Saturday, August 25, 2007

Homeschooling the Girly Girl

As Sadie starts her preschool years, I'm figuring out how different her little girl brain really is from her brother's. Today Benny and Dan went off to see a movie together, to have "boy time," or as Benny correctly specifies, "male time." Sadie and I stayed home for girl time (yes, "female time," thank you Benny). We played Barbies. We painted our nails. First hot pink, then sparkles. It was fun, and, as it turned out, educational. As usual, I learned as much as she did.

Sadie is a girl. A girly girl. Oh yes. And homeschooling a girly girl is a little different from homeschooling a math-brained, mechanically-minded, bouncing, fidgeting boy. In some ways, it's a lot easier, but you have to adjust. You have to accommodate. You can't apply the same principles.

For example, today while the boys were gone and I decided to get out the chunky big cuisenaire rods and have a nice fadoodle with them on the floor with Sadie. Might be nice to play math without Benny around to offer the answers and arrangements before Sadie can think of them.

I showed her the white block and said, "This is ONE, Sadie, this is ONE. Can you find the one that is two?"

And she found the red one. Marvelous. I showed her how two white ones line up on one red one, and then asked her to find the three. Could she find the three?

Instead she picked up the three pink/purple ones and said, "But I want these girl ones instead. I don't want the green one."

"Is the green one three, Sadie?"

"I just want these girl ones. They want to go for a ride in the Barbie car!"

"Sadie, can you find the three?"

After a few more times around the block, she was getting exasperated. "Mom, I don't want to LEARN these. I just want to PWAY them."

Okay, so the cuisenaire rods went for a ride in the Barbie car and the 8 rods were truculent and didn't want to put their seatbelts on and the 4 rods were girls, and then they all had a birthday part for one of the red ones. There's no fighting it. There is only joining it!

Here's another example: I've learned that Sadie is completely unmoved to practice writing letters with a marker and lined paper. But if the marker is Cinderella, and the paper is a dance floor, and the letters are dance moves, she is extremely motivated, especially if marker-Cinderella talks to her in a Disney princess voice and even more so if there is another prince marker whose dance moves she can copy. Are you getting me? Are you feeling me?

One more example: Twinkle Twinkle Little Star Variation 1 was "Mississippi Hot Dog" when I was little. It was "Tuka Tuka Stop Stop" for Benny. For Sadie it's "Sparkle Glitter Princess." Are the dots all starting to connect here?

So here's how our nail-painting became our preschool lesson for the day:

1. Fine motor skills. Paint your nails. Paint Mommy's nails. Try to stay on the nail, but if you don't, celebrate the joy of life anyway.
2. Math. How many have you painted? How many are left? How many fingers does Mommy have? How many on each hand? How many together? If I have five here and you've painted three, how many more are there to paint?
3. Anatomy. Can dolphins wear nail polish? Can polar bears? How many toes does Leroy (the Boston Terrier) have? How many toes does Mommy have? How many toes does *everybody* have?

And here's what Sadie had to say:

"Mommy, I love pink. And I love sparkle."
"I know you do, baby. And I love you."
"I love you too. And I love Benny, and Daddy. I love all you guys."
"You're such a nice girl, Sadie."
"I know, Mommy."

As a bonus, I have a *very* interesting manicure to take to church tomorrow.


  1. Just popping in from the carnival!

    Thanks for making me smile today. My "girly-girl" is almost 22 years old and I remember and cherish every girly moment we have had together.

    Smile and enjoy,
    Barb-Harmony Art Mom

  2. I'm feelin ya!

    I can't believe the things my girly girl has me doing these days.

  3. Thanks for that post!

    Your little girl sounds like mine a few years ago...before she moved from princesses to Brownies, soccer, and's so much fun to watch them change!!

    Back to planning our evening of tea, chocolate, face masques and temporary tattoos...


  4. Yea to you for keeping your manicure! Your daughter will have such pride in the job *well* done. At our Children's Museum, there is a face painting station. I let my 4 year old paint my face to his content, & I wore it the rest of the day there. Everyone had such strange looks when they saw my face, but I didn't son was more than proud of his work on Mommy!

  5. Too funny! I had a girl first and then a boy so I'm having the converse experiences. Books are not to be read but to be stacked or otherwise physically manipulated, and so on.