Monday, August 12, 2013

Homeschool Diaries: First Day of School

Despite feeling a little unprepared, we jumped in and plunged deeply into school.

Hello 2nd grade. Hello Kindergarten. Hello very busy little Kate.


As I've said, this has been a busy summer and I wanted everything "perfect" for their first day of school. I wanted a perfect plan that proved fail proof. One that would ensure no more crying fits at the table. One that would inspire Hannah to read, read, read. One that would keep Kate busily occupied as the older two dig in. And one that promised an effective plan to include two school-aged children instead of one.

But, as the kids went to sleep last night and I took a crash course on their lessons for today, I realized perfection was far off.

And I was okay.

Can I repeat that?

I was okay.

It hit me that it's okay if today is a bit "messy." I mean, shouldn't it be when you bring in a new schedule, young kids, and, today, a toddler with a 104 degree fever? It would be silly for me to expect a plan to work perfectly. There's freedom in starting the school year expecting tweaks to be made all along the way. And, after today, tweaks will be made. I am not a slave to a "perfect" schedule. Freedom.

And so, we jumped.

And it started great. I want to make their first day special. Being at home, they miss out a bit on the "back to school" excitement and so I like to create a bit of that in our own home. I was so thankful it worked. I had a "back to school" surprise: a small water bottle, crayons, watercolors, pencil holders and cases and dry erase pencils. I was happy to hear Hannah exclaim: "This is the best back to school day ever!"


And to start the day I let them break in their watercolors and paint a self portrait. And while their portraits were, well, small, they had fun.

And then, the messiness that homeschooling can sometimes be, began.

Thankfully, some time in prayer this morning was a sweet reminder of my need for the Lord as we venture into another year. I do pray that the Lord would provide (as He promises) a way out when I'm tempted to respond poorly to my kids' frustrations. And as Proverbs 3:5-6 says "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path." I often do not acknowledge Him when I'm frustrated and tempted to respond poorly and instead jump into what I think is right...but it is own sinful response to my kids. But it says when I do, when I turn my mind to Him and acknowlege Him and trust what He says, He will direct my paths. So my prayer this school year is that the Lord would bring this verse to my mind and equip me with the discipline and self control to stop, acknowledge Him and His ways and cling to the promise He will direct my path, one away from sinful selfishness and frustrations.

And that's a long sidenote. It seems homeschooling and parenting really bring out the worst in me and the Lord is using these as tools to refine me...and I'm a slow learner.

Hannah's first day was overall smooth. We had some speed bumps when she realized she had to do her math facts this year ON HER OWN while I worked with Grant. So, I pulled out some incentive for her to memorize them and complete her page in less than a minute. I don't know what the incentive will be, but she is on board and working those flashcards. I did not do well last year at making her memorize her facts and so that is a goal I set for us this year: to memorize all her facts and to be able to recite them quickly.

Her attitude was good overall. I am thankful. I think her attitude naturally feeds off of mine, another reason for me to hold my tongue more often and to grow in patience as she learns.

Grant's first day was relatively good as well. He's having a hard time with the fact he can't play Mario during school time. And he hates to write, a big problem when it comes to school. I had to explain that almost everything will require making some sort of "mark." And when we practiced, tears were shed. This will be an area I need a lot of grace and patience in. He still struggles to hold his pencil well. It's better than it was, but still a struggle. Other than this one major obstacle, he did well. He enjoyed his math and reading lessons.

And Kate, bless her. She woke up with a fever. It was last August all three came down with a high fever and kept us out of CC for two weeks. Over the course of three weeks we were stuck at home nursing fevers. Hannah's reached 106 degrees. I'm praying this is not a repeat of last summer. If you think about it, I'd appreciate your prayers there too. Kate's is high...104...but I think my kids just get high fevers. They act relatively fine. So today was mostly spent watching Dora on the tv and napping. My goal for her is to have activities for her to do independently in the morning during math time. My idea today bombed, but she also had a fever.

So, that's enough chatter. And if you've made it this far, you're a good friend. Ha! I'll leave you with a few pictures of our first day and of the little faces I am very thankful to get to spend my days with, even if it is very hard. They are a blessing and it's a priviledge to be able to teach them.


LB said...

I love the first day of school gifts and the signs. I, too, hate that they miss out on the big first day of school moment , so I might implement some of this in two weeks when we start. Another school year...

Mary said...

Yes, great ideas for that special "first day back" ! We have not started yet and I too may steal your ideas! You are such a sweet mom!!! Will pray no more fevers!