Tuesday, August 28, 2007

School Days

The day began as many do around here - the night before.

Twas the night before First Grade,
when all through the house
a creature was stirring, but it wasn't a mouse.

Their gift books were laid on the table with care,
in hopes that our first day would start with a flair.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
while visions of new lessons danced in their heads.

With Daddy all snug in bed and I still awake,
I was hoping to hit the pillow some time before daybreak.

Oh, OK. I admit - a little corny, but that's about all my brain is good for right now. :)

Our day went swimmingly! Somehow I managed to drag myself out of bed early and it got Mommy off to a great start! I had some time for myself and was able to get ready and start our cinnamon twists in the oven. I felt a great sense of readiness and cheerfulness. I wanted to be cheerful. So often that is a choice. So.... I chose wisely. I chose cheer and fun.

I had planned on starting lessons around 9am and it seemed we would make that time, except that I hadn't fed Michael his cereal yet. So I sat at the kitchen table and fed him, while I fielded requests and guided the work of the other three. I started Jacob on something that he was pretty familiar with so that I could finish Michael's breakfast. Andrew decided he anted to color and cut and so I was still hopping fetching crayons, scissors, paper, color books. Nicole was sitting at the other end of the table working on her workbooks. At times it was crazy and chaotic, but in a funny way still busily pleasant. It warmed me inside to have all my little angels crowded around me and the table working away. Spelling. Phonics. Math. Handwriting. It wasn't perfect. But even when Nicole lamented the fact that she had dropped her pencil 2 inches from her foot and pleaded for me to pick it up (I was 6 feet away feeding Michael), I was cheerfully able to say, "Oh, gee. Well, I guess you'll have to pick that up. Now let's see about making this 7 on the page." It was good.

We worked through most of the things on our list, minus the reading parts. I had to leave at 10:45am to take Michael to his 6 month checkup and so they had time to play with Grandmommy and have a little fun. Later in the afternoon while Michael and Andrew slept we were able to read our selections for the day: a tall tale, our Catechism, some history and a few of their selections. After we read we still had time to do our first lesson from Artistic Pursuits. It was fun to sit and sketch with them.

I think we all enjoyed the day. They were so proud to show Daddy their work when he came through the door that evening. And he was so proud of them. I am really excited about all we have to do this year. And so far I think Jacob is enjoying it too. Like I think I have said before, Mater Amabilis is such a rich curriculum. I think it will serve us well. And yet I am still free to work in other things we need or want to do.

Our second day started out a little differently. We got a much slower start. Nicole threw up during the night and so we were a bit zapped from cleaning up OUR bed and her. What a mess! I don't think she was sick. She seems to have a mighty sensitive tummy and we think at times too much of a certain food (sugar, etc.) might trigger her to throw everything up. She never seemed sick in any other way or at any other time, so today she is back to normal. Even with "sickness" throw into the mix (and the 30 loads of laundry I had to do as a result), I was quite amazed we were still able to complete all the items on our list for the day! I wouldn't have expected that! God is gracious!

Today has gone well. I still didn't get up quite as early as I would like, but once again we have done all our work and then some. I was discussing with a friend today about how I had been reluctant in my planning last week to create a schedule for our schoolwork. This coming from me - a very schedule oriented kind of gal. but you see, we already have a general routine to our days. I do have all our appointments and things going on outside this house planned out. I felt like I could not count on things going a certain way. I knew I would be frustrated and short-tempered (to say the least) if I planned to do certain tasks from 10 to 11 during Michael's nap and then Michael didn't sleep for quite that long. Instead I decided I would have a general idea of how things would go. We would do workbooks etc. around the table after breakfast. And during morning and afternoon nap times, I would need to be present, available and undistracted to work with them on our other tasks. Then I would use any other free moments left over. After three days of this, I am happy with it. I am less stressed and the work is all getting done. I think someday I would like a more uniform schedule, but at this point with a toddler and an infant, I just couldn't see it being good for mom or the kids. Frustrated mom makes frustrated kids. I think tomorrow will go just as well.

Here are a few photos from the first day!

Jacob doing an outstanding job on his handwriting.

Here is Jacob holding his Water Fact File - this year we will spend some time studying Rivers and Seas and other water habitats. He was really excited to start this notebook and has even added some more to it today, even though it wasn't on the list to do.

And here you can see Nicole decided to pick up her pencil and keep working. She did a wonderful job today working on writing her numbers and tracing letters with a stencil.

Mom's homeschool stuff. My bucket and my binder. Another entry to explain these two things is in the works. In the bucket I have my books and my file folder system for Feasts and Holidays.

This is the lesson plan section of my home planning binder.

Last week I reorganized our space a little bit and tidied up paper, pencils, manipulatives, etc. The clear holder on the left is Nicole's stuff. The other three are Jacob's. Just so you aren't scared - those are not all workbooks. Many of them are books we read form on a weekly basis. I just wanted them all in one place instead of searching the big bookshelf for them daily.


mom-in-training said...

It all looks so wonderful! I'm glad that Nicole is doing better and that it was just a one time thing. I thought about you today, but never could find a good moment to call. I was happy to read your blog update and hear that all is well over at your house.

Love to all of you!

Crafty Mom said...

Nicole looks soooo cute!! What a smile!

I think I recognize that handwriting book. Could it be the D'Nealian 1st grade??

Glad things are going relatively well for the first week. Two days left to go.