Starting November With A Bang
08 November 2014
So you may have noticed, we have a new student in Sweet Pea Academy. My pal Veronica asked me to school her 9-year-old daughter, Victoria, who was not having the greatest experience in public school. She has, perhaps, more faith in my abilities than I do. After a deep discussion with Rob, we decided to thumbs-up the idea and give it a go. Victoria joined us full-time this past Monday, November 3rd. We started with a pancake breakfast.
Usually, Rob makes the pancakes in Casa de Odette, but he's not feeling too well lately, so I took a turn. There is a reason I don't normally make them: I'm not the best at it. At all. And this time was no different. I burned half of them, and I don't make cool shapes like Mickey faces or their names or anything else. Nevertheless, everyone gamely ate pancakes aplenty, and then we started school.
The kids watching their daily Math-U-See lesson
On Tuesday, we visited the library for our weekly trip. The kids wanted nothing more than to read their selections when we returned home, so of course I let them before we got started on our next task.
Each of the kids is doing a swap with a homeschooling partner somewhere else in the country; this is our third month participating. Each month, a different theme is chosen. In our first month, only Sophia did a swap, and the theme was SPACE. The second month, all three of my kids swapped, and their theme was HABITAT. This month, the theme is BIOGRAPHY, and Victoria is joining us in that. All four kids, after a discussion about biography, chose to do their swaps autobiographically, so I took pictures of each of them to include in albums they are making about themselves.
Naturally, Chloe wanted to include a photo of her beloved Pepper in her autobiography album!
On Tuesday, before we got started with school, we had a Welcome party for Victoria. It was a surprise planned by Veronica and us after Sophia came up with the idea during our family meeting about her joining us. Victoria had no idea; she was completely shocked!
Veronica brought a pineapple upside-down cake she baked, which I love but didn't eat because I'm trying soooo hard to be good about eating healthy calories. But man, I wanted some!
Rob played along with Party Mode, wearing the hat and everything. He's such a trooper.
The look on Victoria's 3-year-old sister, Belen, cracked me up. She was like, "Um, no. Just... no."
Veronica is 37 weeks pregnant with baby #4, Melodie-Grace, due around Thanksgiving Day. We can't wait to meet her!
In homage to Victoria's Mexican heritage, I decided to make some simple Cinco de Mayo pinatas filled with - what else for this time of year? - Halloween candy. When Belen and the rest of the kids pulled a string, out fell the candy. Fun! And, I just knew there was a reason I was saving all those toilet paper rolls!
I made the pinatas; Chloe made the welcome banner you can kinda-sorta see in the first photo, and Sophia made the paper flowers that I apparently neglected to photograph. That's a shame, since they turned out so well.
We, uh, got just a little silly with paper hats. I swear I did not spike the punch!
Victoria insisted I get silly with them. I'm always happy to embarrass myself; why not?
I forget what Sophie was pretending to be here. She's always imagining something new and interesting; I wish I could record every moment of the child's life!
Before we sent Victoria's mom and sister home for the day so we could start our lessons, Belen got into the party hat fun, too. Yeah!
On Thursday, after several days of talking about the Tequesta, Ais, and Jaegas Indians of South Florida, we did a lab to demonstrate to the kids some of the ways in which these people lived. I sent the kids out on a scavenger hunt for sticks of various sizes, while I managed to score this huge fallen palm branch. I learned from an old Physics professor that, sometimes, to start things off, you need to "WOW" them in. When I hauled that giant branch into the living room in front of the kids, it was definitely a WOW moment!
I had gotten several sizes of sharks' teeth, as well as a variety of mollusk shells, over the past several weeks in preparation for this lab. My goal was to show the children that natives used these as tools to help create their dwellings, hunt for food, make clothing, and even make more tools.
Sophia really got into the whittling of this branch with the largest shark tooth.
Victoria started with a smaller shark tooth on a smaller branch.
Chloe got to work with an oyster shell on the great big palm branch I found, and she shaved off the outer "skin," realizing it could be used as lashing to tie together sticks and other materials for building purposes. Brilliant!
The shells could be used to carve out canoes, but obviously I didn't have a large enough piece of wood for that, so we practiced on tiny twigs.
Jack really enjoyed this lab. Even though he moaned and groaned, as he is wont to do, when I said we were doing a lab (who knew what that meant at the time?!), he was the first one to complain when I told them we were finished and had to clean up our materials. It's always that way with him!
So all in all, it was a pretty great week for Sweet Pea Academy. I think Victoria was just what we needed for a breath of fresh air in our daily lessons. With all our lessons, field trips, fun, and yes, meals, I still managed to get a ton of knitting done, and we were able to go get our passports ordered and then picked up for our trip to Mexico next week. Who needs sleep?!
Thanks for stopping by!