Tuesday, August 23, 2011

First day of school

School started yesterday. Unusually enough, all 4 of my children are in different schools....Rebekah, a sophmore in high school, Julianne in 8th grade at the brand new jr. high, Brandon in 5th grade at the neighboring elementary, and Lilian in her second year of preschool. It will be a challenge to keep all of these schedules straight with 4 different start and end times...not to mention early out Fridays and late start Tuesdays!

Rebekah's schedule consists of 8 classes split up into A and B days....4 classes per day, an hour and a half each.
1. Food/Nutrition
2. World Civilization
3. Fit for Life
4. Choir
5. English
6. Geometry
7. Seminary
8. Biology

She had the first 4 classes yesterday. Which means that today is another first day of school for the second half of her schedule.

Funny story about Rebekah's first day....
We're still trying to figure out how to get Rebekah to school each day. Originally she figured she'd catch a ride with a friend who can drive. However, this friend is newly 16 and according to Utah law, may not drive anyone other than herself for another few months. There is a bus. But because so many high school students drive to school or carpool with those who do, there is only one bus for the entire west side of our town. Which means that Rebekah would have to be at our assigned bus stop at 6:38 am. School doesn't even start till 7:30!!! That's awfully early! There is another bus stop at 6:51 am that isn't too far...I'd have to drive her to the stop each morning but maybe we'll give that a try. The past few days I've just driven her to school. But regardless of the morning commute, we decided that she could certainly ride the bus home. Yesterday she and some friends went out to the bus after school only to find it broken down. A replacement bus had been called but was still supposedly 15 minutes away. Rebekah and 3 of her friends decided to go back inside the school for a drink of water while waiting. They swear they were quick as quick could be but when they came back, the replacement bus and all the other waiting kids were gone! Why, at this point, did they not call a parent, I don't know. But the original bus driver, seeing their plight and feeling awfully bad that they had been left behind, called ANOTHER replacement bus. Just for the 4 of them! Rebekah arrived home a good hour and a half after school got out, but she made it. :)

Julianne has 7 classes...each being attended for 45 minutes every day.

1. Keyboarding
2. Science
3. French 2
4. English
5. U.S. History
6. Theatre 1
7. Algebra

A new Jr. High was completed over the summer so Julianne is attending a different school this year than last. And although originally she was less than thrilled about changing midway through Jr. High, the principal and staff have tried very hard over the summer, through emails and activities, at keeping the kids in the loop and excited about their new school. It's a really nice building...our old jr. high, as much as we loved it, was 50 years old. Julianne is especially excited about having air conditioning! :) Another new and neat thing...every single student gets their own Netbook (laptop) for assignments and ebooks, etc. Julianne's History teacher, who is jazzed about the possibilities, remarked, "You guys are guinea pigs. These netbooks will either be a rousing success and the first step in changing how we do things. Or it will be a huge flop!"

Despite the fact that this new Jr. High is right next door to our elementary and the elementary kids are bussed, the Jr. High kids will not be. I guess they figure that teenagers are a little more traffic savvy and street smart? Julianne has chosen to ride her bike with some friends to school and back...well, at least until the weather gets colder and the snow flies.

Last week while I was in California I got an email from the elementary school stating that the 5th grade was overcrowded and that they had hired another teacher. I started having uncomfortable deja-vu. Last year around the same time, I got the same sort of email. Brandon ended up in a funnel class...one teacher in the morning and then splitting off to another class in the afternoon...a class that was already being team taught. He had 3 teachers all together! And although Brandon rolled with it, I had some issues with the situation. I so did NOT want to do THAT again! But when I called the school in somewhat of a panic, I was informed that Brandon was not in a funnel class...in fact, he had Mrs. G., the same teacher Julianne had in 5th grade...a teacher we adored! Needless to say, Brandon was thrilled and had a great first day.

With all 3 older kids having very distinctly different first day experiences and stories to share (Lilian doesn't start preschool until after Labor Day) we had a special Back to School dinner. I decorated the table with little bouquets of pencils, pens and crayons. I printed out the mascot/mottos from each of the various schools, stuck them into apples and made them into place tags, of sorts. We just had navajo tacos...nothing fancy, but while we were eating we had each of the kids give us a first day report.

It'll take some time to get back into the swing of things, to give up the relaxed and unstructured way of life we had during the summer and trade it for the schedules of school and all the extra- curriculars that have been on hiatus the past few months. But it's all good and I'm looking forward to it.


MELISSA said...

wow, Julianne looks tall and thin - medicine or skinny jeans? Glad they all had a great time, the busing situation seems to be a bit of a mad house. I'm waiting for the day you write to say that you are driving them all in a carpool!

Mary said...

What? No choir for Julianne? Aw, makes my heart sad. Next year maybe?

Katie said...

You are so creative! I love your back-to-school dinner! How fun to make it something special like that! The kids look so cute and old! I can't believe how fast they are growing up.