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Sunday, June 26, 2011

Servant Hearts & Homeschool

Last week we completed our first official week of homeschool!

Yes, in June. I know what you’re thinking – and I’m not nearly as mean as I sound. This year we’re doing a three day school week, taking a month off at Christmas and a two week Spring and Fall break with various other breaks thrown into the mix. So I realized that we'd need to start a little early in order to get through the important stuff by the end of May.

Surprisingly, even the US State Department advocates for homeschool for older adopted children, for at least the first year they're home. The benefits are many: homeschool affords adopted children (or any children for that matter) the ability to move at their own pace and with a program intentionally designed to meet their unique needs. Homeschool provides adopted children with a teacher who knows them in and out, understands their strengths and weaknesses and loves them dearly: Mom. Homeschool also provides extensive opportunities for newly adopted children and their siblings to spend time together and build strong relationships.

Below, I’ve shared the details of my very first day as a homeschool mom. This actually happened last Monday, but I took copious notes in my journal from morning till night – thinking it would be a special, sweet day and I may want to record it for posterity. And I was right.

Here’s what went down…

6am – Wake-up, dress, prep breakfast for Dan to serve to kids, slip out the door for a morning power walk with friends

7:15am – Home from walk. Quiet time on porch, pray, Bible reading

7:45am – Shower, dress, try to make myself look generally presentable because I will probably not get another chance to look in the mirror for the entire day

8:15am – Dan leads family devotions and heads to work

8:45am – I’m in my room panicking and re-thinking what I’m about to go and do. Seriously? I’m going to HOMESCHOOL my kids? What kind of crazy lady takes on such a burden? We’ve been talking and thinking and praying about this for months – but now that the moment is really here, I’m scared to death. I look down and realize that my hands are actually shaking.

8:46am – I offer up a prayer and ask our Lord to make me equal to this enormous task. I cannot do it in my own strength. No way. Repeat. Repeat again.

9:00am – Compose myself. Dust off my knees and emerge from my room. Announce that everyone should grab their stuff and meet me in the kitchen.

9:05am – Pray with the kids for our day and then start the math lesson with the big kids. (Note: in my house, “big kids” is a relative term). Big Kid Math = 1st and 2nd grade math with Madeline and Davis. I’d allotted an hour for Big Kid Math but in reality, it only took about 25 minutes.

9:30am – Put Baby Charlotte down for morning nap and do preschool with Hannah and Joseph

10:05am – Snack time. Call Madeline and Davis inside and announce that their grammar lesson is next.

10:10am – Madeline, Davis, Hannah and Joseph start trying to talk me into postponing the grammar lesson and visiting the new splash pad at Piedmont Park. I tell them “No way. We’re sticking to the schedule, this is a school day. The FIRST school day.”

10:11am – Feeling my resolve weaken. After all, this is summer.

10:15am – The kids are putting on their swimsuits and grabbing towels.

10:30am –

12:30 – Return home, change clothes, eat lunch and get our act back together.

1:00pm – Grammar with the big kids. We’re really doing it this time. Again, I’ve allotted an hour but it takes about 25 minutes.

1:30pm – Literature/History with everyone. At the moment, we’re reading Milly Molly Mandy and a book about Australia. Good stuff.

2:30pm – Put Baby C down for a nap, announce to the other four that it’s time for everyone to take a one-hour rest time. Especially Mommy.

2:35pm – Lay down on my bed to read a book and realize I never ate lunch. Get up to eat an apple or whatever I can find. Answer a few emails, since I’m up and all.

3:00pm – Ditch the idea of laying in bed and reading book and wrap up the school day just how I started it – on my porch, with my Bible and my journal. Spend time praising the Lord for calling me to this life.

Being a homeschool mom of five young children is definitely going to make for some challenging days. It means spending a lot of time preparing, organizing, teaching, correcting, encouraging and so much more. It means almost no “me time” during the day.

But “me time” is not the point of my life. Comfort and ease and making things as simple as possible is not why we're here. “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve.” – Mark 10:45. May the same be true of my life.


Jennie said...

Shelly, you rock! We've talked about doing the homeschool thing... then we had Micah... and now it's the "maybe when Matthew hits preschool, I'll attempt homeschooling with Micah"... maybe Nathan too... and add Matthew when he hits K? How will adoption affect this? Lots... which is why I try not to think about it often. :-)

Heather said...

Thank you. We have one bio who we are considering homeschooling and it's been something we've seriously been talking bout lately (he's only 3). So, knowing it's really good for adopted children really means it's a great idea. We're waiting on a referral from ET.

Wild Olive said...

Way to be flexible and rock the splash park, yo! I'm so proud. You made it sound so fun that even someone like ME could do it! (yikes)
Love you,

Christy said...

I get it! We kind of do the year round thing too. I think you are doing great! What curriculum did you decide on for this year?

The Hemphill Family said...

YAY Shelly! Looks like Day One was a success...it will get easier, I promise. Before you know it, it's just second nature. We had so much fun this weekend! Can you email me the radio pics when you get a chance? I bet we look so cool =)

Ashley said...

Thank you. I needed that reminder (Mark 10:45).

Alison said...

Girl, you are doing awesome!!! Love that ya'll took a splash park break too! You won't be able to do that in the winter time, so might as well enjoy it now! :)

the_blissful_mommy said...

You will not regret it, Shell. Trust. love you.

Anonymous said...

Homeschool mom myself. And I love that you admitted you caved and went to the splash park. People are so judgmental about these things! Like what do you mean they did school in their pajamas today. As though this will have lifelong repercussions! And we save about 10 lessons at the end of the school year for rainy summer days :)

Anonymous said...

Loved the post. You just need to call the splash park your gym class. No guilt and you can go back every day, right?! Kids need gym class!

Lara said...

Love it! You'll be a great homeschool mom.

Ms.JayQue said...

I am inspired by your story and this post especially when you said that "me time is not the point" of your life... Thanks for that.

Tara G. said...

Popped over from Layla's- I've enjoyed reading and watching the videos! We also home school- and love Milly Molly Mandy stories! :)