All Girls School

Scheduling and Halloween
October 21, 2007, 9:41 pm
Filed under: Bubba, holiday

I just hate being a slave to “the schedule”. Now that Bubba and I have talked about doing away with the worksheets and learning more by actually doing, I am throwing out the schedule. I knew when I was writing it up that things would likely change so drastically over the year that we would toss it, but at that point I needed a way to focus all my ideas into something concise and organized. While it was effective at that point, it’s now just an irritant that I have some sort of compulsion to follow, just because it’s written down. So, it’s gone and we’re just going to roll with it. I still have a list of goals for this year, and as long as we keep those in mind, we’ll do just fine.

We have been learning about the origins of Halloween. I had previously known about the true origins of the holiday, but it was fun to learn about how many of the symbols of the season were incorporated later on. We have put out almost all of the decorations. I hesitate to put up the spiderwebs yet because I know my children and I don’t think there will be any webs left at the end of the week. This week will be crazy Halloween craft week so that we have more items to put up around the house for the party. I need to charge the camera and get some pictures up here of her crafts.


October 15, 2007, 7:26 pm
Filed under: Bubba, troubleshooting

What do you do with a perfectionist? I truly don’t know how to deal with this side of Bubba. When she doesn’t get something the very first time and I talk with her about it and help her make corrections, she smacks herself in the head and shakes it as if she should have known better. I emphasize over and over that we are doing this so that she can learn and that she’s not expected to know things right off. She understands, but seems incapable of not getting down on herself about not being perfect. I don’t know where this comes from. We have never pushed her to be perfect. Far from it, really. We always try to view everything as a life and learning experience, not as something we need to master. I am trying to be very gentle and make sure she is not misinterpreting my help as judgement. Beyond that, how do you cure a perfectionist?

Her kindergarten teacher brought this to my attention last year. I never saw it at home, though. This isn’t something that I see in other areas of her life, just school. I think I need to find a different way of approaching things. As I sit and think about this, the times when she reacts the most harshly are when she’s been working independently and then presents her work for me to see. When I go over it with her and remark on the correct things and then the mistaken ones, that’s when she starts getting down on herself. When we work together on things there isn’t any of the perfectionism. I think it’s the whole putting herself out there and feeling judged, no matter how casually we discuss her work. Maybe she would be willing to forgo some of the worksheets that she likes so much that really feed into this dynamic. If we concentrate more on the types of activities that we can proceed through together or the ones that she leads me through, that could help with this issue. I feel frustrated seeing her beat herself up over something as small as writing a number backwards. Hmmmm… looks like there’s some project brainstorming in my future, as well as coming up with some persuasive arguments for weaning her off the worksheets.

Music progression and Halloween
October 11, 2007, 7:30 pm
Filed under: Bubba, guitar, holiday, reading

Bubba learned another chord at her guitar lesson tonight. We have missed the last two weeks of lessons due to being out of town and getting stuck at a local festival last week. She is enjoying the broader range she has now, but is still really excited for the day she can play an identifiable song. I really like her teacher and so does she. We got lucky on finding him and having him be such a good fit. We were at a customer appreciation event the other weekend and he had been hired to perform there. It was fun to see him as a performer in a different context.

We’re doing a lot of reading about Halloween. We found a great little book at the library that discusses the holiday’s origins on a basic level and shows how it has evolved over time to include so many different elements. We decorated the house with the holiday stuff and Bubba and Mimi have been making different decorations that we’ll put up when it gets closer. We don’t usually decorate for Halloween, so it’s kind of fun to have random spooky stuff hanging out all over the living room.

journal writing
October 10, 2007, 12:45 pm
Filed under: Bubba, writing

Before we began this homeschool year, Bubba was excited about keeping a journal. Now that she has to write in it twice a week, she has decided that it is boring and that she doesn’t like it. So, we’ve been discussing different things we could do to practice writing instead of journaling. She decided that writing letters is the way to go. Plus, this way, she will get more mail from the people that reply. (She always laments her lack of mail, save for the monthly Highlights subscription.) I have a few links saved on the computer for different penpal programs, but I didn’t think that we’d be ready for that this year. Maybe I should think again. I guess this is what’s so wonderful about schooling at home, being able to roll with her changing tastes and take things in different directions when she gets bored. I think all of our extended family members will enjoy getting the letters, too. So it’s a win-win all around.

Not keeping up
October 9, 2007, 6:24 am
Filed under: Bubba, curriculum, reading

Ok, so I haven’t been very good about updating lately. It probably has to do with the fact that it’s my favorite time of year, so we’re outside doing stuff a lot of the time. It’s no longer hot enough to melt the soles of your shoes on the sidewalk, so we can be outside for longer than five minutes at a stretch. We’re working on some landscaping that needs to be finished before winter and spending a lot of time with our friends and family. School has taken a bit of a back burner to real life stuff. We’re still plugging along and all, our hearts just aren’t as into it at the moment, so it’s more of a “let’s get this stuff out of the way so we can hang out and play” type of deal. But, I think we are at a place to move past that now and really get back into our studies.

Over the summer our library hosted a two-person theater production. The play was about Sherlock Holmes. All of the girls loved the play, and Bubba decided that she’d like to hear more stories about him. I have a small book with three Sherlock Holmes stories in it. I was concerned that she wouldn’t find it as riveting as the wonderful play that we saw, and I was right. It’s a little bit old-fashioned and isn’t paced the way modern stories are. She’s following it, but not really engaged. She doesn’t ask to read more of it every day like she does with other books. So, we may just shelve that and move on to something else. I think we’ll start a Halloween unit. She’s incredibly excited about the holiday and our first annual costume party. I think we can come up with all kinds of fun seasonal tie-ins for that.

Medieval Wrap-Up
October 1, 2007, 9:26 pm
Filed under: Bubba, girlies, history

We have been learning about the medieval times since school began. We’ve done lots of reading and we watched an entertaining documentary. Our big plan was to host a medieval feast last Wednesday. We ended up changing that due to a family birthday party. We had thought about rescheduling for this week, but Bubba and I are more keen on moving on to the next thing rather than stretching this one more week.

We did have our grand finale at the Renaissance Festival on Saturday, though. (I know, I know, the Renaissance is not Medieval, but there were no Medieval Festivals to attend.) We stayed for the whole day and had a blast. The girlies were spoiled by their grandparents (and a little bit by us). The highlights included elephant rides, pony rides, huge turkey legs, face painting, being knighted by the Queen herself, and, Bubba’s favorite, the joust.

By far the most educational aspect of the day came from an unintentional run-in with the Beefeaters. A gorgeous little boy with red curly hair and a kilt grabbed Bubba and pulled her under the rope to their area and she was given special lessons. They taught her how to hold her weapon and the correct way to use it. Then they dressed her in full armor and told us all about how the people dressed for battle and what the duration would have been like and all kinds of fascinating details.

After that we were allowed to hold many of their weapons, including a 500-year-old sword. It was such an engaging way to learn about history. I wish there were more accessible events like this.

Bubba’s favorite items of the day were getting to dress up in her headdress and cape, watching the joust, face painting, and playing the sideshow games.