Monday, August 25, 2014

first day of school...

Well, it's a wrap.  Summer vacation of 2014 is officially over.  I have a few posts that I've written about our adventures pending, but I wanted to post the kids first day of school pictures. 

I was a little worried about the first day of school, because my boys finally learned to sleep in last week.  Last week.  Literally, they went from waking up every day at 7:00 to waking up at 9:30.  It was awesome and frustrating all at the same time.  On the one hand, I loved the time alone in the morning.  My favorite thing to do in the morning is sit in the quiet of the house before anyone else is up with a fresh cup of coffee.  I'd really love to do this on my screened in porch, but since I don't have one I usually sit in my living room and imagine how great it would be to be on my screened in porch.  On the other hand, I was concerned that this tendency to sleep in would make the start of school hard for all of us.

But all my worry was for naught.  Last night, Grace woke me up at 2:00am and stayed up for the day.  Yipee!  I finally brought her downstairs after my shower at 6:15 and discovered John asleep on the couch, he hadn't been there at 6:00 when I came down for my first cup of coffee.  Apparently, he had a headache and woke Mark up for some medicine.  At 6:30 Luke came down and said 'Mom did you forget?'.  To which I said 'forget what?' and he replied 'Forget to say 'Good morning boys, it's time to get up for school.'?'  I just starting laughing because that is literally what I say every morning and said, 'No Luke I didn't forget.  You are all up an hour before you need to be to get up for school."

The boys were excited to go back to school to see their friends but not thrilled that summer vacation was over.  John said he was a little worried about the amount of homework he would get in 5th grade and the fact that he was told the teacher is very strict.  I asked him why that bothered him since he never gets in trouble at school and he said it just did.  Luke couldn't wait to see his best friends, which includes most of his class.  He was a little concerned about the amount of homework he would be getting in second grade after John told him he should be concerned.

We tried to stay on top of learning this past summer by reading and doing workbooks but I think it will take a while for us all to adjust to the routine of school again.  One way I've found to reduce the amount of stress in our days is to write out morning and afternoon routines.  These are not complex schedules but rather the steps that the boys need to follow to get ready for school.  For example, the boys wrote up the following morning routine; get up, get dressed, eat breakfast, brush teeth and comb hair, put on socks and shoes, pack school bag, play time.  I type the lists up and post them in our kitchen on our pantry door. 

We've been doing this for three years now and I like this practice for two main reasons, 1) I am helping to teach them how to organize and plan their time.  This is something that is intuitive for some people and not for others.  So it is a really valuable skill to teach your children.  Also, as they get older I'm hoping will translate into their school work and other areas of their lives.  And 2) I have found that it cuts down on my yelling in the morning and the boys whining if we have written routines of what they are supposed to do. Now all I have to do is say, 'What should you do next?' and they look at the sheet and do it.  They also know what time we need to be in the car to leave for school, so if they want play time they learn not to fool around and just get their tasks done.

We also have an absolute rule of no screen time in the morning.  None.  At all.  This is not something they are thrilled with but they accept it.  We do allow screen time during the week after homework is done and they know that this can be changed to weekends only if they complain or while about it.

Hope the first day of school was a good one for your crew.  Next week it's Grace's turn to go back...


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