20 May 2016

School Update

Aren't they the cutest? They said they're going to MISS wearing these uniforms!

Well, we're quickly approaching the "home stretch" of the school year and like most parents, we're looking forward to summer and the respite we get to share as a family.

This year has been phenomenal for the girls. They faced challenges head-on and adapted through all the trials and changes we encountered as a family. We could not be more proud of them!

God knew exactly what He was doing when He asked us to trust Him by sending them to school.

We have enjoyed many aspects of school for the girls. For example, I feel like it has helped them to embrace the fact that they are unique individuals, rather than a constant pair. They have grown more confident in who they are-- their strengths, their weaknesses, and their gifts! They've been recognized for their character (by someone other than us) and the sense of pride and accomplishment they've experienced, both personally and academically have been priceless. We're also grateful for the opportunities they've been given-- not only to be a light to their peers but for the daily opportunities they get to make their own right choices. The structure, the discipline, and the relationships they've made through school... it's all been GOOD. Very good.

It's been a great year at JCA and we've been so blessed by the teachers and administrators who have become our friends.

So imagine our surprise and sadness when the founders of the school announced back in March the school would be closing its doors permanently in June.

Most of the kids cried when they heard the news (some of the parents and teachers did, too).

To be honest, at that point, although we hadn't formally talked or prayed about it yet, the girls would have probably attended JCA next year.

So immediately, at the end of March (it was actually on the girls' birthday that we found out the school was closing) we had to start praying and looking into what 5th grade might look like for the girls.

Over the last couple of months, we've done a lot of research. We've met with well respected administrators and took into account the recommendations of the girls' teachers, as well as seasoned friends. We've prayed and we've given it much thought. Most importantly, we've asked God to lead us in His will for the girls.

Last year, we had no idea we were going to send the girls to school until the week before school started. We hoped His answer for us would come quicker this time, but we didn't know for sure.

Thankfully, as the months unfolded, His answer became more clear.

We will be homeschooling again next year.

We considered seriously sending the girls to another stellar private Christian school but in the end, for all the benefits that school offered, we felt like the most important things it lacked, at least for our family, was time and freedom.

Time to be together and not be inundated in the evenings with the repetitiveness of mundane homework or memorization, just for the sake of memorization. Time to just be a family. Time to pray, to laugh, to read, to watch movies, to play outside, or just go out to dinner if we wanted to.

In the end, time is all we have. And we missed that greatly this past year.

With that, we also lost some of our freedom to do the things we love to do. Like travel! Or be a bit more spontaneous.

I'm so grateful that I got to experience what it's like to be a mom whose kids go to school. I have a whole new respect for families who do the daily grind-- the moms (and dads) who make lunches, carpool, help out at school all day, help their kids with homework after school, supervise projects, get their kids to extra curricular activities each week, and then make dinner every night! Not to mention keeping up with the laundry and the rest of the housework...Whew!! No wonder summer is SO VERY welcomed come June!

Seriously, my girlfriends, Holly, Mindy, and Heather...you girls are rock stars. You give a whole new meaning to the word, "Supermom."

We knew in order to homeschool again, it would have to look different for us than it had been in the past. The girls definitely thrive on structure and discipline but I knew with Zach, I wouldn't have the time to teach the girls in every subject. Plus, I'll be honest, teaching them academically at this age isn't my particular gifting. But God already knew that so He provided me some help in this area through a dear friend of mine. Lyndi is a teacher, a homeschooling pioneer, and also happens to be my sweet neighbor! How good is God?!

I love how faithful He is to work out all the details when it's His plan.

Lyndi will be helping me with the girls twice a week. Mostly in math, grammar, and writing while I focus on what I do best... bible, discipleship, and everything else. We're also hoping to attend a homeschool co-op for the first time next year. The co-op meets once a week for half the day and the girls will have many different classes to choose from. Hopefully, Spanish will be taught at the co-op because I'd hate for the girls to lose what they learned this year.

All this to say, we're incredibly blessed to have lots of options and resources here so we're piecing together our schooling for next year and trusting that God has a plan for this, too. We couldn't be more grateful to Him. Grateful for all that's happened this year and grateful for what's to come. There is no doubt the girls loved going to school. They still do! But they're also really excited about being homeschooled again, too. It's been a special year for them. Packed full of awesome memories, milestones, and accomplishments.

This year has taught us a huge lesson in keeping our hearts and our hands open for whatever God has in mind for us. He has a plan and purpose for everything. Sometimes, we can be stubborn or prideful in our own ways but there is no greater joy or contentment than when we follow Him, obediently and boldly.

I've also gained a new perspective about school for my kids. I have no idea what the future holds for them-- be it homeschool, private school, or even public school at some point. All I know is that He loves them, He cares for them, and He has great plans for them. Plans to use them for His glory, if we allow Him to.

He simply asks us, "Do you trust Me?"

In the end, isn't that the most important lesson we can teach our children?

That God is trustworthy and that His plans are good.

We're looking forward to next year but in the meantime, we're focusing on finishing well and finishing strong.

Praise the Lord, the countdown to summer has begun!

To God be the glory.

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