Monday, August 28, 2006

Start day

Don't you just love it when the day you have set aside in your head as "Day 1" goes really, really well?

Since we school pretty much year-round, picking any date as the "First Day of School" always feels a little dubious, but I keep at it--mostly as a nod to that warm, squishy feeling the phrase gives me. Reminds me of an undented metal Strawberry Shortcake lunch box and jeans so new they're still stiff. ;-) It's a mystery to me that the phrase doesn't remind me of high school, where I worked two or three jobs over the summer in a scramble to save money for college and greeted the First Day of School exhausted and leery of teachers who assumed I had spent my summer "vacation" lounging at Key West. But I digress ...

Today was (drumroll please) our official First Day. I was determined to swing back into last year's schedule of trying to have all chores out of the way by 9 a.m. Amazingly, God showed extreme mercy on me and allowed that to happen! Not a single catastrophe--broken glass, spilled dirt from potted plant, dog food scattered all over the garage, etc.--occurred before 9 a.m. We finished breakfast in record time and I got the chorepacks going. I even snuck in a phone conversation with my best friend, who also coincidentally chose today as her homeschool start date. It was a good morning!

We retreated to the schoolroom and set about working. I got Jo going on her math first thing--usually a good idea, because she is slow as molasses and needs the lure of the next planned subject to keep her moving forward. Atticus hit the computer upstairs for Rosetta Stone Spanish, something he can do on his own. Logan decided that watercolors were far more exciting than Rod & Staff preschool workbooks and, because he is my third, I thought that was a pretty nice idea, too. ;-)

Thanks to the fabulous planning tools available on Donna Young's website, I had been able to begin synthesizing SL Core 3 with a few components of WP American Story 1. I worked on this while everyone was otherwise occupied. I adit, I was floored that I had ten minutes to sit and work on something on my own. I guess this is what schooling "older" kids is like!

I was able to keep everyone alternating to me all morning--another new thing for us. As their independent skills are increasing, I am seeing that I can spend one-on-one time with whoever needs me while the other two work away. I am amazed to be at this point. Jo worked through a section in commas in A Beka's God's Gift of Language A while Atticus sat with me to have his math corrected. Attticus worked on his A Beka Language Arts 1 while Jo and I looked over her LA. It felt so different from the beginning of last year, when everyone was clamoring for me at the same time, it seemed.

After finishing the "basics," we moved into our Core work. We started with Bible reading and the American Indian Prayer Guide. The first day in a SL schedule is always just enough to tease you! We read a snippet of another book ... and everyone wanted more! (Keep in mind that my dh does the read-alouds as a bedtime story for the kiddos.) I stuck to the schedule today, though, because I really wanted to fit in WP's Animal Worlds for Logan, who had spent the past hour and a half painting his heart out. We did that, then Jo retreated to her favorite hiding spot to start her SL reader, "The Corn Grows Ripe," while Atticus read aloud to Logan and I from "A Mare For Young Wolf" (a WP reader).

We fit in everything I had planned for, and it only took a little over 3 hours. I know that not every day will flow as smoothly, but still ... a wonderful beginning to the 2006-2007 school year!

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Tail end of summer

We'll be starting our official "school year school" on Monday. Why Monday? Ummmmm... why not Monday? ;-)

This summer was pretty productive. It isn't so evident by looking at in terms of what I can show you, but rather by what my children have shown me. They have shown that they are extremely flexible little people. They have shown extreme compassion and extreme joy. They have shown a fierce love for this area that I didn't realize they had (I guess it really is their home, even if I don't feel it is mine).

These things alone, I think, are worth calling the summer a success over.

In the book lairnin' department (to quote my Poppy), my three little bookworms have read an astonishing 89 books (combined) this summer. These aren't read-alouds; we managed just six of those, but ohhhhhhhhh, boy ... is "Peter and the Shadow Thieves" loooong!

The older two kept up their work on Rosetta Stone Spanish. Jo started Easy French and flew through "Times Tales." We're half way through "Hey Andrew, Teach Me Some Greek!" level 1. We're worked our way through lots of fun facts and activities in WP Animal Worlds. Jo and Atticus tackled math semi-daily (is that a word?) and Logan is a third through his first Rod & Staff preschool book. Countless plays were performed. We also studied and collected rocks. Lots of rocks!

Oh, and we took field trips.

That's my post-summer wrap-up. Bring on the rain!

Crying ... at the fair

This is a new one, even for me. I tend to get teary-eyed at the drop of a hat. Atticus will look over the top of his book as I walk by and say, "I love you, Momma Bird" (one of his nicknames for me) and I'll feel my eyes well. I walk in the room and see photos of now-4 year-old Logan on the screensaver as a toddler and I get misty. I see a puppy being loved to death by a little girl and I have to look away. No joke: I am a crier.

Yesterday, though, I hit a new low even for me. I started crying at the fair. Really. At the fair. Yep, right in the middle of the Synchronized 4-H Equine Drill Team. No, Jo wasn't riding. She was, however, leaning on the very edge of her seat, eating up every hoofbeat and flash of saddle she could catch. The look on her sweet face ... well ... it brought tears to a momma's eyes.

Thursday, August 24, 2006


O.k., enough with the emails. ;-) I am fine. Just been avoiding my blog because I associate it with Gloria ... and the due date was Tuesday ... and I don't have a little baby girl in my arms ...