Andrew on his first day of preschool.
Audriana (11th grade) and Afton (10th grade) on their first day of school.
And my four elementary kids: Alex (5th) A.J. (2nd) Aislynn (K) and Avery (3rd)
on the first day of school.
It has been a crazy time for me. School started on the 8th and it's been nothing but chaos since then. We decided not to homeschool this year, and let me tell you...it's MUCH easier when they are all homeschooling!
Right now we are all adjusting to getting UP and OUT of bed at 6:30am and having to be OUT the door by 7:30am. With homeschooling that was never an issue. We are all adjusting to the after school "homework" time and the "sign this paper" and "I need such and such item from Staples by tomorrow" time. Again, with homeschooling these things simply do not come up. And already a teacher is having a "birthday" and a "gift" from the class is needed, plus that child needs to make a card by tomorrow to give to the teacher. I'm signing papers left and right, helping with homework, or trying to, ALL at the same time, answering questions and listening to each child's school day. It's busy! It's chaos!
I have NO time to do anything around here. Oh, you would think that when they all get out the door and off to school it would be nice and quiet in the house and that I'd have time to chill out. But nope. Remember, I now have Andrew (age 4) and Aria (age 2) who are used to having all their siblings around to keep them occupied, to play with, to entertain them...as siblings tend to do. But now? All they have is ME! At first that sounded really fun for me. But here's the thing: they have the attention span of maybe 7 minutes. I get down a certain toy or game and get them started with it...then I sneak out of the room to try to wash up the breakfast dishes...and before I know it, there they are in the kitchen with me. They are "done" with that toy and want another. So I go get them to clean up the first toy or game, then get them down another...then get them all set up. Then I try to finish what I started in the kitchen (or making the beds, or folding a load of laundry, or even eating my own breakfast) and before I can even turn around, there they are again! They want something else to do. Again. This goes on for hours. That was how my first day of school went.
The next day I got smart. I took them out of the house right from the start. We went for a long walk and ended up in one of our neighborhood parks. Then from there we walked to the school and picked up Aislynn from Kindergarten. That was a good day full of adventures outdoors. But then...nothing (and I mean nothing!) got done in the house. Before I knew it (after lunch and after taking Andrew to his afternoon preschool class) the "big kids" came home from school and all the paper signing and homework helping and question answering and listening to their day at school started -- and I'm telling you, it's BUSY! I'm not used to this. I seriously get NO downtime at all.
I will say this: I am really, really enjoying the bedtime routine we have going now! Everyone is in bed and sleeping by 8:00 or 8:30pm. That is nice! We are not used to that. With homeschooling, we get up late and so we all go to bed late. I'm enjoying the early bedtime. The only problem is....I'm just as tired as they are now! So instead of staying up and enjoying the calm house -- I'm usually asleep, too! (which is why I haven't blogged in so long. I usually write my posts at night.)
The kids are having a good time at school, though. Avery and Alex both have great teachers and are seeing their friends at school, and they are enjoying everything so far. A.J. is having a little bit of separation anxiety, however. The first couple days were great -- he was excited and willing to go to school. But this week? A different story completely. Yesterday he was teary-eyed when I dropped him off. Then just about an hour later the school nurse calls me. A.J. was in her office complaining of a stomach ache. So I went and got him. Once he was home -- surprise, surprise! the stomach ache was gone! After talking with him he admitted that he just missed me and wanted to be home. So today I sent him to school with a picture of me that he kept in his back pocket. On the back I had written "I love you, A.J." and I told him that when he missed me he could take the photo out and look at it, or he can just touch his pocket and know it's there. (this is what I did for him when he went to preschool, too. It worked like a charm.) Today he had a much better day. He asked if he could still take the photo of me to school and I said sure, as long as he needs to.
Okay. So there's a part of me that feels bad that my kids aren't home with me. I miss them! I miss teaching them. I miss being with them all. day. long. But then there is another part of me who is relieved to not have to be the one to teach them this year. (is that bad to admit? does that make me sound as awful as I feel about admitting it?) But it's true! When I'm teaching them and it's entirely my responsibility, then that is a huge pressure. So it's nice not to have to think about their curriculum choices this year. And then there's another part of me that is curious to see how they do in "regular" school. Expecially Avery and Alex, who have never gone to school before. They are so eager and are having such a great time so far...and I'm excited for them and happy to see that they like it. Now, if A.J. doesn't like it after about a month and is not adjusting, then I have no problem taking him out and homeschooling him. The ONLY reason I put him in this year (in 2nd grade) is so that he can have the experience of going to school with Avery and Alex and Aislynn in the same school. This is the only year that all four of them can ever be in the same school at the same time. But normally I homeschool the kids from 1st grade to at least 4th or 5th grade and then I put them in school. So for A.J., if he decided he really wants to be home this year, then I have no problem taking him out and homeschooling him. But I want to give it a little more time.
Next year I plan on homeschooling Aislynn for 1st grade and A.J. for 3rd. So I'm looking at this year as my year OFF. I have been homeschooling since 2001, and this is my year off. Next year I will be back in business and I'm looking forward to it. I think the break will be good for me.