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.

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.