Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Week 4: Isaac and Jacob and a lot of catching up. . .

Tap/Ballet Class
Well, another week has come and gone and I'm here blogging about it on Tuesday of the following week.  I feel like this past school week was so crazy and smashed together I almost thought about not blogging it.  Tuesday night was the first Booster Club Meeting for the parents in my Choir program and it put a bit of a wrench in our schedule, so several of the days melted into one and you'll find that several of our pictures from the week have Claire doing all the activities in the same outfit. . . this is because for a day or two I was putting plans for two or even three days into one.  It worked out fine, but the veteran teacher in me feels terribly guilty about it.  But then I'm reminded of why I'm doing this in the first place, to give my child and myself freedom and flexibility in our learning (among other things, of course) and I stop feeling so bad.  

 Somewhat homeschool related this week- Claire started her second week of the Fall Semester of her Tap/Ballet Class at To the Pointe Productions.  The class is adorable.  Six or seven of the funniest three and four year old little girls tapping around the studio and then halfway through they all bound out the door, into the waiting area to get their ballet shoes only to run back to the classroom ready for more.  The girls, when waiting for their turn, are usually talking, sitting on the floor, twirling around or lying on the floor kicking their legs into the air.  It's incredibly lady-like. But she's loving it, even if she, thus far, dances like a, er, three year old.
I went back and forth with my decision to put Claire in the class, but seeing her dance around the house, at my rehearsals at school and listening to her beg for "ballerina" stories, I had to go for it.  I chose the studio because it's commitment to modesty and it's Christian roots (it's not, specifically, a Christian studio but it retains much of those values in performances and at recitals, so I'm told). If Claire decides to continue with dance over the next several years and into her teenage years, I'm not sure I'm real interested in taking her to a place where I have to, constantly, fight with instructors over what is appropriate.
So, for now, here we are.  Preschool dance parents.  She loves it and so far the other parents have been nice.  Ashlyn likes to walk up and down the long hall in the studio while sister dances for an hour.  At some point, it might be nice to be able to leave her for that hour and get some grocery shopping done (our supermarket is down the street) but for now, she needs help with her shoes. . . and it's incredibly entertaining to watch the class.

Isaac, Jacob and the Letter D
This week we told stories about Isaac meeting Rebekah, Jacob and Esau, Jacob's Dream, Jacob and Rachel, Jacob Wrestling with an Angel and Esau forgiving Jacob.  Now that I write this all out, maybe my feeling of the week getting crammed together was not just me but also the nature of the concepts brought up this week.  We talked a lot about traveling by camel (Isaac's servant travels to Rebekah, Jacob travels to Rachel, and Jacob travels to meet with Esau). And character traits like honesty (Jacob deceived his father and stole his brother's birthright), what a "blessing" from the Lord might be (this was brought up a few times, especially with Jacob) and forgiveness and what that might mean. . . all concepts and character qualities we'll have to continue to reinforce but ones, I believe, are never too early to bring up.

So this week we did a few activities surrounding the letter D.  I try not to get too hung up on her writing and am trying to focus more on the process.  For "D", it was "top to bottom, back to top and around to bottom."  She's shaky.  She's three.  But she likes writing her letters. Sometimes, I'll get a, "I not can!!!!"  To which I always say, "Try."  I've found that sometimes, when she thinks a task is too hard, she'll do it wrong to try and get out of it.  Example, if she's too nervous to write a letter for fear of messing up, she'll grab her pencil or crayon and hold to wrong, usually with two fists.  She'll look at me with a look that says, "Is she gonna buy it?!" I never do.  And, 90% of the time I can get her to try the letter and we yell and cheer when it's done.  Cue huge grin.  

 The crafty/art activity to go with one of the Bible Stories was also a writing activity.  After reading the story of Jacob deceiving his father to gain his brother's birthright, I write Claire's name with dots so she could trace her name. Then, she assignment was a color over her name.  Draw designs and scribbles so that her name was hidden by other colors.  Jacob deceived his father and said he was his brother, Esau, and hid who he really was.  

This time, with the giant letter D on the ground, Claire wanted to do Ballet over her letter.  Did I mention that she really, really loves that class? Then, (Yes, in the same day. Yes, this was supposed to be two separate days) Claire glued cotton balls to a "D" on a sheet of construction paper.  Great, but full, school day.

One story had to do with Jacob travelling a long way to meet Rachel.  We put long pieces of artists tape a opposite areas of the living room.  Claire jumped from one end as far as she could and then we taped down the distance she jumped.  Mommy joined in, too!  After jumping several times we picked which tape was furthest from the "Rachel Tape" the closest?  Etc.  Ashlyn joined in on this one, despite her inability to jump. :-)

This next activity went with Jacob wrestling with the Angel/God.  The yellow ball (remember the yellow ball?)  was supposed to be a balloon.  This might have been significantly easier with the balloon but it's what we had and she didn't seem to care anyway.  We threw the ball up in the air and she was supposed to catch and throw it back up.  After a while, I told her she could not use her legs. Only her arms.  She had to kneel and play the ball game.  It, obviously, got a lot harder.  We related this to the story of Jacob when the angel touched his leg and while they were wrestling we he could not use it much.

 Fingerpainting letters, remains one of Claire's very favorite things, so even if it's not listed in the book, I try to let her fingerpaint at least one thing during the week if there is time.
 And we've discovered Starfall.   Here is a game she played that showed a picture of the word and she had to complete the first letter.  We also played a little pumpkin decorating game as a treat after we did the word games (which she didn't realize was school anyway, so it was all just fun before bedtime!)

But one of my favorite homeschool adventures with Claire this week was during "Saturday School" :-)  I had to do a lot of things in my garden out in the backyard.  Too many plants were overgrown and needed some serious pruning.  I also needed to dig up a mint plant that was taking over (if you warned me beforehand, yes, you were right, I'm just slow at getting this sort of thing done).  Claire was determined to help.  I love how she loves the garden and being outside.  Both girls do, really.  It's such a joy to be out with them, since there's so, so much to see out there and learn from.  I want to continue to have them help me, no matter how "in the way" they seem since, someday, they won't be "in the way" and keeping them interested in "work" when they think it's "play" is something I want to keep up.  They are valuable in our home and loved beyond measure :-)

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