Wednesday, August 22, 2007

First Day Back

August 22, 2007

So yep. In spite of my ardent protesting that school should simply not be done in the summer and my Yankee nature which urges me to wait until after Labor Day, we started school today. Really, what else can one do going on two weeks of temps at 99 degrees or more? (How do you make that little degrees symbol, anyway?)

So, holding to our tradition, we started the day with measuring, weighing, and recording such things in our annual "All About Me" books. Normally I print these out from Enchanted Learning but this year they just made their own. You can only do the same exact book so many years in a row, right? (AKA, I haven't paid my EL renewal yet.) But really I do like their totally home-made ones better.

So here's how First Day Tradition goes: We all head upstairs to our measuring chart and, well, the kids all get measured. Like last year, Jesse was the grand winner, as he's grown 3.5 inches since last year (that makes a total of 7.5 in two years). He is now over 5'9" tall. Laurel and Duncan each grew between 1.5 and 2.5 inches. Interesting to note that Duncan at six-and-a-half is the same height as Jesse at seven-and-a-half. After this, we head downstairs to weigh in. (I, of course, excuse myself from this.) Duncan went from 50 to 55 pounds; Jesse and Laurel stayed about the same.

After this, we open up our Big Box of Books (above) and look through all kinds of books that the kids have created: "Me" books, unit study books, miscellaneous books. And then they make a book for the current year. Jesse, of course, passes on this activity, but I still record his data.

We always have a new box of supplies with which to start the year, so Duncan and Laurel ended up painting and decorating even more after their books were done (below).

Jesse's carefree days of glue and paint appear to be over. He spent most of the day working on either is Algebra 2 or Biology assignments. Both are classes he takes from homeschooling dads in our support group.

This afternoon was a momentous occasion, probably more so for me than for Laurel: my little girl began flute lessons, using my very own flute.

I love this flute. It is a part of me. To pick it up feels as natural as picking up a baby. I began playing when I was 10-years-old. I remember the first couple of weeks, working so hard to get a semblance of the right embouchure (lip shape) in order to produce a sound. My sister-in-law, Anna, sat by me every afternoon on our scratchy brown loveseat and helped me. (A question: How do you let go of a sister-in-law whom you've known since your first memory? I've struggled with this since my oldest brother and Anna were divorced 25 years ago.) In high school I earned the coveted spot of first chair, first flute and piccolo. Anyway, I was unexpectedly sentimental when Laurel carried my flute into her first lesson. Her teacher is absolutely wonderful. She is a fellow homeschooling mom, and her son is Jesse's guitar teacher. And how awesome is this: they live 2 minutes away, and Laurel can have her flute lesson while Jesse has his guitar lesson! And to top it all off, the 5-year-old grandson is there for Duncan to play with!

It was a good day all around. But boy! We need a break from all this school, so we're off to Splash Country tomorrow for homeschooling days. We believe very seriously in the importance of good, solid socialization.

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