We had our "Foreign Lands Club" get-together yesterday. Russia (The Russian Federation) was the country of focus this month. The kids and I ended up making a quick and easy noodle, egg, and cheese casserole. It came out pretty good - a little bland, but everyone liked it. The rest of the food there was out of this world. We had potato babkas, lamb stew with chestnuts, appetizer plates with cucumber, pickles, beets, eggs, sliced cheese, thin-sliced meats, caviar, sardines, tea, and several types of thick, crusty bread. And the desserts would blow you away: blinis, stewed/fresh berried with whipped cream, Russian tea cookies, and a jam tart.
The children each did an oral presentation on some aspect of Russia. I think the children picked things like: food, sports, Josef Stalin, Faberge Eggs, music, and Matrouska (sp?) dolls). J did a presentation on the flag - talking about the history of the white, blue, and red flag as well as the red flag with the hammer and sickle. She did great! The last time shemade an oral presentation like that was in 3rd grade. It was on Japan and she was so nervous, she turned sideway so to not look at anyone. And she talked so fast to just get it over with. She was a wreck and I felt terribly sad for her. But yesterday she was very in control, confident, looked out at the "audience", and asked if anyone had questions. It was such a turnaround. And she told me she cannot wait til next month's presentation.
One young child (5) was losing her place and getting stuck on some words. She didn't want her mom to help (she was determined to get through it), but did accept help from one of the older (10) boys. She felt more comfortable with another child helping than being the only one who needs mommy up there. What I thought of was that if this child was in school, she would be up there struggling with her presentation, the others would most likely laugh, the teacher most likely wouldn't say the right things to make her feel better, and the poor child would grow up with a fear of public speaking (like most of this country has).
K is still doing pretty well in school. She's gotten grades all in the 90s so far, except for yesterday's 65 in math. It's like she just has this cut-off switch with math. No matter how many time we go over it together, it's not clicking. Thankfully, I find 8th-grade math very easy and I'm able to help her. I think I'm going to change my approach and create problems for her in a way she understands from now on. I know if I can get over that hump-of-understanding, she'll be fine.