One of my favorite verses is Lamentations 3:23 which says, "Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning." All I have to say is, thank you, God! No matter what happened the day before, we are promised his mercies for a new day today and, even better, a new one tomorrow, too! 

I went to bed last night more prepared for this morning than I was the previous night. I actually read the lessons, set out my material, and prepared activities for the kids to complete during individual instruction time. But I still went to bed less excited than I was the night before. Day 1 was not a disaster but it didn't meet my expectations. Thankfully, the Lord's mercies were new this morning and so were the kids' because they showed up just as excited and ready to go as the day before.

View From the Teacher's Desk
I mixed things up completely today and asked the kids what they liked and disliked at the end of the day. I was surprised to hear their answers. They both agreed that they liked that everything (materials, assignments, etc) were "right there" next to them. They didn't like when I went searching for things the day before. What? You mean my kids like order? and organization? Wonder where they get that?! I think kids, in general, appreciate the adults around them being "in order" which is why I SO respect all the teachers out there with their awesome classroom management techniques and ideas. Ya'll are awesome because it is definitely a challenge to "entertain" more than one kid at a time! Ya'll are rock stars. I think homeschool teachers are rock stars, too, because they can teach their OWN kids - which is a whole other kind of challenge! We are slowly, but surely, creating our own unique "table management" and have cut down on some of the crazy moments where they both need my full attention or where one wants to sing and hum while the other needs Pandora radio or peace and quiet.

So, here are some things we did well today...
  1. They get some TV time in the morning. I know this is silly but since we cut out TV and electronics during the school day it has really thrown off our routine. They aren't allowed to touch an iPhone, iPad, computer, DS, game console, or TV until 3:30 each day (then I'm begging them to go watch something!). BUT today I allowed them to watch an educational Netflix show (we cut cable) while they ate breakfast. So they could choose something like "Magic School Bus," or "Veggie Tales," or "Leapfrog," or something like that. And that's all they needed. A 20-minute show as soon as they got up was enough to wake them up, start the day off fun, and satisfy any desire for technology!
  2. They get one "homework" assignment per day (that word seems strange to say now). Last night's homework was for them to show up at breakfast with a book. So, we started our morning by reading their books on the couch. These books all go onto a reading list or get written in my planner. I think they like having a "job" or "responsibility." It's also a bit of a "freedom" for them since I pick most of their activities and books now.
  3.  We created a new schedule! It goes something like this:
    • Breakfast/Netflix
    • Homework Assignments (read their books, show-and-tell, or whatever it is)
    • Math (Sammy) & Mystery Basket (Maddie)
    • Reading/Writing (Maddie) & Mystery Basket (Sammy)
    • Science
    • Snack time/Quick free time (they get 10-15 minutes and I do a quick cleanup from the morning and refill my 4th cup of coffee)
    • ELA (Sammy) & Unit Activity (Maddie)
    • Unit Activity (Sammy) & Piano (Maddie)
    • Piano (Sammy) & Make lunch (Mommy and Maddie)
    • Lunch
    • Nap time (Maddie) & Quiet Reading Time (Sammy)
    • Free time/ Digi-play
  4. I added in planning time during the school day so I wouldn't have to do it all at 9:00pm every night when I'm exhausted. Once we finish a subject, and while they're beginning their next assignment, I go ahead and read the next day's lesson and get my materials ready. Then I file the book away until tomorrow and am done with it. The planner already has my weekly plans written but as far as actually gathering the materials and supplies for science, etc, it's easier to do while my mind is on that subject.
  5. Keeping random stuff. You know all those random Chic-fil-a kid projects you have a million of or those Highlights "hidden picture" calendars you find from two years ago in your junk pile or Dollar $tore activity books you pick up here and there. Go ahead and pat yourself on the back now for keeping them. The kids' Mystery Baskets today included one of the hidden picture calendars (sure, from March 2011) and a Color Wonders activity pad with markers. They both enjoyed the activity even though it was a little tough for Maddie and both activities were enough to fill the time. So keep all that random stuff. One day you'll need it and they'll think it's the coolest stuff ever.
I think that's it for today. The kids both expressed that they had a great day. I feel better because the flow was completely different with everything set out and ready and with backup activities planned. I know tomorrow may be a completely different story because we all wake up with completely different moods and expectations, but one thing is forever the same day to day: His mercies. Other versions say His compassions. I know I need them. Looking forward to that one constant as we start each morning.

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About Me

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I am a local Charlestonian, born and raised in good 'ol South Carolina. I have only been to other surrounding states within a days drive since I refuse to fly in an airplane - so let's see - that includes NC, GA, FL, and I think I may have crossed the border into VA at some point. I've been to the Bahamas 3 times (since you can get there by cruise ship) but one day I hope to visit Mexico. After my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the second love of my life is my high school sweetheart, Matt. We were married at ages 19 and 21 (I'm the younger one) and in the past 8 years have acquired two amazing kids - Sammy and Maddie. We have a fairly new member of the family, Casey, who is a black lab/shepherd/pit bull mix and is very lazy. We "McCall's" have a family motto: "McCall's never give up" (for some reason this has stuck with us all). We all have a passion for music and treasure our family time. Every moment is a gift...