|Theo + Belle = Love|
This sounds negative.
But when I think about this quality of hers, I'm more inclined to call it contentment. She's simply content to be where she is when she is.
And she's a perfectionist.
She's terribly sweet and gentle and kind and stubborn and quiet and charming and smart.
She completed Saxon Math 8/7 without any trouble whatsoever. According to the Saxon scope and sequence, she could move directly to Algebra 1, but she's not in a hurry, so she asked to do Algebra 1/2 this coming year and save Algebra for high school.
Belle read and narrated 3 assigned books:
Invincible Louisa by Cornelia Meigs
The Windy Hill by Cornelia Meigs
All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriott.
I thought it was more.
However, Belle reads as often as she breathes, and she made her way through hundreds of library books--mostly fairy tale retellings. I asked her for a list of favorite title or authors, and she said, "I don't know. The important part is the story--not the title or author."
She really liked the science she did, but it was too easy. She completed 2 John Hudson Tiner science books: Exploring Planet Earth and Exploring the World of Chemistry with the accompanying study guides that were available from Masterbooks (this year I can't find the same study packs that we purchased last year). Listed as a one year science course for jr. high, Belle easily completed all of the work in a single semester.
The second semester, I released her from science assignments so she could focus on training her puppy, Theo. He still has a long way to go, but she's worked hard, and he's learned a lot from her. She read a ton of library books about training Beagles, and she studied a professional dog-training manual in order to work with Theo. She helped teach the rest of the family some of the principles she learned, so that he'd have consistent training.
Belle did a semester's worth of creative writing in a personal journal. She has a wonderful voice--kind of understated with dry humor. I'd love to see her develop that voice further, but she shows little inclination to work on it.
I told her to expect more in the year to come. :)
She participated in our family study of The Mystery of History volume 2. She took great notes; she participated in discussions; she wrote great narrations; she competed in our tests and reviews. She tolerates history more than she loves it, but I think it's safe to say she's learning.
Belle's first language love is Latin. She's been working primarily with Visual Latin, but as the lessons advances, she got really frustrated with the course because so much vocabulary appeared in the translation assignments that didn't appear on the vocabulary lists and because no memorization drills were built into the program. I purchased a Latin/English dictionary for her, and that helped for a while, but eventually, even though she was still completing assignments with 90%+ accuracy, it was so much work that she was ready to give up.
We are thankful for the opportunity we had to review Second Form Latin. This program really teaches to how Belle learns, and she'll complete that course in the year to come.
In addition, Belle participated in our family Spanish lessons. She's got a good memory, and while the grammar has been a challenge, her basic vocabulary is building just fine.
Belle read and journaled her way through The Book of Mormon. Her journal entries are thoughtful and focused. She has a strong sense of her own spiritual self. I wish I could read more of her journal, but it's personal, so I only read what I need to for record-keeping proof.
The Arts and Homemaking Skills
Occasionally Belle will sit at the piano and play a bit.
She rarely draws/paints/sculpts even though she has quite a good eye and seems to enjoy the process while it lasts.
She is sweet and caring when she minds the younger children, but she says that babysitting is not fun.
She sews quite well, but rarely does so for pleasure.
She is a competent cook--churning out simple meals for our large family when the need arises--but she doesn't seem to want to cook if it isn't absolutely necessary.
She's happy to study a painting, an author, a composer, or a piece of music if required, but she does not seek it out.
She dances and sings with our homeschool group. She's a cooperative participant, but she says she's fine whether we continue with the group or not.
In short, she is exposed to the arts--fine, performing, and practical--and likes them for what they are, but she doesn't feel any need to seek them out in particular.
However, she does like embroidery. She's just begun a rather ambitious personal project that I imagine will take her the entire year ahead to complete. I hope she does and that I can eventually display it.
When I ask Belle about her goals and dreams, she holds steadfast to being a farmer someday. I honor her for that dream. It will be interesting to see if she wakes up enough to her own ability to work to achieve that dream. I will say, though, that her ability live in the moment and accept what is without wishing for what isn't would be a tremendous asset as a farmer.
As her mom, I see her fitting in better to an academic world--she'd do well in an ivory tower, free to dream/study/write/ponder/do as her mood changes--but she'd be an utter failure at the associated politics, so that's a silly thing for me to even imagine. :)
At any rate, she smiles ruefully when I mention her talents and her passivity about developing them. She'll gently say, "Yes, you're right Mom. I do need more challenges with school . . . " and then she'll quietly slip away to return to the book that is always at hand.
Belle is an enigma. She's an interesting blend of her dad and me. I'm always curious to get to know her better, and I really look forward to the adult she'll someday become.