Paper and pencils were bought. Book shelves were cleaned out to make room for the new curriculum. Schedules wrote out, thrown away, and then re-wrote. Alarm clocks were purchased for the youngest members of the household, along with new clothes. Bet you didn't think homeschoolers bought school clothes did you? Teacher's guides were bought with the intent to actually read them this year. Extra activities were dropped off of the calendar to make way for less chaotic days. (I am so thankful for this one) We were ready!...I think...
We started our 2011-2012 school year this past Monday. I was just as excited for this school year as the girls were. This would be the first school year that I wasn't working somewhere, or running/organizing some group that my girls were in. I would be free to just focus on my own little family for a bit, and actually finish a full day of school. YAY!!! I know I shouldn't put so much stock in being able to mark off every little box in my school day planner. But so much satisfaction comes from that. I want to be able to look back at the end of a school year and feel good about what we had accomplished. So, with all of that in mind, I stepped down from running our homeschool co-op, and from being a leader at American Heritage Girls. I am trying to not have to leave the house, during school hours, more than I have to. Too many field trips and extra activities eat away at actual learning time for us. I thought that my girls would be upset about this, but that wasn't the case. They were thrilled to not always have to be going somewhere. WHEW!
The first day (Monday) all three girls hopped up at the sound of their alarm, and got straight to doing their chores. Wash face, brush teeth and hair, get dressed, clean rooms, make beds and feed animals. They were so excited to try out the new school books. We decided to take an hour break for lunch, and took a walk to the cemetery. I don't know what it is about cemeteries, but they fascinate me. I leave there wanting to know everything about the people who were laid to rest there. Their history, background, what they did, how many children they had, how they died...but all they leave you with is their born on date and the day they left this world. The cemetery that we walk to, is an old one from the plantation that once called these hills and valleys their home. The girls have asked if we could research it more to find out just what it might have been like in 1848 (the date on the concrete bench we rest on). I think that would be a wonderful idea!! Just not sure how to go about it yet. The school day was a long one, but very laid back. We enjoyed our new material, and most of all, we enjoyed each other! Princess #2 kept saying "This was the best day of her life!"
The second day (Tuesday), Princess #3 was up before her alarm, and already sitting at her desk while I enjoyed my coffee. She said she couldn't sleep, she was just too excited to learn how to read more. :-) I am very proud at how serious they are taking their school work. I wonder if it's because I won't allow school in Pajamas anymore? I do plan on making special Pajama school days though. Maybe once a month. The hour after lunch has been such a blessing to me. I have been letting them have this time to play together while I run about getting the house work done. As I was washing dishes and looking out the kitchen window, I saw how Princess #1 decided to spend her free time. She decided this sunny day was perfect to hang out on top of the bunny coop, and read a book. I think that sounds better than washing dishes for sure!
The third day (Wed. today) was not greeted with so much excitement. I kept waiting downstairs....and waiting, but no one came. I decided to hang out just a wee bit longer and have some more alone time. I am just now realizing that early morning really is the ONLY time I get to be alone. So, I let them sleep until I was fully ready for the new day. When I did wake them up they all seemed to be kind of confused. One asked "What day is it? Where do we have to go?" "To school of course!"... Well...at least I got 2 days of excitement from them! ;-)
I have made a list of a few goals that I want our family to focus on this year. We are going to focus more on serving others, instead of just trying to find something fun to do. I was worried that we might not find someone to serve though...but God has opened my eyes to several people in need that the girls and I might be able to do something for. I also want to teach them how to crochet, bake (by themselves), and do more hands on activities. Thinking Friday might be the day for science experiments and art projects. Princess #1 will start taking piano this year, which she is thrilled about.
I decided to try another new thing this year. Reading those HUGE teacher guides/manuals. Did you know they have all kinds of tips and advice in them? I think it will take me half the year to read them though, and I'm not sure how to squeeze all that reading in....maybe in my "free time". ;-)