Thursday, September 10, 2009

First Days of Homeschool

We too, have started a new school year. As homeschoolers, we don't really have a defined stop and start to learning time, and I like to think of us as learning all the time. However, with the mama a bit out of commission for the past couple months, we haven't been doing a whole lot of much, and even the basics like reading aloud sometimes fell by the wayside.
We always have our bedtime read of course, and have been enjoying Swallows and Amazons quite a bit
It came highly recommended from a woman in a caboose bookstore in Portland's Sellwood neighborhood where we spent much of our summer.
We have also started sort of a new bedtime thing, which is poem reading. We sort of fell into it because a few years ago my mom gave Eleanor some sweet little cards called Sweet Dreams Cards by Cooper Edens, who is the author and illustrator of one of our favorite bedtime books, The Caretakers of Wonder.
There are vintage illustrations on each of the cards, and a poem or saying on the other side. Eleanor either reads one to me (the new way) or I read one to her (the old way) each night before lights out. Well, somehow I started having poem time with Lucy and Gus, too, and it has turned into a nice little bedtime treat, and a good way to hear more poetry, which I think is a great thing, since I love poetry but was having a hard time figuring out where to put it into our busy days.
So, having read them their poems and put them to bed... and some to tent, since the girls packed their backpacks to go on a grand camping adventure in the yard (for 3 days, no less), I set out to planning our new 'school year' rhythms.
If they were in school, Gus would be in 4th grade, Eleanor in 3rd grade and Lucy in 1st. For the most part, I don't really worry or think to much about that, but it is good for them to be able to answer people when they are asked, which they are often, what grade they are in. It also helps when I am looking for age/ability appropriate stuff to sprinkle along their paths.
Here's what happened on Tuesday:
We woke up early. That's what happens when you sleep outdoors! I enlisted the help of Gus to make breakfast. Our new rhythm includes each of the kids helping with mealtime (and everyone helping with cleanup!) He helped pick out what tea we would drink, and the girls set the table.

After breakfast, we spread out our circle time blanket (one day soon it will be a circular braided rug, it will!) and we all said the same verse together, because we were talking about ONE. We talked about ONE for a while, about all things that there were ONE of, about things that are made up of many but are still ONE, and eventually they mentioned corn, which lead into our story. We also did some body awareness/beat awareness things, clapping or stomping on each syllable of a sentence. Then we all mixed up some cornbread together.
While our cornbread baked, one of the children did form drawings, while the other two smelled essential oils (the caps.) one by one (punctuated by smelling coffee, to give their noses a break) and then chose 3 to make into their own massage oil blend. I explained the concept of synergy, and they were very excited to be mixing the oils. Form drawing was less well received.
Our cornbread finished baking and we ate it with gusto and homemade strawberry jam. We finished our snack just as our neighbor arrived to go for our daily walk. We've been really enjoying walking with her for the past few weeks. She always brings her baby and the girls even like to push the stroller up the big hill.
It's a nice time to connect and even going by the road, it's a pretty walk. Eleanor found this poor friend dead, but in near perfect condition on the road:
After our lunch, we headed to a friends nearby farm to pick up custom (non-raw) homemade goat cheese for the pregnant mama (yay and YUM!) and to play with friends. My playing consisted of picking blackberries. The kids played inside with their friend (and on such a beautiful day!) However, the new chicks were a draw for at least one:
There's really nothing quite as cute as a kid and a chick.... except maybe the photos from today... which will have to wait for a different day.
Tuesday ended with a lovely meal of quiche made by me and Lucy, and foot massages for all, including Mama. Everyone I have told about this says, "I want to go to a school like that!" It was fun, school should be.

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