Back to School, School, and School!

And so it is- the unofficial end of summer! Oh no, do I keep the blog? Change the name? Hmmm. Jorma spent the last day of summer vacation waiting around the house for the AC repair man. Goodbye 85° indoor temperature, hello new and expensive air conditioning unit! At least we're going back to school, school, and school in a cool way.

This school year, Janie Kathryn and I both started new adventures. Janie Kathryn is an official Kindergartner. Not pre, not junior, but a larger than life SENIOR kindergartner. And believe me, she won't let you leave off the senior part. 
On the very same day that she entered the world of state-mandated educational practices, I entered the second part of my degree program- Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education. Before I know it, I will be part of the state-mandated institution of education. In fact, an opportunity came a little sooner than I expected.

Not only are Janie Kathryn and I entering new learning routines, I am also beginning  my first job in education. I'm an official educator! After spending some time volunteering for the the lower school teachers at Janie Kathryn's school, I was offered a part time position as the Lower School Teaching Assistant! I will be working with 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades! I don't think I have ever been so excited to start a new job!

Back to school (Kindergarten), school (Bachelor's Program), and school (new job)! Whew. Janie Kathryn had a fabulous first day. Her teacher told me that she helped make the new students feel comfortable in the classroom. And I enjoyed my first day at work. Tomorrow I will meet my students- all 125 of them!  Farewell Summer.

Now, it's time to download a syllabus and figure out what's to become of my blog...


Beach-y Skeen

Vacation brings out the best in children, right? My child is at her best when we are on vacation...NOT, or should I say NO, which seemed to be Janie Kathryn's favorite word. It was as if she regressed to being three years old. I know that the root of the problem is the vacation itself- no routine, loose standards, too much sugar, late bedtimes...I get it. Don't get me wrong, we had an amazing time. PiƱa coladas, sand castles, America's Funniest Home Videos, Go Fish, George R. R. Martin ...  
It was a family fun to the max!

When we were a little over half way to the beach (an 8 hour drive) the portable DVD player died. It wasn't the battery that died, it was the DVD player. I thought that was going to be the downfall of the beach-y Skeens, but we made it a collective 12 hours in the car without a movie. Impressive.

We use the portable DVD player for long trips, though I have mixed feelings about that. Sure it brings peace and quiet for 90 minutes at at time, but I struggle with the fact that she watches too much television already. Do we devalue the vacation experience by allowing her to tune out? I mean, why shouldn't we have to endure the irritating road trip antics that we inflicted on our parents? Are we there yet, Are we there yet? How much longer? Then there are the pediatric researchers that link anytime-anywhere media to ADHD.
Ugh, how can something so wonderful be that bad? C'est la vie. Part of me takes it as a sign that we should bury the DVD player and be more actively engaged during our travels. This vacation proved it is possible. There's nothing like driving through Mississippi, gazing at kudzu or finding shapes in far off clouds, all the while a 5-year-old voice belts out, from the backseat, the lyrics of Queen's We Are the Champions. Then, my more cynical side thinks about our upcoming autumnal drive to Virginia (14 hours) and... Well, it's time to go shopping.