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I wish this post was going to be a glowing report of how perfectly our first day of school went. Unfortunately, there is going to be a bit of a learning curve for all parties involved (with the exception of Henry…he napped like a champ!) As I sit here finally drinking the rest of my coffee from this morning (it’s now 1:50 in the afternoon), I have a minute to reflect on a few of the issues that hindered our morning.

Issue #1:  I need to make sure that the activities I give to Doc are going to allow him to be 100% successful and INDEPENDENT until Addison and I get our routine established. Today I thought it would be fun for him to pull out all of our GeoTrax trains. A dear friend sold me 4 GIANT Rubbermaid totes full of these awesome things a while back, and they only come out on special occasions. The trains tracks are long enough when all connected that they can snake through the entire house. Doc usually does a great job building them on his own, but go figure, today was a day that he decided he was helpless. The whining and crying as a result of the trains was enough to make me want to pull my hair out. As his fits got progressively worse, Addison got frustrated because I was hardly able to finish a sentence. And the whole time I was worried about Henry waking up.

Solution: I’m going to stick with things I know Doc loves to do that can be done at the table with us until we get the hang of things. The list of activities I’ve come up with include the following:

Whether any of these ideas will work, I have no idea. But I have to try something.

Issue #2: Addison was so distracted by the “fun stuff” Doc was doing that she had very little interest in sitting at the boring table with mom to do math. It didn’t help that I wasn’t much fun because he was driving me batty…but she kept saying “when are we going to be done?” That got me thinking that it might have felt a little overwhelming to not know when the end was coming.

Solution: I’m thinking I may go back to the old “workbox” idea I used way back when we were doing Montessori activities. Basically, each task is put in a separate container. The boxes are filled with the day’s assignments for each subject, and the student can pick and chose the order in which they complete the tasks. I could store these in the kids’ room on one of our cube shelves that’s practically empty (thank you massive toy purge!). This would show her exactly what she needs to do each day before she can play. The workbox idea would work great for Doc also. I could fill a few boxes per day for him, and he could pick from those activities. This would also get rid of some of the “school clutter” that I’ve been battling.

Issue #3: I have an unrealistic view of what homeschooling in MY home is going to look like. I read books about lovely, large families who peacefully and lovingly go through their homeschooling day. Each person knows his/her responsibilities, and they all compliantly do as they should. The house is peaceful, beautiful…yeah right. Not my reality.

Solution: I need to lower my expectations for ALL of us. I need to slow down, breathe, PRAY, and remember that we are all learning together. It’s not about getting through a set amount of material in a day, it’s about discovering a love of learning and it’s about the process. This is hard for me. I am a “box-checker”,  a list-crosser-offer, and a “planner” to a fault. While planning, having goals, and sticking to routines are all great and wonderful things, if there is no joy, there is no point. I know this is going to take some work on all of our parts. And it may be rocky for a bit here until we find our groove. But we WILL find it. Until we do, I will be praying for extra patience, loads of grace, and the wisdom to know how to make this craziness work. How about YOU? How do you manage to homeschool with BUSY preschoolers or toddlers around? Any ideas or tips? Please don’t tell me to send Doc to preschool…I’ve heard that more times than I can count in the last few months from very well meaning individuals. Frankly, I’m not interested in that option at the moment. So if you’ve been successful at teaching olders while keeping youngers busy and happy, I’d love to hear how. As always, thanks for reading.

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2 Responses to Reflections On Our First Day

  1. […] that Robin Williams committed suicide today, and here I am feeling sorry for myself that “my day didn’t go “as planned. How stupid. How selfish I am to  even think these thoughts when there are WAY bigger things […]

  2. Sheri says:

    When I was doing school with Jake last year (kindergarten) I would let Logan do workbooks also. He wanted to do school also. I bought the kind that are laminated and you use dry erase markers on. I got them at the dollar store. That kept him busy. Then i did 100 easy lessons when Journey and Logan were napping. If Logan did not want to nap he got to watch signing time or something similar while we did reading. Jake did his worksheets after breakfast and that was our day. It was never perfect but we got through it. I dont know if that helps but i just wanted to wish you good luck. Its only kindergarten and the important thing is to make them want to learn. Whether they can count to a hundred at 5 or not is not the point. The point is to go at their pace and to work with how they learn. It will take you some time to figure out how to make it all work. Go easy on yourself and allow yourself to not be perfect. I know easier said then done

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