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End of year thoughts

The end of a calendar year is always a time for me to reflect, reassess and think ahead. Some thoughts about where we’re at and where we’re heading.

Erin (10) has agreed to start working at formal math again, after a break of almost a year. She’s been browsing through Singapore’s NMC 1 with interest, and I have Geometer’s Sketchpad software at the ready for her for where it intersects with the NMC curriculum. She continues to dabble in lots of academic areas informally, so aside from trying to prod her forth to fill in some of the holes in her music theory knowledge, I’m going to leave her to her own devices. She continues to read and write lots of fiction, is reading “Cartoon History of the Universe”, is doing some musical composing, dabbling in Latin, and all sorts of gratifyingly academic things. And after almost 11 long years, she’s becoming an easier kid to parent. Ahhhhh…..

Noah (8) has had a tough fall. His confidence has really sunk … partly because of being in the shadow of his precocious-and-petite sisters, and partly because his perfectionism gets in the way of giving things a good try. We’ve backed way off in his areas of more formal study, setting aside new Suzuki viola repertoire (he’s at the end of Book 3), Singapore Math 3A and Royal Conservatory Grade 1&2 piano. We are working on ‘enrichment’ stuff at an easier level. My first inclination when he hit this bump was to work co-operatively with him to find solutions, but I gradually discovered that he was interpreting that as “mom doesn’t know how to get me past this either.” For now he needs to catch a ride on my confidence, so I’m taking the lead, telling him I know he’ll get past it, and here’s how. We’re structuring three short snippets of one-on-one learning time together every day (one for viola, one for piano and one for math games or reading to each other) and so far he’s enjoying what we’re doing and seems much more optimistic.

Sophie (newly 6) has taken a big leap on violin in the past couple of months and is asking (again, and persistently) for piano lessons. That may be her new foray for the New Year; we’ll be talking to our piano teacher about that possibility next week. She’ll probably continue eagerly but slowly devouring Singapore PM 2.

Fiona (23 months) is singing a couple of dozen Suzuki violin tunes beautifully on pitch. She counts aloud to 11, counts objects to 4, recognizes a few letters and has been out of diapers for almost a year now. Her new learning materials for the New Year are some washable felt-tip pens, a huge spiral notebook of blank paper and a tub of playdough. And (no kidding) ice skates.

Other family forays include our outdoor skating rink, our continued reading aloud of “the Story of Canada” and watching the documentary series “Canada: A People’s History”, lots of painting with acrylics and watercolours, and our efforts to get the GRUBS enviro/gardening club really off the ground.






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