First Day


Yesterday was our first day of school.  But, I guess you could tell that from the photos.  Ha, not really.  Well, maybe the messy laundry folding photos.  Homeschooling six out of seven children to some extent ultimately results in a mess.  We got through everything I hoped and I feel good about this new year, my eighth homeschooling year.

Last year was pretty terrible.  With a new baby and postpartum depression, I didn’t have the energy to do more than the bare minimum.  That’s okay.  It happens sometimes.

This year, I’m determined that it will be different.  In fact, our school year is going to be really different.  A few days after Sarah died, I made the crazy decision to join the small homeschooling co op that Sarah and many of my other friends are a part of.  I’ve never joined anything like this before.  I guess I have a major fear of commitments.  Somehow I knew though, that I need more time with my friends this year, and maybe even more than that, my kids need something new as well.  Being part of a co op means that your children benefit from being taught by others, and that each parent must contribute.  I kind of assumed they would ask me to teach chemistry.  (My degree is in plant pathology so I guess you could say I am a bit of a science geek.)  But, they didn’t.

Sarah taught the preschoolers, and no one envied her.  From what I’ve heard she did an amazing job creating a little Montessori style preschool for the little ones.

About a week ago, my friend Eve mentioned to me that there was a need (obviously) for someone to take over the preschool and that others in the group wanted to know if she had someone in mind.  In complete innocence I asked, “Well do you?”

“Um, yeah.  You.”

And it immediately made sense and was perfect and just what I wanted to do.  Eve made me cry when she said something along the lines of, “There’s no one who could do a better job, and no one whom Sarah would want more to carry on for her.”  It’s possible that she was just trying to butter me up so I would agree.  Whatever, it worked.

I love three and four year olds.  LOVE them.  I find three to be the most challenging age ever, but at the same time the absolute funniest and cutest.  My Silas is such an extreme example.  He always has been extremely cute and funny–while also being EXTREMELY challenging.  He makes me insane.  He is “Bull in a china shop” defined.  I totally adore him though he slays me.  Anyway, he’s going to be doing one day of preschool each week this year, and I’ll be his lucky teacher.  I’m ridiculously excited, probably a little too excited, but that’s okay.  I’ll also be teaching all of my friends’ adorable 3s and 4s, and it’s going to be so great.  This gives me added purpose, motivation, and accountability this year, and also gives me something tangible to do for Sarah.  What a gift.

(Preschool inspiration: Twenty-Six Letters to Heaven: A Catholic Preschool Curriculum, Teach Me to Do It Myself: Montessori Activities for You and Your Child,Don’t Move the Muffin Tins: A Hands-Off Guide to Art for the Young Child, Before Five in a Row, and I Can Do It! I Can Do It!: 135 Sucessful Independent Learning Activities.)



  1. This just about made me cry. 🙂 In a good way.

    I’m freaking out about the homeschool year beginning. We have grades 2, 6, 7, 8, 10 and now a 10 month old crawling around getting into everything. o.O I feel like nothing gets done. It’s very encouraging to read that other women (who do it all!) also have trouble fitting more than one thing in the day. (I’m sort of referring to another post as well as this one.)

  2. Oh I love this! I’m happy for you! That’s going to be so exciting.

    And such lovely pictures of the kids folding laundry :).

  3. Reading your post this morning made me chuckle because today my 4 kids and myself are headed off to our first day of a homeschool co-op too and it’s the type we’ve never done before- with tough classes and full year classes. I’ve been so nervous but yet I know it’s where The Lord wants us and will be so good for my kids. In the past I was like you a little afraid to make a commitment and now that I have – I’m still a bit nervous and excited. I’ve not been asked to teach at this particular co-op but I know I will learn. You’ll do a great job Ginny and I’m excited for you and the coming year!!!

  4. Oh the very best of luck, you will be brilliant. I taught preschool and just loved loved loved it. Three year olds are wonderful, they want to do everything and just soak up things like a sponge. Four year olds find each other and want to learn how to socialise. You will have such a rewarding time and will be just BRILLIANT!

  5. best wishes on the great new year! thanks for sharing your books; we are just starting homeschooling so it’s nice to see ideas:)

  6. beth lehman says:

    oh, ginny!! it sounds like a wonderful (and challenging) match!! i’ll be praying for you. and if there’s ever a specific request for prayer, i would consider it a gift to pray that way for you. xo

  7. I am so happy that you have this wonderful opportunity which has come to you at a time of need. It will be great for you, your children and a lucky class of preschoolers. I just know you will be an awesome teacher to them, after all you will have an angel on your shoulder. Have fun!

  8. Your calling to teach the three- and four-year-olds sounds like a tender mercy. What a sweet connection to Sarah at this time.

  9. How wonderful for you and the children. I always found 3 to be the most challenging age also.

  10. What a beautiful way to honor your friend!

  11. I began reading your blog just a few days before your friend died. My daughter lost a friend last year for the same reason….it brought it all back, and I ached for you. I am so glad that you decided to join the group, and ended up taking your friends class. It will be good for you I am sure. I marvel at all you do. Best of luck.

  12. florentine says:

    ginny, this sounds wonderful and so very “fitting” for you!

  13. So glad you found what you needed. It is a true blessing to have those opportunities gifted us. Can’t wait to see what fun activities you’ve planned for the little ones.

  14. Oh, what a lovely horse you are climbing back onto! Just beautiful.

  15. Ginny I pray peace for you and wisdom and patience as you go forth in helping out in Sara’s footsteps. I know it might be a little difficult but God will guide you. I have a lot of problems with commitment also and I taught at a co-op. It was very difficult for me as I am a night person and it was a morning co-op, as they all are! I also have Fibromyalgia and ADD! So I think you will be fine. Blessing to you and all the kids. Have fun.

  16. Hi, Ginny. I recently found your blog, and I honestly can’t remember how, but I’m very glad I did. We are a homeschooling family just starting out really, and your words are an encouragement. I’ve read your words about your dear friend, and they are so very moving. She was clearly a remarkable person, and her live is still touching others through your memories of her.

  17. me too I love 3 and 4 year olds. I’m sure you are all going to enjoy your co op friendships that will be formed and of course the learning too.
    ENJOY as the years of homeschooling go fast and then BANG it is over.
    Love Leanne NZ

  18. I’m so excited for you! I couldn’t imagine anyone better and how sweet that you will get to think of Sarah and continue on for her in such a sweet way. I think it’s so great you joined the co-op!

  19. My sister is a Montessori teacher and she absolutely loves that age. I’m at the age where I have more teenagers than littles. It was sad to pack up all my learning-to-read materials this summer. But on the bright side, I feel pretty jazzed that I successfully taught seven kids to read! My small contribution to civilization.

    I would love to belong to a homeschool co-op, but no one is interested around here, mostly because of the commitment required. However, the biggest problem is that the charter schools have killed homeschooling cohesiveness in CA. In our small town there are five! Most people are so busy fulfilling the requirements and enjoying the “freebies” that they don’t have the time to get together even socially with other Catholic homeschoolers.

  20. Ohmygoodness …. I LOVE pre-schoolers!!! I always taught them at church (Sunday school) And myself and my children ADORED our homeschool group! We looked forward to our ‘classes’ every week (they never seemed like a ‘class’ if that makes sense *grin* )
    Good on you Ginny! I know you’ll be great!

  21. What a perfect way to honor Sarah, loving the little ones she loved. I too love 3 and 4. I have one that just turned five and I think I will love five too 🙂 My three year old (girl) is just like you described. My boy is quiet and reserved. My girl is NUTS. She climbs things about every five minutes and asks with total glee, “Is it DANGEROUS!?” She broke a bone by 18 months. Crazy girl.

  22. Willemijn Maljaars says:

    I teach preschool too (one morning a week) and it is lovely! You can’t do wrong because if you make a mistake they mostly don’t notice.
    It will be a really effective way to give structure to your week too! Enjoy.

  23. Bobbie D. says:

    Wow this is such a God thing for you, being the hands and feet of Jesus. All of you being together and healing together. Makes me tear up.

    I have a bull in a china closet as well, just turned seven and hasn’t changed a bit. It’s good to know I’m not the only one. : )

  24. Sounds great, teaching is so much fun. I’m happy you are excited about it. I wish there will be a co op here too.

  25. That’s wonderful!

  26. We started school yesterday too! I feel suddenly cool and hip knowing I started on the same day as you. 3’s and 4’s are really so lovely. You will do wonderfully.

  27. Shannon Dennis says:

    I am in love with the way you write. In my mind is a storm and it often leaves me void of any creative thoughts that once came easily to me. When I join you ( because I often think of my reading of your blog a little tea party) at the table, I am quiet, and I can imagine again, and daydream. “I totally adore him though he slays me.” I too have a three year old, and this fits. Bless your time this year.

    P.S. I received the books you mailed me on Aspergers. Thank you.

  28. Dear Ginny,
    What a perfect gift from God to you!!! It sounds like it has put the skip back in your step. Congrats!!
    I’m sure you will do an excellent job at teaching and I am hoping that you will will enjoy some homeschool support through other Mom’s who are doing the same.

  29. How wonderful! I love 3 and 4 year olds as well, especially when I get to hand them back to their parents at the end of the day. 😉 They are hilarious and so smart!

  30. I taught pre-school children for many years before I retired early with my husband. It really is a job that keeps on giving, every day a little step achieved until finally a big step into the next phase of schooling. Always rewarded with the knowledge that you had prepared those little ones for that. Its hard work but worth every minute.

  31. I loved your post today. As a former K-5 and 2nd grade teacher I can tell you that preschool will be a blast. Little kids always keep me laughing. They are a lot of work but they make up for it because they are so adorable.
    It’s so wonderful that you will be doing this with friends and your and your kids can go through the healing process together. It sounds like a really good plan.
    What a great way to honor Sarah. The program looks good. Praying for you this fall, it will be fun to have Silas in your class. I taught all my kids in our Christian school and it was such a special time. We have lots of good memories and funny stories about those days.

  32. Preschoolers are the best, I agree. I’ll take twenty preschoolers over one surly teen any day. I think in a school setting you’ll find Silas to be a different boy. It’s easier to be obedient when everyone else is obeying. 😉 Oh and they are so cuddly. And just like little sponges, eager to soak up what you have for them.

  33. I wish you could take on my two preschoolers 😉 That age is so so hard for me but I have no doubt you’ll do a fabulous job that Sarah will be so proud of.

  34. Your post brought tears to my eyes this morning. You and Sarah have been on my mind so much. I live in Springfield VA and a story about Sarah was in the paper from the Arlington diocese this last weekend. I is so heartbreaking. She obviously touched many lives and I continue to pray for her family and friends. The co op sounds like a great one and I got a kick out of your thoughts on three year olds. I too find three year olds the most difficult (forget the terrible twos!! My two year olds have always been a breeze compared to three!) – but I agree they are also the funniest and most entertaining! My three year old is also a bull in a china shop and SO LOUD!! He is number four out of five and is definitely a happy, loud, joyful little person. Anyway, just wanted to say that you touched my heart this morning. I pray that you all may find peace and solace in God’s love.

    • PS – thank you for the list of resources! I am a fairly new homeschooler and am constantly looking for things to incorporate!

  35. that is really beautiful. * We are still praying for you and for Sarah’s family * Doing things in honour of those who are departed is something very real that you are doing for them…reminds me of the Orthodox (maybe Catholic too?) Christian tradition of giving alms in a departed loved one’s name. Or like the many plaques in churches in honour of ‘ name’. The older I get the more I see how meaningful this is. I wear a silver ring daily in honour of my Grandfather who is waiting for me in heaven (and I pray praying me there) as my promise to him to live as a Christian in honour of his life lived as a Christian. The comfort I got esp. when in the early months of grief for him, this was a great comfort. So I get how deeply meaningful this is for you and I am so very glad. * Praying for you. DV I will be at a monastery this week and I will light candles for you all, including Sarah and ask the nuns to pray for you all. May the Mother of God continue to shelter you all in her protecting arms.

  36. Aww, I think that’s a completely wonderful way to honor your friend, and I can just feel your excitement through the words you typed.

    I hope those 3 and 4 year olds bring you lots of joy. 🙂

I love to hear from you!