Not all days go smoothly. Some days seem to be full of kids arguing, teasing, "forgotten" chores, messes, whining, more arguing. Today wasn't one of those days. Today was that breath of fresh air, that reminder, that there are moments, sometimes even a whole day of peacefulness wrapped inside of all the craziness of a homeschool life. Today was a reminder of all the benefits of being at home, getting to be my boys' teacher, and helping them grow to love learning. Benefits like my boys building close, meaningful relationships with their grandparents by reading and be read to via FaceTime during the middle of the morning, taking our time eating and enjoying our lunch while reading story after story, and spending a whole weekday afternoon outside ATV riding, enjoying a warm, sunny day in January.
This morning as Dustin was preparing to leave for work, the first sleepy boy (Big Boy) emerged from his room, and vanished. After looking all around the house and checking his bed (at least twice) to see if he'd gone back to sleep, we found him sitting at his desk diligently working away on his school work. What a nice surprise! By the time I grabbed a cup of coffee the second sleepy boy (Little Boy) was awake. While the second sleepy boy was trying to wake up, he told me he had a stack of books that "I need to read today - by myself - except for later when I am going to read them to Grandma." I offered to read him one before going to check on the school work happening in the classroom, but he was pretty sure he needed to read them by himself - alone - except with Grandma.
Sleepy boy number one, wasn't sleepy when I returned to the classroom, but motivated and focused on school. He worked on some independent work (geography, logic, math) while I worked on putting some things away in the classroom. He asked me to help him with his spelling, grammar, a fluency reading, and memory work "quickly" because he was going to do his school work fast today and spend the rest of the day playing with his brother. About the time we finished memory work, the second sleepy boy (also not sleepy anymore, but literally dancing what I can only describe as an interesting jig, of some sort) entered, declaring it was time for breakfast.
After a coffee refill, breakfast was ready to go and we sat and ate together, read a couple stories the boys picked out, and read a couple chapters from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (our current read aloud.)
When breakfast was over, Little Boy informed me it was time to read his stack of books to Grandma. I thought maybe I'd get in on some of that reading, but I was informed (again) while watching the jig (again) that the books were for him to read to himself, and to Grandma, only Grandma. Screen time is earned in our house by having nice behavior and work (schoolwork and chores) done, so Little Boy got busy. While Little Boy was busy earning his screen time, Big Boy wanted to work on his writing. It's so refreshing to hear him say he wants to write because it's usually not his favorite thing. Right now he's working on a piece about our dogs so that he can enter it in a contest, so he's pretty motivated right now. When chores were done, Little Boy took the iPad and was off to FaceTime grandma. Big Boy finished writing and then we worked on some math.
After some FaceTime with grandma, Little Boy wanted to work on more school, so we played a very interesting game he created with letter flashcards while I folded some laundry and Big Boy did his chores. Mostly Little Boy "hid" and "scared" me while throwing matching lower case and capital letter pairs of letter cards at me, chanting the sound they make. The boys went on a "secret spy mission" while I made lunch. We ate and read more from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, read a couple chapters from our history book, and then Dustin came home early! The boys were ecstatic! They spent most of the rest of the afternoon outside playing and riding on the ATV's with Dustin. I did a little work, caught up on some emails and messages, managed to make a crockpot dinner, and go on a short ATV ride.
Our learning ended for the day with a few rounds of a game called Turtle Robot, Big Boy reading a few chapters to Dustin, and me reading a book (finally!) to Little Boy. The boys fell asleep listening the audio book of the Rats of NIMH.
These peaceful days certainly don't happen around here every day, but they are welcomed. They remind me why. Why, in a season of life that's been crazy and busy for us, we choose this lifestyle of homeschooling. Why we choose family, love, and learning from home.