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.