All Girls School

Mental Math
February 25, 2008, 8:54 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Bubba and I are watching her new favorite show, My Dad is Better Than Your Dad. There was some commercial for a tire or car store on, I wasn’t paying much attention to it. She looked up from it and asked me, “You don’t have to pay for that for 5 years?!?”

I told her that I didn’t know because I wasn’t listening. She told me that the commercial had said that they said the car was free for 60 months.

I asked her how she knew that 60 months was the same as five years. Did the commercial say that?

She told me that she added it up in her head. She told me that she knew that 12 plus 12 equals 24. Then she knew that 24 plus 24 equals two less than 50. Then that two more would make it 50, plus the last ten would take it straight to 60.

I was blown away. I knew that if she tried she could add 12+12+12+12+12. But listening to her thought process and how she intuitively found the shortest way to figure it out (without knowing multiplication or division beyond some very basic steps) just made me smile and shake my head. She is such a math-minded kid.


Sent Off
February 23, 2008, 2:46 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

This morning, in spite of my terrible illness and the freezing cold weather, we braved out to mail off Bubba’s book. (and to get donuts.) She ended up finishing all the illustrations as well as writing out all of the text on lined paper. She was very proud of finishing the whole thing and a little embarrassed at all of the dramatics we had to go through to finish it. I scanned all of the illustrations into the computer before we sent it off and I plan on making her a hardcover version of it to keep. She does have more realistic expectations about winning now, though. When we first started the project she would say things like, “When I win my laptop…”. I wanted to encourage her to go for first place, but I didn’t want to get her hopes up too high, either. I just kind of let her go with it and over time she gained a more realistic perspective on winning.

The title of the book was, “The Ladybug That Couldn’t Sleep”. She goes around asking her friends for advice and each gives her a trick that they use themselves. For example, the cricket tells her that soft music, like the kind he makes, would help her. The kitten tells her to drink some warm milk. So the ladybug goes home after talking to them and tries all of the suggestions and is able to fall asleep. It is a sweet, simple story. I wish she had spent more time on her illustrations, but they are clear and do illustrate what’s going on. I think next year she’ll have a better understanding on how to structure her time so that it doesn’t all fall to the last minute.

Here’s a sweet pic of Baby, just because she doesn’t usually look this angelic.

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.