Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Kicking off the First Day of School Without Kicking Your Kids!

It's that time of year again. Summer is coming to a close, Labor Day is behind us, and the new school year has welcomed us with open arms.


We kicked off our first day of school with plenty of rain, cooler temps and an electrical storm.


Perfect!


Our dining room is the hub of the house and is bustling with activity from dawn (sometimes even before dawn) to dusk during the majority of the year. Throughout each day it is rare to see table's surface as it's usually cluttered with books, pencils, crayons, markers, food, cups, plates and whatever else happens to make it's way there. It was clean this morning, so I snapped a few pictures to remember later, what it looks like during the "off season."


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Overall it was a very positive first day and all the kids were on board with the new schedule. We had a few minor glitches (AKA arguments), but they were quickly resolved (maybe because of the first day excitement? I don't know, but you won't find me complaining!) and we were able to get back on task. Last year the younger boys did their classes via DVD, but this year thier ole mom is back in the saddle teaching them again and what a great morning we had together! We started off snuggled up together in the living room as I read a chapter from "First We have Coffee" to them. Of course, you can't read or listen to that book without sipping on a fresh, hot cup of coffee of your own,(wink) so we all had our own cups to sip from and wrap our hands around as we read. Next up?  Reading. We reviewed phonics with flash cards and they read aloud from their readers. After that we had a little history lesson as we read a chapter of "Little House in the Big Woods" by Laura Ingalls Wilder, together. From there, we did Language lessons, penmanship, science, spelling, cooking, and arithmetic. It was a wonderful morning and such a blessing to spend all that time with my boys.


 


Traditionally, I gather the kids together to take a "first day of school" picture, so after our family devotions, breakfast, and morning chores, they all assembled by the piano and let Mom have her moment.


 

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I randomly shot pictures of each of the kids, busy at work.



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The dining room table's "normal" look


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Natalie made Ants on a Log for morning snack.


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Noah was my lunch helper. We made Stuffed Bell Peppers, served with watermelon. Lunch was delicious and we had a great time chatting in the kitchen together as we worked. One of my favorite things about teaching our kids at home, is the time we get to be together. This is a big deal for me. I really love being with my kiddos, even though that means I break up a lot of arguments, work through some serious attitudes at times, deal with a lot of messes, and there is always some sort of drama at least once a day, I'm thankful for the freedom to be with them and to teach them.


 

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Rich gets to join us for lunch every day, which is really nice. It's a great opportunity to catch up on each other's mornings and for the kids to touch base with their Dad. We really enjoy the family meal in the middle of the day too, since we usually workout in the evening and have Shakeology for dinner.


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After lunch, everyone helped with the cleaning up process and then we tackled the last class of the day.....arithmetic!


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The boys found a little surprise in their math drawer/folders. They thought it was pretty cool that they got to enjoy some veggie chips while they worked on their math assignments.


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The first day is over. Only 169 days left to go! :)  We're off to a good start and I intend to take full advantage of their "beginning of the year enthusiasm". I have a plan to hopefully avoid burnout this year and some great field trips planned for the younger boys. Hopefully it will be a success!


The most important key for daily success in home schooling for our family is devotions first thing in the morning, before we do anything else and before Dad goes to work. When we meet as a family with God, before we do anything else, it's amazing the difference it makes in attitudes, communication, and in a "team" mentality. We really are blessed to have that freedom in this country.


I hope everyone else had a good first day. How did it go? Did you implement anything new and different?


One last picture at the end of the day. I love seeing our kids studying together around the dining room table. It means learning and family togetherness are going on at the same time.


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