Beginner quilting lesson

Lily requested to sew with me, so we set out to learn some quilting skills. I set her up on my machine with the speed turned down and the 1/4″ foot on, and she did great!

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I helped by clipping (not pinning) the pieces together for her, and she just slow-and-steadied the whole quilt top.

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I helped with the actual quilting process, but the pride is still evident…

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She has plans for more!

My little Laura Ingalls

Lily and I have been reading the Little House series (in order…we’re currently on The Long Winter) and she is IN LOVE. So much so that she requested a “prairie photo shoot” and I was happy to oblige!

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We’re scheming up ideas of a Laura Ingalls road trip. Perhaps we’ll do Pepin, WI to Walnut Grove, MN to De Smet, SD. It’s fun to plan and daydream!

Fundraising for World Wildlife Fund

Lily has decided that she would like to collect donations for World Wildlife Fund. She is selling her artwork, and I created some listings on my old Etsy link). They are available for digital download, too. Here is a link to her fundraising page: tiny url.com/LilyWWF.

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SEVEN.

How in the world have seven years passed since this kid made me a mom. SEVEN YEARS. We’re solidly past pre-school age and very much have a kid. A real kid. A kid-aged kid that is all real and kid-like and not at all little or toddler-ish or tiny and OMG SEVEN YEARS OLD.

Celebrations were wonderful. We had a birthday party at our house for family, on her actually birthday we went to the Choo-Choo restaurant in town with friends for a birthday lunch delivered by train, and the following week we went to downtown Chicago for an American Girl store shopping spree with another friend. I think she had a great time ūüôā

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Lily’s first ballet recital

Lily had her very first ballet recital this past weekend and the show nearly killed us all with the levels of cuteness. The recital included about 6 dances from 6 classes all with students ranging mostly from ages 3 to 5 (Lily turned 6 during the school year) and oh-my-goodness was it 30 minutes well spent.

Lily’s class danced to “My Favorite Things” from The Sound of Music. She has been practicing her recital dance since they started the routine this winter–asking for me to play the song so she could go over the steps.

Arabesque, pirouette, jet√©, demi-pli√©, relev√©…This kid loves practicing ballet at home. I don’t know if she’ll stick with it moving forward, but I’ve absolutely loved watching her this year.

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And here she is with Miss Maggie, her teacher, and it sort of breaks my heart a little because she just absolutely LOVES Miss Maggie and she only teaches the little ones.

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I hope another dance teacher like Miss Maggie comes into her life!

Age six, spring 2015

I’ve begun writing this in February, so there is once again a little¬†projecting here. She is about to turn 6, and I’ve always pretty much considered her “grade” to be matched with whatever age she is versus the school calendar, but I don’t really think it matters much. At age 6 she will¬†be “first grade” though technically if she were enrolled in out-of-the-home school that would begin in the fall.

We’ve strayed pretty far from curriculum these past few months, and I anticipate that continuing. Free play has taken a stronghold, and I love that she can express herself with toys and art supplies and dance and whatever else strikes her fancy. We’ve been keeping relatively busy with activities out of the house, and when she has a few free hours at home I really put value in them being free to play.

Reading

Her reading abilities have continued to improve naturally. There has been no real formal education in this regard, and she reads often for pleasure, pretty much whatever interests her. I’m curious to test some comprehension, perhaps, but at this point I simply enjoy how much she enjoys reading.

(Note for my own records: http://a2zhomeschooling.com/main_articles/reading_level_assessment/ – As of January 2015 she can read through about the 3rd/4th grade reading levels.)

Writing

She has recently begun to write more little notes here and there and has started to value how much handwriting is in fact important. We still own “Handwriting Without Tears, My Printing Book” and she will pull it out every now and again (if she does a page she says she has “earned a show on Netflix” so sure, why not? otherwise she doesn’t watch shows during the day with me). This doesn’t happen very often, and she knows how to form her letters without the book. Of course this still needs practice, sometimes they get flipped, and she still writes in mostly capitals, but I think she’s doing quite well in this area, especially given the lack of formal instruction. Once again, I don’t want to make it a chore, I like that she has been enjoying writing spontaneously. For example, right now she is writing a to-do list for our day while she eats breakfast.

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Since having picked up¬†Brave Writer – Jot It Down¬†we’ve sort of strayed from Tuesday Teatime. I would like to work it back into our routine, as well as me writing her spoken stories some more. I tend to lack the ability to just work it smoothly into our days and instead these ideas begin and end abruptly, which feels odd. I need to get better at this.

Math

I picked up a few Kumon books for fun, Grade 1 Word Problems and My Book of Telling Time. She will pick these up every now and again (once again to “earn a show”) and has no problem doing a page or two independently. She has continued to be on target for her age for math goals, so once again I am not pushing the formal instruction. Art and her “do math” sometimes in the evening together, and they both enjoy that time.

Science

She still LOVES the videos on KidsHealth.org, and nature class at the local nature sanctuary, and Magic School Bus science kits, snap circuits, Curiosity Hacked club, etc. Science has a way of just working its way into our daily life and I am happy to leave it at that for now.

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Art

Our homeschool group has continued to offer twice monthly art classes taught by a fellow homeschooling parent, and she of course has unlimited access to our plethora of supplies at home. Right now she seems to really enjoy a variety of how-to-draw books for animals, and coloring pages, and she makes things for her toys quite often too (signs for their houses, food for them to eat, etc.).

History

Still no formal education here. We talk about whatever comes up, read the random living history book from the library, thumb through our own world history books at home, and just generally answer any questions that arise. I’m not concerned at all with not doing any sort of organized anything here for a while.

Music

This kid loves music. She sings along in the car to the radio. She’s teaching herself piano on our electric keyboard (because I bought a beginner book thinking I could teach her, but nope…I am not a piano teacher). ¬†She loves her violin lessons on her adorable little 1/4 scale violin. She loves her ballet classes (and oh my goodness, her ballet recital is in April and her class will be dancing to Sound of Music’s “Favorite Things!”).

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Physical Education

Ballet also crosses over into a physical activity, which I love for her. This kid is active. My mom is always saying how different it is to watch her versus what I was like as a child. Lily also takes weekly swim lessons which has helped her swimming ability a TON, and we go to the park district’s homeschool open gym once a week so she can run around in a large space through the seasons that have crummy weather. We also have tried monthly homeschool ice skating a few times now.

Miscellaneous

And as if all those other activities weren’t enough, she also does Daisy Girl Scouts and 4-H Cloverbuds. The 4-H group meets during the day with other homeschoolers and so far has involved a lot of fun crafts and service projects. Girl Scouts is a troop of local girls that meets at the local elementary school, and we’re in the middle of cookie season currently. She enjoys both of these activities a lot!

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So, all in all, we’ve strayed from anything that resembles “traditional homeschooling”…not that I thought we’d ever totally go that direction in the first place. I enjoy where we are right now; she gets to do all of the fun out-of-the-house activities and classes that she loves, and she gets to enjoy her toys and free time at home reading and playing and creating as she pleases. I’m so excited to have a six-year-old so soon and to see what this year will bring!