Around here, it's a sign of the season. By the middle of September - right on the heels of their "Welcome Back!" notices - all the front-lawn public school message display boards communicate one idea: Picture Day! And, sure enough, the photographers have made their rounds by the end of the month so parents might have the children's annual photos well before Thanksgiving.
I am more and more doing things less and less as the public schools do. After all, independent home education is an alternative and, thus, by definition, can (and dare I even say ought?) to be different. So, for example, we've adopted a year-round schedule, making the placement of our "first day" each year a little fuzzy. And I've embraced the idea of pursuing regular progress across the curriculum instead of thinking about the artificial construct called "grade level."
But, as I mentioned in our official "first day" post a few weeks ago, it's important for kids - and adults - to mark milestones in life. And, of course, one such anchor for children can be the annual "school" photo.
So here - without further ado - are my main students, in pictures taken on August 2, our "first day" this year:
In addition to my girls, I also care for a few children in my small, in-home childcare business. I only watch teachers' children so they've all been on summer vacation since early June and won't return until the last week of August. But in a very real sense, those kids are my students, too. After all, the full-timers are with me eight or nine hours a day for at least 190 days a year and I provide for them - in this case, the two little girls - a complete, age-appropriate educational experience, just as I do for my own daughters. The little guy only comes one afternoon a week so he's less involved in our formal learning, but he's part of our little "family," too, and is included as much as possible.
Not pictured yet are the two little babies - a sibling for each little girl - who will join us in October and late May or early June, respectively. Obviously, their learning tasks will be different than those of any of these older kids...but we're all looking forward to meeting them, and I'm looking forward to meeting their needs, too.
Next week for the Not Back to School Blog Hop, I'll share a Day-in-the-Life snapshot of our learning endeavors...so come on back then if you'd like to see how I'll (try!) to juggle it all for this year!