'Twas the night before school starts....
and no, I'm not going to do a cute rhyme for this blog post. Sorry to fool you.
But it IS the night before the kids' BIG day. And here I sit at the kitchen table, writing the notes to stick in their lunches. Because what's the first day of school without a note in your lunchbox? It's our tradition and my kids expect it. So that's what I do, because I hate to disappoint.
This year I will write SIX lunchbox notes. SIX! Because this year I am not homeschooling the younger grades. That's right. I'm taking the year off. Sending them all to school.
< GASP! >
I know! What will I ever do with all that time, right? Ha. Wrong. I've still got a 3 month old, remember? Believe me, I won't be sitting around. And if you're wondering why I've decided to not homeschool after we've been at it for the past 13 years, I have a few reasons:
1) Aislynn isn't reading yet, and she's going into the 3rd grade. Oh, she can read some small words and sentences, but she is definitely not even close to grade level. She has been diagnosed with a processing problem that makes it difficult for her to read. It's nothing that she cannot overcome. She's a very intelligent 8 year old. But what she needs is a more structured learning environment. After two years of teaching her, I've realized that homeschool is not the best environment for her. I can't give her the structure that she needs. Why not? Well, because that's just not me. I'm just not a very structured and scheduled person. I never have been. I'm a more laid-back homeschooling mom, where some days we do school work and some days we don't. It varies everyday depending on if Rich is home with us, or if the little ones are being cooperative. Every day is different. And while this style has worked for all of my other kids, it simply does not work for Aislynn. She needs consistency and structure - more than I can offer her. So, off to school she goes! She's excited. I'm excited. It's all going to work out just fine. My mommy gut tells me this.
2) Aiden. My newest little bundle of joy. He is our last baby, and I'm being selfish but I want those hours each day with just him. Me and him. Just me and my little guy without any interruptions. No other kids around. Just me...and one baby. This will be very strange for me! It hasn't happened since my first baby was born, and that was over 20 years ago. So it will feel strange at first. But I think I'm going to really enjoy this special time with him.
3) I want to have the "spare" space in my head for planning and getting house projects done. Since I won't have lesson plans to prepare and subjects to teach each week, I'm going to use this "free" time getting a few house projects done. This fall we will be doing some upgrades to the house, and I will now have the time to coordinate it all.
4) This is the only year where all four -- A.J., Aislynn, Andrew and Aria -- can go to the same school together. I know that's not a huge thing, but still. Four kids at the same school is kind of neat.
5) And finally, I really just need the mental break from home schooling. Like I said, I've been at it for almost 13 years. If I'm honest I'll admit that I'm a bit burned out. It will feel good not to have the pressure of teaching kids this year. Instead, I can help them with homework and reinforce what they are learning in school.
There are definitely things I will miss about homeschooling. I will miss setting up my classroom and gathering school supplies. I will miss planning out the year's lessons. I will miss my kids! Yes, I most definitely will miss them. But still. We are doing the "regular" school thing this year, and I just know it's going to be a great year for everyone.
In other news...
Aiden is now 3 months old!
His eyes are blue.
He weighs 17 pounds! Big kid.
He likes when I sing to him. His favorite songs that I sing are:
Blackbird - Beatles
Me and Julio down by the school yard - Paul Simon
Loves me like a rock - Paul Simon
*What can I say? I'm a child of the 70's and love the music of my youth.
He is a thumb sucker!
I love that he sucks his thumb! Not only does he look especially cute with his little thumb in his mouth, but hello self-soothing! He wakes in the middle of the night, then finds his thumb, and then he's back to sleep. So nice!
He can roll over from his tummy to his back.
He sleeps from about 9:00pm to 6:00am -- (yay me!)
He is starting to reach for things with his hands.
He imitates the sounds we make and "talks" to us this way.
We are all having so much fun with this little guy! He's the main attraction here. Everyone wants to hold the baby, play with the baby, talk to the baby. No one can get enough of him.
Aislynn & Aiden
Not the best picture of Rich and I, and of course A.J. is photobombing ... but still, I like this shot. Aiden had just fallen asleep on me, and our house was busy and crawling with kids as usual, and I handed my phone to Aislynn and said, "Quick - take a picture of me and daddy..." right in the middle of all the chaos, because I just don't do this enough! Everyday I take pictures of the kids -- Kids, kids, kids. But not nearly enough are taken of Rich or myself. And especially not of the two of us together!
And now I'm off to finish writing the notes for the kids' lunches. We've got an exciting day tomorrow!