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What is your 'First Day of School' like?

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I have made my curriculum choices for our 3rd grade twins and our 5th grade dd, and I am buying the stuff that we need. I have been unable to decide about CC - mostly due to $$$ and the fact that I know I can cover what we need to cover, AND because I tend to make everything MORE complicated, maybe this year I need to keep us here with the plan I have (which includes dd10 taking a once a week IEW class from Sept till May - and I am very pleased with that) -- and see how complicated I just made that one SENTENCE!:banghead:

So, before I begin making Lesson Plans (which I have absolutely learned the importance of having made in advance), should the kids and I jump in with every subject at once, start with a few (the CORE, for instance, Math, History, Language Arts) or what? This is where I got messed up two years with the twins (that and the 4 million other things going on at the time:willy_nilly:(moving, ADHD, chronically ill older daughter, the Landlord from you-know-where).

And, even though we are doing work over the summer (Math - just because they like it - oh, and reading, of course) do you advise beginning with smaller increments of time and then building up?

AND, the BIG QUESTION :confused:: I don't need an exact number, but realistically, how much time (in hours) do you estimate that we should be in 'school' every day? And, just to point out how CRUCIAL that question is for me....I was the homeschooling mom two years ago who was trying to get her twins to sit for 5 hours to make up for lost time :eek: b/c we had been moving, the twins were a horror behavior-wise, etc. Fortunately for all three of us, many of you chimed in with your wisdom, and I re-thought the 5 hour a day plan.

Sorry that this is so long -- I DO want this coming school year to be a positive one for the kids and for me. I know that as much as the three of them are looking forward to it, they are going to experience ambivalance b/c they do love the private school they were attending.

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We start slowly too. We have an orientation day the week before. I get out the books and show dh what we are doing for each subject. I show ds his new books and explain some of the "rules of the school". Dh is pretty hands off in our schooling due to his work schedule, but he is prepped before our orientation by me to make sure he sounds excited and looks through the material.


This is also the time dad has a pep talk with ds about doing your best, I proud of you, I know you'll do great, etc. Now we've been hanging out in the classroom all summer doing fun things but that orientation kind of sets the mood that it's time to get back to serious study.


My ds is an active learner and five hours at one stretch is too much for him. I only have one and we school from about 10am to almost 3pm, that includes about an hour total of breaks.

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Our first day of school, here's what we do:


*breakfast at place DD picks

* photo session to get that year's school photo

* not-going-back-to-school picnic and playdate with some friends who also homeschool


The first day of school for us is also where DD gets to really sit and look through everything I've purchased for this next year. She's seen bits and pieces here and there, but not really gotten the chance to look at everything. Then we talk about which subjects will be done on particular days. We do a math lesson (which we do math all summer so she's used to it), read some books that relate to our first unit in history and science...and then call it good for the day.


I usually plan for our studies to be a little lighter the first week and then go full-gear the next week. But DD is usually the one pestering for "One more lesson! One more book!" so I would probably go slower if she wasn't so excited about getting back to school.

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With us, the very first day is somewhat slower than normal. We are getting acquainted with everything that we are going to be doing and trying to figure what the best scheduling would be. By day two we buckle down and do it all. I had always thought that starting off ssslllooowwwlllyyyy would be the best route, because all the "been there done that " people I knew advised it. With us, however, it did not work. Art appreciation took forever to get started to and we didn't even do our composer study until school was almost over! :blush: Our days vary in length. We did a lot of notebooking with minibooks in science last year and some days that took at least an hour and a half. Days where we did art projects also took a lot longer, depending on what we were doing, if there was drying time involved.....etc. I think that most typically we can school in four hours or less. But with the addition of Latin and logic this year........... who knows?:001_smile:

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We start by just getting our morning routine in shape.


Here's our schedule for the first week of school:

8:00 wake

8:30 run/exercise

9:00 shower/dress

9:30 breakfast/clean up

10 - 11 math

11 - 12 composition/grammar


12:30 independent reading

Pool/free time


The first Monday in September looks more like this:


7:30 wake

8:00 run/exercise

8:30 shower/dress

9:00 breakfast/clean up

9:30 math

10:30 history or science

11:30 composition, grammar, literature (language arts)

12:30 lunch

1:00 - ? memory/vocab or Bible, spelling, Japanese, (these subjects rotate)

free time


This is a very generic schedule. My oldest has an online class on Wednesday morning and our Friday schedule covers other subjects (geography, logic). We're usually done by 2:00 or 2:30.


HTH, Stacy

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Ohhh, I like the idea of an orientation day ahead of time! I might try that this year.


For our first day of school, I like to get everybody a new shirt to wear and some new school supplies--crayons, pencils, stickers, new glue sticks. Actually I think last year I gave them all colored pencils and a nature journal. We take pictures and do school only until 12:00, no matter how it goes, then we meet Daddy downtown and go out to lunch.


I know I started out slowly at first last year without Latin, FIAR, art, or writing. I was still waiting for WWE to come and was also still figuring out how to schedule a new kindergartner into our days. Art never really did happen here all year. It's my worst subject to fit in, always. Maybe I'll start with it this year! :tongue_smilie:


Technically we're supposed to be working on math, reading, and writing through the summer, so those subjects/books won't really be new for us when our fall schedule starts. So for our upcoming "official first day of school," I'm going to make sure we have something fun to do to kick off our new history (SOTW 3) and science (chemistry). I will also start a new read aloud that day so there is something different to look forward to.


Speaking of that fall schedule, I don't have a new daily schedule worked out yet for this upcoming year and judging by last year, other than starting with scripture study, we like to change the order of our subjects on a daily basis. I find that 3 hours a day is plenty of time to get everything done. Due to out of the house commitments, we don't have 3 hours in one block two days a week, so I'm going to try for more time on Mondays and Tuesdays to make up for it. I'm also working on daily checklists so my kids can be more independent with some stuff as we'll be adding a new baby into the mix come January.

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The week that we begin school, I usually shut the door to our classroom and redecorate the room with new posters and have all our supplies, books and some fun school items laid out for the boys to see. We go thru all the books and then we always do a first day survey of questions:

beginning year height and weight



favorite shows

favorite foods,colors, music,etc.

I also add different questions each year like "if you sit with 3 famous people on a park bench and chat..who would you pick?"

These surveys we will then repeat at the end of the year to see how they have changed.

My boys look forward to these and I told them as they grow older, they will enjoy looking at them and see who they were at various ages.

I make it fun on the first 2-3 days.

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Our first day of school includes breakfast out (usually IHOP). Then we will slowly build up to an official school day over the course of the week.


I try to finish school between 2-3pm everyday (depending on how many outside activities we have planned).

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Our first week of school (for my older kids) consists of grammar/writing instruction but no writing assignment (basically familiaring with where we are and our goals for this yr), math, history, and science.


The following week I add in religion, foreign lang, geography, and writing.


It gives us time to readjust to school days, familiarize ourselves with new texts/approaches/topics, and work up to a routine.

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