If you are interested, here's a play by play of our first day of school. Some people are interested in how I manage it all.
Well, here it is.
But if you are squeamish about lengthy blog posts, I suggest you just come back another day and read. This may take a while.
Dwayne leaves for work.
Norah gets Avril out of bed and they come into my room and snuggle.
After about five minutes, I get up, go to the bathroom, change the baby's diaper and get dressed.
The girls are playing in Norah's room.
I shuffle into the kitchen, make my ice water, shuffle to the couch, take my thyroid pill, read my Bible and check my emails on my laptop.
Norah comes in about ten minutes later and demands food. I tell her she can make it for herself. She says, "Really?!" She toasts two bagels, one for herself and one for Avril. She gets out the cream cheese, smears it on, puts in back in the fridge. Lesson #1 for the day. They eat while I finish checking emails.
When they finish, they go play again.
I make myself breakfast and shout to Norah that she should get dressed, brush her hair, pee, etc.
I notice that Norah has forgotten to close the bagel bag so I call her in and she tries to close it once herself, but then I show her how to do it without leaving air in the bag.
By the time I finish eating, Norah is totally dressed and ready so she cleans off the kitchen table with spray and paper towels while I clean off the dining room table. We use both tables for school so they both need to be crumb-free.
I tell Norah to begin with handwriting. She hates handwriting so I try and do that when she is freshest and first to just get it out of the way. She gets her workbook, pencil and sits at the kitchen table (because I want to do dishes). While she works, I unload and reload the dishwasher and clean the pans and knives that can't be put into the machine. I am looking over my shoulder and giving her guidance, making her erase and redo certain letters, etc. I also manage to sweep, clean off the counters and wipe the stove top by the time she is done with two pages in her handwriting book.
I take out the garbage and tell Norah to grab the recyclables and bring them out to the big trash can, too.
Avril is playing in the living room with the toys in her toy box while all this is going on.
When the garbage is empty, I show Norah how to wet Swiffer the kitchen floor. She takes several turns mopping, throws away the dirty Swiffers, learns how to put on new Swiffers herself, moves kitchen chairs for me, etc.
She washes her hands while I put the kitchen trash can and all the chairs back in place, etc.
I tell her math is next. She gets her blocks and books out of the bench in the dining room. (It has a storage compartment under the seat.) I have to bring her a pencil cause she forgot to keep it with her. We watch the math instructional video on my laptop and I watch her do her math page, explaining some things to her as she goes.
Avril is wanting to climb on me. I let her sit on my lap, but then she wants to get on the table and get Norah's attention. I get her to pick up Legos and write on a coloring page with a pencil for a while. She is wanting climb again, but at this point, I tell her "No" firmly and tell her to play with her doll house that is right there in the dining room. I tell her I am watching her and that Norah is "doing school" and so she needs to play. She cries loudly but she is also walking to the dollhouse. She sits and looks over her shoulder to see if I am looking like I said I would. I watch as much as I need to to get her playing well.
Norah puts her math supplies back in the bench while I grab her spelling supplies.
I wash off some grapes and cut some up for Avril, too. Norah and I share the grapes while we do her spelling. Avril eats her grapes while she sits next to me.
Norah cleans up from spelling and the grape bowls under my direction while I grab her writing book and notebook.
I talk to her about the writing assignment for a minute, but she is going to be able to do her writing assignment on her own mostly. I take that time to call Avril over to the couch to do an ABC puzzle.
Norah finishes the writing page before Avril and I finish the puzzle. She helps Avril find and put in the last pieces.
We all sit on the couch and start her grammar lesson and practice memorizing a poem.
But Avril is climbing everywhere at this point, almost ripping pages out of Norah's open notebook, distracting Norah, so I tell her to go play on the carpet in front of the couch. She cries again but she walks to the carpet anyway. She sits in a fuss and pouts and cries louder. I tell her Norah is "doing school" and that she needs to be quiet while Norah works and she needs to play. She understands me and knows I am serious when I tell her she will have to go to bed if she isn't quiet. Eventually, she finds a basket of Barbies and a book to flip through.
Norah and I take turns reading John, Chapter 1 in her kid's Bible and talk about it verse by verse.
Norah begs to do science today. I was going to save it for next week, but say "Okay."
By this time, Avril has come over. I offer to let her color with Norah while Norah colors in her science activity book. Avril says "No" and points to the computer in the living room meaning she wants to watch a movie. I start Toy Story for her. She sits at the computer desk in the living room and watches the movie on the large computer screen while Norah and I do science in the kitchen to begin with, but then end up moving to the dinning room because Toy Story is too loud and distracting.
After science, I tell Norah she has to read "New Toes for Tia." She is not happy that I am choosing a book for her and she says so. I tell her to go to her room and read and come tell me what the book is about. She leaves in a huff with the book in her hand.
About ten minutes later, she comes back to the kitchen and tells me with enthusiasm all about what has happened in the book so far.
Norah reads some more silently, this time in the dining room while I am making lunch in the kitchen.
While she, Avril and I are eating spaghetti and meatballs, Norah and I discuss the story more. I have to read a page to help Norah understand why one of the chapters was called "Tia's new Father" and Norah said Tia's father hadn't died and her mother hadn't remarried or anything. Norah didn't realize that the text was saying Tia's father was becoming a new man as he started to let God change him.
After lunch, Norah says, "I guess I liked 'New Toes for Tia' after all." She then chooses another book to read silently in her room. Avril finishes watching Toy Story and I clean up and then sit down to drink another large cup of ice water.
The day goes on from there, but at this point, we are done with our formal home school plans. And for the rest of the day, Avril can get more attention and Norah can have more freedom.