Wednesday, February 22, 2017

And Then We All Lived Happily Ever After...



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So now Molly wanted to school the same way Emily was.  She goes to a "school" 2 days a week and then works with her teachers online the rest of the week.  I was/am over the moon about her decision to join Emily.

Once the little kids heard they began begging. My heart was already opening to the idea of it.  At conference time I  talked to Priscilla's teacher and I could tell she was very unaware of the challenges Priscilla faces.  I knew she was not in the best place for her...which was such a change from Sitka where Priscilla got tons of extra help and several teachers were always looking out for her in many ways.  Leaving that conference my heart broke for Priscilla and I knew she belonged home.

Now..Jack is a different story.  He always did really well at school.  He gets a long with just about everyone and never needs help academically or socially.  But he began being pretty bothered by what the kids were talking about at lunch and the language they were using.  The playground rules at his school were pretty ridiculous compared to Sitka.  And since the playground is pretty much the reason 10 year old boys make it through the day, he was pretty bummed most days.

And Lucy..my very sensitive little girl was just warming up to the challenges of girls in groups.  No need to say much more than that.

So, after I shocked Pete by telling him my plan, after praying about what to do..I decided after Christmas Break we would return to homeschooling...all of us.

And here we are, very much loving the life I get to live...with these people.

 So grateful that God gave us the very best public school He could have in Sitka...and then brought me to the very best place to homeschool them here in Maryland.

Like I should have expected anything else.....

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Every Little Step Counts


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Part 1
Part 2

I was begging Molly to come home for the year.  She would not hear of it. She wanted to give it time and see if anything got better.  She is amazing.  I am IMPATIENT!!

I was just so grateful for the kids at church that were embracing my kids with their whole heart. Most of them are homeschooled.
Even though I was begging Molly to come home,  I was not 100% sure I was ready to homeschool again.  It takes a major life change.  It is a full time job.

I evaluated exactly what I was doing that was so much better than homeschooling...
cleaning each room after the kids left for school, doing laundry, grocery shopping, mindless shopping.  That reflection revealed the brutal truth  that my days were adding up to a whole lot of NOTHING.  I wanted to do all these things with and for myself and the kids, yet I was basically a housekeeper, driver, kind of decent cook.

Maybe I was made for more than this...

These were the thoughts I was having.  Yes, I have a college degree.  I was a teacher "before" having kids.  There is plenty I could be doing.  But my heart is here, with this family.  I want more than anything to be a good mom who leads my kids to a good life.  They make me a better person.  I did not want more time away from them at a job.  I wanted more time with them doing what I love..mothering!

But nobody wanted to homeschool..except the little kids and their school was fine...kind of.

And then one morning before school Emily asks to be homeschooled.  If Pete were not sitting right next to me at the time of her question I would not have believed she said that.

Her coming home was NOT on the radar..Molly yes..but Em's?

She wanted to attend our church's homeschool program where she would answer to teachers other than me.

I made her go to school that day just to have us both think about it. I needed time to ask some questions to people who actually know what they are doing (which would be anyone but myself).

She never went back...

Molly was not as easy to convince.  But we were stepping in the right direction!

Everyday I begged Molly to just wait until next year.  There were a few times I could see she was cracking, but she's a stubborn cookie.

My problem, besides Molly's school looked like a prison, is I do not know anything about these kids.  Even if Molly were to make a friend I would have a hard time just letting her go places and do things with them until I got to know them.  Everything felt insurmountable...hormones (mine and hers), Pete working ALL the time, Emily transitioning to home and my heart breaking for Molly every time she left in the morning and came home.

Meanwhile, I'm floored by Emily and the amazing decision she made.  She liked the kids she was getting to know from church.  They did things together and the efficiency of schooling at home in High School is amazing.

I should not have fretted the way I did about Molly.  I should have known that she was in God's hands.  On All Saint's Day after mass Molly asked if she could homeschool.  Praise God!

And then I told the little kids...


Sunday, February 12, 2017

I Jumped Right In..KINDA



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so...

I get a phone call from SAM and she just happens to have 13 kids!  She runs EVERYTHING and is just about the most welcoming amazing person I have been blessed to know.

She tells me about this homeschool high school "school" they have at the church. The kids go 2 times a week then work with their instructors the other 3 days a week online.  Their assignments are all done and handed in to their teachers.  You pay per class.

Well, that sounded wonderful but we were all in with the public schools in the new area we just bought a house in.  The schools were rated pretty high..on paper!  We were all set...but I was excited there were so many home schooled high school kids she could meet over the summer.  Homeschool kids are "usually" pretty nice and welcoming.

I mentioned the idea of homeschooling to Emily and Molly and they were OUTRAGED at the thought...the fact that I even mentioned it was ridiculous to them...

We get to Maryland after a VERY difficult departure from a very beloved home in Sitka.  We were all a bit traumatized.  We were immediately welcomed into our church, which happened to be filled with homeschooling families. They invited us over for dinner.  We swam with them.  They brought their kids over to celebrate birthdays.  It was amazing.

The big girls were heart broken over the move and my heart ached for them.  I was encouraged that they made friends at church so quickly and our summer was becoming something more than just tolerable.  But the fear of schooled loomed over all of us.

These schools were NOTHING like the school we loved and left in Sitka...Emily's school had like 4000 kids.  Molly's school was nothing short of a dungeon.  To be fair, they both LOVED school in Sitka.  Anything would have been awful in their hearts.  But I have to admit to being a bit discouraged as well.

The little kids school was delightful. It was filled with young teachers that looked excited to still be teaching.  The little kids were scared, but not horrified. I was a little more in shock.  There were 6 classes per grade with 30-32 students in each class.  The desks in the classrooms were so crammed together there was very little open space.

Everyone begins...and it goes...fine. Emily had to be at her bus stop at 6:20.  School starts at 7! The high school was farther away then I realized. She was less than thrilled with that. Emily was able to make a connection or two with kids fairly quickly..

But Molly...not so much. There is possibly no harder time to move than 8th grade....

I will finish ..
I promise....

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Just Begin


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I'm just going to jump right into this post.  I'm tempted to go into excruciating detail on how and why I am about to say what I am about to say...but lately I have been following the philosophy that if you want to start something the best thing to do is to actually START doing that something...

We are once again a HOMESCHOOLING family!!  I am very overwhelmed with joy and awe to be in this place again.  I have a lot to explain and share.  So, let me just begin.

I homeschooled Emily until 6th grade, Molly until 4th, Jack got a little kindergarten.  Then I threw in the towel.  No, I actually threw in EVERY towel VERY AGGRESSIVELY!  The 3 kids went to public school in VA for a few months. We made an unexpected move to Alaska and the kids continued to go to public school.  Eventually I had 5 kids in public school.

Sitka's schools were the perfect public school situation for us.  The classes were small and the teachers and staff were all very caring people who knew each of my kids and knew Pete and I as well. We knew most of the kids in all of their classes, and more importantly knew the families.  No situation is perfect, but for us public school worked very well in Sitka!

Now...all along I had a homeschool heart.  Even though the school situation was working, things at home were not going as well.  Relationships between siblings were very difficult and my heart broke because I knew that part of that break down was because they were in school.

Our kids were VERY close before school and as soon as we left homeschooling ALL that changed pretty quick.  It was heart breaking.  Kids have to keep up with their peers in school..that usually means leaving siblings behind.  That is exactly what happened to us.  I saw it.  I knew why.  I knew there was very little I could do to prevent it from happening.

The whole time we were in public school I still read homeschool blogs, listened to podcasts, read books and articles about it.  I wanted to want to do it again, but I just couldn't in the situation we were in.

When we were moving here to Maryland I began to search for a church.  I called my previous parish in Gainesville, VA and asked Father Vander Woude if he could help me find a parish in MD!  He called me right away and gave me a few names.

I called one of the churches he mentioned and asked if they could pass my name and number onto a mom at the parish that I could talk with...

That mom was Sam! ....this is where everything began to change.

I promise I will tell the rest...soon....

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