Tidbits

A smattering of recent events and thoughts

1. Victoria (still age 5, 6 in May) tried her first sleepover last night. Full young for that, I know, but she was directly across the street with a family she has known and loved for a while now, so we thought we’d give it a try. (Sister Violet was also at a sleepover with a friend.) We were reading in bed (I was finishing Coraline) when the phone rang. Eggmaster answered it, but I could hear clearly that little V was ready to come home. The worst of it: “We were watching the Secret Garden, and the mom DIED.” And many sobs. She tried to stick it out, but in the end she was just too sad, and by 11:30 dad went to get her and he fell asleep with her in her own bed. Poor thing. I stayed home from church this morning so I’d be here when she woke up and we could have some extra time together. Dead moms are indeed a scary thought.

2. The day before, little V had the same friend over here to play. The friend goes to a year-round school, so she gets breaks at odd times, like 3 weeks in February. After waiting anxiously all day, Victoria greeted her friend by sitting in a chair reading, then reading her friend the jokes in a joke book. Finally the friend was so antsy I sent them upstairs to play in the girls’ room. They came downstairs again later, and Victoria curled up in a chair to draw. The friend asked to play a game, but Victoria told her, “maybe you could get some pen and paper and draw too,” and went back to work.

3. On a related note, I continue to read The Hidden Gifts of the Introverted Child. 😉

4. Victoria is pretty much asking for a more organized learning program. She says, “I want more lessons, like [Violet] has.” OK, then. Later, I told her we would be reading Charlotte’s Web together as our first book in our more formal schedule. “Well how am I supposed to learn anything from that?” she asks. Hmmm, I feel long, painful learning curve for mom coming on. Meanwhile she is really enjoying Spanish and is addicted to Magic School Bus, which seems to fit her idea of “educational.” The girl wants *facts.*

5. The grownups here have started watching Martin Chuzzlewit, with Paul Scofield. We are loving it. Having read a fair amount of Dickens, especially his more sprawling works, I really appreciate the televised versions, where the details of setting do not have to take up 12 pages, and you get some visuals to sort out all the characters. The production is pretty funny, but the story itself is just flat out nuts. Eggmaster and I often look at each other in amazement before we burst out laughing at something totally outrageous. Two thumbs up — Netflix it.

6. Violet took the EXPLORE test yesterday for NUMATS, and then I took her out for lunch to celebrate. (Please see links about the test and NUMATS — it is not interesting enough to type out!) We went to a place I used to go to in college, famous for its malts. It was kind of like that deli scene in When Harry Met Sally — the girl was raving mad about her food, thrilled with everything — loudly. Quote: “If a grilled cheese sandwich could take you to heaven, I’d be sitting on a cloud with a harp.” The test was 3 hours long, so I was glad to give her a treat. It is probably going to stand in as our required yearly test for homeschooling. We could also do Woodcock-Johnson, but since she would probably participate in NUMATS anyway, I’d rather just do one test per year.

7. Teaching Textbooks have been a success so far. The “lecture” part isn’t scintillating, but it holds Violet’s interest about as long as it needs to. I have talked to a few families who have used TT Pre-Algebra with younger kids doing advanced math. We all have been skipping some of the early chapters and generally whizzing through the first half, but otherwise like it. (The second half of the book is algebra, negative numbers, roots and exponents, etc.) Despite the need to “telescope,” I am glad we didn’t go straight to the Algebra book. I’m satisfied with our decision to take a year to explore — or just skip math for a few weeks here and there. Violet is returning to regular math more mature and more confident. I also think Teaching Textbooks allows her to do more advanced math in a reasonable amount of time each day. Art of Problem Solving just seemed a little too intense — though we may look at it again in a few years.
One more TT note, for the curious — the problem sets for each lesson build in review. At least half of the questions review earlier topics. This has made it really easy to combine lessons (we do two a day, but I combine the problem sets so she is doing one lesson’s worth of problems). On the positive side, generally there are only one or two review questions per topic, so the review isn’t totally onerous. I think it’s great for a younger student in particular, who can benefit from doing a small amount of computation and putting the decimal in the right place and converting from fraction to percent without actually doing 20 problems on those topics. My student, at least, is not as conscientious as an older student might be, and TT seems to give her the right amount of gentle nudging to get the small things right as well as the big things.

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7 Comments

Filed under Curriculum, Family Fun, Gifted Ed, Gifted Heart and Soul, Learning Styles, Love This, Love this Music, Schoolday Doings, Why Homeschool?

7 responses to “Tidbits

  1. Poor girl has yet to realize that much good children’s lit has the parents dead or disappeared. How else do kids get to have really challenging adventures? So, instead, you gave her a book in which the spider dies?? 🙂

  2. This is the child that would not let me read The Story of Ping because the duck is temporarily separated from his family. Yet she has loved the first 2 Harry Potter books (and movies) and the first (or 4th) Star Wars.

    I think reading it and watching the dramatization of a mom leaving her child as the child cries and cries may be a little different. And it’s different for the story to start with no parents — like fairy tales — than for the story to highlight the loss of a parent.

    I do expect a few tears for Charlotte at the end — or possibly the book being slammed shut and totally refused at that point — but I’m pretty used to a kid who cries at the drop of a hat and finds herself inconsolable at the many minor tragedies of life, having been one for many years.

  3. It is hard to find the right books. Roald Dahl can be scary for some kids, though Ami liked his books. Mr. Popper’s Penguins upset her because Penguins are not from the North Pole and he was sending them to the South Pole if I remember correctly. You can’t win.

  4. Poor little dear. But you were very compassionate parents so I am sure she will get up nerve again and have a good time.

    I just got the Hidden Introvert book. Not for Z but so I can know more about my husband. 🙂

    I am interested in the Explore, maybe I will have a chance to talk with you about it at another time.

    I will put Chuzzlewit on my queue.

  5. I know these are not classics, but how about Angelina Ballerina books? They are written at a high level. Ami loved them between the ages of 4 and 5 and she still gets them out and reads through them. Another author with fairly harmless books with a decent reading level, though I don’t think it is as high Angelina’s, is Lauren Child. The attitude is not the best, but Ami thought they were hilarious at that age. Angelina can have an attitude too but, she always learns a lesson. The classic unabridged short stories like Peter Rabbit, Pooh and Rudyard Kipling might be too scary for her.

  6. Funny you should mention Angelina — we are doing a little book purge, as we have recently gotten a big new pile. We decided that we would get rid of some less loved picture books, but Angelina was one that was chosen to stay. Big V. also loved Angelina back in the day. Got her into doing constant British accents around the house, which came in handy in her most recent play!

  7. I certainly cried when Charlotte died, the beginning of Finding Nemo freaked me out, and I have never seen Bambie for a reason. I understand where your little one is coming from. Sounds like she is taking what she can handle, as she can handle it. I do find the missing parents in kids lit genuinely interesting, tho.

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