Oh, hello. Did you know that it is now October? Does this shock you? Are you wondering what happened to September and how in the world it flew by so quickly that it hardly seemed to exist at all?
Me too. ME TOO.
Since it is now October, and we are now in our fifth (!! I swear we just started) week of school, I thought I would finally share with you a bit of the first day of school, and how it's been going since then.
Tuesday, September 7 dawned bright and fair, and we were ready and excited to start.
The chalkboard I had recently made was written on for the first time ever.
Pencils were sharpened and poised in their pointiness, ready for little hands to grasp them.
A stack of brand-new books awaited us, ready to impart knowledge and learning with each turn of the page.
And, most importantly of all, there were three little girls who were eager and excited to begin the adventure of school days once again.
I say three, because while Rosalie doesn't get to be a student, she got caught up in the excitement too. Obviously. Just look at how she bedecked herself with necklaces for the occasion!
These two, however, were the most excited and kept asking me, "When are we going to start, Mommy? Is it time yet?" as I cleaned the kitchen from breakfast and got myself ready. Enthusiasm is always highest when everything is new, after all.
We prayed, we did our Bible-reading, and then we dove into our workbooks. I remember the thrill of beginning a new schoolbook.... every page is so crisp and white, and one doesn't know what it all will hold... the possibilities seem endless.
Rosalie sat at the table, colors in hand, and looked on in wondering interest at her big sisters. She wanted to be right there in the thick of it, a part of everything we did.
As much fun as it was to have all us there at the kitchen table, it did make it rather difficult to accomplish certain things with Emma. So, eventually I sent Annabelle off to play a few games on Starfall... which also fascinated Rosalie, thankfully. I'm so glad we have a big chair for our computer, because these two look awfully cute together on it.
No day of school is complete without snacktime, of course, and it's always a welcome break (for them AND me) from our work. Snacktime is a subject beloved by all!
That evening, as a way to celebrate our first day back at school, and as a reward for a day of work well done, we went out for ice cream at the Marketplace.
It just so happened that my sister(in-law) Jessica had started homeschooling her kids that morning too (their very first day EVER!), so it seemed perfect that we should all have some fun together in honor of the occasion.
Emma and Annabelle always have so much fun with their cousins Faith and Jason. Silliness always abounds, as you can see.
Our good little students deserved silliness, fun, and ice cream, I think.
Jason snapped this picture of me (he LOVES taking pictures).
That smile is from one happy mama who was very glad and grateful for a lovely start to our new school year.
Now that we are five weeks in, of course a wee bit of the enthusiasm and excitement has worn off. It always does, and I knew to expect that this year. We have days where we seem to not get much done, weeks where I feel we've fallen behind, and times when things do not run smoothly at all. It's all a part of it. I'm learning more and more to just go with it... to work hard and do as much as we can each day, but also to recognize when we need to go easy and have a little break.
We do math, reading, phonics, and Bible every day. To keep our workload from being too much, we alternate days between science and history, and do the same thing between penmanship and spelling. I try to have us do a fun art project (you know, something that involves paint, cutting, glue, clay, etc. The messier the better!) at least once a week, but I'm finding that doesn't always happen. Thankfully though, my kids LOVE to color and draw, so we always do some of that throughout the week.
My biggest challenges for this year? Rosalie is one of them. Like I mentioned before, homeschooling with a toddler can be tricky. While I love that she wants to be a part of everything, it does cause problems when I'm trying to help Emma with some of her work. I'm still finding ways to keep Rosalie occupied and happy, without her feeling like she's just getting pushed aside. This is a busy, busy, age she's at. A challenging age, as any mom with an 18-month-old can tell you! I'm also trying to find the balance between working with Emma, who requires my help more because she's an actual first-grader, and working with Annabelle. Just because she's not "officially" in school yet, I don't want her to miss out, and I certainly want her to be learning as much she can. I'm making more of an effort to read with her, to help her with her workbooks, and to do fun preschool-type things with her such as puzzles and games and songs.
And then, there's the issue of time. There are never enough hours in a day. (You all know what I'm sayin', am I right??) If we get ALL of our schoolwork done for the day, you can be pretty sure the house is a mess. If the house is clean and picked up and errands run, chances are we probably didn't get as much done in school as I wanted to. Not to mention, I don't want ALL our time to be spent on chores and schoolwork. I want to do fun things, have lazy moments together, and simply enjoy the little blessings like this amazing fall weather we've been having. It's a never-ending quest for balance, and I'm not sure I'll actually ever find it. But I'm learning that I can't do it all. No one can. We'll simply find the truly important things in each day, and start from there.
Have I mentioned that I have between 11 and 15 piano students each week too?
I feel like a crazy person.
Oh wait, I AM a crazy person.
All joking aside, I really do love it all. I wouldn't trade this life that God has given me for anything. He is good, He is loving, and I'm finding grace in new and unexpected ways and places. I have so much I'm thankful for, even on our very worst day... and I simply adore the fact that my three little ladies are here with me as we all learn, together, every single day.
Emma Joy, our first grader. 6 1/2 years old.
Annabelle Grace, our pre-kindergartener. 4 1/2 years old.
These "school pictures" were taken on our second day of school, as we sat outside on our patio in the pleasant breeze, doing our work for the day. Rosalie played contentedly, we were cheerful in the sunshine, and the morning's assignments flew by on happy golden-tinged wings. It's the little blessings like this that make me love homeschooling in this season of our lives.