Growing Every Day

Posts tagged ‘public school’

First Day of School

When I was teaching in the public school setting, the first day of school was always looked on with great anticipation and excitement.  New supplies, fresh faces, all new possibilities for the year.  It was also accompanied with a multitude of preparations – decorate room, make sure all papers needed were copied, start learning names, PowerPoint presentations completed, etc.

The first week was not my favorite.

Yes, I enjoyed getting to know the kids.  I enjoyed helping them find their way around the building, but not so much the policies and procedures.  The fact that we had to spend the first 4 or 5 days getting used to school routines and classroom procedures never got better for me.  I just wanted to jump into the learning process.

As our first day of home schooling approached, I realized it was my dream come true!  We didn’t have to do policies and procedures!  I didn’t have to spend time “training”  Mason to get a tissue by himself or sharpen his pencil as needed, or how to properly check out of the classroom to go to the bathroom.

I was free!

We could get right to learning all about Forces and Motion, US symbols, skip counting, and silent e words.  I thought about the day and how it would be full of learning and increase of knowledge.  Then a thought hit…

This is the first of a first.

All of a sudden, I realized this was the first, first day of my son’s school journey.  We couldn’t go through the day without celebrating and having some fun to commemorate this amazing day.  However, this epiphany came to me the night before, of course.  So my brain began to reel…What should we do?  Do we do any work?  How do I make this special?  Enter Google and Pinterest.  Hello, where would we be without these beauties.

At the same time that the internet helps, it can also hinder.  In just a few minutes I was swimming in a wealth of homeschoolers first day traditions, more confusion.  Then I calmed myself down and remembered one of the lessons I have already learned regarding teaching/learning at home:  whatever we do it needs to be totally and completely “us”.  This helped me begin to weed out activities, resulting in a half plan that I trusted would fill itself in as we went forward the next day.  Here is a bit of what our first day looked like:

Breakfast

Mason loves doughnut shops so I planned to start our celebration by visiting his favorite.  He surprised me by requesting to go through a different drive-thru doughnut shop, but it was his day and that was easier anyway!

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Not so healthy, very yummy!

School Supplies

I wanted to have a fun basket of school supplies waiting for him on the table when he woke up.  That didn’t happen, so we decided to go and buy school supplies together.  We all had a blast and I believe a First Day of School tradition was started.

supplies - blog

A fun find.

Socks!!!

Picking out school supplies didn’t really take that long.  Since we start our school year in July, I knew there would be great sales coming after public school started.  So, we grabbed a few basics and a couple fun items as well.  Wandering around Wal-Mart we came upon some Angry Bird socks that Mason thought were the coolest.  Aaaannnd, another new tradition was created…fun new socks on the First Day of School.  (P.S. I love fun crazy socks, so this was perfect!)

socks - blog

Woot! Fun socks!

All About Me

I really liked the idea of this four page packet “About Me”.   At this point, it is probably more for me than Mason.  However, doing this at the beginning of every school year, I am betting it will be fun to look back on these when he is a Senior.  We did one page a day for the First Week of School.  I’m sure it will become a one day project as he gets older.

All About Me - blog

Click Here to find download

 

Yummy Graphing

This was a fun little graphing project that I had seen on one of the First Day tradition websites.  Of course, they loved eating the manipulatives at the end.  This was fun, but I’m not sure that it will end up in the “tradition” category.

graphing - blog

Click Here to download

 

Overall we had a wonderful first day.  I’m sure our First Day of School traditions will morph through the years, but I feel this was a great start.  I am very glad that we took our first, first day of school to celebrate instead of hitting the books right away.  I thank the Lord that he placed that seed of a thought in my mind the night before our First Day of School.

On Our Way

Yes, we are still here!

As I mentioned in my previous post, Focus Forward, I have spent much time with the Lord working on household organization and time management.  By no means do I have it down pat, but I am further along than I was in December.  I have purged items from the house, eliminating much of the clutter (not all, but much).  A daily household focus has been set, such as Monday is laundry, Tuesday is floors, etc.  This has been great, because Mason has now caught on to each daily focus and likes to help.

And then there is the biggie…

…planning the school year.  This was a struggle for me.  My natural desire was to set a calendar with days on, days off, holidays, etc.  Then an accusing voice came in saying that I need to just go with the flow and not be so structured.  After all, I said I didn’t want to simply copy a public school setting for our homeschool.  I wanted more freedom, didn’t I?

This really took me pressing in with the Lord to seek what He had for me and my children.  He led me to the passage of Jesus feeding the five thousand (Mark 6).  Before feeding the multitude Jesus had them sit…in groups of 50 and 100.

He organized them!

After defeating that nagging accusatory voice of the devil, I felt free to begin planning and organizing our year.  Once I realized this whole thing is about us and what’s right for our school/family, I decided to tackle the school year calendar.  There really are so many options out there.  You can follow the local public school calendar, year round school, online school, and everything in between.  I have always been a fan of year round school.  To me, it makes more sense to have frequent small breaks, rather than one huge break giving plenty of time to forget important building concepts.

This is why I chose to do a 6 weeks on, 2 weeks off calendar.  “Officially” it is called a 30-10 calendar meaning 30 days on, 10 days off.  Wanting to schedule 180 days of school, I started highlighting six week sessions.  It turns out to be six sessions total.

 This is perfect.

I can break up the planning of curriculum into six separate six week sessions.  Planning one session at a time seems much less daunting to me than having to plan the whole year or even a nine week chunk.

I shifted days around during Thanksgiving and Christmas, left some days in around Labor day that I’m sure we may make up some other time.  However, I knew if I tried to guess all the days we wouldn’t be “at school”, I would be second guessing the whole calendar!  So, I scheduled around the holidays, and left the rest to flow with the Lord during the year.  Here is our 2014-2015 school calendar:

2014-2015

After tweaking the holidays weeks, I found that our schedule ended the first week of June.  Perfect!  This allows four weeks off before starting the next school year with the first full week of July.  I am excited to walk through our first year with the Lord, Mason, Madison, my hubby, and many others who will make this possible.  There is much excitement to experience first-hand how the Lord will tailor our lessons and learning to each of our individual personalities, as learner and teacher.

Next step, curriculum…

 

Image courtesy of Grant Cochrane / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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