Monday, August 29, 2011

On the First Day of School...

We enjoyed our traditions: the first-day-of-school muffins (cinnamon raisin this year); the painted handprint (my, how that hand has grown since kindergarten); and the list of the sweet girl's favorite things (fun to see how those change too). This year, for the first time, she filled in that list of favorite things on her own rather than dictating them to mom to write down. Yay for learning independence.

I remembered how hard transitions can be for the sweet girl. Even good things, new things. Anything that is "different than how we've done it before" can cause her angst. (I sometimes think she will grow up a major liturgical traditionalist...)

I rejoiced to see all the good things we remembered from last year. Some of the learning habits we instilled last year are still good, solid, worth keeping. Hooray!

I felt defeated when I saw the quick re-occurrence of bad habits. I need to find ways to help S. replace bad habits with good ones. It's not enough to just say "that needs to stop." In my own life, I know that's not enough. What positive things can I put in place of the negative ones I'm trying to let go of? That's the question I ask myself. It's one I need to ask with her too.

I found myself looking forward to some new learning trails.

I almost banged my head against the wall in frustration when I found I couldn't come up with words to explain a simple writing concept. It's so hard sometimes to teach something you love with great passion and intuitively understand how to do. The passion and intuition can be great helps, except when they're not.

I remembered I need to be courageous about challenging S. to do what she can do, and to realize she can do more than she thinks she can.

I discovered we need breaks. The material is heavier and lengthier this year. We need breaks, plenty of them and varied kinds. Fresh air. Bird feeding. Walks. Picture books. Music/dance. Blessing counting. Drawing time. Whatever it takes. There's a reason our family has chosen to teach/learn this fact, lots of reasons. I have to remind myself anew that I don't have to teach "traditionally." That is one of the blessings of this learning life.

All in all...probably the most challenging first day we've ever had. I figure it can only get better and better from here!


Free Range Anglican said...

Part of me is jealosu of your days spent one on one, learning together. I spend my difficult days feeling strung out with three. This year is a stretch with K, 4, and 9th grades. Each of them learn so differently, and I'd love to just spend my whole day expoloring with any one of them. But we've restructured well this year, I think, with M. in now officially. Its fun doing a read-aloud break in the middle of the day, breaks the stress, and somehow I end up with a boy on each side kind of cuddly and giggly and enjoying the story. Here's to a cuddly gigggly year for both of us!

Beth said...

Tara, I hear you! And thinking of you as you "stretch" with exciting that M. has joined the official homeschooling crowd at your place. Glad restructuring is going well and that the read-aloud break is working. I'm trying to find ways to give us small mini-breaks when we need them. And of course I have days when I feel challenged with just one and would love to have multiple kids so I could partner S. with someone (besides me) on projects! I think there are definite challenges to both situations.

Our second day was MILES better than our first. Hallelujah. I've been spoiled by lots of very good "first days" and this difficult one threw me a bit. It was good to begin to find our footing and our rhythm again yesterday.