Monday, August 27, 2012

Our first week of school

This is the first day of our second week at our school.  Last week went so well for most of us (excluding Lydie who had a rough last couple of days missing me).  The boys are adjusting with ease so far.  And I love, and I mean LOVE, teaching!  I forgot how much the routine and order of a classroom is so comforting to me.  I relish the ability to do one thing at a time with one grade level.  I love the predictability and structure.  My class is full of so many different personalities and strengths, but each child is a treasure and I have enjoyed so much getting to know each one.  What a sweet age third grade is- still loving and wanting to please, yet so well trained and self-controlled! 

I appreciate the support I am receiving from the staff.  So much prayer, insight, creativity, and encouragement every day.  I needed these boosts in my teaching and love it.  It is an amazing feeling to work at a place that I can support theologically and professionally.  The philosophy of the school is my ideal and I am so thrilled to be a part of the mission of this school!  It has been more work than I anticipated. But you know what they say about doing something you love?  That you'll never work another day in your life.  It's fun, good work.

My children are all growing under the leadership of others.  God so tenderly gave them each the teachers that they need.  I especially love the two very godly men who are/will be teaching them in the logic and rhetoric school. Also,  Joshua's teacher is so thoughtful and attentive to him as a new, shy student.  She has made observations and encouraged him in ways that most teachers would not take the time to do.  I am so thankful!  And as a result, he is thriving and making friends quickly, which is usually difficult for him.  I saw a couple of kids pat him on the shoulder to say good-bye when I picked him up today.  God is already answering prayers for us in Joshua's life.  It is good to see, and I pray that we see even more, that Joshua is coming out from under the shadow of his brother and finding his own strengths and gifts.

Jack, as usual, has made friends with all the guys and most of the girls.  He just fits right in.  Our prayer is that he would become a servant-leader for his friends, even though he is the "new guy".  I am so excited about the good habits he is forming that I struggled to instill in him.  Simple, but good things, like organization, neatness, and independence.  He has really done well with his locker, switching classes, taking notes, and keeping up with all of his assignments and tests.  And he is trying out for the school play next month.  His literature teacher has already discussed with me his "insightfulness" with the books they are studying in class.  So fun to hear other adults recognize the same gifts that I have.  (And as far as weaknesses, I am just waiting for his very particular history teacher to send me an email about his sloppy handwriting.  So glad she is more of the enforcer, and I am the cheerleader.  It's good to delegate!

Poor Lydie has struggled the most.  And to think that we hardly even prayed for her!  I expected her to jump in and not look back!  But instead, by mid week she was ready to go home and cried many tears.  Today she did much better and we are thinking she was just exhausted.  So we are going to sleep a little earlier this week and leaving school earlier, too.  She has half the school praying for her, as many children and teachers saw her crying.  I am pretty sure 50 people asked her how her day went today and hugged her.  She is loved, and she knows it.  I am sure she loved the attention and praise everyone gave her.  I think she will come around and love school as much as the boys!  I am SO excited for all of us and cannot wait to see what the Lord teaches us all this year! 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

My classroom

My only bulletin board.  I am going with a travel these the first quarter of the year.

My attempt at hot air balloons!
I chose to have to clumps of desks like these with a bookshelf at the end for extra binders, books, and supplies. 
My little area behind my desk.

I made these chevron-patterned curtains.  I tried to use red, brown, yellow, and turquoise for the main colors in the room.

It's hard to see in this picture, but we do not have desks.  We have plastic tables.  So I made a table skirt, lined on the top with turquoise ribbon, and I used velcro to attach it to the top of the table.
Happy owl pencil holder!
I cut maps and used yellow ribbon to make map pendants across the ceiling.

My door: "Let the Journey Begin", with each child's name on a license plate.

A gift for the students on Open House.  Rolos and hershey kiss pencils.
Framed Leonardo da Vinci sketches line the window.  He is the subject of our first artist study.
Refreshments for the parents.
Artist study wall.  I hope to add more soon!
These pictures do not capture my entire classroom, but they do show a few of my favorite spots.  I took these pictures on Open House night, so there were refreshments and flowers.  I try to keep fresh flowers in my room because I love them so much.  We will see how long that lasts! More on the classroom and school soon...

Monday, August 20, 2012

The first day of school

The 4 of us at 6:15, ready to roll!
We were so very excited about our first day of school.  As I have written, we prayerfully decided to end our homeschooling journey and join a private school.  Not only did the children go to school, but I joined them, as I got a job at their school teaching third grade.  This year will be an enormous transition for all of us.  I have not worked out of the home since Jackson was born twelve years ago!  And we have been homeschooling for four years!  But we feel called to this school and we are resting in that confirmation from God with eagerness and expectation.

My gift to my three sweeties the night before
It was a wonderful first day for all four of us!!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

A few fun back-to-school parties

Our school is a classical, Christian school.  This makes it different in many ways to traditional schools.  One way is that the elementary school is called the "grammar school", the middle school is the "logic" school, and the high school is called the "rhetoric" school.  The entire student body, K-12, is on one campus, on various levels of the building.
When a student enters the logic school (6th grade), there are many transitions that are very exciting.  So this is a very big year for our Jack.  There are lockers, changing of classes, and special privileges.  Two of the favorite traditions are being inducted into "houses" (much like Harry Potter) and school dances.  The children learn four or five basic dances (swing, fox trot, waltz, etc.) and have many formal and informal dances.  They learn how to ask a girl to dance and how to thank the girl and walk her back to her seat.  Before their formal dance (cotillion), they take etiquette classes during lunch and more ballroom classes during p.e.  It's a big deal and the kids love it.  They also learn fun line dances, too.  Little did we know that at the back-to-school luau, Jackson would be dancing!  So we arrived 30 minutes early and the upper class men helped the sixth graders learn the dances and learn the way to treat the girls.  It was SO PRECIOUS.  Here he is at his first dance.  (This dance was the Saturday before school.  He knew NO ONE.  And there he was, expected to dance with girls!  Can you say BRAVE??)  Afterwards he said, "Wow, Mom.  Who knew dancing could be so much fun?"  All I could say in reply is, "Jack, you are amazing!"

That week I also attended a little party.  My sweet friend and fellow teacher hosted the grammar teachers in her beautiful home for a luncheon.  Her home is amazing, cozy and adorable from top to bottom. And she had the tables and the house all decked out in a back-to-school theme.  Our devotion and prayer were so inspiring.  I could not quit thanking God that this year I will be teaching with a TEAM!!  What an answer to prayer!

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Jack's big day...12!!

Jackson turned 12 on July 31st.  We enjoyed celebrating all day long with him!  I put some tissue for him to break through on his birthday morning.  This treat was a big hit with the kids.

Birthday morning fun!
Here he comes!!
Breakfast of champions.
Simple m&m cupcakes on his actual birthday.
For breakfast he chose biscuits, french toast, eggs, and bacon.  And then he opened his presents from us.  He asked for a Lord of the Rings lego set.  He read the books this summer (with Andy's guidance) and loved them. He also got a signed copy of the Superman movie script which he saw at a local antique store.  He always has loved books and movies!

That night we had our annual tradition of taking him out to eat.  This year not only was it our own little family, but our three college friends from Atlanta (who are like family) went with us.  He chose Flip Burger for his special meal.  It was really fun and yummy, especially the Krispy Kreme and Nutella milkshakes for dessert!

Andy with our kids and our college "children"!
Sweet boys!
Later that weekend we had his party at the lake house.  We invited two families from Atlanta who we love dearly to come and spend the entire weekend.  We also invited cousins, grandparents, and a few close friends and our neighbors.  It was great fun!  The group was so large that we had "all hands on deck".  Some kids road jet skis with my brother, others went on the tubes and boat rides with my husband, and the ladies took a group to the pool, too.  We served burgers and chips and had a fishing theme for his cupcakes and decor.  He had a really wonderful time. (Pictures soon)

I cannot believe he is twelve!  One more year and we will have a teenager on our hands!  I have nothing new to say about this precious guy, only that we adore him and he brings us joy every day with his tender, servant heart.  I think he enjoyed his special celebrations and we enter another year with him praising God for the gift he is to us!

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Jack's lake birthday party

Some of Jackson's favorite people!
Fun fishing-themed cupcakes: pretzels for the rod, with gummy fish tied to the ends, blue icing for water
So easy and inexpensive!

I used fishing lures and twine for decoration, along with more gummy fish

I tied the plastic utensils and napkins with twine and a single white life saver "preserver".
This year we celebrated Jack's birthday at the lake house again.  Jack invited his cousins,aunts, uncles, and grandparents, along with two families whom we love from Atlanta, and three friends from homeschool classes.  It was a great day with jet skis, boating, and swimming.  Poor little brother slipped in the bathroom and chipped his two front teeth and busted his lip, which added a little unwanted drama.  But we affectionately just knick-named him "Shark Tooth" for the weekend and Monday morning he went to the dentist and came out as good as new.  Jack really loved introducing his two new best friends, Jacob and Caleb, to his two best friends Wes and Will from Atlanta.  And we all had a blast spending the entire weekend with these two precious families at our lake house!  It was a treat and really fun.  I cannot believe Jack is 12!  One more year and teenager-hood will be officially here!  He is very responsible, tender, hard-working, and funny.  He is so much fun and I love him so dearly.  What a delight he is to have for a son!  I think he had a great birthday and felt very special.  We will treasure these parties and encourage them as long as he will continue to let us throw them for him.  His sweet childhood is fleeting!!