Homeschool To Public School & Embracing The Change

How about an update on how our new school plan is working out?

It's only been three weeks, but it feels like we've been doing this public school thing for a whole lot longer than that. 

I had the whole transition laid out in my mind.  She was going to be a little nervous the night before.  We would talk about it, read some first day of school books, and snuggle in tight for a full night's rest before her big day.

Reality was nothing like that.

The night before her first day she bawled.  Hard.  Girlfriend was scared, for real.  And it was nearly unbearable for me since, ya know, it was totally our fault she was having those feelings at all.  She didn't fall asleep until really late and waking her up the next day was comical (that part was very much how I expected it to be).

She didn't get in the class with her neighbor friend which only added to her anxiety.  Andrew and I walked her to class and met her teacher (who is awesome) and left our baby at school.  The day dragged by and I was the first parent at pickup that afternoon.

That night she cried more.  Begged us to not send her back.

Math was hard, she didn't get the spelling work, she felt rushed all day.  It was hard, but we talked about how it would take a bit of time to get used to it and how proud we were and after lots of pizza and ice cream, she agreed to try a few more days.

her awesome diorama project that was presented in the library

Tuesday she came home crying.  She hadn't understood the math directions and had gotten every problem wrong, tough stuff for a girl who likes to be right at all times.

That night, I sat down with her to explain why she'd missed the answers and made sure she understood how to do it.  Reassured her that she'd get them right the next day.  Well, most of them.  The word problems gave me a run for my money.  Then again, math and I aren't really good friends.  When Andrew walked in, she lost it again.  Big old tears, saying she wanted to be homeschooled again.

Then she woke up Wednesday and I guess just decided she was going to like school.

It really was like she just made up her mind and that was that.  Since then, everyday has been better than the one before.  She gets herself up and ready to go, she marches in to class like a lady boss, she's playing and laughing everyday when I get there to pick her up.  

In her three weeks at school she's already gotten to do a very crafty school project (right up her alley) and go on a field trip which also meant she got to go on her very first bus ride.  She's made quite a few new friends and learned all about which days are pizza day and which days are ice cream days.  

 first field trip to the pioneer museum

Our weeks are going so smoothly it's almost a dream.

School doesn't start until 8:45 and is only 5 minutes away, so our mornings are super laid back.  She wakes up around 7:30, takes a shower and gets ready, then usually has time to watch a show before we go.  When I pick her up we head home for a snack and then she bikes off to play with friends for an hour or so before coming home for homework, dinner, and bed.  It's working out great.

Oh, and speaking of homework, after hearing all the hublub about it I was a bit nervous about what we were signing up for.  But so far, 2nd grade homework is simple.  Once she got in the routine she has no trouble.  She gets math each night and has a nightly journal entry to do.  Then there are 10-15 spelling words to learn by Friday and she reads for about 20 minutes a night.  All of it but reading is done in under 30 minutes and she reads before bed.

She is getting pulled out of class each day for Reading Club, which is basically a very small group at a time for extra reading help.  Her teacher thinks she's reading great, but wants to help her with her comprehension.  She's also taken a huge interest in guinea pigs since that's the class pet.  In the past week she has copied over three entire books on them and had them posted on the board in class.  Big stuff for my girl who "hates to write." 

I'm adjusting slower than she is, but I am getting used to it.

It's strange to not have her here during the day and it is still hard for me to let another person critique her.  I know how she learns and, at first, was concerned her teacher wasn't going to be able to give her that.  I also realized I had a bit of a pride issue when it came to her school.  How on Earth would she ever learn anything if I wasn't teaching her?!?!

Turns out, while I am still needed in a supporting role, I do not need to be the headmaster for learning to happen.  Who knew?

It's fun watching her bloom and I really couldn't be happier with our choice.  I'm so glad we stuck with it and went with our gut about it being time for the transition.  I'll be sure to keep you updated as we continue to find our feet in this new world.  Our next adventure includes the class pet spending the weekend with us!  I'll let you guess who is most excited about that one.


Books For Emerging Readers

Now that Josie is in school, all my teacher energy is needing a place to be focused.

It's hard to transition from being the master and creator of your child's education to a less active role.  Poor Gabe is getting a whole lot more instruction, but Josie is still getting her fair share.  One area I am honing in on is reading.

Josie was a late starter when it comes to reading.

Man.  Do I ever hate saying that.  Because, hello, she's seven.  And reading earlier than that doesn't necessarily mean you're going to be a genius.  I know that, really, I do.  However, it is so easy to fall into the comparison trap when your friends children are reading chapter books while your precious offspring is struggling through Henry and Mudge.

*side note, we love Henry and Mudge and that series is what helped Josie break into real reading.

Just this past Summer, Josie had some major reading breakthroughs.

It was like a light bulb switched on and the girl could read.  It was such an exciting time.  Since than, I've held fast to having her read for 20 minutes each day.  The book choice never mattered to me as long as she was reading.  Although I knew she had the tools she needed to read chapter books like so many of her peers, she was just more drawn to easy readers.  After the rough start she had, I really think those books gave her the confidence she needed to want to keep reading.

Just recently, Josie has started to show some interest in chapter books.

Trouble was, most chapter books are just too long and she is seriously intimidated by the length of each book.  I had the hardest time finding books that were in that were indeed chapter books, but still gentle enough to not break her new found love of reading.

So rather than have you need to do all the hunting that I did, I thought I would share a few of the books that have been hits around here.

(See my list of book recommendations over on the East Valley Moms Blog by clicking here)




No way.  Can't be true.

There is no way it is possible that my tiny, grey baby boy is five.

This little charmer that crawls in my bed each morning, serenades me each afternoon.  Who holds my hand and eats tomatoes like they are candy.  He sweet talks the neighbor ladies, swears like sailor (I'll take blame for that one).  Loves music, all music, but especially Bruno Mars.  Boyfriend likes to bring the funk.

He grew a ton this year.  Started the year still fitting into size 2T pants, ended it in a 4.  He's still not fully potty trained.  I know, I know.  But he's getting better and, to his credit, he's still on a hefty dose of diuretics that make it tricky to find a potty in time.  Plus he honestly could care less if his pants are wet, another hurdle to getting him trained.

He not only survived his 3rd open heart surgery this year, but blew us all away with how quickly he recovered from it.  A couple rough weeks and he was back to his silly self.

This boy.  I can't get enough of him.

Gabe loves to help.  Like for real.  Give him a job and he will work tirelessly until every part of it is done.

He still can't sit through an entire 30 minute show, is just starting to be able to listen to a whole book without getting too fidgety.

He's making friends with the neighbors and can throw a ball with better accuracy than most adults.

He's the cutest little man cub in the entire world and I cannot wait to see what he does this year.

I couldn't love this man child any more than I do.

Happy 5th Birthday Gabriel!


Standing On The X

Are you still with me?

It's not very fun to share the messy like I did last week, but it's necessary in order to share the redemption.  I'm proud of the work Andrew and I are doing to recreate Us.  And if your marriage isn't exactly where it needs to be, I hope that seeing another couple climb up from the pits will give you courage and strength and energy to keep going.

I'm glad we didn't give up.

And do you know what?

As I read through everyone's comments and emails, it hit me hard.  We all had a rough 2014.  All of our marriages had crappy days and all of our kids drove us crazy from time to time (and time again).  My brother wasn't the only one to die.  Death stole from a lot of us and not a single one of us escaped unscathed.

But then it occured to me with an equal amount of force that all of us had grace and glory and epiphanies too.  We had love and redemption and chances to forgive and forget.

That post got more response than anything I've written about for awhile, which confirmed that it needed to be shared.  I was nervous you'd think less of me if I didn't have the whole world together at all times.  In reality, I think it gave permission for others to keep working.  Keep not quitting.  Marriage seems like one of those things that people only talk about if it's awful or if it's wonderful.  But what about the times it falls in the middle?  Still in love, still happy, but hard? 

And like Nora shared a few weeks ago, I don't want to make this look easy.  Because it isn't.  But it is worth pushing onward each day, finding new ways to make old things work.  Or rewriting it all and making a totally new thing. 

I'm glad I shared, and I'm glad so many of you were comfortable enough with me to share your story too.  This space is more fun when we move beyond consumers and start interacting.

I'm still not sure where I stand with my God.

I'm not ready to proclaim His will for my life was, well, what this past year dealt to me.  But what I do see is scripture becoming real.  I see Him making a way in the wasteland, a stream through my desert.  I see His right hand holding my family just above the water line, saving us all from drowning.

I see a spark of what the future may hold and it's good.  I hope you're seeing glimpses of that as well.

This is going to be our year.

All of ours.