October 15, 2016


This is what I posted on my Facebook page recently...

How exactly does one share news like this? A good news/bad news, bittersweet announcement...

We are past the halfway point in a pregnancy unlike any of my others. We have said a very early goodbye to two little ones before, but by the time I've felt kicks and jabs in the past, we were well on our way to welcoming another baby into our family.

Now, we are expecting a little girl with a genetic condition called Trisomy 18, an extra chromosome that causes a wide range of developmental difficulties. Mortality rates for these babies are high. We do not know if our baby will survive birth and if so, how long she might be on earth with us.

We know God has a plan and a purpose for our little girl, whom we have named Verity Irene. (Verity = truth; Irene = peace.) We pray He will be glorified in our lives no matter what. We would be grateful for your prayers during this season of uncertainty.

For more details or to follow our journey, please visit Verity's blog.

Built-in Catch-up Weeks

Before our school year even started, I was reminded of a homeschooling approach a friend of mine used years and years ago when our children were small. She scheduled "catch-up weeks" throughout her school year; if I remember correctly, 3 weeks of curriculum followed by one week to tie up any loose ends. When our children were small, it was much easier to stay "on schedule," and while I thought her idea sounded nice, I wasn't as concerned about all those little things we just didn't get around to doing. For her, though, it was a great way to stay relaxed during the school year and add even more special things--extra field trips or activities that may have gotten ignored or missed in a slavish drive to "keep up with school."

Now, years later, I am schooling 3 times as many kids as when I first heard this idea! And the range is incredible: from kindergarten up through 11th grade. In addition to the 6 who are officially on the Jakin Academy roster, we have 2 littles who need training in various areas as well.

In other words, the idea of a catch-up week has become a dire necessity, not simply a luxury!

My working school notebook has 6 weeks of scheduled curriculum. We more or less successfully worked our way through the first 6 weeks of school, studying all kinds of things from China to weather to early American history. We learned how to navigate our way through incredibly busy co-op days (twice a month) plus weekly speech and debate classes. We had dental exams and eye appointments. Mom took naps and managed to feed 10 people more or less 3 times a day, every day.

And so, not surprisingly, we "got behind" in checking off those boxes. The kids cheered when I told them last weekend that the coming week would be our opportunity to finish up those things we hadn't been able to do yet, which included a number of science experiments and module quiz and test for Tobin; lots of speech homework for Charis; some science reading for Lucan and Zaden, and spelling lists for Kenna. Oh, it was NICE to have some unhurried days! Especially since Ted had Columbus Day off work and yesterday (Friday) was a busy co-op/class day.

From a mental and emotional perspective, I as the mom NEEDED to NOT press on--I needed some time to gain a bigger perspective, some clarity, take deep breaths and remember that this is our calling for such a time as this. It's too easy to feel like a failure when I'm not accomplishing things, and by that I mean finishing. God hasn't called me to check boxes...He has called me to raise children. That's a lesson that I as the teacher have to learn over and over.