School Days: The Transition from Homeschool to Public School

Last week Mikayla and Hope’s school had open house.  The girls got to meet their teacher and put their school supplies in their desks.  They were all smiles and were excited about starting school.

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The next morning I woke them up for the first day of school.  The morning went very smoothly except for one major obstacle.   They wouldn’t eat their breakfast. They don’t like to eat when they first wake up.  I asked them repeatedly to eat some cereal but neither one of them would eat.  So I threw a breakfast bar in each of their backpacks for when their stomachs started growling.  Before we left I snapped a first day of 5th grade picture.

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On the way to school I gave them a first day of school pep talk.  Don’t fight with each other.  Do what the teacher says.  And I had one final instruction for Hopey. Please try really, really hard to not burp at school.  But if you do burp remember to say “excuse me”.   As we neared the school my heart started pounding and my mind started racing.   I hope they like school.  I hope they behave.  What if the change is too much for them?  What am I gonna do if this doesn’t work out?

I walked the girls up to the school and we met their aide.  The girls made me hug and kiss them more than once.  They seemed a little unsure about what was happening.  But they were smiling as they entered the building and they were still smiling when I picked them up 3 hours later.  I asked them how their day was. Hope proudly announced “I didn’t burp at school!”  I was one proud momma.  She remembered what I said.  She exhibited self-control.  And she was proud of her accomplishment.  I didn’t get any other information out of them about the first day of school.  But I was relieved when they asked if they could go back to school the next day.

They both received a “good job” and a smiley face on their first math paper.  They’ve learned that stars are good and X’s are bad.  If you get too many X’s you have to stay inside while your sister gets to play on the playground.  The little sweetheart learned from her mistake and didn’t get as many X’s the next day.  They’ve been in school for a week.  They’ve had some good days and a few not so good days.  I still can’t get them to eat breakfast.  But overall the transition from home school to public school has went better than I expected it to.  I believe that 5th grade is going to be a good year.

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Preparing for the First Day of School

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I can’t believe summer vacation is almost over.  Mikayla and Hope start school next week.  The last few months have been filled with preparations.  I took the girls for their school physicals and their shots.  All of their school supplies are in their backpacks ready for the first day of school.  We’ve done everything that the school requires but a few extra preparations were necessary for our girls to start school.

The speech therapists asked if the girls could have a few therapy sessions over the summer.  This would help familiarize the girls with their therapists and their classroom.  It was a brilliant idea.  We started therapy a couple of weeks ago.  I met the therapists at the same door the girls will enter on each school day.  They had 45 minutes of therapy and then I pulled up to the door to pick them up.  Hope hopped in the van and Mikayla started to get in the van.  But she turned around and walked up to her therapist and timidly leaned in for a hug.  And then she said “I love you.”  Hope jumped out of the van and told her therapist “I love you”.

The second week of therapy the girls met their aide who will be helping them in their classroom.  She wanted to get to know the girls before the first day of school.  I pulled up to the door and their aide was standing and waiting for them.  This was like a dress rehearsal for what will happen on the first day of school.  The girls practiced jumping out of the van quickly so we won’t hold up the line of parents dropping their kids off.  After spending two days with their aide the girls told her they love her.

The girls will be going to school a half day.  We will add more time to their day when we feel they are ready.   Since they’ve never been to school we thought it was best to start slowly.  They will go to P.E. one day a week and they will also participate in music class.  Our local school has been outstanding.  They want to do everything that they can do to help our girls succeed.  I’m sad to see the summer end but yet I look forward to this school year with anticipation.  Because this year has the potential to bring many changes to our life.  At the end of this school year I’ll smile as I think about how they’ve grown.  I’ll celebrate their academic successes.  I’ll be thankful for new friends and new experiences.  And my heart will be at peace as I see how they’ve learned to function in the world without me by their side.

Mikayla and Hope Go To Camp

It’s been an exciting summer.  Mikayla and Hope went to church camp for the first time.  My friend Joni asked if she could take them to camp.  The girls spent 3 days at camp and I spent 3 glorious days resting at home.  Thanks to several friends I have pictures of my girls at camp.  I don’t have any idea what to write about camp since I wasn’t there.  So Mikayla and Hope had to help me out.  So here’s what happened at camp through the eyes of Mikayla and Hope.

Mikayla:

Played games

Ate snacks

I got wet

The zip line was fast

The water slide splashed me in the eye

Ate grapes, watermelon, and strawberries

Hopey pushed me

I painted

Hopey:

I went on the water slide and the zip line.

I got points

I ate candy, crackers, oranges, grapes, and carrots

I eat the sandwich

I made a craft

I slept at their house (a.k.a  Joni’s house)

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When a Man Shares His Kite

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Hope was excited the minute that her feet hit the sand.  She’d spotted a kite flying in the sky.  Look Mommy a kite!  Daddy, Daddy I see a kite!  Taylor look!!! Brynna, Brynna I see a kite!  She didn’t care about the water or the waves.  All that mattered in that moment was the wind and that kite.  The man flying the kite approached Brett and said he’d noticed Hope’s excitement.   He asked if she would like to fly his kite for him.

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And then Mikayla took a turn.  DSC01408

I prefer to fade into the woodwork when we’re out in public.  But Mikayla & Hope almost always thrust us into the spotlight.  My introverted personality often feels quite uncomfortable while the spotlight is shining on us.  But something happened while we were at the beach.  When the spotlight followed us around we weren’t given judgmental looks.  We received compassion and understanding.  Our girls made people smile and laugh.

I was relaxing under the shade of my umbrella while the girls were playing in the water.  Mikayla ran up to me and said “I love you!”  I smiled and said “I love you too!”  She went back and put her feet back in the water.  A few minutes later she came back to me and said “I love you!”  I smiled again and said “I love you too!”  This routine went on for at least 10 minutes.  The woman sunbathing next to us abruptly sat up and said “I don’t know…..I don’t think she loves you enough!”  We laughed and talked about how the other twin didn’t seem to love me.

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One evening as we were walking back to the condo a man started a conversation with Brett.   He had been watching Brett holding both inner tubes while Mikayla & Hope floated in the waves.  He asked about their diagnosis.  He said his friend has a child with a similar diagnosis.  He told Brett he looked tired and he knew that he has his hands full caring for our girls.  As we neared our condo he told Brett that he would say a prayer for him.  Brett told him he appreciated the prayers.  We never saw the man again.

All of these people entered our life for only a moment.  The lady helped me find my way to a much-needed laugh.  The man who offered to pray brought new hope into our lives.  And when a man shares his kite it just makes the world a better place.