Wednesday, August 19, 2009

First Day of School

The school bell rings, we pray and pledge our allegiance to our country. School began in our home this past Monday morning and the excitement was running high.

We feel that Emily is ready for Kindergarten even though she won't be five until November, so this is her year for Kindergarten - but unofficially (meaning I'm not keeping records and turning them in and all that)! We're beginning My Father's World Kindergarten, doing our Fruit of the Spirit study and will be adding in some Five in a Row at least for the reading parts.

Our first morning, I fixed Monkey Bread and sliced strawberries for breakfast! The table was fixed up with fresh flowers in a "pencil" vase, apples holding paper chalkboards with verses on them and fresh school supplies for our little girls!

We took pictures of course, and I traced around the girls hands and had Emily write her name for me to keep from their first day.

I took them out to lunch for a special treat and after dinner, we enjoyed this (link to Woman's Day website was not working, so I am linking to where I found the idea) yummy dessert! Note: the suggested idea is a cake with the cookies on top - I just put a bit of frosting under each cookie and stuck it to a cookie sheet and used that for our dessert! Simpler and less to eat!

Sunday night as I was getting the table set for breakfast the next morning and gathering our school things - I was really struggling with all the things I thought needed to be done. I am not good at being satisfied with doing some things, I always want to finish everything I think needs to be done. But, God reminded me that I could knock myself out doing all of it or finish the necessary things and then sit and rest some in the evening.

I did just do the necessary things and then rest - which was definitely the better choice. I know I will have to learn how/when to do my chores and things with adding school to our routine. But, yesterday while the girls colored I folded clothes and I hope I can learn to gradually add things like that in when it is good for all of us!

I should've taken a picture! Our table was set all nice and neat for our first morning of school, while every available space on the kitchen counter was filled with dishes, piles and all kinds of things that needed to be put away. I've made some progress - but it was almost humorous, it was such a striking contrast!

How did the First Day of School go in your home?


Kimberly said...

This is our second year of homeschooling but we are much more serious about it this year as my oldest is 5. This is the first year I tried making a schedule for the family (it just isn't my personality to have a schedule). The schedule has made the past 3 weeks so much easier for all of us. The schedule rotates every 15-30 minutes. It gives me alloted time for certain chores while making sure the littles (5, 3, and 18 months) are occupied with something worthwhile. We each have a schedule and each of the kids knows they have alloted family time, quiet time by themselves, and time to work individually with me. I'm actually doing a better job at keeping up with household chores now that school has started (and the kids are helping of course). My 3 and 5 year old see the schedule and see me following my jobs so they are eager and willing to do their tasks and mark them off too.

I love My Father's World. I'm using Five in a Row this year but plan on using My Father's World in a couple years with my 2 younger ones.

Angela said...

We are starting the first week of September. I always have fresh doughnuts from the bakery and have a special suprise container at their seats with their new school supplies in it. My husband is quite an artist and he writes something fancy on our big magnetic chalkboard that he made us. It is always exciting for us. We use MFW too, we LOVE it. We have done K, 1st, adventures, ECC and now are doing Creation to the Greek-it is the perfect unit study, Charlotte Mason, Biblical Worldview curriculum. It has been such a blessing for our family. Hope you enjoy it this year. K is really fun!


Wendi said...

Your pencil vase is darling!

We are starting our first day of school on Monday. I am a feeling a little overwhelmed, but excited also.

Looking forward to hearing all about your school days!

Crystal said...

I love the ideas for your first day of school. I am considering My Father's World for K next year, and I would love to hear your thoughts on it. It looks like such a fun curriculum. For now, we are going to do preschool - lots of reading good books, fun crafts, etc. Thanks for all of your great ideas!:)

Mom said...

I'm glad to see these photos of your first day of school. :) I'm sure you will develop a routine that will work for all of you that includes Samuel and chores. You come by the desire to finish all that needs to be done honestly -- good for you for making the choice that was right for you! Love you, Mom

Michelle said...

We are in our third year of homeschooling,and we just love it. I have changed a lot of our curriculum, so it is much more hands on this year. We are in our third week. It is going great!

Cheryl said...

You made the first day of school so special for your littles. It sounds like they had a good first day. Love your little chalkboards in the apple. So cute. My son starts school this Friday. We homeschooled up until eighth grade. We are blessed to be able to send him to a Christian school this year. My oldest will be starting college. That will be a whole new world for her and us.

I smiled as I read your post and Kimberly's comment. I remember when we homeschooled that chores would fall to the wayside on some days. Having a schedule helps a lot and knowing when to rest like you said Monica also helps.

Wishing all you hoomeschool moms a blessed schooling year.

Anonymous said...

How beautiful, special and creative! We're starting homeschool preschool with our oldest daughter this year, and I'm so excited! I used to teach Kindergarten in my pre-mama days, so I can't wait to flex those muscles again!

Praying that your family enjoys a terrific schoolyear!

More than Survival said...

I know what you mean about one area being beautiful and organized and another completely out of control... that seems to be a common thing in my life.. I can't seem to keep up with EVERYTHING at once! I do GREAT in one area at a time!! LOL!! Nothing wrong with that, I just have to be careful with my time and not spend too long on one thing!!
Enjoy your first week of school!!

Mary Ann said...

You are a fun mom! What sweet memories you're making together!

I don't have kids but today is the first day of school in our area. I love to hear the buses early in the morning!

One of the boys I babysit(or babysat:-), started to preschool this morning!

Blissful & Domestic said...

school here doesn't start till next monday so I will let you know how it goes

*carrie* said...

Are those the thrifted alphabet cards?

Love the pencil vase,and the flowers are gorgeous! So many nice touches!

Sarah said...

This is our 4th year of homeschooling (that sounds crazy, now that I think about it! It feels like we just started!), and every year I change and tweak the way we do things. We haven't started yet; we go nearly year-round, so we wait to start until closer to September. Your table and everything is precious, and it looks like you're going to have a great time this year!

I usually do some housework in the morning before we start school around 9, and then finish up in the afternoon while my littlest one is napping. It doesn't always get done, but then I can play catch-up on Saturdays if I need to! I hope you find a system that works for you :)

Davonne said...

Haha! As I read this, I was thinking, "How in the world do you set all of that up for school and still take care of your home?" Because if I did that much school prep, my house would probably be a total wreck! I felt better after reading the part about the mess :-)

We won't begin school until after Labor Day, but I'm enjoying reading and gathering ideas!

Unknown said...

You ARE so cute!! That is how my house looks MOST of the time! With one area pretty, fun, & crafty and the rest...umm, shall we say, TRASHED!! :P

I SERIOUSLY considered My Father's World this year! That is so cool that you are using it! I would love to hear how you like it! I'm using FIAR!

And...whoa! What a beautiful first day of school!

Last year, I had the same stresses of having to "do" school and do all the housework...then halfway through I was like, um...this isn't going to work! So, through some great advice, I made chores the first thing to do FOR school...I mean LIFE SKILL LEARNING!! We all work together pick up, sweep, put things away, and get dressed! Then the house is semi-in-order and Mommy isn't stressed for the little sit down learning we do! I totally plan to do that this year too!

Blessings to you and your family!

Happy School Time! :)

Unknown said...

Oh...and we haven't started yet! :-) We are starting September 8th! I will let you know how it goes!

Nicole said...

My daughter will be 5 in November as well. She is ready for kindergarten but here she has to be 5 on or before September 1st to be eligible for kindergarten. So I'm not starting her kindergarten until next year. Which brings me to my question: If you are doing MFW Kindergarten this year, when you start turning in records next year she will be starting first grade at five years old. Will that be a problem with the school system? I'm assuming you will be registering through the public schools even though your homeschooling.

Goodness, all that was a little jumbled. Hopefully you understand what I mean!

Debra said...

I love your pencil vase - what a cute idea.

Katy said...

It sounds like it went really well for you Monica! I bet the girls enjoyed it. If you can keep that pace each day for the whole are SUPER woman! LOL You have great ideas that you implement and I love that creative side of you!
We are using MFW Kgarten for Xavier as well. :) We started our first day last Monday. So we are finishing up the first 10 days of the *intro*...although we are breezing through it with him since he already knows his letters etc.

For Madelyn, we are using Abeka 2nd Grade. It's going well :) Although I am a creative person...I must admit that some days I can be creative and others I am alot of our schooling time we are doing book work, singing or discussing. :) We get our schooling done in a couple hours in the I have the rest of my day to do housework etc. :)

Lecia said...


I have homeschooled for the past 18 years and I have a three year old so I am going to get the blessing of doing this all over again. We have gone from "school at home" which is all I knew when I first started, to a Charlotte Mason approach. School will look very different for my little one that it did for the older ones when they were younger. As I am sure you will find not everyday goes great but we grow, learn, and change as do our children. God has given us an awesome responsibility to educate and train our little ones for His kingdom and glory. Thankfully He is there to guide us. I think you will do a wonderful job educating your children. From reading your blog I can see you really have been doing this from the beginning. You are an encouragement to other moms and I look forward to reading about your adventures.

Anonymous said...

Oh how precious, Monica.
You do make everything so much fun for your little ones.
I too love the pencil creative!
I was also wondering if the alphabet cards are the ones you got in a thrift sotre this summer?
Thanks for sharing the adorable pics.

Love you, Grandma

Lisa said...

Last year we had a great time using MFW Kindergarten. Our kids thoroughly enjoyed all the topics on various animals and such, learning their abc's, and about His creation. We are hoping that MFW 1st grade will be just as fun. Thanks for the encouragement to make the first day of school special.

Monica Wilkinson said...

Hi Crystal, Will have to post an update to let you know what I think. I have initially been excited about it - but so far, it seems slow moving. We'll have to keep an eye on this and adjust accordingly.

There is no problem with us doing Kindergarten this year and nothing unethical. We simply are not required to submit records this year since she is not yet five. Next year, she will be in Kindergarten - whether we do 1st grade material with her or not, it will be her Kindergarten year. Our church is an umbrella for homeschoolers and we register with them, we will not be going through public school registration of any kind. This, to me, is the beauty of homeschooling - we can know our children and what they are ready for without it being dictated by the classroom.


Bonnie said...

I love how you decorated the table for school!
I am starting advanced pre-school/not quite kindergarten with Honey this year. She is beyond some K. in some things, and nowhere close in others.
I am curious how you end up liking MFW. I've never heard of it, but it sounds like what I am looking for.
My biggest plans are for a Little House on the Prairie Day, this fall with a good friend and her three littles.
I laughed when I started planing things about "How Monica" my planning was- no detail missed!
I'm not sure how I'll include the 2 and 3 year old boys, but I think fleece "coonskin" hats are in order...
I love reading all these comments, I'm getting really excited about starting school!

melissa said...

I LOVE the pencil vase holder - that's great! :)

We're not into schooling at this point (my little guy is only 15 months, and #2 is due this Fall).

Happy Schooling!

cheryl said...

You're such a fun mom! ;o)
I was so excited to see those flash cards hanging on your wall. We also have an almost 4.5 and 2.5 yr. old girls w/ a boy on the way, so I'm always inspired by your creative ideas. ;o)
We're starting MFW kinder on Monday next week, and I LOVE your fruit of the Spirit curriculum you've been working on. I've tried to piece meal a few things as we've worked on the fruits of the Spirit in the past 2 years, but haven't ever come up with something I love. I was more than thrilled to see what you came up with and thank you for sharing it. You should really consider publishing it.
Thanks as always for the inspiration!
Keep up the great work with those little ones.

Brenda@CoffeeTeaBooks said...

This post makes me miss homeschooling. I should be proud that my son is now studying at the University but those years went so fast.

Would you believe we still go out to breakfast the first day of school? That was what we did with both the kids and my son wants to keep it up in college. :)

My daughter is homeschooling her two older kids now.

Ruth said...

I hope that you will learn to balance all that you need to do. Homeschooling is so much fun but hard work, too. You chose the best thing to take some time and rest.

Loved all the photos and great ideas. The cake was great.


Mom2Drew said...

Oh wow.... So cool!

Nicole said...

I didn't mean that it was unethical in any way. I was just trying to understand. I didn't know how it worked if you did kindy this year, what she would be considered next year being only five and in 1st. I think I've got it now, though. Thanks for explaining. I also am very aware of the beauty of homeschooling--I am homeschooling my girls as well, but doing it unofficially since they are 3 and 4. I would never consider allowing my child to be dictated by a classroom--that's not for us.

Sheri said...

We start on the 31st and I'm so excited! And, I really like your pencil idea. Too cute! We always have a "back-to-school brownie" in the shape of a pencil. We take a picture of our little ones with it and it's been fun to see them change over the last 2 years (K&1st grade) May our Father bless your homeschooling this year!!!

Bell said...

I LOVE those alphabet cards. Where did you get them?

Monica Wilkinson said...

Hi Bell,

The ABC cards came with our Kindergarten curriculum from My Father's World. They do sell them separately for $9.95 on their website.


Angelia in TX said...

Thank you Monica for always being so kind to share your God inspired ideas. These are so great to spur on ideas in others. I know I am thinking....and using the generous info and pages you shared.
I love finding ways to focusing on Godly fruit in the lives of our young ones first and foremost. I named our home school "The Beginning of Knowledge Academy" based on Prov 1:7. I just loved your fake chalk board idea w/ wonderful verse. We started school Monday as well and are using MFW K and I have the 1st grade but decided to wait a little longer for my oldest sons sake He will be 6 the end of Aug and is not quite ready for all the drawing and writing it entails. But as you said the beauty of homeschooling is modify where God shows us for the child's pace and learning style. My youngest son is on the Autistic spectrum and I am still using the MFW K but with modifications due to his concept skill and learning needs.
I pray I will be filled with Godly fruit myself so I can train my children with God's fruit in action. May God bless all our attempts. I fall so short and look to Him as I long to raise Godly wee ones. I am a first generation Christian and am so thankful God supplies all I need. Beautiful in Christ women like you are a blessing.
Smiles and hugs to you Monica


HC said...

Oh!!! I so hope you are going to give a tuitorial on the pencil vase! I love it!! (I'm a recipe and directions kinf of gal!) Thank you for your inspiration, and also revealing what your countertops looked like, just so we know your real!
Heather C.

sarah in the woods said...

So happy I found your blog. You have so many lovely ideas.

Christi said...

We haven't had our 1st day yet; we're waiting until after Labor Day. We used MFW K last year for Ryan. Lots of fun!

Bridgett said...

We're going to do My Father's World too! We have two boys - my oldest is in the same boat as yours - he's turns 5 in dec.

I looked up the requirements for kindergarten and he by far exceeds them. my husband and i both felt like we should wait another year to start his k curriculum though. this year he is learning french, reviewing what he knows and we are concentrating on character building and scripture memorization.

Your table was too cute!

Anna said...

I love the touches you did to make the first day of school special for your girls! We are doing MFW first grade and Creation to the Greeks this year. MFW is great!

Momof3 said...

We are doing My Father's World K this year and did Five In A Row last year for pre-K. I wanted to continue FIAR this year but liked that MFW was a complete package. How do you incorporate FIAR with MFW? I have an almost 6 year old and a 4 year old. I have found that most of the schooling gets focused on my 4 year old because of the content of MFW. (My husband is also deployed this year to the Middle East, so much of what I am doing is "survival") Thanks in advance for your input. I am so excited to find the blog of someone using MFW.

Momof3 said...

Hi Monica,

I was looking back over some of your homeschooling posts. It looks like you have had a great year! We are also using MFW K this year and have had fun with it. Are you moving on to their 1st grade for next year? I have already purchased it and will probably begin in mid-June since we will take some extended time off in the fall when my husband returns and then over the holidays as we all connect with him after a 15-month absence. I was tempted to move on to the 2nd grade because I thought it might be a little more challenging for my oldest, but just didn't want to skip the foundational bible year. I don't think it will be bad for her to feel more confident by excelling rather than pushed, at least at this point in her life given her personality. Also, my almost 5-year-old will be able to keep up.

Thanks for sharing your homeschooling adventure. (I am so bad at updating my blog.) Look me up if you visit family in Colorado Springs, it would be fun to meet!