Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Back To School

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.


Love the sunshine... said...

You are such a cool, organized, caring momma! You are instilling such wonderful values in your children.

Julie said...

all my kids go to public school and I have been happy with the results so far and we start on monday.

Aubrey said...

We are half-way through the second week of school around here. A neighboring district started at the end of July. I actually would prefer that. It is so hot here in July and August you really can't even go swimming so the kids might at well be in schoo.
We've been pleased with our public school thus far.
But I admire that you have taken on the schooling for you family. That is a big job!

Erin Marshall Thomas said...

One of our Nieces home schooled her children many years ago when it wasn't really heard of (mid to late 70's). One of her sons was educated well enough to make it into West Point on his academic merits alone. You go girl! I am a firm believer in what you are doing and what you can gain from it.

Michal said...

i just want to clarify that i don't think that people who send their kids to public school are wrong. this was a very personal decision for us, and although we know it is right for OUR family, i am not one who thinks that "good moms homeschool their kids."

Michal said...

uncle erin-- thanks for your support. you are right that typical homeschool kids have no problem going to college, let alone prestigious institutions. i am fortunate enough to be doing it at a time when it is more socially acceptable than it was in the 70s--not to mention easier because of the internet.

nickandstaci said...

I hope you guys have a wonderful school year. I have a friend that is I think using that same charter. Hearing about it makes me want to do it, the experiences that they will have sound wonderful.

mindyluwho said...

Oh my goodness Michal. I haven't been here in forever. I kind of dropped off the blogosphere for quite awhile and came back to find two adorable new babies on two of my favorite blogs! I was sorry to read about your wee one not being able to come home, but am glad that all is well now.

What charter school did you join? I'm thinking of joining one this year, I just need a little push this year...been in burnout mode lately! I was planning on starting after Labor Day, but was told that I need to get into the charter sooner than that.

Anyway...long comment, but sure was fun to catch up on your blog!

An Ordinary Mom said...

I love the newness a new school year brings to me ... no wonder I became a teacher :) !!

We still have a couple of weeks to go before school starts. It looks like you are organized and ready to embrace the new school year. Good luck! I hope it is a fantastic and successful year :) !!

J and M said...

At some point, I would love to know all about why you chose home school, and how how how you do it?

An interested Texan (: Marni

a10cowwoman said...

I like to read about the beginning of your year. It was somewhat bitter sweet for my two will be starting in a private school this week. Bitter because I will miss them, the time and experiences that we have together as well as the control over the type of education they are receiving. We'll see if we can hack it. I already informed the administrator that once the snow flies they will be missing Fridays to ski. I decided that they will still be taught Latin and spelling at home and I can pull them out to restart our homeschool if I ever deem it necessary. Oh. and the sweet side, my selfish side will enjoy the free time to bike, do domestic things, hit my long to do list that has been there for years and not have to struggle with the kids on those hard school days.