What?? A day off??

Today I took a day off from planning and all things school.  I haven’t even looked at my desk or touched a book today.  I have decided after three weeks, it’s okay to take a step back and breathe.  *inhale*  *exhale*

So what did I do on my day off?  Let’s see, today was our first day on our school routine (IE: waking up on time, getting dressed, eating breakfast on time, etc etc) so I was up nice and early despite not having childcare today.  That left lots of time for getting things done that I’ve wanted to do for a while.

One of those things was replacing my driver’s license.  I thought, oh I will go around the lunch hour, get in, get out!  Sweet!  Wrong.  When I pulled up and there were only five parking spots left I seriously considered driving around for a half hour and coming back.  No that would be a waste of gas and time, not to mention the effort to put my make up on at the last moment so it would look fresh for my picture.  So in the parking lot I go, park and go in to find out I am number 20 on the waiting list.  Long story short, I got my duplicate license after having my wallet stolen at my yard sale.  Picture is…less than fresh but better than horrible.

I came home, changed clothes and mowed the lawn, weeded the gardens, blew off the driveway, sidewalks and street off.  I had planned to wash and clean out the vehicle after that but it got pushed off until tomorrow.  My husband had to run to help his grandmother so I went as well, then home to make dinner.

Lots of running, several little things accomplished.  Tomorrow I have a chiropractor appointment and FINALLY get to get my hair done.  I cannot wait!  I just can’t decide if I should go short again or keep the length.  Decisions decisions.  Either way I am going to get some blonde highlights, face waxed and dead ends lopped off.

Stay tuned for tomorrow when the before/after pictures will be posted.

Cheers,
Andrea

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When Does School Start in Middle Tennessee?

I don’t know about everywhere, but I know that this satellite campus of Homelife Academy starts on August 5th!

It is so good to know that I could start school at any time.  It’s nice to know that everything has it’s place and every place has it’s thing.  It’s nice knowing that all of the crazy stress over the last few weeks has paid off.  Do I have ALL of my planning done?  No.  Do I have every school supply needed.  Um, no!  Do I have all of my organization done…we’ll I’ll let you be the judge.

Welcome to our transformed school room.  Once upon a time, we used this room as the older boy’s bedroom.  You can see from another blog of mine that it’s been used and abused.  So far though we are taking very much care to keep it neat and tidy…well by the end of the day anyway.  We have three boys!  Mess happens.  Can I get an AMEN?

Without further delay, allow me to introduce you to our new education space!  Half of our attic space was converted into living space before we moved into our home.  Score for us because it’s PERFECT for schooling!  At the top of the steps, the first thing one sees is my desk area:

I really do love my work area!

I really do love my work area!

I was given the yellow rack under my desk by a church friend of mine who runs her own childcare center.  A parent of one of the kids who attends her center has a vending machine route I think she said.  She had brought in a bunch of these shelving units for them to use in the classroom for toys or whatever but her teachers didn’t care for them.  It just goes to show that God will do whatever it takes to get you what you need.  I don’t know this woman who has this vending route so there was no way she could give them to me but God knew that I knew Stacy and that one day I’d post on Facebook that I was looking for organizational structures to get my home education room set up.  Stacy sees my post and messages me that she has shelving that her teachers aren’t interested in using. Ba-da-bing!  God provides!  I don’t have much in mine right now but you will see in the boy’s desk area that I have all kinds of paper in theirs.  It’s PERFECTLY sized for lined paper, printer paper…basically any paper that is 8.5 x 11in.   You can see my DIY daily schedule on the wall to the right.  I am a huge upcycler so the cans on my desk are from various food purchases.  One is a coffee can from my friend, Lisa, the other was probably green beans in bulk!  I plan to spray paint them with chalkboard paint, but for now they will do the way they are.  A childcare kiddo I have brought me the pink flower sitting between the two cans.  🙂  My printer is sitting on a little riser shelf that I picked up a couple of weeks ago at a yard sale.  Cha-ching!  Perfect for this work space.  My bible fits perfectly under there!

Decorations

The reason I wanted to show you this next picture collage is because next to my desk, the first element you notice about the room when you reach the top of the steps are the decorations!  I had originally made the felt board/bulletin board for my childcare but for whatever reason we didn’t really use it as much as I thought we would.  Now it will act as  a place for the kids to display work they are proud of or for me to put messages to them.

The second picture says “See the world through God’s eyes” with a pair of glasses under the wording in the arch.  During the year, when we come across something that maybe the Word has something to say different than what society or science says, we are going to pair the two together and hang those facts and fiction under those words as a constant reminder of how we need to have a godly worldview, not a secular worldview.  Some examples might be evolution or Greek mythology.  I know for a fact we will come across both of those before October!  I am thankful to be able to use those moments in a lesson to reinforce our faith and trust in God and God alone.

The last two pictures are of the apples I have hanging from the ceiling and the long light fixture.  I just think apples say school like nothing else can.  Just because we’re educating our children at home doesn’t mean we can’t decorate and make the place feel inviting and exciting!

BoysDeskAreaAnd here’s the boy’s work space!  They each have their own desk to work in with a 4-drawer organizer in the middle of them.  That organizer and the stackable shelves were purchased with my riser shelf from my desk…all for $5.  The little totes on the shelves were purchased at Dollar Tree for $1 each.  They hold pencils, glue/tape, scissors, etc.  The photo box on top has crayons in it.  Each of the boys has a letter chart above their desk also.  My 2nd grader needs a bit of help with penmanship and I plan to teach my 5th grader cursive since the public schools don’t teach it anymore.  Their charts reflect either manuscript or cursive, depending on the work space.  Those, too, came from Dollar Tree and were $1 for both.  You can see their yellow shelves are in fact M&M shelves!  Ha!  Their shelves hold blank printer paper, lined paper and their spiral notebooks.  Each desk also has a pencil box, dry erase board (inspired by pintrest) and that’s about it.  My oldest lives with ADHD so he needs to have limited choices.  True he has all the supplies in the house next to him, but he is only allowed to use what’s in the pencil box without asking.  Each day I will load up what he needs for the day in there so there’s no question as to which pencil or how many erasers he needs for his assignments.

One of my favorite parts around the room.  Who am I kidding I love the whole room!

One of my favorite parts around the room. Who am I kidding I love the whole room!

The next area as you scan the room is the reading nook area.  We had the futon already.  The bookcases on either side are FULL of fun, age appropriate reads.  My sister gave me those amazing gold and burnt orange pillows several years ago.  It just didn’t seem right not to have a touch of her in there as she has taught me so much in my life.  The paintings above the futon were created by the boys and me last summer for the school room I thought we were going to be.  I must say they are going to look MUCH better in this room that the room I would have had last year at this time!  God’s timing is amazing!  On top of those two bookcases are the trophies and other personal belongings of the boys.  Naturally they needed to have their personality in this room, too!  The bookcase to the far right has reference materials and other books that will be used along side our curriculum for the year.  There’s a filing type organizer on top that I have their readers/novels on for the coming year.  I haven’t gotten to planning those yet, but they are going to be awesome.

Allow me to take a side bar for a moment.  With home education comes the need for books, books and more books.  If you don’t have an electronic device from which you read books from, you are left with three options really for all of your reading needs.

  1. Library. I will write about it another time but it’s not an option for us.
  2. Purchase.  Again, not an option for us as we are working on a shoestring budget as most other home educating families (ha!  most families in general these days) are.
  3. www.paperbackswap.com  Oh my word!  My friend Lisa introduced me to this avenue and I’m in love!  Basically what you do is offer up books that you no longer desire to keep around and you trade them for books you do need.  The only cost associated with this is the shipping it takes to mail your book to the person requesting it.  I haven’t paid more than $2.35 on a book I’ve sent out yet!  Each time you send out a book, you get a credit.  Each credit can “buy” a book from someone else.  The more you ship, the more you can shop.  It’s super easy.  Should you wish to sign up and swap books too, please let them know that I sent you!  Just type in “SeriouslyOutnumbered” for your referring friend.

In the far left corner of the room is their play area.  We have told the kids that the tables in the middle of the room act as a dividing line.  On the right half of the room, it’s all school.  The left side of the room is mostly play.  That way they still have an area to go hang out when school is over and/or when they have friends over.  This room,except for my desk area, is totally theirs.  As the year goes on they will personalize it and make it even more so their own.

ClipboardsMoving on! The next area that I have shown here is half wall as you come up the steps.  It’s to your left as you are looking at my desk.  I have decided to use 3M strips to attach 4 clipboards for each child’s assignments.  If you recall from my previous post, their assignments for each subject will be clipped her the night before so they have easy access to their work.  This will be beneficial to the flow of our day since I also will be running my in home childcare at the same time.  The tall red rack is also one that I got from my friend Stacy.  It holds all of our curriculum.  Easy peasy to pick up their assignment, the book they need to work with and sit back at their desk.  My 5th grader is using Math-U-See this year so he needs the TV for the instruction time.  I have placed two card tables point to point under a long light that is attached at the peak of the ceiling.  It’s spaced perfectly that he will be able to see the TV and still be able to have lighting to work the problems along with the DVD.  The black shelf on top of the DVD/VHS player is….you guessed it, from Stacy!  It has come in handy for sure!  This one, I wasn’t sure I’d use actually, but it’s perfect to hold his Math DVDs, any DVD’s that go along with our curriculum and one extra shelf for every day movies they are currently watching.  The dresser that the TV is on has double duty.  First is to hold up the TV and DVD/VHS player.  Second is to hold all of our craft supplies.  That area is one that still needs a little work.  Everything is in there, but I need to get more trays or photo boxes to further organize.  In time, in time.

That’s our learning environment.  The only thing missing is the big world map.  I’m sure that will be a totally different blog post when it’s ready to go up.  that’s also another item I made for the school room last summer.  It was far too heavy, though the idea behind it was spot on.  We’ll see how we reinvent it this year.

Thanks for stopping in!  I’d love to see what you’re doing in your school room this year!

Cheers,
Andrea

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PS: Not all of my areas look as put together as my classroom.  Look at my little table off of my living room.  Yes those are the folders that are supposed to be organized  in the filing cabinet, full of weekly and daily work.  And diecuts which are organized into that manilla envelope.  And a binder for an upcoming study on Isaiah (if you are in Middle TN and want to do a PUP study, comment below).  Oh don’t forget the Gatorade my 2 year old carried around all day yesterday.  *le sigh* we are all human aren’t we.  No matter how “together” people present themselves online (myself included), don’t forget right outside the camera shot is more than likely a pile of something that needs put away or a child who needs a bath, or a table which needs wiped.  Don’t measure yourself against what someone else decides to put (or not put) online.  You are fearfully and wonderfully made by the King of kings and he makes no junk.  And he loves you very much!

A Little Pop of Color Makes the Planning Go Down!

I couldn’t help but think of Mary Poppins when I looked at my planner as it started to come together.  She always had a way of making everything magical and exciting.  Even cleaning bedrooms and brushing the flue was a field day when Marry Poppins was around!  Song breaks out and everyone knows the words to these spontaneous jingles…Just a spoon full of sugar, or color, makes the medicine, or planning go down!  When I gazed at my planner and saw the colors blaring, I smiled with excitement of getting to check each little pretty square off.  Done.  Completed.  Homeschooling.  *Happy Dance!*

So here it is, and here’s how I did it!  I actually found a really cute blog of a teach who gave in and made a “Post-It Note Planbook.”  At first glance I thought, “Whoa, that’s way to complicated and detailed for me.  All I want is a printable page that I can fit BOTH boy’s plans on.”  Then I started looking closer and thinking about how I could make it work for my situation.

Here’s a snapshot of what her plan book looked like:

This is what Victoria over at Wise and Witty Teacher did for her planbook! Beautiful isn't it?

This is what Victoria over at Wise and Witty Teacher did for her planbook! Beautiful isn’t it?  See link above to visit her blog!

To get started, here’s the supplies you’ll need:

  • College Rule Notebook
  • 2 Black Sharpie (1 fine point, 1 standard tip)
  • Full sized Post-It Notes
  • 2-4 packages of 1 3/8 x 1 7/8in post it notes
  • Paper Cutter
  • Ruler

First I took a notebook that I purchased originally for my kids to use and started to play with placement.  It was clear from the start that using full sized Post-It Notes weren’t going to work for the whole planbook for me.  I decided to cut the Post-Its in half.  Still to wide for the lesson section but perfect for the top labels.  Each of the top end slots were smaller than those sections of Post-Its so I cut those down further to use in the day column.  That’s when I decided to pull out the left over Post-It Notes from the daily schedule my husband requested I put together.  Even those were too big so I cut those in half horizontally, sticky side to the left and they were perfect!  I could then fit two in each spot, side by side, that Victoria used.  As I laid them out, I marked with a pencil where each post it note came to then went back and used my ruler to draw lines with a standard tip Sharpie marker.

Once I confirmed that I could fit two horizontally halved mini Post-It Notes in each section, I drew in the lines with a standard tip Sharpie.

Once I confirmed that I could fit two horizontally halved mini Post-It Notes in each section, I drew in the lines with a standard tip Sharpie.

As you can see, I decided to run my days along the left side and my subjects along the top.  In the far left corner, I use that to count the week of school, complete with the month and dates of that week.  I kept her “Other” column.  I think that’ll work very well.  I use History and Science  to pull art, literature, penmanship and other lessons for.  Those lessons will go in the…wait for it, wait for it….”Other” column!  I ended up with five subjects total, two columns for each subject (minus spelling).

My next question was, how do I remember who’s lessons are on the left, who’s are on the right in each column.  That’s a tricky situation considering they are using all the same curriculum except for Math.  I simply level the lessons up to 5th grade or down to 2nd grade to fit their educational needs.  It could be tricky to tell.  All of a sudden I glanced over and noticed I had more than enough Post-It Note colors to give each boy their own color!  Ack!  I was so excited and proud of myself for coming up with that!  It’s the little things in life.  With the days, subjects and such arranged, I realized there was a little spot between the days and the first row of my oldest’s son’s column.  Attendance!  That’s what’s going to go there!  Aaaaaaaand!  There’s room at the bottom for notes!  No need for multiple sections in a binder, or like some people, multiple binders!

Each of my boys have a different color to easily tell one boy's plans from the other, since they are both in the same column.

Each of my boys have a different color to easily tell one boy’s plans from the other, since they are both in the same column.

As I stated before, my boys will be sharing some of the same curriculum: Sequential Spelling, Apologia Science and Story of the World for History.  There are some lessons that will be exactly the same.  I figured, why not save Post-It Notes and Sharpie ink by combining their lessons onto one piece of paper.  Maybe another color!  Yep!  I have enough!

On this page, boy of my boys will have the same Spelling and History lesson.  You can tell that by the centrally located lime green Post-It Note.

On this page, boy of my boys will have the same Spelling and History lesson. You can tell that by the centrally located lime green Post-It Note.

Anywhere there is a lime green Post-It, the boys will be doing the exact same thing!  That makes planning and making a mental note for what the day has for us a snap!  So now let’s look at a page that I have totally and completely finished!

Week 2 planning complete.

Week 2 planning complete.

Week 1 planning complete.

Week 1 planning complete.

So what do you think?  Could you do something like this?  Does this fit your planning style?  I love how fun it looks when I open it.  It gets me excited to dig in (as if I need any help with that!).  It’s so clean and organized too!  I love that I can make mistakes and still have a put together planbook.  I just remove the mistake and put a new Post-It in it’s place with the corrections made!

Cheers,
Andrea

 

What Gets You Motivated?

I literally have this thought go through my head most days that I run.

I literally have this thought go through my head most days that I run.

This meme is from a page I follow on facebook.  The day I saw this, I shared it to my SeriouslyOutnumbered facebook page and to my personal page.  It so beautifully put into words what goes through my head each time I run.  I don’t think a run goes by that I don’t think it because I’m in pain or have to tell myself to slow down because my body is naturally wired to live this quote out.  It’s in my muscle memory.

My run last Wednesday took me by complete surprise.  I had a small surgery after the Rock N Roll Half Marathon I did in April.  Right after the anesthesia wore off,  I noticed something wasn’t right.  I was tired, in pain and very uncomfortable at the surgery site.  Having never had an outpatient surgery I figured I just needed to take some Motrin and move on.  Come to find out a few days later, I have developed staph infection at the surgery site.  It took me a good two weeks to recover from that ordeal so needless to say I wasn’t running during all of that mess.  Shortly thereafter, I counted up my mileage on my shoes and realized they were maxed out.  Typically a distance runner should not put more than 200-300 miles on her shoes before she seeks out a new pair.  Since I had planned to do two more half marathons in the fall, I didn’t want to chance injuring myself so I took more time off until I could replace them with new ones.  Long story short, July 11th was only the fourth time I had run since my race in April.  OUCH!  That’s not a good training method, I’ll be the first to admit.

When I crossed the finish line in Nashville at the Rock N Roll Marathon, my average pace was a little over 10 minutes.  It was raining, cold and just down right miserable that day.  For some reason I thrive in crappy running conditions and always have.  Weird.  Anyway when I went out last week it was super hot, humid and not so enjoyable.  I had planned to run five miles with hills and flats and I accomplished that.  Everything went as planned until I looked at my average pace when I got back home.  8:35 average! Whoa!  I wasn’t expecting that!  Granted, 5.25 miles is much different than 13.1 but it’s still quicker than I have ever done a consecutive 5.25 before by a long shot!  Woot woot!

That gave me all the motivation I needed to continue my training for the Women’s Half Marathon to be held in Nashville in September.  I had seriously considered backing out because of the lack of training over the previous months but I believe my body will know what to do.  I will just keep training from here on out and I’m sure everything will be just fine.  I finished my last half in two hours  and ten minutes.  This September I hope to finish under two hours.  If I can do that I will be super stoked.

I got to see this after my workout, too!  That's a visual reminder of what I'm working toward.

I got to see this after my workout, too! That’s a visual reminder of what I’m working toward.

I have another half just three weeks after that and I hope to PR even bigger with one hour 45 minutes. They say the Middle Half Marathon (which sold out all 3k tickets in just 11 minutes 15 seconds this year)  is very quick because there aren’t any hills on the course.  Considering my dad may be flying in to watch that race, I’d really like to be able to do well.

When you are working toward a goal, what motivates you?  What do you do to keep your nose to the grind stone?

Cheers,
Andrea

Filed Away for Another Day

“It’s like trying to get a snake in a ziplock bag!”

– My friend Jennifer when speaking of getting her 9
month old son into his footed PJ’s at night.  I seem
to find the same to be true when trying to get all of
my lessons planned and put where they belong.

 

Tonight I have spent most of my time trying to find my lesson plans from last summer which I prepared for the 2012 – 2013 school year.  Due to not being able to make a decision fully, my husband and I decided to put our kiddos back in the public schools last year.  After all, not making a decision is making a decision in this situation.  They were already in public schools so without a new decision being made, they stayed where they were.  The curriculum I purchased to use for them are such that they can be beefed up or watered down depending on the student’s age and academic level.  I had most everything planned last year, including internet links saved on my computer, encyclopedia pages written in my lesson planner…you name it I had it completed.  It took me all evening to realize that the computer I had done months of work on had been wiped clean last fall.  As the proverbial towel wiped the hard drive, along with all of the junk and cobwebs went my lesson plans.  Here I sit, just two weeks away from the first day of school and I have to start my planning from scratch.

*Take a deep breath, Andrea.  You will make it.  The only place to go from here is forward.*

I’m pretty sure I’ve told myself that several times tonight.  With hiking boots and work gloves on, I began to dig through my piles and piles of curriculum in front of me and recollections in my head of what system I had in place last July.  Though I don’t have it all on paper yet, I have a pretty good idea where I am going.

For example: As I get finished planning a day out, I am printing anything that needs printing and filing it away in folders.  Each of my boys have a different colored hanging folder that will be put in my filing cabinet.  Those folders will be labeled “Week 1” through “Week 40.”  Each of those folders will have five folders inside, labeled with the day of school those papers correspond with.  Here, let me just show you, this is getting confusing even for me to follow and I’m the one who made the system up!

Each of my sons have a different color hanging folder in my filing cabinet.  Each folder holds a week's worth of planned work in it.

Each of my sons have a different color hanging folder in my filing cabinet. Each folder holds a week’s worth of planned work in it.

Once I have all 40 hanging folders labeled with the week number on it, then I put manilla folders inside each folder with the respective day of that week at the top.

Manilla have the day of school printed at the top for easy reference.

Manilla have the day of school printed at the top for easy reference.

Once all 140 days are labeled, I begin planning each day out.  When I complete a day, I put all printed materials in the respective day.  This makes it super easy to know what my boys will be doing at any given day.  This is also very helpful if I were to get sick.  Someone can step in very easily and take over for me (HA! Mom never gets a break does she!).

All assignments for the day are placed in manilla folders which are placed inside the hanging folders.

All assignments for the day are placed in manilla folders which are placed inside the hanging folders.

Each night, I plan to go into the next day’s folder and retrieve the worksheets or project instructions.  I have many clipboards for each child.  On those clipboards I will put each subject’s work and hang them on 3M hooks where they can easily get to them.  When the work is completed, it goes face down on the clipboard and put back on it’s hook.

Each evening, the manilla folder for the next day will be organized onto clipboards for the kids to grab and complete after lecture.

Each evening, the manilla folder for the next day will be organized onto clipboards for the kids to grab and complete after lecture.

I am also thinking of laminating pieces of brightly colored paper which has the word “HELP” printed on it.  They can use it as a nonverbal way to tell me they need a little extra instruction on a particular assignment.  They will simply clip that laminated sign with their work and put it back on the hook.  During the Q&A time in the afternoon or the  independent study time in the evening, they can bring those clipboards to me for additional help.

I really feel like this will be a very smooth system.  I plan to have my teacher notes printed as I go along and put in a binder with one divider in it at the current day.  I think that will make things easy if someone has to step in as well.

Cheers,
Andrea

Get in Where You Fit In

The scariest moment is always just before you start.
                                                                                                           -Stephen King

It has been my experience that from one’s first interaction with people, even at a very young age, we are constantly trying to figure out where we belong. Who do we mesh well with? Where do we fit and why do we feel most comfortable there? Not much has changed for me as I have grown into adulthood either. I still find myself trying to figure out where I fit in as well.

As most of you know, as a family we have decided to bring our children home for their education. As I sit here typing this e-mail, I feel a bit euphoric in the fact that I am about to embark on this journey. I’m excited about it and a little slap happy as well! Past experiences are amazing teachers, however, so I am also very aware that this road would be closed to many because of the extreme challenges, stress a responsibility it takes. I fully understand it’s no walk in the park. In the short two days since we have made that decision, I have realized that there are many circles that I don’t fit into anymore. Not by my choice, but because of ignorant people’s view on what my life is going to very quickly transform into. I have actually talked to people whom I have known for years who must think I’ve changed my citizenship from the good ‘ol US of A to Mars. On the flipside, even though I have gotten my toes wet in home education in the past, many on the home education side see me as just a baby with no real value when it comes to my opinion on curriculum and teaching methods. It’s like I just haven’t found my place in the whole scheme of things yet. Let’s be real here, that’s ok. I’m only two days into this for Pete’s sake. And the other thing is, I’m ok where I am even if I don’t “fit” in with anyone else other than my family. Ultimately, I know that I am “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14) “in his own image” (Gen 1:27). I also know that I, and many many others have prayed over the past three years for God’s leading in the area of home education. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that this is where he wants my family for this season in our lives. As long as I “fit” into God’s plan, nothing else matters.

I have to wonder if my kids will be experiencing the same thing. Not because they will be “weird, socialized people” but because others won’t feel like they have things in common anymore.

Jackson taking the Gamma and Delta Placement Test for Math U See.

Jackson taking the Gamma and Delta Placement Test for Math U See.

This subject doesn’t just happen socially. This afternoon, my oldest has been taking math placement tests for the Math U See curriculum. He is actually in between two programs, Gamma and Delta. He sails right through the first portion of both placement tests but doesn’t fit securely into either one. He felt frustrated at times yet confident at other times. In the public school system, he was in advanced math. However, with this curriculum, he has to take a step back by some people’s terms because he doesn’t have a FIRM foundation in multiplication (Gamma) and division (Delta).  I refuse to push him through simply because he’s “supposed” to be moving on. That’s the beauty of home education, after all. Small class, one on one attention.  I am excited that I have the chance to help him realize what Proverbs 3:21 means (My son, do not let wisdom and understanding out of your sight, preserve sound judgment and discretion;) in real life.  As long as he grasps things of God, as long as he seeks to know things bigger than him meaning God’s plan for his life, my son will be just fine.   At any rate, it’s frustrating to feel like your feet aren’t firmly planted in one particular place, no matter which arena one is talking about, be it social or academic.

Please pray for our family concerning this transition period, daily schedule and time management, my ability to be sensitive to the kiddos when they get frustrated when they don’t feel like they measure up, and probably more frequently than the others, grace and mercy on the kids part when I lose my patience and am too critical.  Let’s face it, I’m human and I am bound to make mistakes daily.  I just pray we are able to lean on God and grow closer to him during this adventure.

Cheers,
Andrea

Take Time to Stop and Smell the Roses

For the past three years, I have waited for today to come.  Blessed is described as “blissfully happy or contented” and “divinely or supremely favored; fortunate” on dictionary.com and I would definitely agree wholeheartedly that I am just that.

Painting Jackson completed for last year's school room.

Painting Jackson completed for last year’s school room.

As a mother, I have always wanted the very best for my kids, all three of them, as most mothers do.  I have always felt like I wanted my children to be home with me.  I can recall the night before I went back to work after giving birth to my very first child.  I sobbed with my entire body because I didn’t want to have to put him in someone else’s care even for 5 minutes.  I didn’t want to have to leave him for longer than the time it took to put in a load of laundry and here I was, taking him to a complete stranger for the better part of the day!  Then came the first day of Kindergarten.  At that time I was a working mother.  I told my boss I’d be in a little late that day so I could walk him into his classroom and get him settled in but I knew at the end of the day, I wouldn’t be there.  I knew that his babysitter at the time would show up in a big van with 8 other kids already buckled up and he’d have to take the last seat available.  He’d then ride home and take a nap.  The worst part?  I’d have to rely on his 5 year old memory to tell me all about his day, all about his teacher, his new friends and the details of every part of his classes.  I was so heavyhearted even though Mrs. Elliott was a fantastic teacher and I knew he’d be in good hands.

Fast forward to his second grade year.  You can read all about that year HERE. From the first day of second semester through the end of the year (and longer truth be told) I grieved at the loss of my dream to be able to have my kiddos at my side, even through educational years.  If you have been following along my journey lately you know that I have been getting a few things around the house ready for my husband and I to have a sit down meeting to discuss the possibility of trying home education again.  At that informal meeting he voiced his concern with a few things and gave me a few tasks to do in order to show that this was a good idea for where our family is and for our children.  I created a tentative daily schedule to prove that I could indeed blend my in-home childcare, household duties and schooling.  Today I had a friend over to help me organize my home so that daily duties would be more streamlined and efficient.  I wish I had taken before and after photos but I simply didn’t think about it as I was super overwhelmed at the task at hand.  We were able to get my craft area and front closet knocked out.  Now all I have left to do is the master bedroom, the childcare playroom and the upstairs room (proposed school room).

I ran to Wal-Mart to pick up a few things this evening and while I was there I thought about picking up school supplies that I would need for either home education or public schooling.  I went ahead and asked my husband if hwould trust me with the kids school.  He responded that he didn’t know what I meant.  I replied that I hope that he would take a leap of faith and trust me with the kids’ education.  He responded, ” Ok. :)”  I felt like I would nearly fall over!!  Did I really just get the official green light to precede?  Did I really get the message clearly??  HOLY SMOKES! I did!!

Today is my stepmom’s birthday as well.  I told her, “Today is the first day of the rest of your life.”  She made a good point…every day is the first day of the rest of your life, but I really feel like today is the first day of the rest of my life as well.  A clean line in the sand.  From public school to home education.   After a hard working day, this is the best possible ending.

Thank you to those who have prayed through the years for us.  Thanks for everyone who support us.  I appreciate everything each of you have given, allowed me to borrow and the time spent with me in preparation for this day.

Cheers,
Andrea