Growin’-Up Girl

The girl started kindergarten this week. We had our first day on Tuesday, after we dropped Sam off at school.

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I offered to take her out for breakfast to kick off the new school year, but she wanted to wait.

“Let’s just go home, do my school, and then you can take me to get a donut when I am finished with my work. Like a treat!”

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Okay, Baby Girl.

We have been keeping our work time at about an hour each day this week with math, writing and alphabet review. And we have been doing lots of reading together on the couch. Charlotte was a little bummed the first day when she realized that her “shows” aren’t part of the learning day, but she seems to be surviving without the TV!

Charlotte has her first class day (we call it co-op) for Classical Conversations (CC) on Friday, so next week we will be adding more time on to focus on our memorization work.  Please click on the link if you’re interested in knowing more about CC. I was familiar with the Classical model before we even had kids, but the more Tim and I looked into it, the more we were convinced that CC was the right program for us.  The mission of CC is Knowing God and Making Him Known. What could be better than that?

We’re only three days in, so I won’t pretend like we have it all down yet, but I am keeping in mind all the wonderful advice and wisdom I have received from my fellow homeschooling moms who are a little further down the road. We are keeping it light, and I am not stressing out about everything being perfect. We start each day with a Bible story and a prayer, that we will be good stewards of our “class” time, and that we will honor God with our work.

I’ll be writing more as the year progresses. I would love your prayers as I endeavor to teach Charlotte this year!

Up & Out!

We have finally reached the last day of school! In some ways, this year flew by, and in others this day felt like it would never come.

Sam had another good year at school, learning lots of new things and becoming a better friend to his classmates.

He gained some inches and lost some teeth, and overall we’ll call this year a success.

Here is Sam on his first day of school and today, on his last.

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As of noon today he is officially a second grader!

BMOC*

Last month Tim and I attended Trinity’s big annual fundraiser, The Bull & Oyster Bash. This is a fun night where Trinity parents and friends get together to eat and bid on auction items. They had lots of neat stuff to bid on, but the one we were after was for Sam: Head of School for half a day.

We won. Sam was ecstatic!

A few weeks later we received the agenda for the day for Sam. He had a full four hours of “work,” beginning with helping kids out of cars in the carpool line.

 

The rest of his day was exciting, and word has it that all the kids want to be head of school next year. If nothing else, Sam surely drove up the price for next year’s bidding!

Here is an excerpt from the school news last week:

Sam had a very busy schedule from 8 a.m. – noon interviewing faculty and staff, checking for messages, thanking students who were running for SGA offices, visiting classrooms, helping to sharpen pencils and count mints for the upcoming ERBs, and filling teacher treat bags and placing them in their mailboxes.  By noon, he was still raring to go, but had to get back to class. Thank you for your hard work Sam!

 

By all accounts he was a gracious and benevolent leader. And a ham to boot!

{*Big Man on Campus}

More sweet than bitter…

Tim and Sam headed out the door at 7:30 this morning. They were headed to school for Sam’s first day of first grade.

 

I have a kid in first grade. I used to look at moms with kids in elementary school and think that their kids were so old…

He wasn’t super excited about getting up, but once he came downstairs he was good to go!

I had his backpack all packed up with his summer homework in his Angry Birds folder, and his lunch zipped up in his Transformer’s lunch bag. {They’re not allowed to have “character” backpacks, so he makes up for it in other ways.}

Things that were different this year from last year: Sam read the paper with Tim at breakfast and he tied his own shoes this morning.

As a veteran of how this whole thing works, Sam shoved his lunch bag into his backpack before heading out the door.

 

So why any trace of bitterness? Well, you may notice that a certain little lady is absent from the pictures. Charlotte has been battling a nasty virus since Sunday and she was still in bed when these pictures were taken. And that means that I am home writing this blog post instead of having my picture made with Sam walking into school, or chatting with my mom friends before chapel begins. I am missing a big morning, but that’s really okay. There are far too many sweet things for which to be thankful for me to wallow in any self-pity over missing one first day of school.

(And just as I was finishing up that last bit, Charlotte came downstairs. She looks like she was hit by a truck, and apparently feels that way, too, but the good news is that after three days of fevers in the 103-104 range, her temperature is back to normal. Thank you Lord!)

Tim texted me from school to let me know that Sam settled right back in with his buds from last year and they were about to head in to chapel.

I know it’s gonna be a good day!

 

Teacher Gifts

How about some lighthearted Pinterest fun?

In an effort to lighten the mood around here I thought I would share the gifts I made for Sam’s teachers for the end of the year. We gave his teacher and the teacher’s aide the gifts today and they loooooooved them!

I made little “Summer Fun” gift bags. I got the idea on Pinterest and tweaked it a little bit. {I actually combined several gift ideas I had found: this one, this one and this one.}

Here are the bags I made…

They look expensive, and if I had bought everything all at once, then yes, they would have been pricey. The trick for me was to plan ahead. Pinterest is so helpful in this endeavor because I was seeing gift ideas months ago and so I began to make a plan. {I usually scramble around the day before the last day of school and throw something together. Thank you, Pinterest for helping me be proactive!}

Anywhooo… here’s the rundown on the loot:

1. Igloo cooler bag {thank you Liz C. for that tip! They were on sale at Wegman’s}
2. Big & bright beach towel {bought for a steal at Marshall’s}
3. Southern Living magazine {You could pick another magazine, but why would you?}
4. A big, fancy bottle of water
5. A little candle that smells tropical-y
6. Aveeno lip balm with SPF
7. A pack of gum
8. A B&N gift card {The Safeway here has one of those gift card “malls” and they occasionally run sales. So I  paid less for these than their face value. Score!}
9. A Vera Bradley journal {I bought these a few months ago when the VB outlet was having a sale}
10.And what gift from me would be complete without some Mary Kay goodies? I had these cute little boxy cosmetic bags that I filled with travel-size sets of Satin Hands.

 

I think that’s all. It sounds like a lot, but I think it was a great gift to help them kick off summer. And I would have given them more if I could! They poured so much of themselves into our kids this year and I wanted to be sure and spoil them a little.

I do wish I had thought to get a picture of Sam and his teachers with their gifts; he was so excited to give them their bags. Alas, I was too busy trying to keep it together in front of 14 kindergarteners. Nobody wants to see Sam’s mom cry on the last day of school.

And there I go to the sad place again… sorry!

The First & The Last

I picked Sam up from school earlier today, and as he left the building he said goodbye to his kindergarten year. I was thisclose to a full-on ugly cry as we passed by the eighth graders who were lining up for graduation. You would have thought I was the mom of an eighth grader, the way my heart was bursting. I’m fine now, but it was hard walking that boy to the car!

Sam has grown so much this year, physically, emotionally, socially and certainly academically. And today I got a very full picture of just how much he has grown… Sam was kind of grouchy from the time he got in the car at school until several hours later when I was putting him in the truck to go somewhere with Tim. He had ben fiddling with this little yellow rubber ring one of his friends had given him. The ring said “BFF” and he was very proud of it. He also asked me if he could write the friend’s name on there. I was busy trying to get some things packed and lunch made and so I told him he could do it later.

As I was putting Sam in the truck, it hit me that his mood was probably the result of him dealing with some hard emotions. I found out Monday that the boy who gave him the ring is not coming back to school next year, so I asked him if maybe he was sad about that. His sweet little face just crumpled up and the tears began flowing. I told him that it was so okay to be sad and to cry about his friend. It’s hard to see your child dealing with big people emotions, but it is surely a sign that he is growing up and he’s really making friends. His school is small enough that there is only one class per grade, so he will be with the same kids each year. I love that they will all be together for the most part.

But, enough with the sadness!

Here are some pictures of Sam from the first day of school {white shirt} and the last day of school {navy shirt}:

 

 

Happy Summer y’all!

 

Earth Day with Sam

Last Friday I was able to spend the day with Sam and his class (the whole school, actually) on a field trip. We went to this really neat place right outside of town called Mountainside, which is a camp/farm/retreat center. The weather was perfect and the kids had a wonderful day exploring nature and learning about all kinds of neat things.

 

The kids gathered items on a nature hike and then used them to decorate a frame. I love that Sam collected only rocks and sticks. I grabbed a fern branch for him on the way back just so he would have a little green. 

We learned about how the camp purifies its own water (used for things other than drinking) and generates some of its own energy.

 

The kids made a wind turbine and did a little experiment to see how much weight they could lift using wind.

 

There was more exploring and learning and rope walking…

 

We ended the day on this awesome slide… and yes, I said “we.” Sam talked me in to sliding, too!

 

 

 

I was so happy to be able to spend the day with Sam, and I couldn’t have done it without Aunt Steph and Uncle Ken hosting Charlotte for a couple of days. Tim was in Utah for work last week, so it was really sweet to have Sam all to myself for a little bit.

I am just so glad that we are able to send Sam to his school. It’s hard for me to believe that the year is almost over! He has learned and grown so much, and it will certainly be bittersweet when his kindergarten year comes to a close.

What adventures have you been on lately? I would love to hear about it!

100 Days

Today was Sam’s 100th day of school!

It really seems like yesterday was his first day; the time really flies by.

He had a little project due today: he had to collect 100 of the same small items, and then group those items by 5s or 10s and glue them on poster board.

He chose Q-tips, and he laid them out very creatively (in my humble opinion) with only a little help from Tim and me.
 

He was so proud of his board, and we are so proud of him!

 

Troll, the Ancient Yuletide Carol

I could write an entire book pamphlet about why I love Sam’s school. One reason is the way Sam’s teachers foster a love of reading in the students. I can’t begin to tell you how much Sam’s reading on his own has improved since he started school.

Sam is paired up with a fourth grader who is his “reading buddy.” They meet every week or so to read books to each other and do projects. And instead of having a traditional Christmas party this year the kindergarteners and fourth graders had a Troll party. I was a little confused about the troll aspect at first, but the little critters are from the Jan Brett books The Trouble with Trolls and Christmas Trolls.

So the kids had a little troll party on Wednesday, complete with troll costumes, troll food and troll behavior.

Sam and I had so much fun getting ready for the party. {I got his hair to be trollish by spiking it up with hair goo and then coating his head with baby powder.}

 

 

This is the full outfit. The pouch was my favorite part, since trolls are known to steal things. Sam’s teacher told me this morning that Sam was making them laugh all day, taking little things here and there and putting them in his pouch.

I love my little troll!

 

Midterm Report

I had a conference with Sam’s teacher last week. I told Tim that I felt more like a babysitter than a mom going in there. How in the world did I give birth to the baby who has turned into Sam Tousey? He is so smart and funny and {good grief!} his little brain is always working. According to his teacher he draws better than most fourth graders. Seriously. (I don’t draw, so he did not get that from me!)

Sam is reading well and his handwriting has improved by leaps and bounds since he started school. He does read better than he comprehends, so she is working with him on that.

Talking with Sam’s teacher just further confirmed that we made the right decision in sending him to school there. Because of his temperament I think that Sam would have been just swallowed up in a larger public school, and he would not necessarily have the one-on-one time he has with his teacher.

(I know that the kindergarten teachers at the public school here are great, but the system in which they work prevents them from being able to take the time to do what they want/need to do. There are significant differences between the daily schedule at the public schools here and the private, and the private school where Sam goes has a schedule that better suits five-year olds.)

Anyway, I just wanted to update you on my soon-to-be six-year old. He is a mess, and I still don’t know why God was so good to give him to us.

For your enjoyment I want to include one of Sam’s recent school picture. He is just so stinkin’ handsome, and I think you will get a chuckle out of the pose.