Thursday, August 14, 2008

And So It Begins

School, that is. I did not expect to start school until the week after next. First of all I did not order the kids' curriculum until less than a week ago, and fully expected it to be 2 to 3 weeks before it came in. The math has not yet made it here, but yesterday the mailman rang our doorbell. I'm sure he's never received so many squeals over a delivery. The big girls were jumping up and down with delighted squeals, which caused the 3 little ones to also squeal and run in circles all excited like. I was cracking up because I knew very well they had no idea what they were so happy about. Faith and Hope's excitement was enough for them to know it had to be something good! Of course we emptied the boxes right away, ooing and ahing over every book and every new adventure we get to be a part of this school year. The kids BEGGED (oh, how I wish they would stay that enthused for the entire year) to start school today. I wanted to wait because we will not be doing school tomorrow, not the weekend, and probably not Monday, either. It seemed pointless. But who can look at children begging to do school and not oblige?

School is NOT easy with 3 little ones. I've put much thought and effort into how I would handle it this year. We began the day (after breakfast and chores) with Bible time at the table with all 5 girls. Then Faith and Hope made a journal entry while I taught Charity her reading lesson. I put Blessing and Grace at the bar with water paints, and Charity joined them after her handwriting was done. That kept them busy while I read the big girls their first science lesson. Once I gave Faith and Hope their science assignment, and they were busy working, I set up 3 areas for the little kids. I put one small kid in each station, threatened them with their lives to stay there until the timer went off, and set the timer for 30 minutes. When the timer went off, they swapped to another spot. This bought me an hour and 1/2 of table time with the older 2 girls. I had begun training the little ones that I expected them to stay put when the special toys/activities were pulled out about a week ago. They did pretty good today. Better than I thought they would on our first day (they're so nosy about what's going on at the might be more fun!), but not as good as I hope they'll get as the school year goes on.

Lest you think these were some kind of extravagant stations, let me point out that I'm just talking about certain toys or activities that aren't always available to them. If you have any great ideas, just let me know. Obviously, the stations can't be the same everyday, or they will quickly lose interest. Here's what we did today:

Play dishes needed washed. (no one was ready to leave this station even after 30 minutes...those were VERY clean dishes)

These are "Littlest Pet Shop" toys that stay in my room for special occasions.

I have no idea what these are called. They snap together, and there are even little pieces that allow you to make rings, or bracelets. You can just snap them together in a circle for a necklace, or see how long of a line you can make. You might also notice some magnetix on the table. I intended for them to choose one or the other, but of course they wanted them both! ;)


Anonymous said...

Have a wonderful school year! Your little ones could not ask for better activities. Doing dishes is the best! Wish we loved it so when we're big girls!!! Have a great day...

Annie said...

tsk tsk, you'll have to attend my next training on threatening. You are also not allowed to put them in their room for a time out if they don't want to go. I just got the training pack but I'm sure I'll learn something I'll be sure to share. Aside from that hope today went well. And God Bless you - I hate it when people think I have some sort of special gift because I foster, but homeschoolers have some sort of special gift:)

chickadee said...

i love the station idea and those were some neat ones. with milo i also use play doh, wooden building blocks, painting, puzzles and magnet letters. he's allowed to do these during school time. it doesn't always go smoothly. his other option is time out on his bed if he gets too disruptive while we're working. they'll get used to it.

Mandy said...

Oh, I didn't realize you were homeschooling the girls this year. Looks like you're off to a running start! It's awesome to see kids excited to learn... what a great thing to nurture!

I loved your centers. I think they're great! I'm trying to think of other ideas, b/c you're so right, they get bored so fast. Maybe a dress-up station? It could even have your dress up shoes and such that they're normally not allowed to touch. If you're really brave, a make-up station to boot! (madison would stay there the entire hour. lol) Thinking of your girls, I know they love stickers and stamps... a station with paper to decorate would surely go a long way with all three of them! Would you be interested in a My Little Pony Station, complete with a ton of ponies AND the pony castle? Madison hasn't even looked at them in two years... she's about to age out of them, I'd say. I could pack them up with the dance costumes! Let me know. :)