Archive for the ‘latin’ Category

Crochet lessons

January 9, 2012

I had been thinking of teaching Pearl, and possibly Fainjin, to crochet these school holidays.  They both seemed interested, and I thought it might be a fun thing to do one wet afternoon.

I hadn’t quite got around to it, but Pearl beat me to it.  She has obviously reached her limit when it comes to doing “nothing much” – or nothing much that requires actual thinking.  She had been reading a lot, and playing with her siblings, but in the last few days she has dusted off the Latin books and busied herself with translating some texts, and started asking me to teach her to crochet.

I started her off yesterday evening with a simple chain, using my largest hook and some bulky wool, and she chain-stitched away, unpicking it and starting over several times until it was even and a good tension.  She was very pleased to realise she could crochet and watch tv at the same time!

Soon enough I was able to show her a single-crochet stitch (or maybe double crochet, I use so many American patterns I forget which name is American and which the rest of the world uses!).  Today she practised more chains, over and over, then did several rows of single crochet.  Her little ball of wool is starting to get quite fuzzy from being re-crocheted all the time.  I’ll have to find her some more out of my stash.

At the rate she’s going, she may well have made herself a blanket by the time school goes back!

© UpsideBackwards 2012.

February? Already?

February 1, 2011

School starts tomorrow.  I am almost as disappointed as Pearl is, we have had a great 3 weeks together with our walking and sewing and cafe lunches.  We jogged in the mornings… well, some mornings, anyway.  And we did go for a long walk at least once a week.  She did actually tidy her bedroom, and we did some maths every day (sometimes under protest: “Mum, I can’t believe you actually like maths.  You are so weird!”)  We didn’t get much Latin done, but there’s plenty of time for that.

What else was on our list?  Movies – we saw Tangled, and both enjoyed it.  She has just won tickets to Secretariat, we know nothing about it except that it’s about a race-horse, that’s enough for her and she is happy.  She’s quite good at winning movie tickets – last year it was The Princess and The Frog.  We went to the planetarium, but only once, and she had a ball at “craft camp”, making several gifts for family birthdays coming up.

The house is reasonably clean, and we spent a few afternoons lazing around eating ice-cream and reading the books we brought home from the library in huge quantities.

I think we can call January a success.  Let’s see how tomorrow morning goes…

© UpsideBackwards 2011.

Boundless energy

January 11, 2011

Pearl and I ran again this morning, both of us complaining mildly but still doing it.  Well, we walked quite a bit too.

Then we came home, cleaned up the kitchen, did some maths worksheets, revised some Latin, packed drinks and muesli bars, and headed out again.  “Can I take my scooter?” she asked, and looked happily surprised when I said yes.

We walked and scooted down to the beach, scanned the horizon for whales and other interesting things (just a few fishing boats), then carried on around the coast.  After about 45 minutes, we stopped at some handy park benches and ate the muesli bars.  I never noticed just how long Pearl can make a muesli bar last.

We carried on again, and eventually came to a cafe at just the right time for lunch.  Unfortunately, so did everyone else, and there were no seats to be had.  So we carried on again.  We made it to another cafe for a late lunch, footsore and weary.  By now we were in another village altogether, having walked about two hours, but within two bus rides home.  We gathered up a chocolate muffin for afternoon tea, and resolved to spend the afternoon reading our books and doing little else at home.  Before finding the bus stop, we wandered into a children’s bookshop to have a look around.

One of Pearl’s school friends just happened to be there too, and her Mum offered us a ride home.  We gratefully accepted, and before we knew it, Pearl was invited to spend the rest of the afternoon with them.  Forgetting her resolution to relax and unwind, she eagerly accepted, and headed off for a few hours bouncing on their trampoline and running around their yard.

I don’t know how she does it.  I’m especially astonished that she didn’t just fall asleep tonight – we had to tell her to settle down well after 10pm!

© UpsideBackwards 2011.

Holiday planning

January 6, 2011

From Monday, Pearl and I will have three weeks of “big girl time”, after The Dad returns to work and the little ones to daycare, and before school starts for the year.  It’s our habit to make a list of things we want to do and see during the holidays, so that we don’t forget anything.  Also, there are brainless days where we can’t remember what we wanted to do, so it helps to have things written down.

Our lists are a little different.  Mine has lots of cleaning on it – not so much a “want to” as a “must do” list.  I tried to put “tidy bedroom” on her list, but I suspect it will drop off the bottom somehow.  Hers has movies and playdates on it.  We both want to go to the library and to see the planetarium’s new show (voiced by David Tennant!).  I have a list of quilts that “need” to be made; she wants to go to craft camp again (that could fit in quite nicely).  I think we should try to go for a long-ish walk about once a week; she wants to work on some maths worksheets and do more Latin.

I’m hoping we can make the three weeks a good balance of activity and sloth, brain-time and down-time, creative pursuits and enough cleaning that I can go back to work in February with a sense of accomplishment.

© UpsideBackwards 2011.

End of term, end of year

December 18, 2010

So, that’s that then.  School year 2010 is over.

Pearl will be in Year 4 next year, “Standard 2” for old people like me who still need to translate into the old NZ school system.  I have fond memories of Std 2, I had an excellent teacher (all my primary school teachers were outstanding, I was extremely lucky) and a great group of friends.  I hope Pearl will have a year like that.

She will be in a composite Year 4/5 class, which might be good for her in terms of extension and challenge, and she’s excited about her teacher, who is known for his love of literature and writing – very good news for her.

Also good news is that one of her steadiest friends will be with her.  They weren’t together this year because M is a year ahead – but they can be together in the composite class.  M was so excited when she found out, she met me at the door to Pearl’s classroom, having rushed straight there to share the good news.  She’s a lovely little girl, I really like her, so I’m pleased for them both.

I didn’t manage to get those maths worksheets after all, so I’ll be making up my own for us to work on together in the holidays.  I think we’ll do some “basic facts” work and then some fun extension stuff, maybe clock arithmetic…  We’re going to do more Latin, too, at Pearl’s request.  Today I got some books out of the library on Rome and modern Italy for her, so she can compare and contrast.  I think she thinks people in Rome still speak Latin and wear togas.

It’s not going to be all school-work, though, fun as that might be!  Pearl has a list of films she wants to see, craft that needs doing, and biscuits to bake.  I think we’ll probably take walks along the coast and go into the city to visit the observatory/planetarium once or twice too.  (I also need to clean this house top to bottom, there is dust everywhere and I’m blaming the builders!)

That can all start in a couple of weeks.  Christmas and family come first.  Time to kick back, relax, catch up with in-laws and cousins.  There are birthdays, anniversaries, and a wedding to celebrate.

Hooray for summer!

© UpsideBackwards 2010.

Let’s work together

December 10, 2010

In a conversation with Pearl’s teacher this week, we heard that Pearl is more-or-less stuck at a level in her mathematics.  It’s an interesting conundrum, because Pearl claims that the maths is too easy and she wants harder work – but her teacher says that when she tries to give her harder work, Pearl can’t do it and gets upset.

We know that Pearl tends to be a perfectionist and is risk-averse – she would rather not answer a question than take the chance of getting it wrong.  She definitely has the brains, just not the confidence.  Learning a new skill, or taking something up a level, requires intensive effort on her part and the part of whoever is teaching/coaching her – lots of reassurance, patience, repetition and encouragement.  Sooner or later there is a “tipping point” or “a-ha!” moment, and all of a sudden it’s easy for her, she picks up confidence and we’re away laughing.

The exception seems to be languages – she says Japanese is “fun but hard” (exactly what schooling is meant to be, in my opinion – you’re learning, and enjoying it), and has begged me to re-start our Latin lessons, which have been on hold during the renovation chaos.  She really loves the work involved in learning a language, and doesn’t seem to suffer from confidence problems with them.

Back to maths.  With some advice from friends, I decided to ask the school for the “harder” worksheets and skill sets that she’s been struggling with, so I can give her the one-to-one attention she needs, at home over the holidays.  I was a bit worried, though, that she would be resistant to doing school-work over summer, or even feel like it was a punishment – certainly not my intention.  So I asked her what she thought.

Her eyes lit up, she rubbed her hands in glee,  and gasped, “That would be SO! FUN!”

I suppose it’s alright then.  Summer Maths Camp, here we come!

© UpsideBackwards 2010.



November 7, 2010

Pearl has worn me out this evening, with lots of tantrums and drama over every little thing and especially practising for her Christmas concert at the music school.  So it’s only fair that she write tonight’s post for me.

There was once a woman who liked grollrias.  She liked them so much that one day she went to live in the praire.  She was a kiwi but she knew some latin.

She knew enough latin to say “I am stplaya” in latin. Her name was latin which helped.

Next day she went to rome.  She oley need to say “ego sum staplaya*” to get a man to get the taxi going to the praire.  Once she was at the praire she  went to ispict her new house.

* “I am staplaya” in latin.  [Pearl’s own footnote]

One of the characters in her Latin textbook is Staphyla, I’m assuming Staplaya is a variant spelling…

Sadly, there are no further chapters on Staplaya’s adventures in her writing book.  I wonder whether she found any gorillas on the prairie, what her new house there was like, and how much a taxi from Ancient Rome to the prairie costs?

© UpsideBackwards 2010.

In the olden days

August 12, 2010

Inspired by her Latin lessons, Pearl has been reading up on life in Ancient Rome.  Every so often, she comes out with little pieces of enlightenment for us.  Tonight, as I was serving dinner, she said, “Mum, in the olden times…” – a phrase that makes me steel myself for questions about the 1990s – “… like in Ancient Rome…” – whew! – “… do you think they had blackboards?”

She says it smugly, expecting to trip me up on some arcane tidbit of knowledge.  “Um , no, they had slates, didn’t they?”

“No!” she says triumphantly, “They had wax tablets, and they used a thing called a stylus…” and off she goes.  But The Dad is coming into the room and has heard “they had slates”, and he chips in.

“We used slates when I was learning handwriting at school,” he informs us.  We hear about the lines that were engraved on them, the stylus used to write on them, and how noisy they were.

Pearl’s eyes go wide.  “Did you use a slate too, Mummy?”

“No, dear, paper had been invented by the time I went to school.”

© UpsideBackwards 2010.

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