In Your Presence, There is Fullness of Joy! / Second Homeschool Year, Second Grade

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August 12, 2013

Update: Please note changes providing a better glimpse of how our school days actually come about.  🙂

Our second year of homeschool has begun! I give all the Glory to God for every part of the day, because, had I actually enforced all the work I had planned in my mind, my children (almost 7 and 16 months), would have had a major fit. (Not to mention, I would have been exhausted beyond belief to survive AFTER school!)

Last year, the lesson that I learned was to stop comparing myself to the overflowing bin of projects and work that my daughter brought home from preschool and kindergarten and to realize that quality, not quantity was better. And on that note, I realized at the end of our year while preparing for the end-of-the year portfolio assessment, that our 1st grade bin WAS pretty full with a lot of great things. Not only that… but it was a bin that naturally happened by God’s grace.  He gave me all of my plans and gave me the clarity of mind to line up a wonderful curriculum with a three month old baby.  And on those days that I *thought* I planned something wonderful… it ended up even better things were orchestrated than I could plan.  It was a great learning curve how to teach while managing a household with a growing baby boy and being a part of our Classical Conversations community.  An added bonus was that even in amidst this unchartered territory, my daughter tried for Memory Master for her Timeline from Creation to the present day, History, Science, Latin, Math, Geography, and Presidents.  She did not earn the complete title.. but nailed Timeline, U.S. Presidents, History, and Science… and that was good enough for us!  My hope of a great education has been blessed!

I literally even now look back with goosebumps and thankfulness that God provided. I was even surprised that the teacher who performed our assessment could see how God arranged teachable moments that I did not plan. I mean, who can plan a week on fire safety and then lightning strikes a neighbor’s house and the whole roof and interior is burned up? How was it that I had a blood work appointment and our science lesson for the day ended up being on all the components of what makes up blood? This teacher was so encouraging and I realized that relaxing made a better mom and teacher for us all and kids who were better students (except for Math, which is another story in progress). She explained to me that school outside the home cannot be fully compared to school within the home. Her analogy was that outside school has so many demands made on teachers that it has become like microwave cooking – so much done quickly, but not the same freedom to explore different topics like when home cooking. A home cooked meal takes much more work and careful adding of ingredients… but the outcome is wonderful and ingredients can be changed to enhance a “dish” anytime. I loved this metaphor.

The truth is, though, that I went through mountains and valleys my first year. I am so thankful for the enormous other classical homeschool moms who came around me to encourage me and spur me on.

As we entered summer, I realized that even with all that I learned as a teacher and how much growth I saw in our daughter, I had no clue what teaching the Second Grade would look like with a toddler into everything while running my health and wellness business from home.  I simply could not imagine what my life would be like.  Then I remember one day, I just realized that feeling like this was okay.  It hit me like a ton of bricks, that if God had made our year so wonderful last year, I could jump out into uncharted territory just the same again.

Even still, I planned.  Slowly but surely, I carefully arranged our curriculum for the year.  There was just one problem.  What would our schedule look like for each day?  I thought and I thought.  Weeks I went over different scenarios in my head.  Even after all of this pondering, I STILL could not figure it out!

Suddenly, August 12th, the day I had picked for so long to start our first day of Second Grade, was tomorrowI worked feverishly ’till 2 a.m. trying to comprehend my material and what I would teach and exactly how it would look.  You may be thinking how I could be such a procrastinator to wait until the day before… but truly I did not wait… the mass weight of the school year just crept up on my mind!  I was looking for that theme, that glue, that would catapult us into a positive mindset for a great year.  Last year I had done a scavenger hunt for our daughter to search the house high and low for a gold coin.  And we learned about how searching for Wisdom is worth far more than gold.  She loved it!  Our theme was Wisdom for the entire year.  I knew I had to do some sort of hunt again, but for what?

And then… I found it!  I opened up the book to our first day of our devotions and the word literally jumped out at me.  The question of the week was, “What is man’s primary purpose?”

Answer:  “Man’s primary purpose is to glorify God and to ENJOY Him forever!

ENJOY!  I could hear it in my heart at 2 a.m. that this is God’s will for our year!  Why did He even create us?  To glorify HIM, which brings us to ENJOY him!  How much better is it to be around our friends when we edify them?  As a result of thinking highly of them, we begin to see all of their wonderful qualities even more and we ENJOY THEM!

At 2 a.m. in the morning, it became clear to me that in giving Him the Glory for our year before it even began, He would come near to us and bring JOY to our year!  How did I know this?  Our memory work for our first day of school “coincidentally” was:

“You make known to me the path of life; In Your presence there is FULLNESS OF JOY In Your Right Hand, there are pleasures forever.” ~ Psalm 16:11

Wow!  I quickly realized, He would be faithful to make each school day KNOWN to me!  I am merely a translator.  I don’t need to know everything.  He knows it all and will make it known to me!!  He might guide a whole year’s worth my planning, but He always has surprises that show us all who is actually The Teacher in our house.  It all goes back to Him.  Which is the Classical Conversations mission statement.  Why do we homeschool?  To know Him and to make Him known.  At CC orientation last night, even the pastor commented that we, as homeschoolers, have an awesome opportunity.  We can go out into our communities and bring joy to others.

Pondering more about what “enjoying” meant for our homeschool meant for me that I did not need to stay up past 2 a.m. anymore and could trust that a wonderful first day of school would take place. I could use the theme in every part of our day.  We are gonna throw bad attitudes out (like when Math begins) and learn to enjoy it.  We can go outside and enjoy the day.  It is God’s will for us to enjoy each other.  So just like that, my theme for the first day’s scavenger hunt and the year was made:  ENJOY.

You might be wondering how our day went.  I can tell you easing into the day made it enjoyable to the utmost and I will share the details in my next post.

Below are pics of her discovering the fun and what I wrote on each scavenger card she had to find.  Reading it will not make total sense until I share the meaning next time… so stay tuned!  For now, I will go enjoy my bed!  🙂

                                             

I’m not sure if you can see that each card has a letter on it.  After she got them all, she had to scramble to find our word for the year, “ENJOY.”

1st card (Blank on Back):

Welcome to the 2nd grade!  Can you guess and find the prize and solve the word that cuts our thoughts and heart like a blade?  (Hint: Check the mail!) (Note: She was looking for an “e”nvelope.  Words, you find in a letter, was the word I was looking for that cuts like a blade.)

E:

E is for early.  Waking up early gets us ready for the day so we can do anything and be prepared to go anywhere!

Follow the noise to where you hear the sound to find the letter N! (Hint: It is round and silver!) ( Note: Inside was a nickel hidden by the TV making the sound to lure her.)

N:

N is for Nickel.  We use it to buy thing.  We can’t pay unless we can add and subtract.  We only have fun after it is bought!

See if you can find the next clue in the spinning cupboard next to the dishwasher

(Hint: It is something you eat!)  (Note: The clue was found on top of the “J”elly in our lazy susan)

J:

J is for Jelly.  It comes from fruit.  We can’t do our work without it.  It’s something God gave to us.  The come from His Spirit.  One of the yummiest ones also starts with J.  Do you know what it is? (I was getting her to think of “Joy”)

Where is the next clue?  It starts with “O”!  Put on your shoes and go! (Note: “O” is for “o”utside.)

O:

O is for outside.  We will be out here a lot.  Loving God’s creatures and exploring His earth!

The next clue is a color.  Look up in Heaven with your eyes.  I’ll give you a hint, the color starts with “Y.” (Note:  The color was Yellow.)

Y:

Y is for yellow.  It is the color of the sun.  In second grade we will learn all about the heavens, the stars, the sun, and the moons.  Did you know it was all made to give praise to God’s Son?

Y is also for you.  God made YOU so He could smile.  So we must thank Him by doing everything to praise Him!  🙂

E-N-J-O-Y

When she unscrambled them, she found the card with the word spelled out and on the other side, a picture of an ice cream cone.  Hooray!  Enjoying Ice Cream at the end of our first day!

Remember to enjoy your day!