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About Florimell

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  1. I was just looking on my shelf and thought this book (Twelve Assignments Every Middle School Student Should Write) might work for you too. It is written for classroom use, but still rather open-and-go, and very easily adaptable to a homeschool environment. I've never seen it recommended here, but it is quite good -- not a curriculum, but more of a guide, though one that does not require a lot of planning, apart from setting aside the time.
  2. So what do you think you might use for your daughter? Mine is the same -- very mathy, very strong intuitive sense, loves the BA puzzles, but has none of the deep drive of my DS, who is thriving with AOPS.
  3. If he likes creative writing, you might check out the Pirate's Guide to the Grammar of Story. My kids (9&11) are enjoying it, though we only do it about once a week and kind of make it our own, so to speak. Most of the writing is in the form of lists, and it is completely open-and-go/anyone could pick it up to do with him. For some of topics, there are LOTS of lists (too many), but we move on when the kids get the idea. It covers many different aspects of fiction, which are also useful when talking about literature (i.e. one activity has you list objects, and then make those objects significant for one reason or another, which we then used to talk about Harry Potter and significant objects in that story, or Mrs. Frisby and significant objects in that story and so on).
  4. I'm one of those people who almost never posts, but I have been reading for years, and I keep coming back here because the wisdom and advice from those who have traveled the path before me makes me feel like I am not crazy. In my community, which is filled with vehement unschoolers, CCers, and you-must-sign-a-statement-of-faith-before-we'll-let-you-talk-to-our-kids types, it is worth so much to me to see that I am not alone in my approach. I hope things are not as grim as they seem here. This post has made me, too, feel a bit low. I left a tenture-track job in English about a decade ago and have been working (slowly) on a literature, writing, and language curriculum that is really good and very different from anything out there, but it is not on-line, requires parents to interact with their kids, and is nothing like you would find in school. Five years ago, I was confident that there was a solid market for it, but I am not sure that is still the case. I am not going to give up because I love the project and have to see it though, but I hope it is worth it. If nothing else, my kids are learning to read and write very well, so that's worth something.
  5. You might check out The Neverending Story -- the book, not the movie
  6. You might look at someplace like Green Bay -- you can rent a cabin in Door County, but if there isn't much snow, you can check out things like the Titletown Park, which has a tubing hill and a skating rink with snow and ice that are manufactured and maintained throughout the winter. They are pretty much designed for people not used to winter -- with a warming fire, hot beverages nearby, etc.
  7. Sophie Quire by Johathan Auxier is one of DD9s favorites (though it follows Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes, which is not about a girl, specifically, but is still a great book). I recommend both. Sweep, by the same author, is also great -- like Dickens for kids, with some supernatural elements thrown in and a girl as the main character. Also, the Where the Mountain Meets the Moon trilogy is a hands-down favorite here -- there is befriending, but not battling dragons. The Girl Who Drank the Moon was also a huge hit.
  8. Right now, my main project is working with DD9 to make a series of twelve dolls as part of a world costume unit we are doing. We are using this pattern from iKat bag and modifying the hair, skin, and clothing. DD is SUPER excited. We have the bodies cut and will do the hair and shoes next. I am also looking for suggestions. A friend gave me an antique wooden chest full of silk embroidery floss that belonged to her late mother. Most of it is from China, and it is stunning. There are hundreds and hundreds of skeins, mostly in reds, pinks, greens, and purples. I suspect it had a companion with the blues, grays, yellows, and oranges, but it has been lost. Given the volume of floss, I also suspect it may have once been in a store or something. The question I have is what to use it for. I know all the basic stitches and can readily learn new ones, and I can sew just about anything, but I don't know what to make. One can only have so many embroidered handkerchiefs or pillows, and I am not the type to do samplers and hang them in my house. I am thinking of using it for the hem of a skirt, maybe part of a bag, but beyond that, I am at a bit of a loss. Any ideas? Part of me thinks I should leave it untouched because it is just so spectacular, but it was made to be used, and even if I embroidered every single day, I couldn't possibly come close to using it up.
  9. We're working our way slowly through the Spencerian Penmanship books -- it's best done a little at a time, but a great step up from cursive and very lovely.
  10. I second the recommendation for MCT's Grammar Island, and Practice Island if you want to reinforce the concepts -- very little writing, but effective. You might also consider just letting your DD write whatever she wants for now (maybe set aside some time each day where she has to write something, perhaps choosing from a list if she does not have ideas). Then, down the road, when she is forming sentences with ease (i.e. the process of getting words out of her head and down on a page is not arduous), look for something more formal or structured. She could write stories (even picture stories with a caption), lists, bedroom door hangers, signs, menus, post cards, greeting cards, set up a "museum" and have her make tags for each exhibit, advertisements, design cereal boxes, etc. etc. My priority would be to make sure that she enjoys writing, even if it is hard for her. It can still be fun. You might also check out Peggy Kaye's Games for Writing or Jennifer Hallissey's The Write Start. Some of the stuff in the Write Start will be too early/easy, but there are lots of good ideas too, especially for incorporating writing into play (doctor's office, memos, library, etc.)
  11. Don't Forget to Write has a lot of good ideas, and it is written for that age group.
  12. I am an active reader, but rarely post for these reasons. Could I get an invite too?
  13. Having taught British Lit surveys at both the graduate and undergraduate levels, I can't help but think that most of these lists are WAY too long. If you just want students to gain a passing familiarity with works, it will be fine. However, If you want them to see the humor in Beowulf, to marvel at the extensive discussions of embroidery in Sir Gawain, or to understand how each one reflects its historical context and fits into the larger landscape of British literature, you will need more time to discuss these things. My own bias is for depth over breadth and to be very judicious in the works I select. There are many different ways you can do it, but I would focus on poetry, prose, short stories and a very small number of longer works (at most 2-3 per semester). Shorter texts are easier to cover in their entirety and with some depth.
  14. Do you happen to have an answer key for these tests?
  15. You might check out these books -- both have lots of fun, playful activities for helping kids develop writing skills: The Write Start Games for Writing
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