Sunday, December 14, 2008


This is our new puppy Ceili. She is a mutty mutt mutt! We adopted her last Wednesday night from P.A.W.S. a no kill shelter at Clyborn and Racine. She is a mix of miniature poodle, maltese, and a terrier of some kind. That is the vet's best guess. She is sweet, smart, loveable and charming and almost housebroken! She was fostered by a family before she got to the adoption center at PAWS and she had some quality early training and nurturing. She loves to curl up in your lap and sleep for hours. She has not been much of a disruption to our school work. Kevin did most of his work on Friday with Ceili in his lap!.
We were looking for a good Irish name and an Irish friend of ours mentioned Ceili pronounced Kay-lee. Ceili is the shortened version of Ceilidh which in Gaelic means PARTY. Ceili dancing is a form of Irish dancing.


This is Mrs. Akin (A-keen), Aidan's teacher at the Learning Center at the Chicago Virtual Charter School located at Madison and Peoria in the Merit School of Music. Mrs. Akin's classroom is NEVER boring. Her early and emergent literacy lessons are fun and creative and Aidan gets to showcase his artwork in her class, too! Thanks to Mrs. Akin, he is coming out of his shell and she provides him with a safe and nurturing environment for which to improve his reading and language arts skills. He had a rough year last year in kindergarten at Blaine, but Mrs. Akin has provided him with a safe and nurturing transition for what was once our very anxious and frustrated little boy! Thank you Mrs. Akin!


This is Brendan's teacher, Mrs. Solomon. Brendan LOVES Mrs. Solomon and she even has a Saratoga Springs connection to our family. Her aunt and uncle are teachers at the Caroline Street School in downtown Saratoga Springs where Granny Heffernan, a veteran educator, spends some of her retirement as a substitute teacher. Her classroom at the Merit School of Music where the Chicago Virtual Charter School is located is fun and filled with reading, writing and math activities that keep Brendan challenged and engaged. He can't wait for Wednesday afternoons to get down to the West Loop to get to the Learning Center for class!


This is Kevin's teacher, Ms. Liu. This is in the lobby of the Merit School of Music where the Chicago Virtual Charter School is Located. Ms Liu is a FANTASTIC educator who has recently received her endorsement in Mandarin Chinese! Kevin's writing and math skills have improved DRAMATICALLY this year with the help of Ms. Liu. Kevin only has 8 students in his class so they are able to get much more accomplished in the two hours a week he sees her than I ever thought possible. Ms. Liu is extremely knowledgeable and professional and Kevin really enjoys going to the Learning Center every week.


The boys painted colors wheels and identified primary and secondary colors this week. They had to mix the primary to get the secondary colors. While studying the wheel we also looked at Henri Matisse's Purple Robe and the Anemones and Wassily Kandinski's Improvisation Painting and Marc Chagall's I and the Village. K12 and Chicago Virtual Charter School provide us with a large packet of art prints of all the artists mentioned in our lessons. We also have online galleries that we can go to through K12 when we log on for our lessons. Each child has their own packet of prints so Aidan and Brendan don't have to share. There is more to store, but it is worth it when they have to look in depth at the prints.


This is only a small sample of the art supplies that the Chicago Virtual Charter School and K12, Inc. provide my kids. Each one of my boys received their own SET of the paintbrushes pictures above as well as their own 9 pack of tempera paint. They have done more painting in the last three months than they did their entire art career in a brick and mortar CPS school. And our in depth study of the art and artists in this program makes going to the Art Institute so much more enjoyable.


In this art lesson we studied the lines, shapes and colors of the artwork of Piet Mondrian. His two most famous works were the Broadway Boogie Woogie and Tableau No. 1. The pics above are the boys interpretation of Tableau No. 1. Mondrian was from Holland was born approximately 100 years ago. At the end of his career he painted only straight lines and blocks of color. The only color he used was black, white and red, yellow and blue.
Here is a link to a site about Mondrian and his linear artwork.