The Big Sleep. Ms. D recovers from quite a weekend. She had company over and as these things go for girls of this age, after six hours, the fighting commenced. I guess the tipping point is 6 hours. Let me remember that the next time I have a kid overnight. So on Monday Ms. D slept in. WAY in. Til noon. I just let her sleep. I figured her body/mind needed it.
Later we relax around the house and watch a movie on Anne Frank. This began much discussion of WWII once again as we talked about what going into hiding must've been like. How Anne seemed to view it as an adventure. We wondered if the spirit we so associate with Anne Frank would've still been in evidence if she had lived through her experience. The interviews with Anne's childhood friend Lise and Miep Geis were really wonderful. If their personalities are anything to go by, we feel that Anne would've come out with her spirit intact. In the evening, we go with David to Best Buy to look for a new camera. Except it was closed by the time we got there. Bad timing. Bad planning. But we had a fun drive. It's lighter out later....warm weather...waiting for spring! David is working out on an Island for the month of April and he's very excited to take pictures of the area and the progress on the house. And really, how can I deny him the pleasure of that? I mean, not that I want a camera or anything...
Ms. D writes a small half hearted report on Anne Frank. She did it only to make me happy. Her heart wasnt' in it. I told her it was good spelling/penmenship/creative writing practice. She "discusses" with me the merits of unschool.
"Why do I have to "learn" something I am not interested in and not going to remember?"
"But you love Anne Frank. You ask to learn more.."
"Yes, but the report wasn't my idea."
"But there are some basics you have to know as a foundation."
"But only when I'm ready to learn them. Because I want to unschool.."
"But...but...but great painters like Van Gogh...he had to learn all the rules of painting and art before he could break them down and make them his own."
"I don't like rules. Why can't I make something my own w/out learning what is "supposed" to be done. Without learning "have tos".
"There are certain rules we all have to obey. Like gravity. Like traffic laws. Like spelling and grammar. It's not fun to know them, but they are necessary."
I was floundering. Because I saw where she was coming from. She was repeating what millions of school kids say every day. "Why do I have to know this, if I am never going to need it?" I don't remember that stuff. I only remember what I was interested in...and yet....here is my whole unschooling dilemma. I feel like she needs a foundation. If I could trust her to learn as she needs it...but I loose balance on that one. I SO want to attend the Unschooling Conference to see some unschooling in action and get further tips and guidance. In the end, I gave Ms. D great marks in debate, reasoning and communication skills.
Our owl friend is hanging about the yard again. Behind the house we currently rent is a small, open grassy area. Great hiding for mice and small rodents that owls like to devour. We first saw the owl during a snow storm. Then,a couple weeks ago the owl was waiting for "us" when we arrived home one dusky night. Ms. D spotted him and he stayed still as we went in the house. We found a perfect upstairs view of him. He was at our level and it was great to really see him head on. We watched until he dove into the meadow and fought with something. He was scared off by a car who stopped to watch him, too. We saw him again today. Ms D named him ...from Redwall. David named him "Mr. Ocax" from Poppy. I just named him, Mr. Owl. Is that original or what?
Background: A couple months ago I asked Ms. D if she would
like to learn ASL or Spanish. We have a friend who knows ASL (altho
they live 45 min away) and a neighbor who teaches Spanish. Ms. D choose
ASL. I have been waiting a bit before we start lessons. I was thinking
next fall. So fast forward to today. While we were at the store I
asked a woman a question. She was deaf, but brought out paper for me.
After getting my original question answered I asked her if she spoke
ASL (well, duh) and she said yes. I told her we homeschool and would
like to learn. She said that she would be happy to teach us, which
surprised me. As it ends up she lives down the road from us! Her
parents live almost next door to us. Isn't that wondeful! We exchanged
emails. I double checked with Ms. D to make sure this was still
something she wanted to do, and not just my enthusiasm.
"Mom, you do have that habit of going wild..."
"You know, like when I say I like something you say: 'Let's look it up! Let's get a book! Let's go to the library! It's like you go a little crazy.'"
"Well, that's me...just tell me no if you want to...I usually respect that, right?"
"So about ASL..."
"Yes, I think I would like to do it. I think it would be great to learn..."
So we'll keep you updated on that.
We deny what our eyes are telling us, namely, that there is snow falling from the sky. We work on the word: Denial.
Ms. D works on acrostic poetry. I never showed her this. She saw it somewhere and decided to do it for herself. So she's being creative and getting some spelling in. She is reading The Far Side and Calvin and Hobbes. I talk to an unschooling mom today who tells me not to underestimate what The Far Side teaches in terms of cultural literacy and humor.
We read a TON of books on WWII, today. We also watched a rather intense movie with Kirstin Dunst in it about WWII. Okay, not intense like Sophie's Choice intense, but intense for a 10 year old. We fast forwarded the ending...but she got the picture. We read Anne Frank by Josephine Poole. I really liked this book in terms of the explanation as to how Hitler rose to power. It was innocuous. Germany needed some grand political leader to focus on. They needed out of a depression psychologically and economically. The books talked of how Jewish persecution started in very small ways. In ways that didn't seem so bad at first. Little things one can deal with. How it led so quickly to full blown persecution before anyone could stop it. Ms. D could easily understand what led to the war from reading this book. Excellently written.
I had a lovely hour long talk with a good friend of mine. She has successfully unschooled three kids. Two have graduated, one finished nursing school and now works in the OR, the other in nursing school and her youngest at high school level. We had a wonderful chat and she encouraged me to keep sticking to the course I've chosen. She also hailed the merits of classical literature read aloud and The Far Side for learning dry humor and cultural literacy. I pondered that as Ms. D and David sat giggling over The Far Side later that evening. As David explained some of the more difficult references.
Thursday: Today we spent some time with a friend of Devi's. She's out of public school for a few days and brought some homework with her. She and Ms. D sat down for some "school time" Ms. D initiated writing a report. This from the same girl with whom I had that Tuesday conversation with. The report was well done. It described Hitler coming into power and who Anne Frank was. I asked how she knew the dates she had written. She said " I looked them up in a book." So...she looked up pertinant facts in a book, wrote the facts in her own way to make a report or story line. Research, writing, spelling, fact finding, organizing an outline, sentence structure, and history. Did I leave anything out. And she WANTED to do it. She had a motivation to do it. She did it because they were "playing school." Go figure. Does she need someone else around here besides me to give her impetus? I think she wanted to just be doing homework like her friend.
She and her friend also made some homemade face creams. Avocados, banana's, poppy seed, cinnamon, and honey. Blend on high for one minute. Apply to face. Wait one minute. Rinse for smooth skin.
Note from mom: You do know what avacados look like when sitting around for awhile, right? We have a beautiful BROWN cream sitting in jars, now. What's the shelf life do you suppose?
We also went to the library where she picked up three books for herself. She has just started to find her own books. She has never really shown an interest in perusing shelves and finding her own books. Today she got a book on Presidents ("because Dad and I like reading about Lincoln") and Native American Indians ("Oh. I thought it meant about India. Can I get it anyway?") and Teens Who Survived The Ghettos in the Holocaust ("Because I wanted another book on WWII.)
The rest of the week and weekend went like this: a;iuwfoi a290 ] 9u ;oia'9r4 q09
So, I'll try to have a better update for you at the end of this week. I'm going to go all crazy and start including weekends. Because, basically, learning isn't 9-5/M-F, is it?
Caveat: I don't have a camera yet. Making for VERY uninteresting updates. So I will intersperse pictures I find on the web that I think have to do with my post. Or not. Sometimes I'll just put neat pictures in out of the blue, how does that sound? It'll keep things lively, no? This update does NOT cover the usual round of Reading/Writing/Grammar stuff we do, 'cause, well, that's just boring.
**The whole public school/Skittles thing in the news is so
annoying, silly and irrational on so many levels. I made my own little
graphic up on the upper right hand side with a link to the news
article. So I could join the annoying, silly and irrational. But mostly
I had some sort of bizarre flu bug. Slept A LOT. So meanwhile, what did Ms. D, who also had a cold, do? She spent a lot of time on acronyms. Despite her lag in the reading department she's become fascinated with the use of Acronyms. She's started a "Girls Club" for herself, a few RL friends and then her "imaginary" friends. She's making a ton of acronyms. A particular favorite is: P.I.G. Pretty Interesting Girls. She likes the irony. Another is W.I.N.E. Wow! I Need Elegance. (Perhaps a self help club?) She's also been reading more and more. While I have held back somewhat in teaching reading due to the convergence issues, she has devoured the Calvin and Hobbes book. Not only has the humor been fun, but simple sentences separated in circles and boxes seem to be easier to read.(Thanks, Val, for this suggestion!) She also started reading magnets on the refrigerator, which really surprised us. We hadn't realized she never had noticed them, but she's read them a couple times the past weekend, enjoying the jokes. (Her favorite is the Anne Taintor: We have nothing to fear...but our mothers...)
Ms. D and David were already shouting running comical commentary to old cheesy movies as a way to alleviate the scariness. For example, shouting silly comments to the t.v. screen really lessens the tension in The Shining.
That was a joke. She isn't watching The Shining. That was back in kindergarten. Ms. D tends to find movies that have the least bit of tense music to be very frightening even if what is going on on the screen is sunshine and light. For example, Charade. She loves the movie, but the end gets tense. So Ms. D and David spend lots of time yelling "Give me the stamps for my stamp collection, Mrs. Lambert!!" So MST is perfect. Lots of giggling going on.
Meanwhile, I read something that says kids with convergence insufficiency shouldn't watch a lot of television. I quickly exit the link in denial.
A plumbing guy comes to fix our shower which is literally streaming water through the floor into the dining room. After that was fixed, Ms. D and I froze the shrimp we got yesterday. Can you say: Fresh Shrimp for 60 cents a pound?? Let's try, shall we? Repeat after me: SIXTY.CENTS. A. POUND. My friends, that never happened to me in the Mid west. I bought shrimp in a bag. Frozen. Frozen for millenia.
Then we did some errands. Library first. Ms. D had seen a one act of Anne Frank over the weekend with our friends, Erin, Sarah and Robbie. (Robbie was in a one act play: Fawlty Towers: Communication Problems. Robbie played Manuel and won and award, as well he should have.
(All our friends are incredible talented, you know.) anyway, where was I?
Anne Frank. So the play was compellingly acted. Gripping and moving. Well done by the students. Ms. D wanted to know more about Anne Frank. Which is wonderful. Which gets into WWII. History. Not so wonderful. How to expose your child to the harsh, ugly truth of the world? Slowly and age appropriately I would say. So we were at the library deciding on books about WWII and the Holocaust in particular. A few we flipped through were fairly graphic. She asked a few questions and declined bringing those home. "Mom, that is just so upsetting." In the end we got a few that we thought she could handle. Well, quite a few. And that is what we will be studying the next couple weeks. I listed them on our Shelfari book shelf on the left hand side bar if you are interested, they are under the heading "Books We Are Reading Now". She's now producing/starring/writing her own play about WWII. Starring her cat, Moxie. I believe I heard the term "Heil, Moxie!" used. And someone is in hiding. It's a dark comedy.
In other very cool news. We were at a smallish road side health food store and as we left and got in the car I remembered I forgot (is that proper sentence structure?) my Kombucha. (I'm a little obsessed/addicted to Kombucha right now. I'm going to be making my own but I need a scoby. More on that later....)anywho...Ms. D offered to go back in and get some. HUH?? On her own. This is unlike her. She doesn't like to do things on her own, much less when it has to do with money. Making change and all that. I said "Sure!" and off she went. And came back with much success. She was so proud of herself. "No big deal, mom." I didn't have the heart to tell her she bought the wrong flavor. She is clearly very comfortable with the people there. I love that place.
Today we went to a Occupational Therapist for Ms. D. I wrote about that here. I didn't write about how interesting it was in terms of homeschooling. The OT was somewhat familiar with homeschooling, but more from a boxed curriculum approach. To describe unschooling and "making our own" curriculum was a bit of a challenge. So I didn't really try all that hard unless it had to do with the discussion at hand. She did seem to understand the whole attachment parenting thing, so I tried to describe our homeschool methods in those terms. There are times, still, when I don't feel all that confidant and instead get a bit defensive. I have to cut that out. Time and time again, it is born out to me that our choices are right for us. Why can't I have confidence in that? I think it's that lack of siblings for the first formative 10 years of my life. So you see...it all gets back to my parents. I knew it was their fault!! Oh. Wait. There is that only child thing cropping up again. It's all about me. (I do have a brother you know....its just those formative years were spent ruminating on my own greatness and stunted me totally...)
Where was I before I digressed onto my favorite subject: me? Oh, yes: Well, per above discussion on Monday about Anne Frank and WWII. Today we delved into a major WWII discussion. Ms. D loves history. She was all ears as I started with WWI and segued nicely into the rise of Hitler in post war Germany. We discussed one of my favorite subjects, that being the mass psychology of post WWI Germany. Then we got into the use of propaganda on both sides of the war. We discussed the world powers at play. We discussed "the big picture", concentration camps, genocide, xenophobia, Japan's involvement in WWII, U.S. involvement, FDR (whom she already knew of) and THEN our lunch arrived before I could get to the Atom bomb. Thankfully. It was pretty heavy.
And then, of all things, on the way home we had a in depth discussion of The Birds and the Bees. Very little embarrassment on her part. Until, in my usual way, I had exhausted a subject and then some (see above discussion of WWII) and she finally said "Ah, okay, okay, I get that...please we don't have to go on!" Later, in another discussion of same topic (I promise she brought it up) she said "Okay, I do NOT need books and pictures on this one...." Ya, okay.I tend to go overboard on the strewing thing.
Later we sit on the couch and read about venomous animals.
I learned so much! Honestly, I had no idea on some of this stuff. And a
few times, she said "Mom, I KNEW that...Ellery told me." Apparently
Ellery knows alot about venomous creatures. Did he realizing he was
schooling my daughter?
So, history, life science and Phy. Ed. were all covered in depth today. I love unschooling.
Ms. D has spent a large amount of time writing songs this week. In the morning, while I am still trying to motivate my carcass out of bed, she's in her room writing songs. At times, David will help her come up with a tune and they pluck it out on the guitar. They collaborate so good together. She has a very strong sense of what she wants in the piece and he tries to help her out with that. Someday, I will figure out how to post a video and will show you their ode to Wisconsin. It's very cute. Meanwhile, Ms. D will be in the middle of lunch or whatever and stand up and say "Oh, Oh! I have a song!" And run to write it down. Composition=A+, Spelling=D....but we won't worry about that when inspiration strikes. I'm willing to bet Dorothy Parker didn't always spell correctly in the middle of inspiration either.
Ms. D spending most of day with her dad. They are doing work related errands, with, I am sure, some side trips to some of Ms. D's favorite places (art store, toy store) They are finally unloading a garage full winters worth full of JUNK.
And me? I'm trying to get motivated (that seems to be a theme this week, no?) I got a SCOBY
in the mail so I am off to make Kombucha. Our weekend is shaping up to
be an interesting one already. More of which I will write about later.
The sun is out and this morning we saw two fat mommy woodpeckers. They
were so fun to watch! Oh, spring is on it's way, my friends!!
is a group of blogging homeschoolers that have a Weekly Report. It's a
nice little summery of their week. It can be inspirational and has
given me ideas of what may work for us and what may not. I have long
thought this as a nice weekly idea to keep my friends/family who are
interested in what Ms. D is up to academically. Or to keep myself on
track and accountable. ('cause obviously the importance of my daughters
education isn't enough to keep me accountable...) On the other hand, I
very seriously belong to the Imperfect Homeschoolers Group. They are so
imperfect they don't even really have a group. At any rate, I've
decided to join the Weekly Report. I think, in theory, every week
should look something like this week we had a few weeks ago:
Jan 14-18 2008
I feel very good about what we've accomplished this week! Every day we've done some 'sit down' work. Reading/Grammer/Spelling have been highlighted.
On Wednesday night, as we read aloud as a family Ms. D's reading really took off! She was so excited by this long dormant activity! She has more impetus to read now. Finally, that War and Peace will get cracked open!
Ms. D spent a large amount of 'down time' this week making her own comic strip. She also was able to make her own chocolate covered strawberries single handedly while figuring fractions and long division in her head.
She had a little spare time to make this lovely nest from the Nature Lessons a la Charlotte Mason.
She learned some carpentry and drywall for her "Shop" studies by helping her dad hang and coat the sheetrock on a local job. While there, she also explored the theory of relativity by listening to a college course on tape. She's a great multi tasker!
I'd like to work on her penmenship and neatness a bit.
Ms. D's Geography is going really well, we were able to fly out to Mexico and explore the ruins earlier this week and it was thrilling to see them up close and put together what we've read with what we have seen.
We've cut out T.V. during thie week~it's been wonderful! We eat together, play games, study and read. She reenacted a scene from Laura Ingalls life that brought tears to our eyes.
Her socializaton issues could use some work, we only managed to volunteer at the Animal Shelter and the local nursing home twice each this week and not our usual daily visits. However, she did win first place in the Tri State Competition for her vocal performance as Cosette from Les Miserable. Thank goodness she finished the book in time to nail the part perfectly!
I tend to be an eclectic schooler instead of hardcore classical or hardcore unshooling. So, this is what my weekly report tends to look like:
Thank goodness this week is done. Although, I did manage to force Ms. D to sit down and do some book work four days out of five.
She seems to be getting better at it. She sits over the work and really thinks about what she is doing.
And it gives me a chance to finish my Harlequins.
If I remember correctly, we did some grammar/reading/geography/spelling/penmenship...we read a few chapters in a book. I had to read them 'cause she hates reading so much.
I was sick, so we did a lot of art.
I threw in some Science and History at the last minute.
She seems to really really like photography.
She spends a lot of time with the camera taking some amazing artful
and expressive pictures.
So....... you can see I'm a bit intimidated by posting regular weekly reports. Perhaps it should be called The Weakly Report. Maybe it'll be more semi monthly reports where I can just tell the honest truth about the good days. Of course, what is honest and what is not, I will leave YOU to decide.
Jan 28-Feb 1, 2008
This week was a la unschooling.
are always a bit "iffy" for us. Usually we like to do
errands/appointments and slowly get back into the groove of the week.
This weekend we had over done. We were out and about with friends on
Friday, Saturday and Sunday. So I'd like to dub this Monday our
Cultural Literacy Day. In fact, we explored in depth "Cultural Literary
and the Media of the 1960's." That is to say, we watched the second
season of the original Wild Wild West.
When David got home and found us still knee deep in our studies, he joined us. He then made a very profound discovery. Of the 60's media in T.V. and movies there were three very powerful men named James based on the same archtype. James Bond,
Coincidence? We didn't think so. All were suave, ddebonair, and cool in the face of death, even cynical, and they all had a plethora of women evil and otherwise. Each "James" was up against agitated psychopaths bent on ruling the world, or at least the Universe. Only one did not have a sidekick. Bond. James Bond. Ever the loner.
I highly recommend this study for you next homeschool unit.
Tuesday: Back to work. Sit down work: Geography, History, Penmenship,Reading (ah she's improving by leaps and bounds! I love Writing Road to Reading! It took ME awhile to get the hang of it, but it's paying off!) She reads each day in this Evan Moor Reading Practice thingy. I didn't think it would fly as she hates the workbook format. But I realized on Tuesday it's really working for her. In fact, she's doing better leading her own studies. I gave her options on Tuesday and she picked her own studies and worked on them until they were done well. Unlike her mother at this age, she choose to get her studies done and THEN do what she wanted. She managed her time really well, I thought. So more was learned today than just book work. And we watched this little guy.
Wednesday: Errand day. Got my hair done while Ms. D did some reading/geography. Went to the dentist where she was very articulate in describing what she wanted out of the visit. I just sat back and watched. Socialization is SO not a problem.
Thursday: Ms. D sewed for her clay mice which she made. While sewing she listened to Redwall on
tape. Oh, I can't recommend this book enough. I'll do a review of it
when we're finished. The CD version is done so well. More reading, some
geography. Ms. D was kinda moody and meloncholy today. Her heart wasnt'
in much. Coming down with something? Meanwhile, she made her own meals
today. Mostly salads which she had a grand time making and imitating
Paula Dean. In the evening Ms. D sat and sewed her mice some clothing.
what didn't we do? Despite the fact we were interrupted a lot by my
favorite person in the entire world, bar none, (that would be my
accountant) who was here doing book keeping....we managed to get quite
a bit done. Lot's of independent work too. Geography: maps of a community and services provided, orally discussing the state of Oregon and reviewing Pacific State knowledge. Science:
Discussed the Rock Cycle and Igneous Rock;the two types thereof:
exclusive/inclusive. Afterwards, Ms. D wrote a report on Igneous Rock. Music:
Discussed and read together about the life of Beethoven (Ms. D's
favorite composer at the moment), listened to a discussion of Beethoven
on CD, listened to Beethoven's music. Ms. D wrote an extensive report
on him. It was well done and the composition was lovely! We filled in
the timeline regarding Beethoven. Penmenship: Copywork. Her handwriting is really improving, she's been working hard at it. Grammar: Reviewed parts of speech and practice writing a letter using proper format. Ms D said "Grammar was put on earth to torture me. What is the use of learning grammar? It makes no sense!" Proving that a) she's not so different from anyone who is public schooled. b) Who wants to learn if you don't understand WHY you're learning and c) I
need to get her a new Grammar Curriculum this ain't workin'. Pertaining
to the later, I have been doing some "research" on the subject thanks
to all the great moms on " a certain forum" I frequent. I've got some
great ideas an narrowed it down.
Reading: phonogram review (how does she remember all of them, I don't?) Reviewed four spelling rules, bumped her up to the next level of reading in the Evan Moor book that I figured would never work for us, but has. (That was an example of a run on sentence.)
And that's most of our week. I realize that I am not posting weekend activities, but so much is learned throughout our weekends, even if it's not formal sit-down work. Next week, (If I can keep these reports up) I will be including Sat/Sun if possible. Here is how we feel:
Just a little tuckered out.
Weakly Report of: Feb 4-Feb 8, 2008
But first, a few paragraphs I'll title Grammar Conundrum. First Language Lessons doesn't really seem to be working for Ms. D. She dreads it. I think I mentioned that in my last Weakly Report.(Let me say I love FLL! It works great for me!) So where do I go to find a variety of homeschoolers who are sure to have a wealth of knowledge, experience, from all different walks of life and different homeschool methodologies? The Well Trained Mind Forums, of course. Over 1500 members who are politely standing by waiting to help me. (Or sort of. That's kind of an exaggeration. They aren't actually waiting for me...) So I posted a thread titled: "Need Grammar Curriculum or Beating My Head Up Against The Wall." The wall in this case being Ms. D. And I got some wonderful replies. Some suggested Shurley Grammar, or Winston Grammar, while some touted Junior Analytical Grammar, a few suggested Rod and Staff Grammar. and many loved Growing with Grammar. I looked into each and every one of these, and here is what I've come to...or not.
Shurley seemed a bit too scripted for us. They also include tests, which I am not overly fond of for various reasons. And it has, well, "jingles". Ms. D tolerates the few "jingles" in FLL, but thinks they are babyish. Memorable but babyish. She's almost 10. I get that. So out Shurley went. Then I checked out Rod and Staff. Wow. Really wow. It's incredibly complete. It's highly detailed with lots of review. The teachers book has some scripting but not heavily, mostly as a guide. And while there are quizzes, it's presented in a way that is palatable. The only caveat with RS is that it is Christian based and I was looking for something more secular. However, from what I read on the samples online, it seems these would be easily modified if various "teachings" were not in line with your own beliefs. RS is on the back burner. Then I checked out Winston Grammar. I liked the multisensory approach, however, something about it left me cold. Call it a whim. Meanwhile, I looked at Growing with Grammar. Now this was more our style. Simple, straightforward, obvious grammar. Short, sweet, easy to understand workbook form. Ah...no wonder the majority of WTMers loved this! GWG was on the front burner. Last, but not least, I check out Junior Analytical Grammar(JAG). While I had heard of this method, I was not overly familiar with it. Right away this method seemed to make sense. Here is an excerpt from the About Us Section that hit home with me:
"The grammar of our language is actually a rather small and tidy body of knowledge. It has a beginning and an end, and it shouldn't take forever to learn. It is already in our heads and has been since we were small children; otherwise, we wouldn't be able to put sentences together! The trick is to help the student access the knowledge already in their head and organize it in a useful and comprehensive manner."
That's right. Why does Grammar have to be so all out complicated? And intense? And then I listened to The Product Info video. This woman was playing my song. The Hallelujah Chorus sang in the background. Mostly because my "gut" instinct about grammar an my child was validated. Deep down, I felt that Ms. D is only just getting a grasp on reading, penmanship and writing composition. That naming the parts for what she is doing doesn't "click" with her because her brain isn't ready to take that leap yet. And what Erin Karl of JAG was saying is just that. Why are we starting kids before 4 to 6th grade with grammar? Oh, I'm not saying they are not capable. I"m not saying that if you are doing grammar with your first grader that is wrong...I'm just saying, for where we are at, this makes sense to me. I felt I had permission to trust my gut on this one. This touches on delayed academics. It just makes so much sense to me. Not in every subject, but I've seen Ms. D's interest grow in certain subjects and then she takes of like a house afire....in her own time. But I digress into a pet subject and what I'm really getting at is this: I will continue with FLL for the rest of the year. We will review throughout the summer here and there, and when Fall/Winter of '08 occurs we will delve into the 11 week course of JAG, with the possibility of a GWG workbook. If all goes well we'll move into Analytical Grammar. If it doesn't go well. I'm back to square one. Or maybe RS.
On to the week:
it was a typical Monday. It still felt like the weekend. Let's talk
about that weekend! On Saturday (drum roll please!) we got a piano!
Finally. We went to a great Music Store in Portland, Starbird. I never thought I would find another Ward/Brodt
like in Madison but this is close! We choose to go with a Yamaha
Digital. Despite my feeling there is nothing like an acoustic, we
wanted to go with mobility and the option not to have to tune. Someday,
we'll go "real" but we are very pleased with this. I tried a few out
and while this one doesn't have a whole lotta bells and whistles, I
really like it. More about that, and pictures, too, on this post.
Anyway, on Sunday Ms. D stayed over night with a homeschooling friend.
She didn't come home until Monday afternoon. I spent most the day
getting used to Typepad and the new blogging format.
Tuesday: Because Mr. D stayed home from work and the snow was coming down Ms. D seemed to think this meant no homeschool. We did get quite a bit done nevertheless. We went through our reading/spelling/phonics and our Grammar/Language Lessons. She also worked with penmenship. She's very excited that she is nearing the point to start writing cursive. Her writing is a bit all over the board, to be honest. Keeping her on the margins in neat rows is very difficult. She did some reading practice in her Evan Moor workbook. It was on the various Presidents. Washington, Lincoln and Roosevelt. She was flagging so David sat down to help her. Next thing I know the conversation had turned entirely to the Civil War and why it was fought, what Lincoln tried to do, John Wilkes Booth, the agenda of the south, the assassination of Lincoln and the results.
David then pulled a book out titled "The Day LIncoln Was Shot" that is from "his" library. The book describes the sights and smells of Washington in that time period. They had a blast! Although I wasn't sure what this was when I looked over their shoulder?
I don't know if you can see but Washington and Lincoln seem to have been defaced a bit. Not sure you'd get away with THAT in public school, little missy! However, by the time they were finished it was time to move on to other things. Ms. D had her first piano lesson which basically involved her trying to learn Fur Elise with no previous piano experience. So I sat her down to memorize the first two bars or so. We therefore had to learn how to use right and left hand, Middle C and some fingering so as to get a smooth sound. Suffice to say I am very very sick of the first three bars of Fur Elise.
Wednesday: Was there a Wednesday?? I think it just snowed. Ms. D learned that mommy isn't fun when she has a headache. She also learned how to record on our new digital piano. And she played and played. Despite said headache, which is probably why mommy isn't fun. The cycle continues. I keep feeling like we are coming down with something, but I said that last week. Perhaps it's an excuse. What I really think we are coming down with is this: We are plum SICK to DEATH of winter. And we have a moody tweenager in the house.
Thursday: Watched Copying Beethoven as we are studying him. Ms. D liked it okay. She thought it a little slow. Meanwhile, she concocted (there is no better word...) a recipe. She wanted me to share it, but with the caveat it is copyrighted so you have to give her the credit for it:
Ms. D's Mabel Recipe:
4 Tb Vanilla Yogurt
1 Tb Peanut Butter
2 Tb Milk
1 dash Cinnamon
1 Tb Maple Syrup (real)
Stir ingredients together and use for dipping milk or dark chocolate.
Okay, I had my doubts when she showed this to me...but it's not half bad...
Thursday, late, Ms. D and Daddy watched a program on Northern LIghts. She didn't really want to but they seemed to really get into it.
Friday: Okay, the bottom line is this. We've had a really crappy week. Remember the other day when I posted that I wanted snow. Ya, right. It's been snowing constantly since then. Be careful what you wish for. And there is no bright, happy, sun to come out and put a lovely glisten on the white flakes. I'm supposed to write about how wonderfully creative we all got while cooped up inside, or how we went and did adventures things as the snow fell softly to the ground.
Well, that's not the way it's going folks. Eclectically yours brings you only the brutal truth. And the brutal truth is that I am in some sort of fugue state/funky malaise/depression/SAD/irritable/ugly mood. And it seems that Ms. D is too, because whenever we sat down to work I got this look.
I got this look alot. And I'm at my wits end.
Everything this week seemed to be an utter and extreme chore for Ms. D. I tried to accommodate and not push, being cheerful and bright,respecting that hey, we all go through bad moods, bad weeks, we've all got cabin fever. But I gave up pretty quickly. Her sensitivity has gone into overtime in the past month or so. If, when we are in a hurry, I say "C'mon sweetie, let's get your coat on." She holds her hand up in that "back off" gesture and says "Okay.....okay...." and looks at me as if I've hit her hard and she's reeling from the shock. I first of all laughed at her when she did that. Oops. That didn't work. She got even more sensitive. Next, I asked her kindly and matter of factly to please stop acting like I just kicked a puppy. Finally, I asked David "Is it me? Do I not realize how I sound?" To which he replied..."Sometimes it's not what you say, it's the way you say it." Ouch.
So I"ve been working on it. But last night, I was trying my darned best and there she went again with that look that says I've destroyed everything she's ever held dear. And I lost it. I told her if she thinks I sound so awful, well, I might as well sound really bad and "GET YOUR COAT ON NOW!!"
Not the most stellar moment of my motherhood career. And I know this will pass. I know that I'm preaching to the choir and some of you do this in multiples of two. And I only have to worry about one child. And woe betide if I try to complain to another mother about this, as I did earlier this week. Just a wee mention of my trials. Not a rant. "Why don't you just put her in school?" Said in that way of "Well, it's your own fault for homeschooling, why are you complaining?" Yes!! That's it!! If I put her away from me for eight hours a day she will suddenly become less sensitive and moody! I will be able to tolerate her like the happy little mother I should be! Pass the Valium and freedom! And while I agree we both have cabin fever and it would be nice to have a wee break from each other, I don't think over 180 days in public school is going to do the trick. I think the person who said this to me took my silence to mean that she had given me something to think about. She didn't realized that my tongue was hard bit. I didn't want to say anything untoward. I didn't need one more sensitive person on my list to deal with.
So, we're half way through our day today and I'm ready to cash it in. Not sure, what with the snow, what I'm cashing it in for. Oh, if I were a creative mom I would say "Let's bake!" but I don't have a lot on hand right now to bake with. Let's watch a movie! No, we did that yesterday and besides we've watched all our Netflix. I think I will suggest sitting and reading the rest of the day. Maybe together. But you know what? I am tired. I am tried of trying to accommodate and be the perfect homeschooling mom. Cause I'm not. I'm just eclectically yours.
Unschooling at it's finest. When I am experiencing a particularly wintry bout of depression/anxiety from which I suffer, I find unschooling fits in perfectly with the rhythm our lives take at those times. If I were to encourage Ms D, during these times, to do any form of sit down work, I would become a monster of control. I would be loading up piles of "homework", constantly pushing or controlling her every move. Unschooling suits us both better, especially then.
We listen to tapes of books and music. This week was Redwall. Again. I just love the audio of this book. Ms. D will have to do a report on that later. Ms. D has started to read more and more on her own. This week this is what she said: "Okay, since we're not doing any formal school today, I suppose, for you, I could sit down with that book on Abraham Lincoln and read, like, say three pages. I would do that for you." How very kind of her to go to all that trouble. Three pages is a big deal for Ms. D. One night she read out loud for David and I. We were surprised at the big words she tackled.
Meanwhile there was cooking,
....and sewing, and more cooking,
......and writing, and drawing, and designing books and book covers, and some math and some science and some weather studies, (this being the one billionth storm)
....and geography, and piano,
....and a snowy owl that was SO close to our dining room window, we could see him so clearly!! Very cool. By the time I grabbed the camera he had flown across the street. You can barely see him here.
And... recording, and music, and more reading. But all done unschoolingly.
Ms. D is a homebody. I feel guilty that I want to be indoors all the time stewing in my fugue state so I'll suggest fun outings despite my sheer exhaustion at moving my body out the door. She most usually replies "Do we have to? I really want to finish my project." That being usually a craft or drawing project. Or this week she was writing music. Despite both of our desires to be indoors we usually get out five times or more a week, so that is good. We're both talking avidly about spring. Planning what we're going to plant, planning our trips to the beach, planning the sun beating down on our faces and light rain showers. We can't wait. And again, lest you feel sorry for the child who puts up with a imbalanced mother, here are some pictures of us. It looks like I'm torturing her doesn't it? And despite the fact it looks like she has had about a million fillings that is chocolate. I think I was tickling her because she had gotten into the chocolate without permission. Oh, so like her mother.
And despite the fact we are homebodies, we do love visitors. We had this wonderful couple over last weekend. It was delightful because they got snowed in and couldn't go home until the next day. Ms. D spent time perfecting various Pythonesque accents and taking bizarre pictures of herself and every one else.
David even took a day off during the week. We thought it was going to storm. And it kinda did. But it mostly rained. Here is our driveway. It's sunken. Tragically. Can you imagine this turning to ice? It's not pretty. We rent.
On his day off, David made a chicken dinner. Oh, so good. We made cookies. Ditto. And we read as a family some silly books, looked at house plans (see above renting situation) and generally hung around and were goofy. And some of us got to take a nap. There is a man in there.
Without realizing it, Ms. D has been doing copy work. I've always loved the idea of copy work, but we never pull it off more than once a week. The idea is your child is copying snippets from great pieces of literature and learning language, syntax, and spelling... all that good stuff. Well, Ms. D wanted to make her own version of a particular song. She had me print the words online and she spent several hours writing/copying her own version. The next day she was listening to a speech and taking notes. She was spelling words I KNEW we had never studied. Words like "soul" and "heart" and then she was hyphenating words of several syllables. I asked her how she knew those words and she said "They were in the song I was copying and I remembered how they were spelled! And you told me how to hyphenate words of more than one syllable, and I"m glad, because I remembered it." Well, well, well, so much for all my worrying and controlling.
And that, my friends and family, was our week.
There are those who say "Unschooling wouldn't work for us, my child would just sit in front of the T.V. all day!"
It seems that this week, we set out to prove that thinking entirely true and correct. That's right. T.V. lots of it. If I see The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy one more time, I will scream. (Classic example of loving the book, hating the movie. Really hating the movie.)
However, there is hope in the air (see above little ticker/time line thing) and I have the sense, from reading other blogs that I am not the only one who has passed through some sort of mindless February funk. I have felt the sun shining longer, I feel my spirits rise. I feel like getting out of bed. Mostly. Almost usually. Very much of the time.
Besides, my husband is taking us to the BIG CITY, this weekend. It's freezing and there is nothing to do , but we're getting out of this
house! That should see us into March quite nicely. And then we will
get back into our routine of homeschooling like crazy. That's right.
Math, Reading, Writing, Languages, Art, Music,Grammar,Penmanship,
History, Science, Piano, Museums, Co-ops, Field Trips, Biting off
Life in Great Big Chunks, Learning As We Go, Sipping From the Cup
that is Homeschooling Heaven blah, blah, blah....But until then...I
can not even begin to share with you our week. It's too, too, sad. Too
depressing to know that I have entirely neglected my daughters
education for something like a warm bed, chocolate, cookie dough, books
and "mommy's blogging.."
Instead I give you: An Interview with Ms. D.
(One thing I've learned by visiting other blogs: When in doubt:Interview.)
Me/Mom:What do you love best about homeschooling? Which subjects I mean.
Ms. D: I love History, Reading~well, I don't always love that~Writing, and Geography. I really like Geography.
M: What is your favorite thing about being home to school?
D: No bossy teachers who erase my work and tell me I'm wrong. Not putting up with bossy kids.
M: Isn't your mom bossy? (not the REAL bossy, but bossy in attitude)
D: Not as much as they were.
M: But that was only Kindergarten.
D: It happened. True story.
M: List your favorite things about your mom.(Shameless aren't I?)
D: Everything. She's pretty, I like her best with glasses. She's talented...
M: How am I talented? Are you just saying that?
D: Pretty much.
M: Go on...
D:...she's a good teacher, she has style, she likes to shop...I love her.
M: What's your favorite music to listen to right now?
D: I like the CD from Series of Unfortunate Events, Beethoven anything, and Jewel.
M: That's eclectic for sure. Any others?
D:Do I still have to be interviewed?
M:Okay, I"ll move on. Can you name some of your favorite books?
M: What do you like to do with your friends?
D: Make our own silly video tapes, watch movies, play board games, do our hair, play with make up and take baths.
M: Take baths??!!
D: Ya, you know, a spa thing.
M: Right. So what do you like best about living in Maine?
D: I love being near the ocean. Smelling the salt water and the trees. I don't miss going by the Stauffacher farm in Wisconsin, it really smelled bad of cow manure (I swear she said this, people....)and I love the nature we get to see when we walk on the island, and chasing gulls, collecting shells and mussels, watching the lobster boats and taking ferry rides. It's just really pretty.
M: What do you miss the most about Wisconsin?
D: Corn. Seeing the flat land and the corn is really pretty. I miss my Grandma and Grandpa, uncle and aunt and you know, my cousins, like Sophie. I miss Ellery. Alot. And Peyton. She's getting big. And Callie and Jacob are getting big too. I liked our home in Darlington because Dad had worked on it and it was ours. I miss Darlington 'cause it was a cute and small town. And Marilyn's Shop. I miss that shop!
M: Do you like Mom or Dad best?
D: Are we done?
M: Just answer the question.
D: I'm gonna have to say I'm closer to Dad.
M: But I am pretty and talented? With my glasses?
M: Okay, one last question. What do you NOT like about homeschooling?
D: Science isn't my favorite thing in the world.
M: We never do Science. Okay not NEVER but hardly ever. Your scientifically illiterate.
D: I still don't love it.
M: If you could choose one thing you hate about....
D: You said one more question...I have stuff to do...
M: What are you doing...
D: I"m drawing...I've got this project I've been wanting to do forever.
M: I thought you just finished that.
D: No, that was my chocolate/orange cooking project. I'm drawing now. Can I go? Are we done?
M: Yes, thanks for stopping by. Did you want to jump on the couch and tell the world how much you LOVE me?
M: Forget it.