Friday, September 4, 2015

Gearing Up for School!

This fall will be quite different from any fall I have had for the last 5 years, because, for the first time, I will be sending off a kid to SCHOOL!  It's crazy.  Everyone says time flies, but it is SO TRUE!  How is it possible that baby Summer is ready for kindergarten already?!?! :)

 Our decision on where and when to send Summer to kindergarten was not an easy one.  Because Summer has an August birthday, she only makes the MN "5 by September 1st" cutoff by a month.   For that reason, we considered holding her back a year, so that she could be one of the older students in her class, instead of one of the youngest.  Furthermore, we had many options swirling in our heads about sending her to one of the Christian schools around here, homeschooling or being part of a homeschool Co-op, sending her to a magnet school for Spanish, or sending her to our local neighborhood school, Southview, all of which we visited and checked into this past year. 

Paul and I started praying for our school decision when Summer was a baby, and ramped it up to daily this past year.  We prayed individually, as well as with Summer each night before bed, so she could see how we were turning the decision over to God.  There were so many factors to consider, and our "pro/con" list for sending/holding her was quite long on both sides!  Truly, Paul and I could see benefits of all decisions and we wanted God to tell us which option was best for our Summer.  He knows everything about Summer more than we as her parents do, and has great plans for her.  In his will is where we want to be.  Summer was a sweetheart, wanting so badly to go to school, but trustfully resting in the answer that "Mommy and Daddy are asking God when Summer will go to school", and would ask us, "Mommy, has God told you yet when I will go to school?"  Sweetheart!

In early August, we still did not clearly feel an answer, and I would often come to the Lord in prayer, begging him to tell us his will regarding our schooling decision.  One night, the house was quiet, and I was praying.  And, I clearly heard God say as if he were smiling as he said it, "Kelly, stop!  You have been spending so much time asking me, that you haven't stopped to listen!"  Woops!  True, God.  True.  So, I stopped and I listened.  And this is what I heard him saying - not audibly - but so clearly - (I wrote it down so I wouldn't forget it!!) -

Summer is to go to Southview.  I love you and I have great plans for you.  Trust me and I will direct your paths. Thank you for listening to me. You have to be still for me to speak;) I have great plans for you. Trust in me. Thank you for committing your schedule to me. Continue to do so and I will make you succeed. I love you. I made you, I created you, I have great plans for you.

 And, just like that, a huge peace settled and my anxiety over the situation was turned into excitement for what the new year would bring!  Not to say it isn't mixed with a little sadness as I send my first baby off to school, but oh so much rightness as I have a peace that we are in God's will.  

So, we are gearing up for school!  We had Summer's assessment, our parent's night, our back to school shopping trip, etc etc. 

1st annual "back to school" shopping trip ending with a special treat of eating at Target ;)
This morning we did a "trial run" to see how long it takes us to walk to school (we live 0.6 miles from Southview, so we don't qualify for busing and are thus "walkers").  Because Summer is a "stop and smell the roses" kind of girl, I wanted to make sure we allowed enough time the first day.  I clocked us at 17 minutes, with quite a few stops to look at various things along the way :).  We checked and they do have a bike rack, so we may bike to school some days to make it a little quicker.

When we got to the school, I showed Summer what door they ask us to drop the kindergartners off at...

And how to find her room (there are four kindergarten classrooms)...

Summer is in Mrs. Davis class and we love her already!  I actually taught Mrs. Davis' son at Apple Valley High School when I was pregnant with Summer!

Where she would hang her backpack and coat...

Where she would put her snack bag...

Where the bathroom is (in the classroom) and where her supply bin is...

We found where her desk is (she is part of the "blue group")

The book corner !  Will be a favorite!

Her portion of the birthday calendar

Her picture from assessment day
Her class

We ended the morning with playing at the playground! 


Although all schools in MN have full day kindergarten now, Southview is amazing with working with parents.  At our request, they allowed us to start Summer with a half-day and pick her up before lunch.  Because Summer has not done formal preschool (we have done preschool at home), I think this will be the best way to "ease" into the school experience and make it a positive one.  (I have talked to so many parents say their kindergartners are exhausted after full day kindergarten).  I am very excited about this half-day option and am so grateful that Southview, and Mrs. Davis, are flexible with meeting each child's needs! 

While I will definitely miss having my three favorite kiddos with me all morning, I am choosing to instead focus on how excited I am to get special time, specifically, with Colton!!!  I think he is going to mature quite a bit getting to be the "oldest".  Furthermore, I don't always get special time with my middle kiddo, where he can talk uninterrupted ;), and I look forward to the opportunity to get to know him and love on him even more.  I have been prepping our preschool for the year and I have a bunch of fun ideas of things I can't wait to do with him!  I just prepped this one last night - its a matching game with upper and lowercase letters, clear spoons, and colored spoons.  When you find the match, and stack them, both cases of letters are visible.  From teaching Summer to read, I learned that letters like "a" and "g" are different in type-set font so I included those as well.

I have a whole list of fun games, activities, and websites I am excited to do with my Colton-buddy this year while Summer is at school!

Colton will also be starting a sports camp one day a week through our community ed program with two of his buddies, Kellen, and Brody.  I am excited to proactively be able to make more "boy" playdates for him too, as he often has to tag along with the girls his older sisters' age :).

I am so glad Summer is so excited about going to her new school!  She literally jumped up and down today and she keeps wishing that "school would start tomorrow"!  4 more days, kiddo...4 more days...;)


The Baum Family said...

So exciting! What a big step for Summer!

The O'Connor Family said...

She looks so excited in all these pictures, I love it! Will be praying for a smooth transition for you guys!!

Jill said...

As always, Summer oozes joy and confidence. :)

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