Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Let Them Be Little...

Ta is finishing up his last week of kindergarten at our neighborhood school. His teachers have been wonderful, and he has learned and grown so much this year- I am very proud of his hard work!!

Ta is a pretty social boy and has made friends easily. So far public school has been a good experience for him, and I am often asked if he will continue. The answer is: yes, at least for now. My plan is to have him finish up either 1st or 2nd grade and then bring him home depending on how he is doing. Th's 1st grade year was not very productive (at least the first half, until we moved him to our neighborhood school) and is the reason we decided to homeschool him. If Ta has another great year, then I will probably let him continue through 2nd grade and bring him home for 3rd. If next year does not go so well, then it will be his final year. I have loved homeschooling and am looking forward to having all of my children homeschooled, but the reality is with (soon to be) 6 kids, and only 2 in school, I just can't manage everything as a wife and mom plus school.

Here are some pics of Ta during his end-of-year program. It was a bittersweet moment as I was once again reminded of how quickly the time is passing and how they are only little for such a little while. As a new mom, I was told many, many times by others who were more experienced that the days are long but the years pass quickly. It is soooo true and although I try to cherish the moments, sometimes it is difficult. Pictures help, but my only regret is not getting more video of my children when they were young(er). To hear their sweet voices and funny sayings, I only have my memory for that. :(

I am also including some other pictures of things that we have been doing in the past month or so.  Some of them are from a field trip we took with the girls' preschool to a local farm.

Teagan feeding the goat

Annie holding a cicada & deciding whether it looks good enough to eat

Th let the cicadas crawl all over him!!

T.G. &
her BFF on the hayride

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A (Homeschool) Year in Review

Well, Th and I just completed our first year of school (at home). Third grade was challenging for both of us. I was nervous because it is a pivotal year in a child's education. The subjects contain concepts that are more difficult to grasp. For instance, multiplication/division are taught in math, higher-level vocabulary is used in reading, and various grammar concepts are applied in language arts. Th also learned to write in cursive this year, which was a rewarding experience to observe in and of itself.

Besides his academic maturity, he has also grown in other ways.

Th moved up from the Pee Wee Sailor's Club to join the Patch Club. Each month, he has to memorize passages of scripture (8-10 verses in length) to earn a pin for his hat. He made the transition in December and has earned 5 pins for the remainder of this year. He has also formed new friendships and strengthened old ones as a result of this Club change.

Th has shown such responsibility this year simply by doing what he needed to do. For the most part, he finished his schoolwork everyday. The days he didn't, it was usually because of a factor outside of his control (like I didn't have time to get to that particular subject, or he wasn't grasping the concept as quickly as I had planned and I didn't want him to move on to the next until he demonstrated mastery).

Th was really good about getting his work done in a timely manner, whether it was schoolwork or chores. As a result, TJ & I allowed him to take a job. He has been volunteering on a weekly basis at our local pregnancy center as the "garbage guy". He gathers up and bags the garbage from all over the building, usually resulting in about 4 big bags full, and then takes it to the big garbage can outside. He then hauls that to the curb for collection the next day. Th LOVES this job and looks forward to doing it each week. The center staff & volunteers enjoy his company and I am so thankful the Lord presented this opportunity to him. Th has definitely learned the meaning of SERVICE TO OTHERS as a result of gathering up the garbage week in and week out over the past several months. My hope and prayer is that this opportunity will put a desire in him to continue to serve the Lord in other areas throughout his life.

Th has shown growth in this area, as well. In an attempt to earn money for art camp this summer, he came up with a list of jobs he can do and gave them to our  neighbors and some friends from church. Th enjoys his "jobs", which typically include caring for our neighbors' mail, pets, newspapers, etc. when they go out of town. He has also done some cleaning and yard work for other people, along with washing cars, etc. Th was able to earn the money he needed, plus more.

Along with learning the concept of saving for something he really wants (currently it's a new, bigger bike), he has also learned the importance of doing a job until completion and doing HIS best. If it's not his best, he knows he might not get paid or hired again. =)

I have greatly enjoyed watching his progression over the course of the year, and I can understand why so many choose to homeschool. Witnessing your child's learning (academic or otherwise) is awesome and something that I will cherish forever! This is time with him I will never get back, and I couldn't imagine him reaching these milestones under anyone else's supervision. Perhaps that's a little cheesy, but it's so true!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

1+1+1+1+1+1= A lot!

I love the spring,
When everything’s new.
I love the blooming flowers
And the chirping birds, too.

I love the summer,
No schedule to care.
Swimming, park days,
And of course shorts to wear.

I love the autumn,
When the air turns cool.
The falling leaves,
and kids’ go back to school.

I love the winter,
When the holidays near.
Especially Christmas,
‘cause our new baby will be here!

We are excited,
Another blessing from above.
God tells us in His word,
He is good and full of love.

Knowing this, we trust Him
As God will provide.
For our every need,
Including a ride.

We simply won’t fit,
Into a mini-van any more,
We’re maxed out,
Stuffed full to the core.

We’re considering an Excursion,
Or perhaps a Suburb-an.
I guess I’ll admit it,
Maybe even a church van.

Personally, I am striving
to have "intentional faith."
Trusting Him to guide me,
just as His word saith.

Pregnancy brings joy,
but also I fear,
So I'm trusting the Lord,
for He's holding me near.

As changes are coming,
please keep us in your prayers.
Pray for the baby, this momma,
For the kids to learn to share.

But the most important request,
I ask you to pray,
Is that throughout our lives,
We’ll seek the Lord every day.

"From the end of the earth I will cry to You when my heart is overwhelmed; Lead me to the rock that is higher than I." 
~Psalm 61:2

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Help

is the name of the novel I just finished reading. I would consider it as historical fiction as it includes many key events that took place during the Civil Rights Movement. I gotta tell you, it's definitely now one of my Top Ten all-time favorite books. It is so poignant and captures the viewpoints of what it was like to be black in a Southern town during the 1960s. It explores the relationships between white socialites and their housekeepers in Jackson, Mississippi.

I guess what made this book so touching to me was that it made me stop and examine my beliefs, both as a child and now as an adult. It also caused me to reflect on the beliefs I have witnessed in others, whether spoken or otherwise.

It also reminded me of a time when, during the early 1980s, my family had help in the form of a black woman. We were living in the South, in Texas, and the Civil Rights Movement was not too far removed. I think about our housekeeper every once in a while, how she waited for me at the bus stop every afternoon with a warm hug and a smile. In the house, a snack was waiting and supper was not too far behind. She was a friend, and someone I looked forward to seeing each Monday and dreaded having to say goodbye to on Friday. She was special, and I loved her, and I know she loved me as one of her own. I didn't understand about "color", and I believe my family was good to her. I was devastated when she left and the new help came.

I also have been thinking how racial relations have changed over the years. White and black now live in the same neighborhoods and attend the same schools. I think about my children, how Ta's best friend is a little boy who happens to be black. They met on the first day of school and have been inseparable since. This boy comes over for play dates, attends church with us, eats supper with us, and I am so thankful for his friendship to Ta. Ta may understand his friend is black, but he's never let that be an issue and I pray it never becomes one.

If you haven't read this book I highly recommend it. If nothing else, I hope it will cause you to stop and put yourself in the shoes of a poor, black woman during a time in our country's history where freedom and opportunity did not mean "for all."