Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Homeschooling, Year 13

This is our thirteenth year of homeschooling. We began when Caroline was in the 3rd grade and Mary was in Kindergarten. Now Caroline is a college graduate, as of December 13th, and Mary is a Senior in high school and taking college courses, too. Bobby is in the 10th grade, and will most likely take a college course or two next year. That makes this my last year of full-time homeschooling. It's a very strange feeling to look back at the years gone by and see just how fast they flew. Even weirder is the feeling I get as I look ahead, realizing that in about two and a half years I will no longer be a homeschooling mom.

Caroline graduated Magna Cum Laude with a degree in Criminal Justice. She did it in three and ahalf years, and I'm so proud of her! She worked hard at her academics, and worked equally hard at her job at Chick-fil-A during the whole time she was in school. Now she has transitioned into working nearly-full-time at the restaurant while pondering whether or not to seek a job with her degree. She is planning her June 6th wedding to Shane Farrar. Or maybe I should say "we" are planning because I don't want her to have to do it all by herself!

Mary is taking three college courses each semester this year. There is a program in Georgia called Dual-Enrollment through the state university system. Since Armstrong State University is about ten minutes away from our house, it makes sense for her to go there. Student who score high enough on their SAT can take up to three courses each semester. She could have started doing this her junior year, but she really didn't want to. Last school year she just took one course, College Algebra. This year she took three courses first semester along with studying Advanced Biology: Human Anatomy and Physiology at home. At Armstrong she took Pre-Calculus, Civilization I, and Intro to Psychology. I'm happy to report she got As in all three! This coming semester she'll be taking Civ II, Intro to Sociology, and English 1101 (a required Freshman English course.) She wants to be a Physical Therapist, and Armstrong has a really good Rehabilitation Sciences major and then a doctoral program in PT, so she has set her sights high. Also, in addition to playing the piano, she has taken up the violin (as of summer 2013) and is progressing nicely with that.

Bobby is studying Teaching Textbooks Algebra 2, Bob Jones University Press World History, BJUP British Literature, my co-op class on Advanced Composition, Apologia Biology, Switched-on-Schoolhouse Health and S.O.S. Physical Fitness this year.  He's doing very well in everything! He's also learning to play the piano now.

As the kids have gotten older homeschooling has gotten easier in a lot of ways and harder in others.

It's easier because they are much more self-motivated and do not require much assistance with the actual work. With Mary this year I have only had to help when she has asked me to assist her in studying for exams in her college classes or in reviewing her science with her before a test here at home. Bobby, too, does not need me to help him understand things very much any more, with the exception of the occasional math problem. It's also easier because we've been homeschooling for so long that many things are now habitual and ingrained, so we aren't having to reinvent the wheel.

It's harder because we have to keep track of all the requirements they need for graduation here in Georgia, and we have to be thinking ahead to their college years, to be sure we're not missing anything.

I praise God that things are going well academically for us this year, and pray that we will continue to enjoy our school year!

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Life Marches Inexorably On...

I haven't written on here in a over a year and a half. I don't know if anybody will even read this, but I suddenly felt the urge to write again. The last year has been fairly normal for us, with a few exciting things happening:

Caroline got engaged and will be getting married next June. She's graduating from college in a little over a week.
Mary began dual-enrolling in college, taking one course last year during her junior year in high school, and now three courses a semester this year. She will graduate from high school next May. She also started learning how to play the violin a little over a year ago, and is doing well with it.
Bobby grew about five inches and is now taller than all three of us girls. He likes this.
Eric is still working at JCB, and I'm still homeschooling, teaching piano, tutoring, and teaching at the homeschool co-op.
Eric edited a book for which he wrote two chapters, and I wrote one, and it was published two days ago. We are excited about this.

Overall we are doing well, and I plan to get back into writing on here at least once a week. My next post will be about this school year and how our homeschooling is changing now that we are nearing the end.

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

She adopted us....

This is Tia.  She was our next-door-neighbors' cat, along with three others.  When they moved two months ago, they left all four cats. Another neighbor a few houses down took in all four. A few weeks ago this one, Tia, showed up at our house meowing to get in, begging to be fed. We ignored her for a week or so, shooing her away from the door and saying things like "You don't live here!"  and "We aren't your people!"  She would just look up at us sweetly and meow. She really is the sweetest kitty.

Finally, I took her back to her new owners' house and talked to the lady, Tranna. She told me that the other three cats there, including Tia's sister Kia, had ganged up on her in a fight, so Tia didn't like living there any more. That explains why, as I got about one house away from Tranna's, Tia started squirming, growling, and generally expressing her displeasure. I left her there anyway, figuring that it wasn't my problem.

Guess who showed up back at our house the next day? She apparently decided that we are, indeed, "her people." She won't go away. We have started feeding her. Now I have to go talk to Tranna again to find out her veterinary information and let her know we'll take over ownership.

We know Tia really loves us because she has brought us two dead lizards now as offerings. Um, yeah.

Friday, April 19, 2013

I failed at writing every day.

And that's okay. I just didn't have the time each day to sit down and write. Life is too busy right now as we approach the end of our school year.

More later.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

I haven't written in over a week...

...because I've just been too tired, and had nothing to write about. Well, that's not really totally true. The being-too-tired part is, but not the nothing-to-write-about thing. I have so many things that race through my mind each day, but finding time to sit down and actually address them in writing is nearly impossible. I would say I've had nothing to write about when I've had the five or ten minutes to sit down and stare at the "New Post" screen. There's honesty.

This week I'm going to try just writing a little bit each day.

Yesterday I was out of the house for most of the day, which I don't like to do on a Saturday. I really need to clean the house! From 8:30 to 12:30 Mary and I were gone to an American Heritage Girls event. We got home, ate lunch, and then I had to go get a few groceries to last until tomorrow afternoon when I can do a big grocery shopping trip. At 2:30 we had to leave to go down to the Historic District so Mary could participate in a scavenger hunt with our homeschool support group's high school group. The mom who organized it used a local company that sets up scavenger hunts in one area of the Historic District. There were about 16 kids there, and they all had a blast. Mary wound up on a team with 3 teens she didn't know, but that didn't phase her. She made three new friends, and their team won!

During the scavenger hunt my friend Cindy, (whose son Aaron is Mary's age and also went on the scavenger hunt) and I went to Panera and hung out having a cinnamon crunch bagel with honey-walnut cream cheese, chai tea, and excellent conversation. She's always so much fun to be around, and we talk about everything together. I usually talk to her on the phone every couple of days, anyway, but it was nice to have about an hour and a half to just sit, have a yummy snack, and discuss life. The weather was gorgeous, there were tourists everywhere, and I was impressed again with what a blessing it is to live in such a beautiful city.

Once Mary and I got home I had to make supper, clean up from supper, and then prepare to make food this morning for our fellowship.

Tonight I still have to write up Mary and Bobby's schedule of lessons for the week.  So off I go.

Thursday, April 04, 2013

I Bought a Mango.... the grocery store today. I couldn't help it. It was overpriced and not very fresh, but when I picked it up and smelled it, it smelled like my childhood. In my mind I was in my backyard playing with the sun shining warm and bright, the lush tropical trees and flowers all around. I used to swing and sing on a swing someone, probably my dad, had set up right next to our neighbor's fence. To my right was a hibiscus bush. To my front and left a banana plant and other greenery, and further ahead to my right, and over the neighbor's fence, was a mango tree. It dropped huge mangoes in our yard, which we were free to enjoy.

It's funny how a smell can evoke a complex memory that way.

I had to buy the mango.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

The Prayers of a Righteous Man (or Woman)

Yesterday afternoon when my first piano student arrived I was feeling pretty stressed. I have been battling iron-deficiency anemia for several months now, and had an allergic reaction in February to the iron supplements my doctor prescribed, so I've been trying to concentrate on eating lots of iron-rich foods. Last month my hemoglobin was a 12.1, which is just above the low end of the normal range for a woman my age. I've been eating lean red meat, spinach, cream of wheat, and other iron-rich foods, but yesterday when I had my hemoglobin checked it was only 10.3. So, now I have an appointment next week to discuss this with my doctor. I'm feeling tired, stressed, and completely without energy. Exercising makes it worse.

On top of all of this, I got a call from Dustin at the automotive shop that has Caroline's car, saying that the head gasket is fixed ($1700) but that the car appears to have some sort of electrical problem, and could I please authorize some labor hours for them to find the source of the problem.
Me: "How many hours are you talking about here?"  (labor is $80 an hour)
Dustin: "I don't know...we might find it in an hour, or it could be two or three."
Me: " maybe $80, and maybe $240?"
I called Eric at work to discuss it, and he said to give them the go-ahead. We don't really have a choice here; Caroline needs to have a car to go to college and her two part-time jobs. If she uses my van it leaves the rest of us at home with no way to drive anywhere if there is an emergency, or if we have a doctor or dentist or optical shop or any other sort of appointment.

Trusting God to provide for our needs, and that He has a plan in mind, is just so hard for me sometimes. Yesterday He provided me with two people who helped me put things in perspective.

First, Eric reminded me that he would be praying for me and for the whole situation as he worked. He also reminded me about Job and all he went through; we haven't experienced anything like that, and I pray the Lord will spare us from such great suffering. Eric also reminded me of just how amazingly God has provided for us in the past. I need to trust Him to do so again.

My other encouragement came from my first piano student's mom, Melissa. She is a sister in Christ, and when she asked me "How are you doing?" I decided to be honest instead of just saying "Fine." So I shared my struggles, doubts, and exhaustion with her, and she listened patiently. And then she went one step further. When I said "whoops, look at the time, I need to start teaching him!" she stopped me and said "First, I'm going to pray with you." I don't remember all her words, but I do know that she put her arms around me and talked to God on my behalf, asking for His intervention and grace in my life. What a blessing to have friends like her! She even texted me later in the evening to see how I was doing. Thank God for friends who love the Lord and who lift each other up to Him in times of trial.

Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. (James 5:16 ESV)