Today was our first day back at school since, um, well, I am sad to say, July. Yes, it has truly been that long since we actually ‘did school’. And entire semester off. That was not the plan. We had planned on being back at home here in China sometime the beginning of November, so I wasn’t concerned with getting back into our studies after our vacation to Florida. But week after week went by which brought delay after delay to our return. And we weren’t just sitting around twiddling our thumbs during this time. We (me) had doctor appointments, and we were learning how to find structure to life with 7, and we wanted to make the most of time with family and friends. Not to mention the weather was great and the back, and front yard kept beckoning all of us to be outside. So we did.
(One of our boxes did not arrive… we are hopeful it will just show up really late. But not sure now.) I just had to laugh at this picture of a 3 ring notebook that was new when sent, but arrived completely torn apart. And they call it ‘durable’. Ha!
Once we landed here in China, I had boxes of school books arrive, but no place to put them. And so the year long thought out plan of moving around the rooms of our apartment began. Basically it consisted of Steve moving out of the dedicated office and getting a much smaller desk in our bedroom, and the office now becoming the homeschool room (/craft room). But there were also several other projects going on at the same time (new beds for the big girls, Hope moving into the girls room and them getting used to that. Getting Luke sleeping better at night and putting him in with Nate).
(Don’t you love it when you are hard at work and your wife comes in with her camera ready and calls your name, quickly takes your picture as you look up, and then posts it on the internet?)
I had visions back in July, that when we started back up again, we would have a nice formal day back, complete with “first day of school’ signs and all the fun-ness that goes along with that. But I reconsidered somewhere along the way.
It wasn’t all pretty today. I will admit. I tried my best to have low expectations, but sometimes my expectations creep up and become unrealistic. And I had to be careful of this today. I realized over and over that the kids had gotten used to the freedom of no school structure. We had not stopped reading, and the kids had done some history/math lessons over the long break, but there wasn’t morning structure in regards to the school we had accomplished.
So about 9:30am the kids had eaten oatmeal, I had 4 out of 5 kids dressed. (Luke just hangs in his pj’s a lot. He doesn’t complain). The books were out and the assignments were made clear as to what we wanted to accomplished. Then we all prayed. Hard. Asking the Lord to give us good attitudes and that we would work quickly and cheerfully. Anna was quick to admit that she had gotten up on the WRONG side of the bed and needed an adjustment (which was slow coming, but I am grateful she was at least aware). While not everything got accomplished, no math for Nate, and no reading comprehension for Anna, at least everyone got their reading & handwriting done, the girls did their math, and Nate worked on lesson 51 in his reading book, blowing me away with how much he had retained after a long break!
We put the gate up to keep Hope in the room with us (she can open doors), and it did keep her in, but didn’t do anything to the noise level, or how funny she found it to yank the back of the kids chairs just as they were about to write. How did she know? She also played with some plastic containers and found items to put inside and then shake, being as noisy as she possibly could.
There is still much work for me to do in regards to organizing and arranging the homeschool area. But that will come. For now I am so thrilled we are just together enough to start school up again!
So while it was busy and I had many moments when I just had to stop and pray, I am really really thankful to be getting back into the school work. I love how despite the fact that I never felt ‘called’ to homeschool my kids, I am learning to love it, and take joy in seeing my kids learn new things.