All Girls School

the Weather
November 29, 2007, 11:11 pm
Filed under: Bubba, math, reading, science

We’ve been studying the weather. It was Bubba’s request, but she didn’t have any specific items that she was interested in, so we’ve just been covering the basics with some general weather books. Next week we’ll do some active forecasting and cloud identification and maybe some weather experiments. She claims to want to make a 2-liter tornado, but she’s made one every year since she was three. My sister-in-law dropped off a couple of books when she was in town that had some fun ideas in them, so I think I’ll go with some of those. I’ll be sure to break out the camera, I’ve been rather lax with photographic documentation lately. She’s been playing some math computer games for her math lessons recently. We also worked with fractions a lot with some worksheets and all of the Thanksgiving cooking. She enjoys the math games, but especially the ones that she can “win”. We had to have a reminder conversation about how doing what comes easily to us is great, we’re trying to learn and push ourselves in areas that we are not as strong. She has a little trouble with competitive games, even when she’s only competing against herself. There has been more than one time when I’ve had to have her stop playing certain games because she became too worked up over not winning. So, somehow, we have to temper her emotional response to “losing” with pushing her to branch out and try things that she’s not automatically good or perfect at. Such an enigma, she is.

She wrote another letter, but it was returned due to insufficient postage. Ummm, yep. My fault. Her reading is getting so much more fluid. She has started reading me books while I clean the kitchen and fold laundry. She also reads to her sisters, which they love. We’re reading Ramona and Her Father together. She loves these Ramona books. We have to finish that one tomorrow or Saturday, though, because I have some other fun books for the holiday season.

Basically we’ve just been going along as we get the chance. The holiday disrupted our whole week, and somehow that has overflowed into this week, too. We’re still managing to get quite a bit of school time in, though. If only Webkinz was a class, she would be valedictorian.


November 19, 2007, 1:38 pm
Filed under: Bubba, holiday, Thanksgiving, websites

I hadn’t planned on doing anything with the holiday for homeschool this year. Basically, I wanted to give a factual portrayal of the first Thanksgiving, but we got really busy and then all of a sudden the holiday was almost here. I didn’t feel I had time to research it and weed out the facts from all of the fiction that exists about this holiday. So, I was just going to let it go. We talk casually about the holiday and how it’s a time to be with our loved ones and be thankful for all of our blessings. Yesterday, though, someone pointed me to this site. I looked at it and it is exactly what I was wanting. Plus, it’s interactive on the computer, which makes it 10 times better in Bubba’s book. I like that is is based solely on fact and they talk about the parts where the infer more information based on those facts. There is a section on myth-busting a lot of the things I was taught in school. Plus, there’s no agenda to the information, other than trying to get a truly balanced representation of that first harvest festival. It was at a level very appropriate for my seven-year-old, and I learned some new things, too. So, we sat down and went through the whole site this morning instead of continuing on our weather unit. After we finished, we discussed a lot of what we had read and heard and talked about the new things we had learned and the items that had surprised us. Then she wrote a letter to her grandparents telling them about some of the things on the site. I think the site did a better job than I would have, because I would have had a hard time keeping my opinions out of it all. Those are discussions that she and I can have when she’s older. For now, it was a great way to get some really good information and we enjoyed exploring the site together.

November 15, 2007, 7:54 pm
Filed under: Bubba, troubleshooting, Uncategorized

You know how your mother tells you, “I hope you have a child just. like. you.” Only they mean it in more of a karmic/voodoo curse kind of way? Yes, well I heard that more than once growing up. Guess what, the curse works. Meet Bubba. Bubba is me. I was Bubba. I understand her though processes and I can feel everything that she’s feeling, because she and I are the smae person, 21 years apart. It’s almost eerie. So, Tuesday, when she had put about .001% of effort into a project that I had been really excited about and spent a long time researching and coming up with, while making sure it was fun and creative, I had had it. I sat her down and laid it out to her. I told her that she had a decision to make. She could either go back to her old school, where she could have recesses with her friends, but also spend a lot of time bored by the work and waiting for the other kids to focus, and not be able to have a hand in what she was learning. Or, she could start to take the homeschool work seriously. She fought me and said that she did, so I started citing out specific examples of times when she put good effort into a project and times when she did not. I think that she understood when I compared a good effort to a poor effort. Then we discussed how she would have to actually work to learn new things. She was upset at first and thought I was telling her that her work was no good. I tried to help her see that it was her lack of effort (and outright laziness at times) that I was not pleased with. I think she gets it. Yesterday was so so much better. She was very engaged and we worked through a lot of new things. I let her lead the whole day, really. She does best that way, when everything is her own idea. But she also started redoing a couple of the projects that I had shown her to be of little effort (like one of her letters to someone that consisted of one (1) single line of text).

Here’s where my mother’s curse comes in – that kid was so me. L.A.Z.Y. Since I could get all As with little to no effort, that’s how much I gave. Nobody after fifth grade cared to push me beyond since I was a “good” kid and got “good” grades and didn’t cause trouble. I did the assignments to the most minimum specification. It wasn’t until college (and later in college at that) that I ever started going beyond the expectations of an assignment. (And oh, what an amazing difference it made in not only my grades, but also in how much I learned. I know – revelation moment about ten years too late.) So, I get her, I really do. I also see how much effort she can put into things when it is her own idea. So, that’s how we have now gotten to where I always wanted to be, 98% child led learning. I’m still collecting the resources and throwing out ideas and giving her projects around the topics of her choice, and leading her learning, but other than that it’s all about where her whims take her. I was hoping we’d get to this point, really unschooling, but she had to work away from the school model she had  been accustomed to for a while. So, it was a little rough and tearful while we were hashing it out, but the outcome will be better for us both in the long run.

Grocery Project
November 7, 2007, 1:22 pm
Filed under: Bubba, math

Since Bubba has mastered money (at least to a level that she and I are satisfied with), we decided to expand our math into a real world situation. We had a quick crash course on rounding numbers to the nearest dollar Monday morning. After she had the hang of it, we ventured out for our weekly grocery trip. For every item that we placed in the cart, she wrote the price in her notebook, rounded to the nearest dollar. When we got home we added up her list of numbers and compared them to the receipt’s subtotal. We ended up being only $0.75 over. Even I was impressed- I expected a larger difference between the estimate and the actual number. We are going to keep a tally of our results for a few weeks and then graph the actual vs. the estimate. After that we will try rounding to the nearest dime for a few trips and graph those results to see how much closer we get with more precise estimating.  (added bonus * it kept her well occupied during the shopping trip and cut down on the usual shopping trip antics)

Holiday Art Projects
November 4, 2007, 6:59 pm
Filed under: art, baby, Bubba, halloween, holiday, mimi

Here are some of the fun crafts that we worked on for Halloween. Sorry in advance for the blurriness of a couple of these. I was in a hurry and didn’t take time to set up the shots very well.

We also carved five other pumpkins and decorated the house with creepy spiderwebs, skulls and tombstones. Bubba, Mimi, Baby and I had a lot of fun with all of the crafting. I saved all of it (except the jack-o-lanterns, of course) for reuse next year. I’ll have to think of new crafts for next year to add to our collection. The homemade decorations are by far my favorite.

out of town
November 2, 2007, 9:35 pm
Filed under: family, girlies, guitar

The girlies’ great grandmother passed away a week ago. We have spent the past week either preparing for our trip or on the road. We arrived back home yesterday. It was a good trip, the girls did amazingly well and the service for Rose was wonderful. It was great to be around so many loved ones. Bubba has been to funerals before and knew what to expect. She didn’t have many questions. Baby is still too little to understand what was going on. Mimi was the one with all of the questions and observations. She, too, did really well. She will, at the most random times say, “But I just miss Grandma Rose”. It’s is sweet and endearing. I think the funeral was good for the girls. The pastor leading the service was wonderful. He was adamant that the children be included as they are a vital part to the family.

Our trip took us through six states and over 1800 miles in four days. There was a lot of time in the car. I’m embarrassed to admit that I let the girls watch way too many movies and we didn’t really engage in anything resembling school work while we were gone. But, an aunt sent us home with a large box full of chapter books, including the complete Little House series. Bubba and I dug through them all today and are very excited. (Thanks, Aunt V!) She also had guitar lessons last night and did well considering we had been home all of five hours before sending her there. She’s up to four chords now and her teacher has promised her a surprise when she has them all down pat.

I promise some actual homeschool updates coming shortly. I need to finish unpacking (yes, yes, it’s been over 24 hours and I’m still working on it) and find the camera cable and all that.