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Saturday, May 4, 2013

Looking Back On Our School Year--Blessed Indeed!!

What a year! We are getting close to the end of another school year around here. The excitement is beginning to fade-until I begin to remember.... We have had a rough year, suffice to say. Here is their 'together' school picture. From top to bottom: 9th (14 y/o), 6th (12 y/o), K (5 y/o), pre-K (3 y/o):

It started out with what I thought were poor choices of curriculum, some which were salvaged because they did provide some new takes on things. Others....well....we just won't go there next year. We switched History programs 3 times this year....and I have a 9th grader.....with a Transcript to create. I was stressing so hard over the hours. Making sure he had 'enough' to gain a credit for his courses. Wondering why I decided to change things up so much this year. I confess--I am pretty new at this. This is our third year. But then God.....gently reminded me that even though I hadn't checked off what I thought was adequate or needed done, we had in fact completed the 'required' hours. The kids had learned in spite of the schedule--honestly? They excelled! My 5 year old daughter took off reading! She was doing Math worksheets with her older brother. She was writing letters to people and making signs. She was sounding the words out and even though they weren't spelled 'right', they WERE phonetically right anyway. She began copying pictures and words out of her new Bible. She was reading her Bible during Bible time with us.

 My three, just turned four, year old daughter was writing her name and tracing letters and numbers very well. She knew her colors, shapes, could count past twenty, count by 10's, and recognized most of her letters. She had rhyming words down pat and could even recognize beginning letter sounds and matching correct and incorrect pictures.

My older two, 9th and 6th grade, were learning by leaps and bounds too. Fractions, once an archenemy of my 12 year old, was becoming manageable. Grammar, another area of struggle, seemed to be improving. And reading? Oh, mercy, I CANNOT keep that boy in books. He will read 200 pages in less than a day if you will let him...and narrate each one to perfection. The oldest? He began to research things for fun-looking for videos, etc. No major formal writing program this year, but when given an open prompt to write about Passover, he, actually both of them, turned in a beautiful paper!

They were learning in leaps and bounds in other areas. We have been spending the year in the New Testament and working on Church History and some martyrs. The oldest was digging deep. WAY deep. They began to implement things we had discussed-having a servant's heart for people. They began helping with breakfast, lunch and 'extra' chores. They were volunteering OFTEN in the church-especially with the children. My 12 year old hopes to one day be a youth minister, which we have HIS youth minister to thank-what an amazing mentor and example for him. He also picked up quickly on the acoustic guitar.They LOVE to cook! More life skills followed this year-doing laundry, starting a car, jump starting a car, watching dad/learning to change the brakes, and many more things. Who says school is purely academic? These boys are growing into men.

I have always claimed this verse for my homeschool, and have prayed it over my children for many years:

Isaiah 54:13~ All your children shall be taught by the LORD, and great shall be the peace of your children. (NKJV)

This year? I was seeing it come to fruition. We have been knocked off our feet this year. Literally. TONS of sickness--this mama has been hit hard this winter, not to mention the kiddos. We were in the ER twice in one week with two different kids; one went by ambulance for a horrible croup attack (story here). Then, two deaths within two weeks in my family--500 miles away (stories here and here).

Today, my eldest and I were 'plotting' out a path for the remainder of his high school years. We have also been looking into college majors and different schools. I trust that whatever the Lord has planned for him, he will accomplish. After all this kid has been through, he is a strong kid. (story starts here). If it isn't college, God knows. If it is college, God will provide. I am still a little skittish about letting him go, but if it is one thing we have tried to instill into him, it is that whatever happens with his condition, we want him to live a 'normal' life. God has been so good to ensure that, so why am I still struggling that He will take care of our homeschool as well? After all, we named our school Cornerstone Home Academy because we want Jesus to be the cornerstone of not only our school, but our lives. Here is the verses we use:

Ephesians 2:20-22: having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit. (NKJV)

I have no need to fear--He who called me is faithful, and He will do it. (1 Thess. 5:24).

Some pictures from our year:
Reading!! By herself!!

Decorating cookies
Learning happens together here! Watching and tracking the election results as they come in!
Local field trip on Natchez Trace
Homemade bubbles--the whole gang gets in on the fun!

Home Ec! Making breakfast!
We love field trips! This time to Jackson, TN

Making homemade laundry powder!
Learning to wash dishes..and play in the  bubbles!
Making homemade butter
Learning Geography

Learning to fold their own laundry
Testing for Vitamin C

Observing blood smears under the microscope
Rays of Hope Drama recital
A trip to Charlotte, NC to see the Passages Bible Exhibit, and stopped in at the Proverbs 31 Ministries Office to visit!

My 5 year old is now reading my books!

As you can see, it is a blessed life indeed. My two boys are 26 months apart, the two girls are 21 months apart, and there is 7 years between the two sets. Would you know it by these pictures? NO. That is the beauty of homeschool my friends!! What started out as a day filled with doubt, with fear--was I teaching them enough--and low energy, turned into one of the biggest blessings so far. For those weary mamas, or those on the fence about homeschool, if He calls you, He will do it. You may not think you are making a difference, but when I look at my kids, I thank God so much for giving me this opportunity. It is the best one He has ever given to me! I was so frazzled. So weary--then I pulled out these pictures and now? I am thankful. I am blessed. I am humbled at the goodness of the Lord.

How many of you are in year end evaluations of your homeschool? Have you looked back and seen blessings that you didn't realize were happening at the time?

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  1. what a beautiful look on the year! :D sooooo amazing to see those wonderful photos! <3 and hear your thoughts on the year!!!!

    1. Thank you! This is only our third year but The Lord is so faithful and I LOVE looking back!

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  3. this is beautiful and I will treasure it! I am so proud of you and Billy and my wonderful grandchildren

    1. Thank you for always supporting me and encouraging me mama!

  4. You are so encouraging and inspiring to me! I know I am called to homeschool (I have a 4 yr old and 1 yr old), and I am trying to step out in faith and obedience. But my husband has doubts as to whether I can homeschool and keep up the house and all the cooking I do - which is a lot! So I am praying God will just speak to him to allow us to try it. Any advice on how to ease his fears?
    By the way, I found your blog from Melissa Taylor's OBS. Love it!
    Thank you! God bless!

    1. Bless you! When I first got the call, it was almost a full year before we started. I didn't know how to approach my husband about it. I just prayed "Lord, if this is what you want us to do, give me an opportunity and soften his heart". About a year later circumstances happened that made homeschool a have to. I didn't want to stop when the timing of this relocation was up so I just kept praying for God to soften his heart. Now he sees the benefits and encourages me. The standards for keeping home had to change for him and I both. If He calls you to do it, He will do it. He will help you. Contact me anytime!! ((Hugs))

    2. Thank you! That really helps and is kinda in line with the way I see things happening for us. He agrees on the benefit and I see him slowly opening up to it. I continue to pray. It's awesome to see God at work when you step up to obey Him! Thank you so much for your encouragement!

    3. Anytime! You are so welcome!

  5. You have an wonderful family, and you are indeed blessed! Thank you for letting me know your blog address!! I want to invite you to link-up some of your posts each Wednesday at Deep Roots. Your blog is so encouraging to me and I'm sure it would be to other Moms, too! Blessings!

    1. Thank you so much! I absolutely love Deep Roots. Blessings to you too!

  6. I love this, Jennifer. I have not done a year-end eval yet, but hope mine is as fruitful when I sit down to accomplish that task. Love you so. I'm so proud of you!

    1. Thank you so much for your friendship Kathy-it means the world to me. Judging by your Facebook posts, I am certain your veal will indeed unearth many blessings!

  7. I'm in my third year as well! It sounds and looks like you guys had a great year despite the obsticles! Congrats!!!

    1. Thank you!! Praying your year has gone well. When we can look back like this, it encourages us to finish the race God has set before us. Where we think we may have failed, He shows us we haven't. Bless you and thanks for stopping by!