I don't know how well this fits into my "mastery" category, but it's been a busy day, so it'll have to do. We'd planned to start school the day after Labor Day as we do each year, but my readers know how I spent Labor Day this year (hint: not finalizing my lesson plan for the first week of school). So instead, I used the past week to plan a lesson (or five) and we began today.
That's not to say we did no learning this summer! We always continue with some light workbook work and reading requirements to stay in stride with our education and not backslide over the summer break. But we like to have an official "first day" so that we can have official "first day photos" and "first day celebratory meals," etc. It's the day I hand out new school supplies to the kids and give them all a new t-shirt to wear for their pictures.
The first day of school is also year after year, the day I am the most organized and prepared for school. By May, I'm usually throwing my ideas together on the fly and copying math worksheets while the kids are working on their writing assignments. Nothing is done in advance because by late spring, we're just trying to make those last efforts to finish things or catch up before summer.
I hate to admit that, but it seems from other homeschool parents I've spoken with that I'm not alone there. Truth be told, most public school teachers are probably in a similar boat (or worse?). I'm not proud of my slackerishness (yeah, I made that one up), but I've come to make peace with it because I know my heart and my intentions are all good at the start of each new school year and then ... life happens. Deal.
My kids -- all with their varying personalities and disabilities (in some cases) -- are very behind public school kids in some things, but are very advanced compared with them in other areas. I'm mostly fine with that, too, except for sometimes when I'm throwing myself a pity party and I want to find everything I'm doing wrong and focus on it intently. I have a sixth-grader who is still working on his multiplication facts, but who can create fantastic stories on the fly and recite Scripture and has traveled to over half of the states in this country (and remembers very specific details about each place we visited). Don't even get me started on what he remembers from History lessons! That's his favorite subject.
Anyway, so today is our first day of school this year. I know what we're doing the rest of the week and I feel oh, so organized. Today went well, though some parts not so much. It's a new rhythm for us all ... amidst some of the harder challenges of life we're working through at the same time. We'll make it.
But in the meantime, I'm thankful we have finished our first day ... nobody's bleeding and nobody died. On my husband's scale, I'd say it was a successful day.