Honestly, I'm ecstatic about this upcoming school year. I've tailored it to a perfectly snug fit for my kids' personalities and learning styles. I'm centering their studies around thematic history units about the United States this year. Within these thematic units, I can include all of their subjects - reading, writing, science, math, history, foreign language, etc. There will also be some "workbook" work throughout the year but to a much lesser extent than we've had in the past. I'm done with the meltdowns over worksheets.
Without a doubt, it takes extra preparation time on my side but if the rest of the year is even a fraction as successful as today - it will be more than worth it. For example, when I told Niki she was done at 5pm today, she said, "Seriously? I don't have more to do?"
Me, "No, you've spent almost 8 solid hours working on school work."
Niki looks up at the clock in shock and tells me, "Mom...it didn't feel even close to that long. I would have guessed maybe 3 or 4 hours." Then she tells me, "Did I do enough work? Do you have anything more for me to do?"
My mouth dropped and I just stared at her. Is this my child who has asked a million times in the past throughout school time, "when's lunch?" or "when can I take a break?" She's actually asking for more school work? That's how much she enjoyed today.
She asks again, "Do you want to give me a subject I didn't work on earlier today to do while you're making dinner?"
My mind races to find something to give her to do to take advantage of the moment but I respond telling her, "You touched every single subject today."
Niki, "No way..."
Me, "Tell me what you learned about today?"
She starts listing it off, "I worked on math this morning while Zach and Chris were at the dermatologist, history with Leif Eriksson and the Vikings, foreign language when we studied about ancient runes, writing when I was note taking and when I did my descriptive writing exercise, science when we were learning about archeology and when I was writing for my descriptive writing exercise outside, typing with my typing program...." She just looked at me with this shocked face and told me she was so elated that she covered every subject in one day and absolutely loved the entire day. That was enough to make my heart swell.
A sampling of our day:
The three best known Runes alphabets are the Elder Futhark, the Younger Futhark (which is a derivative of Elder Futhark), and Anglo-Saxon Futhorc.
After putting together the map, I had Chris show me the Scandinavian countries - referring to Norway, Sweden, and Denmark but sometimes other countries are included too. Then he showed me, using his finger, where the Vikings would sail to reach Scotland, England, and Ireland where they often pillaged monasteries or set up farms. Next, he sailed his finger across the ocean to Iceland and Greenland where many Vikings made their homes. It is believed that the Vikings were one of the first Europeans to discover America.
We spent a good deal of time today reading, watching video clips, and playing games about Vikings at this phenomenal website for kids by the BBC at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/primaryhistory/vikings/