Hello Friends! It’s been awhile hasn’t it?! I’ll explain a bit down below, but the good news of the day is that today was our first day of homeschool for the new school year!
::happy dances all around!::
My children, whether they were excited or not, all put on happy faces for our first day under a bit of a threat. Haha. My youngest boy started Kindergarten today and I made them all promise to be Very! Excited! for this sweet boy as he starts school.
And my big kids did a great job.
This 13th homeschool year is very bittersweet for me. I have a 12th grader, 10th grader, 8th grader, 6th grader, and Kindergartner.
One close to finishing and one just beginning.
It goes fast, Mamas. I encourage you to enjoy even the very difficult homeschool years, which will undoubtedly come, because the time is very fleeting.
In fact, my oldest girl and I just had a conversation today about the Lord growing us during hard times. When times are easy and plentiful, I don’t grow in Christ at nearly the rate I do when times are more challenging and need strength and guidance from the Lord.
I’m sure you can say the same.
Our Agenda on the First Day of School
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Our First Day of School festivities looked quite different when I had only Littles. One year, we went to the theater to see a movie on the first day of school. That was by far the best start to any year in our 13 years! That was a perfect day in every way and I will always cherish it in my heart.
Other years when they were all young, we would look through all of the new books and new folders. Some years we would start a new read aloud.
While the first day is always different to some degree, I always ensure that we start with a great breakfast. This morning, we had bacon, eggs, juice, and Sister Schubert Cinnamon Rolls.
I often cook breakfast of some sort, but the juice and the cinnamon rolls were the treats of our morning today. We usually only have those on Christmas or birthdays.
Now that my children are older, I spend a lot of time thinking and praying about what I want our first day to be like. I find that the tone of the first day sets the tone for the coming weeks. My goals are: 1) a positive attitude and 2) a reflection on why we do school they way we do and we choose to live life as we do.
It is important for me and my children to remember and reflect on why we live as we do since that drives my day-to-day decisions about our school work.
Our agenda for the first day was this:
1.) Start our new Bible Study Plus One.
Many years ago, we used Bible Study Guide for All Ages and it was just lovely. This year, we are using Year 2 and starting with the study of David in 2 Samuel. I chose to go back to this curriculum for a variety of reasons I will address in another post.
For the past many years, we used Christian Studies from Memoria Press. Because we have gone through all 3 levels (and then Level 1 again!), I decided to use something different this year.
There is no Plus One yet, as I just haven’t gotten that far! I’ll have it figured out by the time school starts on Monday morning.
Here is a video I recorded a couple of weeks ago on how we do Homeschool Morning Time with Bible Plus One in our home. You’ll also find lots of Plus One ideas for a variety of ages.
2.) Spiritual Gifts Inventory
My children have never done a spiritual gifts inventory, so I thought this would be a fun way to start the year. Taking surveys and learning more about how we tick is always fun.
Only my 4 big kids did this of course!
After they figured out their gifts according to the survey, we got back together and discussed and compared. This was insightful and we all really enjoyed it!
3.) Encouraging Article
For the past 3 or 4 years, I have sought an encouraging and insightful article or book passage to read. As I said previously, both my children and myself need to be reminded as to why we school and live the way we do. I choose readings that give us that shot in the arm we need to keep on keepin’ on.
This year, I chose The Mind of a Gentleman written by Dr. D. Sheffler. The reading reminded all of us that it is a worthy goal to have the “mind of a gentleman” and it gave a myriad of reasons on why that is a worthy goal.
Of course this reasoning applies to all learners, whether you have a house full of future gentleman or young ladies.
My favorite throughout the years, however, was Neil Postman’s speech Athenians and Visigoths. It is such an excellent read and one of those you will think on as you have free moments of time here and there throughout the day.
4.) Look over schedules and books.
Lastly, we always look over our master schedule and each child’s individual schedule. Again, I did things differently when they were young and they didn’t even realize there was a schedule! I use the word ‘schedule’ but routine is a more accurate word. With a houseful of children, I have to be flexible and bend where the day and life takes us. We do need a skeleton routine to plan from, however, so things actually get accomplished.
I am able to combine a bit more this year than in years’ past, which is quite nice! I met with each pairing of kiddos and then with each child individually. We spread their books all over the school table, I showed them the syllabus for each subject that completed (I’m still not finished!), and we talked about expectations.
Many subjects were met with “Great! I love this!” and a few, unsurprisingly, were met with apprehension.
As to be expected.
Homeschool Curriculum Choices for This Year
If you are a reader of my newsletter, you know that I have been quite sick this summer, which I named the Summer of Sickness. I lost 4 weeks of planning time and just living life by lying on the couch trying to recuperate.
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I am not one to lie around ever, so this was very unlike me! But the nurse in me knew that if I didn’t try my best to help myself get well with rest, that I would continue to feel poorly and not have a strong immune system going into the fall.
So I decided to truly rest and not to plan.
While it drives me nuts that I am not 100% completely prepared to start school, I am glad I chose to rest. That decision will benefit us all in the days and weeks to come.
That being said, I do not have my Homeschool Curriculum Choices posted for this year as of yet. I will post them just as soon as I am able to get all of the pictures taken!
In the meantime, you are welcome to browse around my Homeschool Curriculum page. You’ll find all of my homeschool reviews, how we use different curricula, and what we have used in years’ past.
Have you started your new homeschool year? What did your first day look like?