Let me first apologize for the lengthiness I anticipate in this post. It has been an eventful day, and I don't want to leave anything out, both for the sake of friends and family who are reading this to check in with the kids, and for the sake of other readers who are in having similar experiences as beginning homeschoolers. Bear with me. :)
Today was the first day of school at our house! Literally. At our house. S began kindergarten, and so F didn't feel left out, S told him he was in pre-school. For weeks I have been reading, preparing, making plans and daily and weekly rhythms to follow. Even as a teacher in a public school I did not agonize over the beginning of the school year the way I did this year. Take whatever first day jitters teachers get, and double it. The fact is, these are my children, and I am their sole teacher. There is no support staff, no lunch crew, no specials teachers, no administration. I am soley responsible for every aspect of their education. If I fail them, they will in turn fail. I have to be their favorite teacher, as there will be no breaks from my company during the day, and most nights as well, since my husband is often not home until after their bedtime. Hmmm...no pressure, huh?
But I have to say, as negative as that all sounds, it has made me want to do better than my best for my kids. I have the rare opportunity to turn their education into something joyous and magical. Thoughtful and engaging. Totally tailored to their needs alone. There is no pressure to prepare them for [insert your state's mandated test here]. Instead, I can use authentic assessment as we progress through our days. This is how teaching was meant to be. I am able to do for my kids what I could not do for all the wonderful (and let's be honest here, some not so wonderful) children I have taught in the past. The flexibility I feel in planning is amazing. And the joy in seeing their enthusiasm and success is quadrupled. And best of all, for them, everything they learn at school is supported by their home life. And vice-versa, of course.
|S and her schuletute (see first post for explanation)|
So this is how our day went:
-Get up, get ready, blah, blah, blah
Morning greeting verse (which is actually two that I sort of combined):
Down is the Earth
Up is the Sky
There are my friends
And here am I
The golden sun is shining
Up in the sky so blue
Good morning, happy morning
Good morning, friends, to you!
Explain what's coming next
-Housework for 25 minutes or so. The kids each had a job, which they gladly did.
Welcome, welcome lovely day
With flowers bright and sunshine gay
With painted birds that sing their song
and make me kind, and good, and strong
Open Shut them
This is my ball
|S and F and their calendar ring|
Calendar: I must mention here how awesome this calendar is. Grimms Annual Calandar Ring. It is without a question the most amazingly child appropriate calendar I have ever seen. No numbers or labels of any kind. A circular format that truly illustrates the circle of days/weeks/months/year. Just terrific.
Game: Farmer in the Dell
-Snack: introduce blessing (we don't generally do this, but I'm introducing it as something we're going to do from here on out. I like the tradition and it's a nice quiet segue into a meal. S insisted we do it at every little snack.)
Earth who gives to us this food
Sun who makes it ripe and good
Dear Sun, dear Earth by you we live
And loving thans to you we give
-Gardening: today we re-potted some houseplants
|F and S with their jingly felt balls|
-Art: made wet felted balls with jingle bells inside them. We'll be using them for circle games as we go on.
-Free play (while I prep lunch): The kids played "dress-up" and loved the face crayons we got. S had rabbit whiskers and F was a scary dragon. Funny how a few painted lines made dramatic play all that much more...well...dramatic.
-Story time: Ox-Cart Man, The Little Red Hen, continuing with The Tales of Tiptoes Lightly
-Quiet play (for F) and reading (for S):
Again, a note here. True Waldorfians (for lack of a better term) do not introduce reading until age seven. However, S can read, and it is enjoyable to her, and I'm going to encourage her to practice. That's all.
The Earth is stong beneath my feet
The sun shines bright above
And here I stand so straight and strong
All things to know and love
So that was our school day. At the end of the day, I asked S how she liked her first day of kindergarten. She said, "I loved it even more than I thought I would!" All that self-doubt I had earlier took a flying leap out the window. And I can't wait to do it again tomorrow. And the next day.... :)