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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Want-To, the Key to Learning

This makes me so happy!!! I will spell things all day long for this child.

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She is a strong willed learner, meaning she only learns if and when she wants to or sees a need. This entire school year she has fought me about learning letters. She would either pretend not to know certain ones or refuse to memorize them. I have been so nervous that she would struggle through school, especially since this was still her attitude finishing preschool/first semester of kindergarten.
Since being "out of school for summer" she has been begging me to spell all kinds of things with a little help from the alphabet reference on their preschool table. She pauses a little with a couple letters still but figures them out on her own. She makes menus for plea parties, birthday cards, and lots of random signs right now.
On the way home from camp the other day, Mags ask to finish the last two pages of her chapter before napping. When she had finished u looked back to see Izzie had snagged one of her two books and was flipping page to page. I ask her to put it down and nap to which she responded, "I'm almost finished with this chapter." I LOVE that she is finally developing a love for books and reading!

I am constantly nervous that I'm gonna screw up this educating-my-children thing and then God goes and shows me that He is bigger. I know that statistics, methods, standards, values, quality, quantity, and so on seem to be fluid or set in stone depending on who you ask so being a "homeschool mom" can be stressful. God continues to show me I'm doing exactly what He wants in this season and my children are fearfully and wonderfully made; each in their unique way, specifically designed to show yet another marvolous aspect of Himself.

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#mommied Monday: Parking Lot

In honor of Mother's Day, I have been sharing stories that makes me wanna say, "BOOM! You just got Mommied!" because it is a super empower ;) Often we feel like we just got owned by our children in the small battles so we need some encouragement when we don't lose! Sorry this one's late.

#mommied Monday Parking Lot

Our garage feels like it is constantly being “cleaned out”. No joke, I’m sure my neighbors are laughing every other week as I drag all my junk out onto the drive way to sort through, trash, rearrange, and stuff back inside. One of the areas in our garage that has saved me a few headaches is the “parking lot” for all our riding toys. Even Ellie {16 months} knows where to find things and the general idea of “parking” them when we are done.

Supplies you’ll need:

  • cleared floor space next to a wall in the garage
  • tape- I used frog tape {brand of painters tape} but masking or duck tape would work
  • riding toys

Simple Parking Lot Concept:

  • swept, dusted, mopped {if you have to} floor, so the tape will stick- I learned the hard way the 1st time around
  • lay out riding toys in a row {I spaced mine smallest near the door to largest further into the garage}
  • eye-ball the length you’ll need my stretching it out next to each vehicle
  • tear it off
  • stick it down
  • stand back in awe of yourself 😉

*for light-weight toys that roll on a slightly declining surface*
create a parking block behind the vehicle to keep it from rolling into the garage: I used a thin strip of cardboard cut off a box in the trash but used a flat twig or scrap sliver of wood the first time and taped it to the floor under the tape

My kids LOVE that they have their own space in the garage for their vehicles! It’s very clear for them to see where their riding toys fit and can easily put them away {when I don’t pile things behind their parking spaces :/ }

BOOM! #mommied

I hope you all had a GREAT Mother’s Day! I find that, we as mommies, push ourselves to extremes where we either live fake lives because we are constantly feeling less-than in comparison to other moms or announce our failures as if they’re metals we’ve won without an attempt to always improve. May we all recognize our victories and be encouraged to press on in our struggles.

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Happy Made-Me-A-Mamma Day

Happy Made-Me-A-Mamma Day to my Littles that gave me the face of a teen {hello acne} and the body of an elder {wish you'd leave aches}!image

 

Magdalene Reese 6/22/08
Isabella Ruth 1/13/10
Benjamin Ryan 1/11/11
Elizabeth Rae 12/16/13

Mamma loves you each of you wonderfully & fearfully made Littles so much! It's so daunting yet joyful to watch you becoming the people of God He's called you to be.

To all those who have lost or are still waiting: you are loved. not forgotten. You are treasured. not tossed aside. You are seen. not hidden from God. Seek His comfort. Discover His plan. Allow redemption in the pain. {{hugs}} This season is purposeful; don't let it slip by while allowing satan steal the unfathomable peace and joy Christ has for you.

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A Year {and a few days} After The Storm

No matter how much our town would like to NOT be known for last years tornado, it's now a part of our story and will forever define all of us in some way.

The valley {our church plant} lost our rented facility to the storm making it that much harder to ignore the fact that we will forever be changed do to a natural disaster. We've hopped from place to place, have exhausted members by working them to the bones, learned people's true heart and passion, and have most importantly Seen Christ. We've seen His heart and passion. We've seen His presence or absence in people when hard things hit and work gets hard. We've seen His spirit in every dwelling the Church has gathered, reaffirming that the Church is not a building!

A Year {and a few days} After the Storm

There's enough tragedy and struggles experienced this past year we could fill an entire book but rather than focus on the spiritual warfare, I want to focus on the places God's brought us through them:

  • Play Place
    free childcare for those parents working or volunteering after the storm
  • Service on the Slab
    praising Jesus for his sovereignty
  • Mom's Night Out
    stress relief for moms after the storm
  • Survived Super Summer
    our middle-middle child got to experience a 1st for our family with her broken arm {it was mostly fun}
  • Adopted a Dog
    Lulu the {almost 2-year-old} registered English Bulldog became part of our family
  • First Family Vacation
    water park and tons of free attractions in Bran son MO
  • Baby Dedication
    ELLIE! got to be the 1st baby dedicated at the valley church
  • Started Our Families Foster/Adoption Journey
    we've started the process of opening our home for foster care through the CALL ministry and DHS
  • Hosted our 2nd Annal Kids' Valentine's Day PARTY
  • Baptism
    Maggie has discovered what being a Christ-follower looks like for a year and announced this decision in baptism
  • Bought Land and Sent a Former Intern to the Ukraine Mission Field {short-term}
    financially these were the biggest outcomes of people's generosity after the storm that we never saw coming

I feel like the two biggest things that have happened over this past year are the strides in our community and neighbor love'n breakthroughs we've had.

After nearly 2 years in our community I feel like we've finally made some big strides in getting to minister in and with our community included but not limited to helping with the big KaBoom! Playground and cook out to celebrate the park. Those in the community are starting to recognize our name which is NOT the cool part but because they know us more, they are more likely to call upon us to help in needed areas. We are here to serve and are finally feeling like we're getting that opportunity.

We have also been plugging away at loving our neighbors all the while hoping they don't think we're crazy. Our most resent cook outs {just here in our neighborhood/our front yard} have allowed us to meet at least 2 more families. Just living outside our home on purpose has let us get to know our neighbors so much better which means they can know and trust us more which means we can love them in bigger ways. It's a beautiful circle! I truly believe its impossible, or at least much harder not to hate that which you know so well. Ignorance leads to hate; hate leads to avoidance, avoidance leads to ignorance. NOT a beautiful circle. Take the time to trudge away beginning the simple circle Jesus has called us each to, right were you are today.

Live, Learn, Serve Here, Go There in LOVE.

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