Archive for tuesdays with mooch

Tuesdays With Mooch & Fuss: Settling Into Self-Direction

If you follow me online at all, then you know I follow my girls. Whatever they’re into is what they’re into, and we just provide the support. This season has been one of creativity and strategy. Both girls are settling into self-direction quite nicely. In a surprising turn, Mooch has become attached to her Rainbow Loom and she has a crochet playdate this Wednesday. In the past, she would go weeks without asking to draw, color, or craft, but now she is drawing her own comic books and writing the stories to accompany them. She loves following directions from Lego pamphlets and YouTube videos regarding building and inventing. Her love of literature, of course, is still thriving. She’s personally reading the third Harry Potter book, and Hannibal is reading Gathering Blue to both of us each night. He does the best voices. We’ll have to record him.

Fuss is Imagination Lass. Dolls, dolls, and more dolls occupy her mind and space. She uses the tree blocks to build elaborate homes for her clothespin dolls. She has set up a nursery for the “baby dolls,” and the American Girl doll, that her aunt bought her, is her sidekick. Her name is Lalah Brittni. She finds adding and subtracting in everyday life situations (forks on the table, people in the car, etc.) extremely fun. She brings that up quite often, but she hasn’t selected addition from the shelf in a long time.

The moveable alphabet has been her main agenda for the last couple of months. She makes words and word families, and she asks me to spell things for her. Since she got Hannibal’s hand-me-down first generation iPad, the “real” hundred board hardly sees any use. She does many math activities, including the hundred board, on the tablet. Montessorium makes some great apps.

Here are pics from this past week in “homeschool:”

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Tuesdays With Mooch & Fuss: The Language Arts, Piano, Behavior Update


Michael Clay Thompson rocks! I’m not being paid to say this. I do not monetize this blog in that fashion. Honey, let me tell you, it is an amazing Language Arts curriculum and it’s a perfect fit for Mooch.

I wouldn’t recommend it for the child who struggles with comprehension or falls behind in English, but if your kid loves literature, words, and everything that has to do with grammar, drop every thing and spend a hundred bucks on this program that has my child engrossed in Latin roots.

It covers spelling, grammar, diagramming, etymology (Latin and Greek), and poetry. I accidentally bought Grammar Town instead of Grammar Voyage, which probably would have been a better fit for her, but she loves it so much, she didn’t want me to send it back and wait for the correct one to arrive. Anyway, that’s my two cents on that.

Everything else with the eldest is going well. She’s finally gotten all of her extracurricular practice down to a science. She waits until our neighbors leave in the morning and practices drums, piano and voice. Then she starts her journaling and academics. I’m happy to see her finding self-motivation, and I’m thrilled to offer the space to work at her own pace, which is often slower and more in depth than me and her peers. She’s very analytical. I do hope she speeds up at some point, but I want her to do that on her own time as well.


This little one nailed her first commercial and her second audition. She said she was nervous on the way, which I’m not used to, because Mooch never says that. I was happy she articulated it, so we could downplay it, act natural, and make her feel secure. The pretend mommy and daddy, who auditioned with her, said she did an amazing job. She hasn’t auditioned in a long time. She just asked to do it again after this recent shoot. I guess she has caught the bug.

This past Saturday was my first time taking her to piano, because Hannibal usually goes. I was very impressed with her. She answered all the questions on the rug, while the other kids remained silent. She read C,D, and E correctly and played them with the correct fingers. I couldn’t have been more proud.

Her reading level remains about the same, but with far more mastery and interest in stories with more words on the page. She is asking a lot of science questions, like “What’s under the dirt in the middle of the earth?” and “Why do my fingers get wrinkled in the tub?” Those are areas we hope to expand on in the coming weeks. We’re currently reviewing metamorphosis. I think it’s time to move on to paper money. She has mastered the coins. I just haven’t had a chance to put the activity together. She also wants to tell time, but even though she can count by fives, I may wait until after Kwanzaa, because I plan on buying her a Hello Kitty watch. 😉

Her behavior has gotten sooooo much better. Bedtime is quicker, I hear “Yes!” more than “No,” and she’s working on getting frustrated less. She is the opposite of Mooch. She processes things very quickly, and does everything at the speed of a thousand cheetahs. She can be impatient with people and even with shirts (if they don’t come off quickly enough). Fuss is just like me. I use every ounce of energy all day to be patient and calm with her, so she learns from that model. Sometimes I fail, and when I do, it’s interesting to see her model the good behavior right back at me. “Mommy, that was an inappropriate reaction. I think you should apologize, but it’s your choice.”

For photo updates on what Mooch and Fuss are doing daily, you can always click on the unschooling tab to find both of their imported Tumblr accounts.

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Tuesdays With Mooch & Fuss: Japanese in Los Angeles (VIDEO)

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Tuesdays With Mooch & Fuss: My Life in One Day

Things I did today:

Had my heart checked with a Fisher Price stethoscope
Helped Mooch set goals and organize her work
Cooked imaginary Strawberry Soup
Helped my Fuss sled in a laundry basket on the living room area rug
Watched Fuss vacuum the living room rug
Cheered while Mooch did straddle jumps on the trampoline
Relearned how to subtract pounds, so I could teach it to Mooch
Pushed Fuss and her friend on the swing (AKA worked out)
Sang with my children
Ate a full meal prepared by Mooch
Soaked in Mooch’s enthusiasm as she learned her Shakespeare lines
Drummed with Mooch on the kitchen table
Practiced multiples of twelve while driving
Read to Fuss
Listened to Fuss read
Laughed a lot
Hugged a lot
Made mistakes

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Tuesdays with Mooch & Fuss: School Update and Affection and Stuff

A couple of weeks ago, we pulled up at Speaker’s League and Mooch gasped, “I was supposed to write fifteen questions for today’s class!! I’m the Impromptu Master. If I don’t have any questions, no one will have anything to speak about.” Of course, I had remembered this all along, but I was prepared to let her take the fall for it. I won’t be there to remind her of anything if she chooses to go to college — or in life in general. She should have written it down. I didn’t yell at her. I looked at the clock. We were sixteen minutes early. She looked at me. I said, “Well, get out a pen and paper.” She came up with and neatly wrote fifteen questions, while sweating cats and dogs, but she went in prepared.

That was the one time in weeks that she’s had a slip up like that. She learned her lesson. Now, she remembers her ballet bag, her purse, her chores, and turns in her assignments on time all without my nagging. I do not like to nag. I just want people to see that shit needs to be done and do it. If she masters this, the teen years, fingers crossed, will be much smoother.

We have made adjustments and we’re settling into homeschooling. I have a super relaxed approach with Mooch’s schedule, because I want her to develop time management skills. I’m full of strategies if she needs them, but it seems the huge calendar on her wall that she suggested is working.

She originally planned to write out her schedule for the week and do those things each day. With her auditions, out-of-home classes, and busy social life, it proved more effective for her to jot down the work she’d accomplished, after the fact, each night. Now she only writes in her “set in stone” items at the beginning of each month (ballet classes, Speakers League, Shakespeare, birthday parties, etc.), and she uses those as guides to work around.

For instance, today she did a couple of pages of math, some journaling, sentence diagramming (with emphasis on adverbs that modify adjectives instead of verbs), and read a book for two hours straight while wrapped in a blanket in my bed. Her improv class followed, and then she came home for dinner. She has tons of down time this way, because she decides what to do.

Her goals are to do math four days of the week, journal everyday, read everyday, use the scientific method or learn something about science everyday, and learn as much cultural geography as possible. She’s still in Shakespeare, singing, and ballet (we left Westside School of Ballet, and she loves her new ballet school much more); but she chose to add piano (based on her experience at the William Grant Still Arts Center this summer) and tumbling (she’s afraid of beam and bars, because of her eye condition). Thursdays and Sundays are completely empty, and Saturday, she only dances from 11:30am-1:30pm.

Sleepovers on Saturday nights are a huge hit since she has her own room. The only problem is that many of her very close friends dance all day on Saturdays, so she mostly hangs with her non-dance friends.


Fuss did a photo shoot with Sierra Prescott a few weeks ago, and I absolutely love many of the shots. She wants to do print work, so I’m working on that — slowly. That’s not an area I’m very familiar with, so I have to research as much as I did when Mooch started her acting adventure.

This little one has grown much more independent in homeschool by watching her sister. She’ll often steal away to the book nook and read alone, but many times she still prefers me with her. She’s ready to move on to the orange set of BOB Books, which I have not purchased yet, and she’s doing addition both on the mat and on paper. I really kinda fell off on the art, which is a surprise, because it’s one of my favorite things to do. I have to incorporate it more, because she really loved when I was on that kick. I plan to do a Halloween scrapbooking craft tomorrow, so she’ll enjoy that.

Her movable alphabet showed up in the mail, so she was super excited about that yesterday!

In the behavior department, she’s gotten both better and worse. On the one hand, she now listens to if/then statements and really weighs her options. She usually makes the better choice these days. On the other hand, she has been making verbal jabs at her sister that are very divisive and offensive. So we’re working on choosing our words, the three gates, sharing the spotlight, and considering the feelings of others. Send us good energy in this department.

I’ve found that with music playing, she’s much more pleasant. The problem is that I prefer it quiet at home, because I’m so loud in public. We compromise. I’m actually considering putting the ipod dock that I usually teach with in her room. I could never sleep with music, but she is her own little person, and a little soft jazz never hurt anyone.


Fuss continues to pile on loads of affection. She is a very loving child. She tells each family member she loves them every day (often multiple times). A definite hugger, this kid’s puppy dog eyes and breathtaking smile demand attention. I have to remind myself that while Mooch doesn’t ask for cuddles and kisses, she still needs them. The last few nights Mooch has requested that I come and tuck her in after we have cuddle time in my bed. I do. We often launch into mother/daughter talks about her fears, ideas, and future. I like those times.

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