A Morning in the Life

It's Thursday morning, and it's homeschool day.

One student asked me on Wednesday, "Is tomorrow Thursday?"

"Yes," I responded.

"Oh good, I love homeschool day"

"Why?"

"Because there's just so much going on!"

The day starts and children filter in. They are greeted by their classmates and teachers. Important observations are shared. "I saw two turkey cross the road on the way to school." "My grandma is coming tomorrow." "Look at this rock we cut open at home." This is one of my favorite parts of the day. I relish the enthusiasm that these little people bring to all of their discoveries and feel so honored to be part of the sharing.

After each child signs in, she heads into the classroom to get to work on some important project.

This morning the doctor's office is up and running with two doctors and a string of patients. There are occasionally routine physicals, but dramatic injuries are much more common. Shots are a given. One child comes to me to say that he wants to go to the doctor's office, but they won't let him. I encourage him to go try again while I watch, and let them know that he wants to play too. He walks back across the classroom, and this time he is included in the play.

Other children are playing a hide and seek game with the "squeezy" balls we made out of balloons, flour, and rice at the beginning of the year. There are some disagreements about rules and peeking while the hiding is happening. But the difficulties are negotiated.

Three children are drawing pictures and telling each other all the back story that goes behind the drawing.

A few others decide that they want to paint and are making "apple cactuses." "Cacti with apples?" I ask. "Yeah. You have to be really careful to pick them."

Theresa, my co-teacher, leads a few interested children in an impromptu recorder lesson. They then begin to march around the classroom in a line, playing a rhythmic song of basically one note. But no one is making a recorder squeak (part of Theresa's directions), and many of them are holding the recorders correctly.

There is this ebb and flow around the classroom. There are reminders about "inside voices," "walking feet," and "Check in with his face to see what it's telling you."

I give everyone a 5 minute warning that we'll be picking up. Then we all work to get the classroom clean. I encourage everyone to look around the room to see what still needs help.

We gather on the rug, and Theresa reminds the children of the song we sang last week about "Las Hormiguitas." They review the words of the song. She asks them to show her "saltan" (jump) and "caminando" (walk). They say the words, do the motions, and then practice them again as they sing the song along with Jose-Luis Orozoco.

Then we jump into the beautiful book The Reason for a Flower by Ruth Heller. This book generates so many thoughts and discussion. Everyone knows lots about flowers, pollination, and seeds. We add some new information to our knowledge banks as we read this book. For some children, they are amazed to find a coconut is a seed. For others, they learn that corn kernels are also seeds. I throw a few of my other planned activities onto a future day because everyone is just so excited to talk about this book right now.

After snack, we head outside for some recess. Like the first part of our morning, the child directed play is full of all sorts of learning. Theresa and I walk around, observe, ask questions, share discoveries, and help to scaffold interactions as needed,

Theresa takes advantage of the almost hot weather to get the children to play "Salpica, Salpica, Lluvia" (or Drip, Drip, Drop in English). It's basically a version of "Duck, Duck Goose" but with water instead of pats on the head. It's just one more moment in the day when we practice Spanish while also dealing with the delayed gratification of waiting for our turn and working on following the rules of a game.

We head inside to create some art. The children use the bubble paint prints from last week, and we talk about what they might be: flowers, fluffy sheep, rain clouds, trees, or whatever else pops from their imaginations. Relative quiet descends on the group as they glue and color though some of the the children narrate their work as it unfolds.

The homeschool children head home, and the full time students settle into lunch.

Our morning doesn't feel rushed, but it does feel full. The faces around me are all smiling right now. "There's just so much going on."

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