Blogmas Day 26: 17 Things I’ve Learned in 2017

I literally have 10 wrapup posts for the end of the year, and this is one of them. As my wise friend Abbiee said, it’s not healthy (or wise) to simply just set goals, goals goals without also seeing what you’ve done! This post is in between my New Years Resolutions and tomorrow, my January goals, and this is a post talking about what I’ve done and learned this year!

Blogmas 2017(1).png

2017 was a big year for me. Overall, I’ve moved up a lot from being in the same schedule I’ve had for years, and changing things up a lot. (Due to my friend getting her license lol) I’ve been able to go out on more friend-inspired whim trips, and those were fun. I’ve also gotten a job (money!) and had to buy stuff (no more money!), and also had to take public transportation (no more money!).

Here are some things I’ve learned, some serious, some not.

In 2017, I learned . . .

1. that college applications are FREAKING STRESSFUL (like that wasn’t obvious). Similarly, college essay prompts are vvvv stupid. The whole point of applying to college is figuring out what you want to do with your life; and I’m not supposed to know that already. But that’s a separate rant for a separate time.

2. that working 40 hours a week is A LOT MORE TIRING THAN IT LOOKS. (Also, because of this internship/office job type thing, I learned a lot about sleep and sleep research and how to put on EEGs and all kinds of fun science stuff like that)

3. that shipping packages is very expensive (and going to the post office is a hassle, especially if you don’t bring enough money the first time)

4. that if you’re planning on entering 34 entries in the fair (bad idea in general lol), don’t leave them until the last minute (similarly, if you have a friend coming over to help bake cookies, GET READY BEFORE SHE ARRIVES)

5. about filling out forms and money (!!!) and background checks and getting IDs and badges and interviews and all that business-y type stuff

6. to check the DATE you sign up for a show, as well as the time . . . or you might be 20 minutes late to said show after the friend you’re going with texts you 5 minutes into the show asking where you are

7.that it is possible to break a car the first time you drive (long story). I also learned to drive…kinda.

8. that I just really really suck at time management. It has not improved.

9. public transportation is great but it also SUCKS (namely, changing train -> bus in the rain)

10. a lot about my personality and how I perceive things and process emotions and that kinda stuff.

 

11. THE BLOGGER DASHBOARD IS NOT LIMITED TO BLOGGER POSTS. MY LIFE IS FREAKIN CHANGED.

12. to be confrontational about problems, but don’t rush it and give the opposing party time to think. (also, talking about things is very important, but over talking is also too much)

13. to be grateful for people who understand and are forgiving, even if you’re attacking them (and especially if it’s kinda out of your place to say so)

14. some new calligraphy/typography fonts and some new methods for my art

15. spotify is really the best form of getting music (even though I used it for probably 5 months this year oops)

16. a lot about public education and interaction through my volunteer job at a museum (and I LOVE IT. SO MUCH.)

17. and overall, how to juggle college classes + working + my volunteer job + all my other responsibilities without dying.

TALK TO ME!

What are some things you learned in 2017? Are you/have you applying/applied to colleges before? DID YOU KNOW THAT THE BLOGGER DASHBOARD ISN’T LIMITED TO JUST BLOGGER POSTS? (I found this out a couple days ago and my mind and my entire blogging world is blown)

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Blogmas Day 23: Books I Read in 2017

GOOD DAY EVERYBODY! TODAY, WE TALK BOOKS.

I had planned for 2017 to be the year of books, but between junior year and senior year and working 40 hours over the summer, it didn’t go so well. Well. I got through a little over 120 books, so it didn’t go THAT poorly, but here is my recap of the books I read this year.

Blogmas 2017(2)

First of all, some stats, courtesy of Goodreads. (Apparently I really really don’t like giving 2-star reviews? or poor reviews in general?)

BooksRankings

As you can see, most of my rankings were 4-star reads, and according to GoodReads, my average rating for books is 3.8 stars.

As for shelves (which is kinda confusing, and kinda inaccurate, since 2017-read is all the books I’ve read this year), I’ve read the most books from series, and then historical fiction and Christian fiction (not surprising).

BookStats

As for my page counts, I’ve read BIG books this year! The shortest book I read was Andora’s Folly by Abigayle Claire which has 99 pages, and I averaged 255 pages a book o.0

Page Averages

And now for the books I read if anybody’s interested; they could have literally checked GoodReads oops! The bolded books are my 5 star reads for this year, if you’re interested. The linked books are books that have a review on my blog!

  1. Nancy’s Mysterious Letter (Nancy Drew, #8) by Carolyn Keene
  2. Rush Revere and the Presidency (Rush Revere, #5) by Rush Limbaugh
  3. After the War by Carol Matas
  4. First The Killed My Father by Loung Ung
  5. White Sands, Red Menace by Ellen Klages
  6. When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit by Judith Kerr
  7. China’s Long March by Jean Fritz
  8. The Wish by Beverly Lewis
  9. The Perilous Journey by William O. Steele and Jean Fritz
  10. Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
  11. Rules of the Road by Joan Bauer
  12. Best Foot Forward by Joan Bauer
  13. The Seventeenth Swap by Eloise Jarvis McGraw
  14. A Note Yet Unsung by Tamara Alexander
  15. Parallel Journeys by Eleanor H. Ayer
  16. The Newcomer by Suzanne Woods Fisher
  17. The Outcasts of 19 Schyler Place by E. L. Konigsburg
  18. Faith, Hope, and Ivy June by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
  19. Little House in the Highlands by Melissa Wiley
  20. The Far Side of the Loch by Melissa Wiley
  21. Belles on Their Toes by Frank E. Gilbreth Jr.
  22. The Assassin’s Daughter by Jameson C. Smith
  23. Salt to the Sea by Ruth Sepetys
  24. Princess Academy: Palace of Stone by Shannon Hale
  25. The Princess and I by Rebekah Eddy
  26. A Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  27. Down to the Bonny Glen by Melissa Wiley
  28. Beyond the Heather Hills by Melissa Wiley
  29. The Rocks Don’t Lie by David R. Montgomery
  30. Princess Academy: The Forgotten Sisters by Shannon Hale
  31. Tattler’s Branch by Jan Watson
  32. When the Sea Turned to Silver by Grace Lin
  33. Shaken by Tim Tebow
  34. A Fool and His Monet by Sandra Orchard
  35. Grace’s Pictures by Cindy Thompson
  36. Mission Titanic (39 Clues) by Jude Watson
  37. Mission Hindenburg (39 Clues) by C. Alexander London
  38. Nowhere to Run (39 Clues) by Jude Watson
  39. Breakaway (39 Clues) by Jeff Hirsch
  40. Good Enough by Paula Yoo
  41. Riley Mae and the Rock Shocker Trek by Jill Osborne
  42. Riley Mae and the Ready Eddy Rapids by Jill Osborne
  43. Riley Mae and the Sole Fire Safari by Jill Osborne
  44. Trusting Grace by Maggie Brendan
  45. Countdown (39 Clues) by Natalie Standiford
  46. Flashpoint (39 Clues) by Gordan Korman
  47. Number the Stars by Lois Lowry
  48. Mission Hurricane (39 Clues) by Jenny Goebel
  49. Mission Atomic (39 Clues) by Sarwat Chadda
  50. For Love and Honor by Jody Hedlund
  51. Yours Truly by Heather Vogel Fredrick
  52. The Secret Slipper by Amanda Tero
  53. Another Day, Another Dali by Sandra Orchard
  54. Mystery of the Moss-Covered Mansion (Nancy Drew #18) by Carolyn Keene
  55. The Secrets of Pirates Hill (Hardy Boys #36) by Franklin Dixon
  56. The Black Book of Buried Secrets (39 Clues) by Mallory Kass
  57. Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O’Brein
  58. The Double Helix by James Watson
  59. Gifts from Heaven by James Stuart Bell
  60. The Golden Braid by Melanie Dickerson
  61. While the Clock Ticked (Hardy Boys #11) by Franklin Dixon
  62. Jericho’s Journey by G. Clifton Wisler
  63. The Secret of the Sealed Room by Bailey MacDonald
  64. The Bad Beginning (A Series of Unfortunate Events #1) by Lemony Snicket
  65. Under A Desert Sky by Lynne Hartke
  66. The House on the Gulf by Margaret Peterson Haddix
  67. The Hardy Boys Detective Handbook by Franklin Dixon
  68. Outbreak (39 Clues) by C. Alexander London
  69. The Reptile Room (A Series of Unfortunate Events #2) by Lemony Snicket
  70. The Wide Window (A Series of Unfortunate Events #3) by Lemony Snicket
  71. The Miserable Mill (A Series of Unfortunate Events #4) by Lemony Snicket
  72. Sammy Keys and the Hotel Thief by Wendelin van Draanen
  73. Sammy Keys and the Art of Deception by Wendelin van Draanen
  74. Sammy Keys and the Cold Hard Cash by Wendelin van Draanen
  75. The Raven Boys by Maggie Steifvater
  76. The Fantastic Family Whipple by Matthew Ward
  77. War of the World Records by Matthew Ward
  78. True to You by Becky Wade
  79. Over Maya Dead Body by Sandra Orchard
  80. The Forgotten Recipe by Amy Clipston
  81. Molly and Pim and the Millions of Stars by Martine Murray
  82. The Endless Steppe by Esther Hauztig
  83. After a Fashion by Jen Turano
  84. The Courtship Basket by Amy Clipston
  85. The Election Day Dilemma (Boxcar Children #145) by Gertrude Chandler Warner
  86. The Cherished Quilt by Amy Clipston
  87. Andora’s Folly by Abigayle Claire
  88. It’s Like This, Cat by Emily Cheney Neville
  89. The Sleepwatchers by William C. Dement
  90. Tiny Piece of Sky by Shawn K. Stout
  91. Then Came You by Becky Wade
  92. Dead Cold Brew by Cleo Coyle
  93. The Best School Year Ever by Barbara Robinson
  94. The Ghost in Tokido Inn by Dorothy Hoobler
  95. The Best Halloween Ever by Barbara Robinson
  96. Betsy and the Emperor by Statin Rabin
  97. My Brother Louis Measures Worms by Barbara Robinson
  98. More Wise Men of Helm and Their Merry Tale by Solomon Simon
  99. The Good Master by Kate Seredy
  100. The Blood Race by K. A. Emmons
  101. The Hooded Hawk (Hardy Boys #34) by Franklin Dixon
  102. The Pushcart War by Jean Merrill
  103. Third Grade Detective Series by George E. Stanley
  104. Chu Ju’s House by Gloria Whelan
  105. Escape Across the Wide Sea by Katherine Kirkpatrick
  106. The Twisted Claw (Hardy Boys #18) by Franklin Dixon
  107. The Sign on the Door (Hardy Boys #13) by Franklin Dixon
  108. Time Out for Happiness by Frank E. Gilbreth Jr.
  109. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dixon
  110. Operation Yes by Sara Lewis Holmes
  111. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brone
  112. Love, Ruby Lavender by Deborah Wiles
  113. The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
  114. Roller Skates by Ruth Sawyer
  115. Caravel by Stephanie Garber
  116. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  117. Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee
  118. Under the Egg by Laura Marx Fizgerald
  119. All the Light We Cannot See by Anothony Doerr
  120. The Dream Thieves by Maggie Steifvater
  121. A Name Unknown by Roseanna M. White
  122. The Beloved Hope Chest by Amy Clipston
  123. The ABC Murders by Agatha Christie
  124. Long Drive Home by Will Allison
  125. Cat Among the Pigeons by Agatha Christie

Whew. There you have it folks! A comprehensive list of all the books I have read this year.

What was your favorite read of the year? How many books did you shoot for (and did you make it?) What is a book I should read?

 

Thankfulness Thursday || Thanksgiving 2017

Happy thanksgiving, everyone!

Like last year, I’m doing Thankfulness Thursday, hosted by Grace Anne at Totally Graced. Basically, all you have to do is to list things you’re thankful for!

Comment on this post if you’ve also done Thankfulness Thursday, and I’ll definitely go check it out!

Thankfulness Thursday

I’m thankful for:

a warm house
a new laptop
a working dishwasher (finally!)

cute sweaters
fall
warm drinks
getting to do what i love
people who love me
people that i love
sleep
my twitter friends
love
professors and teachers that i like
sunshine
baking
opportunities to do stuff
christmas
getting a break from school
bullet journals, or journals in general
books
finding joy
people in general
my personality (more on this soon)
my family
time, even if i never have enough
laughter
heat, and warmth
a God who loves

What are you all thankful about? Think about it. There’s more than it first looks like! Let me know in the comments!

 

Blog RELAUNCH (and other things) PARTAYYYYYY

BLOGOSPHERE!

This is going to be basically an INTERNET PARTY on my blog/social media! I’ve wanted to do a giveaway for some time now, but I wasn’t sure what to do it for. (honestly I’m still not sure but eh who’s caring?)

Giveaway.jpg

SO. This is gonna be a celebration for

  1. 100 Followers on the Blog, Twitter, and Instagram (lol I’m actually at 200 on twitter already) so basically i’m famous now
  2. 2 (and a half, heck) years blogiversary 
  3. Going into my SENIOR YEAR
  4. and A BLOG RELAUNCH!!!!

basically, everything you could ever do on the internet.

By entering the giveaway, you’re in the running for a watercolor quote calligraphy art thing that I did, a hand written letter to you, and a custom t-shirt that I make for you (and possibly some other surprise stuff that I haven’t decided on yet *wink*)!

If you’ve been poking around on the blog this past weekend, you MAY have noticed some *changes* to the blog! The general layout is still the same (but may change soon), but it’s WHITE now and so #professional, right? I’m relaunching my blog!

Soooooooo that means I’m going to be changing up the blogging schedule a bit! Starting from the END of August (when the giveaway closes), I’ll be back to posting *once* a week, on Fridays. Book reviews may appear also on Monday, but who reads those anyhow they will be sporadic.

However, with that, I’m also going to be trying to putting more thought into the blogposts….as in actually thinking about what to post more than an hour before I need it posted….*hides*

ALSO, you may know, I’ve heading into my SENIOR YEAR of high school. o.0 WHAT??? With that, comes college applications and adulting stuff and probably less time to spend trying weird things on the internet. Running a giveaway is something on my senior bucket list that I’m doing, and SO YAS.

Now….ON TO THE GIVEAWAY.

Rules:

  • This giveaway is open from Monday, August 14 to Thursday, August 31 at 11:59pm.  I’ll draw a winner and announce them on (or around) Sunday, August 13
  • You must have parent permission to enter (aka give your address away if you win)
  • Open IN THE US ONLY (sorry international friends…I am still a poor student with almost no money)
  • I will notify the winner BY EMAIL within 48 hours of the giveaway closing
  • Once notified, winners have 48 hours to respond with their details to claim the prize. After 48 hours, I will choose another winner

CLICK HERE FOR THE GIVEAWAY

(here’s a screenshot of the giveaway, for easier reference)

Screenshot from 2017-08-15 18-21-00.jpg

Have fun, and good luck!

Junior Year Reflections || Homeschooling || 2017

So…I’m closing out another school year, and I wanted to write a blogpost about how my Junior Year went. (Yes, I know, I’m gonna be a senior next year. I can’t believe it either). I hope this post is helpful for anyone who’s looking to homeschool in high school, or wondering what classes to take, or stuff like that. Although my family and I have been blessed by a lot of guidance through our homeschool group, there were still SO MANY things that I just wish I’d known, or that I could’ve done better on.

Junior Year Reflections.jpg

I’m giving you permission to not read this post at all if you’re interested! This post is mainly for my own records, and a link for me to give to others when they ask ‘Oh, so what exactly did you do in high school?”

Again, like last year, I’m going to divide this into classes, tests, and extracurricular activities.

I took AP Lang and AP Calc BC this year, both online. As I’ve stated before, I don’t do particularly well with online classes, and this year, honestly, just proved that again. Both the courses were asynchronous, which meant that there was no lecture, and you just worked through the course subject on your own at your own pace, every week for AP Lang and every day for AP Calc.

AP Lang wasn’t too bad. I took it through Bluetent Online with Mrs. Brigid Thompson, and let me just say, Mrs. Thompson is AN AWESOME teacher. She was very encouraging, and was incredibly supportive throughout. I felt like the asynchronous course worked out really well for AP Lang: I learned just through forum discussions with classmates and readings, and I didn’t really miss the lectures at all. At some parts of the school year, I felt like there was a *bit* too much discussion, but overall, the courseload felt about right for an AP level course. I highly, HIGHLY recommend Mrs. Thompson’s English courses, and I’m taking AP Literature with her next year. Overall, I felt about 80% confident about the AP exam itself, and I’m *hoping* for a 5. It was the first actual AP test that I actually felt confident about, so there’s that. (I’ll talk about the test later on). We had to write a final paper about technology and reading (lowkey turned mine in two months late, oops).

AP Calculus, on the other hand, was another story. I took AP Calc through Pennsylvania Homeschoolers with Mrs. Gilleran. I feel sure that the course was a really good course, but I just wasn’t expecting the coursework to be so heavy. I was behind by the third day of class. Unlike AP Lang, I feel like this course would really benefit from a live/video lecture. Without that, I was basically learning by myself. In addition, there was very little practice. Every day, we would read a section of the textbook and do some online exercises. Having been taught with Saxon math for most of my advanced math (ie, after algebra), I need a lot of practice problems to completely understand the concept, and this had none of that. This course mainly relied on good problem solving skills (which I don’t really have), and you were supposed to ‘master’ a topic after doing 5 or so practice problems, after which you wouldn’t see that topic again until the chapter test. I struggled a lot there too. If I were to have done *all* the work assigned every day, I would have spent an easy 5 or 6 hours a day just doing math. (and um, ew, no?)

On top of all that, in December, Mrs. Gilleran went and got cataract surgery. While she DID do it over Christmas break, she hadn’t been able to see very well before it, and so couldn’t do a bunch of the administrative type tasks, which was annoying. AND THEN, in March, which is the start of AP Test prep, she had a heart attack and had to have open heart surgery. Although I understand that was inevitable, we didn’t have a substitute teacher, we just had to plow through the rest of the coursework on our own.  By the time she had recuperated enough to give us instruction, it was April and we all had to take practice test after practice test. Overall, this class was just. . .unnecessarily difficult and poorly structured. I *did* get some of the basics, but I’m incredibly uncertain of myself in calculus, and I’m planning to take essentially the same course again next year, although definitely not THIS exactly class.

For sciences, I took physics at a local homeschool co-op like thing. There’s nothing much to say about it…the teacher was AWESOME: he was lighthearted and fun, while teaching you and making sure you understand the concepts. There was very little homework, despite mastery of the concepts, which was AWESOME, and I really appreciated that, because if there’d been a lot of time involved in that, I’d have been sunk. For our final project, we had to build bridges with popsicle sticks and glue. That was fun, although it consumed my entire life for a week XD

I took world history at home this year, using Abeka’s World History book in conjunction to some Sonlight reading. I took notes on the vocabulary, the outline, the timeline, and answered the questions in the back. Honestly, at this point in the school year, I just want to get it over with, and wish that I hadn’t given myself so much busy work (I could easily have just read the chapters and answered the discussion questions…but NOOOO, I had to write down ALL the bolded words, and ALL the dates, and ALL the topics they covered, and then EXPLAIN all of them). As usual, Abeka was a bit extra in defending Christianity…always portraying Christians as the only people worth mentioning throughout history. If I’d learned and accepted world history as they presented, it would go something like this: “The people who didn’t accept God all killed each other and died, but the Christian civilizations had the upper hand because God helped them, so that’s why America exists, one nation under God, hallelujah, praise the Lord.” Obviously, they did teach history, but their bias was a bit much.

The other class I took at home was Chinese (because, heck, I specialise in weird things). The warning that Chinese was hard wasn’t a joke, y’all. I can speak the best, then read, than write. (Also like brush strokes? Like I couldn’t write already and now I also need to remember the order to write the darn words in?) The pinyin (chinese in english) thing was really helpful, because I could more easily connect spoken words to written words. I’m still not done with that yet either (again, self-assigned busywork), but, hey.

I also took an extracurricular course, called “Study Skills and Time Management” at the same place I took physics. Aside from the fact that the class was meant for middle schoolers going into high school and taught stuff that I’d already had to implement into my life to keep from failing high school, and life in general, this class was decent. The teacher was really nice, and it was a nice easy class, although so completely unnecessary. I might recommend it for a middle-schooler looking for an easy-ish class to take, but not for a high schooler. We had to make about 8 weekly charts of 24 hour logs, so literally EVERY. SINGLE. THING. we did throughout the day, to see where our time went, and that was pretty interesting.

As for hour-logging classes (it’s legal for me to log 120 hours of a ‘thing,’ and count it as a credit), I did Bible, PE, and music.

Bible was pretty straightforward: I logged the time I spent doing Bible stuff, like doing devotions, or going to youth group, or going to church. There’s just that. I need it to graduate XD

PE: Again, a plethora of PE-like things I did, like swimming, golfing, or hiking. There’s not really a need for me to do more PE, because, like, I’m the most unphysically active person ever, and I’ve already gotten my credits, but apparently colleges like seeing PE credits, so I’m including it XD

Music was a big part of my life, as expected. I took private lessons in flute and piano, and also played flute and bassoon in band. I had new teachers in both flute AND piano, and they are both great, although my flute teacher is moving away, so I’m going to have to look for a new one again. Piano, again, wasn’t one of my focuses. I did increase my repertoire by a bit, and that was nice, but I didn’t really spend a tonne of time practicing. I also increased my flute repertoire because of private lessons, and also worked on tone and stuff like that. I was also first flute in band, and that was lots of fun, because I got to play some solo-y stuff, and that was cool. I also got to play flute for a few sections in jazz band, and that was super cool. (As a sidenote, if you’re playing flute in jazz band, please don’t forget to bring your flute on stage during the concert and have to sight read the bassoon part during the concert? Thanks. Sincerely, Learned That The Hard Way). As for bassoon, I played it during jazz band, and nowhere else XD Honestly I’m not sure where to go for bassoon, and was contemplating giving it up completely. However, our bassoonist in band graduated this year, so I *might* be called upon to play it? I don’t know yet.

That’s it for my classes. Now for tests.

As I mentioned earlier, I took the AP Lang and AP Calc BC tests, and also took the PSAT, 3 SAT tests, and 2 ACT tests.

The PSAT was the first test I took this year, mainly because juniors just need to take it. I scored 10 points below last year’s (boo) but it was still decent. It really wasn’t good for much though because I didn’t make the NMSQT thingie.

I took an ACT 6-week course, but that honestly didn’t help too much? It was fine for reviewing test taking strategies etc but it wasn’t like “ooh now I can easily score 5-10 points higher!” kind of thing. We were supposed to take one before the course started (December) then another one after (June, because I couldn’t make the April one), so I took both of those and we’ll see how that goes. The December went pretty darn well so I hope I could at least match that on the June one!

The SATs are a similar story, except that I just didn’t take a prep course. I did do some prep via Khan Academy, so there’s that, but aside from that, it was pretty self-taught. I got a decent (but not good enough yet) score in December with a terrible essay score, and an okay (10 points lower) March score, and I’m hoping that the June one is my last one!

The AP Lang test, as I mentioned earlier, was the first AP test I’d taken that I actually felt prepared for ever, thanks to the practice tests and essays that I got in my course. I was up too late the night before, though, so I may or may not have fallen asleep for the last fifteen minutes of multiple choice? The essays were okay though, even though I had so much to write and felt like I ran out of time a little towards the end, but overall, I feel pretty good about it.

AP Calc? As expected, it was the mirror opposite of AP Lang. The multiple choice was actually comparatively more easy than I’d expected, but the free response made  up for that. It. Was. Hard. Again,I’m taking calculus next year again since I can’t imagine that I did well on it.

Overall, I had lots of testing and it wasn’t fun waking up early (ha! #homeschooler) but they themselves were fine. I also had two stints (December and June) of taking the SAT and ACT on consecutive weeks, so that was interesting…

As for extracurricular activities, I basically did the same things as last year: 4H, Science Olympiad, and band.

I only really did 4H for the first semester, then had to stop because of a conflict. Well technically I’m still in 4H, but I’m no longer as active in it as I was. I finished my Diamond Clover Level 5 this year, which was fun.

As for band, as I’ve mentioned, I was first flute (mainly because the first flute last year graduated lol) and also played bassoon (as a bari sax) in jazz band. There’s not much to say…band’s always fun and I love every single moment of it.

And then…Science Olympiad. I did all repeat events this year: Experimental Design, Anatomy (nervous, endocrine, and sense organs, of which I did the latter two mostly), Helicopters, and *restrains self from using all caps* Rocks and Minerals. It was lots of fun because I already had most of what I was supposed to do ready, such as knowing how to build helicopters or having a rocks and minerals binder, or knowing how to make aan anatomy  notesheet, or knowing what I was supposed to do for experimental design. This year we also went to my first invitational, which was fun (despite the fact that it was a week before regionals, and that made it a bit nervewracking). Like last year, we got first at Regionals and second at States, so it’s yet another year of no nationals.

Aside from extracurriculars for me, I was also an AWANA Cubbies leader for my second year. I had three kids in my group, one from last year, and two new ones. One of them, I’d known since before she was born, so that was fun.

I also babysat a couple times, and I also started teaching piano. I started out the year a little unsure of myself (who wouldn’t? It’s determining whether a kid will love music?) but overall, I felt like either I was at least a little competent in teaching, or else the kids managed to learn stuff out of my blundering. One or the other. XD

That about wraps up my Junior year…it felt very long and tedious, but then also really not at the same time. Soli Deo Gloria. 😊😊

 

 

Thankfulness Thursday ||Thanksgiving 2016

Happy Thanksgiving, readers!

So last year for Thanksgiving, I had a huge conglomeration of Thanksgiving posts that  I wrote…and I’m hoping this year’s doesn’t turn out the same way, haha!

But anyways, this Thanksgiving, I’m participating in Thankfulness Thursday, as hosted by  Grace Anne at Totally Graced. (If you haven’t read her blog yet, what are you waiting for? Her blog is AMAZING!)

The rules to Thankfulness Thursday are simple: share a few things that you’re thankful for.

thankfulness-thursday
picture credits (editing feat. PicMonkey)

I’m thankful for…

my family
a warm home
thanksgiving
my blog and my blog readers
music, especially christmas music
friends
staying up late reading
journaling
bullet journaling
no school for a week
warm sweaters
writing
my teachers
coaches, band teachers
awesome people I look up to
church retreats
science olympiad
warm drinks
homeschooling
nano…because I only have 73% left to go
christmas
doing things I love
cooking
cute photos
instagram
waking up early
2017
html editing so I can edit format

What are some things you are thankful for?

Have a very happy Thanksgiving!

School Year Goals 2016-2017 ||Back to School 2016

Wowwwwww. How am I a junior already? I started this blog my freshman year, and it’s been 2 1/2 years, and I’m staring down the barrel of the PSAT and SAT….AAGH!! I literally cannot imagine why I’m a junior already. EESH.

Every year so far in high school, I’ve done a post about my School Year Goals, because I’m such a goal-oriented person. If you haven’t seen these before, I go over last year’s goals and see how well I did on them, then add my goals for this year.

(Also, as I’m writing this, I’m listening to Meghan Trainer, and I’m just realizing how awesome and upbeat and inspiring her music is–and it’s so awesome!!)

So…without further ado…I bring you…

back to school

First, last year’s goals.

  1. Honor God more in what I do Well…this is one of those really ambiguous, hard to measure types of goals. I mean…I did a year-round Bible reading plan? Oh, and I also did a Worldview class, in which I learned how to defend my faith and about how other faiths work, so that i’m better able to witness to them. I also *tried* to be more humble and stuffs…so I guess it counts? Success
  2. Get a 5 in at least one AP course (which is really important, because if I don’t get a 5, then I’ll have to go to school next year. :/) …still no 5 *sigh* I did better than I did last year, though! Although I didn’t take any AP courses, I took 2 AP tests and got 4’s on them. So I’ve improved! Yay!! (And also, my parents switched the conditions to ‘if I passed’ so, I get to stay homeschooled!) Fail
  3. Get a 800 in a SAT subject test. This was sad. I took Math I, and it was really fun and easy…the only error I made was that I took it at the end of 2 other tests (SAT subject tests work that way)…so although I could do all the problems, I ended up messing up a lot, and so…yeah…no. XD Fail
  4. Take the SAT. Yeah, no, this didn’t happen. I did take the PSAT, though, and did decently well on it, so that counts for something? Maybe…hehe. And also I took subject tests, so that took down one more SAT date. Fail
  5. Get at least A’s in all my courses- Um. Yeah?! I ended the year with A’s (no A-‘s, yay!). If you want a taste of what I took last year, read my Sophomore Year Reflections, which has what I took and how I liked the classes and all that stuffs. The stuff about my tests are also on there too. Success.
  6. Play more music, including starting a flute choir. Um. Well…OH WAIT I STARTED PLAYING BASSOON!! yup, more music. Check. XD But anyways, this year was legitimately music-filled. I had private lessons in flute, piano, AND bassoon; played flute and bassoon in band; and played flute with friends! So I guess that kinda counts as flute choir? I mean, it’s only happened twice so far, but still, it counts and we’re planning on doing more in the future! Success
  7. Volunteer at least 100 hours (I’m homeschooled; what can you do? XD) Okay, Imma be honest. I didn’t log volunteer hours this year. 😦 (and yes, I’m really bad, and colleges want to see it, and all that crap, and I’ll have to get to it someday *spouts more excuses that you don’t want to listen to*). I volunteered in the church Sunday School for 4 year olds, as well as in the nursury a few times, and I also volunteered in AWANA all year. I also did some in the county fair, and also since apparently going to nursing homes and playing music counts, I did that too. So although I don’t know the exact number of hours, I’m going to count that I did it, because I don’t know if I could have volunteered more than I already did. Success.
  8. Take at least 5 standardized (as in big, important, life/career changing) tests PSAT, AP US History, AP Biology, SAT US History, SAT Biology, SAT Math I. YUSHHH, or rather, Success.

I got 6/10, 1 better than last year! Yay!!

Okay…so now on to this year’s goals!

  1. Rely more on God and give Him the glory.
  2. Score within 8% of last year’s PSAT score.
  3. Get my first 5 on an AP test
  4. Get at least A’s in all my other classes (physics and world history)
  5. Make SciOly nationals (we didn’t make it last year; I didn’t make it part of my goals, but we SHALL this year. ;P)
  6. Play lots of music, improve my musical ear (aka don’t be yelled at for being out of tune every week at band), and learn more piano pieces.
  7. Try doing something different
  8. Learn how to take cute and pretty notes
  9. Take the SAT and 5 other tests and don’t fail
  10. Have fun and don’t die (ideas: listen to more music, get outside more often, disconnect from the internet more often, live life, don’t die)

So these are the goals I’m setting for myself this year! What are some of the things you want to achieve this year?

Sophomore Year Reflections || Homeschooling || 2016

Disclosure- this post is just me rambling on about how smart I am how my classes and stuff this year went in long rambly run-on sentences that aren’t run-on because I use semicolons and stuff (case in point). Feel free to totally skip this post. Kudos to you if you finish this post!


As I’m closing out my sophomore year, I want to take a little time to reflect on this school year and things I’ve learned this year.

First, my classes.

This year, I’ve taken 4 classes outside, 2 in-home classes, 1 through Rosetta Stone, and 3 hour-log courses. I took 3 of my outside classes, biology, worldview, and literature, through a place locally where we have classes for homeschoolers. The 4th class, history, was through Landry Academy with Mrs. Julie Horton. It is legal for me to log hours for ‘extra’ classes to count as credit, such as fine arts, technology, and physical education, so for Music, PE, and Programming, I logged hours. I took Spanish through Rosetta Stone (that is, at home).

Math, as usual, is a pain, in, well, the entire body! I took Saxon’s PreCalculus/Advanced Math at home, since I’m kinda scared to take math classes outside (math and time don’t agree well with me). I’m currently almost 3/4 of the way through, and plan on finishing it within the next month. I completed the majority of the work earlier in the year, when I woke up really early (read: 6:30 am) to complete my math work. I’m really glad I did that this year; otherwise, I’d be much more behind than I am now.

It’s not as though I dislike math. Nor am I bad at it, although I’m not necessarily careful when doing math, causing many errors (and much frustration as well!). I do actually enjoy doing math (well, at least, as much as you can enjoy doing math…wait, I actually do like doing math and would solve problems for a hobby), but it takes more time than I have if I don’t get up early to do it. Next year though, I plan to take math outside, so that I can’t get behind.

This year, I took American Literature at a local place with classes for homeschoolers. It was an awesome class with lots of great literature, such as The Scarlet Letter, The Great Gatsby, and Our Town. I learned how to, as well as refined, my thesis statements and 5 paragraph essays. I now consider myself to be a fairly strong 5 paragraph essay writer, as well as a strong builder of thesis statements. I’ve gotten multiple mentions of my strong thesis statements this year by multiple teachers (a fact I’m rather proud of).

I appreciated the fact that the workload for the class was never too heavy; I never had any trouble completing assignments, except for the thesis paper (which was during the couple crazy weeks before States anyways). I especially enjoyed weeks where we didn’t have any written work, but had to read books. I’ve always loved reading, and I absolutely loved that all I had to do was read books for my assignments. I did my thesis paper on Julie by Catherine Marshall. (I’ll post a review of that sometime).

This year, I took American History through Landry Academy, the first time I’ve taken an actual live online course. Previously, I’d done Virtual Homeschool Group (a site with free homeschool classes, such as math and science) as well as Thinkwell, for AP classes. However, both VHSG and Thinkwell are mostly at-your-own pace and you don’t get points taken off for late homework, so I didn’t work as hard. This year, I got the true test of online courses…and I’ve decided that I don’t mesh particularly well with online courses. I’ve forgotten that I had homework due multiple times because I didn’t have to go to a live physical class, as well as zoned out during class (as in, gone on YouTube or other non-schooly sites) wayyyyy too many times.

The reason I survived this course (with a crazy high grade, too!) was because the homework was way way easy. The course itself was crazy easy; I knew about 80% of the material before I even took the class. I opened the textbook <15 times all year. During class, the teacher did cover several topics that I hadn’t done before, and we watched Der Furher’s face, which was AWESOME! We had quizzes every week…with about 10 questions max, short answer and multiple choice/truefalse/matching questions. They were easy, and I DIDN’T get a perfect score about 3 times, one of which she threw out.

In addition to the quizzes, we had WikiProjects (where we did assignments to share with the whole class), and sometimes did mini projects, like a simulation Depression Era day, which was really fun. I did my final project/paper on the Importance of Music in WWII on which I got a 98% and which got thrown out because it was the lowest score I apparently got.

An awesome thing about my classes this year was that in both American Literature and American History, I was essentially learning about American History. Therefore, the time periods were mainly matched up and overlapped quite a bit, reinforcing my knowledge of topics. Several times, the history class required reading of sections of books I was reading in literature class, which was AWESOME!!

I took biology through the same place I took literature. The class itself was great for high school biology, and I learned a lot of cool stuff I didn’t know before. However, it was definitely not SciOly par. I also didn’t enjoy the busy work that was involved in the class–vocabulary and assessment questions essentially every single week. Together, the vocabulary/assessment took about 2 hours for me, and, although it made me skim through the chapter (which I wouldn’t have done otherwise), I don’t think I learned especially much through doing that, at least not enough that I could have learned from 2 hours of work otherwise, which was annoying.

The labs were fun, mainly because they were easy, after AP Chem last year where I literally had to write out EVERYTHING. It was great getting to filling in worksheet for a change. The experiments themselves were meta, not particularly stellar nor memorable. The honors part of the class (not everyone had to do the honors) seemed also like busy work for me–usually it was writing up a couple more paragraphs on a subject relating to the topic of the week, which was essentially googling, copying answers, and learning interesting things that I don’t particularly remember. I did my final project on vesicles (due to procrastination; I grabbed the nearest SciOly paper and turned it in)P1030865.JPG

I took worldview (from the same place as American Literature and Biology) for my required ‘Bible credit’. It was a really really fun class, without too heavy a workload, which was pleasant. I learned about the components of what I believe and what others believe. It was pretty awesome. The teacher was truly awesome, as a person and as a teacher. The workload wasn’t heavy, and was never unnecessary-I only had to do work IF I legitimately HAD to do it. Towards the end of the school year, I started slacking on the work (because all week, I’d think that I had less work than I actually had, then not be able to finish it in time. A fun project we did was to each get a presidential candidate (back in October when there were still like 15 candidates), research on that candidate, present to the class, then hold a mock election. It was fun. I did my final project on the Worldview of Mormons.

Spanish 3 was simple; I probably finished by December. I did huge chunks of Spanish in the beginning of the year, and truth be told, I don’t remember much about what I learned. (ehe). Rosetta Stone allows me to get a A+ really easily, since I’m not required to take the tests.

Health was intended to be a one-semester course, but I didn’t finish it in the first semester, and am currently trying to finish it this semester. I used Total Health. It was a great course, and prepared me well. However, I didn’t like the amount of writing it required (20 paragraph/multiple sentence answers per chapter), but maybe it’s because I’m doing 3 week’s worth of work a day. Ehe. I also didn’t like how the text had such a stereotypical view of teenagers-drinking, drugs, pregnancy, etcetc. The questions were often along the lines of ‘Why do teenagers choose to drink alcohol although they may know that it damages their body?’ which was really annoying. NOT ALL TEENAGERS DO THAT. Sometimes, I felt that it was too Christian-y and stressed too much about spiritual/mental health instead of physical health. I realize that all facts of health are important, but they literally did 1/4 book on physical health and 3/4 book on mental/spiritual/emotional health, which drove me INSANE.

Music….mmm. The main thing that happened this year was that I started playing bassoon. I also played (and had lessons) in piano, flute, and bassoon. I played bassoon and flute in band. I really like playing bassoon, but am not sure of future progress/direction regarding continuing playing. Flute I’ve made pretty awesome progress this year, because I have an AWESOME teacher. ☺ I’m also able to play WAY more stuff, and I’m no longer (as) intimidated by high notes and long runs of notes. Piano was more of a formality this year, but I did make quite a bit of progress in piano, my magnus opus being Chopin’s Minute Waltz (yes, that is me playing).

For my 1/2 technology credit that I still needed to do, I ‘learned’ to program through Coursera. I hate programming, so eh. Coursera is great because there’s free classes. ^^

PE, the last of my required core subjects, was covered by logging hours in a multiple plethora of ‘sports.’ I had 1/2 credit remaining, and I completed it by the end of the first semester. I played golf for both the fall and spring seasons. (No, I’m not good at golfing, but I’m kinda getting good at it #not). I’m glad I finished that in the summer/fall, so I wouldn’t be stressing it in the winter/spring.

Next, the topic of testing.

I took the PSAT in October, and was pleasantly surprised to see that I scored really well. 😀 I didn’t prep for it, and I hope I hope I’ll be able to do as well next year, when it actually counts!

I also took the APUSH test. I did no prep for it (apart from the crappy Landry History class), other than A LOT of practice multiple choice questions, through Learnerator. The test seemed fairly easy, so we’ll see how that went.

Along with APUSH, I also took the SAT Subject History test. That was hard. Really hard. I can’t imagine that I even did well on that one.

The other AP exam I took was the Bio one. I didn’t prep for this one as much as I did for the history exam. I had a Thinkwell subscription, but I didn’t do very much on it (I finished <1/7 of the course). Not too sure how I did on this one, especially since I didn’t finish 2 FRQs.

The Bio SATII test (which I also took) was iffy. It wasn’t easy, but it wasn’t hard either. I took the Bio E, since we’d just covered that in bio class.

I also took the Math I SATII exam. That was so much easier than I thought it was going to be, and I’m hoping for a perfect score on that. It was a fun test to take since it was easy. ^^

Last, extracurriculars.

I did band, and played bassoon and flute, as aforementioned. It was a really fun year; I got to play flute in wind ensemble.

I also played golf (for PE), mentioned that already.

I also went to a friend’s house once a week for study hall while my siblings went to our local co-op classes. We played our instruments together (she does band too), and we had lunch together, which was fun.

I also did 4H. I’m currently the president of our homeschool 4H group. I didn’t really spend too much time doing 4H this school year, mainly because I was too busy. I did go out telling multiple times with our storytelling group, although I didn’t learn a new story.

I also babysat for a parenting class for our church in the winter, as well as a couple times solo. This was the first time I’d gotten paid for something that I’d worked for, which was cool.

The greatest extracurricular was SciOly. I spent many, many hours at our coach’s house. My events Chem Lab, Cell Bio, Experimental Design, and for States, Anatomy. My first year on the high school team, with all new events, and all new partners. We got 1st at Regionals, but 2nd at States, so we aren’t going to Nationals (happening tomorrow!).

I believe it turned out to be better that we didn’t make Nationals, because that was I could study more for my AP s. Next year, though we’ll make it to Nationals! ☺ Rocks and Minerals is coming back, too, next year; beyond hyped for that (hee then I can actually talk about rocks and minerals on this blog ehehe). It was a great, great season, and although I didn’t study much for Chem Lab nor Cell Bio, my partner carried the events. ExD and Anatomy were AMAZING.

Overall, it was a great sophomore year-it felt really really short, but I learned so much this year, I and I can see God’s hand so clearly in it. It was a year of many many firsts, and I’m looking forward to next year!

Firsts this school year:

  • First year playing bassoon
  • First year on high school SciOly team
  • First year taking official online class
  • First year in Wind Ensemble
  • First year taking multiple SAT subject tests

Kudos to you if you finished this post. I realize that it’s horrendously boring, but I like to read it over in the future (hi, future me!) to see how much different I’ve grown.

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