Jenny Anne Mannan

American Songstress

First Day of School

Oh the early morning quiet! It's our first day of school and the kids decided to sleep in. This reminds me of last Christmas morning when they slept till 7:30 - who does that? I thought their excitement would get them up before the sun, but here I sit, fully dressed and coffeed up, waiting for my little pupils to appear. (Oh and in case you were wondering, it's no accident I just compared the first day of school to Christmas morning. My friends and I have a theory that, as moms, we get excited about doing the things for our kids that also meet our own needs, and these things are different for every person. School meets my needs. Don't make fun.)

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After spending a busy summer soaking up the sun, taking the kids to the pool, dragging the kids to shows, cooking dinner on the grill, and steeping ourselves in wonderful, schedule-free chaos, I was so excited to sharpen pencils, clean out our desks, throw on a sweater, make lists and schedules, simmer some soup on the stove, and start our second year of school. (That was probably too many s's. Sally sells seashells by the seashore. Sorry.)

Tennessee is starting homeschool kindergarten this year, and my only plan for him is that he rub shoulders with learning enough to spark his curiosity and fuel his imagination. Minimal structure, less bookwork. Just guided activity and hopefully some learning by osmosis. If all he learns this year is that school is exciting, I will consider kindergarten a success. Right now, his favorite letter is x, and when I ask him to write it he crosses his fingers and says, "eckkkttth!" I can only hope to foster that level of enthusiasm in all our work together.

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This is Tennessee's standard pose of concentration. It's my number one reason for homeschooling this active, curious little boy. He simply cannot sit. To him, sitting is what you do when you've given up - when it's time to check in with your blankey and admit the world is just too much. Sitting is not what you do when you're problem solving. Everyone knows your mind is more engaged when you're precariously perched on the edge of a rickety Ikea chair. (He only fell off once.)

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I don't know how long his love of this particular puzzle will last, but for now he's asking all the right questions and loving the answers.

Violet is starting first grade, and we've got a few more guidlines for her: reading, writing, and arithmetic. ("Addition is counting forward on the number line...")

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So far math is her favorite, and since I happen to love powerful women who love numbers, I'm eager to see where her interest takes us. I'm sure we'll begin by reviewing how to write the number 3, but that's okay. Education happens one number or letter at a time, right?

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The kids eventually woke up and, if success can be measured in the cozy warmth of activity, curiosity, questions asked and answered, and above all, snuggling and reading, then we all enjoyed a very successful first morning of school. I am so excited to share the wonderful world of ideas with these interesting little people, and to see it all through their eyes.

My first grader:

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Another perk of homeschooling: silly faces for school photos are encouraged.

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My kindergartener:

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Aaaand my toddler:

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We have very limited academic aspirations for him this year...perhaps teaching him that not all birds are chickens? We'll see.

Copyright 2016, Jenny Anne Mannan. All rights reserved.