first day of fourth and fifth grade

I didn’t know until yesterday that today was going to be the first day of school. I figured we’d start up when the district did and that’s usually the Tuesday after Labor Day. But the kids were out with friends yesterday and while their mom was texting me, she told me that they were headed back today — yikes! That meant another August week with mine… on “vacation”… but without any of their friends around in the neighborhood. No thanks. School’s in!

Luckily, they had plans to buy alarm clocks at Target yesterday anyway, so they were ready. Ready to be up marginally earlier than usual.

We wanted to have a planning meeting about the year and to go over our projects and objectives, and we knew we wanted to go out and do it. The kids wanted to go to the library. We had gotten one robot call, which meant one person’s intralibrary loan had come in (and the other’s hadn’t), but they were both prepared. What we were not prepared for was for it to be two billion degrees outside. Philly schools starting back in August… unbelievable heat and unrelenting sun… ugh. At least the library was cool (and Béla’s Alex Rider novel was in.)

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Then we stopped at a coffee shop that, while enjoyable, I will probably never stop in again because two juices, a coffee, and two pieces of cake — even if it is mint chocolate chip cake — should not cost thirty dollars. And it was the first day of school and I wanted to do something nice for them but by god it was not supposed to cost thirty dollars. (We realized later that we could have walked a few more blocks to Hardena and had an entire Indonesian meal for the same price.)

Béla is not signaling for the Heimlich in this photo. He is demonstrating his delight over the cake. Which he will not be having again any time soon.

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Back at home we worked on choosing an out-loud book that we thought everyone could read (we are still affected by choosing Treasure Island last year, in that no one but Tucker can read it out loud properly, and therefore it is not yet finished), and it looks like we will be starting and taking turns with Robin Hood. We made a priority list of already-started projects that needed completing, and the kids took full advantage of the first day of our month-long free trial of the site Flocabulary, which they LOVE. (And which is a LOT more than “Schoolhouse Rock, but hip-hop.”) (I hardly ever link ANYTHING in this blog. I think Flowcabulary is amazing.)

I’m not sure how our first day ended, in that it just kind of trailed off, and as the sun went down, the kids headed outside for a few hours.

Considering the day was a total surprise in coming, it was equally low-key. No anticipation means no anticipation. It’s supposed to stay this hot all week, but we have a clearer list of to-do’s now… and not surprisingly, not all of them are brand new.