Monday, August 27, 2007

Back to School Reflections

Today was our first day back to school! I've got a few thoughts to share, in no particular order:

1. The first day of school never takes as long as you think it will. This is due to the fact that the children's enthusiasm level is directly proportional to the novelty of the school experience and the relative simplicity of the first few days' work, which is composed mainly of reviews and foundational reading. As the work gets harder and the school day becomes more routine, there is a corresponding drop in the enthusiasm/motivation levels which combined with the increase in time needed to complete the more challenging assignments will lengthen the school day so that it takes as long as I've planned for it to. I expect this process to take between five and eight school days.

2. If you finish early, and discover another gecko in the bathroom, and call the girls in to catch it again, and in the process of being caught the gecko obligingly crawls on the clear plastic washcloth holder in the bathtub in such a way that his underside is magnified and several of his arteries become clearly and interestingly visible, you should all enjoy this scientific experience as the pure gift it is.

3. If after the gecko has been caught and relocated outdoors the girls ask to bathe their baby dolls, and you remember that the oldest one will be reading later this week about Archimedes' Principle, and you use the opportunity to discuss that idea as a preface to the lesson that will come up in a few days, you're on a roll.

4. If the discussion of buoyancy leads to questions about the weight of liquids vs. gases, and you can remember anything at all from what you learned years ago about the relative density of different forms of matter, you're really, really on a roll.

5. And if, when all is said and done, you can evaluate the day and say that things went well and that everyone, Mom included, is looking forward to tomorrow, then you had a great first day back at school.

Did everything go exactly as I planned it to? Was the day completely free from glitches and setbacks? No, and no. But I banished the Phantom of Perfection from our schoolroom a long time ago, and that shrieking wretch knows better than to show up and spoil what I can say in all honesty was a perfectly lovely first day back at school.

No comments: