Looking Ahead: Our School in 2013-2014

Where does a mom’s mind travel to after her oldest graduates and, along with litle brother and sister, finishes her final dance recital?  Toward plans for the fall.   After all, as many “last moments” as we have all cried through in these last few weeks, we still have two kids here who need an education!

Our summer trips revolve primarily around getting our oldest to college, although there may be an opportunity to take one or more smaller trips on one or more of the kids’ behalf.   There’s also summer camp.  But eventually, I have some decisions to make about our fall dilemma.

What’s the problem?  Well, for several reasons, both of our younger children are between grades.   Though I am totally comfortable with explaining this within a homeschooling environment, when I am asked by someone else outside of that community what grades the kids are in, it just doesn’t go over so well.

Part of the between-grades scenario is due to where we stopped at the end of this year, although there are other reasons.   As a related digression, one bit of wisdom I heard–though I did not immediately accept–in the earlier days of homeschooling was that a parent cannot focus on every child every year; as I said, initially I thought it foul play that one kid might receive more attention at the expense of others.   I have come to realize, though, that this does not mean that any child is left unattended; it has more to do with setting goals and estabilishing priorities.   As my mother would say to me when she had to do something for my sister, “It’s not always your turn.”   Later in life I recognized that this doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t get a turn; it just means my turn wasn’t right now.   This is the mentality I have chosen to adopt in our home.   Having said that, I will readily confess that this was our year to ensure that the oldest finished her senior year positioned as much as possible to step into higher education, so there are other items that took a back seat in educating the younger two, whether deservedly or not.  That season is over.   Time for a change.

The whole idea of fitting in betwen two grades is not as much of a big deal for our younger daughter, but our son will complete high school in 2 years–or maybe 3.   Our plan right now, of which he is well aware, is to allow him an additional  year at home to attend college courses, volunteer and/or work, etc. during that third year.   This would also allow our summer baby an additional year to mature into 18 years (if we sent him away in 2 years, he would be a very young 17) and get ready for the pace of college.   BUT, at that age, there are many additional factors that come into play; one of those is a combination of his feelings about moving on combined with public perception.   Let me share an example.

Yesterday was the annual dance recital.   The kids performed marvelously, but the overall mood was bittersweet for us.   This was our oldest’s last recital, and between the teacher’s tearing up while acknowledging her and the final video shots which featured her and wished her well, we were, at best, melancholy.  I could not help but think of our son in 2 years.   Will he consider himself a graduating senior?   Should we give everyone the elaborate answer about his grade and the gap year plan when asked?   Should we just start telling people now that he’s in 10th grade, and if so, how derailing will that be to his motivation and self-esteem (given that he thinks of himself as having completed this same grade)?   If he wants to dance at the same studio, how do we explain why he is still there?    What will the other dancers think?   Am I crazy to have spent so much time wondering through all of that? 

The scripture that continues to come to mind is to ‘occupy ’til I come’ (Luke 19:13); I have been given no other instructions, so I will worry about names, grades, tags, and what all of it means for us later.   The priority, as far as I am concerned, is to continue to challenge our son and to speak into him as a young African-American male about who he is and whose he is.    So, if the Lord says the same, our son will embark on a similar program as the oldest, entering college this fall under dual enrollment.   At 15, I am sure that his eye- and ear-gate will be exposed to something(s) new, but at least we can continue to minister as needed with him still under much protection from home.   He will become the newest Honors Program participant, taking an English/ Humanities course.   This in and of itself is interesting given that he’s just finishing the 8th grade Rod and Staff English text–part of that between grades thing again.   But his writing is such that I think he can prosper in this course, and besides, he often felft that Rod and Staff was ridiculously repetitive , and that he was ready for more.   Well, son, time to put money where your mouth is.

Outside of that one college course, we will continue with Geometry using Teaching Textbooks, and we will wrap up Biology using the text my MIL gave us.   We will continue our reading time together, wrapping up Medieval History and moving into early American classics.   We will continue Latin (I think), but I am also flirting with adding Spanish or French to his curriculum.   Spanish might be more beneficial to him long-term, but given his intentions to study dance even at the college level (as a minor), he might enjoy French more.   We will probably drop current events studies and apologetics as requirements, just as we did with the oldest.   I think that at this point the kids have a solid appreciation for global news and why it is important in their world.   I will stay with our commonplace book narrations as a complement to our historical reading.   In summary, his courseload would look like this:

  • Geometry: Teaching Textbooks
  • History/ Literature: Great Books Curriculum–Medieval History/ Reformation History (second semester)
  • World Geography: (I modified Globalmania’s curriculum)
  • Latin: Henle by Memoria Press
  • Science: Biology of Life from Glencoe Science / Chemistry (second semester–no idea what text yet)
  • Read-Aloud/ Reading List: (titles to be added over the summer)
    • Canterbury Tales
    • How the Irish Saved Civilization (excerpts)
    • Sir Gawain and the Green Knight by Michael Morpurgo
    • The Once and Future King by T. S. White
    • A Midsummer Night’s Dream–No fear Shakespeare version

Our other summer baby, born in July, is somewhere between 4th and 5th grade, and she will be my focal point on next year.   5th grade should be a time to transition into far more independence than this busy bee is ready for; right now, her sole interest is in finishing quickly–right or wrong, school is in the way of the things that truly interest her.   And her spirit is so very different than our older two.   SO, I will take a step back and figure out how to adapt what I would normally do to her much more kinesthetic and generally active style.   In the meantime, one

decision I have made, especially with only two kids in the house as of August, is to fully utilize her planner.   I buy her one each year, but the planner winds up being more of a tool to help her feel as if she’s just like big sister and big brother; by the end of the first semester, it has dust upon it.   Having a completed listing of school assignments and a better idea of what she’s doing before I sit down to the table with her will keep us both in better working condition.   Right now, there are a number of assignments that have been skipped because Mom got busy, daughter got distracted, and by the time I got back to the table, she was unfocused and I was exhausted.   I can do better, and I believe with some discipline on my part, she will step into what is expected of her in terms of excellence.   We will spend the summer working on multiplication and long division, and then get back to the books in fall.   This would normally be the year that I add in a more formal logic study, but I think I will simply continue with Critical Thinking puzzles.   We will continue with a core curriculum that firmly establishes the basics for her.

  • Math: Horizons
  • Science: Apologia elementary series by Jeannie Fulbright
  • English: Rod and Staff
  • Latina Christina: Memoria Press
  • Current Events
  • History: American History (Blessed Heritage)/ Eastern Hemisphere (Sonlight)

The one thing I will do with her is add in composer studies as we once did with the older two, as well as art studies.   Not sure how I want to cover the latter as this has always been a source of angst for me.

Those are my preliminary thoughts.  I’m also trying to figure out how to keep family read-alouds going as the remaining family splits apart for classes (heavy sigh).   Pray for me, dear friends.

Our First Graduation Party

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Well, what can I say?   The event came in like a lion and went out like a lamb, but oh, the flurry of activities that occurred in-between.   Our area is big enough such that we actually have three larger, more  formal graduation ceremonies dedicated to homeschoolers in the area.  Can you imagine what that says about how far homeschooling has become??!!   In the last few weeks the oldest has posed with and without cap and gown, and we have all worked very hard to create lasting memories for the graduation event.   Personally, I was just happy to be able to blow dust from my scrapbooking tools, even if my time ran out on me toward the day of the event.   How do you compile 18 years of memories onto a science fair board?    Here was my honest attempt; unfortunately, you cannot see the books of pictures underneath the cover photos (courtesy of Dinah Zike’s Books of Books, LOL).

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Our whole family became consumed with putting everything together so that this would be the celebration for us all that it truly is.   The kids did a marvelous job, though I do not think any of us gained a new-found interest in the detailing that accompanies true culinary skill.    Nevertheless, we did our best to work Henry Ford’s assembly line…

transforming this…

into these (in her new school colors, even!).

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Then of course came the event that we waited for.   With tens of friends and family who thought enough of our daughter to dedicate a Saturday to her, we all watched as this high schooler became an “official” graduate (see the chocolate drop, 2nd row, toward the middle right of the photo).

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Following the graduation ceremony came an awesome reception.    As I think about it now, I can recall Dawn writing to me, saying, “Make someone take pictures for you.”   Sadly, that’s the ONE thing that did not happen, especially at the reception.    I absolutely hate that, but maybe it was a lesson in pride for me.   I was SO excited about the way all the food turned out–the Asian chicken wings, the cheescake bites with the special decorative toothpicks, the chocolate caps (shown above), etc.    I was so ready to show off all of our hard work.  After writing about being the non-party planner (see here), I was thrilled at the idea of displaying my results.    But, therein lies the problem; had it all gone the way I wanted, I would have presented Belinda’s show, and that would not have accurately captured the spirit that was in the room.   God showed up, and it was unlike any graduation ceremony I have had the pleasure of attending, even though our daughter’s celebration was the catalyst for gathering everyone together.   I loved how the Lord really spoke through people about the power of His hand on a child’s life and about who He has been in our family’s life.   It was ministry, and the overwhelming emotion of the moments was tears–tears of relief, tears of gratitude, tears of joy.

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Oh, well, at least we got a shot of her with her cake.   AND, many people thought all the food was catered!!  I suppose that’s compliment enough.  We will do this again in a couple of years, and I repent right now for bragging on my new-found talent and skill.   Blessings, dear friends.

The World’s Standard is a Set-Up

Soon, I will write a post about our plans for next year’s school/ curriculum plans; it’s about that time, and for a variety of reasons, I’ve already had to think about what changes will occur in our school, and what will stay the same.   For now, however, I am simply enjoying our few remaining weeks, and surviving—not thriving—in the number of interruptions that continue to attempt to overtake our day.

One of my greatest joys right now is the time spent in the Word with our younger two.   I’ve been somewhere between curious and apprehensive about the book of Leviticus.

God is so faithful.  From the first chapter, I knew where we were going: God set a standard.   Before He gave the details on what to bring, how to bring it, etc., He simply states that He wants our best.  Verse 3 of Chapter 1 states,  ‘If the offering is a burnt offering from the herd, you are to offer a male without defect. You must present it at the entrance to the tent of meeting so that it will be acceptable to the Lord.’   Reading this passage gave us an excellent opportunity to talk about how flawed our standards are in light of what He expects.

Often the children will gauge themselves according to how someone else is doing.   Their behavior is good relative to someone else’s actions.   Their performance was good because someone else did not do as well.   While the outside world helps us with an understanding of the norm, there are several problems with this type of comparison.

1) It sets us up for less than our best if the standard is lower.

2) We use external measures for correction rather than internal reflection; the latter often reveals uncomfortable truths that, if we surrender them to the Father, can accelerate our growth.

3) Being satisfied with earthly means and measures of success can often mean that we are out of sync with the will of God (1 Peter 2:9, John 15: 18-21)

As an adult, I find myself making similar comparisons.   And for all the same reasons, the world’s standard is a set-up.   The kids and I even talked about this from a corporate perspective.   I’ve shared in previous posts about some of the programs at our church, and many churches, who have become increasingly seeker-friendly (you can read more about the seeker-friendly church movement here or in tons of other places).    Though we still use common church vernacular (words like ‘sin,’ ‘repentance,’ ‘salvation,’ etc.), we still stand with many congregations that, in reaching out to the un-churched, are losing a generation of young adults and kids who are hungry for Truth.   In short, the world is increasingly loving the church, but is our behavior acceptable to the Lord?

So, as I ask the children when we read the Word together, what does the Lord want us to do?    Well, personally, I thought about an experience I had with the oldest and a substandard midterm.    We went 15 rounds about what I wanted but didn’t explicitly state, and how she performs for others versus her performance for me.   I see now where the Word in Leviticus 1 would have worked–if I’d worked it.   It’s really not about me; ultimately, it’s about remembering who you are and to whose standard you are subject (Colossians 3:23).    My standard should not be the standard for our school; all of our work should be our best, for this is acceptable to God.

How’s the rest of Leviticus going?    The youngest says, “All these  sacrifices sound alike.”    Our vegetarian son summarizes each chapter as “more Old Testament killing.”  This kid and his growing sensitivity to meat and meat products scares me.    I can’t even cook dinner without him saying, “Do you realize how many ______(name your land or sea creature) had to die for you to enjoy those?”   We may not get much more than a new level of expectation out of this one, but that will be enough.

What’s New? From Our Point of View…

It is a beautifully sunny, 74-degree day here in coastal Texas, and with the oldest at college and our son at the dentist, the youngest decided to school outside.   Funny, this was my vision when we first began homeschooling—days outside on a picnic blanket, completing schoolwork and viewing exotic animals.   (You can stop laughing now).   The vision sounded wonderful, and the outdoor school day sounded delightful until it met with my own plans and realities.   I had a fairly simple morning plan to complete a few chores and write a blog entry while the youngest worked beside me at the table.   So, it shames me to say that when she initially approached me about going outside, I sent her out and continued with my plans.   I felt bad, so when she came back inside the first time, I said, “Let me just do ____ and I’ll come out with you.”     I got that pot of vegetarian chili to a point where it could just simmer, started that load of clothes, and then pulled up a chair alongside her in the backyard.   That’s when I realized that even 74 degrees—in full sun—is still just plain hot.    After reading for a spell, we both gave in to what became our heart’s deepest longing–air conditioning.

One of our struggles this year has been sustaining her with a deliberate diet of rich literature versus twaddle, in Charlotte Mason vernacular.   Our youngest, with all the extroversion that missed our older two, wanted to start a book club this past year.   She had almost completed all the planning, complete with convincing Mom that this was a good thing, when our local library announced its plans to have a book club.    I thought this was too much of a coincidence to be a coincidence, and we hurriedly signed up to be a part of their event.   Now I wish that I had stuck with the original plan to have our own club.   The selection of books that the librarians offer—yuck!!!      I would love to simply pull her from the club, but I’m torn by the fact that she likes being a part of the group, she enjoys the time and activities, and—here’s the kicker—she likes the books.  They are much easier reading, for sure, but based upon what I consider to be a “good” book, i.e., a story that engages the mind and pricks the heart, the book club’s selections are way past poor.   The longer I allow this, of course, the more difficult it is to interest the youngest in books that demand more of her.   Consequently, I’ve not pulled her yet from the club, but have been instead picking my teachable moments.   As an example, we are now reading The Whipping Boy, which is actually very easy to read—a short book with short chapters.   Upon reading chapter 1, she immediately stopped to whine empathetically when she realized what was the whipping boy’s  responsibility (to receive the punishment that should have been given to a spoiled brat excuse for a prince).    While she was sharing how badly she felt for the boy, I talked about the power of a good read and recalled that she’d never stopped to empathize with Vordak the Incomprehensible.   She still maintains that Vordak is the best book ever (heavy sigh).

While I ponder what to do about the book club, I am excited about the cursive handwriting curriculum from LightHome Publications I found on Currclick.  Can you say $6??!!   This looks awesome!!  A chance to share the Word of God, to practice cursive handwriting, and to create a lasting keepsake of the Word in Psalms!!  Can’t beat it with a stick!!

After years of, ahem, uncertainty, shall we say, about homeschooling my MIL blessed us with an entire high school biology curriculum—teacher’s guides, transparencies, DVDs, videos,… everything!   I have been thrilled with all the extra project ideas that have come with the text that really cater to how we like to learn.   The publisher of this not-so-dry text has actually partnered with Dinah Zike (foldables guru, author of The Big Book of Books) to include manipulatives to enhance the content!!  Given Dinah Zike’s popularity within the homeschool community, I couldn’t help but think this was pretty cool in an odd sort of way.

Our school this year is a gentle foreshadowing of the next 2-3 years to come as the oldest spends a significant amount of time away from us.   Her classes keep her away on Mondays and Wednesdays, but the extracurricular activities associated with the Honors Program, plus the time to complete her coursework actually occupy her throughout a good portion of her week.   My dh and I were just discussing today that even though she wasn’t the noisiest of our children, her presence, or lack thereof, is definitely felt if not heard.    Her high school courses this year include Algebra II, Physics, and World Geography.    Other than that, I’m the taxi cab driver!

During the summer, Knowledge Quest distributed what I assume was a preview of their Globalmania curriculum, but it was PERFECT (yes, I’m shouting) for what I wanted to do with World Geography.     There is enough of a guide-like feel to this .pdf file without it being too prescriptive.   I played the games that help with map memorization and, in completing them myself to get a feel on what the oldest would do, I determined that my geography needs serious work.  No wonder I almost failed this class in middle school ( LOL)!!  There is also a schedule that, again without being too prescriptive, suggests how to spend time learning a specific continental region.    What I have added (because without the additions the curriculum might be more elementary) is the idea of research of the continents to find out more about the history and culture, and the idea of understanding a major religion in that region and how you might evangelize with respect to what the people believe.    Finally, when I taught World Geography at our local homeschool store, that particular curriculum set a goal for a student to draw a world map from memory by the end of the course.   I so loved the students’ results that I incorporated this same goal for the oldest.   I’m enjoying watching her get started, and her illustrations of how much she is learning.

 

 

I am so glad, in spite of the fact that American Lit at the college level has her permanently attached to a Norton’s Anthology, that we made the decision to add in as many living books as we could to complement her studies.    She decided early on that audio books would best help her keep up with everything.    This was easily accomplished with Jules Verne’s Around the World in 80 Days, but we’ve been reading aloud Homer Hickam’s October Sky together.   The latter book has been a welcomed accompaniment to her Physics studies, and I’m so glad that I didn’t place too much stock into the warning that this coming-of-age story had potentially inappropriate subject matter.  Yes, he’s a love-struck teenage boy who is learning, unsuccessfully, how to be suave with the ladies (picture Jerry Lewis in “The Ladies’ Man”), but what far overshadows those moments is this book’s ability to take you through Coalwood, WV with such imagery until you feel as if you stepped back 40 years and are standing alongside one of the “rocket boys.”    We even resisted the urge to watch the movie.  (Was it just a coincidence that it came on television while we were reading?   Hmmm….)   After Jules Verne, I’m on the hunt for what might our next great geography-related find: Moby-Duck: The True Story of 28,800 Bath Toys Lost at Sea and of the Beachcombers, Oceanographers, Environmentalists, and Fools, Including the Author, Who Went in Search of Them.   If I could just find the audio book for something less than $27…

 

What’s new with your studies?   I’d love to “hear” about all those cool and creative homeschool  studies.

 

Our School in a Notebook

Not too long ago, I read a great article from a friend on recognizing and recuperating from homeschool burnout.    I’ve had that season in my life, but what struck me in reading through her post this time was a quote from Miss Charlotte Mason:

The object of children’s literary studies is not to give them precise information as to who wrote what in the reign of whom? – but to give them a sense of the spaciousness of the days, not only of great Elizabeth, but of all those times of which poets, historians and the makers of tales, have left us living pictures…

That small nugget reminded me of a brief conversation that I had with a customer who asked me about posts using my Blessed Heritage curriculum.   It occurred to me that when our older two used the elementary curriculum, it was pre-blogging.   Remember those days–the Stone Ages?   Anyway, I thought to discuss how we ‘give a sense of the spaciousness of the days,’ and to share some general information about how we use notebooks.

I sometimes get e-mails that express a concern about a younger child “getting it,” and I have responded, though not nearly as eloquently, about what to expect of younger students when completing literature-based curriculum.    A classical approach that is more memory-focused than Charlotte Mason’s would emphasize the memorization of dates, events, and people.   Yes, your child might impress a few more relatives with rote memorization, but does he understand conceptually what he is saying?   Can he place visual “pegs” in history based upon the stories of the period?   Does he talk in “offline” conversations about the books he read?    That is the value of a leterature-based curriculum, and it is perfectly acceptable that a little one does not “get” every story.  He’s not ready for the AP exam just yet; by the time high school has arrived, and he’s seen American history at least once more, he will dialogue about this spaciousness of days in ways that will amaze even you.   

When our oldest narrated her way through this same curriculum, we used a big box of perforated computer paper in order for her to create her own version of history based upon what we read.   I still have some of that paper in a box that is now a part of our scrap/ recycled paper bin!   But, I’ve upgraded our notebook work with pre-printed pages for all the children.   The problem with my youngest is she doesn’t like to color!   So her book is nowhere near as illustrated as the oldest’s book was, but every now and then I’ll say, “Draw me a picture, and I want it in color.”   So, here are several of my favorites:

We don’t just notebook about our history studies; I splurged on  Live and Learn’s pre-printed foldables for the Apologia elementary series.   With CurrClick’s sale, these were far more affordable than some of my previous lapbook purchases from the same company.

When it comes to notebooking, we didn’t stop there!    On last year, I shared our wonderful notebook makeover, and how excited the youngest was to spruce up her learning in this way.   So one of these notebooks became her current events notebook, where she summarizes a couple of articles that she reads through kids’ sites (see our 2012/2013 Curriculum page for details).   Nothing fancy here in terms of her capturing the jist of the articles, but she gets more handwriting practice and an indirect lesson in sentence structure and readability.

By the way, notebooks aren’t just for little people in our home.    Our son has become quite creative with his pages as well!

And though I don’t take the time to illustrate my work as much as I once did (I’m getting back to it), even I’ve “gotten into the act” of narration in order to have even more meaningful discussions with the kids!

 

I’ll confess that I’ve gotten rejuvenated after reading a post from Jimmie Lanley, aka the Notebooking Fairy, lists a number of boards that center on journaling and notebooking.

 

If you are a fan of notebooking or lapbooking, how are you using these tools in your home?

As the World Turns…(an early progress report)

The fact that I’ve not written in over a week is probably a hint of how school began with a bang.   Yet, I suppose that, given my trepidation over the year in my last post, it would be appropriate to post a progress report, albeit an early one.

I’ve written in previous posts about reminding myself to be thankful even with hazy starts, when I found out first-hand what happens to the best-laid plans of mice of men.    But this year, this start, is what I love to see in the kids.   Everyone Is energized and excited about what they are learning, everyone comes to the table prepared, and we finish early, with plenty of time for that all-important masterly inactivity that Miss Mason speaks of so fondly.

I never got the infamous list from the youngest.   Maybe it was just a fleeting burst of energy, as many of her projects are.   (Yesterday she decided to experiment with which type of water freezes best in the backyard; she was preparing for plans to install her own personal ice skating rink.   Did I mention that we live in coastal Texas?)     Maybe she has resigned herself to the idea that school is one of many “have-to’s” of life, so she might as well get with the program.   In any case, she is at the table, working hard and not whining.    I’ll take it.   One thing I know she’s loving is a read-aloud I’m sharing with she and her brother, T.A. Barron’s The Lost Years of Merlin.   This story has everything–a multitude of children, a lovable hero, and plenty of fighting.   I’d forgotten from our Nellie Olsen/ Laura Ingalls days how much this pugnacious child relishes the retelling of a good brawl.

Our son is performing well in the midst of perhaps the heaviest load of all three children.   It is not that way intentionally, but the workload of high school years, at least as it is here, is such that the first two years are significantly busier than the latter two.    I’m so enjoying studying the book of Exodus with him and his sister.   Each day there are fresh revelations, and it is timely for me as I look for God to bring me into a different place.    Today, we covered the 1st 12 verses of chapter 4:

Moses answered, “What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say, ‘The Lord did not appear to you’?”

2 Then the Lord said to him, “What is that in your hand?”

“A staff,” he replied.

3 The Lord said, “Throw it on the ground.”

Moses threw it on the ground and it became a snake, and he ran from it. 4 Then the Lord said to him, “Reach out your hand and take it by the tail.” So Moses reached out and took hold of the snake and it turned back into a staff in his hand. 5 “This,” said the Lord, “is so that they may believe that the Lord, the God of their fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has appeared to you.”

6 Then the Lord said, “Put your hand inside your cloak.” So Moses put his hand into his cloak, and when he took it out, the skin was leprous[a]—it had become as white as snow.

7 “Now put it back into your cloak,” he said. So Moses put his hand back into his cloak, and when he took it out, it was restored, like the rest of his flesh.

8 Then the Lord said, “If they do not believe you or pay attention to the first sign, they may believe the second. 9 But if they do not believe these two signs or listen to you, take some water from the Nile and pour it on the dry ground. The water you take from the river will become blood on the ground.”

10 Moses said to the Lord, “Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor
since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.”

11 The Lord said to him, “Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the Lord? 12 Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.”

What a sweet reminder from the Lord.   He didn’t expect Moses to do anything great; He simply asked Moses to trust Him.   Powerful.

The oldest’s one request of me of was that I not schedule her high school courses on the same day as her college courses.   What that has meant for these past two weeks is that she has two days of the week with nothing on her planner.   Being who I am, though, I couldn’t help but list a few “suggestions” as to how she might spend her time    🙂   .   I will say, however, that she is now—just in time—fully bought into the plan for this year and for her the next season of her life, setting her own alarm (rather than waiting for me to wake her up), and getting downstairs in a timely manner to accomplish quite a bit each day.   As college acceptances and scholarships roll in, I feel the Holy Spirit’s “Yes!” to what is happening here, and I’m grateful.

I am often cautiously optimistic, in the effort to not fall too far from Cloud 9 and hurt myself.   However, if we can travel through the rest of the year somewhere near where we are now, I will have done well.

How’s your school year starting out?