Dressing down and dressing up

Note: If this seems a little disjointed, it’s because I’ve challenged myself to write and post before my computer runs out of charge – about 30 minutes from now. It might not be pretty or make much sense, but it will be done!

One back-to-school ritual I didn’t miss was the rush to buy new clothes for the fall. While we don’t spend the day in our pajamas, we are more concerned with comfort than looking polished or fashionable.

Aw, who am I kidding? I’ve always been that way. As least as far as my own clothes are concerned.

But I do usually visit the back-to-school sales with everyone else to look for a few outfits that are kind of current and are flexible enough to mix and match. I have never been a sharp dresser and spent a lot of my childhood coveting the clothes (and fashion sense) of my classmates. As a result, I compensate by overbuying clothes for my own kids, especially my daughter (boys – peh! Shirts, pants, shoes and you’re all done).

This year, in an effort to save money, I decided to avoid the clothes stores altogether during the big rush. She still fit into last year’s clothes (barely, but enough to wear them), and we weren’t going anywhere fancy. Besides, she has a TON of T-shirts from school, dance, vacations and other places that she still fits into. Jeans and T-shirts – we don’t need anything else. And I think I did save money.

But now Kiki wants to get into cosplay – basically wearing costumes that go beyond your typical Halloween efforts. She’s hoping to dress up as a character from My Little Pony: Equestria Girls. While she does want to learn to sew and make her own costumes, I pointed out if she wants something in time for trick-or-treat (or other related events), she might want to try putting together an outfit from off-the-rack clothes for a first effort. I am all for her learning to sew, of course, and I want to learn along with her. But maybe we should start with pillowcases or curtains or things that don’t involve cutting curves.

This cosplay interest ties into some other things Kiki has pursued – manga (basically Japanese style comics) and learning Japanese. This is an area where we are trying to give her some space to follow her own interests. She has joined a local group for fans of manga/anime and is taking lessons in Japanese from tutor. Those lessons are a lot of work, so we’ve adjusted our daily schedule to include time to work on that (and I’m learning some, as a result), but I feel like she’s more motivated to do this than almost anything else. We’ll see how it goes. It’s a heck of a language to pick for a first foreign language, a contrast from my more typical French classes.

We’ve made some other adjustments based on her preferences, as well. I’ve found her a curriculum that is largely based online, especially in math. My plan is to let her go through the lessons and test her with the worksheets as she gets through topics, just to make sure she’s truly understanding them. What’s nice is that she can test out of topics I know she has already covered well in the past. This is also true for the language arts topics, which include a good dose of grammar. We will continue with our original writing curriculum. The program also include science and social studies (including ancient history, government and U.S. history). I’ve been freewheeling those areas, so it’s nice to have a little structure to fall back on. I plan to emphasize the ancient history more than the rest for this year, and I have plenty of supplemental materials and activities.


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