The Flow of Our Home Days

On the days when I am at home with the children we slowly rise from our beds, greeting the day usually rather groggily as we awaken into ourselves. As we gravitate towards the kitchen table I usually mark the beginning of the day by lighting a candle and reciting the verse,

‘Flaming light
shine so bright.
Flaming light
give your might.
Make us strong and make us bold,
turn our word to living gold’.
by M. Meyerkort.

After cups of tea, breakfast, some kitchen tidying, lighting a fire (now as the days are growing colder), and maybe some time for the children to play while I have a bit of time to gather my thoughts, we begin lessons.

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A morning bounce in the Autumn rain.

I talked to Anusha and Elki about how they would like our days to be formed and they both agreed that unlike last year they would prefer it if Anusha’s lesson was first, and Elki’s lesson second, following lunch. Elki spends much of his morning time reading novels and playing lego, probably his two favourite things to do at the moment.

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Elki absorbed in his own lego world.

I share circle time with Anusha to begin her lesson. We usually sing a seasonal song or two, read a seasonal poem or two, and finish with a fairy tale or seasonally based story. After this we move onto the main body of her lesson which this year we have been opening with the verse,

‘I will work with my will,
with my strength and my skill,
and with courage and grace,
all life’s tasks will I face.’
from Eric Fairman’s Path of Discovery guide for grade 2.

I have been giving Anusha a wet-on-wet watercolour lesson once a week, which we usually do before the main lesson work. Then we start the lesson with some movement, perhaps including verses or a song, and sometimes games. We then continue with the rest of the lesson.

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Anusha with Roman numerals we made with sticks.

To finish Anusha’s lesson we have been saying this verse,

‘Kind hearts are gardens,
kind thoughts are roots,
kind words are blossoms,
kind deeds are fruit.’
again I found this in Eric Fairman’s grade 2 guide.

Buy this time it’s well and truly time to get lunch happening, which sometimes I get help with and other times not as Anusha and Elki play around me. After lunch I clear up and maybe make myself a coffee whilst the children have a short play, and then Elki and I get started on his lesson. During this time Anusha often likes to join in, do some drawing, or play for a while, usually staying close by.

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Anusha joining in with Elki’s Botany lesson.

I am using the same opening and closing verses for Elki’s lesson, so we start this way and then often begin with a story, mythology tale, or reading related to the lesson. If there is a more active part to Elki’s lesson this usually follows and then we continue on with the lesson work. I still work closely with Elki for the majority of his lesson but at times he will work on his own as I potter around tidying or start to prepare dinner.

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Elki asked me to tell him about the herbal medicines I have in the cupboard for one of his Botany lessons.

We often finish Elki’s lesson with more reading and then the children might play some more, spend some time tidying their room, or watch a movie. Anusha often likes to help prepare dinner, and I often ask the children to help clear and set the table.

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The children work together building a castle from rocks and clay.

Sometimes we fit a walk or ride into our day somewhere, or I might ask the children to help me more around the house. I have learnt and continue to learn to be flexible and attentive to both the children’s needs. Some days one of them (or both) will be tired or really not feeling up to lessons and we need to take things easier, and other days things run smoothly, or unexpected happenings occur that teach us all a lot more than whatever I had planned!

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Anusha flitting through the woods whilst we are going for a walk.

When we first started homeschooling I think I thought we would find our rhythm and that would be it….but as the years go by we are constantly growing, adjusting, changing, and learning. The flow of our lives is never in a straight, continuous line. It ebbs, goes around bends, up hills and down, sometimes I even feel like we are going backwards! But we are always learning and mostly enjoying the challenges and fun along the way. I just feel so blessed and grateful that I get to flow along with my gorgeous family.

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A Second Alphabet Block

It’s been a while since I finished the second block on the alphabet with Anusha, but I’m only now getting around to recording it! In this post I thought I would talk about how we went about our days and the activities, verses, and songs I chose to do with Anusha, and then I have made a separate post here including all of mine and Anusha’s drawings that we did for her main lesson book.

Throughout this block we continued on with the story of The Wise Enchanter. I chose to move a bit faster with Anusha for this block and introduce two letters at a time. I felt that we would be moving too slowly otherwise and Anusha was very keen to learn all the letters so she could start to learn to read.

Our first block ended with the introduction of F, so we continued on starting with G. Throughout this block I used the same song and verse each morning at the start of the lesson. Both are from Journey Through Time in Verse and Rhyme. The song is a traditional one, which Anusha really enjoyed, and I partly chose because of her love of birds,

‘ABCDEFG

Little Robin Redbreast sitting on a tree,

HIJKLMN

He made love to little Jenny Wren,

OPQRSTU

Dear little Jenny I want to marry you.

V and WXYZ

Poor little Jenny she blushed quite red.’

The verse is called Alphabet by Margaret Morgan, and goes through the whole alphabet. Each day I added the next two lines for the letters that were introduced in the story the previous day. I also made up little actions for each letter. Using a verse like this which I could add to each day made it much easier for me to remember and Anusha looked forward to hearing the next part each day.

We followed the same basic rhythm as in the previous block, reading from The Wise Enchanter and each day looking at the new letters in The Old Freedom Train. I feel it’s really important to incorporate as much movement as possible into the lessons, which we did after each new letter was introduced, and then Anusha would copy my pictures of the letters she’d been introduced to the day before into her main lesson book. After this (if I was organized enough) we would do an activity together that was related to a letter.

Some of the activities included; making Footprint Paintings for F, creating “Hand Tree” collages for H,

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wet-on-wet watercolour painting to create Purple for P.

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For this painting I told a little story of a hot desert as we painted. We started with the clear blue, cloudless sky, then the red hot, shimmering sand, and when they met in the middle they created a priceless, purple sunset on the horizon.

Dry watercolour painting of a Rainbow for R,

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designing and printing Tree Buntings for T,

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 for U and V, modelling a clay Valley for the Underlings from The Wise Enchanter,

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and drawing, cutting, and decorating a Whipper-Whopper (a twirling kite) for W.

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Apart from this we put together some paint bags together so Anusha could practice her letter writing on a surface with a different feel and texture,

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and she began sentence writing in her main lesson book. We hadn’t done any in the previous block, so we started with A, writing a sentence on the opposite page to her picture, and I showed her how to draw the golden path for her words to walk on, and a star between each word for spacing.

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As we progressed through the alphabet she drew the path in the same colour as her writing and left out the stars as she was already pretty good with spacing her words.

I tried to make her block varied, fun and interesting, following the same rhythm and form but within that doing lots of different activities to really enhance her learning of the alphabet. We always started each day with ‘circle time’ including seasonal songs and verses, and at different times throughout the block I included other poems, such as The Jumblies by Edward Lear for the letter J, and stories, such as Grimm’s The Golden Goose for G. I didn’t get around to completing my alphabet frieze, only finishing one for E! But I’m hoping to finish that throughout the year as we continue on Anusha’s reading journey.