Monday, September 8, 2008

First Day of School

This is normally where we take the sweet pictures and sigh with a bittersweet feeling as we send them off. Unless you are homeschooling!
Today was our first day of school. Last night I spent some time figuring out and writing out a schedule so that we could stay on track and keep the pace going. I posted it in our little yellow school house, (I'll post a picture later), and prepped a couple sentence strips for our calendar time. I felt accomplished and ready; nothing like those days when I was teaching and expecting a brand new class, complete with a new set of parents and personalities. I know my students this year, perhaps too well at times...
We went to the gym after breakfast,( it is the only time that it works out with their childcare hours). All 4 kids were excited at the idea of starting school, though only the oldest has any kind of idea or expectation. I have liked the idea of having "school time" to kind of give us a place to go and time that is structured. I am a strong believer in routines and structure for young kids. At least my kids seem to function and even sleep better when they have a routine. Now, at the end of our first day, I think it is going to take us a few months to get the hang of school at all...

Friday, September 5, 2008

What was I thinking?

You can't imagine my relief on the first day of school, when I got all the kids dressed and ready without any time pressure and loaded them up to go to the gym. I had a great workout and they all did some fun crafts. After avoiding a couple of school related questions from the childcare woman, we loaded back up and went home for a leisurely day of pool play, (they don't know that a 1.5 foot pool isn't as fun as an underground!). Since my hubby is a teacher, I had decided we needed a few extra days to recoup after a summer of having him home before diving into the next adventure, namely, homeschool.
My oldest just finished a year of private school where the tuition and the drama went up a few notches. With three others at home, it was a logistical nightmare getting them all ready everyday. I was tired. Plus, after going to school for years to get my teaching credentials I figured we shouldn't have to pay for our kids to be educated when I have all the tools, (and supplies), to do it myself. (This was not as easy a decision as I make it sound. I agonized and prayed and fretted for months! Once the decision was made peace came...)
So here we are.
Home. School. WHAT?! What was I thinking?! Today we sat down, the two girls, (age 6.8 and 4.8), to do a functional activity. We are making a book to appreciate all the wonderful things that Gramma and Papa do with and for us. Then we can sign it and send it to them so that we don't have the leftover clutter at home. It was great for about 10 minutes. Then one of the twins, (ages 2.8), dumped out the whole box of crayons and proceeded to spread them all over the floor, making cleanup SO much easier...okay. Great sigh. So we finish our book tomorrow. Today wasn't technically the start day anyway...

My philosophy of homeschooling
: To educate my children using real life situations and moments, using advanced level books and art to stimulate self learning and to create an environment in our home where learning is encouraged and exciting. Organic learning to go along with our organic eating.

My practice is going to take a while to match my philosophy. Coming from an educator background it is HARD to shift things to make it less about structure and standards and more about each child and their strengths and did we go so wrong in our school system? More on this later.

So...we start on Monday. For real. Figuring out how to manage and occupy the twins will be the big task, I think. I have some ideas...we'll see how they work.