Where did the week go?

I just noticed that my last post was a full week ago. I’m not sure we have done anything much this past week but here are a few things:

A little while ago I discovered, via a post on our local homeschooling network e-list, that someone Tigger knew when she was in school is now being homeschooled. We had lost touch with this family but I got in touch and we have met a couple of times. Last Thursday we went over to their house. Tigger and T. played together for ages and I caught up with the mom. We had them here yesterday and we again spent a very pleasurable few hours.

Like Tigger, T. seems to have some right brained learner tendencies. I’ve been able to share ideas and resources to help them out as they work out how to proceed. And the girls be doing a few activities together including a one day workshop at the War Museum in April and a geometry class that another mom has organized. We live in the same part of town, so we can also car pool.

I’ve started psyching myself up to do some paid work. The consulting work that I do comes in waves and one of those is in the spring. I bought 3 plane tickets the other day and I have two clients still to confirm dates. It looks like I’ll be away for a couple of days of every week in May. I’m getting everything ready now. One new client is a francophone institution so I’ve been busy translating some of my materials. I really detest translation. I speak 2 languages but translate between them badly. Also my written French is nowhere near as good as my oral French. So it has been slow going. I have some good tools and Mat has agreed to edit it.

Tigger has been reading Agatha Christie with her dad in the evening but we’ve managed to squeeze in another book together during the day. Alma by William Bell is a wonderful story of a young girl who loves to write. It’s main themes are friendship and honesty. And the female characters are strong and realistic. I highly recommend it. There is even a dig at the way school writing assignments can devalue good writing.

The last couple of days we have been watching Not For Ourselves Alone a PBS documentary about Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony and the women’s suffrage movement in the US. It is really well done and we are both enjoying it and learning a lot. The documentary makes the links between the women’s movement and the abolitionist movement very clear (many women were active in both). It also clearly sets out the status of women in the mid-19th century, something it is too easy to forget. It was because of the campaigning of Stanton, Anthony and others that the first Married Women’s Property Acts were passed. Prior to these married women did not have the right to own property nor to keep their own wages. If they worked for wages, those wages legally belonged to their husbands. The complexity of the political issues is also evident. I would highly recommend this DVD to anyone studying this period in American history, or with an interest in the history of women’s movements and women’s rights.

On Becky’s recommendation (in a private e-mail), we have also watched The Plow that Broke the Plains and The River, released last year on DVD and found in my local public library. This linked in with the work we did on the Dust Bowl last year. These two films are also excellent for demonstrating some of the history of human impact on the environment. Both films make it clear that humans bear a lot of responsibility for “natural” disasters. The style of film-making is very different from the kinds of documentaries we are used to today but compelling in its own way. We didn’t watch the extra material but it looked like it might be interesting.

I also started a 3 week block with our little homeschool group (5 families; 9 kids aged 8-12) on infectious diseases. I have found some fun resources on that and will be doing a separate post at some point. My biggest worry was getting the level of the material and the amount I could cover in an hour right. It seemed to be fine. Although most of them had been introduced to some of the material before, none of them seemed to mind. It also meant that I could basically lead a discussion based on my outline with the kids filling in a lot of the material. I showed them an animated movie about the immune system on Brain Pop (and later decided to subscribe) and gave them an experiment to do and report on next week. Then they got to play together for about an hour before their parents came for them (which is our goal — a bit of learning, a bit of play).

Although it feels very dull around here, I guess there is a lot going on.

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