Monday, July 26, 2010

The First Day of School 2010-2011

Yep, that's right.  Where we live, the school district got this fabulous idea (my guess is from working parents who were having to pay for childcare all summer... and I've heard from many working moms who agree with that...) that summer should be about 6 weeks long and the school year should have 3 two week breaks.  I don't like it one bit.  I say, "Give the kids their summer back!"  But, that's just me.  I love summer!!!  It seems like we were just getting the hang of a lazy summer day and it was time to pack up the back packs and check shoes and socks...  And with this school schedule, just as the boys get in the hang of homework and teacher's expectations and start really making some progress, they are derailed with a two week break.  But, there's nothing I can do about it, so...

Off to school they went.  Doesn't he look thrilled?  He actually was very excited.  And I just heard him say, "I can't wait for the second day of school!" 

Memories came flooding back to me today.  The house was so quiet and still.  I homeschooled for 15 years and do not regret that one bit... Year after year, I started school when I was ready and usually the end of August.  I remember...

Shasta picking up Jemima Puddle Duck, reading it to herself and the light went on and she exclaimed, "I can read!"  She had been reading her kindergarten readers and word lists for weeks, but that day she knew for herself that she could read!

Rebekah... she didn't really get taught to read... she just knew how!  That was easy.  But, a year or so after she had been reading, while working on spelling she called out, "Hey, mom! I get it!  Phonics is reading!"  Well, kind of... yeah... that'll do. 

Stephen... we sat day after day repeating the alphabet and sounds... but, my favorite school memory was sitting down with our nature book and I'd point out things on the page and read captions to him.  It went like this:     Mom:  This is the flower's pistol
          Stephen:  "You mean this is the pistol?"
          Mom:  Yep, that's the pistol.  And this is the stamen.
          Stephen:  "You mean this is the stamen?"
          Mom:  Yep, that is the stamen...
And it went that way several days a week for that school year.  And my heart was so full of love for him!

Julie!  Oh, my!  Talk about easy!  She was determined from shortly after birth that Stephen wasn't going to learn anything without her!!!  She watched and listened to everything and just joined in. 

Nathaniel was similar to Julie.  When we started kindergarten, I would start a sentence and he would finish it.  It didn't take too long and I realized that he could just skip ahead to where Julie and Stephen were.

Each spring I would get this bug... I would have to pore over homeschooling magazines and catalogs and plan out the next year and what we would be using.  And summers were filled with bikes and toddler pools and sprinklers... gardening... and little unit studies.  Because my children behave best when they have a schedule. 

I remember teaching Joseph and him sitting with Bob Books, trying his best.  He was such a sweet little student.  Today he started middle school... 6th grade.  Reading was very hard for him to learn and something he still needs a boost of confidence in, but I am so excited to share that based on his past test scores and teacher recommendations, he was one of about 20 students that were selected to take part in a before school math class, which will accelerate him and have him take full on algebra in 7th grade.  This momma's proud!!!

And Victor.  I remember him in Learning Circle.  He loved going to Learning Circle!  They would do arts and crafts and listen to stories and play games.  Where did that little guy go?  Today he started 5th grade and is the top of the elementary school.  His eyes just danced today.  He might look sober in pictures, but in life, the boy has been all smiles and stories.

Clayton is top of the middle school... 8th grade and he and Joseph love their independent bike riding to and from school.  I see the common "social life is very important" theme going on with him.  He had a terrific summer with lots of personal growth, as he tore off his grandparent's roof this "summer" and spent many days working for others.  That was very good for him... teen boys need physical activity and this boy needed the boost of work with success and praise.

Cody started at the middle school today, too.  He has such a desire to get back in the swing of school and friends and I could see him set his mind to giving his best today. 

So, I spent those many years homeschooling... staying at home, raising my kiddos.  And I remember scratching my forehead at those parents who were so excited to send their children back to school.  And before I had put mine into public school, I remember this great commercial on tv.  There he was.  The dad with the very happy look on his face... strolling down the aisle with a shopping cart to the music, "It's the most wonderful time of the year..."  And I laughed and laughed.  Because even though I love having my kids around me, I also understand the humor of that... and I really like some quiet time, too!  That commercial comes to mind now every first day of school.  I missed the children a little... for a couple minutes... then I got busy working on a painting project, then a phone call, then some time online, then worked in the garden... and I absolutely loved picking up a couple of them from school and hearing all about their day.  I wont mention all the papers I had to fill out or sign...

The rest of you, please go enjoy the rest of summer... you probably don't have school starting right now!  I'd better get to dinner and run to buy more groceries and get these boys cleaned up for another day of learning and growing...

(This is a joke... Victor wanted to take a picture in his school clothes in a clean spot of his bedroom, which has been recently invaded by an older sister, so I said, "Go stand in the corner there... it's clean."  So, he stood int he corner!  Such a literal character, he is!)


Cam said...

Nice update, boys all seem to be doing great. Last pic of Victor (so funny).I really enjoy your writing by the way. Probably already told you that.I'll say it again and thanks for posting.Enjoy it all, they grow so fast. CCcamfam

Anonymous said...

omg ur boys are sooo cute and hawt men!!! vic is soo gonna get girls! and better watch out for joe too!

Anonymous said...

I remember Clayton and Cody well. I knew their mother Michelle, such beautiful wonderful boys. Love your site. You must be an inspiration to the boys. Keep up the good work

Anonymous said...

I liked that one pic of victor in the beginning, even with the serious look on his face. ;) I hope you take real pride in all you have done for those boys. You have a huge heart and such a nurturing spirit and it shows in their work and lives.