There I was wondering if I could convince Lilly to love this curriculum. I decided to just talk to her about it and get her thoughts and reactions.
Her first reaction was what I expected. There was no way she wanted any part of some "girlie" curriculum with "flowers and tea parties"! Did she even know what was in it? Um no..not really. We talked about it. As we got into the specifics, we both started realizing we could make this work.
Although the literature and characters she will meet lived in a very different era, they are remarkable women, strong and opinionated. In fact, when Lilly shared with another mom (she babysits her kids and she knows Lilly well) her first reaction was what a perfect fit Anne was for Lilly. I agree.
History is history. It turns out (since it is not one of her favorite subjects) it really didn't matter to her what period she studied. So, we'll follow along with little change.
In terms of the plans for religion, they are a near perfect fit along with Confirmation preparation. We'll change very little of what Mary Beth's basket looks like. More than anything this coming year, my desire for Lilly is to grow into a true relationship with Christ and to turn always to the Blessed Mother as the primary model of humility and fidelity to God's will in her life.
In terms of homemaking, we probably won't be using any of the books. That's one aspect that just won't fit her temperament. At least not for her, I might get a few of them for me ;). Instead, we'll continue to focus on completing chores properly and developing the proper interior disposition and attitude towards keeping a home. We'll also focus more on cooking. (Doesn't this look fun, my library even has it.) That is, teaching her how to plan and prepare a meal from start to finish without my help. To that end, starting in the fall, one night a week will be her dinner night. I think this will also give us a chance to discuss proper nutrition, something that is becoming more important for her as she works to train her body. There's a couple of books I'm considering. I'll include them in my complete book list.
I told her that we needn't bother with the sewing, we could replace it with some other type of handcraft. Imagine my surprise when she said she wanted to learn how to sew, it would be cool if she could make some of her own unique clothes. We'll start with Sewing with St. Anne and hopefully move into Seams to Me halfway through the year. In all honestly, I probably have enough simple patterns here at home and free on the internet for several projects. This is an area very easily substituted with whatever interest a young lady may have.
Drawing comes as naturally to her as breathing so she will very much enjoy the Impressionist book. If she could Lilly would spend hours outside every day. A science/botany course devoted to drawing and studying the natural world is very appealing. I'm pretty sure we'll fill this out using these from Montessori for Everyone, as well as a couple other resources we already own. Luckily for her, a nature study walk and basketball workout can be accomplished in one afternoon walk to the neighborhood basketball court (right next to a pond).
The other area I thought she would balk at was Child Development. Once again, I underestimated Lilly. But mom, she says, I love working with little kids. And its true, she does and she has a real gift for winning over their hearts. Along with using the book Mommy, Teach Me, Lilly was already to set up to work with 2-4 year olds in two different co-ops. When I explained to her that actually learning about how to work with and teach young children was part of the curriculum, she was delighted. (I suppose if you have a very sports driven young lady, you could replace this entirely with books pertaining to their sport. Anything from the history and rules to improving technique and biographies.)
I will add in Math, writing and grammar. I'm also considering more sign language work. She picked it up very quickly from watching Signing Time with the little girls and has asked repeatedly for further instruction.
She'll be getting some pseudo-music instruction singing in the youth choir at Church. Though I haven't heard her, I've been informed by siblings and other adults that she can sing rather well. She won't sing for me.
And then, of course, the basketball. She very much wants to play in 2 leagues starting in December, continuing through March. This will have her playing/practicing about 4 times a week. The truth is, I found the requirements and pace of this curriculum much gentler and appropriate for a student who needs the time to train for a sport. I imagine that a young lady devoted to dancing or music might feel the same.
I truly believe, when taken as a whole, these books and characters are just what my daughter needs to keep in mind that she is first a woman, then an athlete. A friend remarked recently that sadly, we live in a society where most girls don't demand respect from the young men around them. I think she's right. Elizabeth and Jennifer have said that this curriculum is not about idealizing a particular era. They're right. If anything, the many things I so loved about Anne were her joy, her dignity and her femininity while remaining strong and resolute in the face of challenges. What a fantastic companion for Lilly as she reaches "the bend in the road".