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I am a home schooling mom to three amazing kiddos.  We primarily use the Montessori pedagogy to guide our journey.  We also enjoy aspects of classical education and are part of Classical Conversations community. 

I write a Montessori column for Practical Homeschooling Magazine.

I am still a geek at heart and at times miss my former career as an Information Architect/SharePoint Specialist.  I don't have much free time but if I do, it is spent on comic books and video games.
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Kindergarten - Day 1

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While we have technically home-schooled for several years, this year was extra special for me.  If choices were different, we would have loaded my first-born onto a school bus several weeks ago for her first day of kindergarten.  Oh yes folks, we are really in this now.

And for those keeping tracking, this will be her third and final year of Montessori Primary.

While we aren't legally obligated to school our children until age 7 in our state, this year still holds a very special place in my heart.  I know some people scoff at homeschooling preschoolers but the more formal approach we took has given me such confidence at this juncture.

I wanted this day to go well.  I've been planning for some time and I never dreamed things could come together this well.  I found myself up quite late the night before tidying up the school room.  I was tired but also proud of what I had accomplished.  The planning binder is updated, the phonograms folders are complete and the student binders contained work for the week.  As I got ready for bed, I felt pressed to pray for my attitude for our first day so that's what I did.

Ah yes... the new door sign.  I love it!  The kid didn't care.
My excitement about finally finding my bed was quickly dashed why I discovered a whimpering toddler had beat me there.  It didn't take me long to figure out that he was in serious pain.  I went through my usual child diagnostic checklist but it wasn't until I turned on the main light that I realized his hand had nearly doubled in size.  Ah yes, the poor little guy was suffering from a bleed due to his hemophilia.  I woke my husband and we proceeded to give him a 100% dose of factor replacement intravenously and contacted the on-call hematologist.  It was much more excitement that I'm typically used to at 2 AM.  Since there isn't much that can be done outside of stopping the bleeding we gave him a homeopathic pain reliever and rocked him back to sleep.

Thankfully, the little guy was better in the morning.  His hand still rivals Mickey Mouse but he's able to use it again.  As you can imagine, the late night experience drastically impacted my ability to approach the day as originally planned.  Gone was the morning of a special breakfast.  In fact, most of the morning was shot.  I was grateful for the prayer the night before and that my attitude was kept in check.

Taken Monday night.  It's better but still fairly swollen.  The bruising is starting to show up.

We did eventually begin school although it didn't happen until the afternoon.  While I am not a morning person, my greatest focus for school tasks occurs then.  There's something about the afternoons that draws my attention to more personal tasks.  I've noticed that the children are on a similar rhythm.

During our circle time, we defined the rules for the classroom.  I allowed Elora and William to come up with the list.  We worked through our calendar, read a book and worked on memorizing a few important personal details such as home address, phone numbers, full names and birthdays.  I also introduced a new practical life sorting activity.  From there we reviewed the contents of the new school drawers.  Both Elora and William were excited by the range of supplies they discovered.

The new school drawers filled with my inability to control myself during back to school sales.

The pencil box of items best hidden from a toddler.

I introduced the concept of work plans and it was fairly well received.  We began with writing activities.  Elora adores it but I quickly realized that I grossly overestimated William's abilities.  That's easy enough to fix in the coming weeks.  I tried to move onto math but everyone was too distracted.  They both begged for an opportunity to explore the new school supplies.  I agreed as long as it stayed productive.  What followed was a massive effort in cutting, pasting and coloring.  It's hard for me to let go of my plans but it was the first day and they were excited.  They were also practicing important skills even if it wasn't in the binder.

The new work plan binders.
Tracing his name.

Elora finally showed some interest in the metal inserts.  She picked various shapes and turned them into animals.  I wish I had taken photos because some of the drawings were fabulous.  I introduced William to the new water/land/air sorting mat.  He eagerly sorted an entire basket of miniatures.

He loved the new mat.  I'm still impressed that my uncrafty self made it.

It certainly wasn't how I imaged Elora's first day of Kindergarten but it was certainly a day that uniquely represented our family.  Since I don't technically schedule Tuesdays, we'll try to pick up the rest tomorrow.

And as to the little guy...  His hand doesn't appear to be bothering him even though it remains swollen.  We have most likely stopped the bleeding but it takes time for extra blood in the tissue to be broken down by the body.  He has had a second infusion just to ensure the bleeding stays controlled.  We're still relatively new to the hemophiliac lifestyle but the shock factor of these situations is starting to wear off a bit.  Overall, I still think this is going to be a pretty amazing school year; interesting, but good.

For those of you who have kicked off the school year, how did it go?
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