This morning we looked after a friends 2 3/4 yr old. He's a lovely chap and was no bother at all, but between him, a lousy nights sleep all round and a food delivery the day felt more pressured - less chilled, a bit more hard work.
That said there were some real breakthrough moments, and that is one of the things I love about home ed.
M was first to ask to do some work, but he really wasn't "in the zone" at all. We kicked off with handwriting practise, then Maths (because we have to do it in the right order every time.) The Math was looking at number sequences, which usually would be right up his street, and for the first half it was - but then the "rules" for the sequences became more complex. Instead of add 3, or subtract 6, it was add the odd numbers in ascending order (ie 3, 5, 7 etc.) Then start with 2 and add one more each time . . . that sort of thing seemed unpredictable, but after some wobbly moments teetering on the edge he cracked it. That had thrown him further off kilter though. We carried on with reading our science book, but left the English for today. He disappeared, played with our guest and relaxed a lot.
L was next, revising long multiplication and division. We spotted a flaw in his methodology and corrected it, so now all is good there :) He just needs to practise the corrected method enough to remember it rather than the flawed one. Then he tackled "pre-1914 fiction" in the form of an extract from Wuthering heights. Lets just say he's not a fan of Ms Bronte . . . However whilst he loathes it his technique is improving rapidly and he did well at the essay-type questions with very little help from me at all. Not bad for only his second try at reading comprehension at GCSE level. Very pleased with him, not only for the work itself, but for finding an approach he can be happy with even though he dislikes the subject matter. Next week we add in two more subjects, this is a gentle start, not a gentle year after all.
After a break for lunch and our guest being collected A was very up for some book work. She had spent most of the morning playing with our guest, and wanted to do something with me. she's working through a whole pile of books because she enjoys that, so we did a page on doubling numbers, then one on doubling coins, then some more phoneme work, and a reading check for the scheme she's using. After that she did some work on what seeds need to grow, and read a book. Then she went off drawing and planning some other things.
J was last, and reluctant to leave what he was doing, but I reminded him that he'd asked me to help him neaten up his writing, and he had asked for a science workbook. So he did some handwriting practise, which he did very quickly and very well. Then we looked at the maths book. We skipped a few books over the summer mostly because J felt they were too easy. I was nervous about this because I worried about leaving gaps in his knowledge. Today he tackled column addition and subtraction for the first time. I'm guessing it was introduced in those books we skipped because it jumped right in at four digit numbers with borrowing. It didn't phase him at all though. We talked through the first one, then he did the rest of the page with no help. He was absolutely delighted with himself, and there were huge grins :) I love days like that :) Then we tackled some work on pronouns, some science about seeds, and read another chapter in the very bizarre "life of Fred" book we've borrowed. He is loving the absurdness, and the text size / font is working well for him too.
That took up quite a bit of the day, and to be honest I wasn't happy with that. Whilst none of the kids are working for more than an hour and a half, it adds up to a lot for me. I'm going to try and rotate the order we work in (if this continues for long, it is at their pace / request after all.) I'm worrying that whoever "goes" last might get a less patient mummy, but I'm trying hard not to let that be the case!
The younger three all went off to Beavers / Cubs / Scouts this evening, first night back after the holidays. All three came home buzzing, which is good. It took a long time for M and J to settle properly - to start with we had constant grumbles as they got home, but now they know the leaders, and the leaders know their quirks, and all is working well - FOR NOW!
Now it's time for story and bed, for me and them! Tomorrow is a park day, then a day out, then a museum day, then a fall-over-because-we're-all-shattered day on Saturday.
Be well and happy folks!