Bamboo Sprouts

Back to School

Today we started year two of schooling at home and we had a great day! 

This year we have a first grader and two kindergarteners.  🙂  If going to public school, Bella would miss the cut off here by three weeks!  But that is one of the beauties of schooling at home.  She would be so disappointed to not get to start school with Sophie and Levi and besides, she is plenty ready for Kinder!

Sophie Jiao age 61/2, first grade

Levi WenYu age 5, kindergarten

Bella Jiao age 4.5, kindergarten

Today is cool and cloudy so everyone was happy to get to wear their new, cool weather clothes and that even seemed perfect for the first day of school.  🙂

We kicked off the day with showers and a good breakfast and I was feeling like super mama.  Do some peeps do all this every day?  LOL  Well we dont!  But I sorta like ceremony and so new clothes and hot breakfast and such seemed fitting and made the day extra special.

Everyone hard at work.  Sophie has much more work to get done each day than the little ones do so I dismissed them for part of the time and they headed to the playroom while Sophie and I worked.  I was so proud of each of them today. 

Oh and the candle on the table?  Well a couple years ago for preschool at home (which we did not end up doing any formal program even though I ordered two different ones!), I ordered this program that was a little on the hocus pocus side.  LOL  Anyhow, one of the things was a candle lighting to kick off each session.  Well I found it weird.  But when setting things up last night, I thought of that candle again and could see some value in it.  It does sort of indicate the start of the school day and it also sets a mood.  I want kids to come to the table ready to work and not hopping all around.  They have a playroom where they can go hop all they want afterall.  If nothing else…there is FIRE on the table.  This just seems to say sit down and talk a little quieter than usual.  lol  I don’t know.  Maybe it’s still kinda hocus pocus, but it seemed to do the trick today (no pun intended there).

The Well Trained Mind book that we use as our guide for homeschooling, suggests starting cursive in about second grade, but Sophie is just dying to learn it, so we are going ahead.  She calls it curtsy.  LOL  Sophie is a great student.  Picks things up quickly and as with everything else she does, she excels at every subject.  Its pretty crazy.  I am amazed at how much learning happens naturally and was reminded of this today with Soph.  Last year there were some math concepts that she struggled with and frankly, I couldn’t come up with how to get them across to her.  We left those problems blank and came back to them today and it was all just clear and obvious to her now.  She is simply ready for those problems now.  This is why I basically don’t worry if they don’t all start reading at the same time and such.  It will come. 

I have been fretting over teaching Levi to be honest.  He is behind the girls in fine and gross motor skills, which I know is pretty normal for a boy, but still does wear on my patience sometimes.  And yet, with him most of all, I MUST be patient!  Well, he has come a long way over the summer.  Last year, he just could not get his hand to make the letters I would ask him to make.  Today, we started again with the letter A and he DID IT.  I mean it took lots of trying and coaching but seriously, I about cried at one point because he did so well!  He is so eager to please that I wont ever be able to fault him for that.  And when I got so excited when he finally got his A to come out pretty much right, he beamed and it just made him try even harder.  We are going to be ok.  🙂

Ah yes and then there is Bella.  🙂  She squirms.  She has trouble staying on her chair.  I told her she might need a seat belt.  LOL She said she doesnt want to do school in the car (not what I meant of course) and I said well then keep your tiny bootie on that chair during school!  She can do the work and is eager.  Her attention span is shorter than some and she is satisfied with less quality work.  But the thing is, I remember being a bit this way as well.  I have always been a person who can get a lot done, but not perfectly.  My standard is set at medium and I trade some quality for quantity.  I will have to find the balance with this kiddo.  She will need more creative and hands on work.  Her body has to be as busy as her mind.  It makes me wonder…seriously…how a teacher with 25 students manages to meet the needs of all their students!  I feel like sheesh I only have 3 students and they all have special needs in some ways and that is all the challenge I can handle!

Everyone did so well with their school work that we then loaded up and headed to the park for a McD’s picnic lunch and some “recess” time.

someone left a hopscotch board that we all enjoyed.  🙂

Today was one of those days that is a reminder of what is possible, which is exactly what I think a first day of school should be.  I think the first day often sets a standard that can’t be met daily, but it is good to know it can happen.  I am not a routine person and organization is something I have to work at.  I have long known that organization is the key to home schooling and this has worried me.  Because of this, I have planned out this year day by day (academically I mean and also I dont mean hour by hour.  I simply know exactly what needs to be covered each day in each subject) and based on today, I think this is going to help me.

12 Responses

  1. ShariU

    Short sleeves…are you KIDDING me?? In August? Oh, to live in Colorado. Maybe I’ll move in next door to you.

    It looks like your school year has gotten off to an excellent start. You’re an inspiration, Tiffany, good job! I hope you guys have a great year.

  2. Looks like a great first day! I used to teach K (2nd now) and I use tons of music with my class. There are lots to choose from, but my fave is Dr. Jean. Her songs are mostly academic – teaching letters and sounds to continents and presidents. many of the songs are active and just perfect.
    I think there are motion directions in the cd’s or on her site. if not…I can give ideas that I’ve used if needed. I just love her! Maybe that would be good for Bella Boo!

  3. Looks like your year is starting off great!

  4. What a great kick off day!
    May I suggest Math-U-See for Bella…VERY hands on for those kinesthetic learners 🙂 When she’s ready of course. My daughter has also benefited greatly from learning wrap ups…she listens to songs singing 2+3=5 and then does the key wrap at the same time…that’s what it took to get her to memorize her addition, subtraction and multiplication tables!!
    This will come down the road but might help you…google it 😉
    Love the breakfast…I make special pancakes our first day!

  5. Looks like you are all off to a fabulous school year!! I totally agree about the candle…definitely sets the tone, sort of like the “school bell”…kids really hook into the “specialness” of routines…& I think with homeschooling these little things help to differentiate school from “home” (does that make any sense? loL!)

    Lol…Kiara is a “squirmer” too & I often say that it was easier when I taught 34 middle school kids (!! Yes, really, 34!) in my classroom than Kiara sitting at a table doing a Kindergarten workbook! 😉

    Good luck & thanks for sharing this part of your life with us!

  6. Lori K

    Looks like a great first day to kick off the new school year! You are such a fantastic mama and now, teacher! Hope you’ll all have a great school year!

  7. What a wonderful first day! Everyone looks so cute and ready and excited! I love how you are aware of your children’s strengths and weaknesses and how you work with them to give them what they need. I hope you all have a super fantastic year!


  8. a virtual apple for the teacher! Way to go!

  9. WendyO

    Great start to a great year! I love the candle idea too, it would most certainly let three little ones (I know they want to be big) seperate home from school.
    Wish we lived closer!

  10. Love, love, LOVE the homeschooling updates! I might have to borrow your candle idea. Avonlea misses the cut off by 3 weeks too. She is ready for Kindergarten, but I’m starting her after the first of the year. (Adam’s surgery etc…dictates it..) The curriculum I chose is about 26 weeks for K and that gets us through mid summer with a few weeks off until 1st grade. Adam, I’m going to wait on. He is SO NOT ready. Next September I’ll start him with the Kindergarten stuff. I really want him to succeed and if I’m frustrated, I don’t want him to get discouraged…so I’m waiting. Maybe it’s more for me than him…but…what’s the harm?! This way I can’t compare the kids as easily either. Can’t wait to follow along with you this year! 🙂

  11. What!! “organization is something I have to work at” is what you said…
    well, I think you have it perfected!! What an amazing day and what a great start to the school year!

  12. can I send Piper your way? we just pulled her out of her preschool the week before it started.

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