

For a while, I kind of felt bad that I haven’t been posting much.  But as I’m reviewing our year, I know why.   We’ve been incredibly busy.

I’m hoping to remedy that, as I figure out what to do with my four blogs.  Posting a little more regularly will be in order, maybe more than once every few months.

I don’t think they girls will be attending the three week science day camp this summer, so I might be more inclined to do science experiments with them at home instead.

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This entry was posted in about the smart girls, afterschooling, An uncommon education, Fantastic field trips, Full moon fire jam, gifted children, Gifted education. Bookmark the permalink.

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