Back to school comes early in FL!! August 10th was Grace’s first day but that was ok because she was so excited to start second grade!
We had a really positive homeschool experience with Grace for Kindergarten. We considered homeschooling her again last year for first grade. Andy and I went back and forth and prayed a lot about how to educate Grace last year. We ultimately decided to put her in first grade at the wonderful elementary school down the road from our Maryland house. It was the right decision!
Grace had a fantastic year. She loved her teacher and made new friends right away. She excelled academically and became so brave and confident. She was a fairly timid toddler and preschooler, but being in school has given her the confidence to plug right in when we go places with children’s activities. It’s been so great to watch her step into a new Sunday school setting, carnival game, or public play area and feel confident enough to run right up and get involved!
Being a military family and moving once a year (or less!) right now means it’s really important for us to plug in and connect quickly. Military life means pressing fast forward on friendship and community involvement if you don’t want to be lonely and isolated during your brief stay in an area. That’s been a new experience for us since we came from a background of living in the same city for a long time and having rich history and deep roots in our relationships. We’re getting better at it with each move :)
The first day of school meant a front porch photo shoot!! Who is this grown up girl and how did she go from this:
The old saying, “The days are long but the years are short” could not be more true! The years continue to clip by at a rapid pace. I’m doing my best to pay attention and savor as much of this as I can.
Grace’s new school isn’t too far from home, but with Avery being in VPK (voluntary pre kindergarten) 5 mornings a week, I knew I’d be in for a TON of driving if I didn’t consider having Grace ride the bus.
I’ll admit I was nervous about the whole bus thing, but I have to say it’s been a huge blessing!! Our bus driver is the NICEST woman! She greets me with a friendly wave every single morning and she’s so sweet to Grace. One particularly rough morning, Grace boarded the bus having just stopped crying, and her bus driver wiped her tears with a tissue and gave her a hug! I cannot tell you how good it feels to have your child in such good care on the way to and from school each day. Bus drivers are world changers! I’m already thinking about a Christmas gift for this wonderful woman!
Did I mention the bus picks Grace up right in front of our house??? It’s amazing. Seriously the best.
After Labor Day (aka the normal time to start school!) Avery started school. After much back and forth, we decided to enroll her in a free VPK program at a sub-installation of the main Navy base we live right next to.
I was really hesitant to send her to school 5 mornings a week, but her Maryland preschool was literally the highlight of her entire year last year and I wanted Avery to have something that was “hers” during our short stay here. So we decided to go for it!
I also remembered Kindergarten will be 5 full days next year, so this is probably a good transition to that. I do miss our relaxed 3 morning a week preschool schedule last year though. Probably because of the commute! The base that houses her school is about 20 minutes away which means I’m driving about an hour and twenty minutes each day just commuting to and from preschool. It’s not my favorite thing! LOL
But just look at this sweet girl and how excited she is about school :)
Again…how did we get from this:
Avery is a pretty solid introvert, but she enjoys school and feels very grown-up when she leads us to her classroom every morning. She’s learning to write her name and having lots of fun experiences with her teachers and classmates. They end each day with outdoor recess, and I love seeing her sweet flushed face when we pick her up on the playground.
True to her introverted ways, she’ll usually come home after school and head straight to her room for some alone time before lunch! I love how well she plays on her own…she has a vivid imagination and is such a wonderful girl.
Side by side comparisons may be the death of me because they highlight just how quickly the time passes, but I’m a glutton for punishment so here are a couple recaps of the past few years :)
Avery 3 Year Old Preschool vs 4 Year Old VPK
Grace Kindergarten – First Grade – Second Grade
These pictures make me think our next house needs to have a burgundy front door! Ha!
I’m so grateful my girls have access to education. It’s a privilege I don’t take for granted and I look forward to seeing all they will do with the gifts they’ve been given :)