April 7, 2009

Spring Musical Time

It's Spring Musical time around here. Meg and Missa are both in Willy Wonka, Jr. at our local theatre. Meg is the candyman/narrator, and Melissa is Mrs. Bucket, Charlie's mom. It's been a great show. This week they are doing school shows, which means kids come in for field trips. And since they are during the day, Missa has to miss some of her public schooling. That makes life a little more complicated, but it's working out OK.

Meg and Missa both get to wear wigs in this show.

Yesterday there were no shows to do (today there are two!), so Meg and I got to celebrate our birthday. Yes, 17 years ago I spent my birthday in labor. At first I wasn't too sure I wanted to share my birthday, but as time goes on, I see how special it is. I tell her she's my favorite birthday present, and because of her, I've had a princess birthday party every year! We just figured out that on my 50th, she'll be 21. We'll have to plan something spectacular.


Heather said...


And that is fabulous about the shows.

Kayla said...

Didn't realize you shared your birthday with Meg. That is special! I like the wig-thing the girls have going on, especially the pink one.

G.Dowell said...

Sorry Jena, the above comment was from me, not Kayla. I was accidentally logged into her account. Although I'm sure she would like the pink wig too.

Traci said...

Love the pictures! Happy Birthday to both of you! I had Emma on my dad's 60th birthday and I celebrated mine 3 days later.

Kat said...

My husband and a daughter share a birthday. It is something special. They do share a bond that is different. :) Looks like a fun show.

Anonymous said...

What a fun time for all of you...plays, birthdays, and princesses. What a way to start off spring!

JoVE said...

Happy Birthday to both of you.

Unknown said...

LOVE the wigs. I have a feeling that performing in shows is not too far in our future. Sophia seems to love being in the spotlight. It's a lot of work for parents too, right?

Happy birthday to both of you!

mothering4 said...

I stumbled onto your blog and am so enjoying all that you wrote. Thank you for sharing your tips. We had four children in five years and my oldest just turned eight last month. She starts 3rd grade next year. So now I must comply with PA's home education rules. I am filling out her first affidavit as we speak. My question is this: How do you fill out the required objectives for all the subjects that are required for a year you haven't taught yet- while "unschooling". The way I'm understanding it, you don't know what you are teaching until the child discovers something of interest that you want to explore. I know PA is one of the strictest states for home schooling. I had all these big dreams for homeschooling. I'd do all the things I didn't have time for when I taught in a traditional school. But the reality - laundry, cleaning, dr. appt., bills, toddlers to entertain, medical problems, etc. My research for homeschooling came down to blogs like yours. I have to admit, I am hooked on BJU's writing/and love Abeka's phonics, but also want to make school fun. We do field trips/cooking/bug farms/gardening etc. But I have too much free time for them when I have chores to do. (yes, they have chores, but not as long as mine...any help with that would be appreciated,too) I want to school BOTH ways !( I want the books AND creativity!) Am I setting myself up for failure? My husband has long hours, so some nights I find myself stressed by bedtime. (Maybe if I trade in my 2 year old...ha ha!) Thanks!

Jena said...

Hi Everyone! Thanks for the birthday wishes. Cathy, you asked about how much work it is for the parents to have kids in theater. It's a lot of time getting them there and bringing them home. If you live too far away, you might have to just sit and wait. That was my knitting time. :) But once they get a driver's license, it's a lot easier.

Mothering4, great questions! Since I don't know much about PA homeschooling law, I'm asking anyone out there to contribute some advice. Just off the cuff, I'd say to research what the objectives are in the public schools and put those down. Maybe your state homeschooling associations have some advice. Then as the year goes by, keep an eye on those objectives and record or keep examples of work/activities that cover those objectives, checking them off as you fulfill them. I know Heather (my first commenter here) successfully unschools in PA. She might be of some help, and she has a blog.

You CAN have books and creativity. The key is not to stress out your kids. You can have goals for them and objectives, but they don't have to know about it. :) And they don't have to be busy fulfilling them every hour of the day. Every couple of weeks, double check your objectives and give them some focused work if you need to, but relax. If they have a lot of free time, that's great. So much of learning comes from when we are bored and what we decide to do with ourselves. They need basic guidelines like don't hurt yourself or anyone else, and don't break things on purpose, and look for ways to be helpful (in other words, grow in love), so if they are being reminded of that, just let them go when you are too busy to give them attention.

I bet those objectives are not too cumbersome and you could probably do them all in one month out of the nine of a regular school year.

Jena said...

This is from Heather to mothering4:

You can word your affidavit very generally implying that you plan to cover all the general areas of education--which is bound to happen, and loosely describe your intent. Most school districts (especially if you are in a large one like we are) barely glance at them unless someone questions them about it. Other school districts are trickier. Keep your objectives loose, bound to be accomplished within the realm of unschooling but also things that the school district can't argue with. For instance you can say you intend to study American history through books, movies, projects, and field trips. (That would be VERY easy for us to do around here since my oldest LOVES biographies and is always reading about George Washington.)

I would suggest that you ask around in your area for an portfolio examiner who is not curriculum based and wants the state to butt out. We have some good ones in our area (Pittsburgh) who are all about keeping homeschooling families privacy and only giving the school districts as much as they actually insist on.
As far as portfolios go--that is easy--take LOTS of pictures, catch the kids doing educational things and learn to see the learning in EVERYTHING. Pretty soon you get to a point where tryng to figure out whether they are learning any math is easier than trying to find a time when they AREN'T learning.

About books and nonbooks:

We do it both ways--we "play" school sometimes and it is those times when I really "teach" and focus on something that I really want them to know but as soon as they are tired of "playing school" we are DONE. In general we spend tons of time reading aloud together (blocks and manipulatives are our friends when there is a two year old involved). The kids have access to all sorts of things, both things they are interested in and things they are not, and when they ask questions we make sure to be ready to discuss it (especially while doing chores--the kids LOVE one on one time when doing chores together.) And don't worry too much--pretty soon 2 year olds are 6 then 10 then all grown.

And a quick rundown of things I've used in the past:

chores, homemaking/baking/helping mom=home ec;
Bible/historical novel/biographies/Liberty's Kids or Nest Entertainment biographies/pretend play of historical things=history;
grocery shopping/baking/manipulatives/playing store/sharing cookies=math;exploring/nature walks/looking at field books/baking/researching interests/taking care of pets=science;
spending time together/dealing with arguments/dealing with hurt feelings/talking about dif cultures/etc=social studies;
Lots more but the kids need me so....get creative, you'll figure
it out. :)


Ruralmama said...

My dad and my husband share the same birthday and we always celebrate them together. I'm not sure if they'd like the princess motif though....lol.

Congratulations on the shows! My kids are addicted to that movie (the original).

Mothering4 said...

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! We just had a bon fire with the children and I practiced this way of teaching. I believe we always did it (because I'm a teacher, it does come naturally to put education in everything), but I never realized just how much we learn. My husband asked them to name all the colors they saw in the fire. Then I had them spell them. It led to homonyms/stars/ etc. They had a blast! I do stress out over school. I know I won't be able to get over the fear that they have to be doing everything that our church academy kids are doing. Thanks so much for taking the time to help. I know I am going to love reading more on your blog. I really want to find some ideas...that's the hardest part, I think. There are not enough hours in the day to come up with a great curriculum. How did you get over that fear? I'm so glad you were a teacher, too. Wasn't that a fear of yours? I heard a lady (very bright) tell me she is an awful speller and feels very uncomfortable in certain situations because her mom didn't do a good job homeschooling. PRESSURE! Great tip on teaching one on one! Thanks! With 4, it is something we ALL love! I bet if I make that the time they do their "paper" work, they'd grow to love it, just because they were having one on one with Mommy! You're great! My wheels are turning and I'm energized for the new year! Many Thanks!

Jena said...

I'm so glad you are feeling better about this. Great ideas around the bon fire!! Heather's blog is http://untraditionalhome.com/.

Don't let one person's comment about spelling discourage you. If she really wanted to learn to spell, she could. Meg didn't read until she was 10, has had very little formal spelling training, and is up to grade level.

Joyful Days said...

Happy birthday to you both. Love the girls costumes.


gina said...

Happy Birthday to both of you.

That show looks like fun- and how nice it is something the girls can do together.

Letitia said...

Happy Birthday. Looks like they love the shows. Great opportunities.

Enjoyed the previous entry, too. I have one that has always been strong willed and fiesty. When I would cry out to the Lord, He would just say, "Just love her." Sometimes I didn't know what that was supposed to look like. But, we just kept loving her, and kept plugging away with our talks, discipline, and happy, snuggly times. Eventually, we have started noticing a big change. Not 100% yet, but it's there, and it's significant, and I know we just have to keep plugging away....maybe until the day she leaves home!, but it will be worth it.

At A Hen's Pace said...

Oh, congrats to your two thespians on their leading roles! They look like they are having so much fun.


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