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Family Road Trip {Lake Michigan}

Going to catch up on documenting some of our recent fun! A few weeks ago Rich had a business trip scheduled for Traverse City, Michigan. He has several clients there so he goes every few months. After visiting Traverse City with him for the first time 5 years ago–we haven’t missed a summer taking the crew since! It is by far one of the most beautiful places to vacation in the country! I loooove Hilton Head–but I’m afraid not much can hold a candle to Lake Michigan. We are totally smitten with the mitten state:)

And yes–I often dress them the same when we travel, so I can easily spot them and I know exactly what they are wearing should one walk off. Oh these are so LoVeD!

My Loves

So instead of flying SEVEN to Michigan–we decided we would pack up the van…and DRIVE!

I was certain it would be something we would later regret. BUT Y’ALL! It was so FUN! We started off on the wrong foot with a broken DVD player and realized our 16 hour car ride to Traverse City would be filled with road games. After a few rounds of Eye Spy…the car tag game and the ABC sign game…I realized we had been in the car for 30 minutes;) (insert emoticon with BIG eyes!)

We pulled over at BestBuys where we bought a NEW DVD player and hopped on the road! Yay! We can do this!!! As soon as I got all the straps and wires set up (insert lots of “Rich–PLEASE drive careful while I do this so I don’t go flying out the window!)…we discovered it did NoT work. We laughed and decided to just be old school for this leg of the trip (7 hours)! Our plan was to stay in Cincinatti for the night which was near the Creation Museum as our first attraction to see.

 

Oh my. An attraction it was! There were even scenes in there that the wax figures made me uncomfortable;) Adam’s awkward arch here…um–keep walking kids.

Children. The Creation Museum. It’s how you were created. Moving on…
The grounds there were lovely! Full on par with ATL Botanical Gardens!

After the museum–we scooted to the heart of WKRP…Cincinatti! We followed our sweet local friends recommendations for pizza and ice cream. Oh my. Amazing. Oh my word the local recs are the way to go! Aflame sis Brothers for ice cream was the best I have EVER had! http://www.aglamesis.com

Cutest place ever. And the server with the pink bow tie…perfection!

My sweet friend Maria Davis opened her home for our family for the night. Oh MY. The adoption momma community is a tight, sweet one! We stayed there and got right back on the road when the sun came up heading for Traverse!

We drove a solid 8 hours with the intention to stop at Best Buys and exchange the DVD that didn’t work for a new one…but that NEVER happened. Crazy right?! We embraced all things old school and it was actually fun!!

I use the UrbanSppon app for insight where to eat and half way there led us to a hole in the wall burger joint…that was really good…and cheap!

A few more hours…and we arrived at one of the most beautiful places on Earth…Lake Michigan! Oh the fun to be had here! Film Festival week and clear blue water without the salt or sharks!

The next days were spent playing on the water, in the Traverse Resort hotel pool, picking cherries and visiting with Richard’s client’s families!

Um. A few too many maybe on at once?!

Then…after a fun week we started our journey home but first stopped for a couple in another city to get in time with one of my dearest friends Carissa Woodwyk. She is AMAZING and has come alongside our Created for Care team for years now being the most beautiful voice for adoptees. She’s become one of my best friends in the world…and I’m so thankful for how she shines Jesus in my life and heart.

She is also braver than me…I’m terribly scared of heights and other things she’s not…so I take the pictures some time of those experiences instead of greeting too close:) It felt high…I promise;)

Lake Michigan is sooooo pretty! And the beaches!

After a super fun time with C…we headed to see my friend Lovelyn and have lunch and ice cream with her fun crew…

Yes! A lot of kids between just 2 moms!!!! But they are almost twice our size! And she mothers soooo gracefully and her children are all so sweet and loving to one another.

The next. Hold your breath…

The DeLorean.

If you do not know what this is…it’s a time machine. And you need to watch the movie. It’s important. And my homeopathic doc reminds me of Doc.:)
And then…these on the ride home.

We stopped in Louisville for dinner…(Zeke is happy here…his “cheese” face is just intense!)

Then we made it to Nashville after midnight and crashed! We were thankful for the big breakfast before our last leg home!

And…we finally made it to a Best Buy and RETuRnED the DVD player! Instead we got a single player to play my IEW Intensive Writing Skills DVD classes on for homeschool:)

We are already talking about our next ROAD trip next year but I think we want to just stay longer next time! We are so thankful for the friends we got to see and spend time with! And we are super thankful for my house sitter Tami who stayed here to feed the chickens and Oreo while we were gone!

Hope you all have a blessed weekend!

 

Xoxo!

 

Andrea

 

Test from ipad:)

Y'all. I'm seriously tech challenged. Rico Suave bought me an ipad 2…TWO…years ago so I could blog on the go…and I'm just now trying to figure this out. Sooo if this works yay! Testing. Testing. This is only a test;)

 

 

this is the church and this is the steeple…

Some of the hardest places for people to walk into are the places filled by Christians.

How thankful I am how the Lord has been showing me this these past few years.

But how hard it has been to see.

And to some times–even FEEL.

We’re a welcoming bunch…right? Christ followers. Christ imitators. Inclusive. TOTALLY inclusive. Right?

Some times God takes His own children to really hard, dark places so their eyes will be opened…so they will step outside of their comfortable and know better how to be REAL–to really love.

And some times those Christian-filled places we run to are really good at loving each other–but when an outsider comes in…it’s just as easy for the outsider/newbie to walk…RUN…out.

I’ve tossed and turned about sharing this as it’s a hard for me to be THAT vulnerable–but the Lord won’t allow these thoughts and feelings to leave my heart–and if it encourages someone–just one out there–then it’s worth sharing the hard seasons. If a Christian filled place has made you feel unwanted–you my friend–are NOT alone. Even Christians experience this–so don’t give up on Jesus just because of ‘us’.

And I want to say something else before you read further…

I’m sorry.

I’m sorry if you have ever felt that way.

I’m sorry someone didn’t come alongside you.

I’m sorry we/they didn’t know or see or try to understand.

Please know that wasn’t Jesus.

It was man.

Sinful man. To caught up in making things comfortable. Or easier. Or wanting to dodge the hard…that may or may not have had you in it.

I’m so, so sorry.

Even Christians mess up and their vision becomes cloudy.

A lot.

It could have been me that made you feel that way.

ME.

And I’m sorry–I’m sorry if I…we…other believers ever made you feel that way.

Please, please do not see it as Jesus.

Because He stands at the door…always waiting…over and over…with His arms big and wide–accepting you. Loving you. Welcoming you. EVERY TIME.

If you’ve felt anything else–it wasn’t Jesus. And I’m sorry.

Recently I found myself in such a place…okay so like a year ago…but the wound fresh–and this place has haunted me…even as a child of the Most High. Even knowing what HE thinks of me–and what those who know and love think of me.

Just last year–I was in that place many of you find yourselves in when you experience a BIG life change. What feels like a TORNADO. We had just brought home a 2 year old who didn’t speak English. I was homeschooling and had found a sweet environment for my kids to go to a couple of days a week while they learned (something I knew we’d need with bringing home a special needs new one that required lots of doctor appointments at first AND being a homeschooling family!).

A Christian community would be a safe place for them to keep doing school work and at the same time I’d have a couple of mornings to connect to our new one. My hopes had been being a part of this Christian community would be a big support for our family during this life change–only for whatever reason–at the time it seemed to add more to my plate rather than remove it. I asked for help. I honestly needed help. Not as in help-help…but as in–other believers to come alongside me–encourage and cheer me on help. And one day (okay for lots of days!) I found myself overwhelmed.

Sitting in the directors/administrators/whatever-you-want-to-picture-because-I’m-carefully-trying-to-honor-this-place-and-not-share-too-much office…I felt relieved. Today was the day I would pull one of my kids OUT–leave one of my kids in who was THRIVING–because keeping up with 2 different things in our crazy…well, felt very hard AT THE TIME. I was DONE. DEFEATED. Overwhelmed.

Our other child, who was THRIVING, we hoped to keep in. But as we sat there talking–the staff shared how unsure and CRAZY my emails sounded as I shared in some how much I LOVED it there but in other emails like I couldn’t keep up.

(Have YOU ever been there? A momma overwhelmed after a major life change…no sleep…taking ONE day at a time—knowing if you can just get through THAT day…tomorrow would be a new one. It’s a FRAGILE, yet holy place to be. One we run from and never ask to return to–unless…unless He has something refining there for you to shape you more like Him.)

And then already quite broken…the words were spoken that haunt my heart.

I want to speak truth to you Andrea. Your emails hurt my heart and make me so sad. Your emails sound like you are schizophrenic…”

This.

This was speaking truth?

Speaking love?

Well–maybe.

But for this momma’s heart–at the time…it caused that world that was already spinning to only go faster as I sat there.

I kneed Richard under the table. Is this really happening?

Y’all. I truly felt. In that moment. CRAZY.

Maybe to these leaders–these Christ followers I really looked that way in this season.

But the only problem with this “truth speaking”–is that I was and am not schizophrenic or crazy–but rather I was going through a REALLY hard time.

(Have you ever been there?)

I sat there as the world turned–and before I knew it…we were leaving with not one–but with both of our children exiting…trying to figure out how in the WORLD we would break the news to the other who loved it there.

Really? You think both need to go? Oh my. Not our plan. But okay.

They encouraged us to take both littles ones out–and to be freed up to be us.

We were in this together this family of ours.

I sat in the car with Richard–and the tears poured down my cheeks.

I didn’t feel loved.

I didn’t feel supported.

I didn’t feel wanted.

I felt weeded…OUT.

OH MY. And I even FELT CRAZY!!!

I even ran home and googled whatever illness this Christian leader had just said I might have!!

Here we were. Without weeks of sleep with our new one home from China. Trying to homeschool. Hoping to find others to walk with us…hoping this might be the Christian community to encourage us through it.

But we had it all wrong.

Expectations all over the place–in the wrong places.

We DID need help from other believers–but we had gone to the wrong places…and I’m quite sure some of my emails DID sound crazy at the time as I wanted my kids there but felt so overwhelmed trying to keep up!

Have you ever been there?

In a hard place.

Feeling out there or alone. (Y’all this is SO vulnerable for ME to share–because NOTHING has ever made me feel crazier than that experience!)

I came home and called my best friends. My family. Surely they would tell me the truth.

I called my mentors. And maybe even a counselor.

Was I crazy??!!

Most tried not to laugh at me as I asked.

I told them to please take this seriously–because clearly to these people–I sounded crazy!!

They did, in fact, take me seriously when they realized I was.

They loved me.

They encouraged.

They said they were sorry.

They offered play dates and Moms Night Out…until we got through this season of hard.

Because they knew.

In that season.

That was the last thing this mom adjusting to a whirlwind of change needed to HEAR.

What it truth? The fact I might have been so in love with my children–wanting the BEST for them–but feeling sleepless and tired with all the change…YES…I might have some times sounded confused or crazy. BUT–as believers–is this how we love each other? Do we show each other the door? Weed one another out? Avoid? Or love? Like really love…

I’m QUITE sure I sounded pulled. Overwhelmed. Confused. Maybe even crazy some days. But–this. This isn’t the truth we as believers EVER need to speak.

EVER.

Because some times I think we THINK we are telling hard truth.

But often–it’s not truth at all.

In fact–I’m still working through the lie I heard that day. I clearly know I do not have what this Christian leader said I sounded like–but I do struggle with the lie that “I’m too much.”

What I needed to hear in the middle of the hardest days…

“I can tell you are overwhelmed. I can hear it in your emails. How can we come alongside you? How can we pray for you? How can we be the body of Christ? Will you not give up on us as we choose not to give up on you? Let’s do this together. Keeping our eyes of Jesus and pulling in others to help you through this really hard time.”

I had no idea.

I really had no idea what to say when others around me were struggling.

REALLY STRUGGLING.

This has been one of the sweetest gifts of even growing our family through international adoption–where little loves come to us after months some times years in hard places. Adjustments are never, ever, EVER easy. I’ve seen more families go through marital crisis after adopting unprepared for the changes and stress of helping a child heal from trauma and life change.

And when families go through hard times…when friends go through hard times…when strangers going through a hard time happen to reach out to me…

My FLESH…the un-Jesus part of me…I probably wanted to weed them out.

To do JUST ENOUGH. To avoid. To take them a meal…and say I was praying–and to walk away.

To say, “Now when you get things worked out…we are still here…and then–then…THEN…we’d love to have you back.

So why?

Why do we have to go through this hard?

Why does it come?

And what do we do with it?

Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 1: “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.

I really believe the Lord had us go through that difficult season so we would be able to better walk through others when they go through theirs.

Often God will also show us “our people” by who says the LATER (“How can I stand beside you through this”) instead of the former to us in the valley. This. This will be worth the valley alone. I promise. To know you are in the presence of those willing to walk with your family through whatever may come–and love your children through it as well–in your valley you will find them because God ALWAYS provides when you ask. Finding these brothers and sisters in Christ–this alone will be worth your valley.

It has changed me.

I want to look for (even seek out!) the struggling and pull them in…because God’s going to show up. Where the church is–HE ALWAYS SHOWS UP.

When she sits across from me in tears–as she weeps…maybe the truth my flesh wants to say is, “Sweet friend. I have so much going on. You have GOT to go to a counselor. Can I help pay for a counselor?” That sounds nice doest it? Or easy? But not always the church…

Maybe instead–I’m supposed to sit there, LISTEN and go there. To just be a friend. Or to find someone who has been in that same place to join us…to encourage her and point her to Jesus.

Maybe instead of weeding out the uncomfortable or getting the hurting out of our environments–we are supposed to invite them in and walk with them through the most difficult. Maybe we are supposed to give them food and shelter and take really big, hard, sacrificial risks…at all costs…because they are worth it–being the church–His Kingdom come…is worth it.

Maybe instead of being annoyed by the jobless that to us seem so capable–we need to look deeper at their past…maybe the loss or hurt in their lives that is causing something much deeper than we can even see. Instead of worrying and justifying that we are just being enablers if we help–we need to leave that in God’s hands and do the good we know we can do right before us. (James 4:17 “If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.”)

If you’ve seen a church…it’s steeple…and you opened the doors–but you didn’t see it’s people. I’m sorry. Many of us have done a terrible job of showing Jesus–and I ask…for your forgiveness.

If you are in a hard place–RIGHT NOW…I want to pray for you. Check in on you. And to remind you that you are not alone. So please contact me any time if you are reading this right now or 5 years from when it is posted. I would be honored to pray for you even if it’s across the country and I can’t be there to physically walk with you through it. But I would love to pray that the Lord would provide those who will.

Know that if you go to one place and you don’t feel Jesus–it’s NOT Jesus…because Jesus will always welcome, always walk with you, always care and always refocus your eyes on the Bigger…carrying your burdens–the yoke–until you are strong again. Keep looking for and seeking Him out–praying to find His people. He is faithful and will bring you a great community to run beside you–just as He has done for me. I’m so thankful for those He has brought into my life to shine His love into my life! If you aren’t in a church and you hate visiting them–I get it. But don’t give up. Take breaks if you need to until you find a place that feels like home. Where HE is present. I promise–it will be worth the wait and the search.

May we be truth tellers with vulnerable hearts–inviting others into our worlds and learning and living what it really means to be His people. Give the things you have heard that are not from Him TO Him…and walk freely knowing He is enough for you. And remember–tomorrow has enough trouble of it’s own–so just get through today…focus on today…and look for HIM in today. You can do this no matter how big or hard whatever you are going through may seem!!! He is faithful!!!

You are loved!

Andrea

happy birthday {5 years of miracle}

And he thanked God for his birthday. And on this day–I always thank God for her…and wish she, too, could hear this sweet prayer “Thank you God for giving me a birth day.”

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I sat there across from him in Chick-fil-a…his restaurant of choice on his special day. His best friend by his side. (The VERY weekend we stepped off the plane–we went to the hospital to meet William. Little did I know they would really be best friends!)

They were giggling about 4 year old…now 5 year old things–and I wiped away tears as quickly as I could as they giggled.

All I could think was, “I wish she could just see THIS.”

This miracle that was touch and go—that many of you were on your knees for…here I sat–I get to be the one sitting across from him and his William–on his birthday dinner…watching them giggle.

So many thoughts ran through this momma head of mine.

How BLESSEd we adoptive mommas are. I never take this privilege…the holy, sacred ground I stand on…for granted. And I wish I could tell her so many things.

His giggle is contagious.

He is a faithful friend. A sacrificial buddy. He’d give anything of his away to make a friend smile.

He loves to…eat:) Cereal bars. Pizza. Chicken Fingers. And he loves to make jokes about broccoli. My favorite is when I hear him ask his little friends if they are scared of broccoli.

He loves to honor us. He even named his chicken after me;).

We all wondered would he walk? Would he run? Oh–he’s a fast one!!! Determined. And if he doesn’t win–if he’s the last one among his big brothers–he finishes. Every. Time. Belly laughing is what makes him come in last. A good reason if I say so myself!

He’s a fast swimmer. Two years of therapy. Graduated. No more of that. Now he’s just a fish!! He can swim the length of a pool underwater. And he rocks at all the pool games he plays with his siblings. But…he can be a sore loser. The minute it’s his turn again though–it’s as if you can hear the heaven’s sing with the sight of that big HUGE grin across his face.

Ask him who his best friend is? He says William. Or maybe Jesus. And then he names every friend he knows…and Frank. And John David…and the list goes on.

He is one of the greatest joys of our lives. And we are forever grateful. For the life you gave him. That some how–we get to raise him and be his parents.

Richard walked in the living room after he was tucked into night–to find me sitting on the couch wiping away tears. Every year on this day–I end this day…thinking about you. Wishing some how the mommas that gave my babies life knew–just how precious and amazing…how they have turned out–so good…so full of life…so happy—and I just pray some how there is peace in hearts that only God could give. This little one is more than full of life and happy–he is truly amazing!!! So, so blessed and not taking a moment of this privilege for granted!

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Happy birthday to our beautiful 5 year old boy!!!

Why We Homeschool {One Year at a Time}

We are gearing up for another year at the Young house–and the school room is ready to have it filled with our daily musings. If you haven’t before–meet the Young schoolroom here on the farm:

homeschoolroomphoto

What I can’t believe is that this is going to be my FOURTH year homeschooling.

I taught public school 6th and 7th grade English/Language Arts for FOUR short years before becoming a mom. I had FOUR short years of just enjoying preschool before my first entered Pre-K. I’ve had TWO very sweet years of two of my children experiencing the sweetest little Christian school in town. Now, I prepare to begin YEAR FOUR of homeschooling. This year I will be teaching FOUR of my loves–while the 3 year old goes to preschool in the mornings and runs circles around us for the rest of the day.

I feel like I’ve experienced public, private and now homeschooling for a handful of years getting to experience them all. And if you happened upon my blog because a google search of the title–hoping to read why homeschooling is the “better” choice–well…you’re not going to find it here–so keep searching.

While our homeschooling journey DID begin for reasons I probably wouldn’t share in details on my blog, it did begin because the private school we were in couldn’t fully meet the educational needs of one of my children. (That, however, has changed–and we could not go back any time we wanted.)

I’m not what you call a “natural homeschooler”. I’m not what you call a “homeschool advocate”. I am an advocate, however, in moms loving their children BIG–and doing whatever they feel called to–whatever is best for the as a family, what is healthy for mom and what is best for their children. I didn’t start homeschooling because I was turned off by the public school; because being a former educator in the public school, I experienced the opportunity and challenges that many teachers providing various levels of instruction can provide. In a way, I was thrown into homeschooling–after much prayer, processing and wise counsel from other experts who evaluated, tested and even loved my child I was considering homeschooling for.

Stepping in–I did meet some crazy homeschoolers. Some who believed homeschooling really was the BEST way. The only way. It was as if they thought kids in public were being corrupted–by the government curriculum and other kids, and they certainly were not going to have their children tainted by such an environment. I call that–hog wash. And in the South–we say, “Bless their heart.”

After having children in school for just 5 years (entering into 6!), I see that the greatest influence on children is the investment of their parents no matter what school they are in. Every schooling situation provides challenges to the child in a different way. Sure–little Tom may get bullied in the public school system. But I’ve scolded my oldest more times than I can count for being the very ones bullying their own siblings who they should care for, love and be examples to. It happens there–and here…just in a different environment. In some ways, I think there is more opportunities for children to learn to stand up for themselves in the private or public school setting because hard circumstances will occur with different personalities (and sizes!)–but I doubt they occur more often. (Maybe your kids are nicer than mine–but I break up sibling arguments daily over here!)

Recently I was at a friend’s house who sends her kids to public school–and low and behold I think we shocked her when Laney mentioned Lady Gaga. OH MY. The homeschool child was corrupting the public school kid! (I have to explain–we had a teenager live with us last summer who had a love for Gaga and Spears!) I felt no need to explain to her, and instead just giggled as she said, “We don’t let our daughter listen to that. How does Laney know who she is?” I just shrugged my shoulders and laughed. I laughed because I thought of how when I started homeschooling 4 years ago the “pros of homeschooling” list I made…

Thinking back to the educational psychologist looking at the 50 forms of family information and educational history for our child–he looked at me and said, “You used to teach? My recommendation would be for a small learning environment–would you consider homeschooling?” I wanted to RUN the heck out of that office and say NO WAY. I had just gotten our 2 kids both in elementary, with another around the corner. But we prayed. We saw how based on the performance through testing a smaller class would help our child thrive. I was a bit shocked with the other children begged to try it too. Before I knew it–I was setting up a classroom scared to death! I knew I could teach public school having new kids come in every hour on the hour with ONE subject of expertise. BUT. Elementary? And my kids? Oh my…so I made a list of the “pros” (in my head really).

We are believers (as in believe in Jesus:)–so I thought–well, homeschooling will be a time to build them up in their faith. Then by middle school or high school they will have a strong foundation to stand up for what is right and not be influenced by others in a negative way.

They will not have to face bullies or be scolded by teachers or talked down to by classmates.

We can go at our own pace–so I’ll have them so ahead of what the classroom is doing in the private and public schools because we don’t have to wait on everyone to catch up.

We can take breaks when we want to. Have no school day when we need to. And Hilton Head in the Spring…oh–yes…that sounds lovely.

Now–if you are a “natural homeschooler” or homeschool teacher who hasn’t taught public or had good experience in private too–you are like screaming at your computer screen and calling me an idiot right now…only you are probably really smarter than me so you aren’t using the word idiot. (I still need a thesaurus to come up with big words.) That is perfectly okay for you to believe all these things with your heart and soul–but we all get our opinions…and my blog is where I share mine:)

Some SWEET things I have learned about my pros…

Yes–I’m building my kids up in their faith. But so can you. Where ever you are. Public. Private. Homeschooling. Preschool. Where ever your children are–it is our role as parents to be the ones to build them up and grow them in their faith. Homeschooling can be a more sheltered environment–so really what this means is I need to step up my game to make sure my kids are exposed to the world in ways they have opportunities to be challenged and tested to do the right thing whether they are in 1st grade or 12th grade. (For the record, I was just in Moe’s a couple of weeks ago and saw a homeschool kids making out with his girlfriend. Parker was like, “We know him mom! What in the world was he doing?” Kids will be kids no matter the education you provide them. Unless they have Jesus and the conviction of the Holy Spirit–then they are going to act on their flesh every time. It’s as simple–and complicated–as that.)

Yes–my kids might avoid really big bullies. But they will also be surrounded by those who know and love them best. Family. If you haven’t already learned as a big girl that family can also be what hurts you the most. My words. Their words. And I will mess up. And so will they. Our wounds may even be deeper. I need Jesus. They need Jesus. But where ever our kids are there will be wounds, hurt and hopefully lots of healing.

Yes–we can go at our own pace. (I do love choosing our own curriculum because the teacher in me gets to be a teacher again–and I didn’t get to choose my own curriculum before!) This truly has been a sweet advantage. I have also learned a few things that will make me a better parent and teacher when my kids do go to a public or private school. BEFORE–when my kids were at a private school–I REALLY thought it was the TEACHER’S job to teach my child and to make sure my child loved learning. I. WILL. NOT. MAKE. THAT. MISTAKE. AGAIN. It is always the parent’s role to challenge a child to the next level. It is always the parent’s role to ask questions and recognize when their child is losing interest. It is the parent’s role to find ways to reengage the child that they know better and love more than almost anyone else. THIS is a sweet gift of homeschool. I helped my child with homework–and made sure I had all the forms to turn in–but I really did nothing to make learning fun. I will do many things differently when they go back. (That list is long!) I’ve heard too many blame their child’s school or teacher for a disengaged, bored, under challenged child. If you are considering homeschool because of this–do everything YOU can right where they already are to make learning fun for your child. Research the hands on learning experiments that would add to the lesson–and offer that to the teacher. If she declines for the benefit for all the kids–let it benefit your child at home! If your child didn’t get in TAG–instead of being sad–praise Jesus and see it as an opportunity for YOU to provide the extra literature for your child rather than a bunch of twaddle. Be as present as you would be with homeschooling before making changes–and see if that doesn’t change the pace of learning or engagement without having to change more.

Yes–we can take breaks when we want to. BUT. Technically and legally we are supposed to the same number of days. For the homeschooling moms who are diligent and organized this is totally easy to do. BUT for a procrastinating mom who loves to have FUN and take lots of trips–this can actually be quite a challenge to homeschool the number of days every day we are supposed to!! I do it–but some days I’m struggling!! I need accountability so I find other moms to hold me accountable and stay on the same page with!

So–now you’re scratching your head.

“Why do you homeschool?“, you ask.

My kids are all up to speed where they should be. They could go right in to public or private—and we are so involved with social/sport/fun activities that they could hold their own no matter where you put them. So why do we homeschool?

This answer has changed over the years–and this year–I’ll leave many scratching their heads.

We homeschool because–we want to (Momma is no longer wide eyed mixed with kicking and screaming–insert clapping hands emoticon!)The kids love it. They are learning. And I wouldn’t trade these formative years of just getting to be their teacher and getting to watch them learn for anything. Were they to come to me and say they wanted to go to school with some of their friends where they go–we’d pray about it together and I’d be in line in a split second. But they are happy. I am happy. We take ONE year at a time. It wears me SLAP OUT–just as teaching 25 middle schoolers in a classroom once did–but I’ll rest later when they are all grown and gone. I very much look forward to the days when they are again all in school–but I’m not so far removed from those days that I know days can be just as busy when you have many in school too.

Every now and then I see new moms with a child entering kindergarden stating her reasons for the educational choice for her child…private, public or homeschool–and I have to keep the giggle to myself when there is a sliver of opinion that it’s the “better” of choices. What you decide now, may change in a couple–as you quickly learn as a mom that every child and their needs are so different. My advice to this mom is to never be too confident or sure about a choice, but rather keep your hands, heart and eyes open watching your child closely so you are ready to make a change whether it’s what you would choose or not.

TRUST the changes that do come your way are for a purpose. To encourage you moms who may be head on with changes you didn’t quite ask for–I rise my hands DAILY and thank God for giving me a child with a special educational need that could be better met during the learning to read days through homeschooling. What I didn’t know then was the Lord would call our family to adopt that year–and again 3 years later. We would bring home boys who didn’t know what family was like–and to have all the children home to bond for the missed years–it was the greatest blessing. It was something I honestly wouldn’t have chosen at the time–but oh my…God knew!

Trust Him to guide you as a mom and teacher for your children no matter where they are educated–and keep your hands, heart and eyes open knowing that every year is the year to pray, “God, where is the best place for this child next year?” Realize that nothing is forever. Kids are resilient. His plan for them is better than one you could write yourself and whatever He calls you to, He will equip you for!

I don’t know about you–but I’m excited to start another year of school!! (Will someone please send me a message to encourage me in a few months though;)? Because I’m sure by then I’ll need it!)

Blessings!

Andrea

P.S. Please excuse any spelling or grammar errors in the post:) I’m sure there is an unkind person out there that will find them and tell me I shouldn’t be homeschooling. I have disabled comments altogether from my blog as 95% of my readers are friends who are DEAR to me–and so encouraging. HOWEVER–there are 5% who are absolutely crazy–and some times unkind–so I’ve chosen to let them keep their words to themselves. If you must say something unkind–just go to the mirror and get it OUT. THIS Momma doesn’t have time to edit her posts let alone hardly write–so thank you for overlooking any errors or anything you don’t love about my writing! Peace out;).

P.S.S. For your entertainment–the boys produced this little diddy in slow-mo. Interpretation of Isaac at the end, “YODA WINS!” My kids will not weird because they were homeschooled. If they are weird, it will be because they had me for a mother. Now–may I introduce to you…the FINAL FIGHT…(presented in Instagram in real time–but truly how it should be in SLOW-MO here:THE FINAL COUNTDOWN

P.S.S.S. I did get a comment that Laney shouldn’t listen to Lady Gaga. For the record–she doesn’t:) But I totally appreciate the feedback.

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