Today is one of those days that I’ll look back on fondly when the kids are fighting, or Leila spills a glass of milk through the crack in the middle of the kitchen table that is next to impossible to clean, or Noah answers every question with “I don’t know,” or Zahra insists that I don’t know how to multiply but that she does. Yep, that good of a day.
It got off to a slow start, I’ll admit. And as the days pass, we’re straying farther and farther away from that plan to start the day with a bike ride or a hike. I’m stretching the minutes that I spend sipping my coffee and I’m pretty sure the kids are hedging bets on how long it will take me to realize they still haven’t brushed their teeth. But today, our slow start translated into an ultra productive day.
Our first order of business was to finish the craft that we had started the day before, one of our favourite crafts yet from Kiwi Crate. Now that our fish lantern had dried, it was time to install the light kit. Unfortunately, the light was finicky and wouldn’t stay on.
So Daddy took it apart. They looked at the inside of the light and determined that the problem was that the tiny “on” mechanism wasn’t holding the connection tight enough. So they stuffed some sponge moss from the nature table inside the light and screwed the whole thing back together. And it worked!
After that, we curled up on the couch for a couple Stories of the Constellations. This is a book that my mom bought for the kids several months ago. We started it yesterday with the intention of reading two or three stories a day. They’re pretty complex, with all the difficult names and multiple characters, not to mention the astronomy lessons that go along with it. You want to boggle a 3rd-grader’s mind? Discuss the concept of light years.
But they can’t get enough. This was them yesterday. After five stories, I had had enough, but they wanted to continue, so Zahra read to her siblings while I grabbed another cup of coffee. Looks like I’m the one who’s going to end up with homework now that I have to catch up on the stories they read.
And today we read another five. I’m planning on following this book up with some stargazing on the back deck (once the mosquitoes go back to hell where they belong) and some sort of work that helps make more sense of the gods and goddesses and their family ties.
After that, the kids were still on a roll so we jumped on some reading and writing practice. Back to those sandpaper letters, but this time just the vowels. Noah did much better today with his letters and their sounds. Zahra remembered a song about vowels from school, so she sang that to Noah as he practiced writing the letters. I can’t comment on if he appreciated that or not, but he was singing the song himself later in the day while riding his bike. We’re cool like that.
Since Zahra can already read and write proficiently in both languages, her work this year will be a letter-writing project. Each week, she will write two letters—one to someone on my side of the family (in English) and one to someone on Saïd’s side of the family (in French). It will be a good way for her to practice writing as well as help her keep in touch with faraway family.
Of course, while Zahra and Noah were busy with paper and pencil, little miss didn’t want to be left out. So I dotted out some “L”s for her to trace. She put her own spin on it, choosing pink paper. She did four rows of them and then hung up her paper alongside the fish lantern. I asked her if she wanted to clean off the table, and since it involved water and soap, she did.
This was part of one of our Montessori By Mom boxes, a subscription we had last year when I decided to keep Leila home rather than send her to preschool. Here, she filled the bowl with water from the pitcher, dropped a bar of soap in for a minute and then used a small whisk to make bubbles. Then she cleaned the table with the sea sponges and dried it off with the blue towel. I’m not usually one to insist on such a meticulously clean environment, but the fun and learning is in the process, and Leila was so proud of herself.
The older kids were still scribbling away at the table, so Leila chose to do a math activity on the floor. This is also a Montessori kit we’ve had for a while. She showed a lot of interest in it at the beginning but then abandoned it for nearly a year before picking it up enthusiastically this morning. What I love about this activity is that it’s self-correcting, so Leila is really in charge. It’s an activity that she can do whenever she wants, with very little involvement from me.
I went to check on Noah, and lo and behold, he had “tricked” me. He was giggling non-stop and held up another paper. Not only had he written rows of vowels but he had gotten a head start on some of the consonants. I told him he’s welcome to engage in such shenanigans behind my back anytime.
Leila, meanwhile, was messing around with the nature table. I was about to straighten it up when I realized that she had divided it into three sections: land, sea and space (there’s a meteorite piece). Touchée.
We took a break for lunch with Daddy, who was working from home, and then rode our bikes to the library. We took 33 books home with us. I should specify that I lugged 33 books and a four-year-old home in the bike trailer. Gym class: check.
Not only that, but she was full of other ideas and had other resources to send me, and it’s only making my job too easy.
(I know some of my homeschooling friends will be rightfully snickering right now that I’m clearly still in the homeschooling honeymoon period. But I don’t want to hear any different today, so keep it to yourselves, hahahaha.)
We ended the day with a quick trip to a local fishing spot. We didn’t catch anything, but the view was lovely and the conversation priceless. The kids poured over their library books while Saïd and I watched the lines.
Then, as if there had to be a small dose of reality to the day, as we were packing up the gear to leave, Leila decided that that decision wasn’t to her liking and chucked her library book into the lake.
I’m just going to pretend that didn’t happen. 😉