Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Very Last First Day of School

Awww! Aren't they just the cutest kindergarten students ever?

As we wrap-up our ninth year of homeschooling, I thought it might be fun to take a short walk down Memory Lane.

That picture up there was taken on the first day of kindergarten. It has been our tradition every year to have the kids stand in front of a maple tree in our front yard. As the tree has grown, the kids have grown. I need to get all of my "first day of school" pictures out and compare them and the tree. I'm certain my kids have grown more. Actually, it's hard for me to believe Caleb is almost as tall as me and has feet bigger than mine. Poor kid. Well, at least he's a boy, right? Boys with big feet are acceptable. But that's another story for another time!

I started attending a local homeschool group when my kids were only 2 and 4 years old. I wanted to peek in on the lives of other homeschoolers in order to find out what worked and what didn't. I wanted to formalize in my own mind, what school would look like for our family. And so I had a few years to create a vision for our school, pray about what God would have me do as my children's teacher, do lots and lots of research, read lots and lots of books, and come-up with a plan tailored for our family. Can I just say the vision the Lord gave to me (I wrote out this vision like I did my business model in earlier years) has been a wonderful blessing for our family. I have stuck to the plan and I have found God to be faithful to our family in ways that are beyond my comprehension. Some ask if I will school my children through high school. Lord willing, absolutely. I can't imagine it any other way.

Anyway, here's my story as I recall our very first day of school. Let me just say that I happen to be one of those people whose life is built around structure. I happened to think it would be good for my children to learn early on that structure and discipline are great habits and character qualities. So, school starts at 8. And that's that.

Before anyone gets all excited, let me just say that that's how I do it. Thankfully, everyone has the flexibility to do what's best for their home school. I've always been a morning person and so it only made sense to get up and get going. OK? OK!

We have always started our school day by praying and reading scripture together. I have not been shy to tell others that I believe with all my heart this one single commitment has been the heart beat of our school day, our school week, and our school year. After our Bible time together, math followed, and then phonics and handwriting. Our school time ended with Caleb and Rachel snuggled on my lap as we read together, over those first few years, literally hundreds and hundreds of books.

I thought on our very first day of school it would be a special treat to take the kids out to lunch. After all, if they were in "school" they would get to go to lunch. So we hopped in the car and drove to a nearby outlet mall that had a food court. The kids could choose what they wanted for lunch (just like going to the school's cafeteria) and we could make a wonderful memory for our first day of school.

I wasn't surprised to find that both Caleb and Rachel wanted pizza for lunch. We headed over to a little pizza restaurant where, surprisingly, there wasn't anyone in line. Each of the kids took a tray and we each chose our slice of pizza. Just about that time, the guy standing behind the counter looked at me and said, "What? No school today?"

Pause here... Can I just say I had absolutely no idea this was a loaded question. None whatsoever. You can start feeling sorry for me right about here.

With my two beautiful kindergarten students by my side, I held my head high and said, "Oh, yes! This is our lunch break. We homeschool!" Without even so much as a pause, this man said, "I suppose that means you all sit and watch Sesame Street all day, right?" I was so taken off guard, still smiling, I said, "Of course, not!" To which he said, "Yea, right. I'll be watchin' you all on Jerry Springer in a few years! I know your kind."

My little itty-bitty heart just pounded furiously. I couldn't believe this man had just said this to me. To me! Thank the good Lord, my tongue was frozen. I couldn't think of anything to say. Not one word. I paid for our pizza and slunkered away.

Of course, on my way home I had all kinds of come backs that came to mind. I'm certain I was talking out loud, in my car, with my two kindergartners strapped in their seats. This is the one I remember most. It may be because I kept saying it over and over again: "Well, sir, I'm sure my children will not aspire to be a pizza man when they are 50 years old. And just where exactly did you go to school?" This was followed by huffing and puffing and absolute disbelief. I mean, really. How could anyone say this to me?

I got home with the kids and was so flustered, I picked up my Bible and started reading. And, of course, the Lord planted this one verse right in the path of my daily reading...

Proverbs 9:7
Whoever corrects a mocker invites insult.

So there you have it. Had my tongue not been frozen, I'm sure this story would be much longer. Who knows what else might have happened. I suppose it's possible I could have jumped over the counter and had my hands wrapped around that sorry man's neck! Insult my kids? Well, I never!

And that, my friends, is the story of our very last first day of school.


  1. Before I started reading these "journal entries", I wasn't proud...nah, not in the least! I'm startin' to get the feelin' that I'm "gettin there", tho...=D

  2. Dear me. :S I've heard, though, that people scorn only what they don't understand or what they are afraid of. I'm glad you've kept up with homeschooling! As a homeschool graduate, I can say it is the BEST! :D

  3. AnonymousMay 12, 2010

    I got tears in my eyes realizing what hard work, sacrifice, devotion, etc. it must take day in and day out and what great benefit, reward, success, etc. there is in return!!