Assessment 2016--Super Star

 (I couldn't choose between these two pictures--the first shows her cute, raw self, and the second shows how funny she is!)

It has been a tremenously tough year for Super Star.  She's battled a sense of failure in math, fears for the baby sister born to her birthmother (there are very good reasons her birthmother could not parent Super Star, and those reasons remain valid today), dealing with the regular hormonal changes that happen for all teen girls, and a strong sense of frustration about the newest members of our family.

It's a wonder she's still standing.

But though I'd often like to trade her in for another model, I can see her potential as a truly beloved daughter of God . . . and my beloved daughter as well. 

Super Star started the school year continuing to fill in the math gaps from switching from Life of Fred to Lifepac Math.  She hit her Waterloo with Lifepac math, though, and after much deliberation, we decided to give Saxon math a try.  This meant she'd be behind her younger sister, and I was worried about the competition that might arise between them, but her success with Saxon has been so remarkable that the competition has been negligible, if any.

We put her right back at the start with Saxon Math 5/4, and let her race through the concepts by reading and then only working the practice problems of 3 lessons per day.  Her confidence grew by leaps and bounds as she completed this fast-paced review, and that made it much easier for her to start Saxon Math 6/5.  We slowed her down to 2 lessons per day doing odd or even problems as they matched the value of the lesson number--the same as Belle.  Every day she continued to understand until the entire book was finished. :)

She also started Saxon Math 7/6, working at the same pace as she did the 6/5 book.  She hasn't completed it yet, and she's not required to do any work from it this summer, but I'm encouraging her to work on a couple of lessons a week--whenever she's bored. 

She hasn't been bored yet, but some long, slow days are on the horizon.  There may be some summer math coming soon.

She hates Bedtime Math with a passion--mostly because we work together on it, and some of her sisters are faster computers than she is.  She shuts down in the face of math competition.  If I try to slow down and give her time, her feelings are hurt because she feels patronized.

I may have to excuse her from Bedtime Math.

Super Star is a voracious reader!  She's forever bringing home stacks of 10 and 20 books at a time and then complaining to me a few days later that she has nothing to read.  She's a total fan of fantasy.  I'll be encouraging her to branch out into more genres this summer and next school year.  She's had the privilege of watching the Lord of the Rings movies and is so enthralled with Orlando Bloom that she's gone ahead and read the series herself.

At least that's good quality fantasy.

She's good at bringing books to me that turn out to use foul language or be sexually explicit and saying, "This one needs to go back unread.  It's not what I thought it would be."  I'm glad I can trust her in that because I cannot keep up with reading everything she does--though I do try!

She also participated in our LDSFamilySchool literature unit.  It was a challenge for her to catch on to the system we used to highlight different aspects of the reading (e.g. blue for character, green for setting, etc.), but she worked at it and succeeded in understanding how to selectively highlight for review and understanding.  She was reticent in discussions, but when she did participate she showed understanding and insight.

She listened to historical fiction during our family read aloud times, and she participated in the lessons in our LDSFamilySchool.

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.

Super Star is fascinated by all things shark.  I spent quite a bit of time tracking down college and graduate level textbooks via interlibrary loan for her to expand her study of sharks beyond what was available in our library system.  I'll be interested to see where this fascination takes her.

Language Arts:
Super Star loves to write.  I've fallen down on my job of editing and self-publishing the novels she writes that I promised to (a pregnancy one year, 5 new children the next kind of distracted me).  My unfaithfulness put a damper on her efforts, but recently she's begun keeping a notebook handy, and she's been talking about new plot ideas she wants to develop.

I've got some promises to keep.

She's a natural speller--spells everything correctly.  But she won't enter a spelling bee!

She needs work on formal grammar and punctuation, but her constant reading and writing really have helped her to be at least functional if not always accurate in these areas.

Public speaking scares her so badly she has to lock her knees to keep from falling down, but she presents herself quite well to those who do not know her.  She writes and delivers engaging, personal speeches that listeners respond to well.

Fine Arts:
Super Star loves music and hates drawing/sculpting/painting.  She struggled along with our art projects via LDSFamilySchool, then she thrived and grew during our music appreciation unit. 

She's partial to current pop songs, but I've seen her swoon over some lovely classical music.  She has a sweet, poignant singing voice that I'd love to hear her develop.  She sings in our church choir, so she gets some vocal direction there, but it's probably time to find her a teacher that can inspire her.

She picks up and puts down instruments often--she doesn't have the drive to practice the way her sisters do, even though she has more raw talent than any of them.  Perhaps she needs an inspiring teacher here, too.

She danced with the rest of the kids in our singing/dancing group, and she has a bouncy, fun stage presence.

At Home:
Though the kitchen was a place of great stress for Super Star a few years ago, she's practiced enough now to feel at home there now.  She still has difficult moments when she doesn't read a recipe all the way through and gets stuck on surprise steps/information as she works, but she can turn out some tasty food.  She's our official birthday cake baker now.

I don't see her knit, crochet, embroider, or sew, but this year she did spend time decoupaging some journals, so I know she's got a creative spirit that is searching for a medium in which it can be expressed successfully.   Making her hands do what her mind sees is a struggle.

She's our go-to girl when it is time for doing the dishes.  Over all of the other possible chores in the house, she chooses that one first.  I'm not complaining!  Often she even scours the sink after loading the dishwasher.  During Saturday chore time she works on other housekeeping skills, and she really knows how to tidy up a toilet!

Caring for little ones is a struggle for Super Star, but she can change a diaper, dress a toddler, and she is more fun to play with than anyone else in the family.  When she's on, she's really, really on!  I've watched her get involved with the littles and genuinely play with them.  It's a wonder to watch.  She's stressed out by the mundane childcare chores, though, and it bothers her that this is the case.  It makes for a vicious circle that means I'd prefer to take her with me to help me grocery shop than leave her at home to babysit.  The babysitters are happy with that arrangement. :)

Super Star is a good grocery shopper--she comes with me often, so she knows the layout of the stores we frequent, and she has become very helpful.

Super Star did some running with me for a month or two, but then she said her ankles hurt too much to continue.  She's an amazing runner, though.  I wrote that Belle is a good runner, but Super Star is even more a natural.  Her legs are really, really long, and while the rest of us are panting with effort, Super Star is loping easily along, hardly breaking a sweat.  I'm trying to convince her to join a track or cross country team, but I'm having no luck so far.

She enjoys doing workout videos at home.  Right now she's really into muscle toning workouts, and she's quite lean and strong.

She has about the sweetest testimony of Jesus Christ I've ever heard.  I think she's more faithful in her personal scripture study than she lets on, and I know she prays and receives answers to her prayers.  She is faithful in her church service, choir attendance, and youth group participation.  She cares very much about other people, and has a gift for making them feel loved and important.

She's working on her Personal Progress, and she's close to being finished!

Overall, Super Star is quite a talented young woman who doesn't see her own worth.  She's struggling to find her way, but when she does, she will just shine.  I'm quite happy with her academic, personal, social, and spiritual growth this year.


  1. Wow. Sounds like Super Star really lives up to her name...

  2. She's at such an interesting age with the hormonal changes, I bet she settles into her skin over this next year or so. Sounds like a lovely girl!


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