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November Unschooling Thread

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 

What's at the forefront of your unschooling right now? Anything new? Got any big plans? Small plans? What's interesting to your kid(s) these days? How was today? What did you do? 

post #2 of 26

We're starting a new project here.  A MAME cabinet.  I'm exciiiiited.

post #3 of 26
Thread Starter 

I haven't been posting *quite* as much.  Learning to ignore the computer when it's on (and it's on all day!)

 

We have still been watching a lot of television and playing with the computer, but having fun nonetheless.  Amongst other,more educational fare, we introduced the girls to Gilligan's Island.  (It's good to know that some things still are as good as you remember).  We've been staying home most days.  After weeks of good weather as barely any wind at all, the wind and rain have returned.  It's been nice having the rest of our "summer" since September saw over 10 inches of rain here--unheard of!

 

Both girls have kept busy, and the fighting is down some--though some days are worse than others, and getting into the car seems to bring on the grumpiness.  So I'm not much inclined to get them in the car.  

 

Everything is a bit of a blur, though.  I'm not keeping track of their days anymore.  DD1 is getting on the computer herself and reserving books and DVDs.  DD2 just turned 7 and she has been doing a lot of the bbc bitesize and falling asleep thinking of multiplication and division.  Both have been doing a lot of coloring and creating.  More gymnastics on the computer thanks to the world championship.  New games (Labyrinth--fabulous!) and toys to explore from dd2's birthday (lots of dragons!)

 

I've been looking for work.  Ugh.  The constant judgment and failure.  I have found what might be a regular housekeeping client, we'll see how it goes.  Getting ready to step up as poultry leader for our 4-H club, and baking 4 dozen muffins to sell to the guy over the hill who is having an open house for his sustainable tree farm.

 

Speaking of.... I woke up at 6am to start in on the muffins.  Time for some coffee :sip.

post #4 of 26

I feel like my life is less and less about unschooling and more about teenagers these days. My unschooler is 10, but what's consuming my time and energy lately is my own out-of-home stuff (music and medicine) -- which I no longer need to include her in since she's a home-alone kid these days -- and my teenagers' complicated lives. Dd10 is so self-sufficient that she just carries on quietly doing her stuff and kind of drops off my radar a bit. She's starting that peri-adolescent inward-turning that my other introverts seemed prone to, where she's happy to spend lots of time alone in her bedroom and her social urges have diminished. 

 

So what is she doing? Well, she's watching a lot of YouTube, listening to a lot of music. Reading. 

 

She's remodelled her bedroom in the past month. Scrapped the loft bed monolith that dh built fifteen years ago for the older two kids. Repainted, going from a mint-green baby nursery hue to a very sophisticated combination of grey-brown neutrals. She did about half the painting, which was great. Her plan is to use accents and decor in aqua and tomato red to add drama -- she takes a lot of interest in design and has put a lot of thought into all this. Many pinterest boards have been created. She put in a low twin bed and a small armchair, and is searching for a minimalist nightstand. She repurposed a small bureau which tucks into her closet, so the room, which is very small, no longer feels oppressed by furniture. It's bright and gives the kind of (false) impression of spaciousness that she wanted. 

 

All of which is making her happy to spend even more time hunkered down in her bedroom.  

 

She's cooking one family meal a week now. She's the only one home Tuesday afternoons, so she cooks for herself and her dad, who gets home at 6, and then the rest of us get home at 9 and eat the leftovers. Meal-cooking was one of her PBH projects. I think it's almost run its course, as it's become routine and pretty easy for her to cook a decent meal, and she will easily try out a new entree idea without feeling like it's a whole Project-with-a-capital-P endeavour. Her other PBH project, survival skills, has kind of gone on hiatus. Partly this is weather-related: this time of year it tends to hover just above the freezing mark and pour rain for days on end. Once the snow flies it'll be easier to get outside again, but probably we should try to be a bit more intentional about pursuing this area of interest. We did do a "Know Your Mushrooms" workshop three weeks ago, and learned to identify and prepare lobster, matsutake, chanterelle and gypsy mushrooms.

 

For out-of-home group stuff...

 

She got moved up into the intermediate developmental program at gymnastics. Non-competitive, but very much like a competitive program in terms of skills and expectations. A huge jump in challenge. She went from a 1-hour a week recreational class which she'd been doing for just over a year, where they were working on learning cartwheels and handstands, to a 2.5-hour class where most of the girls train 7.5 hours a week and can do front and back handsprings. She's improved her skills a ton in the past month and is loving it. She's the least advanced in terms of ability, but is starting to close the gap. I only wish we lived in the town where the gym is, instead of a 3-hour round trip away, as she would completely thrive in the 3-times-a-week full developmental program.

 

She also has weekly art classes with a bunch of mostly younger homeschoolers. She enjoys the art she gets to do at these -- the teacher is amazing and it's the perfect balance of open-endedness and guidance that allows her to stretch herself to more complex projects and ideas -- and she gets along well with the young kids taking on a lovely big-sister role. She has violin lessons (likes her teacher, but still struggles to practice regularly) and group classes where she's not the oldest but is the most advanced by far and finds it fairly tedious. And she has three hours of math classes at the local high school every week where she's the youngest but the most advanced. She's not a middle-of-the-pack fit in any of her group-learning activities, but she's situated on different ends of the spectrum in each environment. If she was always the oldest/youngest/most-advanced/least-advanced I'd be more concerned about finding a better fit. 

 

We're wrapping up our reporting to the umbrella school for Term 1. We had a bit of a struggle generating a writing sample. Earlier in the fall she'd said she wanted to work on her academic writing skills, so we'd promised her liaison teacher a novel study for Term 1. When it came time to do it, all the fun came out of it. I pushed a little, as it had been her idea in the first place, and in the end she did begrudgingly produce a few short answers and a bare-bones five-paragraph essay. But this is definitely not the direction I want to continue in. Nor does she. She has a good friend whom she writes lots of letters to, but that writing is too private for her to want to share as a "sample." The sample each term is not strictly necessary, but it makes our liaison teacher's job easier.

 

So we'll see about that, and we'll see where the PBH stuff goes.

 

Miranda

post #5 of 26

Nice to hear what you guys are up to.  SweetSilver, I know what you mean about the process of looking for job.  I just want to scream, "Just give me the freaking job and I will show you I can do it beyond your expectation!" lol.  But it doesn't work that way so on with the process ... ugh.  Miranda, what are your teens up to?  How do you feel now that you are on your last child of this, sometimes really intense, journey of homeschooling/unschooling?  

 

These days, it feels like my two spend a lot of time playing on the ipad.  They have found a bunch of games they like but their most favorites to date have been Where is My Water and Monster Physics.  It feels like they are on that constantly.  We have been watching Wild Kratts, Time Wrap Trio, some Square One TV, and others.  

 

My 5 year old is also going through this intense phase of imaginary play with her stuffed animals.  It has kind of exploded into dialogues and on going multi-participant conversations between her and her stuffed friends.  She constantly makes scenarios up and plays them out.  She sometimes includes me but mostly she is off on her own talking away in multiple voices and getting carried away to a world only she is privy to.  She has always been single minded in her interest.  So it is not surprising that she is pursuing this in an all consuming way.  She was this way about reading for part of September and October, just utterly obsessed.  Over the last week, she seems to have lost interest in reading more books and practicing. I think we were plateauing anyway and she needed to make a learning jump she may not be developmentally ready for.  So, letting it go for a while is for the best.  

 

My 7 year old continues to read tons.  I have not decided how to deal with bedtime and his desire to stay up reading until he just can't anymore.  Some days he is just exhausted from lack of sleep which makes those days unpleasant.  So, there needs to be balance there. We have been discussing to come up with a compromise but we have yet to reach a deal.  In the mean time, he stayed up last night and finished another book.  His ipad gaming has gone up significantly and he likes to compete with others on some of the Absolutist number games and tanagram puzzles.  He also spends a lot of time on the keyboard playing music.  He is really doing a great job there.  He seems to go to the keyboard every time he needs a break from something else.  He does it in passing and maybe play one song at a time but he does it often enough that it adds up to actual practice.  He also does his Singapore Math books (parent initiated -- a routine established by me but now he follows through on his own), works on spelling (self-initiated) and some writing (self-initiated).  We are pretty intentional about this.  

 

Both of them are taking art -- they spend about 4 hours a week out of the house for this.  They also take Taekwondo, twice a week for an hour each time.  So, that adds up to six hours of structured activities outside of the home.  We do have an informal soccer on the weekends but as winter sets in, it is becoming more sporadic.  Interestingly, with art, their personalities come out in their work.  My oldest is precise.  He wants to draw/paint exactly what he sees. He uses the eraser a lot and spends a lot of time trying to make the perfect copy of whatever it is he is doing.  He reproduces painstakingly.  The  younger one, on the other hand, hardly uses the eraser.  She is unafraid to make mistakes. Her hand is freer and takes quiet a bit of liberty.  While she will produce something similar to what was intended, she never tries to exactly reproduce.  Same house, different kids :)  I have often wondered in addition to the make up of each child's personality, if birth order has anything to do with it.  After all, the younger one is fully unschooled from the start and was in school for a very brief time while the oldest one went through the process of me trying to figure out what homeschooling meant for the family (which was probably stressful for him).  He also has spent a longer time (maybe a total of 9 months?) in the very strict Montessori style school before I pulled both out.  I pulled them out because he hated going to school so much.  Then we went through a phase of trying to home school in a structured manner (again brief but the experiment was on him since the younger one was too little).  All this is to say that my daughter has benefited from my experience of homeschooling her brother.  Anyway, just blabbing.  They both seem to be doing really well right now.  

 

As a family, we are trying to figure out where our next move is.  We are trying to figure out a way to hack life so that we can continue to do what we do and be comfortable financially without either parent having to work extended hours.  The time may have come to take some risks.  We shall see how that will unfold....  

post #6 of 26

My middle teens are in the midst of trying to point themselves towards their futures, in terms of post-secondary study, with no obvious answers for either of them, but a lot of research and applications and ground-work laying; they're coming close to mastering the necessary zen-like state of mind required to cope with the truly horrid social mileu at the local high school (I honestly don't know how they deal with it, but they seem to cope), both are navigating intense romantic relationships and trying to decide where their boundaries are at both physically and emotionally, they're dealing with a radically changed schooling format that has been lacking in appropriate feedback and support, and they're busy with choir trips, rehearsals, school trips, volleyball games and tournaments that always require 5-6 hours out of town... oh, and ds got suspended for not following rules on a school trip. And got his drivers' learners permit. And there's fund-raising for choir trips, for grad celebrations, for volleyball team, for outdoor ed. It's quite a ride, let me tell you!

 

Dd19 is in her third year in Montreal. She seems fine; don't hear from her much as she doesn't have internet at home. Same program as last year, just keeps rollicking along. Thinks she might be landing a job on a cruise ship with a music entertainment company next summer. Great pay, even better lifestyle! She was having some financial glitches, having trouble accessing her scholarship and educational savings money, so there was a lot of faxing and phoning from our end trying to unclog the pipeline. Definitely nothing she did wrong, just stupid bureaucracy at the hometown end of things. 

 

It's no wonder dd10 is kind of slipping through the cracks.

 

Miranda

post #7 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Emaye View Post
 

Interestingly, with art, their personalities come out in their work.  My oldest is precise.  He wants to draw/paint exactly what he sees. He uses the eraser a lot and spends a lot of time trying to make the perfect copy of whatever it is he is doing.  He reproduces painstakingly.  The  younger one, on the other hand, hardly uses the eraser.  She is unafraid to make mistakes. Her hand is freer and takes quiet a bit of liberty.  While she will produce something similar to what was intended, she never tries to exactly reproduce.  Same house, different kids :)  I have often wondered in addition to the make up of each child's personality, if birth order has anything to do with it.  After all, the younger one is fully unschooled from the start and was in school for a very brief time while the oldest one went through the process of me trying to figure out what homeschooling meant for the family (which was probably stressful for him).  He also has spent a longer time (maybe a total of 9 months?) in the very strict Montessori style school before I pulled both out.  I pulled them out because he hated going to school so much.  Then we went through a phase of trying to home school in a structured manner (again brief but the experiment was on him since the younger one was too little).  

 

It could very well be birth order, or more time in school.  Neither of our girls has spent time in any school environment, and they sound just like your kids.  My oldest is exacting.  My youngest is imprecise and unencumbered by perfection.  She is also more consistent and persistent, so that now her reading abilities are fairly close to her big sister's (and she reads a wide variety of books, unlike dd1) and her math skills are closing in fast.  

 

My oldest's personality can be frustrating some time (her resistance to anything new not of her own idea), but her head for facts is amazing, her public speaking skills (and the clear thinking that goes with it) are off the charts, and she is a natural born leader and organizer.  I think that her best assets are not going to be realized in childhood.

post #8 of 26
Thread Starter 

A couple of things about our unschooling have really pleased me recently.  One is the ample amount of time they have to reflect on things that interest them.  I'm amazed at what preoccupies their brains in those quiet moments.  They ask me questions about math and science.  They formulate experiments.  I always ask them what made them think of it, so we end up in a deeper conversation (I just wish this wouldn't happen at bedtime!)

 

So that's one: time for reflection without having to push it out of their brains to focus on something else.  

 

The next is the freedom to experiment wildly.  They come with all kinds of tests and experiments.  The experiments are nothing that any science curriculum would have in it, and some lead me to think "okaaaaay".  But the spirit of the scientific adventurer is there.  I have visions of young, rich men in centuries past allowed to dabble and play with science in their free time.  They've learned about the usefulness of controls--because they are old enough I can point out errors of logic.  Mythbusters has augmented with this adventure immensely--again, the spirit of science and exploration is forefront.  

 

The last is freedom to be wrong without judgment.  Schools are forever exalting scientists who were "wrong" for a good chunk of their careers (but ultimately successfull--natch), with the message being "don't be afraid of failure", yet the school system sets up children in direct opposition to this dreamy ideal.  Kids are chastised for being wrong *all the time* through grade structures.  My kids, playing on the computer or whatever, being wrong is nothing, just a chance to learn the correct answer or reformulate the experiment.  

 

Anyway, thanks for the soapbox.

post #9 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by SweetSilver View Post
 

The last is freedom to be wrong without judgment.  Schools are forever exalting scientists who were "wrong" for a good chunk of their careers (but ultimately successfull--natch), with the message being "don't be afraid of failure", yet the school system sets up children in direct opposition to this dreamy ideal.

 

While I agree with you about all the measuring and judging that goes on in school, I believe there's a really strong temperament factor at play here. My two eldest kids were born with a visceral aversion to mistakes. Having this tendency myself, I did everything I could from when they were babies to encourage free experimentation, revelling in the learning opportunities that were mistakes, playing games that encouraged mistake-making, joyfully sharing my own goof-ups and putting myself in situations where it was obvious I lacked mastery. Still I ended up with little kids who if they dropped something or made a mistake pronouncing a word, would deny that it had happened or claim that they had done so intentionally because of [insert some contrived preschooler 'logic']. At 7 ds would burst into tears when his piano teacher asked him the name of a note on the staff, when she really just wanted to know whether he knew, she wasn't testing or judging. At about the same age dd scampered alongside a public pool and the lifeguard said "hey, no running" in a cheerful voice, and she refused to show her face at the pool for four years thereafter due to mortification at having inadvertently made a mistake. 

 

My youngest child didn't get this gene, or whatever it is, and she is just like your girls. She greets mistakes as learning opportunities and has no fear of failure. 

 

Paradoxically, school's judgments and measuring sticks were actually really good for my perfectionists. Of course, they didn't go to school until adolescence, and I think that was really important. By then they had a pretty strong sense of what was important to them and what wasn't, and they didn't get trapped into focusing on grades and external accolades. What they discovered was that their own internal standards for perfection were far higher than what was commonly considered excellence. With regular daily exposure to others' imperfections, and to others dealing with imperfections, they began to be more accepting of their own.

 

Miranda

post #10 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by moominmamma View Post
 
 

My youngest child didn't get this gene, or whatever it is, and she is just like your girls. She greets mistakes as learning opportunities and has no fear of failure. 

 

Paradoxically, school's judgments and measuring sticks were actually really good for my perfectionists. Of course, they didn't go to school until adolescence, and I think that was really important. By then they had a pretty strong sense of what was important to them and what wasn't, and they didn't get trapped into focusing on grades and external accolades. What they discovered was that their own internal standards for perfection were far higher than what was commonly considered excellence. With regular daily exposure to others' imperfections, and to others dealing with imperfections, they began to be more accepting of their own.

 

Miranda

Ha!  Yes, it is very individual, and like I wrote earlier, dd1 is has much more perfectionist tendencies.  By contrast, dd2 revels in the freedom given to her to "be wrong" and make mistakes.  I guess my comment was leaning towards observing her in action than her sister.

 

The personality doesn't have a lot to do with exposure to school, though that is something.  I think school for young kids could make things worse, if you combine that personality with an ill-match in the classroom.  I fully expect dd1 to eventually enjoy the rigorous aspect of school one of these years.  I wish I leaned more towards her style, at least a balance.  I wonder whether I am supporting her love of precision and organization.  I think I have some of those tendencies, but I had nimble fingers growing up, and outpaced my peers in school at penmanship and drawing in the early grades.  DD1 has some fine motor difficulties I never had, and so her desire for perfection causes more frustration.  It makes her stubborn as well because she waits until she has a sense of some mastery before starting something.  At nearly 9yo, much of that is still developmental for sure, so it seems to work.  But I think she is missing out on the other side of it--practice-- that becomes increasingly important as she gets older.

 

Oh--what was I saying?  I'm on a ramble I guess.  Oh, yes, the judgment is often self-imposed.  I didn't mean to imply that the freedom to be wrong without judgment meant that kids never read judgment into what others say and expect.  Though I wish! 

 

ETA:  I think what I have a problem with is the mixed message that schools send about failure and mistakes, and also the potential for creating a problem in kids where one might not exist because of the entrenched, external "judgments" that are grades.  Not the parents and other adults who say that mistakes are OK and act on that, whether kids embrace the idea or not.  


Edited by SweetSilver - 11/3/13 at 12:09pm
post #11 of 26

Its funny, isn't it? My kids are all quite happy to make mistakes, actually, certainly when they are invested in the outcome they don't tend to see it as a problem. But my 8 year old is far, far more willing to pick herself up and try again after an unexpected setback. My 10 year old is much more likely to get overcome by frustration and throw the project to the corner of the room for a day. OTOH he is also the kid who will take himself off of a morning with a stack of cardboard, some LEDs and some yarn and come back late that night with some minecraft inspired creation, or to spend days reading, or whatever. My 8 year old is just more socially driven. The things she does for hours tend to be things that have some social payback. She'll play music for hours, refining it, playing one bar til its perfect-but only if there is a performance in sight. She'll motivated to be as good as she can be on her instruments-up to the point when she gets into the orchestra or band with lots of other kids her age, and then, while she still loves to play and does play, her motivation to practice slacks off (I think that's a totally legitimate goal btw). I think there are considerable strengths to both personalities, and what I'm noticing is that as they get older, both kids find ways to work with their own short term motivational forces to get the stuff done they want to get done.

post #12 of 26

Miranda, phew!  So much going on there.  It sounds like your kids are doing great :)  I hope everyone safely navigates the "intense" teenage love affairs! There can be some loaded situations there.  

 

As for temperament, I def. think environment can affect for worse or better what is already there by nature.  My kids were for sure born with their tendencies.  But, I am pretty sure I send mixed messages myself although I try not to and have gotten significantly better about my control issues when it comes to their education.  I think he is more sensitive to these messages than my daughter.  She, by nature, disregards what she doesn't agree with.  He wants and seeks approval so he picks up on the slights hint of criticism.  My parenting flaws affect my children very differently.  This is something I try to be conscious about.    

post #13 of 26
Thread Starter 

DD1 is getting a kick out of reserving her own materials on the library website.

 

DD2 is breathing math.  She corrected her dad today "no...50 times 20 is 1000!"  She just understood the concept about a month ago.

 

Both are learning to use the computer on their own.  And YouTube seems to be a little better about not "suggesting" videos of people pooping and worse, thankfully.  That site is a parental control nightmare.  I seem to remember a site that has a lot of silly animal videos, like they love to find, but is more family friendly.  Need to find that, but, oh brother, we do not need another excuse to stare at a screen right now.

 

Both are maxing out the KS1/Scottish Level one on bbc bitesize.  We haven't explored the next level much, but I think they like the format of the lower level, and they find the style of the next one less engaging.  They'll get bored of this one eventually, I think.  They like getting the answers wrong just to see what happens in the video.  I also think that they are not so much mastering and internalizing the concepts thoroughly as working with multiple choice very, very well.  It's also a bit of a cultural thing: the different accents, money systems ("they have a lot of coins!!"), and metric units.  

 

I do like that they are getting more comfortable with metric measurements.  When I was growing up, metric was sprung on us in the 5th grade (1978), and I was totally dismayed.  I didn't even know this system existed!  Now the girls are growing up more comfortably with both systems.  I just ordered a metric measuring tape for us.  I can't believe I couldn't just find one on the shelf!  

 

On a parental note:  I had informed dd2 that she was going to have to wipe her own butt when she turned seven.  I reminded her a month before, she told me to stop reminding, so I stopped.  Birthday arrived, I reminded her and she has discovered that it's not that hard (most of the time).  Phew!  I am such a pushover.... so unwilling to fight over little things, but this was a relief.  I've been mentioning it for a couple years, gave the ultimatum a few months ago.  She volunteered her 7th birthday as the Day.  Better late than never, I suppose?

 

We have been spending a lot of time at home.  We miss gymnastics, but the girls don't seem to mind spending their time here.  If anything, the mood has improved a fair bit.

post #14 of 26

Can I 'join'?? My son is still pretty little, he's only 3.5.

 

I've really enjoyed the responses though and seeing what all life has to offer for older kids!! That gives me a lot of exciting things to look forward to. I plan on continuing to read this! :)

 

Right now my son likes watching Dora the Explorer, and he's really into make believe conversations with his toys. He loves rockets, so the dialog often has to do with visiting Mars or the Moon and collecting rock samples. He also likes to help me cook and bake. And then of course playing with his Daddy outside and helping him work on whatever projects he has going on. He really enjoys counting... I think that is influenced by Dora- hey whatever works! :)

post #15 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by triscuit View Post
 

he's really into make believe conversations with his toys. He loves rockets, so the dialog often has to do with visiting Mars or the Moon and collecting rock samples

 

Aww, that's too sweet! I remember those days! 

 

Miranda

post #16 of 26

Life has been NUTS!

 

My Dad (who's older, and sickly as it is) hit a deer and flipped his car; broke some ribs, some external wounds but nothing too serious -- needless to say he's carless and I've been spending my weeks delivering him food, changing bandaids and caring for him with the kids...who are happy to visit him and harass his old cat. He was driving my MUMS car (they are seperated) so she's been carless and I've been helping her figure out insurance things, driving to get things from smashed car..than my brother was in the hospital, than my Grandma fell and I had to drive 3+ hours to get her. SO IVE BEEN BUSY! Not in a good way! Spending heaps of time making sure everyone is a-okay (which always falls to me..) I'm overwhelmed! 

 

November hopefully, will bring peace. We can do some of the things we haven't been able to do (crafts, adventures) in October and settle into our winter rhythm (more home centered) 

post #17 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mommariffic View Post
 

Life has been NUTS!

 

My Dad (who's older, and sickly as it is) hit a deer and flipped his car; broke some ribs, some external wounds but nothing too serious -- needless to say he's carless and I've been spending my weeks delivering him food, changing bandaids and caring for him with the kids...who are happy to visit him and harass his old cat. He was driving my MUMS car (they are seperated) so she's been carless and I've been helping her figure out insurance things, driving to get things from smashed car..than my brother was in the hospital, than my Grandma fell and I had to drive 3+ hours to get her. SO IVE BEEN BUSY! Not in a good way! Spending heaps of time making sure everyone is a-okay (which always falls to me..) I'm overwhelmed! 

 

Oh, man!  And for all this to happen at the same time...  Hugs, mama. :Hug

post #18 of 26

I'm sorry mommariffic!!! That is a lot to deal with at once! Hope everyone gets all healed up quick.

post #19 of 26
Thread Starter 

I'm finally getting dd1 to start getting a little crafty.  She has resisted a lot of stuff at home--not disliking it, just not wanting to do it, though she loved it at the Waldorf Winter Faire every year.

 

Well, dd2 has been sewing and they had done some clothespin dolls from my scrap box.  DD1 had found a wool felt ornament in the shape of a stocking she had stitched years ago, and I guess she was impressed with herself.  Then I coordinated a Veteran's Day/Remembrance Day pin activity for their Girl Scout troop (poly felt poppies and yellow felt "ribbons" fixed with little buttons).  There was a flurry of creation, and only one girl chose to do the pins as I designed them, but it was fun.  

 

With all the extra felt, dd decided to stitch our cat a stocking.  She made a template (I insist on templates!) and traced and cut it out and stitched the edges.  

 

But the days have been hard.  The girls are starting to drift their own ways, and they have always been a bit selfish playing together, so they are fighting a lot, and now it isn't just "she's not giving me my way", it's "she won't let me do it and she never plays with me/she doesn't like me anymore".  There is some mourning I see.  

 

After giving dd1 (almost 9!) a scolding for throwing something (twice!) at dd2, we talked about the situation.  I know what's happening somewhat.  I gave her my solemn promise that if she wants, if dd2 won't play then she can come to me and we will do a project together unless I absolutely can't and then she can join me.  I've never dedicated this promise to her so directly, so simply, and I think it helped.  She still sulked today, but was intent on finishing the stocking.  

 

Then I tried to get her interested (yet again) in friendship bands.  Why am I so intent on making something (crafts/music, etc)?  Because I think if she looks down at something she made with her own hands she can get her head up out of its shell, start thinking "I can do this" and move beyond her sister.  Fill her life with a purpose that she defines for herself so she is not tied to the whims of a 7yo.  Anyway, just looking at the book didn't help as much as digging through the embroidery floss (I love having stuff sitting around!)  Looking at all the saturated colors and soothing, shimmery tones makes my own heart leap.  Tying a friendship bracelet is a simple thing, and taught to me in a way that makes it seem simpler still.  So, I get that tricky first row started, and she is now doing it on her own and grooving on the colors as they combine and divide.  Mama thinks this is a good activity to help her with her nimbleness (always a struggle).  Hopefully a good beginning.

 

DD2 has been dedicated to building a crazy-brilliant-creative structure for her new stuffed owl Hedwig.  I see a cardboard box, paper, tape, straws, feathers, rhinestone stickers, pipe cleaners, scarves, a flashlight, a scrap of wool, a pencil and a homemade feeding schedule.  Did I say I like having stuff lying around?

 

The girls are still breathing math.  We haven't been trying too many new concepts, but they are getting the chance to find mathematical relationships in everyday things, and learning to formulate simple equations to estimate, say, how many weeks Christmas is away if I said it was--what?--I think I said 40 days or so.

 

4-H started up, and dd1 stepped right up to suggest a Christmas craft.  The girl is fearless speaking in front of groups.  Gymnastics is starting again tomorrow, returning us to a sense of normalcy.  We are, as usual, oscillating between great fun and deep emotions.  But this time, I see my oldest starting to find a way to cope with her frustration and sadness.  Something that will hopefully make her forget about throwing stuff at her sister on of these decades.

post #20 of 26

@SweetSilver - Sounds like a lot going on! That sounds fun though- getting crafty!! I need to look up clothespin dolls- just acquired a bunch of clothespins because we are running out. I am actually trying to get to where I AM leaving stuff like that around for my son to explore- I used to panic over the messes and him getting things all over the place. Anyway, back to your girls (do you have other children?) I hope that cooperation between the two comes back around for them :D. How long have they/you been involved with Girl Scouts? I did that when I was a girl and had so much fun and learned so many new things! I also LOVE the box for Hedwig- hope it turns out to her satisfaction.

 

I was actually going to get on and see if anyone else had such nice weather today? We had very unseasonably bright & warm day- had to go find my chacos and shorts!! DS was outside pants-less in his water table and he had a blast. Then I did bust out the craft box and we made a butterfly with glitter and googly eyes. DS doesn't have the confidence to try to start messing with some of the supplies himself but it's fun anyway.

 

Did you say we only have 40 days left until Christmas.... ack!!! :nut I need to get going. I usually order my yearly grandparents desk calendar at the end of the month and I haven't even started working on that. 

 

What are plans for Thanksgiving this year among this group? :yum

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