Here is an outline of what we have done in one week...
I really have no idea what the children were playing in these photos but it looked like fun!
Monday. Ugh I am not a fan of Mondays as you might already know. I also think my children might pick up on this Mondayist attitude of mine though I have never actually told them about my distaste for the start of the week. Nevertheless, we were able to achieve quite a bit today. It started over the weekend with Heath and I laying down some new rules about Animal Jam and the children's obvious obsession with the game. They are now allowed an hour a day 3-4pm if and only if they have completed all their activities and lessons for the day. As it is officially the start of a new term today we had some cool things to do including the continuation of a mini unit of the art of MC Escher. This is one of the artists who inspired me to pursue my artistic passion and I really love sharing his work with the kids. We started the other week using some of his tessellation images for colouring in and today we made our own tessellated cell and started a repeat pattern. I initially thought that the kids would only be interested in just one small lesson but they were not quite finished at 3pm so I suggested we pick it up tomorrow. This made them very happy and now I have a heap of new ideas and they have agreed to work all week with this theme. Stay tuned for the results!
The girls continued with their daily tasks - maths workbooks, copywork and handwriting, reading out loud to me as well as lessons on Reading Eggs and Study Ladder. Both girls are really improving their handwriting and it really only takes about 10 minutes a day so they don't complain too much. Lily has learned some new maths concepts over the last few weeks and she picks them up in minutes. The maths workbooks we use are great and help reinforce new information without it being too boring. I have learned quite a bit too and I really enjoy sitting with them (when they don't whinge too much!) while they do their work.
We picked up some readers from the library the other day and Zoe amazed me with her reading fluency. When she came home from school last year she was so anxious about reading out loud that I have not asked her to do any for me this year until now. This morning she happily chose two books at what I thought would be above her level of reading. She only had a few mistakes though what surprised me most was her confidence. At the end of last year she would cry almost every afternoon when she had to do her home reading and she would despair at ever improving. The poor thing would say she was being teased because her reading level was so low compared to everyone else in the class. Now she has no one to compare her achievements with except herself, she is much happier. It seems I have the first observable proof that she is going to learn at her own pace with very little coercion from me. It was this realisation at the end of the day that made me very happy. Despite the fact it was still Monday!
Tuesday. We had an earlier start this morning so the girls were finished their daily tasks by about 11am. We then moved on to our Escher activities and the girls continued their tessellation works. Last night I found a heap of great polyhedra print outs and spent all morning cutting out the shapes for the kids. Zoe and Henry didn't want to put their 3D shapes together so Lily and I had so much fun taping them up. I was amazed at how easily Lily figured out how the shapes were supposed to go together even though she had not even seen a finished one. We talked about the different 2D shapes and how they make up the final 3D shapes. Henry loved piling the shapes up into a tower and knocking them down but I think the best part of his day was Zoe reading to everyone. I love watching her confidence build every day and there is not even the slightest whinge from her now when I ask her to read to me.
Wednesday. The girls had a late one last night because I made the mistake of letting them listen to a new audio book at bed time. Bad idea! I went to check on them and turn the ipod off at 930pm and Zoe was still awake! The book is another Enid Blyton book - the Enchanted Forest and Zoe wanted to listen to all four hours last night. I had to turn it off and this morning the first thing she said was 'oh! I am so tired!' at 720am! They were all in bed at 620pm but only Henry went to sleep then. So today was a bit of a struggle. I had to keep reminding the girls that they were tired and not to take their crankyness out on us. Henry on the other hand was actually quite nice and didn't have his whinge pants on until late in the afternoon.
We had an early dentist appointment which was really quite fun. The girls had a check up and were given new toothpaste and brushes after Dr John painted their teeth with something called tricolour paste. It was a dark blue paste that he painted on their teeth that changed colour depending on the age of the plaque. We all learned that the girls need more attention brushing their teeth, especially at bed time as we don't have spit in our mouths overnight and that is when the bacteria causes cavities. I also really liked the girls telling the young Dr about how much they love homeschooling. Lily said 'We just do a puny amount of work every morning then we get to play all day! I love it and I never want to go back to school!' Zoe agreed and I did well up a little knowing they are truly happy at home.
After that we rushed home to pick up Henry who was having fun hanging out with Nana and Papa. Our Spanish in the Park lessons are at a new park about half an hour away and we stayed until about 1pm. It seems for the next five weeks we will have to take the day off maths and copywork as we just couldn't fit it in. The girls were very happy about that plan! As Lily go into the car to come home she told me 'I am just so exhausted Mummy!' and had a little nap on the way home. When we got home it was rainy and glum so we hired a new movie (The Lego Movie - funny!) while we rested.
Zoe managed to listen to all of the new audio book today (carrying the ipod all around the hous!) and I really enjoyed it in the car while we travelled to and from Spanish lessons. So tonight she said 'I will go to sleep tonight I promise, but I really want to listen to the new book'. Henry had taken himself to bed just after 6pm and was asleep by the time the girls were going to bed half an hour later. All three were sound asleep by 7pm. I think I am going to like Wednesdays if they can tire themselves out so easily!
Thursday. After being up in the middle of the night due to Henry and raging fever, The Boy and I didn't feel like doing much today. His temperature spiked again at lunch but he recovered again in the afternoon long enough to watch the girls play Animal Jam. This morning was a bit of a struggle to get the girls to do their regular tasks and I am not really sure why. I had to remind them (again!) that they only have to do a puny amount of work every day and it really shouldn't make them cranky. It was not until I threatened to take 10 minutes off their afternoon computer time for every 'No, I am not doing that!', that they were quiet and finished their work. I also gave them quite a few more cuddles and that seemed to help. Ah winter cuddles are so nice!
Someone asked me recently if my kids get bored being at home so much. The answer is most definitely no. Some time during the Christmas holidays Zoe came to me and said she was a bit bored. I looked at her and said 'Really?' she replied 'Um actually no. I have heaps to do!' and off she went to do all of those things. I read somewhere years ago that boredom is a sign of an inactive mind. My monkeys are never inactive, physically and mentally. It is very rare they have an issue going to bed or sleep and these days I don't even have to send them outside to play, the just go as soon as they are free from lessons and chores. Now to work on getting those lessons and chores done with the minimum of whinging....
Friday. I had an early physio appointment and I came home to find the girls had done all their work for Nana. I was very impressed as was Nana. For a treat, we all watched Masterchef together followed by How it's Made which was our science lesson for today. The girls continued playing with their polyhedrons and were happy that I had cut out another 20 or so last night. Honestly, we do not need toys as they can fight over printed out cardboard of which there is an infinite supply!
This afternoon was our first music lesson with Silver Soul Sounds. The kids had a really good time learning some new songs on the keyboard and piano. I looked over at Zoe near the end of the lesson as the teacher said 'Well done!'. She had learned her first song and I have never seen her face beam quite like that. Music is a powerful thing and I feel very blessed that the children are able to experience it for themselves. Henry was looking at the guitars and I asked him if he wanted to learn how to play. Our teacher said he can have a play next lesson and this made The Boy happy.
Over the weekend we didn't go out except for Lily's choir lesson. I must admit I do enjoy that hour on my own in the car to rest and catch up on some reading. Sunday the kids and I removed a wall between the laundry and our ensuite. Ok Heath did help quite a bit only because he thought it was easier than me injuring myself again. I did however get a chance to smash down some gyprock and I really couldn't help giggling manically. My demolition joy ended when I realised that the entire house was now coated in a layer of white dust that I had to clean up. Oh well, it was a good workout now I can't run any more.
That is a week in the Christenson house. It is not a typical week, I am not sure there is a typical week but I guess it is a snap shot. The kids are happy being at home with us and after only six months I really can't imagine life any other way. I am glad we had the opportunity to try mainstream school though I am ever more glad we have the opportunity to homeschool.