First Day of Homeschooling :: First Grade & Preschool by Annemarie

Posted in: Us- Aug 22, 2017 Comments Off on First Day of Homeschooling :: First Grade & Preschool

We made the decision to bring our kids home and school them before the end of Kindergarten (for Burke).  We had LOVED our school experiences thus far with preschool and Kindergarten too.  However, when it came down to figuring out our long term plan, knowing that we had one more on the way to bring our total to FOUR kids, sending them to a private school….well, no matter how wonderful…just didn’t scale financially.  Brett had way too much fun making color coded spreadsheets to calculate exactly how much it would cost us, and the numbers were alarming.

I admit that I have always been intrigued by families who homeschool.  So, when it came to us thinking about what we would do as an alternative to private school, it wasn’t really a long conversation.  A decision was made…in typical Brett & Annemarie form….rather quickly, and once we decided, we stuck to it.  But, I had NO idea what that meant, what it looked like in practical sense, or where to start.  I knew that I needed to start doing some research and talking to some experts.  The first person who came to my mind was Joy.  She has 6 daughters and homeschools them all.  Granted, she lives in TX and while I was connected to her on Facebook, we hadn’t spoken or seen each other in at almost 20 years.   I messaged her and we had plans to chat that evening.

We chatted for a long time, it was either 1 or 2 hours, and she filled me up with so much great information and encouragement.  Not to mention it was just so wonderful to connect and talk with her too.  After speaking with her, I reached out and ended up talking with Nikki, Jessika, Paige, Ann, Tara, Jaylene, among others.  I read and researched a ton of blogs of homeschool mammas.  I even read actual books on education.  After feeling kind of lazy and unmotivated on getting myself organized in preparation for having four kids, I finally felt like God revealed my purpose.  I was being called to homeschool my children.  I felt excited and on fire about this new adventure.  I attended some meetings and talked to anyone who would share with me, or listen to me, about their/our plans.

There were still so many ways to homeschool, and options to decide.  After initially hearing about CC from Joy, I read up more about our local group, and made plans to see for ourselves.  Brett and I, along with Blake and Mallory, visited the SB Classical Conversations community and decided that the classical method, along with the Christian perspective, was the route we desired to pursue for our family.  We also enrolled the boys with the Inspire Charter School and look forward to being a part of that community too!

So, fast forward through the summer, where I did as much planning and preparation as I could…..to our FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL!  I wanted today to be a super fun, and special day, to kick off our new adventure together.  We accomplished that and I am happy about how our morning went!

Of course we had some celebratory donuts….but also ate a big plate of eggs with them too! 🙂

Getting up just a few minutes before the kids this morning and having enough time to get myself dressed in real clothes really helped me kick off the morning and be on top of it.  I hope to do that every day, although we did discuss having regular PJ Days.  Why not, right?  I definitely plan to play up the idea that we can do a lot of the things that we want to because we are homeschooling.

Today though, since Mommy wanted to get some cute pictures of them for the FDOS, we did get dressed in some nice clothes.  We’d also started to practice the last few weeks of summer that we make our beds before our day gets started.  I’m happy to see that this has become a task that doesn’t get much push back at this point.

I had some fun making fun stuff for the day too.  And the laminating machine…..well, that is just icing on the cake.  So. Much. Fun. to laminate things!

I wrote the boys a little letter telling them how excited I was to be their teacher and how I knew that they’d be hard workers….but I think that they were more pumped about the fidget spinners.  Yes, they definitely were.

We’re planning to use a notebook to help them understand what they’ll be doing each day.  And they both love to check off the boxes when they’ve accomplished those tasks too.  I know I’m going to struggle between wanting to do all the neat things I see on other blogs, or Pinterest, or hear about other families doing and trying to keep things as simple as possible….so writing down what we will do each day will hopefully help with keeping the expectations appropriate.

Luckily Daddy was on hand this morning to help with Felicity while we snapped pics, AND to tell the kids about the eclipse.  Mommy hadn’t read up on all the science about it yet.  Luckily it was a pretty cloudy morning and so we actually were able to catch it and see it in the back without any special glasses.

Mal will be invited to participate in as much of our schooling as she can handle, although, the expectations for her are not very high.  I think that she will want to be around us and involved with things as she sees her brothers doing it with me.  She may be more apt to do and learn some of the basics that Blake will be doing but it was still fun to include her on our special day.

Blake will be doing a lot of preschool activities this year with his focus being on writing, ABC letters and sounds, and some fun number activities.  He wants to do a lot of what he sees Burke doing so I won’t be surprised if he picks up other things too.  He will also be attending the CC community day and be with the 4 year olds, so he’ll be doing the same learning as all the other kids (up to age 11).

Burke is in FIRST GRADE and will be building on his current math and reading skills, and also a variety of writing activities.  I am excited for him to learn all sorts of interesting things with the CC Cycle 3.

These cuties…..I mean, come on.

I teased them this morning and asked if they got anything for their teacher for the first day. 🙂  Definitely a learning curve for them to really grasp what it means, but we’ve been talking a lot about it all summer and my hope is that they see this journey as a huge benefit for our family.

I borrowed the idea to read This Is My Home, This Is My School, on the first day.  Such a cute and simple book with really fun illustrations.

I also borrowed some ideas and planned for the kids to make a FDOS Time Capsule Box complete with a personal interview, a cut out of their hand, a ribbon cut to their height, and a photo.  We’ll add things to it if we want during the year and then open it up the last day of school to see how things have changed or how much they’ve grown.

Instead of treats or candy to reward or incent them for hard work, I saw a cool idea of allowing them to earn the individual pieces of a Lego set day by day.  Today they each got to put 3 pieces into their jar.  I hope that this will work in keeping them motivated to do a great job and work hard.  They were pretty pumped about the new Lego sets.

The best part of the morning was the scavenger hunt.  When Burke noticed that was on our plan for the morning, he got super excited and was all about it.  He read all the clues outloud and he and Blake practically ran to the next one once they figured out the answer.

They were sent to the mailbox, the van, and various spots around the house.  I could barely keep up.  They loved it!

They found the prize hidden in their pillows of a Blender!

Woohoo!

We went to claim the prize as soon as Mommy got Felicity to sleep.

I love to have fun treats with the kids and hope that we can keep up the FUN in our school!

When we came home, I set the timer for 20 minutes and read to them.  After I asked them each to tell me one thing about the story so far and they were both able to recount something.

Last thing was Battleship.  They’d seen and asked about getting this game and I made the purchase with today in mind.  It turned out to be a little over Blake’s attention span right now, but Daddy came and played with Burke after lunch and I don’t think it’ll be long before they’re masters at it together.

We got everyone loaded up and took our walk with scooters to the cul-de-sac today.  The boys scootered around while I tried to wheel the girls to sleep.  They didn’t fall to slumber so easily, but we did meet and chat with one of our neighbors which was a treat.  I talked to them today about trying to meet all of the close neighbors over this year and may incorporate that into our learning too!  I ended up letting the boys go back in while I strolled back and forth in front of our house on the sidewalk until finally convincing Mal to close her eyes.  After I got the girls into their sleeping spots inside, I closed my eyes too as I could barely keep them open much longer.

What a super fun and special day!  Tomorrow we attempt the first days of learning actually lessons.  It will definitely be tricky to balance the baby eating/sleeping, the 2 1/2 year old demands for attention, and everything else, but I am excited about this amazing opportunity of growth together for our entire family.  <3

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