Monday, July 14, 2014

The Big "T": From Home to School




I'm a blogaholic.  Especially when there's a change in the air.  I want to know how everyone ELSE dealt with it. I want to know their tricks and trades.  I need the info, people!  So, this year I'm headed back to work and the girls are going to school.  For the first time.  Ever.  We are all very excited about this big change, though there is some anxiety in it for us all.  Grace-girl will be going into 3rd Grade, Baby Rain to Preschool.  The grieving is real for this mom who has spent the better part of a decade defining myself as a homeschooling, stay-at-home mom.  I'm not worried about the girls being out there, I'm just worried about missing them.  If you want to slog through the grief process with me, check out my other blog.  In the meantime I'm here to share some practical things I've learned and want to try.  A plus: we finally get to share all our school stories with the kids and the first-day-at-school fun and anticipation will be real, not manufactured by mom.

There's not a lot out there about transitioning a kid into public school from homeschool at this age.  There's a fair amount for the high school set, and lots for Kindergartners headed out into the world.  So here's some wisdom decent ideas for helping kids through this transition.  I know my kids really need a healthy dose of transition help right now.

  • This is scary for them.  It's new.  So Daddy and I are making the decisions.  We won't slog them through our decision-making about schools and childcare and all that jazz.  They just don't need that burden.  However, we will give them space to voice concerns as these decisions come up.
  • We allow space for the anxiety, but we spend more time on the excitement.  Let's focus on the adventure of this new thing and all the fun we'll have!  Grace-Girl is drawing pictures of the things that make her anxious about this transition (missing mommy, not having friends at school, a new routine and structure) and I'm helping her put words to those worries.  We're also developing a plans to ease those burdens.   Here are some:
    1. Preparation- I've assured Grace-Girl that we'll meet her teacher and see her classroom before school starts.  Promise.  We will also ask to see what the schedule will look like each day and how transitions in the classroom will look.  Baby Rain will get the same treatment which will help her, too.  Grace-girl is also writing and drawing her anxieties so we can talk about them and get them out in the open.  School supply shopping will help build some anticipation and excitement and also give the girls some ownership over the experience.
    2. Parental Involvement- Mom and Dad will be involved at both girls' schools (even preschool).  Fundraisers, events, parent teacher nights- we will be there.  It's important to us to support our neighborhood schools and to care about what our kids are learning.  Just because we work doesn't mean we don't want to be involved with our kids.
    3. Something to Look Forward To- For easing the separation, we'll focus on planning mommy-daughter dates and daddy-daughter dates once a month during the fall with each of the girls.  This will be hard for all of us to uphold, but I want them to have something to count the days towards and a reminder that we like to be with them!
    4. School Tools- They will each be allowed to carry a "silent buddy" to school.  A small stuffed animal that lives in their bag and doesn't get to come out.  He's just a reminder of home.  Also- I'm making special bracelets for the girls to wear to remind them that Mommy and Daddy love them and that Jesus is always with them.  I haven't worked all that out, yet, but it's rolling around up there in my head.
This is all for now- I'll post up soon as we continue our adventure to the next great thing our family gets to do together!



Sunday, March 9, 2014

Some days are like that...

Somehow it's been five months since I updated this blog.  Since then we've had three black eyes, the Seahawks WON the Superbowl, Grace-girl has grown 3 inches and Baby Rain probably more than that.   We survived the holidays, we survived Snowpocalypse.  We even snowboarded a few times.  It's been a busy season in life.  Spring always brings me back to fresh beginnings.
But I'm feeling a little hung up.  Like this little one.
I'm not interested in blogging about my perfect kids and my perfect life and my perfect husband because there is no such thing.  We all know it.  The reality is that some days piano practice looks like this:

I'm very excited about homeschooling next year, but I'm not sure how we can afford it.  I love teaching my kids everything, but then some days I don't.  Some days I feel as eloquent as Madeline L'Engle or Anne Lamott.  And other days I can't form a proper sentence.  It's just how life rolls.  

What I can do, with no shame, is laugh.  Laugh at myself.  Laugh with my kids at their stupid (that's right, I said stupid) knock-knock jokes.  Like this one:  
"Knock Knock"
"Who's There?"
"Interrupting cow."
"Interrupting cow wh..."
"OINK!!!"

It makes no sense.  But it makes me laugh every time.  And that's good.
This makes me laugh, too.  My warrior-princess-ninja...  She's just too awesome.

So here's my reminder to myself- and to any other wretched soul who's trying to glean wisdom from this blog:  Quit taking yourself so seriously.  Life is hard sometimes.  It really is.  But it's the moments when we laugh, sometimes even at each other, that we will cherish forever.  No one wants to hear about the poop accident your 3 year old had at the play area in the grocery store.  They really don't.  Focus on the laughs.  

Friday, October 11, 2013

Summer Learning- the real scoop

Summer learning always begins with lots of great books.
We didn't advance three grades over the summer as I had hoped.  In fact, I think we may have lost some academic ground.  Now that we're in full swing in the new school year I find myself reminiscing about our past summer.  I had big plans, but instead this summer came to be termed "The Summer of Her Boyhood."  Someday I'll write more about that- the idea that there's a special, fleeting time in a girl's life where she is free to just be herself, to be wild and untamed and romp and play to her heart's content.  Grace Girl turned 7 and Baby Rain turned 3 this summer. It was a fantastic, wild romp of a good time.

So, here are a few things the girls learned from our big wild summer:
  • Grace Girl and Baby Rain invested in long-term projects and enjoyed the outcome of hard work.
Playing in the Sunflower House

  •  Sure, she can't spell worth a darn, but check out those waterfall-fairy charming skills!
Hiking at Horsetail Falls in the Columbia Gorge
  •  Maybe Grace Girl's measuring skills are rusty, but she understands "scale" in a whole new way!
Making friends with the Sea Lions at the Oregon Zoo
  • Baby Rain explored the language of math through music and rhythm.
Exploring music, costume and art


  •  We missed some reading lessons, but Grace Girl's learning to communicate in new ways.
  • Found a snake at a wilderness lake on her first backpacking trip



    •  We backed out of gymnastics and didn't do sport camps this summer, but we stayed in shape the old-fashioned way- hiking, running, climbing...what a view!
    • Wilderness wildflower meadow romping near 3 Fingered Jack


      •  Grace Girl learned about physics, gravity and force!
      • Oregon Coast wave jumping
      • Baby Rain deepened relationships with the people that matter most.
        • Beach walking with Daddy
          •  They may be a little wild and untamed- ok, maybe more than a little- and I'm so glad.  May they never forget the wildness of their own souls.
          Wild summer days- camping on the Little Santiam River 
          My prayer for our new year is that each adventure would bring learning, and each cause to learn would be a glorious, swashbuckling, fabulous adventure.  Yes.  I said swashbuckling.  Because it's a great word.  Go ahead.  Say it out loud.  I dare you.

          May the road always rise to meet you...