Monday, September 26, 2011

Oh Boy, We've Got Joy! (Joy School Year 2 Begins)

Only four days after soaking up Florida sun we did a dramatic dive into fall-mode over here with the return of Joy School.  We had such a great time last year with the other moms and kids in the group we’ve been really excited to do it all again.  We were especially excited to get to host the first week at our house.  And, needless to say, Amber is beyond ecstatic that she gets to be a full-fledged joy school student this year instead of just a tag-along on our weeks to teach.


In the Year 2 curriculum there is an added “Kindergarten Readiness” module for each class period.  While most of the focus is still values-based (Joy of Order, Joy of Kindness and Sharing, Joy of Goal-Striving, etc.) there is now also 30-minutes focused on academic skills.  We’ve also enrolled Robyn in a local preschool one morning a week to help prepare for full-day kindergarten next year. 

Joy Schoolers working on a project using the first letters of their names.

Every morning when kids first arrive at Joy School they “open their window" on the Joy School school house.  (It’s also one of the primary methods for motivating behavior at Joy School: kids will do almost anything to prevent having the teacher close their window during class!)  Last year we made the house out of foam board and velcro.  It worked ok, but it didn’t leave much room for adaptability when we had new additions half-way through the year and it was pretty thoroughly trashed by the end.  Considering how many potential years of Joy School we still have ahead of us I started trying to think of a way to do the school house that would be more flexible with changing classes and stand a chance of lasting more than one semester.  In the end I used fabric to come up with this:


New pictures can easily be slid into the pockets and the button openings don’t have the obnoxious habit of suddenly popping closed the way the Velcro ones did last year.  The windows that have Joy Boy and Joy Girl in them could also be replaced with kids if we had a larger class at some point.  I actually made up two of them since we split the joy school most weeks and I guess now we’ll wait and see how they work out.  If nothing else it was a fun project to puzzle out and a good excuse to use up some of my fabric scraps. 

Fall in Joy School also means a trip to the apple orchard.  While last year was a soggy experience tramping through chilly rain and huge mud puddles, this year the weather was great and made for a perfect morning at the farm.  It’s hard to say who had a better time: the kids with their little draw-string bags running around with their friends or the moms and their big apple bags chatting and musing over which apples were best for pies and other projects.



In the end, this is how most of our apples met their fate:


And a few more to get us through the season…


They’ve also been great to mix into oatmeal.  I love that when the weather starts getting cooler oatmeal starts to taste really good in the morning again.  Katie agrees.


While the kids have been focusing on starting their formal education, Bryan has been celebrating the end of that very long road.  Last Friday Lockheed Martin hosted a formal dinner and ceremony to recognize the graduates of its Engineering Leadership Development Program (the program included completing his master's degree, working different rotations within the company, and participating in several grueling projects/competitions) and Bryan couldn’t have been happier to officially be finished. 


Anyhow, here’s to a new school year and all the adventures that await!


  1. Yahoooo!!! Congrats Bryan!!! That is a huge thing! And the at home day care looks fun. Wish I were more put together to do that kind of thing!

  2. What a wonderful start to the fall season! I've already missed out on some cool things like the trip to the ape orchard :-). Loved all the pictures! The girls look so cute. Even Bryan was cute holding his certificate =D. Way to go Bryan...we are so proud of you and your accomplishments! I like your schoolhouse! Very ingenuous!!