I Got Schooled...

Forget everything you know about Crystal McCall; she did not show up today for the first day of
homeschool. The girl who showed up today had no schedule, no written lesson plan, no procedures for classroom management, and no clue her kids would eat her alive for breakfast. She has more long-term and short-term planning spreadsheets than can be counted. She has lists of fun activities, Pinterest projects, lesson plan ideas, and advice from others. You'll find organized baskets of books by grade and age and subject. But did ANY of these things get incorporated into her first day of homeschool? Nope.

Mistake: No game plan. I don't know what happened. I got so excited to start school I didn't plan my first day! I kept thinking, "I'll have time!" and everyone kept saying, "You've got time!" but this girl ran out of time. I fumbled through each subject, reading the lesson for the first time as I read it to the kids. I prepped project pieces as the kids were trying to work on them. Yes, a few this is boring's were even uttered by my perfect, sweet Sammy! Maddie went to time out twice for talking back and being disobedient. I had NOTHING for the kids to do while I took turns teaching them individually. I wasn't prepared for "mommy," "ok, mom, check mine," "mommy, this isn't right," "mom," "mom, do you like this?," "mommy, how do you do this?," "mom," "mommy," "MOM," "Mooooommm!" I felt defeated in the first few hours.

Blessing: Then there was snack time. Oh, how I love snack time. The kids were SO excited to get a break (even though all they had done so far was color, listen to stories, write a few letters, and do a little math). By this point I already had a million ideas for what I'd do differently the next day. I started writing some of them down and took pics of them below to share. Again, these ideas came AFTER my first day of NOT doing them. I'm going to test them tomorrow.

Mistake: My attitude. The day started out great. It was like Christmas morning. They kids woke up, saw their special surprises, ate breakfast of their choice (a Publix donut and toaster strudel). We opened our school supplies, walked through our "get up" routine. I read them a few stories. We prayed. Sammy read us a chapter in Genesis. This was all in the first 20 minutes. Then, my attitude of excitement turned to fear as I realized how unprepared I was and I think they could smell the fear in me like wild animals. I made it through without crying by God's grace and the amount of coffee I drank. At the end of the day, I told them that I loved them and that they did really well and learned a lot. Sammy said, "then why doesn't it sound like you mean it?" Ouch. I really did mean it so I didn't know what he meant. He said I sounded like I was glad the day was over. Double ouch. Lesson learned for Mommy. Tomorrow may have to be our "do over" first day of school - at least for my attitude. Today may have actually been a good lesson for me - my enjoyment of this experience must outweigh my worry for planning and perfection.

Blessing: Stickers. Thanks to Pinterest, I picked up some mini composition notebooks and stickers and decided, again AFTER the day was over, to create a behavior sticker book. So I called the kids back over and we decorated their sticker books. About midway into our endeavor Maddie stands up, flings her book aside, and says, "Mommy. I have something for you!" and then she ran and jumped into my arms and said, "you're the best mommy ever! I love you." And then the whole day made sense to me. I got to be their mommy - all day.

ENJOY THE JOUNEY: I saw this sign in TJ Maxx. It really meant something to me, which is the only way I'd spend a whopping $16.99 in TJ Maxx! I know that one day I'll look back and I'm not going to remember a math lesson or science experiment or what was listed on a language arts worksheet. We're not homeschooling because I think I'm a better teacher than those already out there. I'm going to look back and know that I spent the most time influencing these guys as I could. I'm going to remember the journey and all of the special memories we had while enjoying this journey. So, that's our motto, reminder, accountability phrase, whatever you want to call it, for this homeschool year. We are going to enjoy the journey.

School in our PJ's. I could get used to this.

My "too-late-should-have-done-this-today" Ideas for Tomorrow:
A supply basket. Don't have one? Get one! Got tired of looking for these items as I needed them.
My BIGGEST area for needed improvement! Stuff for them to do! I made some "to do" sticks with activities the kids can do for either independent learning time, quiet time, or "leave mommy alone" time. :) Every day they will check their basket and whatever stick is inside, they will do. If it's "Journal," Sammy may either have a journal prompt, question to answer, or the choice to free write. If it's "Worksheet," there will be a folder with their name that holds a fun worksheet inside. Etc. Any ideas are humbly welcomed and appreciated! I'm excited to fill this basket each night for them for the next day!
Working harder every day at cleaning less, playing more and enjoying every opportunity. Special thanks to all of those teachers - both professional in the public school systems and those in the homeschool community for providing me with materials, advice, words of wisdom, prayer, and friendship as I start on this journey. Ya'll are a blessing!

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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...