34/52: First Week of School

Monday, August 27, 2018

It's back to school time!! We started last week and things went surprisingly smoothly - I even managed to get "school pictures" done! Without further ado...

Name: Edith Veronica
Age: 21 months
Grade: Toddler
Most excited to: BEEEEEP bellybutton!!!
Future occupation: Competitive fruit eater.
Name: Peter
Age: 3.5
Grade: "Preschool" (i.e. insisting that he DOES do school, tracing in old preschool workbooks to keep busy, and listening to stories)
Most excited to: Do the preschool workbooks and get a truck coloring book.
Future occupation: Mountain climber! With Elizabeth. And an artist!!!

Name: Mary Claire
Age: 5.5
Grade: Kindergarten
Most excited to: Read the Catholic Children's Treasure Box books together
Future occupation: A nurse who paints pictures in the hospital.

Name: Elizabeth
Age: 5.5
Grade: Kindergarten
Most excited to: Take art lessons.
Future occupation: Artist and mountain climber. Oh, and a Sister. One who works in a hospital and takes care of babies.

Name: Cecilia
Age: 7.5
Grade: 2nd
Most excited to: Take art lessons.
Future occupation: Artist.
Name: John Paul
Age: 9
Grade: 4th
Most excited to: Start pre-algebra!
Future occupation: Mmm... Maaaaaybe president.

Really, every year I'm impressed with us for starting school in August. And yet every August I think, "WHAT THE HECK IS WRONG WITH EVERYBODY THEY ALL NEED STRUCTURE IT'S TIME TO START SCHOOL!!!" And things get much, much better once school has started again. We always start a week after the local public schools do, and a 4-day week seems to be possible for this year, still, so we're saving Fridays for field trips and special outings. The first week it was a trip to pick raspberries, and next week it'll probably be blackberries, peaches, and apples. We do a slooooow start, easing into every subject, because there's still a lot of canning and preserving to be done, and a decent amount of garden work! Not that I can get to all of it this year because of the energy this pregnancy sucks out of me, but we're trying, by golly!

The twins have been tremendously excited about starting Kindergarten. I thought they'd run out of steam the first week the way Cecilia did when she decided she'd be doing Kindergarten a couple years ago... Then I'd be off the hook and we could skip it with another set of kids! (They can already read, do basic math, and write - every single "Kindergarten skill" is already there, so I'm not feeling the pressure to get any academics in) However, apparently since the older two have been in school mode for a while, the twins don't want to be left out. They're loving it. They're just reading all the same books as John Paul and Cecilia (Mater Amabilis Level 2 Year 1) with the addition of a few things I'm doing just with them (I'll try to get a homeschool post up to tell you what we're using besides the book list in the curriculum, but we'll see if that ever happens...).

Peter complained bitterly that he does school, too, so apparently he's in "preschool" this year even though I really don't do preschool with the kids. He'll probably learn to read this year, he's about at the point the other kids have generally been at when they were ready to start learning, so by May I'm betting he'll be reading. That should make him a much happier child, since basically all he wants more than anything in the world is to be read to. He's been using old preschool workbooks and tracing over various things that have been traced by several other children before him, and reading the Catholic Treasure Box books with the twins. And, of course, very important "poetry time" with Grandma, which is the exact same thing he has always done, but now it's "school."

Cecilia's rather bitter that she has to do more narration this year than last year, and adding the twins to the mix has upped the silliness in the room when we try to do serious reading, so we're working on our discipline... She hit a standstill with cursive last year and we switched to a different handwriting program, but went back to the original to try it out this year and, ta da! Maturity makes a difference! She's back at it, and doing much better. Sometimes time is all you need.

John Paul is pretty annoyed that he has to start doing written narrations this year. I told him we'd start with one a week, and he moaned and whined and then did a top-notch narration, just as I knew he would. But why do something well the first time when instead you can take 4x as long and complain bitterly all the while? Still, I'm feeling less overwhelmed by the prospect of gradually transitioning him to doing all his own reading/narrating. I even promised him that if he can really excel at his written narrations, he can start a "blog" and type up his narrations. He's immensely excited by that prospect, so we'll see if it's enough of a carrot to motivate him.


  1. I didn't say I would *always* do "poetry time" with Peter. It was just the only thing I could think of. Frankly, though, every child needs poetry -- as you know -- and nursery rhymes and A. A. Milne are perfect for his age, so it was an inspired idea!

  2. I love these pictures and the question answers that you do. It's going to be so fun to look back on someday. Also, I was thought it was funny to see Cecilia chose to wear jeans in her photo. I actually had to look back and make sure it was really her.

    1. She cracks me up!! She lost several treasured clothing items to tree climbing accidents, and so decided that she'll only wear junky clothes when she's playing outside. However, she spends much of every day outside, so she just generally looks a mess ;)

  3. Please, please, let us know what you're doing! This was my first introduction to Mater Amabilis (I think... that I was paying attention to anyway). I'm totally intrigued by it. We already do a very Charlotte Mason approach and use many of the same books, but I just love how simple (and FREE) it is. I have a toddler, preschooler, and grade 2 so far. I'd love another post!

    1. I will try! Those posts always end up so time-consuming that I rarely try anymore... But they're helpful to look back on!


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