Two days in…

… and I’m thinking that I was maybe just precisely ambitious enough.  No, we haven’t gotten everything done each day, but we’ve come close enough that I feel that we can grow into it in the next week or two, so I feel like I should keep the expectations exactly where they now are.

The girls wanted to start early both mornings, but I simply refuse to get into it before 9 AM, esp since now we are homeschooling basically at my bedside, and Daddyman will eat my face off if I try to oust him from his own slumber before then.  (Have I mentioned that Daddyman is a nightowl, and this forced ‘early’ rising is a lovely fringe benefit of bedside homeschooling?  I’m Eeeeevil.  I admit it.)

The schedule of what we’ve done when has been pretty darned useless; some due to unforeseen factors (losing the calendars and needing to replace them yesterday morning, Daddyman making an extra stop on his way home with said replacements to talk computers at Staples ((don’t get me started)), my feeling craptastic over lunch and thus napping thereafter, the girls finding their first webkinz in the Christmas bags, etc) but other parts of it (like forgetting to do journalling – not their favorite activity – until darned near the last thing of the day) were entirely forseeable, but didn’t get planned around anyway.

Ah well.  Here is what we DID get done yesterday and today, put into the form of the schedule I plan to use tomorrow:  (Note: they might still do more tonight; they went until bedtime last night!)

Calendar time: We took out our new calendars, learned about days of the week, months of the year, and how to say the date.  We also drew in a pictographic representation of the weather (sunny, snowing, raining, cloudy) on each day which we’ll graph in a few weeks.  We changed the appropriate words on a lined white board we have up on the wall which says: ” Yesterday was… (day).  Tomorrow will be… (day).  Today is (day, date).”  (Buddy is participating in this too, but his pictographs are just colored blobs that extend willinilly.)

Then we took out our Roaring Springs Grade 1 composition books, and the girls wrote in their vocabulary words for each day: day, week, month, and year for yesterday, and Earth, moon, sun, orbit for today.  While they write those down (copying from index cards with one word each on them), I go over what the words mean with Buddy.  None of the kids are responsible for spelling them, just for knowing them, but I figure that the girls are picking up spelling and word recognition skills along the way anyway. 

Then we have done some social studies and science work, talking about what time is, why it is useful to have ways to talk about it, etc, as well as video of the Sun, Earth, Moon system.   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FjCKwkJfg6Y  shows the relative sizes of the Earth, our sun and moon, as well as their relative distances.  It talks about relative volumes and circumferences too, but that was obviously a bit beyond my kids.  😉  Daddyman helped us demonstrate the system with balls (because I don’t have enough hands), then we danced the movement of the planets, then we drew the system and the relevant orbits.  All the while we had Holst’s “The Planets” running off YouTube in the background.  Jupiter is a family fave.  🙂

We didn’t get to Explode the Code yesterday, and are reviewing our previous work in Handwriting without Tears, since it has been four months since we last did any, and Beara has slid into some bad habits in the interim.  Big D doesn’t really need the review, but it can’t hurt, eh?  Buddy has his own handwriting book too – one that shows the capital and lower case of each letter, and gives places to trace then write them (he just scribbles, but – hey – print concepts are print concepts!) then he colors in two pictures that begin with that sound by following the directions that show which colors to use where (one each for lowercase and capital letters).  He really likes it, and feels big to have his own handwriting book.  I generally don’t like ‘directed’ coloring like that, but learning his color names and to follow directions isn’t the worst thing he could be doing with his time, and he *does* get tons of free drawing time as well. 

For math,  we’ve been working on estimating and counting up to 100 for a while now, but now we’re doing it by checking our estimates on a numbered 100 chart with snack foods!  Chocolate chips and raisins so far; making math yummy is always a good plan in my book!  We’re also working on putting numbers 0-20 in order, as well as 0-120 by tens.  They know the words for the numbers, but recognizing the digits is a major weakness just now.  We’ll be starting to learn about base ten tomorrow, which I think will help with some of their big points of confusion, but ask me in a week if it worked, eh?  😉

Journalling is like pulling teeth, but they’ll get there, since we’re moving it into a better timeslot, and, well, they just aren’t getting out of it.  I’m happy to spell whatever they want spelled, and they can draw a picture or not, and write about anything they like, but they ARE doing it, even if it is just a few words every few days.  Hmph.  (Note that this was NOT part of my plan for homeschooling just now, but my BFF reports that her preschoolers, just five months older than my girls, are writing journals every day at their public preschool.  Ergo, we are doing journalling every day.  Somehow.)

We didn’t do Spanish yesterday, but I’m not bent about it; they already speak WAY more Spanish than I do, courtesy of Dora and Diego.  Today we learned ‘feliz cumpleanos’ = happy birthday.  (I guess I should learn how to write the n with a tilde over it, if I am going to be writing Spanish words here, since, well, that word needed one.  Hm.  ETA:  http://www.studyspanish.com/accents/typing.htm#winVista shows how to add them.  Awesome.)  We’ll be calling their Spanish-speaking cousin this week, since her birthday was this last weekend, and this way they will be able to say that to her over the phone!  The rest of the week will be learning to say what the weather is doing.

Still to come this week: seasons and how the tilt of the Earth creates them, holidays and characteristics of different seasons, a VERY brief intro to how weather works, and snow activities/crystal structure.  (Daddyman gets to do the field trip for that one, hopefully sledding!)   

Daddyman is still putting in job applications, and will *hopefully* be getting offered something soon.  (That nursing shortage?  There isn’t one in our part of Vermont,  let me tell you…)  Once he has a job, we’ll figure out our regular library and tubby days around his schedule, and hopefully be able to tap into some other community resources as well, if his schedules allows it.  (Mom with chronic illnesses + 3 kids under five + public venue – Daddyman = Insanity)

Anyway, so far we are doing great.  The kids’ intellects outpace their attention spans by about a mile, but hey, we knew that already.  We’re practicing being on task, and I think adding a schedule (or at least an order; I’m not huge on keeping to set times, as long as the kids aren’t hungry) will help enormously.  I’m also figuring that we’ll start being able to compress our ‘academics’ into the morning, so that we can do art and story time in the afternoons, or maybe push everything to the afternoon so we can go out in the morning to the library or whatever.  I’m not married to M-F, either, esp since Daddyman might be working weekends, and it wouldn’t be a bad plan to take a break every few days for unschooly life to predominate anyway.  We’ll see!

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