THAT Year

Well, we have a couple more weeks of school, and then we’re done our first real year of school (I don’t count Kindergarten, because we didn’t have to do it. It was still a lot of work though! That stuff didn’t come naturally to me.) Our Clever One went from slowly, painstakingly, precisely printing a line of A’s, to writing a story that has a joke in it. Always. He can read. The thought makes me cry: Reading is SOOOO important to me, and I was able to awaken that in him. The world is now open. Even if I forget to tell him something about life, love, or the Aztecs, he can open up Google on his own, and search for it. We are currently working on some Internet blocks and filters.

It was a great first year. We went from working around a newborn, potty training a 2 year old, and playing Magic School Bus with the 4 year old, to making our own way of school, where we are all involved. We’ve spent hours in our school room. I am actually quite impressed that he was able to focus as well as he could. He can currently finish a page of math questions with a baby crying next to him, and not skip a beat. We made crafts, though not as many as I’d like. We played. Played. And then played some more. We had tons of field trips including rock climbing, the Rocky Mountains, and we will be going on a train ride soon.

But I know from talking to lots of homeschool moms that this was an “easy” year. I know, because there is always talk of THAT YEAR. You know.

THAT YEAR when the hubby lost his job.

THAT YEAR when we were all sick for months on end, catching every virus and cold that went around.

THAT YEAR when hubby worked for weeks on end, and Mom was alone for days, cooped up all winter, day and night, with the kids.

THAT YEAR when the new baby spent his first few weeks in the hospital, and Mom was away for over a month.

THAT YEAR when Mom lost her daddy unexpectedly, and had to travel out of province to take care of details. Her fifth baby was just recuperating from having pneumonia, all within the same two weeks.

Unfortunately, I know real life moms who have went through all of this, this very year.

It says, “But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day.The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:8-9).

He gives us time, although we don’t know how much. For some it’s years and years, and for others it’s over before it starts. But His plan is so good. If we are alive for 70 or 80 years, we can count on some years being hard. Some years will seem longer than the others, more painful, more breaking. But we will look back on these years. Some will still hurt, some we’ll laugh at what we thought were trials at the time, and some we may not remember as they were lost in blissful monotony. But all the years are important and on purpose, for us and our children.

If you are in THAT YEAR, see it as such. It was too hard. It was too much. It wasn’t fair. See it for the trial and tribulation it is. And show your kids that we can choose to rejoice, even when you have no reason. That we can choose to have hope, when no one else would. And that we can love, even when our natural love is gone.

Romans 8:36-39: “As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered. No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

You’ve got this, Mama. Whether you’re homeschooling, working, staying at home, or your kids are gone, let this be the year that you conquered the trials, through Him and His love. No matter how the year went, let’s end strong. Life is hard, and seldom fair. I am so thankful we can have hope for the future.

Intentionally Easter

Part of the beauty of homeschooling is that we can add so much to our day. When five or six subjects are done in less than two hours, it guarantees that there’s enough time for fun, extra learning, and life skills. So we got into Easter. Hands, feet and noses deep. We did this beautiful Bible Study, called “A Sense of Resurrection.” It’s a 12 day deal, from the maker of Truth in the Tinsel (a super fun Christmas activity e-book). The daily activities weren’t long, so it can still be done with kids who are in school. Every day we used a different one of our senses to experience what Jesus did, in the days before His death. We tasted, smelled, felt, seen, and heard experiences that they will remember, (and me too!) in the months ahead. If you follow me on Pinterest, I pinned the link. I was super excited because we just finished up a unit on Senses in science, so this fit right in. You can do this with kids of all ages; we will do it again next year because I know they will get more out of it as they age.

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Making windchimes that reminded us of the noise and excitement when Jesus came through the city and the people yelled, “Hosanna!”

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Washing each other’s feet.

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Our little Pentecostal. She mostly danced and sang along to the music we listened to during our activities. 

This was so much fun. Normally when I find great ideas, it’s too late. I love Pinterest and Facebook, but I don’t think about holidays until the day before. This year, I felt like I nailed it! We started three weeks ahead of Good Friday, and did the activities on our normal school days (not weekends.) You could do them all in a day or two, though. For Easter weekend, we also followed some ideas the creator of the program had blogged about on her site, called “UnEaster baskets.” I was soooo excited about this. We had the kids take their baskets outside, and collect rocks. Image

Next, we wrote some sins that we are struggling with on each of the rocks. Some examples were, “When I throw things,” and “When I don’t clean up the basement. And don’t short that, Mom, I have the biggest rock, so it will all fit.”

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We covered it all with a red towel, thanking Jesus that He covers and paid for our sins with His blood. Image

The kids went upstairs with Daddy to watch “What’s in the Bible, Volume 10” with the kids.** I got to work! I took out the rocks and put them in their own shopping bag (obviously the boys had an attachment to their own, specific rocks) and filled up the baskets with some treasures I was so excited about! Image

After the movie, we brought the kids down again. We are so thankful that Jesus takes our brokenness, our ugliness, and makes it into something beautiful. I am so thankful for the Cross. My ridiculously handsome hubby had the amazing idea of throwing the rocks as far as we could, as far as the East is from the West, just like Jesus does. Jesus is alive. I am so thankful that I can speak these truths into our children’s lives. Again, none of this was my idea! I found it online, and loved it! Check out ohAmanda.com, as she is the one who came up with these activities! **The “What’s in the Bible? With Buck Denver” is an AMAZING series from the creator of Veggie Tales, Phil Vischer. The whole series chronicles the Bible and even which books were chosen and why. My HH and I often joke about taking notes; we learn so much. If you are interested, we bought the whole series (the kids don’t know! We give them one each holiday) for a discounted rate from a homeschool site. I can get you details.