Back to School 2013

I’ll admit, Sunday night I was pretty stressed out about my preparations for our first day of school. Abigail wasn’t sleeping well, I didn’t get to bake muffins, and I was just nervous that it would be a crazy-hard day.  Chris hung the streamers,
I got the circle time rug ready,
and the workboxes ready to go. We’re doing a slight adaptation of the workbox system this year — it’s an organizational approach to homeschooling that gets rave reviews for multiple-kid households. Each morning, Jonas’ green tags are loaded with little icons and numbers on disks. Each number points him to a folder in his workbox containing the textbook or papers he needs to complete a subject. For things that don’t fit inside the workbox (like math, which is on the computer this year; or art projects or physical movement time) he has icons on the disk telling him what to do.
I hung up the morning message and made sure the calendar was ready to go.
I put out the traditional First Day of School gifts (mostly school supplies and a few little treats). This year Susannah recieved her schultuete, which is given on the first day of first grade in Germany, but we did Jonas’ schultuete during preschool so we’re continuing that with the girls. She got new markers and crayons, a purple journal notebook, a purple pencil grip, stamps and a pencil case, and a purple felted purse.
Abigail got a Minnie Mouse doll, a glow ball, and a set of new giant triangular crayons in her pencil case.
Jonas got new markers and crayons, a Mario notebook, “3rd Graders Rock” pencils and a gripper, green scissors, and stamps and a pencil case.
This is Susannah’s workbox setup. More of her activities are larger, so this is a set of 12×12 drawers. The disks on her yellow tags always start with circle time, which Abigail can participate in too; and then she has workbooks and paper/pencil activities (most of which have the second disk on the drawer noting that she needs to do it with Mom) interspersed with more active, hands-on, or fun/game activities. As she finishes the activity, she moves the disk from the yellow tag to that Work Strip (it says “Look what Susannah did today!”). It gives her a great visual reinforcement to see what she has accomplished and how many activities remain until she’s all done for the day.
Here’s a look at the left side of the room – Jonas uses that station in the left foreground to sit with headphones and complete his math on the laptop. The easel is set up with our daily calendar work, but we can flip it for both chalkboard or whiteboard art, or painting.
Other side of the room. The white shelf in the back holds our flag, Jonas’ workbox,  my magazine file with papers and books for the week. It’s also got our office supplies and stereo (and there’s another hook and set of headphones there – it will be a listening station for Susannah to do audio books from time to time). The doors hide supplemental books and manipulatives that I don’t need daily, but do need access to throughout the year.
The colored strips on the wall are our new History Through the Ages timeline. The yellow strips are from Creation through the year 0, and the red strips begin with the year 0 and will proceed through the 1700s. We covered Creation through the Fall of Rome (AD 476) last school year, and this year we will backtrack just a bit, reviewing the 400s and proceeding through the presidency of John Adams.
Most important preparation: coffee pot set to auto brew at 6:00 a.m. 🙂
After breakfast –which, due to a crazy-wakeful baby who started her day at 4:00 am, ended up being homemade muffins after all!– I gave the green light to check out the school room. I love the expressions on their faces:
Happy K4 girl:
Happy toddler:
Jonas thinks doing his math lessons on the computer is “so awesome,” and apparently it’s much cooler to do addition review with a little digital “buddy” cheering you on than just reviewing with mom or dad.
Trying out those new crayons:
I don’t know WHY the dog was so exhausted. I’m the one who stayed up late, got up early, and had all those lessons to teach…
~Official First Day of K4 portrait~
Susannah Elizabeth, age 4
8/3/2013
~Official First Day of Third Grade Portrait~
Jonas Patrick, age 7
8/3/2013
Previous “first day of school” posts:

(I didn’t post about the first day of school 2011-2012! Between the move, the new baby, and Jonas’ swallowed toy, it was a busy fall.)
First day of school 2010-2011
First day of school 2009-2010

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MICHELLE NEBEL

I write uplifting women’s fiction woven with threads of faith, grace, and Southern hospitality. My blog is where I share a glimpse of my life, and I hope you’ll find the thoughts here encouraging!

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