Monday, February 28, 2011


Alice with skull (who is wearing my tiara!): one of our afterschooling tools and one of Alice's favorite Christmas gifts. Do you know where your Maxilla is? She does....

This year we have been "afterschooling."

This is a post I've sat down to write a bunch of times and every time I've gotten hung up. I don't want to be that parent who thinks (or is perceived to think) that their kid is the next Nobel Prize winner.

BUT - Alice is bright, and it has become an issue at school. Strange, because you always think the other way - if a child has a hard time learning it creates a problem at school. This was not on my radar.

Quite simply, she was bored and her boredom at school was translating into behavior problems at home.

I think the school is doing their best. Things have dramatically improved, even in the past month (hooray for the advanced reading group!), but we still don't feel she's getting everything she needs. And, honestly, I don't blame the school for that. There is a HUGE range of levels in her class from kids who can read anything to kids who can't read at all. The teachers have a responsibility to get everyone up to snuff by the end of the year.

So, this year we have been supplementing at home. We've always done this, but this year I took the leap to be organized about it and discovered along the way that this is called "afterschooling." Alice enjoys her "smart work" and (for now) does it happily. She asks to do math. Every few weeks we shake up our curriculum. Here is what we are working on now:

Math: hammering basic addition and subtraction facts, starting to teach the concept of regrouping. She's been working on multiplication and division on her own using manipulatives and with no pushing from me. I'm not ready to teach multiplication!

Writing: a story for our local PBS's story contest

Art: Expressionism unit / the art of Edvard Munch (who painted The Scream) and creating art inspired by Munch.

Science: clouds and the water cycle - her choice

Reading: whatever she happens to be reading - right now she's into the Ivy and Bean series, but she may have finished them.

We don't do everything every day. She does go to school, after all! I try to hit at least one or two subjects per day. Math is a must and it doesn't take much time for her to whip through a worksheet or two. She also reads every day and averages about 3 chapter books a week (500 pages?). Once we figured out that she could take a book to school to read when she finished her work instead of just sitting at her table, everyone's attitude toward school greatly improved.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


We watched the entire Superbowl this past Sunday for the very first time. Alice insisted on it. Since Uncle Ron and Aunt Bonnie visited in early January, she has been all about the Packers. Of course, she was calling them the Blue Bay Packers because she had just read a book called The Mystery of Blue Bay...

I asked her why she was so excited about the Packers and she said, "Steelers steal things. Besides, I'm a cheesehead! Except my head isn't really made out of cheese. That would be weird."

We let her watch until half time. She was really into it - she especially liked the "female" players with long hair. She was elated Monday morning when I told her that "her" team had won. And then she was disappointed when I told her that was it for football until the fall.

Ah well, there's always hockey.

Friday, February 4, 2011

New KSO blogger!

I'm happy to report that the long dormant blog at the KSO - which I used to author - has been taken up by my colleague Andy! Andy is the principal cellist and I've played in a string quartet with him for 10 years. I'm interested to see what he has to say about music and life in the KSO.

He put his first blog up yesterday:

Lovely Parting Gifts

I had my post-op appointment yesterday. It was a super fast appointment that took forever. 90 minutes in the office for 5 minutes of face time.

I got to see the pathologist report. It was short - less than 10 words.

male fetus
cause of demise: trisomy 20

Trisomy 21 causes Down Syndrome. Trisomy 20 causes miscarriages.

It was random - truly bad luck - and, since I am young(ish), it is no more likely to happen again than it was to happen in the first place.

The whole thing reminded me of Wheel of Fortune where, after not solving the final puzzle, the contestant is shown what they would have won if only they had picked different letters.

A boy. A son. A brother.

We really wanted a boy.

My doctor showed me the report to give us some closure. And you know what?

It has.