The First Week of School

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I consider myself a realist. In most situations I notice both the good and the bad, and I don’t get overly excited by the good or depressed because of the bad. I just notice.

This first week of school there was some good and some bad. In no particular order, here are some of the situations we encountered.

  • One child, who felt like they were missing out on buses and lockers, was in tears one day and happy the next.
  • There was getting used to a more school-like schedule.
  • I entertained thoughts about whether I’m stifling their creativity by not “unschooling.”
  • Every one completed their new additional chores without complaining.
  • We spent a beautiful morning in the mountains with our little Waldorf preschool friends. Every week we will be getting out for at least one full morning and I’m really looking forward to those days. I may introduce some nature journaling for the two older kids.
  • For foreign language studies this year, I’m speaking Spanish to the ducklings one day each week – the same day we get outside. I’m using the Waldorf resource Senderos as my overall guide and the book Madrigal’s Magic Key to Spanish to guide us into a more academic approach to language. Neither of these books is a “ready-to-go” curriculum for children (Madrigal’s is written for adults to teach themselves), so I have to plan our Spanish lessons each week.
  • I decided to combine Teal’s first two blocks of seventh grade which will give us a full month to read Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc and work on perspective drawing. This works much better because we can begin or finish a perspective drawing skill and read two chapters together as part of her main lesson. We will also be doing some modeling projects and drawings based on what we read in Joan of Arc.
  • Pintail began a two-week form drawing block based on Marsha Johnson’s Grade 3-4 guide. The forms have been pretty fun, and a good preparation for more of the knotted forms we will try this year, but I always find that I must edit her stories a bit to feel authentic to me. He is also doing math review of regrouping, long division, long multiplication and the metric system measurement basics. We are using Jamie York’s free fact sheets for review of the basic times tables and functions.
  • Wigeon gets songs and poems each day and we are using the story “The Autumn Blanket” found in Autumn by Wynstones Press.
  • We baby sat my eleven-month-old nephew on Friday and the kids were all so helpful. It made me proud of them.
  • One afternoon after everyone got grumpy, I took some time to sit and really think about the reasons I think it’s better to home school my kids. Sometimes, all those long-thought-out things get forgotten. It’s good to reevaluate.
  • We have really enjoyed this cold and much wetter than usual August.

Thank you for reading! Have you started school? How are things going for your family?

11 thoughts on “The First Week of School

  1. Lisa

    It sounds like you had a good week. Teal looks SO grown up in that first picture! We had our first week as well and it has brought many conflicting emotions that have taken me by surprise. For the first time in four years I’m finding myself questioning my choice to homeschool, wondering how my children will make friends in this new area and feeling completely overwhelmed at the thought of one more year. Luckily as the weekend has passed, I’m starting to feel better and more grounded, remembering that just because we’ve moved and are in that awkward transition phase, it doesn’t mean that all my other decisions are no longer valid.

    Reply
    1. Mrs. Mallard Post author

      Lisa, Being in a new place and worrying about having your kids meet friends is a big deal. I completely understand how you could question your choice, but I’m glad you are feeling more grounded! As you know, for me it gets trickier as Teal gets older and feels like she is missing out – even though many of her neighbors and friends go to private or charter schools. I try to be understanding because I feel confident with our decision to home school her for now. We send you all love from far away! ~Rachel

      Reply
  2. motheringwithmindfulness

    Sounds like a pretty good first week. We haven’t started yet, September 8 is the day. We are only doing second year kindergarten though, so I am not imagining too much trouble with the shift back to our “homeschool” schedule.

    All the best as you move forward.

    Reply
  3. lakenormanprep

    Sounds like your year started off fairly well. I was kinda with your one child. I felt like I was missing out on the first day of “no kids at home” that all of my friends were experiencing. LOL.
    We are planning to get out one day a week as well. Hiking is good for all of us!

    Reply
    1. Mrs. Mallard Post author

      Haha! Your comment made me laugh! Yes, getting out is good for us. I saw that you had gone to a lovely waterfall and cave. Now we both have kept our plans to get out. One week down…

      Reply
  4. Jean

    I always seem to question things the first week or so! It’s not really the best time to second guess ourselves or our decisions! I’ve come to accept over the years that I don’t really like transitions. Haha! They are stressful and feel so roller-coastery. What a great idea to make a list of the good and bad, and see that even in the bad, there is learning and growth and a sweetness. We don’t start here until the 8th, so this week is getting shelves ready and books in place. High school is a different animal, but there’s still comfort in the plans and preparation. I just need to remind myself that it rarely goes as planned. And that’s OK!

    Reply
    1. Mrs. Mallard Post author

      I think you are right, Jean! The first week or so probably isn’t the right time to second guess our decisions. I do usually love moving into our school rhythm, but this year seemed harder. I think it’s terrific that you home school through high school. We have promised Teal a go at a brick and mortar school in high school. I wonder if she will like it or return to home schooling. Best wishes as you begin next week!

      Reply
  5. licoricelovinglady

    Like Lisa my first thought when scrolling down to read this post was how grown-up Teal looks in that first shot!

    We always start back 1-2 weeks after the schooled children and it helps a little because he thinks going to school would mean not having time for the things he really wants to do. He sees it that way all year round too, but when the days are still sunny and he wants to be outdoors and in the pool, with the entire day to do as he pleases (pretty much), it really underlines it. I don’t know how much longer this strategy will work, teens do have a greater need for independence and to be with their peer group. I guess it’s about ways of making that happen outside of school. I always remind myself that when you’re actually at school there’s not that much time for good quality relating – I did most of mine on the phone after school had ended. I guess these days it would be online.

    It does take a while to settle down after a break. I notice that even on Mondays after the weekend. Previously we’ve always kept Friday very light and don’t do any main lesson work, but I’m starting to wonder if I should swap it for Monday instead. After the summer break I usually find everyone is excited about starting back on day one, but by day two the novelty has worn off and there’s that resistance to get through (and that’s just on my part LOL). It takes us about 2 weeks to let that go and accept that the holidays are over. I’m getting better at noticing these seasonal patterns and planning for them in some way. This year my strategy for starting the year combined “easing in” with “start with a bang”. In other words, I began my year with the block which had the most appeal but we did very little book work other than drawing, so it felt more relaxed.

    I absolutely agree – we have to keep reminding ourselves why we choose home education. It seems that questioning ourselves, doubting ourselves, goes with the territory of being a home schooler. So we constantly forget about the really big important reasons for being at home. I think it’s important to encourage and support each other in this. We have to be there for each other because we’re all going through this same thing, with the same doubts and fears and needs.

    Reply
    1. Mrs. Mallard Post author

      Thank you Cathy! I can’t believe how grown up Teal is, either. She’ll be thirteen in December! I love your ideas about starting your home school work after the other children go to public school. I haven’t done that because I don’t want to push our school year farther into the summer than the public school. I guess I could just come up with some way not to do that. 🙂 Also, I like the idea of starting with a bang – some thing very interesting, but with little book work. I often wish I took more advantage of a block we could do together, too. That way I would only have one main lesson to plan for the first few weeks. Thank you for your comments. I really appreciate you sharing your insight.

      Reply

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