I wanted to record a few details about our first day, mostly for my own sake. First off, a week or so ago I came up with the idea of taking them out for breakfast on the first day to make it special. So we did that this morning. They were both really excited about this, exclaiming over and over again that we NEVER go out for breakfast (which is true.........in their young lives we've only ever gone out for breakfast when on vacation). We got a bit of a late start because of an insanely long and drawn-out thunder/hailstorm that lasted most of the night! Enough already! Anyway, the four of us enjoyed a special breakfast out. My oldest (SC) claims that I also promised that we'd go out for breakfast at the beginning of each quarter of school. I have no memory of saying this, but I'm pretty sure it will be hard to make HIM forget it. And having breakfast out four times a year versus zero DOES sound pretty fun!
By the time we got home from breakfast it was about 9:30. I gathered the boys on the couch and read them a book I'd picked up especially for this first day. If you haven't read it, it's a must-read. So uplifting and encouraging. And true! It's called The Boy Who Changed the World by Andy Andrews. I had the privilege of hearing Andy speak at the Women of Faith conference about a week ago and that's when I bought the book. Without giving you a full book review, I'll just say that the gist of it is that everything we do makes a difference and any single one of us can make choices and take actions that can ultimately change the world for good! After I read this to my precious boys, I told them that Daddy and I believe in them and love them so much and that one reason we've decided to school them at home is so we can do our best to help them develop into men that can change the world. It was an empowering way to start the day and I know they both enjoyed the book.
After reading this book, we went into our schoolroom and got started learning about China in our Expedition Earth binders. One of the things that tickled me most this morning was when I told them I was going to read some "fun facts" about China that they could try to learn and remember. My little one (LG) in all seriousness stated that he thought he'd better "write this down so he doesn't forget". He then proceeded to get a piece of paper from the printer and wrote a few notes about what I was saying. I was not expecting such industriousness on the first day, especially from him! Hopefully it isn't just part of the "homeschool honeymoon period"!!
My biggest concern for our first day was the balance between work together and working with the boys individually. My youngest is CRAZY for LEGOs (thus his nickname on the blog "Lego Guy" aka LG) and always has various constructions nearby. When I was working with his brother he wanted to play with his Legos while he waited. I decided this might be a good way for him to be occupied, but told him that when I was ready to work with him he had to put the Legos away without arguing or they would be off limits until school work was done. He was very agreeable to this and it ended up working out well. As we go along he'll have more independent assignments that he can work on that are "school" related, but it was nice to know that I might be able to allow this when needed. After all, we're schooling at home. And playing with his Legos more is one of the advantages that we pointed out when helping him see the "benefits" of homeschool versus traditional school.
Another moment I really loved was when my boys got into a discussion about the land size and population of various countries while looking at our big world map. This conversation came about during our study of China. I was getting a little anxious because I wanted to show them something on the laptop and Hubs was using it at the time. It was a good reminder to me to go with the flow and allow learning in the moment to evolve between the boys. If we hadn't had the delay in using the computer, they might not have had such a good conversation.
One other memory from today is how hard they both giggled when we put their names into Google Translate and listened to the digital voice say their names (and mommy and daddy's and all our pet's names) in Mandarin. It was really fun to see them get so tickled. I did use it as a chance to point out that there might be some little Chinese boys on the other side of the world using Google Translate to listen to their names in English and that they might be falling down laughing too about how different it sounds.
I feel great about our first day. I am going to love this special time with my boys. Being a homeschooler is awesome!!