Saturday, August 25, 2012

and the winner is...

On Apri 17th, 2012 we won the lottery.

Or I should say, my son did.  A few weeks earlier, I filled out an online application for him to attend a new school in our local district.  The school is a STEM Academy, which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.  The process for entering the school made me think it might not even be a possibility since we had to enter a lottery and I tend to win those kinds of things, oh, NEVER.

That day in April my husband went to the drawing, Stephen's number was called, and I got this text: He's in!

For the past five years, Stephen has been homeschooled.  We made the decision after much thought and prayers to bring him home from public school at the end of the second month of first grade.  Our decision was based primarily on academics.  The school he attended was struggling and the instruction in his class was going to be focused on bringing up test scores, not inspiring learning.  I had observed a friend's homeschooling journey and liked both the academic possibilities of teaching my children at home and the more flexible lifestyle it opened up.

I entered into homeschooling with a first grader, a preschooler and a toddler.  The years have passed swiftly, full of reading, math, field trips, and all of the ups and downs of normal family life.  Like most homeschooling moms, I struggle with balancing all of my different roles, but honestly, as hard as it can be sometimes, I am grateful for the character building refining fire that is homeschooling.  I am a different person in a deep way because of this journey.

Our homeschooling road had taken quite  downturn last Spring and I was plain burned out.  I had struggled all year to meet the needs of my son both academically and socially.  Parenting dynamics with another child were causing strife and lending a flavor to our learning days that was not pleasant.  I felt the third child was getting the short end of the stick on many days.  The homeschool charter school we are a part of has a program where you can send your kids to school three days a week and only school them at home for two days.  I seriously considered this option.

One afternoon during coffee with a friend who is a public school teacher, I learned about the STEM Academy.  The focus of the school intrigued me for Stephen because of his interest in the sciences.  The application deadline was imminent.  I decided it wouldn't hurt to put in the application, so I did.  My husband and I researched the school, talked to an acquaintance who teaches there, and decided we would enter the lottery.

And his number was called.

After a real break this summer, our family is entering this year in an entirely different place from this past Spring!  God graciously took me though this summer, putting His healing balm on my burned out places, speaking truth into my heart about His plans for my kids this next year, reminding me to put my confidence in Him in all things, including my children, their character, their schooling, all of it.

I'm off to soak in this last weekend before school starts for Stephen on Monday!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Gift after Gift...

Continuing the list of gifts from His hand...

~ last day of summer before school starts!
~hot coffee with half and half
~a boy's room, completely purged, rearranged, fitted with a new bed and made ready for his transition to middle school (yikes!)
~tired muscles after the gym
~a husband who is my best friend
~the mercy of a new day
~cooler temperatures at nights so we can turn of the A/C and open the windows

Today is officially our last day of summer.  Tomorrow the girls go back to school, spending the day taking classes at our homeschool learning center.  Wednesday will be my first day of homeschool teaching for this school year.  I am excited to begin this adventure again, which feels like a miracle to say because at the end of last year I was burned out and so glad for the break.  God has been gracious over this summer to renew my energy and enthusiasm for homeschooling.

The biggest change of this school year is that I will only be teaching two children here at home.  Our oldest child, who is entering sixth grade, has the opportunity to attend a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Academy in our local school district this year.  We are all excited about this opportunity, although I admit to also feeling a bit anxious about how this transition will go.  He starts a week from today, so this will be an interesting week with the girls starting school and him still on vacation.  We'll see how it goes.