Today was the first day of school in these parts, while other families were rising before dawn and fighting off the drastic effects of a post-summer schedule change, we happily slept in. When I woke up, I grabbed a shower, tossed on a new dress and my favorite comfy shoes. Did I add some matching red lipstick? You bet I did. Dress for the job you want, y'all! It's homeschool mama nonpareil or bust! A writer's view
I woke my sleepy Li'l E and after tumbling out of bed and into her clothes, we took some first day pics of her. Then she took some first day pics of me. She's enamored with photography right now. After a few months of giving her free rein, I almost always keep my head AND feet in her photos! It's pure art really. Once we had the first day pageantry and documentation out of the way, we started right in with the learning. The lovely Li'l E made her first batch of scrambled eggs from cracked to cooked all on her own, with limited verbal encouragement from me. She was so proud to serve them up to me and her sister. I added some pancakes to the meal, because after all, there is only one First Day of Homeschool!
After a tasty breakfast, we headed up to the game room to get started. A quick prayer (because heaven knows I needed one), I produced a mountain of crayons and extra-thick My Little Pony coloring book for Bear, as well as handing over the much coveted case full of mini-cars. She immediately attempted to give each car a colored wax job, and I was able to chat with Li'l E about grammar (discussing common nouns with a 7 year old at 9am on a Monday, this is the new normal). Next, I set her up at my window-facing desk to do some copy work and get her printing skills back up to speed. About the time she completed her copy work, Bear had grown tired of redecorating her fleet of miniature cars, and had toddled over for some attention. I proposed a game of Simon Says, and Li'l E and I clapped, head-patted, jumping-jacked, yoga-ed, and laughed our way through several rounds, with Bear comically copying our moves and shrieking with delight at our laughter. Reading buddies
Once we had all of our wiggles out, I handed Li'l E the first book of our semester, so we could get started on reading. She began to read aloud from Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder, which kept her baby sister entertained for a few pages before inspiring the little monkey to pick out several books from her shelf and plop down next to her big sister to "read" as well. They both happily spent half an hour reading, then Bear grew tired, so I entertained her by reading more books to her until Li'l E finished her chapter and could give me her narration. Maths
Bear went down for a nap, and Li'l E and I headed downstairs for some fun with mathematics. I took it really easy for our first day. She gets rather frantic when it comes maths, and so I had her get in a number-y headspace by practice writing numbers. We discussed and drew several number lines, counted to 100 by ones, then fives, then tens, and then created a quick game with the addition flashcards. Thankfully, everything remained playful and lighthearted. The lessons I most feared ended up being no big thang. I'm hoping that a week of easy, fun review will have her feeling more relaxed, so that we can move on to some serious learning. I really feel like she has a lot of ground to recover here, but I want her to have a good relationship with the subject before things start getting difficult. World Explorer
I saved one of her absolute favorite subjects for last: history. She read the chapter on the first writing from The Story of the World on my iPad, and then went on to narrate back to me all she'd read in amazingly specific detail and easily answered all of my questions. Next we had some fun with paper maps and our newly acquired globe. We discussed Egypt and Sumer, and by using the Persian Gulf and the Tigris and Euphrates rivers as landmarks, she was able to discover that what was Mesopotamia is now called Iraq. She was really fascinated by the idea of lands changing names and the causes of such things. That girl can question with the best of 'em. Finally, I revealed my little surprise: a bucket of clay. I helped her fashion some clay tablets, armed her with a wooded kabob skewer and a printed "key" of Sumerian symbols, and let her create. She had a blast writing "coded" messages into the clay, and our day of lessons wrapped up just as the baby awoke from her nap.
We covered everything that I had planned more quickly than I expected and ended the lessons on a high note. We spent the rest of our day visiting our favorite duck pond and indulging in celebration milkshakes, running errands, and reading several more chapters of Harry Potter. By bedtime, we had all survived and more importantly, we were all still smiling. Here's to many more days and years of happy, enthusiastic learning!