Today didn't start out well. I was asleep with Madelynn when I was awoken by the sound of bickering boys. Now I hate bickering more than any other behavior, so that wasn't exactly a pleasant way to wake up. With a start like that, the day had plenty of potential to turn into a bad day. And most of the time, that's exactly what would have happened. Today, though, it worked out okay.
I started by grumpily yelling from my bed while nursing my now awake youngest. "Kids, I want you to get back into bed now." They did. And it was nice and quiet. After it was apparent that my youngest would not be going back to sleep, I got up, got dressed, and headed out the room. What I found was not good! Sam had decided to leave his bed. I sent him right back there, telling him that he did not have permission to leave the bed. After a bit, I released the kids to do their morning chores. My tone of voice, I'm sure, told them I wasn't in the mood for them to "forget" any of their chores.
Meanwhile, I cooked breakfast. I cooked something that wasn't their favorite: scrambled eggs with onions, garlic, bacon, and cheese served with whole wheat toast. They ate it without complaint. As soon as they were done, we started school...and they weren't going to have a short, easy day either.
I started with explaining a new schedule I was hoping to try. I wanted to sort of emulate my junior high school, which rotated periods. I found that by always completing subjects in the same order, I have found that certain subjects got interrupted or skipped regularly. By starting the day with a different subject each day, I would ensure that each of them got covered each week. With a rotation, that would make Madelynn's nap-time melt downs, which often happen around the same time, happen during different subjects. It would also ensure that if we ended the day early or get interrupted, it wasn't likely to cause us to regularly skip the same subjects. What I didn't tell them was that I wanted to cover seven basic subjects, five for an hour each and two for half an hour each. They are not used to spending this much time on certain subjects but we have some catch up from moving to do.
I set a timer, and we started with math. While the big kids did math, I did some preschool worksheets with Josh. He's recently decided he wants to do school, too, and loves the workbook pages I have. That was followed by language arts. We covered grammar, vocabulary, and writing during this time. Our writing got interrupted by a scrub jay landing in our yard. (We use the sliding glass window as a white board so we all noticed it.) We watched the little bird for a while until it was joined by two other unidentified birds (we tried to find them in our book) and an American robin. Then Madelynn needed me for a bit. But we had made good progress anyway, and I was starting to feel better. Next we moved onto history; we read a section of the chapter, during which I wrote notes as I read out loud. Miraculously, they were able to answer the review questions from the activity guide. Then, because we had time left, we completed an activity: making Japanese zen gardens.
I didn't have a frame, sand, rocks, or rake. We found that Tupperware, sugar, rocks made of crumbled foil, and forks made adequate substitutes. The kids loved this activity. I even gave Josh supplies and Madelynn Tupperware and some sugar.
After history, we had a break followed by lunch: tuna melts, fruit, and a cookie. I also vacuumed the sugar off the floor following lunch.
After lunch, I was able to have some free time while the older kids worked on a couple of independent activities. They took turns working on their foreign language online and completing an online chemistry test. Meanwhile, I nursed Madelynn down for a nap and started reading a book a friend loaned me.
Once they were done with those things, I let them have a half hour break because we were getting a lot done with plenty of time to spare. I used some of this time to choose an art project from the list of projects that got skipped during our moving and the holidays.
Then we completed a wonderful art project from my favorite website Art Projects for Kids. It was fun, though completing one with Madelynn in my lap added a dimension of complexity to mine. Josh was still napping, but I helped him complete one after he woke up.
After helping Josh with his, I found some nails and string and used them to put up a line to hang our art projects from. This gets us to now...writing this post.
The evening includes cleaning up after Josh's art project, making dinner (I've been making more complicated meals lately so I settled on cleaning out our freezer of fish sticks and chicken nuggets tonight with a side of Kraft mac and cheese...healthy, I know), cleaning up after dinner, getting the kids ready for bed, sending the kids to bed, and watching an episode of Torchwood with Scott while Maddie drives me mad nursing and not nursing throughout the show.