May 19, 2013

Bird's-eye View of the Week: From Ballet to Bugs to Australia

Degas never envisioned this.
   So I'm sitting in a small classroom overflowing with estrogen effusing from the pores (if that is possible) of almost two dozen young teen girls. They are waiting their turns to be on-stage for their respective dances in the romantic-comedic ballet, "Copellia" or the second act, "Let's Go to the Movies."

     There is really nothing cuter or funnier or more ironic than the antics that occur in the dressing room of a ballet performance. The lithesome beauties you see floating in synchrony across the stage in swirls of pastel evanescence devolve backstage into bowls full of giggling jello, generously dosed with bursts of purposeless energy, with punctuations of loud announcements of sudden crises ("I've LOST my BLACK RIBBON!!!!!!") Currently, while clouds of lemon yellow tulle await the call to the stage, they have decided that doing improv in a British/Aussie accent is the epitome of cleverness. Ten hours of confinement might do that to a twelve-year-old. Others are simply making the air unbreathe-able either with hairspray or their own body odors. While looking like they stepped out of Mozart's Baroque Germany in their Easter egg velvet and sequins, they are texting or posting on their phones, or simply demonstrating their ability to burp on command. Such loveliness.
Grace in false eyelashes: Mei as a Pink Lady in "Grease"
Such grace.
   Our week has been dominated by fretful shopping trips for false eyelashes and flaming red lipstick, school on theater floors, and  hair gel. Lots of hair gel. And fast food. yuck. Glad we've got that behind us. But we'll miss the costumes, music, and yes, the giggles. Ah, well. Nutcracker auditions will be here in three months.   
   There WERE other happenings this week that didn't involve theatrics. Mei made progress on her American History scrapbook. I'm pushing to get through the Revolution, or at least 1776, in advance of our trip to Philly in two weeks. She really enjoys working on it with all the papers, tools, and pens. But it also is successfully showcasing her knowledge of events in a way that is much more Charlotte Mason and much less standardized testing.
Stowaway by Karen Hesse
   I added in an Australia lapbook as well. The Land Down Under was a geographical focal point for our year coinciding with our reading of  "Stowaway," an account of Captain Cook's voyage through the eyes of a 12-year-old crewman. I settled on the Australia lapbook by "A Journey Through". It covered

No rules. Just-right type lapbook.
all the key points (geography, climate, people groups, languages, foods, customs, holidays, etc.), but doable in about 2-3 weeks, just what we have left. There were plenty of other good lapbook choices, but our time was limited. Should I have planned better and started earlier? Yeah, lesson learned. Even after 10 years of homeschooling.

   I made a few slight adjustments. I printed a better map from Uncle Josh's Outline Map Book and had Mei label it.  Enchanted provided the labeling key along with a coloring page for the flag. In addition, they had an Australia tab-book that I printed in booklet format to slip into a pocket we'll add to the lapbook. The  tab book ("tab" as in subject tab) covered a lot of subjects in detail and included a page on the Great Barrier Reef, something that A Journey Through Learning shockingly left out! I've kept a paid account at Enchanted Learning for five years now and have never regretted it.

    We also were delighted with the hatching of our Preying Mantis egg case! And the best part was being there when it happened!! It was sitting on the table in our school/sunroom where it had been soaking up rays for a few weeks now. I had begun to wonder if it was maybe an old, empty case. While reviewing the schedule for the day, I stopped in mid-sentence, exclaimed "OH" quite loudly, enough to alarm Mei, and dropped everything for the next two hours. In the end, over 100 little mantids were hatched. I agreed to keeping a couple of them, and the rest were sprinkled over the hedges where we tried to avoid as many spider webs as we could. Mei researched the challenge of feeding an insect that is smaller than your fingernail, and since then, we have lost one to cannibalism, and one to drowning, but the remaining one enjoys gazing out the bay window waiting for his/her  half-dozen ants and juvenile earwigs to drop in.

    Although we're still getting an inordinate ratio of dreary, gray days to sunny ones, we're finally enjoying coatless-ness and green-ness. Summer's American start-date comes this weekend (Memorial Day) and we're ready. Thanks be to God for leading us to the end of another school year!

Got Summer Plans? Got Preying Mantis advice? Tell Mother All About It!

Enjoy more end-of-the-week antics at the following homeschool hang-outs: Collage FridayHomeschool Mother's Journal, and Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers. Thanks for hosting, ladies!

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  1. What a busy-fun week!
    We did the praying mantis thing one time. Honestly they rather creeped me out, especially once I learned they are related to cockroaches. {shudder} My dog was the one who noticed they hatched, and we released most of them because we'd read they were bad about cannibalism. We kept a few and tried to feed them by putting plant stalks covered in aphids, but they all died. :(

  2. Thanks for sharing about the cockroach connection, NOT :-D! Oh, well, crabs are related to spiders and this Maryland girl never turned down a steamed hardshell with Old Bay on account of its relatives! Thanks for stopping by!


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