05 September 2012

First Day Lessons

The first day of school. It's always so much fun. I look forward to much in the same way I did as a girl, with anticipation and excitement bubbling over. I try too hard to make the day perfect. I stay up too late the night before. The children plan perfect first day of school outfits because they know I'm going to take too many photos to commemorate the day as if it is a once in a lifetime experience that should be cataloged into the archives of our hearts, never to be forgotten, every detail dually noted.

My kids look forward to the first day of school most likely because I have modeled my fervor for this day since Lukas first stepped into our school room when he was a week shy of his 5th birthday. Kindergarten was a blast. I learned to feel successful that year. I could teach a child to read! Outstanding! I then decided that if I could do this homeschooling thing, anyone could do it!

I've learned various lessons throughout our 6 years of homeschooling. In regard to the beginning of the school year, I have learned some specific lessons. First, never start school the day after Labor Day unless you have nothing planned on Labor Day, or unless you are super prepared and don't procrastinate or obsess over starting the school year perfectly with every I dotted and every T crossed. Uh-hem. So, basically, never start school the day after Labor Day if you are me, or if you are LIKE me.

Second, take your time. Don't try to re-invent the wheel on day one, or week one, or week two. Ease into the school year. Start with a few subjects, and plan something fun for the first day. Making our first day a positive experience helps our family to set the tone for the school year. 

Third, adjust the schedule and be flexible. If your child takes 30 minutes to copy a Bible verse and 30 minutes to do a math review page, and you are faced with only enough remaining time to either complete your history lesson or do a craft, choose the craft. It's the first day of school! History can wait one more day.

With those things in mind, we had a great day. My kids tend to be a little slow at tasks on the first day until they get into the swing of things. I know this, so I plan for it. This year, we began our school year with Bible, history, math, copywork, penmanship, read-aloud, reading, and a craft. The scenario above came into play when I nixed the history lesson in favor of the craft. Technically, our read-aloud is historical fiction that I chose to coordinate with our history study, so we didn't skip it completely.

The lesson I learned on this first day of school? If I don't have every I dotted and every T crossed, as I previously mentioned, I will be okay. In fact, I am okay. I do not have the first 3 weeks of school planned perfectly. In fact, I have only 3 days of school planned, and they are not planned perfectly. Who knew I could be okay with this?  Not me!

Our first day was a success! We'll keep adding other subjects into our schedule over the next couple weeks until we're studying everything that we have planned for this year. It should be a fun school year. I know I am looking forward to it. The orderliness is appealing to me right now. Life is busy and chaotic, but the school day is purposeful and well-planned. That's another lesson well learned over the years, but it has little to do with the first day of school, which is the purpose of this post. So, to end this post, here a few pics from our first day. I hope that your day was as successful as ours was!

 Lukas is in 6th Grade this year.

 Ava is in 3rd grade this year.

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