A Report on our Week

I am just checking in to say thanks for the well-wishes regarding my illness, which seems to be improving, though I am still tired and coughing.  Argh!

What is happening Chez Red Sea these days?


— We stopped at Office Depot today in the hopes of picking up a quaint little chalkboard along the lines of the slates I imagine prairie school children to carry. Instead we came home with two white boards, which I really dislike, but the girls are thrilled. The plan was to get one for Victoria to use to practice her writing with, as she is coming along fine but needs to keep working regularly. The workbooks were a good start, but a reusable board is just more cost-effective. I think it will also be good for doing sample math problems with Violet and word families for Victoria. And I suppose white boards have the benefit of less chalk dust, to offset their office-y, cubicle-esque vibe.

— Victoria is getting more and more into reading. It is so interesting to watch, as she seems to progress in a totally non-linear way. I am not at all convinced that anything I do with her regarding the alphabet and word families has any bearing on her learning to read, though she seems to find those activities interesting enough, because she identifies them as reading-related, and she wants to read.

 — Violet seems to have made a leap forward in Chinese. She is so self-conscious and rarely tells me about what she is learning or speaks in front of me, but this week I have been hearing more. I think the switch to ideographs/Chinese characters, rather than pinyin, has been a good one.

— I am planning to move into Advent/Christmas much more fully next week, using a lot of the ideas at Serendipity. I hope to spend some time with the Flower Fairies of the Winter, do a Jesse Tree, a craft for Our Lady of Guadalupe, lots of learning and singing Christmas Carols, and a 3-D cookie version of Santa and his reindeer. Next week we also have another wonderful young people’s orchestra concert with holiday music!

I continue to struggle with whether or not to homeschool Victoria. Violet is just doing so well, but as you might imagine a lot of the feedback I have gotten about homeschooling Violet has been, “Well, of course you have to homeschool her.” That is, it’s OK to homeschool someone who is clearly not a good candidate for traditional school, but what about a child who seems more typical in her learning? She is just such a stubborn little bugger sometimes! I am considering even doing something like Oak Meadow, an online school. I really lack confidence that I know how to work with her — yet I hate to send her away to school if that is a problem in our relationship. Then I’m just passing it off to someone else rather than really developing a good relationship with her. Sigh . . .

— I’m finishing this post in a coffeeshop, where I am experiencing incredible guilt about calling the cops on an “aggressive panhandler.” I feel like I might as well buy the minivan, move to the suburbs, and start voting Republican. (No offense to all those who do same — I actually covet your van and your large yard, and I share your frustration at the dearth of viable candidates.) But he stood and waited for me to get out of my car, and after I gave him money — bad I know!! — he asked me to go to the ATM and get more. Now I’ve seen him go back and forth in front of the coffeeshop several times and panhandle people smoking out front (we are a city and state with serious smoking laws). So I just felt creeped out. I hated to do it — it’s really cold outside tonight, and I feel for anyone stuck outside. Then again (and why this didn’t occur to me at the time, I can’t say) I don’t know of any shelters here that charge $7, and taxi vouchers are pretty easy to obtain, so perhaps it’s safe to say he wasn’t really trying to get inside anyway. Yuck. My first instinct is to give help without attempting to judge, but it seems when I do that it is a mistake.

The squad car has come and gone, so I’ll just hope he’s moved on, as I don’t look forward to my walk back to the car in this lightly dodgy part of town.



Filed under Home Preschool, Oh Mother, Our Domestic Church, Schoolday Doings, Why Homeschool?

6 responses to “A Report on our Week

  1. I understand what you are saying about hsing Victoria. For me, hsing was firstly a political/personal choice, and only turned out to *also* be about necessity because of my child’s educational needs. So that’s my bias, and the reason why I would automatically assume you’d want to hs both your kids. But I know you got into this lark to answer the educational needs of Violet. I also know you lead a very busy life. So my advice would have to be, do what works best to benefit your relationship with Victoria. Whatever that may be. I don’t think sending her off to school would be avoiding a relationship problem if having some time and space between the two of you would answer that problem.

    Funny, I wouldn’t have pegged you for an Oak Meadow type of gal. That of course is the problem with pegging people! Probably a curriculum for Victoria would give you more confidence and also less stress time-wise and less negotiating with her over what to do.

    Oops, have only one minute left … glad you are improving, wish it was faster. Don’t feel guilty about the pan-handler, he sounds scary. Hope you got home safe.

    Always time for a quick ((hug))

  2. Thanks for your thoughtful response. I would prefer to hs both girls if only for the logistical simplicity. I don’t want to try to hs on a ps schedule. I do wonder if some kind of ready-made curriculum would take a lot of the back-and-forth out of it — though that is a total 180 from how I have done things with Violet!

  3. I am happy for you and your girls that they are moving ahead in reading and Chinese (I still haven’t found a Japanese tutor!)

    I have to say that whatever schooling choice you make for Victoria I am pleased with your thinking about the relationship aspect. Other’s don’t and it is too bad.

    Sorry about the interaction with the panhandler – that is hard to know what to do there.

  4. You know what, if the only problem is that you lack confidence in how to work with her, then consider that the primary goal of the first x months (even a year) of homeschooling. That is part of the relationship development stuff. So you don’t have to have it all figured out before you start; that is part of what hsing is about. Does that make sense?

    Also, I can see how a packaged curriculum might seem to offer the solution to that lack of confidence but I’ve heard a lot of people say that it leads them in a direction where the relationship is being driven by someone else’s idea of how to work with their child (someone who doesn’t even know their child).

    I’m pretty sure you’d have a hard time getting behind. Have you ever looked at the expectations for each year? Have you looked at the difference between a grade 1 math workbook and a grade 2 math workbook? I think there is plenty of room for false starts if that’s what worries you.

  5. That is a difficult decision. And I think you are wise to look at your daughter as an individual with her own style and personality.

  6. I’m supposing since you have more recent posts that you made it home in one piece. 🙂 I never call someone out for fear of the consequences.

    I didn’t realize Violet was taking Chinese. Have you written about it more fully. Could you point me to the post if so. Citcat is taking Chinese in a 2-5 year old class. She would do so much better with a private tutor but I haven’t a clue how to go about finding one nor am I sure we could afford it. The class costs about $10 a class plus of course the cost of driving an hour both ways. It takes up our Saturday afternoon. She is doing very well in the class mostly because of her age and incredibly ability to remember everything.

    I’ve had the same thoughts about sending Citcat to school. I am seriously considering sending her to school versus homeschooling but we would have to move to a city for me to consider it. Victoria is just a bit older than Citcat (2/04). Perhaps the relationship issue is just a stage. Citcat is so headstrong and difficult to teach. Presently, if someone else teaches her something she is very attentive and interested. We power struggle a lot about home learning.

    I look forward to reading more about your thoughts on this subject. I like what Cher said about not sending a child with a relationship issue to school for someone else to deal with. Something to think about.

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