We've been homeschooling for a little less than a week, but today was an EXTREMELY rewarding day! It began this morning as I was finishing up getting myself ready. I turned off the blow dryer and called out to my "breakfast helpers" to get bowls and cereal ready, as I walked down the hall. It's a short hall, so it only took me a couple steps to get to the kitchen, but when I got there, all 5 of my kids were sitting at the table with bowls filled with cereal and milk. Liv and Charlie were steps ahead of me and had prepared breakfast without me having to ask. This is something we have been working on the past few days. Success!!
After that, we all cleaned up the kitchen and tidied up the living areas a bit so we could have our first "kidschool." (The kids did great, but I only tried it because Charlie and Liv have been asking to do some more school-like things. We are still detoxing - getting out of public school mode- so I wasn't quite ready to jump into that yet, but they were persistent, so I thought I'd give it a shot.) We said an opening prayer, sang a song, and said the Pledge of Allegiance to a picture of a flag on the internet. I worry that it's disrespectful, but we don't have a functioning flag! LOL! It's on my list of "To Buy" items now. ;) Then I simply introduced them to the Bean-Counter Game. Eli and I award beans whenever someone does something worth noting. It could be a good dead, a completion of an assignment, an extra effort, an achievement of some kind, etc. We don't do it every time, and they never know what we might give beans for. They are not allowed to tell us they've done something bean worthy, but they can share bean-worthy endeavors of others.
After spending the next 15 minutes making all of the beds, kissing all of the siblings, helping me do ALL of the things, they finally got the idea that all they really had to do was live their normal lives and we really WOULD notice the good things. But this seemed to spur on a quest for "good" that was really refreshing.
We made some playdough together, and the kids thought it was really "cool" to watch the ingredients interact as we added each new thing. Then we mushed it around and enjoyed the sensory activity of it.
Then we all snuggled together on the couch and read from our Treasury of Virtues for Children book. We read story after story while Jack and Luke raced their cars on the floor. The Tortoise and the Hare, The Elves and the Shoemaker, The Honest Woodcutter, and the list went on. Charlie has REALLY taken to these quiet times of reading together. He gets an extra special reading session before bed that has helped the bedtime routine go much smoother for him. And this time throughout the day has helped him be much calmer and in a much better mood...it has also helped that we have cut out Minecraft entirely for the past month or so. He still asks for it daily, but has only thrown a couple fits about it. But I digress.
We then had lunch, and I put the triplets down for nap. During that time, Charlie and Liv have to choose quiet activities. Today they really wanted to work on their tablets, and because we have drastically limited TV and video games, I agreed...after I got rid of most of the "fluff" games. I left a few. I'm not a meany. :) But what impressed me was that even with those favorite "fluff" games still available, they CHOSE the educational ones. So they worked on their tablets while I folded the laundry and listened to the scriptures.(yes, simultaneously), and then read a little of Sense and Sensibility.
As the triplets began to wake up, Charlie decided that he wanted to take it upon himself to make everyone a toast sandwich with either jelly or peanut butter spread, depending on everyone's preference. He did an excellent job, and I sat and snuggled my babies while he worked away in the kitchen! Trust me when I say that this is something I have NEVER experienced up to this point in my parenting life. I was so proud of him.
We took a trip to Target then, and it was an epic fail. Hey, you gotta have at least one in a day, right? But once we got home, the kids enjoyed playing outside in the relatively hot 48 degree weather. Luke taught himself to pump, and can now swing unassisted...BEANS!
When they were done, they came in and the triplets played while Liv colored. Charlie, had asked a question as we were leaving for Target that sparked some interest for him. He asked me what a chemical was. So we looked up the definition online. Then he wanted to SEE a picture of a chemical, so we found some illustrations of compounds. Which then lead us to individual elements, and then I remembered that someone had shared an interactive Periodic Table of the Elements on one of my homeschool sites. So I brought it up for Charlie and he spent a good portion of the evening learning about nickle and other elements. He LOVES the videos of different experiments that they do with each element. THAT is what our philosophy of Leadership Education (or TJed) is all about. The child has a question or an interest, and we provide the materials. At least at this point in the game.
The girls went on a little trip with Dad to Home Depot for some light bulbs, and I stayed with the boys, got them ready for bed, and read with them some more per Charlie's request. When the girls and Dad arrived home, we said family prayer and started our tuck ins. But Liv realized that she had missed out on candy for dessert and went into a melt down. She wanted candy BAD, and so I gave her a choice. I told her she could choose whether she ate some candy before bed or not. But I also told her how it would affect her body and her teeth if she chose to eat it now. And you know what that girl did? She puzzled over it for a while, and then she chose to save her candy for tomorrow. At 6 years old, that was an incredibly mature decision to make. So...I gave her some beans. :)
It has already been so rewarding to have my kids home, and having a set goal and purpose for our family has helped ME to be a better mom. And to see all the good in my kids, instead of being aggravated most of the time...which I will admit...I often was. But this has changed all of that. There are still frustrations, but even in these few days, it has done wonders for us.
Here are a few pictures of what we have been up to...
We let an egg sit in vinegar for 2 days and the shell dissolved!!
We played in our sensory bin.
We made pizza.
We baked a cake!
This one technically happened before our first day of official homeschooling, but I was already implementing some TJed principles, and Jack and Luke are still building railroads all around the house. This day, they figured out how to turn the pieces they had been using to make a hill into a valley. Genuis!