Thursday, October 8, 2015

Classical Conversations Day cycle 1 week 6 A Day in the Life

A Day in The Life 
with lots of pics :)

When we first set out on our homeschool journey...I had a secret wish...and I wished it so badly!  I would always wish I could be a fly on the wall of some other homeschool families house to see WHAT THEY DO! How they do it? What their day looks like?  All those things...I had plenty of insecurities and questions! So, here we are, 3 years later and still figuring it out but not wishing to be a fly on someone elses wall anymore.  I've learned to trust the Lord, more than ever, I've learned to trust my kids and their natural ability and desire to learn and cooperate if I don't get in their way and trusting myself...thinking of the analogy from the book A hug and a kiss and a kick in the pants that gave me the mental picture that kids are like a piece of string, if you push it, it crumples up, but if your gently pull on the front you can guide the string along quite smoothly...

It's great to get to talk with others, see what others are doing and such...that is research and is important, but ultimately everyone has to do what feels right for their own family and varied personalities and teaching, parenting, learning styles etc.  So if you are new to this homeschool world or curious, don't get overwhelmed by what anyone says is the best thing to do and feel compelled or anxious and let stress over the how get in the way of the simplicity of just learning through living and using the best resources available that suit your needs...and there are MANY resources so when you start feeling overwhelmed, just remember to take a deep breath, keep it simple, and know your children and just commit to being engaged and intentional in your relationship and how you do your day with them.  I've happened to find certain things that I like using as what you could say the spine of our learning, and then we creatively stem off from that and try to keep it as living as possible. "Living" is a term you'll find in the Charlotte Mason style homeschooling where lessons are kept short, hands on and pleasant and children are expected to give full attention and best effort (which is easy to do if us teachers are keeping it short, pleasant and living - bringing it to life.)  We are definitely an eclectic mix of all the great things I've come across in my educational homeschool research.  I wish I had been this way all along but after Kindergarten I felt like I had to buy a curriculum to validate that I was really doing REAL school with my daughter...and we were doing it...and it's a great curriculum, but alas, it wasn't for us...and although we fought through finishing our work then, I feel like we do a lot more now with just basic big picture planning, key resources I like to pull from and then just running with it and being relaxed and enjoying discovering the world together and working together. The more we do "school" this way...the more often I hear my kids make comments like "This was the best day of my life!" and guess what? I often feel like that too!  Making the moments count educationally and relationally.

This day while I made oatmeal for breakfast the kids had 3 minutes to get dressed and make their beds.  I put the timer on the microwave and its not threatening or anything, but just a beat the timer type of deal otherwise they dawdle and think they need help.

Kids ate breakfast at the counter while I read a 5 minute devotions

We moved into the playroom/schoolroom and went over the day of the week and calandar.  We made a calander board inspired by 1+1+1=1 we sing a couple short songs about the date, months of the years, days of the week etc. this is simple and fun.

I wrote our current memory verse on the chalkboard and we went over the hand motions by Rachel Carmen that my friend shared with me
And then we used this verse as our copywork/art journal page.  My daughter fatigues quickly when given lined paper to copy on but given work on a blank paper that she can copy in her own decorative way, well, same thing is accomplished in my opinion.  I sit down with them and make my own art journal page and we talk and the kids have a much better attention span to finish their work when they see me getting into mine.  For my 5 year old I just made a simplified version for him to write that said "Think Happy Thoughts".

I was really enjoying getting into doodling on mine...apparently really into it because when I stood up, I realized I had like 5 crayons in my toddler was slipping them down the back of my pants and I hadn't even noticed! I was wearing stretchy flannel PJ pants so I guess I was just too comfy in my PJ's to notice! lol!  

After we finished up writing our verse, I was hanging them up on the wall in the playroom and the kids found their way into the living room where my daughter decided to practice ukulele and the boys worked with blocks.  A little breather :)

A little time to just love on this little guy!

This is the day I had decided to try implementing more living math.  I looked over the math materials of what my daughter needs to learn this year as well as my 5 year old son...and will use the books but I plan to make it more living as well.  So this is a book I ordered on amazon called Nature Math

The current math skill was Odd and Even numbers and the first thing in this book is a game to play that reinforced the concepts of odd and even while practicing addition.

We then did some riddles or word problems getting them thinking about odd and even numbers.  And the thing that really got it to click so now they both are not forgetting what numbers are odd or even?  I started grabbing the blocks that were all over the floor and made up a story pretending each block was a kid.  My daughter told it back to me after (narration) and I recorded it because she thought she could help other kids learn what she just learned in a fun way.  I hadn't planned this little math story, but it just happened in the moment while we were sitting there together talking about the math concept and that's one of the things I pray for daily, is wisdom and inspiration in the moment.  Inspiration from the Holy Spirit is the best teacher's guide of all!  ;)

We also expounded on the concept with some little brain teasers like I would say give me a five...but give me an even number!  My daughter was puzzled but then after some thought, gave me a double high five to make 10, an even number.  Then I said "isn't that cool how giving me one high 5 is an odd number, but if you double it it's an even number?  When you add two odd numbers together, you always get an even number!"  Then I had them test it out and think of some odd numbers to add together to prove it.  Then I said the same thing happens if you add two even numbers together, the answer is always even.  So they put that to the test as well.  Finally I said, now what do you think you get if you add an odd number and an even number together?  And I let them think up some examples to figure it out.  Later, I would say things to them like "I'm thinking of a number that is from 21 and 23 and it is an even number, which number am I thinking?" and so on.  The whole time was pleasant, fun and engaging and they really understood the concepts by the time we were finished.

I had to change the baby's diaper and put him down for a nap. When I came back downstairs, this is how I found the kids.  They were making muffins.  I picked up the gluten free Martha White muffin pouches and all they have to do is add 1/2 cup of almond milk so my daughter had actually read the instructions and shown her brother how to do it.  This is where our homeschool turned Montessori style...self directed activity, life skills...being able to work in the kitchen and make something from start to finish including clean up without much involvement from me other than supervision.  I say "If you're big enough to bake something, you are big enough to clean up after as well." And although they don't necesarily clean their rooms or play messes with much enthusiasm, they did take pride in washing their bowels, measuring cup and mixing spoons.  There was some intrinsic joy to that clean up because it felt grown up.

A little bonus Kindergarten math going on...learning by's a skill in the textbook called sorting...utensils need to be type and by size.

Mommy is very close and nervous but major confidence is being instilled that he is able to take the muffins out of the oven himself....but only if a grownup is right there with him!

Time to exhale after all the activity in the kitchen...this is what you would say in the Waldorf style of education is breathing out in the daily rhythm....vary activities in a rhythm so that you are breathing in, breathing out...

We sat down and watched this DVD I picked up at the library.  It was obviously made in the early 90s or something, but it was really engaging and I had no problem getting my kids to sit through it.  They actually were pretty interested in it.

While watching this, I had our beloved MAPS book on my lap opened to Greece, and whenever they would show or mention a certain city or landmark, we would quickly reference it on the map.

 We followed the DVD with a drawing lesson on Perspective.  We used the greek temples and buildings for inspiration, such as the Parthenon and used rulers to make straight lines and tried to make the columns get smaller as they got farther away.  We just all stayed on the floor in the living room for this lesson and used hardcover books to draw on.

It was beautiful weather so we made our way outside.  This is the day we do our Classical Conversation memory work (we are doing it at home on our own this year).  This is our frog puppet who goes by the following names: Latin Leo, Edward English and Skipping Simon.  He helps the kids learn their Latin, English and Skip Counting, I brought him out once and now his roles keep growing as he comes back by popular demand.

My daughter in particular is a more kenestetic learner, she needs to be moving so this....walking around the top of the play structure like a balance beam is the perfect way to memorize the major types of vertebrates and the causes of the Fall of Rome.  That is the Classical Conversations app on my phone.

Playing and repeating some of the new memory work and reviewing the past memory work.

Making a Nature Journal page depicting types of Vertabrates

Here's J doing her journal page and getting silly identifying as many mammals as she can think of

 My 5 year olds Notebooking Science page - Nature Journal Page of the CC science for this week.

next my daughter found herself making a dolphin craft with those plastic bead things that you iron and they fuse together.  I don't know what they are called.  Meanwhile I was getting dinner prepped before we left for soccer.

Then is was off to the park for soccer practice where my son rides his bike on the trails and I jog behind him with the baby jogger.

For dinner, I made something Greek that was still kid friendly.  Greek Fried Meatballs with french fries.  I also chose to make this because well, I like using what I have on hand an not having to run to the grocery store and it was a spur of the moment idea to make something "Greek" for dinner.

Keftedakia (Greek Meatballs) modified to be gluten and dairy free fried in Greek Olive Oil
Garlic Fries Baked in Greek Olive Oil
I pulled out the Olive Oil bottle and showed my daughter to read and when she saw the word GREEK on there her eyes got all big and she was like "OH MY GOSH!  We're just learning about Greece!!!" lol!  Then at the dinner table I asked them if they recalled where the Greeks thought the first Olive Tree came from.  It was one of our first stories in our Greek Myths book
They needed a couple hints to refresh their memory but then they rememebered the story and that it was Athena who gave the Olive Tree to the Greeks in Athens which is how the city got it's name...according to mythology.  We also reminded the kids how when we made maple syrup, it took lots and lots of tree sap and by the time we made it into maple syrup it was only a small amount...and that our cousins from Isreal told us the same thing about Olive takes a lot to get a little.  

After dinner we read this book to the kids and it touched on lots of great points that the kids had recently learned or been exposed to and it kept them super engaged.  It even mentions the statue of Zues which was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world and part of the CC memory work a couple weeks ago.  They get so excited when they start connecting the dots to the various things they have learned, memorized or been exposed to.  This is where the Classical Education idea with memory work really does seem to play out well.  My kids enjoy memorizing through singing little songs, even if a lot of the memory work sounds like jibberish with no meaning to them at the time...the idea is that you are places little pegs in their brains that can further hang deeper meaning from that is more easily assimilated because of the vocabulary that is already there.  And I see it play out all the time, not just tonight with the excitement over the connection to the story and the reference to the Statue of Zues, but when we went camping on Cumberland Island this past spring, and saw the ruins of the Vanderbilt mansion, my daughter again had that exciting moment of "OH WAIT! I know who you're talking about!" And then recalls the memory verse the late 1800s Tycoons like Vanderbilt, Rockafeller Carnegie and Swift fueled the nations industrial age by developing American Resources...Which then leads to further conversation in which she is excited to hear about due to that little connection she has made from her Classical Conversations memory work,  Suddenly, random words to a tune actually mean something and they are always fun light bulb moments to be a part of.

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