Is it possible to be a dedicated homeschooling mom while still making time for myself as an individual (a girlie girl who likes cute shoes)? I like to think so. Follow along, and I'll let you know for sure.

Trust me . . . it's not ALL about the shoes.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

School is in Session!

I have to admit, I've been seeing everyone's first-day photos on Facebook for over a month and feeling like a slacker for extending our summer break. But in my mind, school starts after Labor Day so that's what we did. Plus, it worked out better with our trip last week. But being "behind" did put on some pressure for coming up with a really great first day. I'm happy to say . . . mission accomplished!

We began our day in the classroom with reading time. Since we're doing a unit study on the United States this fall, I picked a new book, George Washington. Ava picked Little Black, A Pony, and Noah (as expected) went for non-fiction with The Flip Flap Body Book. After reading, the kids did their "life skills" while I made breakfast. Today, this consisted of cleaning their rooms and taking out the recycling, but we'll mix it up each day according to what needs to be done.

With chores complete and the kids fed and dressed, we went back into the classroom for the juggling portion of the show - trying to work on curriculum with Noah and guiding Ava through activities at the same time. Truth be told, this act needs a lot of work.

Since our Rosetta Stone software isn't functional at the moment, Noah only had Language Arts, project time and computer time on the schedule today. He completed his project (combo art and writing) first, then we moved on to Language Arts. This is our first time tackling this subject with actual curriculum, and I chose Language Smarts by the Critical Thinking Company. He loves mind benders and brain teasers, and I love that this book uses those fun activities to teach language arts skills.

While he worked on that, Ava was in the family room on Starfall. She is just figuring out how to use the mouse on my laptop, so she still needs a lot of help. Due to battery issues, my laptop isn't easily portable right now, so I spent a lot of time bouncing back and forth between the two rooms. Whew!

Moving on, Noah chose IXL (math) for his computer time today. As we plugged away at first grade activities, Ava suddenly felt the need to do IXL as well. She sat with us the whole time, and I think she got a little frustrated when she didn't pick the correct answers. Fortunately, we had time for her to work at her level before we closed the classroom for the day.

I'm incredibly excited to see her interest in learning explode, but it actually makes things a little trickier since she often wants to do exactly what Noah is doing (which, of course, she can't). I'm trying to find the right balance so she doesn't get frustrated, and I'm hoping that once we all get into a routine, they'll both be able to work a little more independently on certain activities. Seriously though, I have no idea how homeschooling moms with big families do it!

So, with classroom time complete, we made a quick check of the garden before heading out for the day. We stopped at Ethos (best school lunch ever!) on our way down to EPCOT, where we headed straight for the American pavilion. We kicked of our USA unit study by seeing the American Adventure show, listening to the Voices of Liberty choir and enjoying a performance by the fife & drum corp.

Looking back, I can't believe we fit all that into one day . . . and we certainly won't attempt to on an ongoing basis. But we all had a great time together (Noah nicknamed us the "Threeway Advanture Club"), and it was a great start to what were all expecting to be an amazing year!

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