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Phew. As I am sitting down to write this I am exhausted. Today was the first day of first grade for us. I prepared tirelessly for today over the last couple months, and the day finally came. It went really well. School took us just under 3 hours to finish, which was definitely different than last year. Kindergarten took us under an hour to complete each day, but we were doing quite a bit less work, and I wasn’t using any curriculum aside from Phonics Pathways.
I woke up this morning feeling a nervousness I had never felt. The day started off just weird. The coffee pot wouldn’t work, Piper was in a mood (when isn’t she) and I was just feeling super unprepared. I have no idea why. I had planned and planned. I even sat in bed with Jake last night and went through Addie’s math lessons for today from beginning to end because I was nervous and worried I would mess it up. I literally practiced teaching.
Nevertheless, the willies persisted through math. Until I realized this is no different from last year, really. I am still teaching the same bright, ready-to-learn 6 year old. Addie is just so easy. Halfway through our first math lesson I was feeling better. I wasn’t feeling like I was going to fail my child.
As homeschool parents, we spend a lot of time explaining our decision to keep our kids home to those close to us. Most listen with open ears, nod and comprehend but some question us. Some question our abilities to teach our children without a degree. Those people who have trepidation about mine and Jake’s decision to homeschool are constantly in the back of my head. What about her social skills? (Addie has never met a stranger…the child could make friends with a grumpy old man.) What about high school math? What if you can’t keep her attention? Wont Piper make it hard for you to give Addie the attention she needs? All of these questions haunt your thoughts the night before the first day of first grade. Even while I speak the words “co-op, tutor, I will learn as she learns” I am still doubting my abilities to teach her.
But then the first day of first grade comes, and it goes off without a hitch. Addie truly enjoyed herself. Instead of her 2 mandatory books for the day, she read 3. She listened to me read about historians and archaeologists while she drew a picture of a village whose water supply had run out. She clapped excitedly when I told her about the very first poem she’d be memorizing this year. and my mind was clear. This is how I’ll do it all, with the encouragement of Addie. With her willingness to read and learn and perform to the best of her ability. Every day I will push myself to keep feeding her hungry mind.
I wont lie, we were both pooped at the end of the school day. It was a whole new ballgame for the two of us, and Piper even. But I am happy to report that all of my nerves have calmed, I can and will be successful at this endeavor because it’s not rocket science. I know Addie like the back of my hand, and even if I don’t have teaching degree, that alone makes me the most equipped person in the world to educate her. Which is pretty darn cool.
Have your kids started school yet? How was their first day?