Well, we're one week into the school year. And how are things going?
Well, we had a small hiccup after our awesome first day. I wasn't feeling 100% for a little while, so we did alternate educational experiences. In other words, I introduced my children to the first three Harry Potter movies and the BBC Earth series, "Life."
Monday was a perfect example of a homeschool day gone wrong. We were supposed to go to Wal-Mart for me to have lenses put in my 18th century style glasses, but they couldn't do it. I was in a bind since my own glasses were broken and my new ones hadn't arrived. I took the optician's recommendation and went to LensCrafters at a mall 45 minutes away. They wouldn't do it either. We spent most of the day in the car and in eyeglass stores. School went out the window. But, in the car, AW was examining this tulip poplar(?) seed pod she'd found. She made observations about it's texture, hardness, and function. Then we had a long talk about human development in utero (she's very curious about her time in utero and infancy). It was a good lesson that school can happen anywhere, any time.
After quiet time yesterday, AW and I both wanted to do school, but I had a splitting headache. Ivy Box to the rescue! All the activities are ready to go straight out of the box. Here she is making a night scene for some fireflies, using scratch paper from the kit. We also made a tissue paper lantern and a glow-stick firefly light. My involvement was minimal. Then, she and DC worked together to make a tissue paper firefly collage.
ThThis morning, I finally felt like a regular human being again, just in time for a trip to the park with a friend. This is one of our favorite parks because it's shady, small, and secluded. We usually have the place to ourselves, and it's geared towards 1-5 year olds. AW used a bag and collected "nature" as she calls it, and then returned it all back to nature. She discovered an earthworm wriggling at the bottom of the slide, and a spiderweb tucked away in a corner. We took pictures of a few things for our science journal. They also worked on their gross motor skills, but they would have just told me they played on the playground.
So what's going on at this exact moment? She's coloring in the library and he's playing with Little People in the basement. I'm thrilled, even though it's a little early for quiet time. This afternoon, we'll have snack and then try out a new sensory bin: water beads with a frog life cycle play set. It's part of the AYOPS curriculum set.
Speaking of AYOPS, some of the work for this month has just been part of our daily routine. In the Home-Life category, one skill is clearing the table. We've been doing this for awhile, but I've been much more intentional about reminding her to do so. DC likes to do whatever AW does, so he's working on that skill too. We're also working on hand-washing duration by singing Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star.
The first week may have been little bit rough, but it's coming together. I'm sure we'll have lots more ebb and flow this year. But that's the great thing about homeschooling--we don't have deadlines. The goal is lifelong learning. I think we're getting a pretty good start on that.
Well, we have day one under our belts, and I thought I'd do a little bit of a play by play. AW came running in at exactly 7:00am. I taught her to read the hours on a digital clock, and she knows that she needs to stay in her room and rest until 7:00am unless it's an emergency. My brother-in-law was visiting over the past couple of days, so we didn't get the good night's sleep I'd aimed for. Himself got breakfast for AW while I slowly got ready for the day. I think I finally dragged myself downstairs around 8:00am. (My goal was to be up by 5:30 today. Oops!). The kids ate cereal then played while the adults had eggs and coffee. Normally, I like to start morning time at 9:00am, but the kids' uncle was only going to be around for the morning, so they went off to play. At 10:00am, they looked like this:
Yup, they are still in their pajamas. Now, as homeschoolers, this is completely acceptable first day of school attire. However, it's part of our routine as a family to get dressed every morning before starting the day. It's been important for our psyches to make the transition to starting the school and work at home day. Pajamas are for sick days, snow days, and lazy days.
So, we got dressed, made beds (well I did), brushed teeth, sang a handwashing song, and headed out to take care of the farm chores. DC fed the chicks, AW fed the rabbits, and we all work together to give the animals their water. By now, the humidity level was about 1,000%, and I decreed that we would go inside after taking a first day of school picture or two.
From there, we moved onto journal writing. I asked AW to dictate to me about what she wanted to learn in school this year. She told me that she wanted to build things out of wood, learn to climb ladders, and learn to drive. We'll aim for 2/3 on those. Then she drew in her journal, while her little brother asked to go do play dough in the library. It wasn't long before she joined us there.
Drawing pictures and doing playdough wasn't in the lesson plan. But that's the beauty of homeschooling. They're both working on building fine motor control and working on pre-writing skills...but to them it's just playing! DC took a little break to build with some blocks. We read two books while he played: Hot Air (on the AYOPS book list) and Ugly Pie (an AW favorite). But by then, we were getting hungry so it was time to work on some life skills for the day. I taught AW how to wipe down the table before we ate lunch, and then she got a lesson in making tuna salad. She now has a three recipe repertoire: egg salad, PB & J sandwiches, and tuna salad.
After lunch, she saw me prepping her quiet time activity, and begged me to start quiet time. I held her off awhile, because DC definitely won't nap if we put him down to early, and I like them to have quiet time at the same time. I prepped some activities for him too, in case nap wasn't in the cards today. Then we snuggled up on the sofa to read more books: Chicka Chicka Boom Boom; Baby Cheep Cheep (one of DC's favorite board books); and The Giant Hug (from AW's very first Ivy Box). To AW's great relief, it was now time to head upstairs for quiet time. What was she so eager to do?
This is one of the September activities from AYOPS. She used the spoon to scoop marbles into the water bottle. I also gave her an old oatmeal canister filled with clothespins for her to clip to the edge of the container. From the sounds coming from her room, she had a great time with the marbles. Note for future reference: this is not a "quiet" quiet time activity.
DC expressed zero interest in napping so after he'd shown no signs of going to sleep, I went in and gave him his quiet time activities.
This was one of AW's favorites when she was around DC's age, and he was no different. They put the pom poms in the top of the jug and pull them out at the bottom. It's amazing how long they can repeat this. I gave him this tray, a vehicle puzzle, and our Leap Frog phonics magnet set. He was completely content in his room for the next hour. It was his first time with quiet time activities and I was pleased with the success. I'm not sure if he's totally done with naps or just in a phase, but I know that forcing sleep on him is ineffective to say the least.
AW knows from her clock when quiet time is over (3:00pm) and came on downstairs where we opened up her latest Ivy Box. The book is The Lonely Firefly by Eric Carle. I love the excitement on her face when she opens these packages.
We read the book and then went out for ice cream to celebrate a successful first day of school.