Sunday, January 15, 2012

Too Much? Too Little? Just Right!

It’s my Work From Home day.  I’ve just spent 4 hectic days in the office while 4yo Esmé spent 2 days with Daddy, two days at Cyndi’s.

I wake up late, heading to the living room to catch up on emails with my iPod Touch.  Within seconds, I hear little feet pattering from Esmé’s bedroom.  A hug, a cuddle, and she hijacks my iPod and makes a mess of a Sudoku game.

Relieved of my email distraction, I refocus and decide it’s time to confiscate my iPod and hit the books.

Math with Life of Fred comes first – it’s always an easy way to get started.  We read a chapter and Esmé works through the problems flawlessly.  She demands the next chapter – but I say No, knowing how tough it’s been to manipulate her through two sets of problems in one morning.

Let’s see – Bible time!  We are still working through Truth in the Tinsel.  Yes, I know Christmas is long over, but we didn’t manage to get thru it by Christmas – we like Christmas – it’s good stuff – our Christmas tree is still up – Jesus probably wasn’t born on December 25 anyway – just roll with it, hey?  We finish the clue of the day and everybody’s happy.

Um – what about breakfast?  I decide I can afford three minutes to make Malt-o-meal instead of the regular cold cereal.  Esmé is tided over with banana cream yogurt (no fruity bits, thank you very much) until the Malt-o-meal is ready.  I sneak in a few minutes at the computer during the meal.

I start to set up things for Esmé’s next Kinderbach (online piano) lesson.  Before I finish, Esmé hijacks her computer and starts playing JumpStart.  I think for a moment.  This’ll work.  I’ve got some financial reports I need to finish, and I know JumpStart will keep her occupied for a while.

Hours go by, and I feel guiltily grateful.  Between JumpStart and Starfall (that counts for reading, eh?), I manage to get the inventory journal entries figured out and the financial reports formatted.  Daddy comes in and out, the phone rings several times (once for work), and I get interrupted a few times to watch Miss Esmé demonstrate hopping on one foot, observe how she carefully colored a picture without marking the table, or see how she rearranged the bulletin board.  But seriously, the interruptions are few and the toy mess is well contained.

Esmé scores a Clif bar she had stored in her backpack, and I realize it’s well past lunchtime.  I put out some pre-washed grapes to balance things.  My financial reports are almost ready to be emailed – just hang on a little longer!   Finally get them all sent off, Daddy walks in with perfect timing, and I make sandwiches.  It’s a good thing Esmé had her Clif bar, because as soon as she realizes I put avocado in her sandwich, she abandons it.  What’s with that?  Last time she ate avocado just fine.

We are still in our jammies (Daddy excluded – he’s off to work again), and I realize there is blue sky outside.  I grab a quick shower and then coerce Esmé to get dressed, also.  We trek around our yard, investigating elk poop.  I take photos of a robin while Esmé swings.  Then she begs to play hide & seek.  We play a few rounds – I love the moment, but remember how much I hate kiddy games like this and wonder how I survived childhood – and make our way back inside.P1050900 (2)

Housework?  School?  We’ve been using plastic spoons since all our spoons are dirty – and I’ve been rifling through two loads of clean laundry to get dressed each morning (or afternoon) – but the housework just isn’t calling my name.  School wins.

I finish getting Kinderbach (online piano) set up, and Esmé flies through a week’s worth of lessons, loving every minute of it.  The Dodi song is permanently stuck in my head.

While the computer is out, we do a ride of Math Rider, too.  Esmé does brilliantly.  We’re nearing the end of the quest, and I’m debating whether we should ramp up the difficulty.

Now, what is in our schoolbox that we haven’t done in a while?  Aha!  Handwriting with The TV Teacher!  I’ve cut WAY back on worksheets in recent months since Esmé’s resistance was making us both miserable.  I’ve been pleasantly surprised at her spontaneous writing – but it’s all uppercase.  We need some lowercase practice.  We start with “q” – watching the DVD clip for “q” first, and Esmé fills out her “q” worksheet without a peep of resistance.  She begs for the next letter.  Here comes “r” – and once again, the worksheet gets completely filled out.  We make it all the way through to “z” and she’s asking for more.  It’s a bit of a miracle!  Not just 1 worksheet, but TEN!

What else can we do that doesn’t require prep time?  I grab the Artistic Pursuits book and read through the next chapter with Esmé.  I get her started on the next art project – a shape collage – and notice it’s dark outside. 

Time to get supper made.  Once again, I go with quick and easy – burritos.  I use up the last of our clean plates – but we don’t need spoons, at least!

I check back on the art project – Esmé has made what looks like a window-box of flowers (paper shreds), with a rising sun in the background.  She’s already tacked it to her bulletin board.  There are tiny scraps of paper littering the table and floor around her.  It’ll just have to wait until later.P1050922 (2)

After supper, Daddy finds a Moses movie on YouTube.  Esmé tells me how “E-jupt” is in Africa – see, we touched on geography a little – and then settles in to watch the movie.

The movie over, we start the bedtime routine.  Prayer said, lights out, “Moses” Your Story Hour tape playing, the day ends.

I look back on the day and am amazed at what we covered, despite the sporadic, unplanned nature of it all.  Esmé was beautifully cooperative and is learning so very much.

And yet – we never really did any geography or health or science or history or Spanish – the more she learns, the more I want to cover with her!

And I think how media-intensive the day was, between computer and TV time.  Esmé loves learning that way, but are we overdoing it?

The house is a disaster. 

Maybe next time I will do more housework.  Home economics? Or leave the computer off and just spend the whole day reading books together.

Moment by unplanned moment, our little girl is growing up…

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Joy said...

I think your day of learning was just perfect. It works for you and your family and that is ALL that matters! We have started leaning towards an unschooling way of learning ourselves. Again, if it works for you and your family, go with it! Blessings!

Over Yonder said...

another Joy commenting. too funny. Your day sounds wonderful..especially since your daughter is so young. IMHO there should be no rush at that age. We have been homeschooling for almost 6 years and each fall I start out saying I want structure and fall into a more "unschooling" type of structure.

mamajil said...

love it....Real life is rolling with the day and learning while you live!

Our Peculiar Lives said...

Wow, I'm impressed with how much you get into the day! Your daughter sounds very smart!

Marie said... the way you roll with things :) That picture of your daughter looks JUST like my 4 yr old...even down to the coat. We have one just like it (it looks just like it anyway)

oneblessedmamma said...

Very fun! Several of our favs- Artistic Pursuits, Kinderbach, Starfall. Embrace that age, it's so much fun!

Diane said...

Looks like a busy and fun day! Every day is different, roll with it, right??? :O)