It was a wonderful back to school day. The kids and I celebrated with a festive egg-in-a-hole breakfast, followed by about thirty minutes of ooohhing and ahhing over the nifty new school and office supplies (thick beginner's pencils for the boys, #1 pencils -- like dark rich chocolate -- for Mom and assorted chosen children, an enormous tub o' gel pens, colored reinforcements (from the Dollar Store, no less), stickers for decorating binders -- tanks! trucks! horses!, new Prismacolor Scholars for the first grader, Crayola colored pencils for the Kindergartener, assorted Usborne books -- Victorians, Dot to Dot Machines, How to Draw Princesses and Ballerinas, and the Jigsaw World Atlas book -- and, drum roll please, new Timex watches for Laura and Daniel (the theory being that a watch on the wrist will help Laura's rather weak time-telling skills). Yes, Davy was miffed, as expected, until he spied the new little wind-up toy bus, complete with Stop sign that folds out. I know, I know, it doesn't seem like a particularly fitting present for a homeschooled kid. But around here a big vehicle is a big vehicle, and we don't play favorites.
After decorating their binders with aforementioned stickers, they sat down to do some math (Singapore for all -- new books for the boys, and just a bit left in Laura's old set), and I went around and around the kitchen table like a dizzy, demented butterfly, helping with the multiplication tables (3's), number bonds, and number-writing practice. Davy was the first to peel off and decide that Kindergarten was done for the day, though he came back a few times for hugs and to thank me for the new watch. Daniel did a couple of pages in his new Explode the Code workbook, and then joined his brother outside with the cats. And then Laura and I sat down with the new grammar book, Rod & Staff's Beginning Wisely, which for some reason is a big hit. She loves it (then again, on a day like today, she loves everything). Because or in spite fo the fact that it's so...so...textbook-y lol. Note to the Grammar Guru Goddess: hurry up with that secular grammar before my child falls too much in love with R&S! A lovely, light start to the school year. We'll add more subjects as we go on, and should have the full complement within the next two weeks.
Then we had an early lunch and hit the road to be in town for Laura's piano lesson at 1, during which time the boys and I headed over to the drugstore where I had bought the kids' watches. Turns out Daniel's Timex took a lickin' before it was even out of the box, and needed a new battery. One reason I love living in a small town is that I stopped by the back to say hello to Tom's cousin's husband, the pharmacist and drugstore owner, mentioning the watch problem and the fact that I hadn't had the time to unearth the receipt from the other month. "No problem," he boomed, reaching down to pat the boys on the head. He asked one of the clerks to help us, and by the time Laura's lesson was over, Daniel was back in the time-telling business. I was hoping he wouldn't be too distracted by his wrist at his first-ever piano lesson, which apparently went well for both teacher and pupil.
Off to the post office then to pick up our box from Amazon.ca -- very obliging of them to make sure that our books arrived on the first day of school. The goodies include our SOTW3 audio cd's, read by the beloved (at least in our house) Jim Weiss; Loaves of Fun: A History of Bread with Activities and Recipes from Around the World by Elizabeth M. Harbison, The Story of Science: Aristotle Leads the Way by Joy Hakim; and the Dover coloring book, Empire Fashions by Tom Tierney. (And tucked away temporarily in my sock drawer for Christmas: Isabel Bayrakdarian's Cleopatra cd for Laura, and the O Brother, Where Art Thou video -- I've linked to the widescreen dvd because apparently I got the last, non-widescreen video -- and Davy Crockett dvd for the kids to share.)
And on the way home, a big grocery shop -- milk, peanut butter, fruit, vegetables, shrimp to broil with olive oil and garlic tonight, and oodles of canned goods, on sale, because after all winter will be coming to the prairies. And lollipops and cookies for the kids from their favorite cashier, who once again let them help pack the bags.
At bedtime I read them the first chapter of Caddie Woodlawn, my old children's book club edition, illustrated by the marvelous Kate Seredy. Definitely left them hanging and wanting more -- "just a little bit of the next chapter, just so we can find out what a circuit rider is? Please?"