A Fantastic First Week Back

This week I tried something new. I tried to be more relaxed about when and where we did our work. It’s not easy! I like a plan, a checklist, and I like to just get on with things. But I want our homeschool to be relaxed, where the girls have space to veer off into their own projects.

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Based on Fungirl’s old elementary school process, the girls get a “contract” of work to be completed and I feel they’ve been much too specific. Fungirl was not open to a change, but Daisy was, so I changed things up. Daisy still had about 5 specific tasks for the week, but the I gave a concept for her other work areas, and listed several choices, plus listed the lessons she needed to receive, and space for her to add her own choices. I really liked the “freedom within limits” of this new contract. Fungirl wants to switch to the new contract next week.

I kicked off the week with the Story of Geometry from the Keys of the Universe albums. This one referenced Ancient Egypt and triangles, so I preferred this one over the Cultivating Dharma one because we just finished our Ancient Egypt study and I got a Geometric Stick type material for Christmas! Daisy isn’t quite 6 yet, but I’m going to start some of the big impressionistic first elementary lessons with her.

Monday morning ran nicely. I’d got some Handwriting Without Tears workbooks from our homeschool teacher and both girls tried those out. I also made my own Hands on Equations material over the break, and Funball enjoyed her first lesson in that, but thought it was too easy. Actual algebraic work is introduced in lesson 2, so I think we’ll move quickly into that one, but then space out the remaining 5 lessons for the year.

After lunch the girls had planned to do our history work for the week, however they both ended up pulling out cardboard and my old The Dollhouse Decorator book. So – I channeled my new relaxed self, texted a friend for confirmation and went and did something else for a while. Daisy asked for help and then I ended up sitting with both of them and we all worked together. Fungirl made a bed with an Ancient Egyptian headrest and some characters from Ra the Mighty. Daisy read me the instructions on her page and had a lesson in measuring with a quilter’s square. Book projects, read aloud, and measuring were all on their contracts of the week, so we checked them off afterwards! We even ended up listening to our chapter of History Quest and doing the two related art projects after dinner!

Over the break I started reading Harry Potter to the girls, and they are obsessed! I had a book unit we were going to start – but I decided it was better to keep the HP momentum going. We followed the content of the planned lessons, but with a HP twist. After a review of nouns the girls had a few choices in the way they’d like to show me they understood the difference between common and proper nouns. When I suggested they might like to photocopy a page from a book and highlight the nouns in two different colors they exclaimed “Harry Potter” and ran to the printer! I knew this wasn’t too much of a challenge for Fungirl, but I was SO impressed at how Daisy did!

On Wednesday morning Daisy said “Do we have to do school today, I don’t really feel like it.” My new self thought…ok…we can switch this up. They played in their bedroom while I read Harry Potter. For an hour. Then we pulled Daddy over to the living room with us and I gave all of them the Long Division with Bows lesson. I’m sure Fungirl didn’t get this one at school – and Dad thought it was pretty cool too! They each did another job or two and we slotted in our Dreambox and Lexia after lunch. But then – in the evening we did some more! We did a little map work related to our history lesson – and of course, more Harry Potter!

By Thursday we were looking good and everyone was quite happy. We finished the second Harry Potter book, went for a walk, and pickup up the third book and second movie from my parents’ house. Of course the girls wanted to start watching right away, but we had Friday plans…so they were told they had to get their work finished first. I had a little time before making dinner so we sat down. Daisy and I snuggled up and she wrote a fantastic How-To together. Fungirl wrote and illustrated a quick 1st person freewrite – AND THEN THEY BOTH SHARED THEIR WRITING! This hasn’t happened for weeks! Relaxed schooling for the win! After that I wanted to start dinner, so I outsourced Daisy’s Small Bead Frame lesson to Fungirl. And they did so well together! They took turns moving beads. Fungirl did the addition abstractly on the side to check their work. I’d given them a stack of equation slips and they did probably double what I’d normally get out of them in a run of work, so I’d say it went well! I’m liking this schooling all over the place thing. I think we probably got more done!

I met with each girl in turn on Friday morning, to go over their contracts and have a discussion about what next week’s contract might look like. We finished up the second Harry Potter movie and spent the afternoon with our homeschool buddies doing a lovely art project and building a model of the Voyager spacecraft! We read a hilarious How to Babysit a Grandpa as a mentor text for Daisy and talked about it, then read A Chip off the Old Block to relate to a geology area of study we started to touch upon this week and introduced different types of rock. My voice needed a break from being badgered into reading three chapter of Harry Potter all in one go! I’m sure we’ll start book 3 tomorrow!

I’m really, really happy with how our first week back went. I hope I can be so relaxed moving forwards!

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