So far, the morning has seemed to be our most productive work period. After breakfast, we gather around our work table and talk about the things we want to do that day. The kids are excited, they have lots of energy and open minds, and they’re happy to focus their attention for a couple hours. We often start with SQUILT or a story, and questions snowball and lead us down various paths until tummies start to growl for a snack. While we munch, I can glance at my own checklists and redirect the kids with suggestions or special activities, and in this way, we’re done by lunch.
But it doesn’t always work out that way. Today is Eid, an important Muslim holiday, and while Saïd didn’t have the day off of work, we did all go out for breakfast together. After that, Zahra had her piano lesson, and when we got home, the rhythm for the day could have easily been thrown off. I would have let it go, but I had let it go yesterday, and it’s always easier to do a couple things every day than try to play catch up at the end of the week.
So I roped them back in with Little Passports. This month was Iceland, and we got to talk about geysers and volcanoes. After Zahra located Iceland on the map, I quizzed them on a few other geographic locations. Noah decoded a message with the runic alphabet (I love that he’s writing!), and we learned some Icelandic words. The souvenir was a little plastic volcano with which we did a few eruptions.
Then, since we had just read a letter from Sam and Sofia (Little Passports characters), I asked Zahra to write a letter. I’ve been asking her to write two letters a week, one in English and one in French, to send to various family members. It’s not her favourite thing to do, but I can tell that it’s already getting easier. She makes more mistakes in English than in French, but I only point out to her one mistake in each letter. I think it will be easier for her to retain that one correction, and also it’s more important that she finds the letters easy and fun to write. I’ve also discovered with this writing exercise that she can easily write in passé simple but doesn’t know how to write in passé composé. This is funny to me, but I’ll chalk it up to the fact that she reads so much and is learning nearly all her spelling and verb conjugation through reading. In fact, it is not my intention to do any dictations or spelling tests or vocabulary words at all with her this year.
While Zahra wrote a letter, Noah and I tackled another couple sounds in Méthode de lecture syllabique. I love this method of learning how to read. Baby steps…the progression is effortless and therefore we have little to no frustration. Also, Noah looks at new words as something to decode. It’s like detective work, and I can see the thrill in his eyes when he has the right tools to find the answer. So far, so good. My Amazon.ca order of four Ben entreprend books is also on its way.
Leila was drawing deer in her science notebook during this time. They were a little scary, but adding antlers, even to the baby, helped a bit. After this, we listened to “Spring” by Vivaldi one final time for the week. I’ve been playing the piece every morning at breakfast, and the YouTube video is of flowers blooming. It’s beautiful. So when I asked the kids to draw pictures of what they were imagining while listening to this particular composition, I expected meadow scenes. Sun. Forest animals. Zahra drew a bear trying to get honey out of a tree (fair enough), Noah drew a chicken foot going to save a princess and Leila drew “a girl getting dressed who doesn’t know which way so her arm gets stuck.” These pictures are priceless and are going to bring us joy for years to come, I’m sure.
After that, we finished up the last few pages of Stories of the Constellations, and the kids scattered. I think the beginnings of Noah’s project are starting to form. He spent most of the afternoon in the woods behind our house, hammering away at things and dragging “materials” around. Finally, he asked me to come see his “fox trap”. It is the most complicated animal trap I’ve ever seen. He’s been talking about foxes a lot lately, and clearly as the enemies of our beloved chickens. So we’ll see where this goes.
After dinner, we all went to the park to play until it was dark. Saïd and I didn’t dare to put an end to their game, as for once, Noah was leading the show. 🙂