Let’s talk about what changes between the beginning and the end of the school year.

Last Day of School C

1. The transition from fully Pinterested-Out, pre-printed and thought-out signs to OHDEARCRAPINEEDTOMAKEASIGN moments that happen approximately 30 seconds before the photo is snapped.

(I wouldn’t have even remembered to notate the last day of school with a picture except that my Facebook Feed was full of other Moms who remembered all by themselves.)

2. First Day of school semi-coordinated outfits…downgraded to mismatched pajamas and hair that hasn’t been brushed in at least three days.


4. My subjects seemed to have developed a serious slump. Clearly we didn’t do Charm School this year.

5. And oh yeah – they look older.


(Too bad one of them doesn’t act it.)

First and Last Day of School

Now for the Official Report Card.

Just like last year, Noah had a great first half of the year and not-so-great second half.

The first semester, he was all about it – playing Legos, coloring, doing stickers, and sitting in my lap so as to utilize my fantastic artistic abilities to aid his entertainment.



But the second semester he was angry. Very, very angry.



And when he wasn’t angry, he was using his talents for evil, disturbing the peace to which his sister holds so dearly.


NOBODY spills Ali’s paintbrush water.

Okay yes they do.

On an unrelated note…Noah’s going to Preschool next year.

Really – I swear – It’s not Troubled Toddler Boot Camp. We’d always considered sending him when he was three because his Godmother is an absolutely fabulous three-year-old preschool teacher, and I knew that both Noah and she would love to have a year of school together.

And Ali and I would love to do school without an angry toddler throwing things at us.


(Okay he’s not that bad.)


As I’ve always said about Homeschooling, we take everything one year at a time, with prayer and over-analysis, as to what works for each kid and our family that year.

And we think three half-days a week of preschool will be awesome.

Noah will probably come home again and actually start homeschooling the year after that, but we’ll see where God leads when the time comes.

As far as how mine and Ali’s school year went, it was surprisingly good, despite my health issues that did add a level of difficulty.

We both enjoyed our decision to use textbooks (as old school and hipster as it may have been,) and plan on doing the same next year. Our favorite choice was BJU’s reading program – despite some really hilarious legalistic overtones in a few stories (which gave us great conversation opportunities,) they even provided Ali with artistic relief amidst reading comprehension.


What’s that? You want to see one of the ridiculously legalistic stories?

Sure. Why not?

(As long as you promise to keep in mind that most were not like this. But the few that were really went for it.)

Treasure One

Yes Reggie, your train painting is great. Thank you for eagerly trying to please me, your mother. BUT NO, It is not pleasing to God. And it’s certainly not good enough for God’s Museum.

But wait! There’s more!

Treasure Two

Good job Reggie. Way to spend all night trying to please me with your holiness. But no. IT’S STILL NOT GOOD ENOUGH FOR MY GOD MUSEUM.


And then there was this page in another story, which we quickly deemed the worst “Good Morning, sis!” ever.


Because what kid would want to miss a “Dead Man Overboard” moment?

Despite these winners, we actually ended up doing the First and Second Grade reading program this year because Ali enjoyed it so much.

The A Beka math went well, although I think Ali needs some work in speed. (Or at least not procrastinating.) We did not end up using the BJU bible program or Handwriting Without Tears – we just did our own thing in both of those subjects, and I’m going to reassess for next year.

I also administered Ali’s first Stanford Achievement Tests this year, which was a fascinating process.

(I’ve had a lot of people ask me how I got my hands on such contraband – I discovered that individual homeschoolers can order the tests from A Beka Testing. It was relatively inexpensive, but make sure you download the instructions off the website, because they don’t come with the tests and you’ll need to know how to fill in the school information bubbles if you want to actually get your results back.)

Originally I was just doing it “just because” – I figured Ali would enjoy it (being that she’s a SuperGeek like me), and that it was good practice. However, it ended up being invaluable. I learned several things:

1. It is dang hard to give your own kid achievement tests – especially when you know they know the right answer but are just thinking about the question wrong. But you must follow the script only or it’s not standardized. Therefore, it was great practice in self-control for me. Fortunately, when Ali hits third grade they’ll be administered by our cover school and my personal agony will end.

2. It revealed a couple of educational gaps we had – in particular, specific language issues like capitalization and punctuation. It helped me plan for next year to better cover those areas.

3. It gave me the confidence that we really are on the right track – she did extremely well, and, as predicted, adored the testing. Bubble-Filling-In runs deeply in our family.

4. It has been fifteen years since I have been able to geek out at the statistical goldmine that is Achievement Test results. Oh how I love, love, love percentiles.

And…that about covers our year.

How was yours?

10 thoughts on “School Completion Badge: Unlocked.

  1. Poor Reggie.

    Love your First Day and Last Day of school signs. I didn’t do either! I’m such a slacker.

    My son attended “WEE” school. (Weekday Early Education) for the past three years. It’s a 3 hour morning program. He “graduated” from the 4 year old class last night. It was such a fun ceremony because, well, 4-5 year old kids are entertaining to say the least. I was very emotional (which is not like me at all) because I cannot believe he will be entering kindergarten in the fall. I have loved everything about the private preschool he has attended, and I’m not ready for public school. I know it’ll be fine. My husband is a public school teacher. So I’m not against the public school.. I just wish I had what it takes to keep my kids at home and home school. I admire you. I think you are a great mom and teacher.

  2. Our first year of homeschooling was a success. :-) Everyone tested well above grade level, and no one throttled anyone else. A rousing success. Lol

  3. Poor Reggie and Remember. Those stories are hilariously awful.

    Noah will love preschool. Our now-5-year-old started preschool at our church 3 days/week when he was 3. It was really exciting to see his growth, especially in areas that I was bad at covering at home. For example, I’m not a very artsy-craftsy mom, so he didn’t have much in the way of Art. He really loved the art projects at school.

    I also learned that schooling outside the home is a better fit for him, so when he starts Kindergarten next year, he will be at our neighborhood public school.

    I had to laugh at your reaction to the standardized tests. My mom and dad are retired public school teacher (Mom) and an elementary school principal (Dad), and the standardized tests were the bane of their existence! They have endless meetings upon meetings dissecting the various results. You would have loved it! :)

    Does Alabama have a program for homeschoolers? I know in Florida, they assign you an educator who will run the standardized tests for you. I also heard that in Canada, if you register as a homeschooler, you get $1,000 towards your school supplies!

  4. People keep mentioning preschool to me but B won’t be 3 until October so he can’t go til NEXT year! But apparently I need to work harder with him at home so he’s ready for calculus by kindergarten. (Ok I think the pediatrician was kidding but still….) Congrats on surviving a year with both at home but yes, I think you’ll enjoy next year too!

    1. My son turns three at the end of September. The church we go to runs a preschool as well and they have a “young” 3 year old class. It’s for kids who just miss the cutoff date. I’m sure you could find something similar where you are.

  5. How does everyone finish so early?? We have been working so hard over here to finish early and we won’t be done till Thursday. One of my friends was done weeks ago. Our school isn’t over till June 13th so I still have to log attendance, but no more lessons after Thursday. Yippee! I think we had a successful year. I’ll post about it soon. We are doing preschool for S next year. Our Pastor’s wife runs an awesome one. I wish I could send the “destructor”, but I’ll settle for the middle. She can be pretty distracting too so hopefully we’ll get a lot done on those three mornings. :) Happy Summer!

  6. I’m seriously considering home school for my 3rd grader. After watching a movie every week in class and sending home 2 hours of homework every night, then terrorizing ALL of us over the stupid state test then doing NOTHING for the last 3 weeks of school, I’m sure I can do better. And I have to reteach her math this summer anyway! Might as well just keep her home and do it myself the first time around.

  7. Oh fellow bubble-fill-in fans! I am not alone! I’m not sure my early standardized tests were accurate since I could not resist straying from the correct answer to finish a pattern. Fortunately for my mother’s sanity, someone else administered them.

    (Why yes I am completely distracted from the point of this post. Hmm, patterns)

  8. Because I’m new to your blog I may have missed a few things – like why do you home school? Is school in America so bad you don’t want to be part of it; do you feel you can do a better job of it at home; is there a problem of bullying at schools in the states? I’m just throwing out a few reasons I can think of for choosing this method of education. I have 5 children ranging from 40 down to 24, so you can see it was many years ago that this was an issue in my house, but now I have 4 grandchildren, 2 of whom are at school now. I don’t think this is a very popular method in Australia – of course we have the same problems as everyone does but I think here it’s more a choice between getting your kids educated by the Government in cheaper schools (subsidised heavily per child) or sending them to Private Schools which are also subsidised although not as heavily. These private schools can be extremely expensive -up to $4-5000/term and many are performance rated as well. There’s a third section as we will hitch is the Catholic education which falls somewhere between the two, & once you had to be a member of the Catholic Church to attend or work, but I think they’ve relaxed that a little.. An interesting subject, but in the end I believe the family should have the most influence on each child & the school or method in which they have been taught matters very little. My experience anyway.

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