Tuesday, April 22

Oh, But I Really Do Love That We're Not at the Kitchen Table

We have been trying to move to Portland for quite a while. So, finally we are in our new place (and it is not the new place that I had previously alluded to back in February).

We have a daylight basement that is half carpeted and half/tile and cement (rough space = get messy space) with a bathroom, fireplace (I'm totally thinking of cozy winter school days by the fire) and a slider out to a b.i.g. backyard. I could not have dreamed up a better place to house school stuff, let the boys have friends over (and sleepovers!), roughhouse, store the entire Anderson library, set up Hot Wheels tracks and sleep in the summertime when it's too hot upstairs. God has been good to us.

And I strong-armed my husband into buying a new dining table set (at a great deal!) for upstairs so we could take the ratty old country kitchen table and chairs downstairs and forgo having to use a wiggly card table to do school work on. If you see him soon be sure to tell him he's a really, really, really good man. It's all in the name of our kids' education, right?

So, technically we ARE still at the kitchen table, it's just not in the kitchen.

Saturday, April 12

Moving Day

I don't care what anyone else says.
Homeschooling and simplicity are not compatible partners.

Tuesday, April 8

Homeschooling When You're Moving

I think you all know the answer to this one. How do you continue the studies when you're moving? Answer: You don't. This morning I had the kids wrap up a lapbook about plants and agriculture, practice their reading, and do their math and handwriting. That was it. After that I was all about changing the utilities, packing up the master bedroom and running errands.

So, the plan is to stop school for now and begin again next Wednesday. Taking a week off, especially a split week is great for all of us. We can do two short weeks at the front and back, and then get back in the full swing of things once we're out of all the boxes...and we find all the stuff.

But there does need to be a balance between what comes next and what is happening right now. When the kids don't have structure they get difficult. And I tend to zone in on packing so much that I ignore them and their squabbles, which are really cries for attention. So, as I'm packing this time I will figure out what I need to get done and then give them times when I will stop and do something with them: play cards, read aloud from our latest book and take a walk if the weather is good. They appreciate knowing they won't be bored all day as they watch their toy supply disappear and I appreciate the break from packing and enjoying my kids even if it's only for 20 or 30 minutes at a time. Of course, at the end we usually call on PBS and Discovery Channel quite a bit too. Right now I told them we'd stop and run to a few places at 3:00...which is just about now.

So, I'm off to make good on my promise.

Saturday, April 5

A New Direction

I have taken on a new responsibility that I'm pretty excited about. Chip and I get to serve on the board of the First Class Central Portland Homeschool Co-op. I essentially get to be the Friday School Coordinator. We are starting up in the fall, but there will be informational meetings all summer. So spread the word to any homeschooler in the area that you think could use some connection, encouragement and fun!

Here's our ad. Print it out and post it around!


Do you love to offer your kids the extra stuff, but get tired of driving them all over town several days of the week? If you’ve been looking for a place to connect with other homeschoolers while supplementing your homeschool curriculum with the extra stuff just ONE DAY A WEEK, we have got a program for you!

First Class Central Portland is starting a nursery through 12th grade Christian Homeschool Co-op right in the heart of Portland! Homeschoolers thrive when they are connected with other homeschooling families. When parents pool their resources and talents together for a common goal, amazing things happen! Our mission is to assist in your commitment to teach your children, and help you build up a community of other Christian homeschoolers that will help you go the distance.

Come learn more about the First Class Co-op, meet the leadership team and find out how you can GET CONNECTED with other homeschoolers in your community through a homeschool co-op. Our next informational meeting is:

Saturday, April 19th 11:00 a.m. Central Bible Church 8816 NE Glisan PDX

For more information, contact Tim & Kathy Laws at 503-253-1878 or info@fccentralpdx.org. You can also visit us on the web at www.fccentralpdx.org.

FIRST CLASS CENTRAL PORTLAND is a ministry of First Class Homeschool Ministries (www.fchm.org) and Central Bible Church (www.centralbible.net)

Friday, April 4

Just Being Real

It's nice to know that you guys care.

I'm okay. Seriously, I am. Yesterday morning I was just dealing with a lost opportunity. Every one is still alive! We are okay and today is brighter for me. Thanks for asking.

So many people may think this homeschooling thing is easy for those of us who do it. My purpose yesterday was not to sound an alarm, but to give you some insight into how we have to plow through regardless of our circumstances, and regardless of our moods. There is a goal...educate and love on these kiddos. And every parent can attest that there are times when you'd rather just shake them off and deal with what's going on inside in solitude.

A friend of mine said today that "this homeschooling journey is exciting and a blessing but it's not easy." We often assume (myself included) that the homeschoolers around us are having a bad time solely because of their children or their decision to homeschool. But there are soooo many other things that make the journey hard other than our kids. All families struggle with finances, job changes, moves, decisions, relationships outside of home, extended family, health problems, neighbor conflicts, spiritual questioning, car problems, natural disasters, political concerns...shoot anything can affect our hearts on any given day. Some parents may be able to send their kids off to school and deal with the grieving that needs to happen. But when we keep them near us we must choose rather quickly whether to grieve publicly or privately.

Hopefully, if you're a homeschooler and you're reading this, you might have something to say about it. We often don't talk about the hard stuff publicly. But I'm inviting you to do so here -- you know, if you want. I've probably been there.

Thursday, April 3

Homeschooling When You're Sad

I don't know if it's just my kids, but they don't pick up on emotional signals very well. Wouldn't it be great if they could just adjust their behavior to fit my mood? It seems on those days when I don't just want them to mellow out, but I NEED them to mellow out, that they are louder and more out of sorts than normal.

Several years ago now, we went through a time of great upheaval. We were shoved out of a place that we had ministered to for four years and I remember crying during many of our everyday activities...as I made lunch, played with blocks, took walks, and even did school. I had just begun Kindergarten with my oldest son when our world came crashing down. There was no way to explain what was going on to someone so young. And being so excited to do these learning activities with Mama everyday, I couldn't just stop everything and mourn. So, we continued on.

Grief is such a natural part of life and we need to be able to deal with it appropriately, but does that mean we put school aside or push through? Of course, everyone will handle it differently. If the kids and I are all mourning together, then I think it would be appropriate to put things aside and listen and breathe however it seems most appropriate for a time. But when I'm mourning on my own and I can't really explain to them the depth of my loss, then I need to push through and just grieve quietly. Maybe others would handle it differently.

It's certainly not easy but in one sense continuing to work is lifegiving. When my grandmother died while I was in college I went back to work after a day or two just to keep my brain from turning to mush. Now my work is here in my home with me and I really can't not do it. They are so full of potential and purpose. Investing in them reminds me that not all is lost. And with all the quirky things they do, I'm sure they'll give me some reasons to smile. It takes a concerted effort to turn my mind from one thing to another, but for a few hours I will do my best. For them, I will do my best. So, today I'm diving in and hoping that they simply don't notice my heavy, frequent sighs.