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Saturday, September 6, 2008

End of Summer, Beginning of School

Labor day always makes me feel a bit sad - there are so many fun things that can only be done during the summer, and we never seem to get to them all. Right off the top of my head, I am now realizing that we never went to Goldenrods for ice-cream, and my daughter's promised ride on "Little Boy" at Charmingfare hasn't yet happened (I'd better work on that one). Just to prove how much we love summer; this was the scene at my house on the morning of our first trip to camp for the year. Yes, my children attempted to pack every single article of clothing that they own - oh, by the way, this photo was taken at 5:30 AM on Memorial Day weekend. We were VERY excited for the beginning of summer.

Now summer is over, and we get to energize ourselves for the changes that Autumn brings: 
  • more time for renovation projects 
  • the beautiful foliage and the fun craft projects it inspires 
  • sleeping more (thanks to less sun) 
  • trips to the apple orchard 
  • and new for our family this year, the beginning of school.

My daughter was so excited about her first day of kindergarten (co-op) that she began complaining the night before of her stomach feeling "funny." It took me until the next morning to realize that she was suffering from a classic case of Butterflies!

The new lunch bag and school supplies helped some, but she continued to fuss about not feeling well until we got her in the car and on her way. After that she was pure excitement. Before I even got the car unpacked the kids were racing around chasing their friends and enjoying the sunny day.

By the way - the somber faces on all those cute kids are because we asked them to smile. Before that comment, everyone was all giggles.  Go figure! 

When we got home I asked what the kids thought of school.  My daughter explained: "I didn't like the learning part so much, but the kids are fun, I showed them my rocks for show & tell, that was good, and I liked lunch." (Another mom in our co-op did reading and math evaluations to figure out which topics to cover - this is the "learning" that she balked at.)

The next day was our first "school day" at home. We snuggled in to read "Trumpet of the Swan" and "Make way for Ducklings" in bed. Both books were hits! Later she read a story to me, we made some phonics games, practiced handwriting and worked on numbers up to 30 using dice for math. We also began a bit of geography (okay, I know that using that word is a stretch, but I can't think of another way to say "map stuff for kids" and sound normal). We looked at the Google-Earth site so that the kids could "fly" down from outer-space, to the Boston Public Garden (from Make Way for Ducklings) zooming from the world, to the continent, to the country, state . . . you get the idea. We chatted about our trip there later this month, and the kids pointed out things that they want to see (the duckling statues, swan boats, and Charles River) and colored their own maps. Not bad for a first day!

I love that we get to dictate our own school schedule, having Mondays off to spend time with Daddy while he is home. I also enjoy having the opportunity to tailor the kids' learning around the things that they love. My daughter has some loopy interests, including bagpipes, the human body, ancient history, and elaborate storytelling.  I have worked to make her lessons fit her personality - She will get to throw herself into her favorite topics and probably won't even realize that we are "doing school" most of the time.

So, goodbye summer! We are off to do bigger and better things - but we'll be packed and ready for camp again on Memorial Day weekend 2009 (but hopefully we get to sleep a bit later than 5:30)!


Nate, Michelle, Trent, Dylan and Aliya said...

This is one of my favorite blogs of yours so far...so many pictures of those cute kids! I am glad you like doing school! It seems like the kids do too. I love you and will see you soon!!!!

Doris said...

It is so fun to see Alison so excited about school. Enjoy the school year and the memories.