06 September 2007

First week of school

We just finished our first week of school here at home. This year I am using Melisa Nielson's curriculum from A Little Garden Flower. They are fabulous. My biggest goal right now is to get a rhythm established so the children have more order in their lives and less chaos. Chaos is one of those things that if it's all you know, it is hard to break out of. Alas, it is all I knew growing up and I don't want to pass that on to my children. We are up to having a pretty good routine set down right now. We get up, have breakfast, do chores (all the way down to the 3-year-old), go for a walk, then come in and do our lesson. By then it has been lunch time, so after lunch the kids have free time until dinner. This has been working very nicely. I hope I can keep it up for the long term.

Moira is starting grade 2 and we are working with fables this month. I tell her a fable on one day and we draw a picture from it, then the next day she tells me the fable, we come up with a summary, and we write it on the paper with the illustration from the previous day. So far we have covered "The Ass and His Shadow" and "The Boasting Traveler." They all got together and acted out "The Ass and His Shadow", with Moira and Lauren being the traveler and the donkey owner, and Rowan as the ass. She crawled away very quickly down the hall and the girls had fun pretending to fight. They held their hands in front of them and kind of waggled them up and down very fast so that their hands collided.

Lauren is starting her first year of kindergarten, as well as trying to do everything that Moira does. Of course, Moira participates in Lauren's lessons as well. I have Moira on a four day schedule and Lauren on a three day schedule. This week for Lauren we read "The Great Big Enormous Turnip" by Alexei Tolstoy (I think), baked banana bread, and made corn husk dolls. I originally planned to make corn bread, but I had a bunch of bananas that needed to be used up pronto, so I made that instead. We made the corn husk dolls this morning from husks we shucked from last night's dinner. Much fun.

Eirik has already pulled out the arms of one corn husk doll, and it is sitting here armless on my desk awaiting reconstructive surgery. I also caught a few pictures of him in my little pantry cabinet which I will post later.

The other day I decluttered the kids' toys. I took about half of the toys and put them in my closet. The first time I decluttered toys it was very easy to chuck half of them. That time I just dumped all the fast-food kid's meal toys into the garbage and there went a huge source of frustration on everyone's part. The second time I purged their toys, I quietly packed away all the plastic disposable toys and waited to see if they noticed. They didn't really, so I chucked them after a couple of months. This time, though, we have been very good at not letting junk toys in the house, so all the toys are ones that I approve of. The problem now is not quality, but simply quantity. So instead of chucking, I plan to rotate through them. There has been far less crying about cleaning up now, and less need for careful navigation through the house. I rearranged the house so that they kids have a designated play area that is in a main part of the house, not behind closed doors anymore so it is easier for me to rein in the mess before it gets completely out of hand.

All in all, it has been a good week.

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