It's that time again. Although I will admit to anticipating the new year with some dread, once I finally buckled down and figured out my lesson plans and schedule for the school year, I was excited to begin. Even though I'm the teacher now, I still love the feeling of a fresh pack of crayons, a cup full of brand-new, sharp pencils; and all those blank pages in the composition books make my heart race! I did miss having an excuse for everyone to get a new outfit (although everyone did get new shoes last week--everyone but me, that is.) And I completely forgot to take a first-day-of-school picture. Shame on me.
I have learned a few things about my family's needs in regards to homeschool in the past two years--plus I spent some time petitioning the Lord to show me a better way. I truly felt led by Him as my plans came together, which gives me confidence in those plans. I know that my vision for our homeschool and reality haven't quite become one and the same yet, but I'm working towards that goal.
This year, Ian will be attending kindergarten half-days at the public school. We agonized about this last spring, but since we registered him I have felt increasingly better about it. We wanted to give him the opportunity to go to kinder if he chose. Both Kimball and Henry attended kindergarten at the same public school and had a good experience there. I feel that kinder is a unique year socially, when the kids have lots of opportunities to bond with other kids and experience the classroom environment. The biggest disadvantages to sending him? First of all, the public school's approach to writing which is very different from the philosophy I embrace--but I don't think they can do much damage in this year. The other con to sending him is that it takes some of the flexibility out of my schedule and routine. In the end we decided that it just felt right to give him this experience. He will participate with us in afternoon lessons (science, art, music, and read-alouds), and we anticipate that he will be back with us homeschooling full-time next year.
We've also made the leap to joining a public charter school because of the additional resources it provides. I steered clear of it previously because I really value my autonomy, but after closer investigation it appears that this group is reasonably flexible and will let me call the (important) shots regarding my kids' education. I do have to follow their schedule, which explains why we started our school year yesterday. I really prefer to start after Labor Day or at least when the kids in our neighborhood go back to school (next week), but we decided that we could go ahead and start this week. The charter school will allow my kids to do more of the extras, like art classes, horseback riding, and music lessons, without me having to shell out so much money every month. They also pay for my curriculum, but I had already purchased most of the curricula for this year before we made this decision. They have a center in my community that offers small group classes and a library where I can check out a variety of resources to use in our schooling. If all goes as planned, Kimball will be taking a ceramic sculpture class and a hands-on equations class on Friday mornings, while Henry takes a hands-on art and hands-on science class at the same time. We'll see how that goes.
Anyway, so far so good. We are starting each school day with Book of Mormon study on a deeper level than we have been doing in our family devotional. As we'll still be having devotional with Jared before breakfast, I am concentrating this lesson on my readers (Kimball and Henry). Besides a closer study of the scriptures, it will provide some additional language arts time in our day. The real benefits, I know, will be the spirit that it brings to our school day and the testimonies it will strengthen within our home.
Now I've got to hit the hay, as rising early is key to my success and I have to be up in the night with my little 8 week/ 8 lb baby who isn't big enough to sleep all night yet. She is getting closer to dropping that 2 am feeding, though, I can feel it!
Tell me about your first day of school. Ready, begin!
picture swiped from this blog.