August 5, 2015

the thing about homeschooling

Here's the thing about homeschooling: It doesn't have to look like a certain THING. It doesn't like to look like what everyone else is doing. It doesn't even have to look the same everyday.

Here's the real thing about homeschooling: it's a process. A learning process.

For me and for the kids.

On Sunday I proudly posted this photo to social media:

I couldn't WAIT for school to start so we could start learning EVERYTHING there ever was to learn!!!

Here's the thing about homeschooling: you can't do EVERYTHING. Actually.

I had my whole week planned out. All the things we would learn. All the things we would do!

And then school actually started.

Day one: Everything went exactly according to plan! Well, except for we didn't get history done. Or extra reading. Or journaling.

Day two: We are right on track! Only, no Spanish. Or extra reading. Or journaling...

Day three: Ok, this is just silly. Day three... well, there isn't really a day three. Mm'k?

The thing about homeschooling is you need to be flexible. You need to be able to adjust. You need to be able to say, "We're actually doing enough reading in everything else. We don't have to do extra reading." And, "Maybe we'll get journaling later once we're in our groove. And that's OK."

This is what my vision for our first week was:

Feel free to zoom in and snicker. 

A full day plus swimming, probably not ever going to happen. A full day of school plus a service project*? Yeah right! 

I'm so silly. 

So I reworked my planning sheet, now that we've done a few days. I think it's a little more reasonable, but I bet it will change again. And that's OK. 

(*I plan on writing about this soon. We are planning a service project to do every Wednesday. Our goal this school year is to be intentional about showing love and meeting practical needs. That's kind of my theme for the year.)

I think that we can do a little bit in the afternoons on Wednesday. Like right now the kids are outside eating ice cream sandwiches... that's something...

Several people commented on my cool planning page and asked where I got it or how I made it. I did make it. I used Apple Pages. It was super simple. This is what it looks like:

You're welcome to download it and use it, although probably your homeschooling doesn't look like my homeschooling. And that's OK. If someone really wanted this, I would be happy to edit it to make it more usable for the masses. Comment if you're interested (make sure to leave an email address).

A few things about the changes that you might notice:

-Math is now everyday. We got to Tuesday and Millie begged to do more math. I might be raising little math nerds. Like me.

-Science is now everyday also. Sam is obsessed with space/rockets/etc right now so I figure I might as well do something he might listen to, even if I don't do "school" with him.

-FIAR is gone. I made the sad, sad decision to give up Five in a Row. I expected us to love it, I loved the concept, we all love books and reading... but somehow we just don't love it. Millie wants more (She begs for Express Readers and Math the most), and Sam isn't into it. He loses interest in the book after 2 or 3 times. As sad as I am about it - it's just not for us. It was a great thing this last year, and I'm glad we explored it. I am happy that another missionary mama in Bolivia was interested in it for her son, so I am passing the blessing along and giving it all to them.

Here's the thing about homeschooling: it is one of the most amazing things I've ever done with my kids. I learn SO MUCH. About the subjects, about my kids, about myself. Homeschooling is awesome and hard and fun and frustrating and totally worth every moment.

I heart homeschooling!
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August 2, 2015

she's bald

Millie is bald.

I'll just say it.

She was born bald.

And she was a bald toddler.

The first time she ever wrote her name we were living in a remote village in Guyana. She was 3 and still bald.

Last summer we visited family. She was 4, and still bald.

Her 5th year is passing and as we're approaching 6 (Oh. My. Word. 6?! That's so old!) - she's still bald. Although, not totally anymore. You can see she has a few hairs on that little head now:

Today I stumbled upon this article. Stop reading my blog right now and read that one. No really, go read it.

I have shared some of our experiences with our daughter looking like a chemo patient (yes, I'm aware of the resemblance). From the time she was born until... last Thursday... people have noticed she doesn't have any hair.

When she was 2, almost 3, a man came up to me at a playground, gushing on and on about his experience with his daughter fighting cancer. I tried to interject, "She is healthy..." several times to which he replied, "Good, good, keep on fighting!" Finally I was at a complete loss, and he was near tears. I didn't know what the right thing to say was. "She doesn't have cancer. It's genetic." I'll never forget the sheer embarrassment that crossed his face. It was really awkward. "Thank you so much, though, for sharing your story. I'm so honored that you would share with me. It's very touching..."

A couple of months ago I was shopping in a supermarket. I noticed an older gentleman watching us. My kids have a lot of energy and were probably pretending to be cats or something, so I didn't think too much about it until I realized he was not just watching us - he was following us. Finally I came to the end of an isle and he came around the other side. "Excuse me" His voice cracked as he motioned for me to come over to him. Other shoppers watched, I silently prayed they'd stick around... just in case... I took a few steps apprehensively. "I just... I..." The man reached into his pocket and pulled out his wallet. "I don't have have much money, but I... I just..." His eyes met mine for the first time and there were tears in his. "I just want to help you out. Can I buy your groceries today?" He wiped a tear and looked at Millie, who shyly hid behind me. Bless his heart. He just wanted to help out a mom with a kid with cancer.

Even family members have asked if I've taken her in for a second opinion. Have we seen a specialist? Are we going to get her a wig? Do they know what's wrong with her?

Here is what is "wrong" with Millie: Nothing. Not one thing.

Did you read that article I linked?

If not having any hair is our biggest problem, we're doing pretty good. I can hardly imagine actually having a kid with cancer. Not knowing how long you have them to hold (not that any of us really know), not knowing if treatment will be successful, not knowing if you will be able to hold on much longer. Sob. I can't even.

My daughter won the genetic lottery of not bing able to grow hair very well. Her daddy, and his mom, had the same struggle in their early lives. They both have thick curly hair now. I'm not worried. Doctors aren't worried. She will get hair.

Or she won't.

And that will be OK.

Because my dear Millie is the sweetest, most compassionate, generous little 5-year old I've ever met. She has the most beautiful, gentle heart. She loves animals, has the best imagination, and the brightest future.

Hair just isn't really all that important when you've got all that.
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