Monday, September 06, 2010

first day

Our first day of home school has come and gone. It had been months in the making and rather than sit around last night planning every detail to perfection, we instead spent our time enjoying the company of some good friends and the magnificence of being outdoors until dusk.

We spontaneously took our friends up on their invite to come see their new home- way out in the woods- and spent the day and night enjoying the beauty and history of their 1780-built home, the acres of field, barn and chicken coops they occupy the property, warming ourselves by a roaring bonfire, sharing the most tremendous pizzas and watching our collective eight children (well, Luca was in arms during all of this) running wild, free and barefoot until the sun was setting.

It felt like a scene from Little House in the Big Woods and being in that setting- the quiet, stillness, joy, peace, fellowship- helped me to focus on what we all need in order to thrive and survive during this upcoming year of homeschooling.

So much of this homeschooling experience depends upon me- the mother- and my state of mind, well-being and spirit. I am setting the tone in our home environment. Like I said in my last post- all eyes are on me. These little ones are looking to me to guide them and to teach them. They are taking cues from me and if they see patience and hope and trust in my eyes, then they too will feel those things.

Today was a day to put all of these thoughts, visions and hopes to the test. It's so easy for me to seek out, drink in and love ideas in life, but living them out in the day-to-day is another story.

It felt good to wake up with a greater purpose today. It's so ironic that here I was thinking all summer that I couldn't take on another ounce of responsibility and what I really needed most was to fulfill the next calling.

We started at nine this morning with a time of poetry about the seasons and a song of praise. I remember now so vividly how Elias really needs me to fill up his tank before I begin lessons with the older pair in order to stay content and peaceful for the first part of our homeschooling day. What a difference this makes indeed.

We then set off to do some math reviewing. I had been trying to incorporate movement into Nicolas' math time and continued with that during our review today. We used a bean bag that we tossed back and forth to one another as we counted to one hundred. This is just the beginning of our review and we still need to go over all of his addition facts before we return to real bookwork and the subtraction that he left off with last spring.

Sophia's math review involved revisiting decimal street and naming all of the houses that live there- starting with the one's and counting up to the trillions. I then wrote out five numbers in standard notation on the board and had her read them aloud. What precision! She didn't miss a place value in any of them!

ItalicNicolas and I read Viking Tales and he narrated to me what he remembered about skalds and sagas. He then wrote a bit in his lesson book and drew a picture to narrate the passage as well. He chose to focus on the battle aspect of the sagas and did his best drawing to depict a brave warrior.

Sophia began reading Poor Richard for her history biography lesson and read about Benjamin Franklin's life in a large family living on Milk Street in Boston. Her narration was excellent and I really feel she captured the feel of what his life was like during that time in 1706. I typed out her narration and she then copied in into her lesson book in cursive. She did her best work but it is evident that the lazy days of summer have taken a toll on her beautiful penmanship. Lots of printing, doodling and mad-libs will do that to a young girl!

I started a grammar and writing program that Sophia and Nicolas will be sharing. I feel that they will both get a lot out of it and that Sophia will be able to 'take it to the next level' if she is in need of more of a challenge. This work encompasses their copywork as well and ironically enough we read from Little House in the Big Woods today. Italic
Nicolas and I worked on reading together and started learning a new poem about vowels and sounds. He is in need of some extra phonics this year to keep discouragement and guess-work at bay. His comprehension is so very far ahead of his reading ability. How odd that must feel for him. At any cost I am hopeful that this is just what he needs in order to take his reading to the next level.

In addition to these lessons we practiced some form drawing, used our new beeswax stick crayons to draw and took a beautiful walk around our neighborhood and the pond that is close by. It was Luca's first time in a stroller and he simply loved the experience. It was nice to give my back a rest from carrying him and I felt so carefree as we strolled together- a new chapter in our mother-baby relationship I'd say.

Tomorrow is a new day and it feels oh-so good to have gotten my feet wet with all of the newness and hope that this current year of homeschooling is already bringing to our family.

{Stay tuned to see our annual first day of school photos and more about the books we are enjoying this school year and season!}

1 comment:

Jackie said...

"all eyes are on me. These little ones are looking to me to guide them and to teach them. They are taking cues from me and if they see patience and hope and trust in my eyes, then they too will feel those things."

oi. this is at once inspiring and overwhelming to me. i know i set the tone i just wish i were better at setting a happy and peaceful one. i will endeavor to do that tomorrow and hope that our first day will be at least half as wonderful as yours sounds.