I love the music practice in the mornings, directly after tidy time. It gets the job done when Sunburst is still an interested and willing party. She's working very hard on learning to read music, and doing an outstanding job at it, I must say. But it's heady work, and the mornings work best for that.
The other cool thing about our week is that we have so few "scheduled" activities away from the home. I've carved out huge chunks of time that can be "lesson time," which I haven't bothered to define very well on the map. With a nap-defying, self-asserting toddler in the house it's hard to say when the lessons will actually occur. Obviously I try to get started early, but sometimes it just simply doesn't work that way. So we have the freedom to just roll along and fit things in as we can without any time crunch to be anywhere.
We do have to be at our local homeschool park day, however. It happens once a week and we wouldn't miss it-- all the dirt digging, jump roping, and bug watching. And directly from there Sunburst has her horse lessons. We come home exhausted, but often, she still wants to do "school." I know, I know. She's an odd kid. So instead of planning a lesson, we have delegated that time "Old Time School."
I've been instructed that if I'm not going to wear a dress, I at least have to put my hair into a bun. Sunburst, however, puts on her Prairie clothes and bonnet and comes at me with her McGuffey's Third Reader and Speller. Or sometimes she'll surprise me and ask to do a maths worksheet. It's odd how much kids like to do worksheets, so we keep them around just in case.
Our only other exciting planned activity is for Moonshine. She badly wanted to take a gymnastics class, but I couldn't find one for her age group that wasn't in the middle of dinnertime. And so... one afternoon a week, for 30 minutes, we have homeschool gymnastics.
"Welcome. My name is Miss Fiddlesticks, and today we're going to learn how to do a cartwheel."
Now, I can't do a cartwheel to save my life. Especially with my messed up foot, but with a class size of one, I can fake it. Plus, I'm the lucky sort of teacher who has a chief assistant demonstrator, Miss Sunburst herself, graduate of the gymnastics bar of fame. Or something like that. She took gymnastics for a couple of years anyway, and was quite adept at all manner of body contortions. She's fairly choleric though, rising to meet each and every challenge until she masters it. And as long as Sunburst was a helper and not a classmate, she was allowed by Moonshine to be part of the scenario.
We started out with a circle, sort of. I sang a greeting song I remembered from a parent tot dance class back in 2001. Then we did another song/movement game from that same dance class, that goes something like:
"Here we go skipping, skipping, skipping (or running, hopping, jumping, etc.)
Here we go skipping all around.
Here we go skipping, skipping, skipping
Here we go skipping and then we stop.
Give a little clap.
Now we all fall down."
We went on and on until we got tired, and then out came the gymnastics mat. We bought one for the girls to use years ago when I caught Sunburst trying to do front handsprings into the living room windows. There is a reason that there is a "burst" in her name.
So out came the mat and Moonshine rolled down it and did somersaults and asked to learn backwards rolls... and it was amusing. We worked on cartwheels, sort of. It went well. But Moonshine is less about the actual activity than the feeling of the experience. She wanted dialog.
"Miss Fiddlesticks, how did you hurt your foot?" she said, eyeing my still-bandaged foot. "Were you in a car accident?"
"Ah, no, " I said, trying to think up something fast. "It was a dog accident, actually."
She considered that for a moment. "My mom has a hurt foot, too," she said, and her eyes flickered and grew big and bright. I think in her imagination I actually became Miss Fiddlesticks instead of her mom. It was fascinating and weird all at once. And she went on to discuss with me in great detail the car accident and everyone's injuries and how the best part was having a sleepover at a friend's house. If I recall, there wasn't much sleeping involved... but it's nice to know she has processed it and found a bright side.
We ended our class with a goodbye song, and as I waved her off she circled back through the house and yelled, "Mom, I'm home from my gymnastics class!"