Tuesday, September 6, 2011

First Day of School

I had great plans and high expectations for this day. Some of it happened, some of it didn't, but we've made it most of the way through, and I thought I'd document our day here. I really wanted the day to be special, with a yummy breakfast and lots of fun in store. My breakfast didn't turn out so great - baking gluten free can be unpredictable.

Well, at least my daughter was excited to start kindergarten officially. So what were all these tears for? Something strange was happening with Annika today; she just wasn't acting like her normal happy self. I dispensed lots of snuggles and tissues, and we made it through as best we could.

For math I had planned a few games instead of starting right off with worksheets (I need to get our curriculum tomorrow from school when we go in for our meeting). We had more tears from the youngest player, but then I sent her off to play with dice, so we were able to finish. Grammar was MadLibs for Gabriel and Annika and I worked on some reading exercises from the website that goes with the Usborne Very First Reading series. This series of books is the main tool I've been using to help Annika learn to read this summer. She was interested and motivated, so we do a little bit each day. It's amazing how much she has picked up from our causal yet consistent approach. She also worked on her printing, as I am trying to correct her formation of several letters.

We had lunch outside on the grass, where we found a ladybug and observed hover flies buzzing around.

Being outside seemed to help with the mood of the youngest, and the afternoon proceeded on a more positive note. I am excited about a new geography curriculum I got for the family. It's the Trail Guide to World Geography by Geography Matters. There are several support books and atlases to go along with it, and we'll be able to incorporate many other subjects as we study our way around the world this year. Gabriel has a pretty good handle on basic geography and map reading, and finds it interesting, so we'll work on it a bit each day after we've gotten the other nuts and bolts out of the way. He will be keeping a notebook on his work, with information about the earth and each continent and many countries. Annika will tag along and learn what she needs to learn.

We finished our school day with an art project using some sun print paper we've had for a few years and never used.

I thought we'd better take advantage of this Indian Summer sunshine while we had it. They turned out pretty good. The spaces in the day were filled with Lego building, reading, hula hooping, bike riding, and, after school, a video and a computer game. I had planned to take the kids to the beach for the afternoon, but the peaches I bought last Saturday for canning over the weekend didn't ripen very quickly, and now they all need to be processed. So much for my plans!

Since I wasn't able to get as much canning done this weekend as I wanted to, I took the time yesterday to make a raised bed for the garden.

I had meant to do this last spring, but didn't have much luck finding free lumber until about a month ago. I used a power saw, a drill, and a screwdriver and put the thing together on the fly. I have to say it felt pretty good to wear a tool belt and spend a few hours on a type of project I don't normally do. You really can accomplish difficult tasks if you take it one step at a time and plod your way through them.

On Sunday I spent some time with Annika working our way through a Lego project. We were given some kits from a cousin who outgrew them, and the kids have been playing with them a lot. Annika likes to follow the instructions to build specific objects, so I helped her build a shark. She is really good at figuring out what to do, she almost doesn't need my help. But having me there helps her to feel more confident, I think. She stuck with it for over an hour, piecing it together on brick at a time. I'm so proud of her!

So that's what we've been up to this weekend. Keeping super busy and occupying ourselves with worthy projects. I hope all my friends and family out there have a wonderful start to your school year!