We finished up our first full week of school and the girls did fantastic. We spent much of the week just establishing a routine - trying to manipulate our schedule to find what works. I know that with a toddler, what works one day may not work the next day - so we will try to be flexible.
When the girls finish breakfast - they get dressed, make beds, brush teeth, put jammies in laundry, do their devotions, and complete their morning chore.
We started our school day with a morning meeting - something both Norah and Lucy requested. We talk about our day (if anything is going to be different than normal), say the pledge, review the Bible verse for the week, read the passage from Samaritan's Purse PrayerPoint, and pray. This week we spent time reviewing our family rules - we won't do this everyday, but I wanted to review this first week.
Following the morning meeting, Norah and Lucy had time to read/look at books in their book basket. The book baskets are full of books related to our history topic, science magazines, seek and find books, puzzle books and other books that I know they like or picked out themselves from the library. While they are busy, I spent about 30 minutes with Daphne. We read some books, played with the rice tub, strung beads, put puzzles together, etc. I filled the shelves with manipulatives, puzzles, toys, sensory items that are age appropriate for Daphne. We basically did whatever she wanted out of the items I put on her shelves. She seemed to enjoy this time because following breakfast every morning, she would say, "Mommy, play me?" She would continue to ask me a dozen times until breakfast was cleaned up and everyone was ready to begin our school day.
After my time with Daphne, Norah spent about 15-20 minutes with Daphne while I worked with Lucy. Norah read to her, sang with her or they chose something to do off the shelves. Both girls loved this. Norah asked if she can plan an activity to do with Daphne, and Daphne talked all day long about Norah playing with her.
During this time, I worked with Lucy on her reading. She is doing so great! She learned all the letters and sounds last year so this year we are working on blending sounds together - this is also a bit of a review. She picked up a lot of great reading skills over the summer - so she is working on getting a little quicker at blends.
Lucy usually has a little bit of independent work - maybe matching pictures to letter sounds, capital and lowercase puzzles, circling letters that we are working on, etc. While she worked, I got Norah started on her writing/handwriting. Then when they are both busy, I took
Daphne to her room for some independent play time. Honestly, I wasn't sure how this would go. I thought Daphne might just cry at the gate and I would have to forget it. However, she is doing great!! I usually turn on a CD for Daphne and then I get her busy playing with something from her room, then I put up the gate and head downstairs to work with the girls. I can hear Daphne in the monitor - she talks to herself, sings, and just keeps herself busy for about 30 minutes.
While Daphne is busy in her room, I worked with Lucy on her math and then we all did history together. After history, Daphne came down and we took a brief break for a snack and some running around. While they ate, I read our read aloud that goes along with our history lessons. Then I sent everyone outside to use up some energy and refocus before we finish up Lucy's school work.
Norah spent about 30 minutes reading, Daphne played independently in the same room as us, and Lucy finished her spelling and writing. Then Lucy and Daphne watched a short DVD - something somewhat educational such as, Leap Frog, Super Why, Word World or Sesame Street. Then Norah worked on grammar, spelling, and math (at the this point, Lu and D usually join us and just play for the remainder of the morning). Norah finished up her math - usually a workbook page, flashcards, or computer game - and I fixed lunch. We didn't eat until about 1 any day this week, but since they had a hearty snack, no one seems bothered by this.
During lunch, I read their Bible lesson and a chapter from Wisdom with the Millers. The girls really want to start reading Amy Carmichael - so I need to get it from the library. After lunch, Norah and Lucy each have a box of independent activities to work on while I put Daphne down for a nap. Each box includes activities from each of the following subjects: math, language arts, gross motor, fine motor and life skills.
Once Daphne was down for her nap, I read to Lucy - right now we are reading Charlotte's Web. Then Lucy has some quiet down time - as mentioned here, Lucy NEEDS a break from everyone and everything. This was very true this week - interestingly, she fell asleep one of the days. I was shocked, but thankful that she gave into her body's need for sleep.
Once Lucy is occupied, I read to Norah - we just finished the Mouse and the Motorcycle (one of my favorites from my elementary days). Then Norah read or listened to a book on CD for an hour. So, I have 1 hour to get done as much as I can before everyone is up and begging for attention!! Once everyone was up and had a snack, we did our science, art (science is 3 days a week and art is 1), or gymnastics(I bought a groupon for GymQuarters so they are taking a class once a week right now). Then everyone has an afternoon chore and then they are free to do anything they want.
Whew. I am exhausted just looking at this. Anyway, the week went really well - I was feeling a little overwhelmed on Sunday, but I continually prayed for patience and compassion and grace as we headed into a full week of school. I know we will have rough days - but I am thankful for the good days so far!!