Today, we dove in.
With a stack of books, freshly sharpened pencils, art supplies, and more, we officially began our first year of homeschool.
Last week, while the rest of the folks in our area went back to class, we started slowly, trying to get into the swing of things without putting pressure on ourselves to make things happen all at once. I gathered supplies, planned, and wrote.
Today, we officially began working with the curriculum I've chosen for Gretchen's grade 2 year. We're using Oak Meadow as a jumping off point, with a few additions here and there -- including Duolingo for French, some Montessori-style manipulatives, and audiobooks.
Gretchen's reading skills are beyond her grade level, so I'll also be adding more read aloud books and independent novels throughout the year, and we've subscribed to Epic!, which is basically Netflix for kids books. I promise to share resources we're loving as the year goes on. For now we're taking it nice and easy -- I want to set a pace that won't have either of us burning out by mid-November.
Which brings me to our very first day, and my first post in a new series I'm calling On This Day. Every so often I'll be sharing a timeline of a particular day in our lives, as both a reminder to myself to document our lives and to be present in jotting down those moments I know I'll never want to forget, and to share our homeschooling, business, and life adventures with you.
So here we go!
8.00am | We woke up reasonably early, but not as early as we would have last year. I made coffee in the French press, arguably my favourite method, and brewed a cup of lemon tea with a dollop of maple syrup for Gretchen. (We were out of honey, but maple does the trick.)
8.30am | My entire day feels more stable when I can start slowly, so this morning I let Gretchen know that we would be sipping our beverages while they were still nice and warm, and sitting together on the couch. I stressed the importance of us both taking the time to drink our tea and coffee before it had a chance to cool and we both read from our Kobos. Gretchen read from the Beatrix Potter collection, and since I'm re-reading Harry Potter, I read a few chapters of The Deathly Hallows.
9.00am | Gretchen finished her tea, at a bowl of cereal and an apple, and started to work on her daily journal entry. This is something she loved doing at school each morning, so we've brought it into our homeschool life and she started her new book last week. Today she wrote about cats.
9.30am | I started writing out a "fall faves" list, like a bucket list for the season, and Gretchen copied my work into her book. We both decorated our lists which we decided we'd work on all month. We drew pictures and embellished our writing. From this Gretchen wanted to draw more fall and Halloween images so we spent more time flexing our creative muscles.
10.45am | Next we moved to our first social studies lesson, including a Chinese fable and tangrams. Gretchen loved making faces out of the colourful pieces. She copied a passage from the story in rainbow colours.
12.00pm | Time for a lunch break. Eggs for Gretchen, leftover dhal for mama. We also made a pot of tea this time, and a second round of coffee (which I probably didn't need, but it was delightful all the same). We watched a video from one of our favourite YouTubers while we ate at the kitchen table together.
12.45pm | After lunch, I hopped on the computer to work for a while. (If you're new to the blog, my partner Rich and I both run our media company from home.) I answered emails, scheduled out some social media for clients, and sent an email blast out to our list. Gretchen played independently between asking me for help or involving me in her pretend play. I also let her
2.30pm | Time for some math. We're starting off nice and slow and with tangible items because Gretchen gets discouraged quickly with numbers. Today we worked on a review of addition only, using her Schleich animals and her rock collection. I did my best to keep things light today, but I could still feel her frustration.
3.30pm | Gretchen worked on her French lesson with the Duolingo app. This year I'll be working to brush up on my French skills as well. I was fluent in my younger years, but I've lost some over time. I'd like to get it back and working alongside her is the perfect opportunity.
4.00pm | I don't want to creative a divide between "learning time" and the rest of our lives, so I don't necessarily say "we've finished the school day" but this is the time when we were finished what I'd planned for our Monday. Gretchen asked if she could read books on the Epic! app, so I let her do that. She also perfected the fort she'd built in her room during her earlier independent time.
5.00pm | I remember that I promised we'd get Smile Cookies from Tim Horton's, so we (Gretchen, Rich, and myself) hop in the car. We picked up our cookies from the coffee shop, and head to the park near our new house (less than three weeks til moving day!) so we can walk through our new neighbourhood. We played at the park, watched fish and birds in the river, and met a few of our soon-to-be neighbours.
6.30pm | Home to make a quick, late dinner.
8pm | Gretchen gets ready for bed -- teeth brushed and jammies on. She decided she wanted to sleep in her fort, so I gathered up a few more blankets to put on the floor to make it more comfortable, and I secured the blankets across the backs of the chairs she'd carried downstairs from the kitchen table, so they wouldn't topple on her in the night.
8.30pm | We read Franklin's Halloween and I sing her to sleep. Usually I sing her "sleepy song" which is a song I made up the day after she was born and I've been humming it ever since. Tonight she asked if I'd sing a song with words, so I sang songs from The Sound of Music.
9.00pm | Blogging, another Smile Cookie for mama (shhh), and some chill time before bed.
On This Day is a series where I share a day from our lives in images and stories. Click here to read more.