Sunday, August 30, 2009

First Week of School

Challenges. Fun. Enthusiasm. Laughs. Frustration. Breakthroughs. Lessons. Races. Stories. Snuggles. Playtime. Crafts. Worksheets. Computer. White-Boards. Scissors. Joy. Questions. Hope. Sadness. Thanksgiving.

Every word has a story for me as to why it fits our first week of homeschool and charter school. I wish I had time to write down at least a few sentences on each word (they would be descriptive, complex, and complete sentences, of course. Just ask Mckenna...), but I have added a new hat this year to my already full hat tree: Teacher of 3 students in 3 different grades. My kids are, by far, my favorite students ever. But lesson planning for an active pre-schooler, a kindergartner who does almost 2nd grade math but can barely write legibly, and a gifted 2nd grader who needs to be challenged and taught that repetition has its place is much more exhausting than my days of lesson planning for freshman algebra.

By a factor of 100.

Especially since I actually KNOW algebra and I have no idea how to teach someone to read. Or who the 18th president was. Or what causes wind. But now I know, and knowing is half the battle. cough, cough. Sorry...slightly off track.

Some days we get started at 8:00 as planned. Others we don't get started until 9:00. Those are generally days when my students have come into my bed sometime in the middle of the night instead of staying in their own all night. Or when I stayed up late cleaning up the mess we created learning that occurred that day in the school room and catching up on my other chores...and maybe on a few emails and blogs.

Sometimes we are done at 1 or 2. Well, I am done. The kids would not be done ever--and would have school on Saturday and Sunday too--if I a)didn't run out of things to do (we are 3 days ahead already) or b)didn't want to be done myself! That's a good thing. A very good thing. But there is life outside of school, ya know. Right? Someone justify me here.

Sometimes things run smoothly. Gabe and Kenna work independently while I work with Jules, they listen to me (or Dan, who teaches them Bible and History), and they recall info from the day before with enthusiasm.

Sometimes I feel more like a Ring Master than a mom or a teacher. If I turn away for a second Mckenna stops working hard, Juli colors on someone else's work, and Gabe gnaws on a pencil. Juli is needy sometimes, Mckenna is lazy sometimes, and Gabe's over enthusiastic ways exhaust me even while they bring me joy.

And yet of all the words listed above, I must say that thanksgiving reigns.

I am thankful we made this very hard decision to homeschool.
I am thankful for 3 healthy children who LOVE to learn.
I am thankful that Dan's job allows him to teach them in the morning (he is often away at night).
I am thankful for a house conducive to teaching.
I am thankful for supportive family members who find ways to be a part of our schooling (even by donating construction paper--that's huge to us!).
I am thankful for a chance to teach them the Bible in a very real and fun way, and to show them that His-Story is the most important one.
I am thankful for a charter school that gives me accountability and keeps me on track.
I am thankful for Anne, my Education Specialist, who is a huge help and support.
I am thankful for Sara, a veteran homeschooler, who has blessed me with wisdom and curriculum.

The list goes on.

I am thankful that in America I have choice of how to educate my kids (be on guard, there is legislature that would like to take away some of our choices).
I am thankful for a supportive husband, who was a little unsure at first, who told me last week what a blessing homeschooling is.
I am thankful for friends who questioned (and still question) this choice, but who have not been overly negative or hurtful.
I am thankful for new friends who I get to walk this journey next to.


I am thankful that I enjoy my kids. I don't just love them. I don't just like them. I enjoy them, and so does Dan. We know them inside and out, all their strengths, all their weaknesses, all the sins they are prone to, and we still think they are incredible people. They are 3 of the very, very few people I can spend all my time with and never tire of. I have no idea if I enjoy my kids because I choose to, or because they happen to be really cool people, but even more incredible is they enjoy us too. I will never stop being grateful for that and for this year to be their teacher.

Friday before school we made a "end of summer" cake. Then it was 110 all week. Joke's on us.

Gabe and Jules creating with Lego's while Dan teaches on Creation.

I didn't realize until I saw this pic how clean the table started out. It got SOOOO full of stuff by Friday!

The 2nd first day of school--1st day at the charter school.

Heading down the stairs to kindergarten and second grade. They are growing up, and fast!
Gabe and Mckenna go all day one day a week (6.5 hours!!). They both LOVE it.


Cassandra Rollins said...

I am so excited to read about your wonderful week, since I barely got to chat with you:) WE are praying you all through this journey and enjoy sharing it with you all. If you need any butcher paper or copies let me know:)

Grandma Cyndi said...

Cute, Fun, Exhausting, Creative, Wonderful and incredibily special are some of the words I thought as I read about your week. Keep up the good work and do take time to enjoy, you are such a gift to them too. PS. What did you do to Kenna's hair it looks adorable.

soren2go said...

I always love checking your blog, Carlee. May God continue to bless your decision and dedication to Homeschooling (and this is from a credentialed elementary teacher!) It's alot of work but will be so fulfilling for you and your children. Leslie

The Robbins' Nest said...

So thankful to see a glimpse into your life! Thank you for sharing in such a way that only you can! Love you, friend!

Becky R said...

I am glad your first week is going well as well. Thanks for commenting on my blog.

The devotion books my kids use are called Gotta have God. They are age appropraite and have 1 set for boys and 1 set for girls. They are from Legacy Press. I believe Christian book distributors has them. They even have 2 for each age group.

Jason's is called Gotta Have God cool devotions for guys ages 10-12. They also have ages 2-5 and 6-9. Any child that can read can do them themselves. I really like them. We have been using them for years.

Amy Smith said...

I applaud and admire your decision to do what is best for your family, as exhausting as it may be. You are a terrific mom, and therefore already a terrific teacher. Enjoy every minute of it! I will keep you in my prayers, Carlee!