The first day of school 2012-2013 happened about a week and a half ago, but due to computer issues, it’s taken me this long to get both pictures and blog coordinated, but here’s our day, though sort of anti-climactic since it’s old news. We ate a special breakfast, sort of. Scrambled eggs, oatmeal chocolate chip muffins and chocolate covered strawberries. We used the special stemmed glasses, which the kids think are neat, and I brushed most of the crumbs off the tablecloth. After finishing morning chores, it was time for the annual first day of school picture. There weren’t too many tears this year, except when I forgot to let Doodlebug be on top of the tire swing. We remedied that situation, then we got a picture on the porch, with limited cooperation from Buckeye the Wonderdog.
Next was our All About Me books. That involves height, weight, and cutting little bits of hair and taping it in a book, plus writing out favorite toys, movies, foods, books, friends, what makes them happy/sad/mad and one thing they want to learn in school. It’s a nice way to ease into the school year and the kids really enjoy it. It’s fun to look back at previous years’ books and see the changes in handwriting, movie preferences and how many inches they’ve grown. Here’s a link to an older blog that has a link to an All About Me Book Template. (I’m sure there’s an easier way to do that, but I can’t figure it out.)
My elementary school kids are studying Tennessee History, so we made an entry for our notebook, called “Where do we live in Tennessee?” It started with a world outline map. The kids circled the Western Hemisphere. The next map had North and South America and they colored in the US. The next map was of the Southeastern States and they colored in Tennessee. The next map had the state divided into East, Middle and West Tennessee and the names of all the counties, and they colored the three sections colors of their own choosing. Then we went back and wrote the names of people we knew who lived in other counties, or counties we visited. Last week we went to Johnson County to Jonesborough for a field trip since it was the first town in Tennessee, so we pointed out Jonesborough on the map as well. As we go on various field trips this year, my plan is to have the kids return to the map and write where we went in that county.
After that was lunch while we watched the Olympics. Hey, why not? We’ve used the Olympics to talk about geography–our little globe is handy by the TV, as is our book of flags, so the kids can look up where the country is located on the globe, or figure out what country is represented by the flag by the name of the athlete. While they watched some of the decathlon, I laid down to rest for a few minutes.
After that I read a short biography of John Constable, our artist of the term. I purchased Simply Charlotte Mason’s Picture Study Portfolio of John Constable. The Frist has an exhibit of his sketches right now, and I wanted the kids to see study some of his works before we see them. These portfolios are the easiest way to study artists, hands down. They contain a short biography of the artist and short points to consider regarding each of the paintings presented in the portfolio. I like these prints, because they’re a handy size and sturdy enough to display during the week in the dining room, so we continue to enjoy them all week.
Our first picture was “Weymouth Bay.” It’s interesting to hear the differences in narration or description for each age of children. My almost 6-year-old said, “There was a horse in the picture,” and he was done. Actually it was a man, but that’s OK, it’s his first time. My 8 year-old told about the man in the white shirt, the mountains, and the greenish sand. My 11-year-old continued with the sand and the rocky beach and the bay. If you want more information about what Charlotte Mason called “Picture Study”, here’s a link to a previous blog post. Even if you don’t purchase the Portfolios but use a library book, please try it. It’s easy and your kids will learn more about recognizing different painters than you’ll ever believe, and you won’t have to do hardly a thing!
That was the first day. Nothing too difficult or time-consuming. Gentle getting back in a schedule for both Mommy and kiddos. This year I have a first, third, fifth and ninth grader. The first couple weeks are all about adjustments and tweaking stuff. I planned too much, I planned too little. It was too easy, it was too hard, the computer program won’t work (well, in our case the entire internal hard drive stopped working, so the computer itself didn’t work for a week!), the flashcards are missing, the library books were not ordered in time. Trying to incorporate ballet, piano, Spanish class, scouts and Upward Soccer into our schedule as we work through everything else and still have to eat meals and have clean clothes. It’s hard and fun and tiring and challenging all at the same time, but isn’t everything about raising children?