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    Debrief and Reflection on Kindergarten {Part IV}

    April 18, 2008 by Brandy Vencel

    I am well aware that I played hooky yesterday. When I get an invitation to visit Mrs. MPL and her wee one, I don’t ignore it. Especially when she promises GFCF brownies for my babies! There is always something special about friends that have held over since childhood. I think it signifies grace. She probably remembers my ugly stage, my clumsy stage, and my socially inept stage {that last one I never quite got over}. I remember The Perm. And yet we still love each other. It’s a beautiful thing.

    Did I ever mention we first met at Rachel’s 12th or 13th birthday slumber party? Those were the days.

    So anyhow, this is not to say that I haven’t continued to ponder kindergarten. It is, after all, the only thing I know. Please don’t ask me about third grade. I would be the absolutely last person to know anything about it.

    So let me jump right in.

    Birding Was Seasonal

    I really thought that birding could be a year-round event for us since we have such mild winters here. I thought that as the Usual Suspects left town for warmer climates, some bird from Alaska or the Arctic Circle would show up and enjoy our homemade orange-peel bird feeders filled with seeds and peanut butter.

    No.

    I don’t think a single bird ever gave those feeders the time of day.

    We were still taking walks every day the first half of the winter, and we found that one day, all the birds were simply gone and the streets were eerily silent.

    So we put our birding binder away and declared it a seasonal activity, though we did keep our eyes open for surprises.

    Now, even though I was hoping for this to be a year-round thing, I actually think the children learned a valuable lesson about seasons. They were able to feel and hear the seasons change. Winter was a bit more dramatic when our fine feathered friends disappeared. And that’s okay.

    Morning Walks Were Seasonal

    As in, the season of morning-noon-and-night sickness, overruled my hopes for physical fitness. I have been slowly trying to pick it back up, but I definitely took three full months off. I like feeling more toned from walking, I like the “adventure” that the walks feel like to the children, but sometimes I know that I either have enough energy for a walk, or doing some other homemaking task, and I have been choosing the homemaking.

    Quelling the chaos comes first.

    The English Language Notebook Was Seasonal
    This was due to the fact that we completed the assignment, and though I am keeping samples of copy work, I am not keeping every single day’s assignments. We have enough clutter around here as it is.

    The notebook, however, is only taking a sabbatical. There might be more lessons next year, and, if so, we will add them to our binder. However, my hunch is that it’ll wait until two or three years from now, when E. is older and we start formally beginning our study of grammar as a subject {learning parts of speech, etc.}.

    That’s All, Folks!

    At least, it is all I can think of. E. was a very easy first student, and it was nice to have a confidence-builder like him to ease me into teaching. Learning together as a family is really a lot of fun, and I look forward to many more years of these endeavors, elaborate or otherwise.

    Next year makes me a bit nervous, as I will be learning to balance Year One with a newborn. I keep wondering if I am a strong enough person for this, but I am learning that Elisabeth Elliot’s advice on hard days can apply to this situation: Do the next thing. I will plan, and then I will follow my list, and I will pray that God will give me strength to do it all.

    At an old English parsonage down by the sea,
    there came in the twilight a message to me.
    Its quaint Saxon legend deeply engraven
    that, as it seems to me, teaching from heaven.
    And all through the hours the quiet words ring,
    like a low inspiration, ‘Do the next thing.’

    Many a questioning, many a fear,
    many a doubt hath its quieting here.
    Moment by moment, let down from heaven,
    time, opportunity, guidance are given.
    Fear not tomorrow, child of the King,
    trust that with Jesus, do the next thing.

    Do it immediately, do it with prayer,
    do it reliantly, casting all care.
    Do it with reverence, tracing His hand,
    who placed it before thee with earnest command.
    Stayed on omnipotence, safe ‘neath His wing,
    leave all resultings, do the next thing.

    Looking to Jesus, ever serener,
    working or suffering be thy demeanor,
    in His dear presence, the rest of His calm,
    the light of His countenance, be thy psalm.
    Do the next thing.

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