Belle is the child I think of as being academically gifted . . . but not academically driven. She is quiet and content to read and reread her favorite books over and over again. I often find her sitting alone doing nothing but listening to music; Sir Walter Scott says she's like him in that.
She has a good mind, though. I think it is one of her God-given gifts, and I wonder how to stimulate her to recognize and use this gift. She said one day recently to Pixie, "You're so lucky you know what you want to do and have a plan for how to do it. I don't have any idea what to do." She's only 12, so there's no hurry to firm up her life's ambitions, but it's hard to feel unfocused. I'd like to help her find that area of study that truly brings her joy and motivates her to get working.
She completed Saxon 6/5 and 7/6 this year by doing 2 lessons a day, completing all of the odd numbered problem sets on the odd-numbered lessons and the even-numbered problem sets on the even-numbered lessons. She's very, very good at math, and the only supervising I had to do was to make sure she checked and corrected her work--a task she felt was unnecessary because there was so little to correct.
She's also the math teacher for Mister Man and Ladybug. Using Horizons Math K, she's teaching these two so well that they can hardly wait for their turn to do math each day. She's learning about pacing and being flexible. She's a natural at explaining the lessons in ways they can understand. I always want to stop what I'm doing and watch her in action.
She finally broke free of the Warriors series this year.
I cannot enumerate the books she read on her own this year. It is safe to say that she completed several hundred hours of personal reading in a variety of genres.
She participated in our LDSFamilySchool literature unit that included fairy tales, psalms, Little House in the Big Woods, Bambi, and A Comedy of Errors. Her understanding was evident in her insightful comments during our discussion times. When she takes the time to slow down to human pace, her read aloud skills are enchanting.
She listened to historical fiction during our family read aloud times and she participated in the lessons in our LDSFamilySchool. She's a gifted memorizer and can rattle off dates and names easily.
This was an area of weakness this year that was not her own fault--rather mine. The LDSFamilySchool lessons were weak on content. We did do some wonderful science reading this year during family read aloud time, and a bit of hands on chemistry. Belle would make a wonderful scientist as she is precise and deliberate in her thinking and actions. I hope to wake up her curiosity in the year ahead.
Belle is a natural speller and writer. She also has an extensive vocabulary and a firm command of correct grammar. Her weakness in Language Arts appears in applied punctuation practice. I need to make a goal to have her write often next year and then rewrite with corrected punctuation. But she's truly a gifted writer. She also has truly beautiful penmanship and has spent a bit of time this year working on calligraphy skills with the beautiful set of pens she received for Christmas.
She memorizes poems with alacrity and performs them at our Poetry and Pie events with a charming sweetness. Her performances are the highlight of each event for me.
Belle participated in our LDSFamilySchool art and music lessons, clearly enjoying them from start to finish. She also has spent hours at the piano working on her ability to play hymns from the simplified hymn book.
For her personal studies she chose at one point to draw our home. She spent careful hours making as precise a drawing as she could. When I mentioned the possibility of taking an art class, she said, "No, I don't enjoy drawing at all. I just did that drawing to see what it was like. I'm glad I'm done with it."
She participated fully in our singing/dance group and has a charming stage presence--kind of sparkly and happy and shiny. People can't help noticing.
Belle likes to work in the kitchen, and she's adept at following a recipe. Good food is the result of any effort on her part.
She's good at handwork--embroidery, knitting, etc. I can't find evidence that she worked on developing this skill this school year, but I have a special project for her in the school year ahead.
She's good at helping me care for the little ones. She struggles with being patient with their difficult behaviors (like I do), but she genuinely loves the younger children and she's gentle by nature. She's a natural teacher, and many of the words our babies can say and sign are the result of her patient teaching.
She's also good at any cleaning job she's assigned--again that attention to detail comes into play. She may not like her assignment, but once she has it she does it right.
I think, though, that organization and time management may be a personal challenge for her.
Belle got to take a 6 week horseback riding class this year.
(I wish I could give her more lessons.)
She's also begun to run with me 3 days a week. She's fast! She has long legs and lopes along easily. She says she doesn't want to join the cross country team though because she runs just to enjoy it--not to compete. :)
Belle faithfully studies her scriptures on her own each day and participates actively in all family studies. Her comments show factual understanding, development of personal testimony, and the ability to apply spiritual lessons to practical life. She journals actively every day and memorizes scriptures faster than I can offer them. Perhaps I should challenge her to memorize more on her own.
She's working on her Personal Progress.
Overall Belle is a beautiful, sweet, smart, loving girl who is growing and learning now and has unlimited potential for growing and learning ahead.