The girls awoke before dawn and dressed in the clothes they’d laid out the night before. A buzz was in the air as they excitedly got ready for their first day homeschooling.
The night before Keith and I had worked late into the night finalizing the homeschool space. I put the finishing touches on my plan for the day, drew the chalk drawing that goes with this week’s story and crossed my fingers that all would go smoothly.
We start our day with a walk, enjoying the quiet and coolness of the morning. Though fall is on its way, this day’s warm temps will remind us it’s not arrived yet.
Upon arriving home, we move into the grassy area of our front yard for circle time. I’ve not yet memorized all the poems and songs we sing, the movements that accompany them, so today use notes. I’m hoping soon they will roll off the tongue without need for reminders.
I include songs and rhymes both girls have heard through their classes at our old school, hoping this will all feel familiar as we establish our rhythm together.
At the end of our circle we move indoors for a light snack. Aria, slow to eat that morning, devours the yummy kale chips prepared the night before while Ani enjoys a less healthy favorite, Pirate Booty. When I’m not looking she gobbles up the one kale chip I insist she put in her bowl.
At the end of snack, I present Aria with a rose Keith secretly cut from our garden that morning, a Waldorf tradition that welcomes the first grader to a new stage in life and a new world of lessons and activities.
We head out. On Monday mornings this year, we attend a co-op; Aria’s lessons there supplement and reinforce our lessons at home and Ani attends a library storytime. The library where the co-op currently meets is huge and lovely, with a modern, spacious, well-stocked children’s section. We enjoy spending time there and pillaging the books.
On the way home, we stop at the coffee shop Keith is telecommuting from and have lunch with him. It’s so nice to get that time with him, especially right now when his travel schedule is heavy.
When we get home, it’s storytime. I tell the story of the Meeting of the Animals, using hand motions to describe the movement of each. Then we move into the form drawing lesson, taking the movement of a few of the animals as a starting point for our lesson. My chalk drawing portrays both the story and the forms we’ll be learning over the next two weeks. Aria asks for more and more, eager to learn, to discover each form, to try it all for herself. We work for about an hour – a long time for a first lesson – drawing, tracing, acting out forms and finding them in nature, until its clear she is wearing out. It’s time for some free play.
While Aria and I have been occupied, Ani has played with a special set of toys I have set aside for these moments and is ready for her lesson. Now it’s time for our one-on-one time and I give her a special drawing notebook – one identical to the ones Aria and I have for drawing together but which she was too young for and uninterested in when we were using them regularly – and we draw together while Aria plays.
Aurelia is there, too, nursing and sleeping and fussing and cuddling. She fits right into all of it, sleeping or staring peacefully at the nature that surrounds us during our morning walk, nursing during storytime, affording some independent practice time to Aria when needing a diaper change.
Our first day ends there. We did not get as many items as I thought we’d get done, but spent more time than I thought we would doing the ones we did. The girls enjoyed it. I survived it and was left feeling optimistic about the year. All in all, a successful first day.
For day two, we’ll revisit the story and Aria will practice her forms and we’ll all work on a Weather Tree to use throughout the year. I’m looking forward to it already.