The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly {Our First Two Weeks of School}

by Christine - From Dates to Diapers on September 15, 2011

Well, our second week of school is just about at it’s end, kicking off our busy weekend with a half day tomorrow.

Did I mention that my kids have a minimum day every Friday? Seems to somehow make up for the crazy busy, hectic chaos that is Monday through Thursday. But, I digress.

Where was I? Oh yes… we managed to make it through week two. But, boy, was it hard!

There were buckets of tears shed that first week. Most of them by me, I’ll admit. It was odd having my older kids somewhere else every day. Just thinking about their teacher being able to spend more time with them than I did made me sad. I felt guilty for not teaching them at home again this year, and anxiety about whether or not we did the right thing.

Each of my kids shed some tears, too. At different times, of course. One day math was the culprit. Another day there was a meltdown before soccer practice, because homework wasn’t done yet and there wouldn’t be much time after practice to get it all done. And yet another day, the waterworks started before anyone was even dressed.

Needless to say, the adjustment period has been more than just a bit difficult.

But, it’s been good, too. Really good.

I managed to get over the mommy guilt after that first week and began to trust that God had His Hand in all this. I stopped stressing over not being in complete control of my kids every second of every day. And, I finally gave my children to the Lord. I mean, fully and completely.

Ethan and Zach come home eager to share what they’ve learned. Julia is loving the interaction she has with other girls, and she adores her teacher. And, Josh… well, I think he’s still trying to figure it all out and find his place. But, I have no doubt he soon will.

And? We’ve all survived.

No. No, I think we’re all stronger.

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A New Chapter

by Christine - From Dates to Diapers on August 23, 2011

My parents lovingly devoted much time and attention to my education, sacrificing much to teach me at home. From second grade through my high school graduation, I never once wished it any other way.

All through my childhood I believed that I would home school my own kids. With each new school year came much prayer and discussion regarding our children’s schooling. Never was there any doubt that I would teach them at home.

This year, as I began a mental inventory of our school books, made lists of all the things we needed, and began to plan for a new school year, I felt the Lord guiding our family down a different path. Doors opened, things fell in to place, and my oldest four kiddos – the twins ready to begin 5th grade, Julz going in to 4th, and Josh eager to start 2nd – will each soon be introduced to a new and different experience – a classroom full of children their own age.

As excited as my kiddos are, they will be the first to admit that they are also nervous to start a new school year away from home. I know that they will flourish in this new school of theirs. They will learn many new things, make new friends, and gain a sense of freedom and identity.

But, I am nervous, too. Nervous about how each of them will manage sitting still for hours at a time. Nervous knowing that they may struggle to catch up in math. Nervous about them fitting in and not alienating others with their passion. Nervous about whether or not we have given them the foundation they need to stand up against worldly pressures and the temptation to be catty and trite.

This nervousness, mind you, is not based on doubting our decision to place them in a local school away from home. This year, just as each year in the past, I am at peace with the decision we are making for our kids’ schooling. This year it just looks different than before.

The school we have enrolled them in is fabulous. It is everything we could hope for in a school away from home. I have met Julia’s teacher, both of the 5th grade teachers (although we’re not yet sure which one Ethan and Zach will have), and are looking forward to meeting Joshua’s teacher. The curriculum is similar to that which my parents used to educate my siblings and me. And, my children will be surrounded by children raised in homes much like ours.

Even in the midst of nervousness, I am at peace – a peace that only comes from Christ – about our decision to release our kiddos to kind and dedicated teachers. Even encompassed in peace, I can’t help but be a bit sad. Sad to see my children so excited for this new adventure away from me. Sad to think of how much I will miss them each and every school day. Sad to think that I might have failed them somehow. Sad to have another chapter in homeschooling behind us.

September 6th will be the beginning of a new chapter in our lives. It’ll be exciting. But, as with all good stories, there are bound to be some tears shed.

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Back to School with Crocs

by Christine - From Dates to Diapers on August 8, 2011

Thank you to Crocs for sponsoring this blog post. Please click here to learn more about Crocs’ new Back to School line. I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective. All opinions expressed here are my own.

Back to school shopping around here looks a bit different than in most households, I think. The main reason being that we go clothes shopping throughout the entire year, instead of just before school begins in the Fall. We don’t really emphasize the back-to-school trip over any others throughout the year.

Shopping for clothes and shoes, however, is always a big deal, no matter when we go. With seven kids it’s really hard to swallow a large bill upon checkout, so I am on the constant lookout for the best deals.

Here are some things to keep in mind when shopping for items for your kiddos, no matter what time of the year you decide to update their wardrobe:

  • Take inventory of your kiddos’ closets and determine what it is they really need. I’ve found that when I do this, more often than not, we don’t have to purchase as much as I had originally thought.
  • Make a list of everything needed and create a budget. It’s difficult to stick to the list or budget and it’s incredibly easy to get carried away, but you’ll save tons of money if you go out with a plan and are determined to stick to the plan.
  • Set limitations and boundaries. Making it clear to the kids that only certain items will be purchased, in addition to what styles may be off limits, makes the shopping trip so much better. Do this for yourself AND your kiddos.
  • Sometimes it’s better to shop off season. One of these days I will be able to spend a few season’s budget in one shopping trip, so that I can shop the sales more effectively. We all know that shopping for last seasons’ items is always more affordable. That is when the sales are really great.
  • Shop the sales. I always look at the sales racks first. Most of the time I can find almost all of what I need on sale. Besides, it forces me to shop for the kids so they have a layered wardrobe. Remember, kids play hard and often desire to shed those long sleeves for something cooler.
  • Make it fun! While it isn’t always possible, I like to take each of my kiddos who love to shop out by themselves. At the very least, I let them choose some of the styles and colors of the items they need.

What does back-to-school shopping look like for your family?

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Looking for Affordable Back-to-School Clothing?

by Christine - From Dates to Diapers on September 3, 2010

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TJMaxx BTS

Just before our vacation we took a trip to our nearest T.J.Maxx and boy, did we find a bunch of great deals! Parents can definitely find everything on their shopping lists, without breaking the bank.

We purchased educational puzzles, games and school supply sets, but I happened to notice that many clothing items, including layering pieces – which are hot this season – backpacks and lunchbags were available for amazing prices.

I got the inside scoop on how T.J.Maxx and Marshalls provide shoppers with such incredible savings…

With more than 900 stores across the country, there is a great deal of buying power behind both chains that allows a lot of flexibility in negotiating prices. T.J.Maxx and Marshalls buyers also buy merchandise closer to the time it is needed in stores, which opens up opportunities to score great deals on current season styles. These are just some of the ways T.J.Maxx and Marshalls are able to offer amazing fashions from department and mall store brands at excellent value.

Visit T.J.Maxx on Facebook to post a tote to your wall and help T.J.Maxx reach their goal!

For every tote posted, T.J.Maxx will donate $1, up to $50,000, to Save the Children’s U.S. Programs, which provide early education, nutrition, physical fitness and literacy programs to children in need.

Benefited review

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Back-to-School Supplies For Less

August 20, 2010

School officially begins for us just after Labor Day, but you may have noticed that I’ve been doing some back-to-school shopping this week. My main goal has been purchasing supplies, so Walmart sent me on a little assignment… The Assignment My mission was to make a list of school supplies, purchase the same list of [...]

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Back-to-School Shopping at Walmart

August 19, 2010

I chatted with KTXL FOX 40, this morning, as I did some back-to-school shopping at Walmart. Here are some of the ideas I shared :: 1. Shop with a list to eliminate stress while shopping and also to cut down on those forgotten items. 2. The store brand items, which most often can be found [...]

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Scholastic Children’s Dictionary BACK-TO-SCHOOL BLOG TOUR: Organizing Your School Year

August 11, 2010

Welcome to the 10th stop on the Scholastic Children’s Dictionary BACK-TO-SCHOOL BLOG TOUR! I have the privilege of talking about staying organized through the new school year, but truth be told I am so not an organized person! So, how do I plan to organize my school year? Well, I’ll get to that, but first [...]

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A New School Year Has Begun

September 8, 2009

We made it through our first day back at school. How’d we do? Well, I only raised my voice a few times, but never in anger. The computer and telephone remained off during lessons, and we finished everything on today’s agenda. Well, everything we finished went on today’s agenda. wink, wink My kiddos did so [...]

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School Year’s Eve Resolutions

August 29, 2009

JuiceBoxJungle has a funny show (see my sidebar) about Losing It that helps you feel better about yourself as parent and reminds you to enjoy those crazy times, as well as the calm ones. What better time to remember this than the beginning of the busy new school year? Cookie Magazine and the PTA are [...]

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