Tuesday, May 20, 2014

'Twas the Night Before.... The 2014-2015 School Year!

I'll never understand how it exactly happened, but we managed to start our school year today!

Really, it was nothing less than a miracle. It was certainly by the grace of God alone, for nothing else could have made this happen.

Last Monday, I was pretty hopeless. Due to morning sickness, nothing had gotten done on my to-do list for summer break, and besides buying curriculum, I had nothing prepared for this year.

Get ready in a week? While feeling awful and having the energy of a dying weasel? Ha!

But it happened - solely by the help of God. Otherwise, I would have had to go with Plan B - making summer longer.

Inch by inch, I was able to get the absolute necessities done. I typed records, printed new sheets for my notebook, compiled last year's work, cleared out our homeschool books and supplies, and asked DH to do a wee bit of shopping for basic supplies.

And by yesterday, we were - dare I say? - ready.

Absolutely no extras got done. But that's okay. Extras are just that - extras. I'm so thankful we were able to be ready to start on time with the basics. Being that we are expecting a middle-of-November baby, timing is a bit tricky - and I don't want to sacrifice our summer break next year to make up for losses now.

Last night I even - gasp! - baked a cake and made homemade ice cream for our back-to-school party (or as some call it, a NOT-back-to-school party!). The kids were thrilled - as well they should be, since I haven't made a homemade dessert since sometime in February!

Fanny Farmer's Golden Cake - a favorite! And no, that's not a real spider. 

Then after bedtime, I set up our new books and supplies on the table, and the kids woke up to that - plus our traditional donut run with Daddy for first-day-of-school breakfast. (I know we have Krispy Kreme down the street, but hey, we had a gift card.)

I have found that just this wee bit of effort really pays to get our school year started on a good foot. Though I do my best, our 7yo (now in second grade) is not overly fond of school - or at least of the parts he recognizes as school (i.e. book work). Our little family night-before party, special cards, new supplies, and a special breakfast really help to make it a positive start. The 7yo this morning even said, "Mommy, I love school!" When I recovered from a dead faint, I determined that I will definitely keep up with these traditions! So simple, yet so helpful.

I found it amazing, too, how cleaning out our shelves and school supplies, and replenishing with fresh materials, really lifted my spirits. Until this week, I really hadn't felt ready to start this school year. As I mentioned, six weeks just hasn't been enough of a summer - I'm planning a longer summer for this coming year! - but getting rid of old, tired supplies, cleaning and dusting, and getting new supplies in place has been an enormous boost to my own enthusiasm levels. I almost kinda-sorta felt ready to go!

At this time of year, most other schools (both public schools and homeschools) are preparing to close up shop and go on summer break. We, on the other hand, are finishing our break and getting ready to start! This may sound crazy to y'all out there. However, Phoenix summers are.... Phoenix summers. When we first tried to use the traditional "summer" summer-break, all we did was sit around indoors and look at each other saying, "I'm boorrred." Unless one likes the heat - or has a pool! - Phoenix summers really aren't good for much. Thus, right now we're choosing to take summer break before the oven heats up. That may change as we become involved in any extracurriculars, which generally follow the traditional calendar. However, for now, it works beautifully (except for continually being the odd-man-out schedule-wise).

And now... Year #4 of our homeschool begins! I'm praying for the grace to handle each day, the discernment to know when to continue a path and when to change direction, and the increased maturity to reach continually for new heights in every area of our home and our educational program. I need every bit of help I can get!

Dear readers, I'm looking forward to reading your plans for the summer, your curriculum plans for this fall, and all of the great ideas that you're preparing for this coming school year! I can't wait to see everything you have planned!

Happy First Day of School!


  1. I used to schedule almost exactly as you are scheduling now. We took several weeks in spring off, and then we took several weeks off in the autumn, so that we could be outside enjoying the world. We'd do formal school in the hot, hot summer and the cold, cold winter. We switched to a "traditional" school year when my kids got old enough to want to be doing the same thing their public schooled neighbors and church friends were doing. I have to admit that I miss the old way, though.

  2. We're year-rounders so there will be some learning plans for summer at our house too. Enjoy your new year!

  3. A Fly On My Homeschool Wall - Yes, I've discovered several homeschoolers who do a similar schedule, or used to! I'm hoping we'll be able to keep it up, but it will probably be hard in later years as the kids try out extracurriculars. And it is rather difficult to be the odd man out - we are perpetually "off" to what everyone else is doing, though it's rather an amusing novelty! :) And I have to admit, I LOVE being on opposite schedule as the public schools - the perks are great! LOL Thanks for visiting!

    Tristan - Loved your entry on what you're doing over the summer! I need to truck on over to your blog and ask you some questions about the great ideas you listed!! :)


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