Like many of us, I started a new routine today. Not the hectic week before Spring Break with my 6th graders being squirrelly and my son having panic attacks about being able to finish all of his work before the big Learning Celebration at the end of the week, but rather, the quiet day at home, trying to be a fourth grade teacher for my class of one and figure out how this is going to work.
I was expecting a nightmare, and was worried all weekend and barely slept last night, because I was still trying to find information and formulate lesson ideas. But when it came down to it, everything went…fine. Nicely, even.
My son, who had carefully reminded his father last night NOT TO WAKE HIM UP because he could sleep in, got up at exactly the same time as usual, and we went through our usual morning routine. (There was one hiccup, when my husband called from a nearby gas station to report that a) he had a tire with only 14 lbs. of pressure in it, and b) his wallet was not in his pocket, but that barely counted because neither one of us was fully awake when we dashed off to the gas station in our pajamas before sunrise.) At the time when our routine usually morphs into me hurrying around and trying to get him out the door, I told him he had some play time, and I had some Mom time, and we would start school time at 9. He went outside and sprinkled food coloring on the snow left from Saturday’s storm. I watched “This Is Us” and then took a shower.
9am: ready to begin. My son came back in, and we mapped out the day. In his Literacy class, he had started reading The Hardy Boys, and had finished his first book. I got onto the library’s online catalog and we checked out another one in eBook format. He read, got his new notebook out, and made notes about the reading, a prediction of what will happen next, and even started a story map to show me. His school does snack and a whole school read aloud time next, so I picked a book to read aloud, and we talked about the first few chapters and what the characters were like, and what we thought would happen next. He wanted to know where Vancouver Island was, so we broke out the atlas and looked, and figured out how far away it was from us. Then he wanted to know what a marmot was, and I didn’t know either, so we looked that up. The world may be in chaos, but Google is still there.
After that, he switched over to Numeracy, which is what his school calls their math classes. He said we needed to do number of the day, so we worked on that – he chose 1, since this was our first day. Their system is to discuss the number and represent it in as many ways as they can. Usually, the teacher gives them notes and they write them down and discuss them. He mostly did his on his own, really only asking me for the occasional bit of information. He recorded the number, the way it looks on a die, and drew a picture of first gear on a stick shift. He added the first president, the first state, the date of the first automobile, the date of the first Formula One car race, the date of the first holiday in the year (1/1!), the first day of the week, the first month of the year, and about a dozen different math problems that equalled 1, including fractions, which his class has been working with for about a month. After that, he had to work on the final draft of his math project for the term at actual school. This resulted in a tiny bit of whining, because he hates writing final copies, but he did it, with a break for lunch in the middle.
After he was finished, we took a break for the afternoon. We needed to get him a new bike helmet and a piece for his bike and we needed to hit the grocery store one more time, because we were running out of milk and orange juice. We walked in the blustery spring-like weather, bought too many groceries, and staggered home, uphill into a headwind, carrying too many heavy bags, and making a lot of stops to rest. The rest of the afternoon, he got to choose what he wanted to do, and was busy with a lot of projects, including building two cozy nests for us and the cats in our basement, so we could hang out together while the fumes from the porch sealant on my neighbor’s new porch dissipated.
Tomorrow we tackle science (Tuesdays are for science, Mom!) as well as literacy and numeracy. I would like to also get a start on the content class, because he designed a six part concept for inventing a civilization as a content project, so we had better get a move on! I am well stocked with science projects, arts and crafts supplies, and curriculum resources (including the materials for teaching my 6th graders what makes a civilization, a civilization, which I was going to do this week). I have access to a tremendous number of eBooks and audiobooks through the library’s web site, even though the actual branches are closed, and I have the resources to also get eBooks from Amazon, not to mention a very impressive home library collection of books for any age group from birth to grown-up. We’ve got plenty of snacks, no one is sick, and curiosity, at least, is on my side.
I think we might be able to do this after all.