Sunday, June 11, 2006

June 11, 2006: A Year in Retrospect: Jesse


It seemed logical that the best way to practice my collage-making skills would be to compile a record of this year for each child. Jesse is horrified that I would post photos of him on my blog, but I told him to “SCRAM!” After all, this is MY blog.

The photos represent several different aspects of Jesse’s life this year. “Bob” joined us sometime last summer. Jesse created Bob as a cartoon for his occasional news magazine, The Freakshow Weekly. Bob became an instant hit, and Jesse’s “Vote for Bob” t-shirts were a hit at our co-op. Unfortunately, he lost interest in marketing Bob products when he discovered Pac-Man, Gamemaker, thrift-store ties, and The Beatles. I am happy to report that Jesse has designed a series of games featuring Bob, including one in which Bob jumps on spikes and squishes little blue rabbits.

It has become evident this year that Jesse has a passion for computers. He has invested a little money and a tremendous amount of time learning programming, graphic design, and game-making skills. This summer he’ll be taking two classes at the U.T. Continuing Education program—“How to Design Your Own Webpage” and “C+++ Programming.” He also has accumulated quite a hefty shelf full of computer books, thanks largely to the free bins at McKays. Who would toss out a gem like, “Writing for Windows Multimedia?”

This was Jesse’s first year of violin, and I think he did great. When Jesse was about 5, his great-grandfather presented him with a violin that he had picked up during WWII. He’d had it all fixed up for Jesse. Finally, seven years later, we buckled down and got Jesse lessons. He has also been fortunate this year to get in on the beginning of the Blount County Homeschoolers’ Orchestra, so he’s had violin and orchestra weekly. The orchestra performed a several venues at Christmas and in April, so this has been a fantastic experience. Lately he’s been learning fiddle music as well as classical, so we are enjoying hearing “Rocky Top” on a more frequent basis.

Boy Scouts continues to play a big part in our lives. One thing we love about our Troop is that the dads play a huge role in all activities. Randy and Jesse head out to meetings twice a month and then also to loads of other activities—camp-outs, hikes, etc. Jesse is now 2nd class but will be ready for 1st class at his next Board of Review. Boy Scout camp, the highlight of the summer, is just a few weeks away.

Jesse also has continued fencing this year. A homeschooling dad started the club last year with about 10 boys, and the club has more than doubled this year. In August they had their first tournament, and we’re hoping that another one happens this summer.

We added a new member to our family this year: our first dog, Daisy. She is a spectacular dog, fitting right into our family. She and Jesse spend many afternoons together, her at Jesse’s feet while he’s on the computer, when I shuttle Laurel and Duncan here and there.

As far as academics go, at home Jesse did Sonlight Core 6 (World History), Pre-Algebra, Daily Grams Jr-High School, Bible, and vocabulary. He also took my Basic Essay Writing class and World Geography with the Laney’s. At our Enrichment Class program, he took creative writing; Drawing II; critical thinking; and speech, debate, and drama. In February Jesse competed in the Word Power Challenge. He got first place in 7th grade and advanced to Nashville. He doesn’t know his ranking there (not in the top 10) against the other 100 finalists across the state, but he had a great time.

Next year we’ll finish Sonlight’s World History program with Core 7. Jesse will be taking his first high school credit, Physical Science, and probably start Algebra 1 mid-year.

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