On a Farm (with a 3 & 9 year old)
This new school year looks much different than last. because last year we lived in Atlanta, Georgia. This year we said goodbye to the hustle and bustle of the city and moved to a farm in East Tennessee! It has taken some adjustment for sure. Adjustments to living in a smaller space without a school room. Adjustments from Unschooling to a more Eclectic Homeschool Curriculum that works better for our son. There have even been adjustments to daily chores. Living on a farm is so different, and yet we are embracing it with open arms and hearts full of love.
I haven't written "A Day in the Life" post since our move as it has taken us many months to transition from crisis mode to finding our new rhythm. But found it we have. Typically, Thursdays are homeschool co-op and Ranger led hikes at the state park, Fridays are field trips and art (we are currently using an online program called Mixing with the Masters), and Saturdays are for library visits. Which reminds me....we owe our library $22 in fines! Yikes! Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday are when we do the bulk of our Reading, Writing, Maths, Science and History. But no day looks exactly the same. We go with the flow and try to keep to the natural rhythm of the seasons, and our family.
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I wake up with a migraine....well, this isn't how I expected to start my day! The kids are already up. Honestly, they've been up half the night. It's become our norm. I expect I'll get a good nights sleep when they are in their 30's. Until then, coffee is my ally. With my head pounding I announce that everyone gets cereal and then ice cream for breakfast! I'm instantly the hero of the day as the kids cheer and rush around the kitchen table. Come on, ice cream makes everything better! Unfortunately, I can't have the coffee or the ice cream for another 30 minutes. This is my daily ritual: Thyroid medicine then 30 minutes later I get the delicious coffee. With a smirk, Papa, gives us all hugs and kisses before he heads out the door with Uncle Joe to work.
Sweet nectar of the gods! That first sip of coffee is like manna from heaven! Hopefully, this headache medicine will kick in soon too. Our 9 year old, Gabriel, heads out to the barn to check on our baby chickens.
My sister and the 3 year old, Jade, decide to make M&M cookies! Our daughter insists on LOTS of sprinkles. They turn out quite scrumptious!
My head is easing up a bit so I take this time to listen to Brave Writers Julie Bogart - A Gracious Space: Fall "Unique Education." With my second cup of coffee and a bit of ice cream I settle in for this homeschool encouragement. We are loving the Brave Writer program and I adore Julie Bogart and her approach to writing. This video gets me right in the feels and I walk away feeling both encouraged and empowered.
Gabriel starts screaming outside, "Come Quick! It's an Emergency!!!!" I fly up thinking someone or something is hurt. My heart is pounding 90 miles a second. Nope, he's just uber excited to show off a new pal he found at the barn...a northern leopard frog. Thanks kid, my heart works! I take a picture so that we can reference it later and add it to our nature journals. Gabriel takes Mr. Frog (could be a Missus, I'm just guessing) back to the barn and releases him in a nice shady area.
Jade and I go dress in some "barn clothes." Barn clothes are clothes you don't mind getting muck and poop on. Trust me, you do not want to go to the barn in "Nice" clothes...they will be "nice" no longer. Come to think of it, I don't think I have too many "nice" clothes. My usual attire involves waterproof boots, jeans, and an old t-shirt. The kids, on the other hand, change clothes practically every hour. Both of them are super sensitive to anything too tight, loose, scratchy, wet, etc. No wonder I'm always doing laundry!
The children and I head to the barn to feed and water the chickens, collect eggs, and bring the goats to their pasture. We also hold our baby chicks and give the cows some treats. Some days I feel like Dr. Dolittle over here! The farm animals see us and they come running. It's a pretty awesome life!
We come back from the barn and change into some fresh clothes. It's time to start our read aloud time. This is all part of our morning rhythm. After chores comes snuggling and reading! We all choose several books that we want to hear. Gabriel chooses a collection from author Bill Peet: Cock-A-Doodle Dudley, Eli, Huge Harold, How Droofus the Dragon Lost His Head, and No Such Things. He also chooses Life of Fred, and Some "Horrible Science" and "Murderous Maths" - Shocking Electricity, Bulging Brains and Savage Shapes. He is a HUGE "Horrible" fan!
I choose Raold Dahls Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and the "Horrible Science" book Angry Animals. Jade chooses Prehistoric Pinkerton and A Rose For Pinkerton by Steven Kellogg plus her Alphabet book about the gnomes Pine Cone & Pepper Pot. I'm so grateful my headache is all but gone now and I can enjoy this moment with my kids.
It's snack time for the kids and I'm ready for my third cup of coffee. Our son asks for a cup too. It actually helps him to focus (his pediatrician says that's what coffee does for kids with ADHD) I pour us both a cup while he goes and gets his ball python out of his tank. I pull up ABCMouse.com on the tablet for Jade while Gabriel works on his Handwriting Without Tears lesson. He tells me he wants to do a video showing others how to write a cursive g....and he wants me to "share it with the world!" Alrighty, sir!
Gabriel works on some khan academy while Jade colors letter B pages I printed while I wash the breakfast and snack dishes and start a load of laundry.
Lunch! Gabriel still has his snake around his neck, so I ask him to please put him back in his tank and wash his hands before eating. I read aloud from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory while we eat our lunch.
The kids play with Lego's while I mop the kitchen floor.
We get a knock at the front door. It's our neighbor (a sweet little old lady that is nearly 100 years old) and her great granddaughter has come over for the afternoon. Would the kids like to come over and play and have supper with them? Oops, I forgot it was Tuesday! On Tuesdays we leave our afternoons open so the the children can go over to the neighbors house and play with her great granddaughter who is Jades age. They call it their "girl time" except that they must have Gabriel with them, ha! They don their swimsuits and head over for an afternoon of fun.
I take this time to clean bathrooms, take out the trash, vacuum, fold clothes and start more laundry. Once I'm done I start dinner and then catch up on emails and blog related work.
I go and get the children from the neighbors house. They've had dinner already, so I get Jade in the tub while Gabriel rides his bike.
Jade is done with her bath. I dry her hair and we find her a pair of pajamas. She goes and gets a Melissa & Doug Undersea puzzle to do while I eat my dinner.
Papa and Uncle Joe come home. I give Jade some Melatonin and hot chocolate (pediatrician recommended to help her sleep...it really does help). Gabriel and I start our evening chores. We take the goats and my silkie chickens back to the barn, feed all of the animals and collect more eggs.
We get back from the barn, change clothes and wash up, again. Story Time! The children and I pile into my bed and we read aloud to each other while Papa and Uncle Joe eat their dinner.
Jade lays down with Papa and he sings songs to her until she falls asleep. Don't worry, She'll wake up at least 3 times before dawn! Gabriel and I continue to take turns reading.
Papa and I catch up on our day apart and then we call it a night.
"Isn't it nice to think that tomorrow is fresh with no mistakes in it yet?" - L. M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables