I have a piece of artwork hanging next to the computer area (not the one above) that I have had since Mary's days at full-time daycare. At one point this hung in my cubicle when I worked. She has to be around 3 when she did it at school. Apparently, five years later, she suddenly remembered how she did it. And, that became our art lesson for the day.
Our days have kind of fallen into the routine of preschool activities in the morning, group activities and chores in the late morning, and Mary's concentrated lessons after lunch (when Robbie is napping and the other two have quiet time).
Monday, Mary decided she wanted to teach Katie and Emily this really neat painting trick at the end of their 'day'. She set up the table and all the paints. I found the materials she needed: large shoe box and some marbles (we used the metal balls from the Magnetix collection). I kept an eye on it, while also chasing Robbie around, until I could see that Mary really did have this 'class' well under control. Then Robbie and I headed off to his room for some real one-on-one play time.
As Mary described it what you do is: tape or make sure a piece of paper fits securely in the bottom of the shoebox. Then, taking the marbles dip them into the paint color of choice (Mary chose to use two different paint colors on each marble). After the marbles are loaded with paint drop how many you want to use in the shoebox and gently tip an move the box around so the marbles roll every which way.
Twenty minutes later they had all sorts of beautiful pieces of artwork for me to hang. Mary and Katie did all the clean-up after they were done.
Everyone changed out of their paint-spattered clothes an we headed out to run the one errand we had. The 1/2 mile trip to Blockbuster where I was going to exchange some of our mail-ordered videos for some in store ones. In particular we were picking up The Indian in the Cupboard that Mary has been dying to see since last week. We also picked up Alvin and the Chipmunks which the girls have raved about since they saw it in the theater.
Lunch, then lessons and as the dark clouds and more rain showers moved in we settled in for a movie afternoon. Katie and Emily had no interest watching The Indian in the Cupboard, so they watched their own movie in the play area. Mary and I watched The Indian in the Cupboard and really, really enjoyed it. It wasn't all that different from the book and what was different were things that really didn't make a difference in the storyline. We discussed some of the parts that were different, and how even if they were the same; how what we imagined when listening to the book was different. Mary came up with some different ways that they could have made the actors so tiny, or seem so tiny.
Sometimes I really just have to shout: I LOVE HOMESCHOOLING!! This is the year it has come together for us. And, experiences like our trip last week, the books Mary has been interested in recently, fun activities for the younger crew, discussions we have it is so much more than we have had the previous years. I finally get it...what people were talking about on the forums and blogs when I fell in love with the idea of homeschooling. The last few years I've had to really lean on that love of the idea of homeschooling when the kids got antsy, my curriculum choices were duds and when I pushed to hard and fast, and wondered if I was a failure. I am so glad that at least for this moment, I'm on this side of those thoughts.