September 29, 2016

Back to School

It's hard to believe we are nearing the end of our 5th week of school! My weekdays are so incredibly full, and yet somehow it seems we are always neglecting or forgetting something, lol. One of my prayers is from Isaiah 54:13: "All your children will be taught by the Lord, and great will be your children's peace." Oh, Lord, teach my children what YOU want them to know! Because their human teacher is so very, very inadequate!!

It blows my mind that we are in our 12th year of homeschooling. When our oldest children were wee babes, Ted and I knew that we wanted to homeschool, but in my mind, it would only be through the elementary years, because...why would I want to do more than that?! How in the world could I possibly teach my children ALL those subjects?!

Clearly God has shown that the path He desires for our family is to continue homeschooling. There are days--trust me--when I wish His plan included something different! But His grace is sufficient and His mercies are new every morning. We love learning and growing together. I wouldn't trade this life for anything else, even though it is one of the hardest things we've ever done.

At almost 16 years old, Charis is a busy 11th grader. She is counting down the days until she gets her driver's license (so am I, ha) and working on Sonlight's 20th Century World History core along with chemistry. She is taking a speech class once a week, and though it keeps her busy with a lot of extra work for the apologetics portion that she chose to pursue, she is looking forward to learning and preparing for some competitions! Charis is also keeping busy preparing for the National Bible Bee competition in November and continues with piano and violin lessons.

Eeeek! We have two kids in high school now! Tobin is so excited about his 9th grade year! He is loving American History and excited about participating in a debate class for the first time ever. (Look out, world, lol.) Both he and Arden love their computer programming activities on Khan Academy as well. Tobin's spare time sees him fiddling with a variety of Rubick's cubes--he blows my mind with how he can solve them so quickly!
Arden is in 8th grade! We've chosen to split him and Tobin for the first time ever--Arden is doing the Eastern Hemisphere core with the new history book that Sonlight is using in place of the World Book Encyclopedia CD that we used the first time around. Since he was only in 5th grade at the time, he is really enjoying the chance to delve deeper and work independently. He says his favorite subject is "reading;" I'm not sure if that's reading history, science, or his literature, but I'm just happy he loves to read, lol. He is also enjoying a Lego robotics class at our homeschool co-op.
Kenna is in 4th grade! History is her favorite subject--she is doing the first year of Sonlight's 2-year American History tour and reads most of the books on her own. (I have to hide them so she doesn't go too far ahead!) She is also taking a writing and beginning sign language class through a homeschool co-op twice a month.
Lucan is in 2nd grade! He started piano lessons over the summer and continues to enjoy music. He says math is his favorite subject. He and Zaden are doing the Sonlight Year 1 of World History core. He is in Kenna's co-op classes with his best friend Zach, 
Zaden is in KINDERGARTEN! He is eagerly breezing through the 100EZ Lessons (reading) book and plowing through the Math-U-See Primer. He and Lucan are doing the Sonlight Year 1 of World History core. His co-op classes include making musical instruments and a young scientist's hands-on class.
Seanin is 3 years old and recently passed his Potty Training Class so that he could attend Cubbies at AWANA this year! That was a huge motivator for him, lol. Whatever works!
Rhema-Roo is over 14 months old now and not yet walking...seems we breed slow walkers, lol. She is fully capable but not convinced in her own mind yet! Rhema is thoroughly doted on and an awfully adorable interruption in our daily routine. She truly is a little ray of sunshine in our lives.

September 04, 2016

Summer Summary

Oh, Summer, where art thou??

I remember...back in the day...when we first began homeschooling, we lived in Las Vegas. It was stinkin' HOT in the summer, and so we happily took our "summer" break in March or April, when it was pleasant outside and we had easily breezed through our school materials. We'd order the next core early and begin another round of school when it was hot enough to fry an egg on the sidewalk. With a couple of babies born during our 4 years in Nevada, plus quite a bit of traveling to Colorado, Utah, and Idaho, we enjoyed our free and easy and flexible schedule, pretty much doing school "year-round" but taking breaks whenever we wanted.

But our next few moves happened during summer months (2009, 2012, 2015), with babies also arriving in summer months (2011, 2013, 2015). So it just made sense to keep a more "regular" school-year calendar.

With last summer bringing us back overseas PLUS a new baby, this summer was bound to be less...stressful, I suppose. But it was busy nevertheless! Here's a rundown of some of our summer highlights:

* Charis, Tobin, and Arden attended the Christian Youth in Action training camp the first week in June. Run by Child Evangelism Fellowship, this training prepares teens to share the gospel with children during 5-day clubs held throughout the summer. The kids learned how to completely run a club by themselves, from leading games and songs to teaching Bible and missionary stories, Bible verses, and review and application activities. It was a lot of work, but they all agree they are glad they did it!

* Immediately after this intensive training week, Charis left for a week-long missions trip to a reservation in South Dakota along with a team she has accompanied 4 different times now. She loves those kids and got to specifically use the skills she had just cultivated the week before as she interacted with kids and shared the gospel.

* Kenna, Lucan, and Zaden had swimming lessons the first two weeks in June. Seanin and Rhema and I enjoyed some quality hang-out time.

Zaden loved getting rides in the boat!

Seanin braved the big slide by himself at the park!
* Tobin enjoyed another great week at Camp Cedars with the Boy Scouts! This year was even more fun for him since he actually knew boys in the troop! Unfortunately, he missed out on a family visit...

* We got to spend some time with our CO family when Joel and Sarah and their boys came through for a few days' visit on their way to a family reunion in Kansas (or maybe Missouri, I can't remember). We especially enjoyed an outing together to see the train park and then get some ice cream in the Old Market.

Charis, Anders, Zaden, Arden (before his summer haircut!!), Cade, Lucan, Kenna
* I flew to Salt Lake City (alone! Without children!) to attend the Young Living Convention. I met up with some friends and had a fabulous time learning more about essential oils and the incredible opportunities available to us. I pumped while I was gone, and while Rhema wasn't thrilled about the goat milk she got in a bottle, she did fine and resumed nursing without missing a beat when I returned.

* On June 28, Ted and I celebrated our 19th anniversary! Actually, I think our date night was the next weekend, but we DID get out for a date. And now I can't remember what we did...pretty sure we went to eat at Sinful Burger...oh! I think we saw Finding Dory! And then Ted took the kids to see it during the discounted matinee show the following week.

Charis made this darling baby Dory for me after seeing the movie!
* We had friends come through and stay with us the night of July 4 on their way back home from a trip. We had a relaxed visit over some yummy grilled food and somehow failed to see any fireworks.

* On July 15 our baby Rhema turned one! Charis made a fabulous birthday cake for her and we had a simple family celebration.

* The last week in July Charis attended a Bible camp with some of the kids in the local youth group. Aside from sleeping in a bunk the first night that had bed bugs in it (!!!!!!!)...she says it was a great week. (Mom is trying to refrain from further commentary here...)

* The first week in August our backyard hosted up to 16 kids during the last 5-day Club of the summer. Charis, Tobin, and Arden all taught 4 clubs, which kept us busy several weeks in a row as we drove to Omaha and Bellevue to other host homes. So it was nice that the last one was right in our yard with kids we knew, mostly from church but also a few from the neighborhood.

* On August 8 the kids took the online Bible Bee test, the culmination of 8 weeks of study over the summer, working through their Discovery Journal to dig into John 13 - 15 and also 14 different memory passages.

* August 10 - 14 I took another trip, this time to San Diego for a "Naples Reunion" with a number of ladies who were stationed there at the same time. It was SUCH a blessing to go! I stayed with my dear friend Joyce, co-founder of Missione di Luce with which I was involved during my time in Italy. She, like many of the ladies I met up with, now lives in San Diego. It was a joyous, refreshing few days as we caught up on each others' lives, prayed together, laughed together, and definitely ate good food together. I'm thankful for the opportunity to go.

We spent all day at the beach, people coming and going as their schedules allowed. Sooooo nice to relax and talk!

Sheri opened her home for sushi-making at lunchtime and lots of hang-out time through the afternoon.

I think this is almost everyone who was able to make it!
* August 14 was Seanin's 3rd birthday! Charis made another amazing cake, and we had a family celebration at home.

* We had a local Bible Bee celebration in our backyard August 20. Nine families had registered for the summer study, and while not everyone was able to complete everything, the feedback seemed overwhelmingly positive. We rejoice that kids spent time in God's Word, learning how to study the Bible and memorizing verses that will renew their hearts and minds! Also, we praise the Lord that Charis was able to qualify for the National Bible Bee Competition again this year.

Kenna receives her certificate and chooses a verse to recite (John 13:34-35).
* On August 24 Zaden turned 5! We had a family party for him since his birthday was on a Wednesday. We had to work around a friend's schedule, but we did finally have a friend party on September 2. Hooray! Two cakes, lol!

I took Zaden to get a haircut a couple of days before his birthday. Everyone was very sad at how short his hair is now, but I still think he's a cutie-patootie!!

We have generous friends who let us borrow this inflatable water slide for the friend party! It was a hit!

Brothers and friends!
Aaaaaaand that's the story of our summer! All good things must come to an end, I suppose. We actually kicked off our school year on August 29, so I will try to be better about keeping more remembrances on our blog as the school year gets underway!