A First Couple of Weeks

Our first week is behind us now. And I say that with a sigh of relief. We got everything done! I didn't plan or require too much. It was a good week, even if the first week is always a little taxing. The older kids weren't as shocked at the rude arrival of academic life as they have been in the past, and as the littles were this week. I think the older kids actually enjoyed themselves.

The littles, particularly Esmond (my love, my son), will hopefully come to love our scholé life in time. It's not that the work is too hard for him. It's not that the work takes too long for him. (We can get all of his work done in probably 45 minutes if we did it back to back.) Maybe it's the fact that he has not actually gotten bored yet? He thinks he should play outside, or watch TV, or help Daddy work all day. That's enough for him right now.

But the older kids know about boredom. Their minds are looking for more ideas to digest and expand.

I kind of engineered that starvation this year. The week before we began school, we army-crawled our way into the new schedule. It was a struggle, I tell you. I am not an early riser. But my whole plan, every ounce of my routine and rhythm depended on my getting up at 6:30 every morning. This is a problem for me. So either I had to change my plans or I had to change my habits.

My habits needed the change because my plans also included plans that I could not change. The time church starts. Or co-op.

Our first week was actually the week before we started school, and it was when we started our new morning habits. Our habits are not firmly in place. They are on shaky ground right now, these new habits of early rising. In fact, just this morning I overslept til 7. But we are on the way.

The habit forming week, I struggled to get up at 6:30, the kids struggled when I woke them up at 7. We spent several mornings practicing getting our chores done. And even spent 3 mornings practicing getting to co-op on time. At the end of the morning practice, I would ask, "Ok, what could we do better?" And the next morning, we did a little better.

I was not perfect, just to clarify. On the first day, I assumed we would perfectly execute my plan. Quickly, I realized that was not going to happen. And my reaction to this revelation left room for improvement. But I calmed down and asked the question. We all admitted our problems and made note of the way to improve. And we had the next day to try again.

After chore time, there was nothing for the kids to do. I was getting ready for co-op, so I had plenty to do. But the kids, they didn't really have anything to do. So I kept reminding them, this is good! We will have plenty of time to get our work done if we have space in our time.

And then the next Monday came around, and we were ready. (Mostly.) We didn't have to start with everything, because co-op had not begun, so our first day was somewhat light. Still, it felt uncomfortable and stressful for me (the one who still expects perfection on the first day). Tuesday was our first day at the co-op and it went amazingly well. I'm thankful, so very thankful, for our loving co-op. Wednesday was our first full day at home. Thursday and Friday quickly followed. The older kids are challenged but are loving their work. Their minds are at work now, and no longer starving in boredom. The littles, Esmond, my love, my son, and Noemi, my baby, weren't quite so enthusiastic. Noemi is actually fine, but she did have a little head cold that made her miserable (and miserable to be around). Esmond does not enjoy sitting yet except on his own terms. He will listen to books, he will recognize sounds, he will play with pencil and paper...but not when I say. So his lesson to learn this year is not one that is fun to learn or to teach. It is discipline.

He will learn though, that what we do, this scholé at home is delightful and enchanting. I'm already seeing improvement actually. We've been reading a short version of The Song of Hiawatha. The pictures are beautiful, but they show more of the story than the words. There is a ghostly figure in the background that looks like the mother of Hiawatha, and Nokomis is too old to be the mother. So today he insisted on reading the big kids' version to learn the story in those pictures. We did, even though the new information was sad and incomprehensible. (Why did she die?)

His mind is awakening. He is getting hungry for ideas.

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