Me and my kiddo

Me and my kiddo

Saturday, March 5, 2016

First Week of Homeschooling

It's been a wild week!!! The entire family has had the flu and it's lasted all week... that is not good soil for beginning a new project!  It's been an exhausting week of crankies and learning-bumps and we're all tired.  I'm hoping next week has more smiles to report!

This is the online homeschool we're trying:

This is the letter I wrote to his teachers to start his withdrawal from the local middle school (written 2/17/2016, last day on campus 2/19/16):

Big Change. Cameron Miner.

Cameron has wanted to homeschool for a long time and I’ve always put it off seeing the huge benefits he gains from the physical school setting.  Our plan was to give homeschooling a try for seventh grade so he could get a real sense of what SVMS is like this year and have a fair comparison when judging the pros / cons of homeschool next year.  A week ago, when I was looking into the program of doing public school at home, I found out that you can transfer mid year.  I thought that might be even better because we could make a shorter trial, and just return to SVMS next year if it didn’t work out.

I started filling out the paperwork so that he could do the third trimester of sixth grade at home, via online public school.  Today I found out that he was accepted and that the last possible starting date is February 29th!  All my plans for this smooth transition evaporated. I realized this would mean that instead of staying through the end of the trimester, he'd leave the week before it ends. I’d need to bring his Yosemite journal to the school and the smooth wrapping up of assignments of that week following Yosemite would be lost.

I’ve spoken with the central administration for all the California online schools and explained how much better March 7th would be as a transition date both for starting with them and ending with SVMS.  There is no budging the date later (only earlier), based on required days for their quarterly system.  If we don’t start on February 29th, we don’t start this school year.

We’ve been having some difficult discussions here tonight. Cameron loves SVMS, but he does want to try this and, for all the reasons listed, we think this is the best time to give him that opportunity.  February 26th will be his last day as an SVMS student, but this Friday will be his last day on campus because of the Yosemite trip. I will do everything I can to smooth this transition which I realize is not convenient for anyone. I am so grateful for the teaching and nurturing Cameron has received as a new middle-schooler at SVMS. Again, I want to thank each of you for all the kindnesses you have shown him. If this trial is a total flop, we’ll see you in September!  Either way, Cameron will have had an opportunity that he has deeply desired for years.

Rachel Miner

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Trip to Connecticut... One of My Weekly Updates


Hello everyone,

We’re back!!! Pictures and good things… here we go:

Shuttle from the longterm parking to airport… journey started 4am December 24th

Pretty flying above the clouds

Tracker tucked himself into the bulkhead area and flew like a pro!
Christmas in Connecticut… happy boy starting on his presents
Tracker thought the remote control lego was super scary
Lots of cousin love :)

And Franklin love (Andrew’s parents’ dog)
Tracker approved of Franklin too
Off to visit Brooklyn with GG (Great Grandma)

Manhattan from the Whitestone Bridge… we had a NY diner lunch on our way and I discovered that I severely dislike calves liver!

Heading into the city

Subway smooth for all too
Museum of Natural History was an all day affair
Except that I took a quick walk across central park on my own...
to see this painting at the MET!  Sooooo wonderful!!!

Sleepy subway time home

I did a couple adult colorings as gifts and cozy time with my mother-in-law.  We enjoyed manicure / pedicures too!

We also played lots of games!  A new one, “Spot It”, was a favorite… Cameron made us laugh when he saw the red maple leaf and called it a “Canadian Feather”!!!  We also played “Castle” which takes as long as Monopoly but is sooooo much more fun!

We watched Star Wars 4/5/6 in the evenings and then the new movie in the theatre. Dogs weren’t interested.
More cousin love :)  Andrew’s Dad made an AMAZING Chicken Marsala!  We also had lots of other foodie goodies over the visit including filet mignon this particular night.  I also made one of my all-day cheesecakes to add to the pampering :)
Time with my best friend and her family, including her toddler who likes to take selfies and say “Cheese, cheese, cheese…"
Kids have fun in odd ways sometimes!

Cameron didn’t quite get his grandma’s job of a speech pathologist right, he called her a “Speech Psychiatrist”!

We took Andrew’s aunt Kathy out to a yummy breakfast :)
Flying home we had lots of delays and I was amazed that Tracker didn’t pop… he made it and so did we in the wee hours of morning January 5th.  
Back to routines, Cameron is working to get his flips more smooth, but he’s pretty snazzy to watch!

It’s been solid rainy and we’ve had lots of fires to keep us warm :)

And I made it to the ocean this morning for the first time since I got back and it was the most feisty I’ve ever seen it!  Rows and rows of cascading waves crashing into the cliffs!

Here’s to beauties both at home and with family everywhere!


Thursday, December 10, 2015

Holiday Cheer and 2015 Year-in-Review

Instead of the annual holiday letter and a day full of addressing cards, this year we're presenting a year-in-review!  We'll still send out a few cards, but our goal this year is a more lovely recap of the year with lots of photos that will be a double win, sharing a more vivid update with friends / family and saving us the intense time of sending cards to almost everyone we care about (there are a lot of you)! We think this will be more fun for everyone. Thus, on with the show!

This year....

We've continued to love our home among the redwoods in the Santa Cruz mountains.  I'm also still a huge fan of visiting the ocean with every grocery visit because I find it so breathtakingly beautiful.

Tracker came back from guide dog school.  He flunked at the end of training for a fluke which left him beautifully trained to be a private service animal. He became Cameron's autism service dog.

We visited LegoLand as a family, plus Cameron's best friend, Nat.

Andrew's parents and niece visited us.  Cameron and Cousin Emma are wonderful together.

Andrew started work at Looker, a company based in Santa Cruz.  He's loving it and we had fun together at their holiday party!

He's also continuing work on his Minecraft site in spare time and getting lots of traffic so that it supports itself!

My beautiful niece was born and grew!

We visited Atlanta as a family and enjoyed a wonderful conference! Cameron met his online literature teacher.

Andrew and I started clarinet lessons together and Andrew has become enthralled.  He's joined a symphonic band and loves the instrument.

Cameron graduated 5th grade which is the end of elementary school here. (Year book page and hugging the principal at graduation)

Throughout 2015, Cameron did many more studies with Stanford. He's an expert at the fMRI machine and we've got soooo many colorful pictures of his brain!

Over the summer, Cameron house sat for neighbors with farm animals. He liked the goats. It was his first paid job outside of the studies.

He went to two camps and almost three.  He had his first experience of home sickness and decided that two was enough. (OVY camp, Camp Altitude... he loved the counselors)

My best friend visited with her family and we explored lots of local attraction.  So wonderful to have friend time :)

We went to Sea Ranch for a visit with my parents.  They dealt with a serious health challenge this year and it was wonderful to spend quality time together. We played lots of games together and apart and brought the clarinets too.

I started singing in a local chorus that does barbershop and is stretching my skills!  I've made my first recording with them and been coached by famous international directors.  Exciting!

Cameron started at Scotts Valley Middle School. He also changed from doing intermediate gymnastics every week to doing it only monthly.  He began a new martial art called YAMA.

My aunt and uncle visited from Vermont.  We explored and visited the Winchester Mystery House.

Cameron turned twelve and had a birthday at the park again. It was just what he wanted.

My mom and I visited Safari West for our birthday and enjoyed all the exotic animals!

We spend the Thanksgiving holiday at my parents' house for the annual Chanukah / Thanksgiving / Family Photo tradition.  Lots of smiles :)

The fall is hear and we're all doing well.  We've enjoyed many fires in our wood stove and are looking forward to a cozy season!

May your holiday season be filled with warmth and cheer!

Rachel, Andrew, and Cameron