Starting the 2011-2012 School Year!

You should have seen the elated faces when I called them to the school room yesterday. The little one had all of her workbox pockets filled (a day she has longed for), and my son was bursting with enthusiasm. It’s been a rather crazy week here, with Little One’s birthday on Monday and doctor’s appointments all day on Tuesday. So by default, we’ve started our school year midweek.

Because of that, and because of my resolve to free myself from the bonds of rigid lesson planning, we’re easing into our year this week. We’re setting up our routines and introducing some of the new subjects without jumping in all the way. For instance, I intend to start Bible on Monday (we have family worship time, so we’re not neglecting the important things altogether). And my reason is that I intend to have them listen to the Bible audio stories in the mornings before school, which means an adjustment to our morning schedule. Mornings are still a little rough for me, though at 12 weeks now, they’re getting better. So honestly, I need my morning adjustments to be gradual at this point (and getting school started by 9:30 is adjustment enough for this week.)

With that disclaimer, here was our schedule for this week.

Opening Activities

I called them to school at 9:30, and they eagerly climbed into their seats and began peaking into workbox pockets. We said a big “GOOD MORNING!” And we opened our day (and our school year) with prayer. Then, we headed over to our calendar to discuss the month, the day, the season, and the weather. Next, is everyone’s favorite: a rowdy rendition of “This is the Day!” complete with clapping and dancing around the room. We prayed once more, thanking God for another day, and then “ATTENTION” for our pledge. After saying the pledge of allegiance, we sang “My Country ‘Tis of Thee”, and the kids scramble to their seats once more.

With hands folded, they wait and listen as I give them some announcements about our day. They wait, like racers at the mark, until I announce, “You may begin!”

Workbox Assignments

We had 7 pockets yesterday, and spent about 10-15 minutes per pocket (one or two pockets took less time), finishing up our day at about 11:30. We introduced Vivaldi; covered phonics, letters, and numbers; kicked off geography with our first lesson on continents and oceans; reviewed some critical thinking; and ended the day with a Happy Note (once a week, I put a “great job” note and/or sticker in their last pocket).

I had two separate seatwork times (or pockets for independent work) for each child, which allowed me a phonics and a math lesson with each child. Again, the goal was to coach them through expectations, not necessarily to make lots of progress. But the little one especially responded well to her own time with Mommy.

Summing it up

It was a great start to an exciting new year of Kindergarten, PreK, and learning to adjust along the way.

And yes, I did slow our pace, only assigning half of the handwriting (one page instead of two), reviewing the phonics sounds at my own pace, and working his phonics page along side of him (officially assigned as independent seatwork in the lesson plans, but coaching him through the exercises was part of my adjustments). I’ll be more specific about our adjustments in future posts. But overall, I was pleased with our success.

4 thoughts on “Starting the 2011-2012 School Year!

  1. So glad to hear it went well! Many blessings to you and your family!

  2. I love that they were excited for the start of school!

  3. This is such a cute blog!!! I just came across your blog from Homeschool Creations:)! I LOVE your pocket idea!! Where did you find that pocket folder that you have hanging on the wall:)?? I’m a first time homeschooler mom and I’m having sooo much fun;)!!

    • Post Author Tracy

      I’m so glad you are enjoying your first year of homeschooling! And we do love our pockets, which I purchased off Amazon. I place each activity in a separate pocket with all of the supplies they’ll need for that project. Then they work their way through each pocket, placing the pocket number on a grid when they’ve completed the work. It keeps our day running smoothly, without the starts and stops of me hunting down the scissors or the crayons. Thanks for stopping by!

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