What F is For

With all the lightning strikes (followed by internet and power outages) and water spills lately, I’ve not had a chance to show y’all what I’m working on.

Here's looking at you!

Here’s looking at you!

A little bit more of a traditional doll head this time – the Girl’s noggin and this one are interchangeable in case anyone likes one or the other better.

I woke up around 2:30am and might have gone back to sleep, but when Ellie woke up at 3:00 (her friends had fallen out of bed and needed to be rescued) all hope was gone. Lying around awake in the wee hours gave me time to think. Thinking gave me a better idea for the bottom half of this doll and I so I’ve pulled out what I started and I’m giving it another go. I’ve got some changes that I want to make to her top half too – but Ellie got upset when I suggested pulling it out so I’ll just have to wait for the next one.

Want to guess what “F” is for?

All Better

Look here, y’all!

Yay!

She turned back on!

I was never so surprised. There was so much water when I shook her out that I thought Claire was a goner for sure. Yay!

Only one question remains: What do I do with 8 pounds of used rice?

Rice

Betty spilt water on the kitchen table. My laptop was on the table. Perhaps you’d all take a moment to hope for the best while I go to Winn Dixie for more rice?

rice

Oak Meadow Family (What We’re Doing About School)

Ellie has been accepted to Oak Meadow, a distance learning program based in Vermont.

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She’ll work from home, but her school is in Vermont. Just like Michael works from home, but his office is in California. Or like I work from home and my office is where I’m sitting. I’ll be her main teacher, but she will also have an Oak Meadow teacher who will review and grade her work, provide support and help keep us on track, and maintain her transcript with this fully-accredited school. Oak Meadow has a curriculum-only option, but enrollment feels like a much better choice for our family this year*.

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The curriculum has a wonderful Waldorf flavor in the early grades without placing limitations on academic endeavor (unlike traditional Waldorf-Steiner programs). In second grade, Ellie will study poetry, history and geography, fables and folklore, and multiplication. Her science program and the reading selections are focused on animal study (Yay!). Art is integrated throughout the curriculum. There are lots of project options so that Ellie can practice self-direction and have a measure of control over her learning experience. If I were going to hand pick a curriculum tailored to Ellie’s strengths and interests, I’d end up with something very close to what has been working for Oak Meadow all along.

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As students move through the grades, the curriculum grows and changes. In fourth grade the focus shifts: the syllabus speaks to the student rather than the parent, who begins to take a supportive role rather than one of leadership. It is gratifying to see that the progression of the curriculum reinforces the natural development of the child. This is a program that we can continue all through high school if Ellie chooses. We are incredibly excited. The minute I found their website, I knew it was an exceptional choice for Ellie and for us as a family.

*Left to our own devices, Ellie and I might just read and paint all day. And bake (to learn fractions). With enrollment, not only is my life simplified as far as record keeping, dealing with the local school board, providing balanced learning, and staying on track, but I don’t have to be the bad guy when we’ve got to get stuff done! It’s actually DUE! It has to be TURNED IN! As a first time homeschool parent, this makes me feel a lot less pressured. And Ellie gets to have school swag. Which she loves.

Summer Reading

I’m sure y’all remember the Summer Reading Program at your public library? Kids compete to see who can read the most books during the month of June. It can get pretty heated*.

Princesses like to read too.  (Sorry, QUEENS.  That's Elsa's dress.)

Cynthia Rylant is the hands down favorite author. We’ve got a whole shelf just for her.

Ellie set herself a goal of 100 books and completed it in a week and a half. So we did some math, factored in camps and trips, and she set a new goal of 300 books by the end of the program.

Tent is from Ikea.  You can fit a lot of books in a tent.

The tent is from Ikea. You can fit a lot of books in a tent.

She read 345 (partially because I numbered an entire page wrong and she had more on the list than she thought she did).

Ellie not only won her category (2nd grade girls) but she also won the medal for Top Overall Reader by about twice as many as the next highest reader!

It's fancy and ENGRAVED!  oooOOOooo

It’s fancy and ENGRAVED! oooOOOooo

The best part (for me) is that she didn’t spend a whole lot more time reading than she usually does, she just chose “short books” instead of what she usually likes. Ellie says she is glad to be back to reading for fun and that she has retired from “Competitive Reading.” Other competitions would be OK.

*More about competitive academics another time.