Tuesday, August 2, 2011

beginning the new school year

First days back to school were always exciting ones to me as a child growing up.  I was pleased to notice that my kids were happy to start back to school too- even if school was just downstairs!  A few things that worked for me, maybe they will help you too...

Start back easy for the entire first week.  If you are chomping at the bit to dive into all that great curriculum you spent a fortune on, don't worry, be patient, it will still be there next week.  Likewise, if you spent all spring and summer downloading free unitstudies and lapbooks, and have everything sorted and cut out, glue sticks and colored pencils ready, relax, take a deep breath and start easy.   You will all burn out by Friday if you go at it like a race horse out of the starting gate!

On our first "first day" of homeschooling I gathered the kids around me, we opened in prayer, sang familiar songs, started learning our first Bible verse and then we went on a "field trip".  We didn't go far or spend much but they were thrilled!  Afterall, for Caleb and Esther, their old school friends were sitting at desks in a hot stuffy room, and nobody ever went on a field trip the first day of school : )

Last year we had an end-of-summer "Pirate Party" with bandana's, eyepatches, and little sandwich boats with cheese slices for sails.  We read a pirate story, did some pirate crafts and happily entered into a new year of learning.

This year was more relaxed.  The girls had been asking me for a week to start school already... humm why do the boys never ask that?  I had individual "conferences" with Caleb and Esther.  As Caleb is starting high school this year we sat down to plan the next four years of his learning experience.  We looked at what the state requires students to accomplish.  We also looked at what the college he hopes to go to requires.   We talked about the SAT and GED exams and I reassured him that he will be ready for those tests and he will succeed.  I discussed with Esther the plans for her schooling this year and we discovered together her need to feel more organized, so we sat at the computer and created a planner to carry her through the year with all the little details she wanted.  Of course by the time I finished with individual conferences and planning, Isaac and Sarah went to night school : ) LOL   This morning everyone was up, showered, and dressed. They had their coffee and they were ready to begin again...

Yes, we started early.  I know what our year is going to hold and we will need more time off than usual at the start of it, so.... hold on, here we go, off like a herd of happy turtles!

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