Preparing for School

This has been a busy couple weeks getting ready for school to start. Ani had a pool party two weeks ago for the kids in the creative writing magnet. Then she had orientation for her magnet program one day and orientation for freshman the next. This week, Jamie and I went to orientation at the high school for freshman parents, we went to the middle school with Cameron for orientation for 6th graders, and the next day took the little guys to the elementary school to meet their teachers. Today Ani has breakfast at her seminary teacher’s house for all the freshman and tomorrow is a seminary kickoff fireside. Monday morning we get to see just how getting the kids off to the various schools will be (and Jamie and I get to have breakfast at the elementary school since we’re dropping off a kindergartener).

So far I like what I have seen and heard at the schools. The high school has high expectations, but realizes that 14-18 year olds are still kids and will behave as such. The middle school groups the kids into sets of about 175 and those kids have the same 5 core teachers throughout the day. We talked to his math teacher and he is even fine with Cameron writing numbers backwards as long as he can understand what Cameron means (this should only be an issue with 2 and 5, but he gave Cameron a couple ideas to deal with that). We need to get a 504 plan in place for Cameron and he’ll need to be retested since it’s been almost 3 years since the last one. Fritz’s teacher is very sweet and loves hugs and math so she’s a perfect fit for Fritz. Adrian’s teacher has spent her whole 25+ year teaching career with kindergarteners.

It’s weird thinking about not having my kids home with me every day, but I think with this fabulous school system we have here it’ll be a great experience for most, if not all, of them. Two of them are extremely excited about school starting Monday. One is a bit anxious, but now that he’s met his teacher and seen his classroom, he’s looking forward to it. The fourth is not thrilled at all, but then again, he didn’t love school at home either.

Why Public School?

There are a couple reasons we are sending the kids to public school this year. The biggest reason is we moved to a fantastic school district. The schools here are well ahead of the schools where we used to live. In fact, had we not been homeschooling with Calvert, Cameron (our one kid who was already on grade level) would be very behind going into 6th grade. The guy who did the reviews where we used to live told us that Calvert is 1 1/2 years ahead of the local schools by the end of 8th grade. Calvert is exactly equal with the schools here. I homeschool because I can give the kids a better education. That may not be the case here.

The other reason is because our state has a stupid requirement in their virtual school law (that I would bet was put in there by homeschoolers or HSLDA because for some reason many homeschoolers feel extremely threatened by the existence of virtual schools). Kids have to be in public school the year before they enroll in a virtual school (and have completed second grade). The virtual schools here offer Calvert or K12. Of course we’ve been using Calvert already. K12 is our second choice curriculum. If/when any of our kids begin using the virtual school we will likely go with a K12 one because that goes through 12th grade instead of 8th (at least for now… Calvert may be adding high school soon). Our first or second choice curriculum for free is very nice (I don’t mind the hoops they make you jump through or the fact that it is, technically, public school).

Ani, Cameron, and Fritz can choose at the end of this school year if they want to continue at the brick and mortar schools or switch to the virtual school. Adrian has to wait a couple more years. He’s going to school now because he wants to and kindergarten is fun. I suspect I know what the kids will choose (and it’s not the same for all of them) after this year. Sometimes I refer to this school year as their “year of incarceration,” but we’re all hopeful that it will be a great experience for everyone.

All Registered

Registration for elementary school opened today so now all four kids are registered for school. Ani’s been registered for several weeks since the high school registration follows a different schedule. Cameron will be in middle school so we registered him on Monday when their registration opened.

Cameron is really not looking forward to going to school. He’ll be in sixth grade. For his electives, he selected study period for the full year, a half year of theater, a half year of health, and a full year of PE. Since he wasn’t interested in band or choir his real choice was whether to do a full year of PE or half a year of PE and half a year of debate. I’m amazed at the number of elective options the sixth graders had to choose from.

Fritz will be in second grade and Adrian will be in kindergarten. They take the kids’ personalities into consideration when putting them into classes. She wrote down that Fritz has already completed second grade with Calvert School so he’ll need to be challenged in class. They’ll also evaluate him for speech services since he had a few months of speech therapy when he was 5. She wrote down that Adrian is the youngest of four and is very much a typical youngest child. We’ve been told by several people that we should request a certain kindergarten teacher and every one of them has been mentioned so we figure no matter what we’ll get a good one.

On Saturday Ani has a pool party for her small group of her magnet program and then next week she has orientation for her magnet program one day and orientation for the high school another day. She’ll get her textbooks and locker assignment and a mock schedule to find all the classrooms. The high schoolers don’t get their actual schedules until the first day of school. Cameron has his orientation for the middle school in two weeks. He’ll get his textbooks, locker, and schedule, meet his teachers, and buy his PE uniform. Parents are encouraged to attend with their sixth grader. Also in two weeks, the little guys will have their meet the teacher night. That should help Fritz a lot. He’s very worried about knowing where to go on the first day of school.

The one very odd thing about this district, is the middle and high schoolers get their textbooks before the first day of school and then keep them at home for the whole year. If textbooks are needed at school, they use classroom copies. I think that’s fantastic. They don’t have to worry about leaving a textbooks at home or school and needing it in the other place and don’t have to deal with lugging heavy books back and forth to school.

This should be an interesting year. Very, very, very different from what we are used to.


This happened several years ago, back when we only had three kids, but Ani recently led Family Home Evening and chose blessings as the topic and brought up this story.

One day, Cameron suddenly developed a fever around 104.  I said he needed a blessing.  He got one and within a couple hours he was fine.

A day or two later, the same thing happened to Ani.  Again, I said she needed a blessing.  A couple hours after getting one she was fine.

A day or two later, we repeated the entire scenario with Fritz.

A day or two later, I developed a high fever.  It was miserable.  Two days later as I complained that the kids got better fast so why wasn’t I, it hit me that they had all had blessings and I had not.  Jamie gave me a blessing and within a couple hours I was fine.

It was definitely a good reminder to me to remember that Priesthood blessings work and to remember to ask for them when I need one.  Apparently it left a lasting impression on at least Ani about the importance of blessings, too.

Summer “School”

This summer Ani has had to do nothing school-related because she’s going to have a ridiculous schedule starting in 3 1/2 weeks and I feel kind of sorry for her. Of course now she has to stop procrastinating doing her summer reading assignment.

All three boys have been doing Summer Bridge books. Cameron’s doing 5th-6th, Fritz is doing 1st-2nd, and Adrian is doing PK-K. It’s easy for the little guys, not so much for Cameron. At least the math part isn’t. I’ve gotta say that Calvert language arts is amazing and he has grammar skills down. Sometimes he doesn’t remember the terms (synonym, antonym, and homonym just don’t stay in his memory), but once he is reminded what they are he has no problem. The basic parts of speech, subjects, predicates, types of sentences. Yeah, he’s got all those.

Because we skipped too many days at the beginning of the summer, they have to do the Summer Bridge books daily. Everything else they only do on weekdays.

All three boys also use Khan Academy. Adrian is doing basic addition, Cameron’s up to order of operations, and Fritz is in place value (multiplication and division). Fritz is actually ahead of Cameron now. He was introduced to negative numbers this week. That’s the point in math where Ani decided math was hard and made no sense. Fritz, however, thought negative numbers were pretty neat and they didn’t so much as trip him up. He’s definitely blessed when it comes to math!

Cameron and Fritz read to me every weekday. Cameron is reading Eragon a couple pages at a time. He starts out reading really well most days but quickly gets fatigued and starts making typical dyslexic mistakes. His “good reading” time is getting longer with practice. Fritz is reading the Magic Tree House books to me, a chapter a day. He finished Dinosaurs Before Dark yesterday. I got the Dinosaurs Fact Checker book and am in the middle of reading it to him now.

Fritz is also going through the Life of Fred books. I read a chapter a day to him. We are in Butterflies right now. Fritz just loves Fred. The math itself is well below his level, but there are some random things thrown in there that are not usually learned until later (if at all).

Once school starts at the end of the month, I’ll probably still have the middle two read to me and Fritz won’t let me stop reading Life of Fred to him. I might or might not have them keep on with Khan. Fritz and Adrian would enjoy it. It might be too much when added to regular homework for Cameron.