Thursday, October 7, 2010

School and such.

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.


Kayla said...

What a lovely post my dear! It's always so refreshing to read them! It was so great to see some picture's of Luke and Jessica as well Oh how I miss all of you! And of course I miss that market place. :)) Great photos and a great post Miss you

Band of Brothers said...

WOW. You AMAZE me. Seriously your kids are so BLESSED to have you as mama. I feel like we lead parallel lives in some ways(our kids track in ages expect for Ollie)but you are homeschooling and that is like a whole 'nother job you have. I can barely run my home and I don't have half as many responsibilities!

And Rosalie sounds every bit as precocious as my little Twain and so honestly I have no idea how you manage all that you do with such grace and beauty. Hats off to you. I admire you SO MUCH. It is not easy. I feel quite insane right now too and time is flying by so fast I literally sat stumped yesterday.

Much love to you. This post was awesome. And I love Emma's blue felt flower!

i'm lindsey. said...

oh talia :)
i love this post.
you are simply the most inspiring momma ever!!!!

i love how you tackle life, acknowledging the struggles, but recognizing that its the grace from our Father that gets us through.

you do it with such beauty. such poise :)

your girls are blessed. you are providing them with such a wonderful education, and clearly, in such a God-fearing home :)

i second davi - way cute flower.
and thank you for being real, the more i read about your homeschooling endeavors - the more i'm inspired to try know, in about 5 years :)

Mom said...

I asked Josiah if he wanted me to do a blog on his homeschooling. He said I couldn't because I was incapable of drawing cute things on a blackboard, like you are :) and I have no camera to take pictures of his stack of books and him pouring over his algebra book or dissecting a crayfish. But I do want to make his (and mine) last three years of homeschooling special. Any suggestions?!

molly june. said...

i honestly don't know how you do it either! you amaze me as well! seriously! i get all flustered just thinking about going over a&e's preschool or speech homework with them. ahhh, grace. i'm so glad God has enough to dole out ;)

but seriously, mom of the year award goes to.....TALIA! you are the greatest mom. & you teach me to strive for more. so thanks :)

Tristan said...

such an awesome momma!!!

your doing a great job!

Sarah said...

I truly don't know how you do it all. You amaze me!

.jimaie.marie. said...

You are such a fantastic Mama Talia and I just love reading your posts about you and your babies <3 I love so much that you are homeschooling your girls and it made me smile to see the excitement in their faces for the first day of school :D Isn't it the best seeing your kids have such zest for life? I just love it so much!
I am one of those parents who leaps with joy when summer is over and am able to send my boy off to school for his teachers to work with, for the end of summer and the end of my patience seem to coincide quite nicely :P While I have always worked with my kids over the summer with workbooks mini schooling of sorts (just like my mama did with my brothers & I) taking on my new job as a Kindergarten aide has given me a WHOLE NEW perspective on teaching/teachers.
Even tho my mom is a high school teacher and I saw the trials that she would go through with her students, I have to say that working with 5 year olds is really an adventure unto itself! haha!! As tryng as it can be at times to (patiently) help the kids grasp concepts and learn the things that they need to know it is SO darn rewarding when your hard work pays off and they gain a new knowledge and understanding of what you've been working on with them!
So I can only imagine how amazing that feeling must be for you to be able to do this throughout the school year with your own kids and see the strides they make! God has blessed you with such grace and love and patience Talia and it is evident in everything you do :) LOTS AND LOTS of blessings on you and your girlies this school year!! <3

.jimaie.marie. said...

p.s. I think I've told you this before but I love your handwriting!! AND is that one of Morgan's hair goodies I spy? That blue felt flower is so cute!!

Lisa said...

I don't know how you do it all. Amazing!

Katrina {} said...

Your girls, and their school, adorable! Such a sweet mama and family. :)

Jerusha Abigail said...

You are one awesome mom and teacher! I love the cute chalkboard and the sweet pictures of your girls. Emma's hair flower is so pretty! And her shirt in the potraits I want in my size! Annabelle's smile always makes me smile. It's just so sweet and sincere! :)

I hope the rest of your homeschooling year goes so well!