I'm spent! Today was the first day of school for my kids for the 2016 - 2017 school year. This will mark the first full year we homeschool the kids. I am still plagued by thoughts that I'm not doing everything I could do for them, but at the same time, I am proud to see when they to take something on and work through it by themselves. I am happy that I can provide them an environment where they can also learn at their own pace and feel confident when they are ready to move onto new things.
Today, we started off by going over the new routine - which is mostly flexible. Since we are using a downloaded text book for all of the kids, I printed out the lessons for the week and partitioned them out into "daily folders". So it's pretty simple - complete the work in your folder, read, write in your journal, and participate in whatever extracurricular activity I have planned for the day (such as piano lessons, library, hiking, swimming, etc, etc) and you are done for the day. They are free to take breaks as desired, so long as tasks are being completed. Recess is a given - heck, it's not really recess, the unstructured play is when they absorb and learn the most. I love hearing them bring up a topic and share with each other, showing why it's relevant to whatever made up game they are playing, and teaching each other what they've learned. It's in those moments that I know I am doing what's right for my kids.
Of course today, the kids having been "off" for the past 2 weeks, they were pretty resistant to getting anything done, but ultimately fell into line and only completed their work late in the day.
But that's ok! We took a nice long hike on one of our favorite trails. This will be a weekly thing as I want the kids to become more aware of how the environment changes as the seasons progress.
We stopped to make observations in our nature journals and also drew pictures of what we saw. We ended up spending a good 40 minutes talking about everything we saw and they absolutely loved drawing the scenery.
They thoroughly enjoyed today's hike and I am looking forward to taking the classroom on the road more often. We were also able to bring up topics covered in some of the textbook materials that they completed prior to the hike.
Fingers crossed that tomorrow they are a bit more eager to complete their daily folder tasks. Either way, I know that they are happy and enjoy sharing the new things they learn with each other.