Tag: Yearly

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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2015 Reflections/2016 Resolutions

<Long post alert +Good News at the end of the post!!>

WOW! This marks one year of rockandminerals4him! 2016


Random RockandMinerals4Him stats for the year of 2015-

  • 40 posts
  • 845 views (this is the one I distrust the most- who knows how many are my own!)
  • Received visitors from 14 different countries
  • Started a regular posting schedule (every Friday!)

 

New Year’s Resolutions 2015…let’s see how well I made out with my resolutions last year!

  • Do devotionals/Bible Reading everyday + one more chapter of any book in the Bible- Yes, in fact! It worked! So far, I’ve finished my devotional book  (which has a 8/10 RockandMinerals4Him rating), as well as a few other chapters of the Bible, including Proverbs and Isaiah. There have been a total of 4 days where I didn’t do devotionals/Bible reading…but I have excuses for all those days (we were on vacation, I was sick, etc), never because I didn’t feel like it. Success.
  • Get closer to God + try to live out 2 Peter 1:5-8- I think, that with the Bright Lights group that my friends started, I did in fact grow closer to God this year. However, He has also brought to my attention that there are a few things that I need to clear in my conscience…which, I feel, has been impeding my walk with the Lord. Success.
  • Drink at least 5 glasses of water per day- Let’s just say…no. I tried (not really hard though), but the times that it occurred are measured in days…not weeks or months. Fail.
  • Not waste so much time-Hmm…well…I’m not especially aware that I’m not wasting time, but I find that I’m not wasting as much time as I used to…so I suppose it counts. Success.
  • Knit at least 10 skeins of yarn- No, this didn’t happen. At all. However, while this didn’t happen, I did knit more (a little). Let’s try again next year…and see how it goes. Fail.
  • Get my weight to 100士5 pounds- No….just no. Fail.
  • Eat no more than 1 piece of candy per week- Hrrmph….well…this was going along quite well until the school year started…I have a really, really nice teacher…who gives out candy every class. I have to say, though, that the original resolution, “Eat no more than 1 piece of candy per day”, did, in fact, work…but the revised one…didn’t. Are there half credits? Success (I’m counting it as such because that was the original resolution)
  • Get up earlier/Go to bed earlierWOW!! For the most part of the year, it looked like this was another resolution that wasn’t going to come to a culmination, but at the beginning of the school year, someone texted me early in the morning, waking me up. I continued waking up early that week, and the streak kept going. Due to getting up earlier, I also started going to bed earlier and earlier. Now, my get up time is 5:30 am and my bedtime is around 9:30, although this can be more elastic, as compared to the beginning of the year, when my get up time was about 9:00 am and my bedtime was anywhere between 12:30 and 2:30 am. Success. 
  • To get Beastmaster accomplishment and to collect 100 mounts on HabitRPG- At the beginning of the year, I was 5 pets away from Beastmaster, and I got it on January 26th. HabitRPG has added a “Mount Master” achievement, which is basically to collect all the mounts (which was my goal) and a “Triad Bingo” achievement, which is to collect all the pets, mounts, and pets again. I got both of these achievements on November 4th, and used the “Key to the Kennels” to release all the pets and mounts. Success. 
  • To become entirely vegetarian- Hm….well…eheehee…um, what can I say? This failed in January…and then I thought I took it out, so I didn’t even try….Fail.
  • Grow my hair to my waist- I’m not sure what this counts as, because, although I never got a haircut, my hair refused to grow past a certain length. There’s still at least 4/5 inches before it actually hits my waist….what does this count as? I can’t control how fast my hair grows….Success (used loosely…but I didn’t fail.)
  • Completely “gold” my Spanish Duolingo tree- I decided to drop Duolingo, at least for the school year, and focus on my Spanish course, rather than attempt to do both…this will come back next year, in my bucket list. Fail.
  • Generally study harder and try not to drop behind in classes-Previously, the class that I dropped behind in the most was math. As a result of getting up earlier, I now have one and a half hour of time to myself in which I do my math for the day. So far I haven’t fallen behind in math, other than a few days here and there after which I’ve caught up right away, which hasn’t happened ever since I was in about second grade! The “study harder” has not yet been made entirely apparent, since there haven’t been many major tests that have come up lately, but I still have straight A’s….and I got made when I didn’t get and A+ in a class…so I suppose that counts. Success. 
  • Write more, including posting more- Yes! This year, I’ve finished both my first Camp NaNoWriMo as well as participated in my first NaNoWriMo, and I used those opportunities to write on my blog, scheduling them in advance. I now have a posting schedule…which results in posting more. Success. 
  • Keep my room clean- Nope! When I get up in the morning, I stumble over many fallen papers, have a brief tangle with my music stand, break the bindings of several books, then reach my alarm clock and turn in off.Blame it on the fact that my bedroom is terribly small, but wow, no. This is coming back next year. Fail

So I got 9/14! Not bad, if I do say so myself!


 

Highlights of 2015 (I actually kept track of when I did what this year!)

 In 2015, I-

  • Started my blog! (Jan)
  • Participated in my first speech contest (Mar)
  • Took my first SAT2 and AP tests (May)
  • Went to SciOly Nationals and got my first single-digit finish (May)
  • Joined a Bright Lights group (May)
  • Attended my first baseball game (June)
  • Participated in a few wonderful summer camps, including an incredible band camp (June/Jul)
  • Attended my first sleepover (Jul)
  • Finished my first Camp NaNoWriMo ever! (Jul)
  • Started another year of high school, homeschool, and SciOly (Aug)
  • Went on a beach trip (Sep)
  • Started playing in the Wind Ensemble at band (Sep)
  • Become and official AWANA Cubbies leader (Sep)
  • Started playing bassoon (Sep)
  • Took the PSAT for the first time (Oct)
  • Babysat solo for the first time (Oct)
  • Finished my first “official” (but YWP) NaNoWriMo (Nov)
  • Visited California (Dec)

 

I want to thank these people for making 2014 what it was-

  • Mom, for always being there and encouraging (hrrmph…maybe not ALWAYS) and for being willing to drive me to SO many places.
  • Dad, for supporting my with to stay homeschooled, and for encouraging me on my musical path.
  • My brothers, D+P, for being awesome and sweet and cool and funny and so many other things (quite a change from last year, eh? You can tell I put a lot of thought into it this year. 😛 )
  • MC, for being willing to take first steps into the unknown land of crazy technological computer stuffs, and for just being a wonderful grandma.
  • My grandparents, for, well, just being great grandparents!
  • My adopted “grandma” and “grandpa” B, as well as my adopted “aunt” L, for also being wonderful supporters, for never, ever forgetting my birthday, and for always backing me with so much prayer.
  • KS, for being an awesome friend, almost sister, partymate, SciOly teammate, and hair stylist all wrapped up into one AWESOME hilarious bundle of Irish-ness.
  • MM, for being an awesome friend, SciOly teammate, stand partner, and bassoon rest (ahem), and for the incredible and apparent deepening of our friendship this past year.
  • MM (different one…), for being a fantastic friend, cooking sidekick, and study hall partner, and for being my most ambitious friend who never thinks my plans are impossible.
  • ECW, for sharing blogger problems, mom problems, TM problems (and no, TM is not a person), and for being a wonderful fellow musician.
  • ER, SJC, and BO, for being incredible girlfriends who are always available to talk and encourage.
  • KL, JO, LM, CT, PIP, and SJ, for being great people to be around, both at church and at school (yes, homeschooler school…oh, the irony).
  • ES, AS, GM, RC, FH, CG, AS, as well as many others, for being great friends, although we could hardly be called super close, you’ll still leave a huge gap in my life if you weren’t there.
  • EL, JL, JC, HC, and SM for being great cousins and for the fun we have together.
  • PN, GN, and TJN, for exemplifying for me what it means to be walking in Christ, and what ‘family’ means, and also for being great SciOly teammates, friends, and Bright Lights leaders.
  • EB, for being a great flautist (much, much better than I am!), SciOly teammate, and an incredibly supportive presence and for believing in me, even when I don’t, and also for showing me what truly humble means.
  • EC, for being a fabulous music teacher, SciOly co-coach (seriously, you are the most team spirit-y person on the team…even if you don’t like the title co-coach), friend, mentor, and supporter, all in one,  and for always available to talk despite your incredibly busy schedule, and the fact that I DO get really annoying at times.
  • AD, for being the bestest flute teacher ever, and for not giving up on me and my tone. ^^
  • SC, for being and incredible piano AND bassoon teacher, for having patience through my fingering chart blunderings, and for being a wonderful mom to two of the best kids ever.
  • WC, for being THE best SciOly coach anyone could ever have or even wish for, and for being, also, a great music teacher, even though I still find it quite hard to wrap my head around that new title.
  • CF, SC, SR, NR, KB, as well as many, many, others, for being awesome and incredibly competitive SciOly teammates, and for making me aspire to work ever harder, for His glory.
  • JT, HT, EH, LH, PH, AC, LC, MY, AY, and so many other little kids like you, for constantly reminding me that I was once as young, as innocently ignorant, and as annoying as you can be, and for keeping me humble.
  • JB, AH, DL, and AA, for being BEARS (!!!) whose Cubbie leader I am proud to be and whose spiritual growth I am very excited to see.
  • CB, for being a great mom, SciOly event coach, and for just being you. Keep it up!
  • SS and EB, for being a great 4H leader who is always looking for improvement in me.
  • CS, DM, NL, and JH, for being great teachers and for inspiring me to work harder. (Yes, I thank my teachers…and yes, I DO, in fact, have teachers, despite the fact that I’m homeschooled. No, I don’t stay in pajamas all day. *looks down at pajamas* 😛 )
  • WS, for…wow, what is our relationship, even? You’re my mom’s friend, and you’re a mom yourself, but you’re also so much more than that.Thank you so much for allowing me to take care of your kids, for treating me as your own kid, even to the extent of being willing to drive me places, and for the support that you always have behind me.
  • All the people that I’ve missed in this list altogether, who, although maybe not brought to mind, definitely enhance my life and make it worth living.
  • And ultimately, as always, to the Lord Jesus Christ, for loving me (and everyone else!) so incredibly much that you were willing to die for me and for being the only reason my life can exist.

Resolutions/goals for 2016!

  • Read through the entire New Testament
  • Memorize 1 chapter of the Bible per month
  • Witness to one person
  • Bless someone everyday
  • Honor my parents more
  • Clear my conscience and maintain it as clear.
  • Get a job (babysitting counts)
  • Exercise for at least 2 hours a week
  • Keep my room clean
  • Eat no more than 1 piece of candy per week
  • Learn how to sing all the verses of 50 songs (basically, one per week)
  • Get better at taking and editing photos
  • Knit 10 skeins of yarn
  • Drink more tea

Now for the good news. As a part of the new year, I’ll be posting 2 times a week now! I’ll be posting Friday and Saturday.I’ll keep the same “random” posts on Friday, and I’ll post a set of song lyrics on Saturday (the song I learned for the week)!!

What are YOUR New Year’s Resolutions?

Thanksgiving 2015

The reason for the ambiguous title is…it’s too long to fit AND look nice in the title box….so…here’s the title!

KBR Give Thanks x7 Challenge 2015 + 12 Days of Thanksgiving Tag (with pictures!) + Thanksgiving by Yours Truly + Achievement!

Now you see why I didn’t put the title in the title box, right?

Also, before I officially start, I want to say how excited I am for this post. I’ve already talked about it with several of my friends and have edited it into a million pieces…I’m just really excited…and I hope you are too!

~KBR Give Thanks x7 Challenge 2015~

Well…so this year I participated in King’s Blooming Rose’s annual Give Thanks x7 Challenge, as mentioned in my post at the beginning of November. The rules are simple- write down (or post) each day seven things that you are grateful for.

I enjoyed this challenge…at the beginning of the month I didn’t know much what to write, but then, as the month wore on, I started to realize that I could be (and was!) thankful about pretty much everything, even little things!

Here are some of the things I was thankful for this month-

  • Productivity
  • Food (there were many, many days when I mentioned “food” or types of food, such as “ice cream” or “apples” or “pizza”…yeah…I kinda like food. A. Lot.)
  • Health (this was after a bout with the stomach flu…ugh!)
  • A home
  • Band (so, SO thankful for band…and the people who run it!)
  • School (Yes, I’m thankful for that, too)
  • Fuzzy stuff (yes, that was legitly on the list)
  • Library
  • and the list goes on.

This next half of the post shows you some more of the things that I’m thankful for!

~12 Days of Thanksgiving tag~Thanksgiving tag

I was also nominated for the 12 Days of Thanksgiving (er…ahem…that is, I saw the tag and decided to tag along) by S.F at On Solid Ground. Here goes!

~Rules~

  1. List 12 things you are grateful for (pictures are not necessary)
  2. Tag as many bloggers as you can and want to.

Here goes!

#1. Jesus Christ

Matthew 28:18 (1611 KJV !!!!)  " And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth."   If Jesus has ALL POWER that means HE can move any thing and everything !!!!

#2. Ice Cream

I'll eat ice cream in the winter even after I complained to my parents that I was cold like 5min. earlier.:

#3. Sweaters and Scarves

don't forget to smile:

#4. Family

Family-is-a-Gift -Rose & Blue-Printables- click on the download links for each color and save as!:

#5. Music

     :

#6. Blogging

which is why blogging can be so therapeutic, and why I write emails/letters to my bf when I want to discuss something:

#7. Nature

The outdoors is like medicine to my soul.:

#8. Food…of course

Story of my Life. Especially at 2am every morning. Thank you midnight shift

#9. Reading

"Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are." #edquote #teacher #ELA:

#10. Knitting

wall art All you knit is love wall decor by PrintableWallStory, $5.00

#11. Friends (don’t you just LOVE Winnie the Pooh quotes?)

its seem they had always been, and would always be friends, time could change much but not that ~ winnie the pooh:

#12. Science, and Science Olympiad in particular

Science is simply the word we use to describe the method of organizing our curiosity. #STEM #quotes

Oh, and I’m also thankful for Pinterest (psst…my Pinterest link is at the top right of the page!)…my source for these wonderful pictures. 🙂

~Bloggers~

Hm…I think I’ll just make these suggestions, instead of tags, so that people who want to do them can, but don’t have to.

What are you thankful for this month?

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P.S.

Here’s an odd Thanksgiving poem that I wrote.


Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a season of gratitude
It’s also more than that
It’s a season of messed up routines
Of stomach flu
Of so much sleep
Of turkey
And of oversized idiots tackling each other
Why can’t they each get their own ball?

Thanksgiving is an awkward holiday
Stuck between the start of school and Christmas
Gives people a false happiness of a break
But pulls away, with a teasing tone
“Too bad, you still have three more weeks before break!”
It symbolizes the start of Christmas
Goodbye turkey, hello Santa

Black Friday is also odd
People trying to get best deals
Buying things that will be useless in two months
A day to be greedy
And to get more things
After the day of being thankful for what you have

In all, Thanksgiving is a nice holiday
But it’s also an odd holiday
It’s a trailer for Christmas
An excuse for overeating
And for overspending
Goodbye Thanksgiving
Come back and be awkward again next year.

PPS. I finished my 1st “official” NaNoWriMo!! (It wasn’t the full version, I only had 10K words as my goal…but it counts, all the same.) Now I have 20K of NaNoWriMo under my belt!

NaNo_2015_-_Winner_Banner

School-year goals 2015-2016||Back To School 2015

On my “previous” (I actually still have it; it’s just not really active anymore) blog, I made a school goal post for last year (on exactly today!). Here is the list, complete with revisions, as well as this year’s school goals.


2014-2015

  1. Get a 5 in both AP classes Good heavens, I mustn’t have realized how much work AP courses were (since it was my first year taking AP classes). WOW…I got a total sum of a 5….does that count? Probably not. XD Fail.
  2. Get A or higher in English I’m not quite sure what I meant by A or higher…did I mean an A+? I’m pretty sure that meant not an A-, though. I did get an A in Lit, so Success.
  3. Get 95+ in Math I’m able to get a pretty high score in math, since I get 100 for completion of the daily homework and the tests are not weighted. I didn’t get an A+ (yes…high expectations…XD), but yes I got more than 95. Success.
  4. Get into Wind Ensemble Unfortunately…I didn’t. At the time of writing, I remember having just gotten into the Symphonic Band (which feeds into the wind ensemble) and being so full of myself. 😛 I didn’t even realize the skill level the Symphonic band was playing at; never mind the level Wind Ensemble was playing at. Fail.
  5. Make SciOly nats without R :/ I still believe that the only reason our Science Olympiad team made Nationals last year (that is, 2014), and did so well was because R (a really hard working teammate) was working really hard, and was inspiring others to work hard as well…and she graduated last year. However, with all of us a year older and more experienced, as well as a great new group of teammates, we managed to make SciOly nats again. However, I’m not sure I should get any of the credit, since I didn’t do very much of the work at all. Success.
  6. Get markedly better in piano. Although I most definitely didn’t expect it, I didn’t take piano lessons for the first half (up until around February) and didn’t practice much either, being too busy with schoolwork and life in general. After February, I started piano lessons again, but once every two weeks. If it had not been for a few really good and very musically talented friends I had, I would not have thought I could have gotten better at all. However, I’ve started playing Chopin, which is my standard of “advanced”, so I do believe I have gotten better over the last year. During the summer, I also attended a band camp, in which I learned the twelve major scales (and 24 of the 36 minors), and so I now feel like I’m adequately prepared (which I’m not) to take on more in the way of music. Success 
  7. Finish 5th speech at speech class. Last year, I discovered that I was going to have to endure another year of speech class (It’s not like I hate it that much, I just felt like everyone there was judging me; so I really didn’t enjoy it). There are 10 speeches total that you have to do, in order to be “guilded”. I had finished the first two the year before, so I had 3 left. However, I didn’t realize what I had gotten myself into when I chose “The Night the Bed Fell” by James Thurber to tell, which is a very precisely worded and complicated story. I had to memorize it word for word, and as a result, I only finished that one speech last year. However, I’m glad to say that we won’t be doing the speech class again this year. Yay!! 😀 Fail
  8. Get A’s in all other courses- As mentioned earlier, I definitely didn’t realize the amount of work I had gotten myself when I decided I wanted to take 2 AP courses on top of a very packed schedule. However, I still managed to get only 1 B. I managed to scrape up at least A-‘s in all my other classes. Fail.

So I got a 4 out of 8, or 50%. Now to see if I can beat that. 🙂


2015-2016

  1. Honor God more in what I do
  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. :/)
  3. Get a 800 in a SAT subject test.
  4. Take the SAT.
  5. Get at least A’s in all my courses
  6. Play more music, including starting a flute choir.
  7. Volunteer at least 100 hours (I’m homeschooled; what can you do? XD)
  8. Take at least 5 standardized (as in big, important, life/carreer changing) tests

What are your school year goals?

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2014 Reflections/2015 Resolutions

Reflections and Resolutions are so cliche….Why don’t people use other terms?

Highlights of 2014 (I seem to be really bad at remembering what happened in the year, so I refer to my calendar. There, I find that I am also really bad at updating my calendar :/)

 

In 2014, I-

  • Actually started liking SciOly (Jan)
  • Participated in my first ever SciOly tournament (Mar)
  • Won the state SciOly tournament and am going to Nationals (Mar)
  • Went to SciOly Nationals (May)
  • Went to parent’s home country (May/June)
  • Do a bunch of awesome summer camps, including a physics camp where I met some awesome friends- AZ, JZ, CL, and CL (Jul)
  • Went to Boston (Aug)
  • Participated in the county fair and gave my first public speaking demo at the fair (Aug)
  • Start High School (Sept)
  • Make the Symphonic Band (Sept)
  • Learn to cube on 2x2x2 (Oct)
  • Start using HabitRPG (Oct)
  • Babysit the most kids I’ve ever babysat (Nov)
  • Join friend’s Jam group (Dec)
  • Actually manage to go through my gift list and give gifts to everybody I wanted to (Dec)

 

I want to thank these people for making 2014 what it was-

  • Mom, although annoying at times, for being willing to drive me to all the places I want to go
  • Dad, for encouraging me to do more music
  • Brothers D and P, for, well, IDK lol…for being funny?
  • AS and KS, for being awesome friends, and awesome SciOly teammates.
  • ECW, for being there and willing to share my mom problems
  • MM, KL, LM, JO, and many others for being great church friends
  • EC, (another) EC, YC, and AD for being awesome music teachers and for inspiring me to go up and above my music goals
  • LT, ER, HS, SC, BO, EL, and BR, for being awesome online friends
  • AS, for being an awesome teacher, and for not minding me at your house at all hours
  • AC, LC, EH, LH, PH, and AL and all the other little kids I know  who remind me that I was once annoying and to keep me humble
  • MM, for all of the inside jokes we share, and for being an awesome SciOly teammate
  • RF, KB, EQ, TJN, as well as many many others, and the aforementioned AS, KS, and MM, for being awesome SciOly teammates and for inspiring me to work harder
  • WC, for being such an awesome coach and for your incredible logistical mind
  • GM, AM, RC, JC, HC, SM, and EL for being awesome friends/cousins despite our huge age differences
  • MC, for being the bestest grandma and for being willing to learn how to use email, FB and Skype
  • MB and JJ, for being incredibly dedicated volunteer online teachers
  • Ultimately, to the Lord Jesus Christ, for loving me enough to be willing to die for me
  • And finally, to all the awesome people in the world, both IRL and online, that make my life worth living and fun.

 

Resolutions/goals for 2015!

  • To do devotionals/bible reading every day
  • Get closer to God
  • Drink more water
  • Really become ambidextrous
  • Not waste so much time
  • Knit at least 10 skeins of yarn
  • Get my weight to 100士5 pounds
  • Eat no more than 1 piece of candy per day
  • Get up earlier/Go to bed earlier
  • To get Beastmaster accomplishment and to collect 100 mounts on HabitRPG
  • To become entirely vegetarian
  • Grow my hair to my waist