Monday, August 20, 2012

1st Day of School 2012

Today was our official 1st day of school!  Caleb, who will be 5 this coming weekend, is in Kindergarten.  And Meredith is a big girl Preschooler!

Here are some pictures of our school "room" (and by "room" I mean 1/2 of a room!)

Our decision to home school was one that we made just a handful of months ago (April, actually).  In the months since then, we have rearranged rooms, I have researched/chosen/purchased curriculum (glad that's over), spent lots of time (and money) at the teacher store, talked to other homeschooling mommas, joined a co-op, and planned lots of lessons.  Our commitment is to take 1 year and each child at a time.  For each school year, we will ask for the Lord's guidance and wisdom on what is best for each of our kids that year.

Honestly, I still can't believe that we are doing this!  Part of me feels a bit crazy.  Another part of me feels a bit overwhelmed.  And there is definitely part of me that is mourning the loss of a traditional school experience for my kids (yellow buses, classroom parties, the PTA, and - let's be honest - a break for Mom!).

But most all of me is excited.  I love teaching.  I love my kids.  What an honor it is to have this opportunity. 

Of course people want to know WHY we have made this decision.  Kris and I made a pros/cons list of home school vs. traditional school back in April.  To be completely honest, there are a whole lot of pros to both options.  And a whole lot of cons!  I am definitely not one to say that home school is the only way to go.  The schooling debate is always a hot one - public vs. private vs. charter vs. home vs. whatever else there might be out there.  In my opinion, there's no ONE right way.  But there IS a right way for each family.  And for our family, at least for this year, doing school at home is what's best.  Not just because of any one particular thing that we identified on that pros/cons list, but mostly because we both have an unwavering confidence that this is what the Lord has for us. 

This confidence does not come from anything here on earth.  It's not from teaching credentials or experience or curriculum or money spent on resources.  It comes from trusting that if the Lord has placed something so strongly on our hearts that we would be fools not to go with it, He will surely provide and equip and bless and guide and be gracious.  It is found in the humble admittance that following Him might look differently than originally planned.

So, it is in that confidence that I begin this journey.  A journey that may last 1 year or 2 years or more.  It is with faith in Him that we've jumped onto a less-traditional boat into a sea that is sure to be choppy and lonely at times.  It is in trusting Him that we can know, despite any rough waters we may encounter, He is faithful.

He has given us unwavering peace about this decision.  He's given me passion and excitement for teaching my most loved students yet.  He's provided a way for us to be a part of a co-op with other homeschooling families (so we will not lose some of that traditional school experience after all!).  He's been gracious to us in the support we have received from family and friends (at least to our faces!) and He's provided financial means to pay for all we've needed to purchase.  He's already proved His faithfulness in so many ways, and I can't wait to see what comes next.

So, for this momma - a girl who was pretty opposed to the whole idea of home school until just mere months ago - this year is all about trusting God to help me teach my the ways I have already been teaching them and some new ways as well.  And I am trusting Him that I will stay sane throughout the process.

Here.  We.  Go.

A few snapshots from Day 1.

Overall, it was a good day.  Shane spent the night at Gma/Gpa's last night, so I didn't have to manage a toddler amongst everything else, which helped a lot. =)

Both kiddos did a great job.  They listened well, and went along with all that we did.  They loved "calendar time" and "popping like popcorn" (jumping) to spell our popcorn words (high frequency words).  Caleb did very well with his first official Phonics and Math lessons, and Meredith was excited to do anything and everything.

I asked them what their favorite part about school today was:
Meredith: "Eating cookies." (ha! I made these yummy oatmeal cookies for a special back-to-school snack today)
Caleb: "Doing my binder." (this goes along with his Phonics lessons)

After just 1 day, I already know of some changes I need to make for tomorrow and for the days ahead.  I imagine that I'll feel that way every day!  Living and learning here, folks.

 Their "1st Day of School" projects:

They wrote today's date and their grade (I helped Meredith write hers, although Little Miss Independent was determined to write some of the letters herself).  They each wrote their name. They wrote down what they want to be when they grow up (I wrote Meredith's), and drew a picture of that.  We cut yellow ribbon to match their height and then measured the ribbon with a ruler.  Finally, they did their hand prints. 

It will be fun to look back on these at the end of the year to see what's changed.

Day 1 down.  Lots to go!  So far so good.  But, talk to me in a few weeks......;)


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