Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Best Homeschool Lessons: Minion Training

So, I have recovered some of my files, and I have finally figured out how to upload video from my phone to my computer. I'm still waiting for access to my laptop files, though, so I can't update Mommy quotes from November 2009 through December 2010 yet.

This presents me with a dilemma: do I wait and update everything in order, probably this summer, or do I do the most recent few months and then add flashback Mommy Moments retroactively?

At the moment, I am punting by taking content instead from classic homeschool lessons.

So here are my notes from Friday, September 17, 2010:

Minion Day

"Today, Eric requested a Minion-themed day instead of a field trip."
[Note: normally, if he does a good job Monday through Thursday, we try to have some kind of field trip, like going to the library, on Friday.]

"History: Considered minion case studies, like Pinky and the Brain, or the familiars in Disney's Sleeping Beauty. Discussed how a good minion thinks through problems, tries to identify the boss's underlying goal(s), asks for clarification, etc. Eric asked why most minions made stupid mistakes. I theorized that people with any gumption wouldn't put up with awful, abusive working conditions. I explained that, as the Witch of Doom, I am training my minions young so they can be both clever and loyal."

[Another side note: this, plus the algebra problem where she turns minion #18 into an alligator, led to a series of bedtime stories where the Witch of Doom related the sad ends of her string of minions. The first died valiantly, shielding her from a spell. Some blew themselves up through incompetence in the lab; one, a graduate student, got too uppity and escaped. That successful defection still rankles.) The Witch is constantly trying to balance competence with loyalty, and getting frustrated. Hence, as stated above, her current project to subvert brilliant but impressionable young children.]

[Yet another side note: My sister Cheryl suggested to Dad, years ago, that he do a Total Quality Management seminar about the leadership styles of various evil villains, with emphasis on how their poor handling of underlings frequently results in the downfall of their otherwise brilliant plan for world domination. Feel free to submit examples.]

"English: Grammar lesson. Linking verbs, diagramming thereof. Minion sentences."

Right: Minion sentences with linking verbs.
Left: Much more fun, Eric diagrammed
"Extremely crazy Eric sings very loud lectures about silly books ambiguously."

"Science: Chemistry of potions. Dragon's blood is a colloid. Love potion w/ground herbs is a suspension which must be stirred three times clockwise immediately before use. Explanation of when to use alligator's blood plus fairy dust as an emergency substitution."

[Note: this included the caveat about how it doesn't work for finicky-class potions; an important plot point in the later "Witch of Mixed-Fraction Doom" algebra problem involving polymorph juice.]

"Math: Showed Eric a simple supply/demand curve on a price/quantity chart. Discussed finding the optimal price point and quantity of love potions to produce each month."

Minion Week

[Minion Day was so successful, Eric requested, and got, a Minion Week for Halloween. It was more of a practical, hands-on experience, run by the Witch of Doom. Excerpts from her notes on his performance that week:]

"...helped in the library. Sorting books by category, alphabetizing by author, plus good old fashioned work ethic/loyalty test. Kind of apprenticeship/unpaid internship/job interview..."

"Lab assistant. Washed beakers & followed a recipe to create Dragon Turd Bread. Distracted, but didn't explode anything..."

[Note: If a lackey destroys property or dies, he automatically fails.]

"Minion history. Worksheet on Nixon's underlings. Demonstrated recruit could (1) do research, (2) evaluate, and (3) weigh sources. Also discussed what he would have done differently as McCord or Haldeman, etc..."

"Conclusion: Shows promise as apprentice. Worth training. Nine year indenture, sleep in stables with harpies."

--Of course, the Witch is notoriously bad about choosing, training, and keeping staff, but I'm sure we all wish her good luck on this latest try. We'll also hope her latest lackey thinks to provide his own earplugs.


Carolyn said...

the quality management seminar idea is BRILLIANT!! I'm completely going to think about that every time I watch an evil villain movie now.

Or I may just appropriate the idea for when I'm a high school government teacher.

Heather said...

Lol, I love your writing style. Absolutely hilarious. I will be watching for more for sure! Thanks for sharing Gail, this is great. :)

Jon said...

We should try this more with chores. I think we're letting a good thing go to waste. We could take away their minion T-shirts and make them earn them back, have some kind of quota to remain minions in good standing. Then we could have minion-only events like going to watch a movie or getting ice cream.

If we do it right, we could have a good system up and running by the time Sammy and U get old enough to help out.