Our First Day of School for the 2015 – 2016 School Year…It Was NOT Pretty

As homeschoolers, we get to set our own schedule.  As long as we complete 180 days, no one really cares which 180 days we choose to have school.  I love this flexibility.

July is always horribly hot in Memphis.  My boys hibernate in July, and it always just felt like a waste of summer to me.  We much prefer ending the year in mid-to-late April and having May off.  It is perfect weather in May to start our summer break.  All of that just to say that…

We started school today!!!  Day One of 10th Grade… Sophomore Year for both my boys.

I like to start the year off by getting routines straight.  I reminded my boys of their chores.  They should have been doing them all summer, too… well, we just slacked.  In addition to chores, we also went over routine personal hygiene.  Teenage boys seem to need these reminders more than girls.  We spent the first several hours of our school day doing chores, showering, etc.  These are things that normally wouldn’t take more than an hour because they typically do many of them the night before.  Not the start I was hoping for, but at least we’re getting our routines back.

If the chores and hygiene wasn’t a rough enough start, we misplaced a teacher’s guide that was purchased years ago when my daughter took the class (by we, I mean “me”.  I misplaced it.  Yikes!)  We haven’t found it yet which means I get to spend my afternoon hunting down boxes and boxes of old curriculum and sorting through it all.  Ugh!!

Finally, we start an actual school subject at 10:00 am.  We start with chemistry.  Since our chemistry class has a lab, we are supposed to spend 2 hours a day (or 10 hours a week as I like to see it).  Three hours later, we are almost done.  My boys still have to do the vocabulary and reread the two sections.  Why did I try to do two sections on the first day of school?  Over-ambition gets me sometimes.

At this point, it is 1:00 pm, and my boys are pointing out that they haven’t eaten lunch yet.  I send them to the kitchen to put something in the oven for their lunch.  While it is cooking, we go over this week’s spelling/vocabulary words.  They eat lunch.  I think we are all cringing at the thought of all the subjects we haven’t even touched yet.

Lunch is over.  I forgot to eat.  By “forgot to eat”, I mean that I chose to do laundry instead.  That’s okay.

In English Grammar, I have been disappointed each year by the timing that the grammar book teaches prepositions.  I complain to my children about it regularly, but I always seemed to just go with their timeline.  This year, I finally realized that I would start with prepositions.  Diagramming long sentences is so much easier if you can successfully identify all the prepositional phrases and pop them out.  Yay!  I finally did something that feels right.  We turned to page 276 in the grammar book and began with prepositional phrases.  I plan to take this section slower and really get it down.

Next is American History.  We all love history so it is no surprise that the section takes about an hour and a half to finish because we keep having discussions.  This is good, though… Until… “Who is Martin Luther?”

“Isn’t he the civil rights guy?”

“No, that is Martin Luther King, Jr.  Who was he named after?”

“Martin Luther King,” says both my boys in unison.

Wow!  We just covered Martin Luther in World History last year.  Today was a lot like trying to blow a fog away with a hand fan.  It will probably take us a few days just to get our heads back into school.

We completed the day with independent learning exercises in Computer Technology for one child, Accounting and Guitar for the other along with American Literature, Health, and Foreign Language for both.  I decided that we will start Algebra II tomorrow after I find the teacher’s key.  We also made a solid plan for getting in our PE hours (much of which will be on weekends).

It has been a long day with more problems than solutions.  That’s how it goes sometimes, but I wouldn’t trade homeschooling for anything else.  The rewards always far outweigh the problems.  Since history is the strongest predictor of the future, I know that the fog will clear, the teacher’s manual will be found, the routine will become normal, and we will have a great year full of insight, learning, innovation, creativity, and light bulb moments sporadically interspersed with days of frustration, challenges, and even a few tears.   It will all be good.  It will all be worth it.

UPDATE:  Day 2 – The Algebra II Teacher’s Manual has been located, and our day went a whole lot smoother than Day 1.  It’s all good!


first day of school

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About Trisha

Trisha Kilpatrick is a homeschooling mother of three. She has a degree in Education with a double major in Elementary and Special Education, but she is more proud of her countless hours of volunteer work in Children's Church. She believes that all children can learn and that, in life, simple is almost always best. *Affiliate links are used on this site. I may be compensated when you click on or buy from these links. If you have any questions, you can contact me at questions@trishadishes.com .

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