Tuesday, October 20, 2009

First Day of School Raves

This post was taken from the beginning of the school year.

We kicked off our first day of this week celebrating Eli's fourth birthday. It was a fun day, and I just cannot believe that this child is four years old. Man it goes fast. As the saying goes...

the days are so long, and the years go by fast
All that to say that even with the first week of school I found myself thanking God that I have the blessed opportunity to home school with the support of my family and husband...and best of all my sweet boys.

More about that, but back to our first week of school:

As I planned, our first day of school was all fun. I really wanted the boys to be excited about the transition of going to sleepy, silly summer to routine, scheduled school. So like I saw over at The Creative Homeschool, we celebrated our first day by having chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast. This was the boys' request, I think they're just far too sweet.

Then I had prepared school boxes with new pencils, erasers and rulers for the boys. My sweet sister gave me some sweet little rainbow lead pencils for their boxes and these were a serious favorite. I highly recommend them. I'll be adding them to my top ten list of things-I-don't-want-to-school-without.

The boys got to decorate their boxes with stickers, then we decorated their notebooks and I gave them lunchboxes, we'll use them for Classical Conversations. The boys were so, so excited about lunchboxes of their own.

For the rest of school we talked about what school days would be like. I had printed up and morning routine charts for the boys, including one job to help me get the day started. We'll work over the next couple of weeks the habit of doing those things before school, and I"ll add another chart for lunchtime in a while. We talked a lot about expectations of the day, attitudes, etc. Then we played games and read, played more. It was a fun way to start the year.

I also read, in the Classical Conversations book, I think that it's wise to start one subject at a time. Thinking on this, it made perfect sense. Trying to do everything I want to do, (in an ideal world)or even half of it in the first week just makes me crazy and the kids feel overwhelmed.

So this week we did our morning routine, and Language Arts. It was a perfect amount of work, stretching just enough for the boys and stress-free for me.

Following loosely the model I read about in my CC book, I am beginning each subject with Eli. He's four, so I set the timer about 15 minutes and I work with him alone, the other boys have been assigned work they can do well on their own. Giving Eli my first attention pays off, he is content to have had my full attention and I can give it to him! When the timer rings, he is dismissed to play while I move on to work with Nate.

Nate is 5 years old, and so far, not so excited about school. I am working with him for 15 minutes as well. We review what he's been working on and then I move on to something a little more interesting...white board, flash cards, reading practice. Then the timer rings and off he goes.

And I scoot down to work with Joey. Joey is 7 and does well working alone for 1/2 hour. It's proven a good opportunity for him to do some problem-solving on his own...and reading directions I didn't realize that all along I've been reading the directions for Joe and translating. It's good for him to read them and figure them out. A little hard work is good for this boy. So then I am able to review with him what he's been working on and we work for the next 30 minutes forward. Joe also is assigned some reading time to do during the day. Perhaps that will become part of our routine, it's building slowly.

The boys all started soccer this week too, so we've had plenty of "new."

So outside of my reading to the boys, this is all the paper-school we've done this week, and it's been absolutely successful. I'm so not overwhelmed, and feel like I'm getting a feel for what our days will look like (erasing much of my pre-school-schedule).

Next week we're going to begin CC (the boys are so excited) and we'll add Math into our days. I love taking it easy so far. I feel like my expectations are adjusted without a big dramatic crunch. I highly recommend low expectations. :)

...and back to my job, this homeschooling my sweet boys gig is the job of my dreams. I have the husband of my dreams, the boys of my dreams. I shall never again complain.

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