Tuesday, September 7, 2010

First Day of School

While recuperating from a bit of surgery earlier this past summer, I began my planning for the coming school year. I created a rough outline for a typical week, chose the material we would cover, and decided upon an official start date. When I was a girl I remember quite a few years when school would begin on my birthday, August 25th. So, we would leave ample room for celebration there. My husband's is Labor Day, so we would make sure to eliminate all distractions from his special birthday week (he came with one.) Free and clear, with plenty of summer behind us, September 7th - perfect.

The girls' birthdays are later on in the month, but we have to be practical - school must start sometime. Unfortunately, as the day approached, I must admit I'd really done nothing more to prepare for the year beyond what I'd managed to pull together back in June. Well, ready or not, today's the day.

We are bringing out the books I have stored as we approach each subject. Moans and sighs were silenced as they left their complaining and remembered that learning is actually sort of fun. We began by bringing out a new book the girls will be going through - Don't Check Your Brains At The Door and I read the intro. I think they will really enjoy this one. For our actual study today, however, we discussed Proverbs 10 verses 14-16, and read a bit more of the Harris brothers' Do Hard Things. We prayed and then sang a song of praise together via YouTube.com. Hearts were then in the right places.

Confession: we made quite slow progress in math last year. I can't completely fault the girls. Let's just say excessive scenery watching during an overabundance of car-schooling presented certain challenges to advancement. They have more than made up for it during the summer months, and I am so proud of how they have begun really flying in Math. Today I decided we would have a light load and do what we refer to as Fun Math. They completed four pages in Mathematical Reasoning with happy spirits.

When I was a kid, my Mom would dread the beginning of school. Oh, she was fine with the six of us traipsing off out the door for the day once again, but the beginning of school meant we would return with those discombobulated supply lists. How she hated them. To this day I am still not sure which is the notebook, folder, binder, or composition book. And adding 1 or 3 subjects to it, college versus wide lined paper, fine or medium point pens in black or blue, etc. Multiply this times six and all the varying requirements - we were bound to return with corrections from our teachers about something not being the right something. "What does it matter?!" she would cry.

Well, as a homeschool Mom it really doesn't matter quite so dearly to me - clearly, as I don't even have our appropriate readers out yet. But I did get one thing done, the most important thing, in fact. I decided that I would get the girls' backpacks ready for them with things that would add joy, fun, and excitement to the start of their year. So, with a theme of pink for A and blue for L, they received their packs filled with treasures. A binder, two notebooks, a bookmark, sticker sheets, a ruler with the books of the bible on it, a cute travel pillow for those times in the car, jump ropes, a pack of gum, a teeny-tiny little plastic figurine (butterfly for A/ horse for L), a wind-up toy, and a variety of fidgety trifles to stimulate thinking or calm restlessness depending upon the need. Oh, and a mascot for their year - L has a little grey pup called Scrap and A has a pink poodle she named Kandy. Their thanks and delight was their gift to me.

We returned with gusto to one of their favorite subjects. I find Science so rewarding because of the girls' eager fascination with each module. They can get a bit competitive, but it's a healthy competition. I opened the pages to preview our future subjects and was not disappointed. L especially responded with animation to the idea of studying the atmosphere, light, and gravity. An interested student is a wonderful prize.

It's lunch time now. This afternoon we may touch upon Language Arts, Spanish, Geography, and History. Maybe.... But I will have them pull out the wonderful books that will fill our year and we'll reorganize our shelves, putting up a fresh and waiting poster of the Presidents on the wall. It's been a really great start.

And now a few quotes, 'cause I just can't help myself when it comes to the gift of learning:

Lord! when you sell a man a book you don't sell just twelve ounces of paper and ink and glue - you sell him a whole new life. Love and friendship and humour and ships at sea by night - there's all heaven and earth in a book, a real book. ~Christopher Morley

To sit alone in the lamplight with a book spread out before you, and hold intimate converse with men of unseen generations - such is a pleasure beyond compare. ~Kenko Yoshida

You may have tangible wealth untold;
Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold.
Richer than I you can never be -
I had a mother who read to me.
~Strickland Gillilan

Special thanks to my Mama who always encouraged my love for words.


  1. Just found your blog through adopt and homeschool yahoo group. Very interesting! We should have started school today too, but had an appt. at the vet for the dog so we learned about veterinary science instead! My husband's birthday was also labor day! (50) Just had to comment - thought that was interesting!

  2. Sweet! Love a nice start. Our first actual day of school was doomed from the start. Liv getting braces today was a known quantity, but Vern being up all night with constipation cramps and vomiting, was not lol. So....math, reading and vocab was all we got to.
    *shrug* lol.

  3. Thank you for reaching out and connecting ctibbmn. I went and read your blog a bit as well. What a sweet bunch you have!

    Audrey, I miss you so much and wish I could give you a big hug. Small steps count too, and it is far more important that you are there with hugs and Tylenol some days. ;D

  4. I wish I was homeschooled and given what you give the girls and what you gave our sons. I think had I been one of your students maybe I would have been more thoughful of what I wanted to be and how I would have gone about being that person.

  5. Michael is such a sweetie! Sounds like you are off to a great year! Tell A that Milana has the same poodle (tattered and a pinkish gray now) that she totes everywhere. Her's is named "Proodle". :)