I knew that jumping right back into a rigorous schedule would be a bit of a shock to our systems, so I've chosen to revise this first week of school. The kids are tired from two weeks of weird sleeping schedules (Little Miss Avery Kate hung on until well after midnight on New Year's Eve) and weird eating schedules (Daddy's chocolate souffle sure makes for a delicious dinner . . .).
But I knew that we needed to start sometime, somehow. (Our year-round, "Sabbath Schooling" system allows for some flexibility here. I had planned to take three weeks for Christmas anyway.)
So this week has been dubbed "Read, Write, Create!" The kids have each chosen (with my guidance) a chapter book to complete over the course of the week. Drew is reading Jack London's White Fang. Bethie chose My Side of the Mountain, and Aidan started Snow Treasure. Avery and I will read picture books together each morning. Today we giggled over Richard Scarry's Best Mother Goose Ever. (Have you ever read a Richard Scarry story? If not, please drop everything and read one. Right now.)
After reading their books for a specific amount of time each morning, they move on to their writing assignment. This is basically a written summary of what they've just read. (Of course my expectations for each child are tailored according to age -- Drew types a full page, while Avery copies the first line of a poem, such as "Tom, Tom the piper's son . . .")
And then they get to create! (Aidan panted for this all morning.) "Create" is pretty open. The children can choose anything creative to work on, provided they have an end goal or product and stay focused for at least 30 minutes. They can work on a single project all week or choose something different each day.
As soon as Aidan was released from his reading and writing obligations, he flew upstairs to build a Lego city (Daddy passed by his room and Aidan assured him, "This is for school. Mommy said so.") Avery and I made play-dough, experimenting with food coloring and textures. Bethie designed some birthday cards, and Drew compiled basketball statistics for a chart he plans to present later in the week.
It was fun to see where their minds took them on this. I gave only a few suggestions, and they ran with it.
I look forward to seeing how the week plays out, and I think it will pave the way for focused and successful studies next week. If not . . . well, there's always chocolate souffle.