So I blinked and summer came and went. To be honest, the days leading up to the first day back to school have not been without some jitters. We are still settling into a new place, a new “normal,” and doing what came so natural to us (or at least felt natural) like morning time, recitations, nature walks, and the like have gone by the wayside except for read aloud time, which we’ve managed to squeeze in either after lunch or before bed. So, going from steady flow (not without its occasional chaotic current) to free-for-all survival mode summer back into a steady flow begs the question- can this be done?! I mean, between the boxes, screens, late nights, every which way weekdays with a distracted and busy mama and daddy can we ever get back to normal?
Well, we are trying.
And for a first attempt, I must say that today felt refreshing and the Lord gave us peace as only He can give.
The day began early. There were chores. But there were also donuts. So, mom for the win! This song is our signal this year for morning time. It is our school bell, so to speak. The girls hear this and know they have 3ish minutes to finish their spiral notebooks and meet up at the kitchen table.
We then pray, sing, hear from God’s Word, recite Scripture, practice memory work, read poetry, and do a simple nature study. Some days there will be art study, history, and even beginning this year a little Shakespeare. I try and keep things simple and not do too much in the girls’ day. I feel like today was just enough for a first day back at it. Anymore than what we did would have been overkill I’m sure. I budgeted an hour for morning time and we were right at it this morning. It went by so fast.
We take about a fifteen minute break after morning time to stretch, grab a mid-morning snack, restroom break, and put our morning materials away. I have a morning basket with books and resources for that time, so I just move it out of the way, or even out of the room.
This is the first year that I am homeschooling both girls, although Analise doesn’t officially begin Kindergarten until next fall. She is just ready to do “school.” So, I got her a light and gentle Junior Kindergarten curriculum for her to work on while Kara completes her lessons. I wasn’t sure how it would be working in tandem between both girls, and there were times when I really had to help one (like Analise with pencil grip, or Kara with a new spelling word list) over the other, but they both did quite well. And Judson? Well, we just keep him busy. Analise helped him with stickers. I gave him some big shape magnets to play with. He watched Thomas & Friends. He had a bowl of dry cereal. He spilled half the bowl onto the living room floor. A quick sweep, and all was picked up until the next spill.
After spelling, reading, arithmetic, and handwriting, we put the books away and headed outside. Well, the kids did anyway. I had about 15-20 minutes of quiet to clean up and get ready for lunch. I gave the kids some water guns to cool themselves off with, but even still, the heat got the best of them and they made their way back inside before lunch. We drank smoothies, ate some cold deli meat and cheese, listened to Winnie-the-Pooh on audio read by Peter Dennis, and read some from These Happy Golden Years. I think school wore Judson out because he crashed at nap time!
I got the girls each a bird feeder to paint a few weeks ago so that they would have a fun project to do one afternoon so I could get some unpacking done. This afternoon we filled them with birdseed and hung them from a tree on the side of our yard. The kids got a little excited and decided to throw seeds out towards the woods hoping to make it a little easier for the birds to find their food. Analise then grabbed my phone and took a picture of a ladybug.
It was a good first day. In a couple weeks we will start back with Classical Conversations, which we are all looking forward to. I was thankful that there was a community here in the Gallatin/Hendersonville area. Analise begins CC officially this year, and she is pumped and ready. I will tutor the older class this year, which will be a new and welcomed challenge.
I am claiming Proverbs 31:26 as my verse for this year, which says, “She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.” I can be so hasty with my words and quick-tempered, and my kids are easy targets. It’s not about what I teach, but how I teach. It’s not about doling out truth, but speaking the truth in love. It’s not about completing daily tasks, or checking off a list. It’s about connecting to the hearts of my kids and worshiping the Lord together.
So I am praying for wisdom- to know wisdom, grow in wisdom, and speak wisdom in my home first and foremost. I am praying for kindness- to not be harsh with my attitude and words, to give grace when it is needed, and to touch and listen. I have one child who needs a lot of physical affection and another who has lots of questions and deep thoughts (we have the best bedtime chats). I cannot be the perfect mom, and I dare not try. But I can pray to grow to be a mother who honors the Lord in her home- as both wife and mother, not displacing one role over the other.
So ready or not, the first day came and is passed. I am now sitting on bleachers watching my girls tumble in gymnastics, reflecting on the day, trying not to think too much about tomorrow knowing that these days pass all too quickly.