First day

On a whim yesterday morning I decided to start school. Why start on Monday when we had the whole day stretched before us with not one thing to do? I told the kids early in the morning that I had a surprise for them, and that I would unveil it after we’d eaten breakfast, done our chores, and gotten ready for the day. We went about our morning routine and then at 9:30, I told them. “Guess what? We’re going to have school today!

Ella was so excited she about burst into happy tears. Really. Isaac tore off into the other room to get his “school book”, which is really a Tonka sticker book we picked up at Costco last week and told him he could do for one of his “school” activities. Ella raced in after him to help him reach it, and then they both sat at the table. Ella had grabbed her school box filled with pencils and erasers, and I set out a sheet of paper for her. She sat, ready and waiting, pencil poised above her paper. Isaias just followed along as if to say: “What? Everyone’s running to the table all excited? Me, too!” I got him some crayons and paper and he settled into his seat.

We began with phonics.

Well, actually- we’d begun over breakfast when we read a Psalm and did memory work, but at 9:30, we worked on phonics. I glanced at a few pages and we worked on a few sounds (me initially at the dry erase board), Ella at the table, sounding things out. This we did for maybe 10 minutes. Then I wrote a sentence up and had her read it aloud, which she did. And then she copied it.

And our copywork/penmanship segment began.

The cat sat by the mop. As she copied the sentence I watched her form her letters, noting which ones needed extra practice. So then I went over the correct writing of two letters: m and h, and told her to see if she could make 5 m’s and 5 h’s. And then mommy would choose my favorite one. She happily complied.

Isaac was contentedly working on his sticker book, interrupting only a couple of times to ask for help in getting a sticker loose. Isaias was in his seat, next to me at the table, coloring. And he only colored on the table twice.

When we’d finished that (about 10 minutes later), we pulled out Math-U-See. Ella worked on Lesson 1 and loved every minute of it. She would have gone through to Lesson 18 had I let her. While she did that, the boys played with their own little colored wooden blocks. This took maybe 15 minutes.

Then we cleaned up the table, tucked Ella’s papers into her binder and we all headed for the couch. On our schedule was chapter 1 of Hillyer’s Child’s History of the World, but I opted to read chapter 1 from our copy of Hurlbut’s Story of the Bible (which I’d tracked down after reading that Elisabeth Elliot’s father had read this aloud to their family. I love it.) I told Ella beforehand that I wanted her to narrate to me after I’d read it to her. I explained to her that ‘narrate’ meant that she could just tell me back what she remembered I’d read. She listened intently beside me, Isaias sat on my lap, and Isaac sat nearby, looking through another book but also listening.

When I was finished, she started right in on her narration, telling me (in reverse) what had happened. She did a great job. Then I told her she could draw a picture of anything she wanted to pertaining to what we’d read (Genesis 1 account). The boys followed her into the kitchen, whereupon they all settled again at the table to color. It was 11:00. I told them that we were done with school and they could play outside until daddy came home for lunch (at noon). Ella opted to finish coloring her picture, so she sat for another half-hour, coloring.

When Mark came home for lunch, she told him all about every bit of everything we’d done, and showed him her papers, and then we had lunch.

After lunch we had popcorn (because Mark had told us that his mom used to make popcorn for an after-school snack).

Ella beamed all day long. Isaac and Isaias were absolute gems. I am so thankful and I was amazed at how smooth it all went.


  1. Wow, Stacy! What a great first day. Sounds like you got so many great things done, and more importantly, everyone loved it! What lucky kiddlets to have you for a mommy and a teacher.

  2. Stacy,
    How exciting! All that preparation has paid off! I wish I would have known what I do now when I started doing school!

  3. We started this week as well. I am learning the more I do this, the more relaxed about it I get. I love, love, love home education, even on the rare bad days. :)

    Have a great year!

  4. Sounds like a wonderful morning. I think you are going to love this homeschooling thing :o)

  5. Stacy,
    An excellent narration of your first day! =) I'm glad it went so well. Thanks, too, for the photos of the family at the fair. I'll let you know if I see any cows for sale!

  6. I just wanted to comment and say that you really got me thinking about this cow thing and I am going to do some research to see how it would benefit us to have one at the Ministry Center...hmmmm.
    You can come visit!...

  7. Ok, this is SO funny. Because anyone who had heard us talk Wednesday would know full well we were not starting this week.
    Well, yesterday I decided to start today and told the boys. This way today we could do "monday" and then when we have a holiday on Monday we would be right on track for Tuesday.
    So after a very smooth day for us, I contently sat down to read your blog and laughed out loud when I read about how similar we are!
    I am glad it went well for you, although I never thought it would be anything but great!

  8. Thanks for the glimpse into your day, Stacy! I might have to look into Hurlbut's Story of the Bible. I think as a general rule, if it works for Elisabeth, it works for the rest of us. :)

  9. Hi Stacy :) What a lovely beginning! Happy First Day to all of you. We begin on Tuesday here... Love, Q

  10. Great start, Stacy! I love those days that just seem to flow! Thanks for sharing your day.

  11. Great start, Stacy! I love those days that just seem to flow! Thanks for sharing your day.

  12. Great start, Stacy! I love those days that just seem to flow! Thanks for sharing your day.

  13. Sounds like a great first day of school!

    I'm going to have to look for the Story of the Bible book. We're ready for a new read aloud.

  14. I really enjoyed reading this little sketch of your day. So precious. Your little ones are so very blessed!

  15. Love the relaxed *feel* of your day - so much more is learned when it is done like this! Hooray for the first day of school! :)

  16. Sounds like a wonderful day!

    I know what you mean about the Math U See, my Liberty would just keep going if I let her... really, I did let her a while, and I think she did 30 pages on Thursday...

    Well, enjoy the rest of your weekend! And most of all, enjoy your children-

  17. You are such a good mommy - I hope you have a wonderful Sunday, and I hope your upcoming week is just as delightful as Friday was. Remember that "feeling" when things get crazy - and they will :) - but remember your Friday and be blessed!
    Love, Lisa

  18. Oh my...that is so dear and sweet.

    I am so glad you are embracing all the good things.

    Have fun!!!

    Tonia: cow-lover

  19. Stacy;

    Sounds like a wondiferic kind of home schooling day! Enjoy your time together and watch for the God moments each day! Praise Him, Praise Him, Praise Him!

    love and hugs;
    mama to 6
    one homemade and 5 adopted

  20. What a fun first day!!!
    Great job!!

    Don't forget to plug those "teacher in-service days" into your school calendar! =)

    You will be an AWESOME homeschool mom...I have NO doubt!


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