Family Magazine

First Week of School

By Sherwoods
This past week was our first week of school.  We have been doing this for some time now; I started with Kathleen in Kindergarten nine years ago.  I guess I can say that I've had a reasonable amount of experience homeschooling.  
The beginning of school is always crazy.  It's a bit of work to get all of the curriculum ready and organized and there's always something that I've forgotten.  The children have to get used to a new year and a new schedule, which is another element of chaos.  Every two years we add a new one to the mix, which means one more child that I have to keep track of one more more child who needs help and asks questions while I'm trying to help someone else.  This year Eleanor started Kindergarten, so I now have five children in school.  That is a lot of children in school.
I got to enjoy my very first real summer vacation this year, a summer with no school, no R&R, and no moving.  It was absolutely wonderful and exactly what everyone needed - especially me.  In addition to reading a lot of books, lazing around in the swimming pool, and taking very long naps, I was able to prepare for the beginning of the school year.
I printed out school work, organized it, and arranged it in everyone's notebooks.  I pulled out last year's school work, last year's school books, and last year's trash and cleaned out the bookshelves.  I put all the books for this year neatly on everyone's book racks, right next to their newly organized notebooks.  After thinking about how to keep the girls better organized, I came up with a new accountability system.  I did everything possible to get everything ready for the first day of school.  Since we only have three weeks of school before packing everything up and heading a third of the way across the world, I didn't have the time to spend getting everything slowly settled in.
And surprisingly, all my preparations paid off.  Monday morning everyone was downstairs around 8:30 and the girls and I started off the school year with going over their new accountability charts.  Then we had their first grammar lesson.  Things went a little sideways from there, as I realized that I hadn't downloaded files on to the school profiles of the laptops, but I was able to complete all of Edwin's and part of Joseph's school also.  I even got a reading lesson for Eleanor in before stopping for lunch (and a much-deserved nap) at noon.  I was very proud of myself.
The rest of the week only improved from there.  I don't remember completely losing my temper a single time, which is no mean feat for a seven-months pregnant woman who is running a five-child school circus with a toddler thrown in for good measure.  I think that I can say that the high point of school craziness has passed and our school days are entirely reasonable most of the time.  I'm glad about that.  I'm even happier that school will only continue to be manageable as more and more of the children get older and more responsible.  There's a lot to be said for children who know the program and can stick with it.
The girls both admitted to me that perhaps it was nice to get back to a schedule, and I had to agree with them.  Summer was wonderful and I'm sure we'll get thoroughly sick of school soon enough, but for now it's okay to get back to work.  

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