Sunday, March 15, 2015

Allegories, TIME and The Prom!

Allegories (Film Study)

We have been studying allegories in our film study.  Each of the girls researched movies that are thought to be allegorical or have good examples of allegories.  Allie picked The Shining--(of course! She has been begging to watch this and I've had mixed feelings, but I DID see it when I was her age and she has seen other scary movies and of course, it is really a good choice in studying allegory) and Piper picked The Wizard of Oz.  I struggled with having the girls research the theories of allegory in the movie BEFORE or AFTER watching the movie.  I ended up deciding to have them research the symbols and theories BEFORE watching the film (in Piper's case she had already seen the film before).  Both girls were really interested in this project so they took PAGES and PAGES of good notes.  Then we watched the movies together.  After watching the movies, the girls thought about their feelings/reactions to the film, they looked over their notes and thought about which things they agreed with and why and which they disagreed with and why and which helped them gain a better understanding of the film or the message of the film.  We discussed their feelings about the film and the notes they had taken on the film.  Then they both wrote detailed papers about their feelings about the film and which allegories they agreed or disagreed with and why and which they felt furthered their understanding of the film.


Allie began reading from her Freshman Reading List.  Patty's relationship to Ruth in Summer of My German Soldier made Allie feel like reading The Help.  She has wanted to read this book for years, but I kind of wanted to save it until she was "just a little bit older".  There are a few things Allie likes to collect information on and the Civil Rights Movement is one of them, so she LOVING this book.  I  printed out this Literary Analysis and am still in the process of deciding how to use it, but I know I want to use it in one way or another with Allie.

Piper is not a reader.  This has been difficult for me because I love to read and Allie loves to read.  I am a firm believer that reading helps with writing, grammar, spelling, punctuation, putting thoughts in logical order and all kinds of things.  I have been relentless in trying to help Piper find books she will like and owe a big shout-out to my librarian friends who often alert me to books Piper might like. So far the only books she has REALLY liked are books by Lauren Myracle and now this book by Rainbow Rowell.  I am not having her read from an assigned list at this point, I am afraid that would make her really dislike reading.  I am allowing her to find books that she likes and just read them through.  We are discussing the book.  I am not sure what else I will have her do with the book, if anything.  I am just THRILLED when I see her reading on her own!

TIME for Passions

I have always been someone who needed time to do nothing.  Time to just be.  To reflect, to think, to sit and ponder.  My girls are much the same way.  Early on, I realized that filling our schedules with extracurriculars and outside classes left us all cranky because we needed time with nothing to do.  
When my girls were little, they used that time to play.  When they got older they used that time to construct elaborate houses for their American Girl dolls that took over the entire floor of their bedroom and included sinks made of boxes and straws and ramekins and refigerators constructed of shoeboxes and duct take and cardboard and food made of Sculpey.  Eventually they tried their hand at making stop motion videos and learning about video editing and voice-overs and things like that.  Allie has spent hours and hours reading and collecting facts about the two subjects that interest her most: civil rights and World War II.  Piper has spent hours and hours designing houses on Sims and has now ventured into software that architects and interior designers use (at her father's suggestion).  Allie now gets lost in front of her easel sketching still-lifes.  I have asked if they want classes, but all they want is TIME to do these things.  They tell me that if there is something they have trouble with, they Google it or youtube it and figure it out.  I think this is cool.  This is natural learning.  This is a skill that they will need in life: learning how to find the information you need, practicing at something to get better at it.  I am so proud of them for this.  None of this would be possible without giving them TIME to pursue these interests on their own.

Homeschool Prom

Allie is going to the homeschool prom this year!!  Every homeschooler over 13 is invited to purchase a ticket to the Homeschool prom, but we had made the decision to wait until high school for the prom.  I honestly do not feel that my girls have missed out on very many of the really good and important high school experiences.  Weekly e-cubed meetings provide an opportunity to learn in a group, hang out, be kids, learn from each other.  Allie has been to the Masquerade Ball two years in a row (and it will probably be something both girls attend through high school) and now she will go to the prom which is held down the shore very close to where my brother lives so I can drop her off and go hang out with my brother for a few hours and play Cards Against Humanity.  Win-Win!

My niece stayed with us a couple of weekends ago and we were determined to have a "Very Girly Weekend".  Piper shopped for her thirteenth birthday gift from her dad and I - Make-up!! and while we were out, we went to look for prom dresses and shoes for Allie.  The first dress she saw she loved.  I wasn't the biggest fan of it on the hanger, but once she put it on even I had to admit that it did look lovely on her!  I think my niece liked being part of the whole make-up and prom dress shopping and it was nice for the girls to share those memories with their cousin!

Other Stuff


Allie is working on polynomials.  Every day when I look at her work, I am so happy that we have a computer program that she seems to like (as much as she is ever going to like math) and that works for her because the further she gets into this stuff, the more I realize I can not help her with it.  I did sit in on some lessons recently and I have to say that Teaching Textbooks style is very simple and it makes sense.  They take things apart and they teach just one part of it in each lesson.  I really appreciate the simplicity.

Piper has been whizzing through decimals, which she understands much better than fractions.  


Jason has been working with the girls on Chapter 5, dissolving solids.  They talk about it at dinner sometimes.  I really appreciate how when you homeschool the lessons just become part of your family life and are discussed often and frequently, which I think must cement concepts in.


I am counting the papers the girls wrote about theories of allegory in their chosen film for writing (the movie watching, discussion and research on theories of allegory in the film as Film Study, but the paper is writing).  We have also been using a lot of informal journal writing prompts as part of our morning exercise.  I am not grading these or even looking at them unless the girls give me permission, it is more about flow and getting the ideas out and learning about the fluidity of writing.


Working on the root: Multi


This fell off our schedule this week.  Two whole days were spent watching movies, discussing allegories and writing and editing papers.  I always berate myself for failing to get something done, BUT I am trying to work on that.  We got in a zone with the movies and allegories and it WAS a good use of our time.  We can make up for it with Italian next week.

Cooking & Baking 

Allie made coconut red lentil soup for dinner one night.

E-Cubed & Pottery

Piper finished pottery, she decided NOT to continue but to join e-cubed instead (there is a time overlap which would make doing both unproductive).  

Dog Walking 

The girls continue with their dog walking business.  This gives them their own money, half of which goes into the bank.  The girls have saved their money to buy themselves things that they want.  The other day the girls asked me to take them to see the movie Duff.  Allie has read the book and loved it, so despite the fact that I abhor every single thing about movie theaters and would WAY rather wait for the DVD and lay cozily on my couch eating organic popcorn popped in coconut oil, I was very tempted.  I asked the girls if maybe they would like to do this with friends (whew!  I get out of smelling the smells and hearing the food sounds and having to try to figure out when a good time to go the bathroom is) the girls first question was, "Will we have to pay for it?"  I shrugged.  "I don't know.  I didn't think about that.  Would you not want to spend your money on that?"  They didn't even have to think about it, they both said they would rather wait for the DVD if they had to spend their own money on it.  "Hmmm, well then why would I want to spend my money on it?"  I asked.  "Because you are our mom and you are supposed to spend money so we can do stuff like this,"  they told me.  Sure, I definitely have responsibility to supporting my kids, but I am not sure if that means movies are a necessary item for my budget.  Clothing, shelter, food are all necessary; classes and lessons and books are necessary since we homeschool, but movies?  Movies, to my mind, fall under the category of luxury items.  I explained this to them.  I also explained that I only have a finite amount of money, it's not endless, so if I spend money on one thing, I may not have it for something else.  "What if I gave you the choice between going out to eat or going to the movies, what would you pick?"  I asked them.  "Well, we can watch the movie on DVD for a dollar or even free if you get it at the library, I mean we would have to wait for it, but we can't make food like they do at Uproot,"  Allie decided.  "Could we get fro-yo?"  Piper asked.