Sunday, October 18, 2020

This Last Week

 Thursday was the last day for Renee and Lydia joining us for school--at least for now! I think this was the best season to have extra students. Every morning they went outside and played before starting school and most afternoons they were back outside, after the highly anticipated computer time! This week these four were completely obsessed about digging a hole as deep as possible in the dirt box.

 On Thursday Renee and Lydia only had a half day of school so we headed out to Pemberton Park for a hike.

It was a gorgeous day to be out.
We had lunch at Dairy Queen. There was a table almost big enough for us to eat inside. I did move chairs off of the "closed" table so that we could all sit together.
Anna was so thrilled with her hot fudge sundae that she had to take a picture. Having big kids is pretty fun! Although a cup of soda did spill...just a reminder that the kids aren't completely grown up yet!
It was a bit of an ordeal, but I made them all take a picture together for the sole purpose of documenting this season. In the end, I'll thank Corona for giving us this opportunity to make memories and do life together.

 On the other hand, I'm wishing Renee and Lydia very happy days at school and wonderful rest of the school year with their teachers!

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Celebrating Isaiah

Isaiah’s birthday party wasn’t fancy, but most of his favorite people were able to enjoy a lovely afternoon with him.
Isaiah had no clue what to expect or how to react when we told him his gift was outside. He was pretty happy with a new bike! I really should include a picture of the bike we replaced—that week a pedal had literally broken, the seat was duct taped and the tape was falling apart, the chain was completely rusted. He has had lots of fun riding now!
The afternoon included ice cream cake and s’mores. If ice cream cake is your thing, I’ve been using a recipe I found on Pinterest for a copycat Dairy Queen ice cream cake. It’s far more cost effective than buying a cake from Dairy Queen and my family loves it.
Isaiah had quite a list of food he wanted—all bought. We had Chuck Fil-A for supper and dounuts for breakfast. Shakes from Cook Out and McDonald’s had to be spread out over a week or so. 
I think Isaiah had fun and felt special and that’s all that matters! 

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Joy Dare::September

7447. Making a cup of tea for Aliza
7448. Isaiah surprising himself with reading
7449. Keeping up the earlier bedtimes
7450. Listening to the cicadas
7451. Walking while the boys ride bikes
7452. Bodies that are made to heal
7453. Half day of school
7454. An uncrowded beach
7455. Isaiah and Ezra’s bamboo paddles
7456. A very positive beach experience 
7457. Delivering a meal and a gift with Jeremy
7458. All 6 of us working together
7459. Isaiah roasting a marshmallow for me
7460. Devotions on the porch
7461. Cool breeze
7462. One more half day of school
7463. Ice cream with Grandad
7464. Hamburgers, potato salad, corn on the cob and watermelon
7465. Making it my intention to enjoy the journey
7466. Anna’s after supper party that she planned
7467. Isaiah is so excited to be an RA
7468. Some days school goes really smoothly
7469. Virtual CBS
7470. Helping Anna day good bye to a friend who’s moving 
7471. The first of pumpkin—pumpkin ice cream
7472. When the humidity breaks in the middle of the day
7473. Dinner with Jeremy
7474. When we got home the supper dishes were washed
7475. Anna has washed the dishes
7476. Doing a little shopping 
7477. Visiting with Jeremy’s aunt and uncle
7478. Weekend devotions on the porch
7479. A couple days away in the Outer Banks
7480. Evening swim
7481. Grocery shopping with Dad
7482. 4th grade national park pass
7483. All the pretty shells on the beach
7484. Dad laughing
7485. Taking the children to a nice restaurant 
7486. Aliza thrilled with her California rolls
7487. Decades of music
7488. One more morning swim
7489. New favorite trail mix
7490. Technology success
7491. Opening my fall Grace Case
7492. Anna so happy to go to dance
7493. Jeremy went back to the store for the one ingredient I forgot
7494. Josiah made it through a test without angst
7495. Making supper for Great Grandad
7496. A beautiful fall day
7497. The children listening to Great Grandad’s airplane flying stories
7498. Hugging my Grandad and telling him I love him
7499. Perfect evening for a fire and s’mores
7500. Working and praying
7501. At the end of the Sabbath, I feel ready for the week ahead
7502. Day 1 with 6 students went pretty well
7503. Mom was here to help
7504. Back with my Bible study tribe
7505. Better than I thought the day could go
7506. Tea with a friend
7507. Jeremy repaired the van
7508. When the time alone with a child happens just when they need it
7509. Mom’s help
7510. Some good conversations today
7511. That feeling when school is finished for the day
7512. Just enough energy for the day
7513. The nights that Isaiah needs to snuggle to settle down
7514. Friday evening relief
7515. Watching a show
7516. When my sister in law shows up with donuts and M&Ms
7517. Morning road trip with Janell
7518. Anna and Aliza were great workers
7519. “My” spot on the couch
7520. Brunch and devotions on the porch
7521. Asking for advice
7522. Josiah found the missing reading book
7523. M&Ms on a hard day
7524. Isaiah writing his spelling words
7525. Aliza spending the afternoon with friends
7526. Josiah staying home alone for the first time
7527. Making myself go to bed earlier 

Sunday, October 4, 2020

                             Happy 6th Birthday Isaiah!

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

My School Expanded

 This summer, when it became apparent that public schools were not going to open in person, I was convinced that my school house was full. But then there was the afternoon that I was on the mower and God pointed out to me that, in fact, I was being selfish and there was room for two more in my school house. Renee and Lydia, my nieces. The option for them was to spend the day sitting socially distanced in a classroom with a handful of other staff children--doing their online work alone and twiddling their thumbs in the afternoon. That does not sound like a happy month! We finished week one at Carla's Academy last week and I think it's safe to say that they had a happy week. 

With Janell's permission to share my stories, I'm going to document this four week journey because I want to remember how I didn't think I could do this, how I have a group of friends and family that support me, how Mom and I worked together and how crazy this whole beginning to school year 20-21 is. 

There were a couple reasons that I wanted to Renee and Lydia to come to my house every day and not be split up between multiple locations. I thought that it would be easiest if one person (besides Janell) figured out the school platform and took responsibility for and I wanted the girls to have a school routine. My request was that my Mom would help me on the days that she would have kept Renee and Lydia at her house. Mom was more than happy to do that!

Renee is independent. She does her work alone and I really don't interfere. I check in with her but she doesn't ask me questions and always assures me that she is fine. Her teacher seems to have a way of organizing the day's work that Renee can follow. 

Lydia's teacher uploads the week's work in one long mostly unorganized list. Each day I go through the list and compile the next day's work in a list. If it doesn't help Lydia, it sure helps me know what needs to get done!
Typing is time consuming for Lydia. As much as I can, I type what she dictates. In math, she has to enter the answers in a separate document than the worksheet. It is cumbersome to switch back and forth between tabs for every problem. What 9 year old has the attention span for that? Another major roadblock for success is that often maps and graphs do not fit on the screen in a size that is readable.

And then there was this Social Studies project. My student was not interested. It was a pain to navigate on the screen. I let her submit a half hearted effort--and she got 100/100. I know that not every answer was correct. Could the teacher leave a note for the parent when we don't have to try, please?

On Thursday morning Renee opened up her computer to find that all of her work from Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday had been deleted. That created an avalanche of emotions. Ultimately we found out that her teacher had made a mistake and had deleted her work. Thankfully her teacher was reasonable and did not require her to redo the work. 

All the weird Google Classroom things aside, I think they are living their best school life for right now. The weather has been just gorgeous and every morning all of the children are outside playing before we start school and at lunchtime and after they finish their work.

This is all in addition to keeping my own four students going on their work. I feel like Anna is the one getting the last bit of me. Mom was here 2 days last week. She helps with the housework and usually at least one child with schoolwork. 

Last week went better than I could have hoped. I felt more tired than I imagined I would. I struggled with math as much as I thought I would. I hope these kiddos felt as loved and cared for as they are.

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Duck, NC

This week we had the opportunity to spend a couple days with my parents at the Outer Banks. I had never been to Outer Banks. We were greeted with a rainbow. By the time we unloaded the car, it was almost a full rainbow.

I went to buy groceries with Dad. Ice cream was on the list and when there was Tillamook ice cream, it didn't matter that it was the most expensive ice cream in the freezer. Isaiah quickly gave up the cheap ice cream for the best.

Our condo was literally in the best spot of the whole complex. We had the ocean to the front of the balcony and the pool to the left. Sunset by the pool was first night was pretty nice. The beach was rough and windy. There were a lot of pretty shells that Anna enjoyed collecting.

The Wright Brothers National Memorial was our tourist stop for the afternoon. We walked through the Visitor Center, the kids and I walked the length of the first 4 flights and then we walked up the hill to the memorial.

The view from the top of the hill was neat.

Supper was at a seafood restaurant. Josiah wanted to try flounder and Aliza wanted to try a crab cake. Crab cakes in NC are not like Maryland crab cakes! Aliza also go California rolls which sh was very excited about.
That evening Grandad showed the children a toothpick game. He eventually told them the strategies to win, but only after lots of rounds of him winning. There was a lot of laughter and some frustration. Anna was hilarious...she was completely cracked up by Dad's belly laugh which just made enough laugh even harder.
On Aliza's bucket list was watching the sunrise. She and I sat in the gazebo and watched the sun rise through the clouds. It was pretty--and then we went back to bed!
No one was really ready to go home...especially Anna. She was pretty sure she wanted to stay the rest of the week with Grandma and Grandad.

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Enjoy the Journey
Here I am four weeks into the 10th year of my homeschooling journey. Some days I look at this journey more as a career. This year I have 9th, 7th, 4th and 1st grade students. No two years are alike. Even as I am teaching grades that I have already taught, each child is unique and brings different strengths and needs to that grade. The journey is always new. 

I think everyone carries a sense of dread for this school year. I’ve been trying to figure out why I feel that way since my method of education hasn’t changed. Maybe it’s from knowing how quickly dance and church can close and how fast disappointments pile up. Maybe just having a high schooler and knowing I’m on a 4 year countdown to launch 🚀 is an extra weight on my heart. 

Homeschool moms have a special ability to be hard on themselves knowing that we carry the full burden for educating our children. That’s where I can lose sight of the enjoyment on the journey. I want to take a deep breath when I’m frazzled because one, two, three or four of my precious students are distracted, emotional, frustrated or just plain old using any trick they can to avoid schoolwork. I want to see the positive things on the hard days and leave margin in the schedule for fun. 

I don’t want to miss the journey because I’m so busy checking off the to do list. I want to savor and soak up the I did when all 4 of the kids grabbed a popsicle on Friday and gathered around the picnic table. They were all engaged in conversation and I just stood at the door smiling.