Public School “Specials” for Homeschoolers

Today I was THAT mom. Nearly in tears meeting school teachers, learning procedure, and praying my baby made sweet friends as I closed the door on the public school art classroom.

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Did you know that public schools have many resources to offer homeschool families?! Our community calls the resources we are utilizing this year "specials". "Specials" here are art, music, library, P.E., enrichment, and computer. For now, Maggie will only be going twice a week for art and music. She's beyond pumped. They also offer a variety of therapies if your child needs them.

When I called them last Friday I was pleasantly surprised they spoke to me as if they were expecting me and had a plan in order. This is their first time with this particular process which is kind of a relief since it's ours too. The principal placed Maggie with a 2nd grade class so she will stay with the same kids each day she attends. There was also much though put into which class. Since they offer 6 "specials" and there are only 5 days in a school week, the principal made sure Mags was with a class that had 2 of the "specials" one after the other on Friday so I could just drop her for a full 80 minutes instead of coming twice in one day for 2 separate 40 minute classes.

She was also understanding when I ask if we could just come for 2 of the "specials" rather than every day. This is kind of a trial period for us to see how well it works with our schooling schedule and if it would be possible for my other children to attend "specials" in the future.

We walked into the school office today to finally meet the staff I'd spoken with over the phone. They were welcoming and all smiles for my little nervous 7-year-old and a visitor's tag for me. The principal walked out of her office, introduced herself and the assistant principal, and then walked us to art class to meet the teacher.

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Along the way my girl would graze my hand making sure I was still beside her. We met the music teacher she would have tomorrow, and despite being called "Maggie, the homeschool child" most greeted us with welcoming looks {unlike the first set of phone calls I had before school started}.

I was nervous about starting a week after all the other students but everyone, teachers and students, seemed to still getting the hang of things and in the early stages of getting to know one another. They ask that I call them at the end of the first week when everything calmed down for them. I was a little discouraged thinking they were trying to brush me off and sad because we didn't get to participate in open house, meet the teacher, and the first week of school where basic rules and standards are explained.

Points for knowing your neighbor and having a God big enough to put them in the same class as your little! As the students entered the room, one by one they all stared at us. Sparking my nerves, a little girl asked slightly snarky, "Is that a new student?!" A sweet child who attends the valley with us occasionally walked in and stared at us confused. Then, as we were waving at him, our neighbor-friend walked in stunned as he looked at Mags. I could have kissed that small child on the mouth. God is in the details!

The kids gathered on the carpet, ready to learn about "The Dot". Another child, I took it upon myself to immediately deemed Maggie's Best Friend Forever, was humble little girl who scotched over next to Mags on the back of the rug and just sat next to her. A sweet little comfort dawned in a braid. Swoon.

I'm sure I'll have more to share on this as the year goes on and other's have questions about how it works. For now, I'm just gonna snuggle my over-excited child who RAN down the sidewalk to me for pickup and wasn't the least bit embarrassed to jump into my arms in front of her new class of friends yelling about how much fun she had and be thankful I get to have her the other 90% of the day!

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Back to School {Compassion}

Back to school time can be a stressful, hectic, and expensive time.

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For many of you, the above picture doesn't even show 1/2 the loot you had to or chose to purchase for a single student in your household. During times of high stress, I think its important to widen our world view rather than zero in on the things that feel like are going to kill us in the moment.

For those living in poverty, back to school has a completely different vibe to it. Joseph is 11-years-old child who has all his school supplies ready to go in Kenya! For many children in poverty, a school bag contains not only pens and pencils but also food, tea and water. Joseph loves to learn, and he is ready for 4th grade!

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blogging for Compassion International and Pictures of Poverty
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Paper Beads from a House of Mercy

I've always loved learning more about those sharing about Jesus, especially those overseas. It intrigues me even more than those who have given everything in the country I was born. When I learned about "paper beads" years ago and how using trash in a seemingly simple method to earn a living, I was sold. PLUS they're colorful. 😀

Mercy House Kenya #FTFClub

In the summer of 2010, The Mercy Maternity House was formed to support the work Maureen {native Kenyan} does. Maureen is the full-time as the Executive Director of Rehema House (word for mercy in Swahili) in Kenya. While she works in Africa, the Welch family raises money and awareness while supporting Maureen and her staff.

You can follow their journey or support them through shopping the many items. God has used The Mercy House and the Welch family to open doors and create more awareness of many other non-profits by being a catalyst for Fair Trade Friday Club. The Mercy House was where I learned about fair trade Friday and how even more beautifully, handmade items are being created by artisans to earn a living.

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Join the FTFClub HERE, do a 1 month Trial Box, or The Earring a Month Club HERE. As of yesterday, 50 new spots opened up! If there's a waiting list and you were considering joining, SIGN UP and get on the waiting list anyways. Your Yes Matters! Don't loose momentum. The waiting list allows for plan ahead and increase the boxes for members, product production, and inevitably empowered women working to provide for their families!

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Zambian Organic Soap

Fair Trade Friday Club is so much more than FUN MAIL once a month. FTFC is life. Life changed for the better. Life given for an entire family. Life Stories.

Maureen, Clothed in Hope, Zambia (Image: WomanSewingwithBaby.JPEG)

The women of Clothed in Hope, all vulnerable women who have completed or are currently walking through our skills-training program, are so very grateful for our partnership with Fair Trade Friday/Mercy House. The first time I told them about our big order for coin purses to reach the homes of over 500 women across America, over 60 women cheered, screamed, danced, rejoiced. Because to them it's not just some extra money in their pockets to feed their kids or pay school fees.

It's empowerment, it's someone who says "I believe in you. I am with you." It gives the message to these ladies, overlooked and oppressed by society, that they are worthy. That they have something beautiful to offer the world, a skill and a story that can inspire women thousands of miles away. Each product made for Fair Trade Friday boxes, from coin purses to earrings, is a way for women to rejoice in their story of hope and redemption that they've written as a part of our sewing and business training program in Lusaka, Zambia.

Maureen, the woman pictured with Regina on her back, is the brains behind much of our jewelry line, specifically a beautiful earring design headed out to women as part of the Earring of the Month Club. Maureen graduated our life-skills training program in September 2014 after completing a 12-month sewing and business curriculum with her daughter Regina on her back. Maureen is showing her children that work is good, and that no obstacle is big enough to keep her from pursuing her dreams for her family.

Zambian Organic Soap
Learn more about The Zambian Soap Company and how to help change lives in Zambia!
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How Playing Fair Can Save a Life

For years I've been a women proud of my frugal ways. I enjoy finding the best deals and steals for practically nothing. But what if we could buy something, still at a fair price and yet it was worth so so much something to someone. What if buying goods at a fair price which allows artisans to be payed what their time is worth actually made our purchasing purposeful? Wouldn't that be amazing!

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Living on mission for Christ can mean so much more than attending a self-serving church, all the bible studies you can find, shipping a OCC box here and there, or even serving in your churches nursery or on a mission trip. Living on mission means looking at every aspect of our life as an opportunity to further God's Kingdom. Purchasing jewelry, home decor, or gifts for friends can still be cute, fun, and quality while providing life-saving jobs for women in poverty so they can support themselves and their children.

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Fair Trade Friday gives us the opportunity to live missionally via shopping!

FTF exists as an avenue for women to empower women.  We are tackling poverty through job opportunity and empowerment rather than enablement. 100% of the proceeds support the artisans, more than 500 women and their children from all over the world. FTF is a ministry of Mercy House Kenya, a non-profit organization.

Ready to get involved? How much awesomeness you want?!

  • Start with a recurring box for $31.99 per month. Super Easy. Click. Enter info. Wait on your box. Done. We keep sending you a box of 3-4 fair trade items from one of our 18 countries involved (and, of course, billing you for it) until you cancel. What an amazing set up! {You should know that your "box" will likely be an awesome shipping envelope rather than a literal box. Just say'n}
  • Try out a box for $35 plus $10 shipping. This one is a great gift option!
  • Join the Earring of the Month club, where you’ll get a stylish and beautiful pair of earrings made by our artisans every month.

CLICK AROUND HERE AND LEARN EVEN MORE ABOUT FAIR TRADE FRIDAY CLUB

Learn more about some of the items that came in my box: Zambian organic soap, Indian Joyn purse, and Mercy House Kenya bracelet.

 

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