Friday, September 11, 2009

The first few days

Aahhh, week one, almost done. Only 35 more to go :) Grin.

Seriously though, it really is hard to believe we're back in school. I could really use another few weeks! But in July I made a firm decision-- this past week would be the week for us... our back-to-school-week... our ready or not, here we come, time to start up again, hooray week. Needless to say, once I shared this decision with my little people, they were less-than-pleased (they frequently asked what was so wrong with waiting until next September to start). And I certainly understood their less-than-agreeable attitudes. After all, our summer was incredibly busy, and down time was-- unfortunately-- at a minimum. In fact, to me the thought of picking back up with our studies was actually quite laughable, but like it or not, the calendar clearly stated that September had arrived. So, sticking to my previous commitment, we forged ahead (and we're all still alive to tell about it :).

Monday evening: fresh from the beach, we hustled to get our house back in order, grabbed a few texts off the shelf, and saddled into Tuesday morning, ready for a fresh start. And believe it or not, we actually had a nice time of it. The boys, of course, were on their best behavior because our "first day of school lunch" at Subway (their current favorite) was hanging in the balance (is bribery really such a bad thing??). The rain thwarted our picnic, but submarine sandwiches still satisfied 3 little tummies around the kitchen table that afternoon.

Now in preparation for the 09/10 academic year, I pondered a bit... about resources and curricula, activities and commitments. You know, all the big stuff. I wanted to pick a Bible verse to serve as this year's focus-- our mantra, so to speak-- and interestingly enough, I settled on one right away... Ephesians 4:29. And then I began to chuckle because almost as quickly, it dawned on me that this verse was not new to us; in fact, it's been studied before in our household. Just to be sure, I glanced back at a post I wrote after our first month last year, and lo and behold, here's what I found:

"One of my primary goals for the early part of this year has actually not been academic. Instead, I've been trying to focus a bit more on "brotherly relations." You know, how they treat one another (I know, it's surprising that that would even be necessary, right? Ha!). To do this, we've been studying this verse:

"Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen."

Ephesians 4:29

Treating one another with kindness and love does not come naturally to any of us. The constant bickering, arguing, fighting, and tattling that occur daily in our home are evidence of that! So we're paying extra attention to the choices we make and the words we use. In addition, Hubby and I continue to remind the three-- they'll be brothers forever... their bond is precious and their relationship is unique. Abusing it is absolutely inexcusable. So... step by step, day by day... we're all striving to control our tongues!"

How 'bout that.
It seems I saw the need last year to tackle this ever-elusive quality... this whole speaking-in-truth-and-love thing, and sure enough, for some strange reason or another, I still see the need to address this seemingly unattainable trait. So instead of claiming a new verse for this year, we'll just keep trucking forward with last year's selection, and hopefully, by God's good grace, we'll make a little progress (or a lot!) so that we can move on to a whole other host of character issues that would like our attention :)

As for our academia, I decided to start off the week slowly. Over the years I quickly learned that diving in with both feet only makes for a house full of very unhappy swimmers. So in the interest of their sanity and mine, I decided to dip one pinky toe in this week, and perhaps by the end of the month we'll be floating merrily down the stream.

For starters, the day begins with me. Period. For good or bad, I'm in charge, and generally speaking, if I'm not on my game, things are gonna head south... quickly. So with that in mind I decided weeks ago that I would rise much earlier than my kiddos each and every day. There's just no other way around it. You see in earlier years, when I've stayed in bed (due to nursing babes and/or complete exhaustion) until my little people were ready to climb out of theirs, things just didn't go well. At all. I simply was not prepared to face the demands of the day. To meet my little ones head on (along with all their school subjects and general life issues), I needed some wake-up time beforehand. I needed some time in the Word. I needed some time in prayer. I needed my mug of hot cocoa, for goodness sake! I also needed a minute or two to just sit. And ponder. And enjoy the peace.

So this year, 5:45 it is... my magical wake-up hour. Because if I crawl out of bed at that hour I should be guaranteed an hour and a half before my 2 biggest bruisers descend. And that's enough, thankfully. And so far, so good. In fact, as a sweet treat this week, Lollipop has been sleeping much later than any of her brothers, so I've been blessed with a golden window of opportunity each morning-- a good hour almost to snuggle on the sofa with a few god books before clamoring into the kitchen for breakfast. A little history. A few Bible stories. Benjamin West and His Cat Grimalkin... it's all good. And it's a great way for us to ease in to our day.

So after some lemon poppyseed muffins (a first day favorite) or a few slices of french toast, our routine, thus far, looks like this: we all head up the stairs for our Bible lesson together, some discussion time, our hymn study, and some memory work. Lollipop plays contentedly, and Big Man pops in and out as he pleases (after some math and his phonics work, that is).

Bub and Noh-man then tackle their math before we head downstairs for their piano lessons.
Each one gets a turn, and sometimes Lolli generously offers her assistance :)

Then it's back upstairs for some independent reading (and a nap for Mosby),

an entry or two in their vocabulary notebooks, a little copywork, and a logic puzzle
before we all reconvene for another chapter or two in Benjamin West.

And then we're all done. Finis. No more.
Each and every one of us--> desperate for a break at this point (this new routine is gonna take a little time :)
Next week we'll add in our latin & literature studies, and we'll also dive a little deeper into our history work,
but for now, this is enough.

So with that, it's time to head outdoors for a much needed change of pace and our daily stroll around the block...

Cause even super heroes in striped socks need a study break!


Jennifer said...

Happy first week back! I'm impressed how quickly you were able to go from beach to school mode. : )

Love the caped scooter photos!

Carrie said...

What a great post!! So much of it "hit home." I've been enjoying your writing and your pictures!! Happy First Week Back, and may God bless your new school year!