Today was our first day back to homeschooling since the Christmas break and it went exceptionally well. I am trying to work with the advice I received from my homeschool reviewer who was a retired 30 year veteran teacher of kids Dakota's age. He told me ways to incorporate Dakota's strengths with my demands to keep things more peaceful here at home. I felt like we were never doing enough and he said we were doing plenty and had a great well rounded curriculum.
My osn and I started our morning with less grouching since the puppy made waking up much more pleasant. We got breakfast and morning chores out of the way and then tried my new Amazon Fire Stick to watch Disney's Johnny Tremain from Amazon Prime. With the Fire Stick we were able to put it right onto the big screen. We were trying to read the book, but it was going so slowly and Dakota wasn't enjoying it so I went with the advice I received and just allowed him to go ahead and watch the video to finish the story. He loved the story that way and he reaffirmed so much he already know about the American Revolution. While I was getting the Fire Stick started for the first time I had him write a short five paragraph essay on 2015. After the movie and the discussions that were sprinkled throughout, he edited and made the final draft of his essay....and the next final draft...and the next. Dakota is still lazy and he doesn't like to proofread. By the end product, however, we got a good result. To end our morning he did a Scholastic Geography Spin magazine and corresponding North American time zone worksheet while our pizza was coking
After a 45 minute lunch break we played a Rocks and Minerals game to ease back into Science. I made it last night called Make Five from http://www.ellenjmchenry.com/homeschool-freedownloads/earthscience-games/makefive.php to practice mineral chemical formulas. I used those wooden kiddie building blocks every kid has laying around and made the chemical formula dice and you had to roll the dice and see if what you rolled could be mixed and matched to make one of the 16 rocks and minerals on the cards. It was so easy, but Dakota loved it and we played 2 rounds in about 15 minutes, all the while sharing puppy duties because what she wanted most of all was either to grab a die and run or frolic through our cards laid out on the floor. After that game we eased back into math by playing Math Baseball (http://www.education.com/files/74501_74600/74533/math-baseball.pdf) where we each had a team and you multiply your dice together and there is a scale for if you get an out, single, double, triple or home run. Dakota was whooping my butt, but I caught up in the last inning and we had to go an extra inning where he ended up beating me 17 to 14.
By this point he was very wound up and starting to get crazy so we switched gears and got out our computers and dove into our Meet the Masters program and did the audio visual section of the lesson on Maria Marinez, a famous Navajo pottery maker. I was actually quite disinterested in most of it, but he really liked it and hung in there through 22 screens of visuals while I read the audio parts. I had hopes of listening to our Copernicus Legacy: The Golden Vendetta after that, but it was 3:00 and he honestly was done giving me his time and attention so we called it a day. 9:30 to 12:45 and 1:30 to 3. That's a good, productive day for us, but I also know every day cannot be as laid back with no workbooks for grammar and no math lessons. Tomorrow we'll do some of that, but I also am planning to surprise him by watching a volcano video as we talk about igneous rock and then let him get out his volcano kit from Christmas and put that together for science and art for tomorrow.
Writing this it looks like a pretty complete day. I would have liked to get in a lot more, but that's my downfall, pushing too hard and making us both grumpy. I'll call this day a success and enjoy my evening with a feeling of accomplishment.