Wednesday, September 4, 2013

First Grade

we, finally, officially, started first grade today.  And less officially, preschool.

I wanted it to be cutesy and pinteresty and a big deal.  But that is just not life right now.  Besides it was rather anti-climactic since we started CC two weeks ago, and we have already been reviewing that everyday.  And I think this whole picture will be the theme of Ada's first grade year. 

For one thing, I am so very pregnant.  I feel every walk across the house.  Every time I have to bend down to pick something up off the floor, it's so hard to get back up.  As my doctor explained today, my ligaments are like rubber bands, and once stretched, they never go back to the original shape.  She said that I am just going to "feel" a third pregnancy more.  Amen to that. 

We are also still just moved in.  I gave myself a week to get settled, but come on.  So many boxes still need to be unpacked.  White boards and bulletin boards are not hung.  And I can't wait for all of that.  There is no time.  A baby is coming in eleven weeks, and we better get a chunk of school under our belts because I am guessing that school will take a hit those first few weeks of life with Evie ;)

So we jumped in.  And I am okay with how it looked.

I go into this year with much more confidence in what school looks like in our family.  I'm not really a cutesy mom.  I'm just not.  I think it's one of the main reasons the classical method appeals to me so.  The memorization and the phonics and the education of it makes sense to me.  Let's cut to the chase; that's more how I think.  Not that classical can't have fluff, but it's okay if it doesn't.  And I even hope that other years there will be more fanfare.  I get the point of the fanfare, but I also get that it's okay that we don't have it this year.  What matters is that we read and we write and we "arithmetic."  And, of course, we memorize.  And we do it all in the midst of life this year that does, in fact, look like third trimester pregnancy and all of the doctor's appointments that go with that and a new house, and later in the year, a newborn.  It's freeing to know that it's okay for this year to be messy because we will still get it done.

I also go into this year much more confident and settled about our curriculum choices.  We are doing Saxon Phonics first grade, Saxon Math first grade, and memorizing our weekly memory work through CC.  That is basically it.  We are reading lots, as we always do.  I will most likely use our memory work as copy work, so that will cover hand writing and language arts.  We are keeping it super simple, and I now know that is how I genuinely believe it should be. 

I am also more aware that our goals should not be academic in nature.  What I mean is, I am not going to say, our goal for first grade is to be at this point in reading, etc. etc.  I mean, we have chosen first grade curriculum, believing it will prepare her for second grade, but I also know I can't force Ada to reach a certain place academically.  Instead, I am focusing on patience and compassion from me.  For Ada, she is working on diligence, sitting still, focusing, listening--these skills that are so necessary to school and to life.  And we are both focusing on hard work and consistency.  And we are trusting the Lord with this.  I firmly believe that He has called me to homeschool.  Lots of days I wish He had called me to public school (our budget strongly confirms that he has not called us to private school ;) ), but for now, home school it is, and He is so much more concerned about our sanctification than how well Ada can read or write or whatever the skill.  He is about the eternal.  Now, if I could just be more concerned about the eternal ;) 

So, on this morning, this very first morning of first grade, when Ada was fidgeting and John was interrupting every five minutes, I was reciting these things to myself.  This is home school at our house, and I can go with it or I can fight it, and I will be miserable if I constantly wish it looked like something other than it is.  Obviously, I can always improve on what it is--learn from our mistakes--but I can also give up the notion that it will be something impossible.  I am thankful for these days with my little ones, who are still so very little.  This is our stage of life, and this is what it looks like.  God is gracious and merciful and so very good in the midst of the daily. 
And because I was feeling guilty about the lack of ceremony and fluff that accompanied day one, when Ada asked if we could have a picnic lunch on the living room floor, I said, "yes, of course we can," and we ran with it. 


Jessica said...

love all your comments on here. very freeing to know there's no "picture perfect" is messy and homeschool is right in the thick of it and it evolves as we work with it to see how it best serves our family. Still can't believe I haven't seen your house!

Ashley Turnbull said...

Oh LB! Love this post - you are going to do GREAT and don't worry about all the fluff. Who needs it?! As you say, God is concerned with the ETERNAL, and you are doing just what he has called you to do - point your children to Christ! Jesus is glorified through all the mess! Can't wait to hear more!! Great job! Happy first grade to Ada!