Getting Real on Another First Day of School

I had big plans for this morning.  Despite the fact that we got home from our amazing weekend at 11:30 last night, this was going to be Little Man’s first day of Kindergarten.  That, of course, necessitated putting on cute clothes, making sure his face was clean and moisturized, and taking an adorable picture on the front porch.  It didn’t happen.

As I stood in my kitchen surveying the piles of duffles, backpacks, and shoes, I doubted whether it was realistic to start school with the two little boys.  My older children were off to a good start; maybe one more day wouldn’t matter.  But I also knew that if I waited until I had everything tidy and ready to go, it could easily be another week.

At 10:00, I grabbed our children’s Bible, a book on birds, and the boys’ phonics book, called my three youngest to the sofa in the family room, and kicked off the school year.  Sunshine had woken up a short time before (since we got home so very late) and was still in her nightgown, while Little Man was in the clothes he wore on the drive home.  Yes, I put him to bed straight out of his car seat.  It was not our shining moment, but I took a picture to document the reality that sometimes you just have to start school, even if nothing is perfect.

The little boys did reading, Bible, Nature Study, and math.  Sunshine did all of her subjects and only finished an hour ago, at 5:00.  We had piano lessons in the middle of the afternoon and Ladybug had volleyball practice at the local junior high. It was a big day.

The duffles are still sitting in the family room and laundry needs to be done, but our school year is off to a good start and my heart is a little lighter.  Hopefully we’ll be in better shape tomorrow — and possibly a kindergarten picture on the front porch will even happen.

I’m praying that my 21st year of homeschooling will be a time of exploring, creating, gaining skills, and lots of joy.

#111 – 120 giving thanks

counselors who loved on my children for three days

safe travel for all 13 of us

Sweet Pea’s surprise of having the entire weekend off

sweet fellowship with friends I rarely see

tired, happy children

snuggling up with my youngest three while teaching science

a stockpile of toilet paper in the pantry – crisis averted

piano lessons resuming

more music coming from my living room

big brothers helping little brothers


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Let me introduce myself. Russ and I are the parents of twelve children by birth and adoption, and sometimes more through foster care. I'm the creator of One Thankful Mom which has been as much of a gift to me as to my readers. In 2011 I became a TBRI® Pracitioner* and have lived and breathed connected parenting ever since. I'm deeply honored to be the co-author, together with the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, of The Connected Parent; it is her final written work. I love speaking at events for adoptive and foster parents. I'm also the co-founder of The Adoption Connection, a podcast and resource site for adoptive moms. I mentor and encourage adoptive moms so you can find courage and hope in your journeys of loving your children well.


  1. Shonni
    September 7, 2011

    I so understand this!! We are off to a got start also, and the laundry is still waiting this morning lol

  2. Laura
    September 7, 2011

    Hope you get that picture today…I always love your first day of school pictures, especially the one with the Curious George lunch box from last year! We actually made Madeleine stand out front and take a picture at 7:00 am when she left for her first day of senior year!

  3. blessed
    September 7, 2011

    Good for you–that's what homeschooling is all about! (As I sit in my jammies at 8:54 am finishing my tea and reading blogs to inspire me to start the day, and my older kids are doing their school in front of the fire–chilly morning here on Monterey Bay–and my youngest is finishing her morning routine in the bedroom and the littlest is eating breakfast at the table. It's not the way I want to be starting the morning, so haphazzard-feeling, with everyone doing something different, but the children needed this today, so that's what we're doing!) I hope the rest of your school week leaves you feeling content and confident, and no matter what you keep this good attitude towards imperfection. : )

    Your imperfection endears you to your readers, you know. The little detail about a kid going to bed in his clothes–sounds like very wise parenting to me!

  4. Katrina
    September 7, 2011

    Lisa, please give yourself grace 🙂 You know the rest of the population puts their kids in bed (atleast once in their lifetime) in the clothes they wore all day, straight from the car seat, right? It didn't kill him or you and it's OK! I think I sometimes get caught up in things not happening the way I want/think they should and I miss opportunities. I'm glad you started school and didn't miss the opportunity to have good school time with your kids 🙂

  5. Julie
    September 7, 2011

    Awww…a perfect start to homeschooling! 🙂 As messy as it can be, I think it is very conducive to learning. At last year's graduation meetings, the students went around and told the group their favorite part of homeschooling. Several kids (including mine) said that school in their jammies was the top benefit. 🙂

  6. Dawn Wright
    September 7, 2011

    He he he…after moving….it seemed impossible, and yet I told myself that I really wanted to start in 2 weeks….so this week we started. It wasn't perfect, but it was GREAT!!

    Way to go even when life isn't perfect. I think that teaches all of us to not worry about perfection, just living life together and doing our best is what God desires 🙂


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