Homeschooling the five

Did you see it coming my friends? In hindsight, yes I did too… From praying God would not call me to homeschool, to the carefully not saying never, to the blog posts and statements that school is good for my kids despite the negatives… Well. So here we are…. Starting our 4th week of homeschooling all five kids!!!

We are now “one of those” “weird homeschooling families” “with lots of kids”. Hahahaha. And I want a baby. Hahahaha.

We have had super good days, we have had super bad days, and we have had normal blah days. But at this moment in time, I will say it has been one of the best decisions ever for our family.

So how does it work you ask with them at so many different levels? Did you quit work? How do you do it? How do you like it?

Well, they are not on too many different levels. We are working through what they know and in some areas it’s the same for all. We are still working on a good schedule, but we use technology and centers (things the kids can do solo) while I work one on one with others. I’ve got a small group for math that is working together, I’ve got 2 that can read independently and 2 that need me sitting by them. And we get to do bible class. We are doing the abc bible verses, we are learning them in English and talking about what they mean. It’s so rewarding to hear them learning about God.

I am continuing to work 20 hours a week. This means that I now have no down time. I lesson plan in free time. The work keeps me somewhat sane though, breaking the cycle of what I’m doing and gets me out of the house. They get one day a week with dad, doing lessons or gym (aka farm work), depending on the weather, they do four days with me, including Saturdays, and they get 1 free day a week (with a grandma). I’m very grateful for the grandmas stepping up

We like it. The kids are learning to take responsibility for their work and we love all the time together. Attitudes are improving and bonds are being formed.

I want to be clear, we loved our kids teachers and didn’t leave the public school because of any bad things that had happened. We just loved the bonding. And the not riding the bus for 2 hours. And the having extra time in the day to do fun stuff. And the bible time.

In other random news -
Dentist appointments went ok…. 3 have to go back for more work and 1 got an ortho referral…. We took him today and they are gonna do a treatment plan to bring his front teeth in… From toothless, to buck toothed, to braces…. All within a year poor kid…. He also got glasses…. He doesn’t wear them often yet but he has them.

We’ve been having some hard conversations, good conversations, healing conversations. Please continue to pray for these conversations and bonding and healing moments. The three ticos continue to have bad dreams, so pray from relief from this as well.

We are so happy it’s warming up, but they did better than expected with the winter weather… Especially considering we’ve had the coldest, snowiest winter in years and years…. They are ready for camping and swimming, bring on summer!!!

Nos vemos amigos

Homeschool: pros & cons

Another fb status update turned blog…

I was careful not to say “never” gonna homeschool. I begged God not to call me to homeschool all 5. I even wrote a pretty convincing blog about why I wasn’t called to homeschool them all.

And then I started doing it on our snow days (we are up to 13 now by the way, and working on the 2nd time we will have been out for a straight week at a time).

And. I. Loved. It.

So I’ve compiled this list from other moms about the pros and cons

Pros:
-You know what they know
-You know what they need to learn
-You can tailor classes to their strengths and weaknesses
-Time with kids
-Family bonding both with siblings and parents
-Can teach Christian values
-Prepares for college bc they are ore independent learners
-More time with family
-No homework/ tired evenings/weekends
-Personal growth in Christ
-Kids growth in Christ
-Ability to be flexible
-Kids learn to tutor each other
-Time for outside activities
-Lack of bad peer pressure
-Lack of bullying
-No snow days
-can learn English in the context of Spanish, which is way more effective
-more time with kids in general
-more flexible schedules
-kids can learn about things they are interested in
-Less money in clothes
-Less money in food
-Less money in gas
-Can do activities when others are in school, making it cheaper

Cons:
-Distractions of life
-Getting annoyed by kids’ attitudes
-Kids slowness/lack of motivation
-Lack of peer pressure to motivate
-Cost of supplies
-mom never gets a break
-it takes more effort to socialize

Homeschool. Snow days.

I stinking love having all my kids home and doing homeschool with them all…. Yes I’ve been told I’m crazy a lot these past few years…. I vote no more snow days…. I need to forget how awesome it is to sleep in, cover everything you need to in a day, have chores done, and be done and get to PLAY and RELAX with my kids who are not strung out and exhausted from a day at school, which includes 2+hours on the bus…. I love and support the public school system, and think what you want of me for that, but I could easily be talked into homeschooling my kids…. Just have to figure out who is gonna watch and teach them the 20hours, plus driving, I need to go to work…. Ok so this status just turned into a blog post…. Haha

Yes I just cut and pasted what started as a Facebook status update to my blog.

As I watch post after post pop up of people saying the school needs to cancel due to weather, I’m the only patent here saying, “Nooooo Bundle them up and go” and it’s not why most think. Most think I want a break from my kids (who were just home 2 weeks from Christmas break, followed by 2 snow dAys after the new year, followed by a 9 day stretch of no school due to snow days and a holiday and weekends….). I don’t want a break. I want this life full time people. During our time off I put all kids in homeschool and we worked our butts off and were productive. They loved it, I loved it. No one in this house wants these kids to go to school.

Except me. Confused???? Yeah me too….

See the thing is, my job is pretty nice, flexible. Awesome boss. Working part-time gets me some alone time as I drive and friends to talk to. It also keeps what is pretty good insurance for the cost, in this day and age of insurance issues, this is no small thing.

But “if God calls you to do something He will provide the means”

Yeah He will….

But just because you “want” something, doesn’t mean you are “called” to it….

Yes. If I was called God would give me the ability, patience, and money to do so. But I don’t think I’m called….

Yes. I’m called to homeschool my oldest, for a time anyway. But for others, the littles, the environment there is driving them and pushing them in ways I can’t/don’t at home….

So this is our life…. Our Pura Vida

Buenas noches

Solitude

Nearly nine months ago we came home from Costa Rica ready to be home, in our house, in our bed, and start

Our new life. Our Pura Vida.

Near 10 months ago we left for Costa Rica to get our precious 3 ticos.

Today, Friday, my husband of 10 years and my friend for 17 years, got on a plane and went to Costa Rica without me

As I drove home from shopping for my friends that live in Costa Rica I cried nearly all the way home. Thinking about how in a few short hours he would be walking out the airport terminal to give our friends hugs. And that it will be warm. And I will be home with our five kids on their sixth consecutive snow day (and another 3-5 inches being predicted for Saturday)…

We’ve been through so much these past 10 months. I’ve lost a good friend on the way and I have no idea why. We’ve reconnected with old friends. We’ve made new friends.

Through it all God has held us while we laughed, cried, smiled, yelled, sobbed. When we’ve fallen and when we got back up. When we had to be the one to apologize to the kids and when we had to be the one to ask them to apologize.

My husband and best friend is on mission trip with a group of godly men. Men we call friends and brothers. Men that have been guiding us and praying for us throughout this journey. Helped us in ways they don’t even know, even if it was just to remind us we are a little crazy ;)

This week hasn’t been easy. We started homeschooling our eldest. And the Littles have been out all week for snow days. And next week while we miss daddy/husband/friend will be just as hard.

But even though it will be hard on us, I am happy that he’s going. And on a trip with godly men. I can’t wait to hear how he’s grown and changed this week. And who knows maybe he’ll decide we can go back for more kids after all……. No… that would be crazy and we’re not crazy…..

9 months in

9 months in, things are starting to settle, yet at the same time new things are popping up…

After Ericka’s birthday came Anna’s, which we celebrated at home and she loved. And then Christmas planning… It was hard not to go overboard but we managed and while the day of was wild, it was awesome. Christmas break was good, and ended with another 3 days off!!!

In the past couple of months we have begun to start thinking about homeschooling Ericka. He education is on so many different levels that we feel as if she would really benefit academically and emotionally from this for a time. Plus it will reinforce the bonding, whereas that has seemed to be almost dropping off in the past few months.

Every moment is different. There have been tough times and good times and really really tough times and really really good times…. Let me try to think back on some examples:

The boys continue to want to be always together

My response of anger has lessened as we use God and the bible in our discipline as well as the suggestions from our counselor to tell the children, that yes I am feeling angry at the moment but in a little while I will be just fine and I’ll be over it. This stems from the concept that sometimes adopted children did not have someone modeling and explaining emotions when they were little and therefore they have more extreme responses to them…

The last 2 days have been really rough with Anna, but we have actually seen a huge behavior improvement in her lately… We’ve been using explanations, timeouts, redos, and consequences. This really helps in stoping bad behavior, but we have yet to see a break through in getting her to do stuff we ask her to do…

Luciano’s disrespect issues have also greatly improved and he has been so sweet (except for the past 2 days, something must be in the air). Also a huge improvement In his English occurred right before the Christmas break, he all a sudden starting talking really good English!!! Like we were shocked!!!

Ben has been struggling a little lately, we aren’t sure with what exactly, he has been on such good behavior but you can just see it in his eyes, typically male, he won’t talk about it. Haha. We’ve been paying him special attention and he enjoys it but you can just tell he’s got something big bouncing around in that thinker head of his….

Angelly has been really great, although her behavior is starting to mimic Anna’s a little too much, so we have been working to put a stop to that! She’s also been really affectionate and snuggley which is always nice. Her English is awesome and she rarely speaks in Spanish anymore, although I’ve started asking them to use their Spanish.

Ericka’s English has improved a lot but it’s still really hard for her. I’ve started speaking to her In almost all English to try to get her to a break through point. Especially if we homeschool, she has to start getting even more English at home. We’ve seen some good progress through hard times. Things that used to create huge meltdowns, we have actually walked through a few times now in calmness, which is nice.

No blog can be complete without the mention of how much our church family means to us. God has pulled us back into His house after a struggle of not wanting to put in the effort of going, and now it’s better than ever before! Renewed sense of peace and belonging! It’s A lot of work to get us all there, but worth it!

Dios es bueno y buenas noches

Time passes.

even and a half months post adoption and I feel like I have surfaced from a cloud. A Cloud that covered us in a cloud of confusion for the past two years. On this side of the cloud of confusion I am showing renewed interest in all my old activities. And I look back on the past two years and cannot remember much. My mom told me my horse wore a pink blanket last year. I said no way I never saw her in one. And she said well you didn’t see her much last year. And at dinner last week for the pregnancy resource center, we were talking about last year’s dinner and discovered it was the year before last… I couldn’t even remember them talking about a dinner last year. This is the fog of confusion and adoption creates. But I am resurfacing. I am taking notice. I am digging in. My hair dyed back to the bright auburn of high school days, too much money spent on my horse, and digging deep to find myself and my kids. And enjoy both.

Speaking of kids…. We. Have. A. Teenager. We had the party last weekend but today was her actually day. I took her banner from her party and hung it outside her door and let her do pretty much whatever she wanted to today. Which meant a combination of watching movies, videos, and music. Oh. And then she cleaned and organized her room. And went to bed at 7:30. Yeah. I’m serious. This is not a dream. I’ve pinched myself to be sure!!!

In other news. We had our first family counseling session Saturday. I found a counselor that is bilingual. She’s not Latina and Ericka told her to her face that she would prefer that but then she proceeded to open up and talk to her. We just got to know one another. Told the story of how they became orphans and discussed how things have been going and what we would like to see come from our meetings. I really liked her. Her Spanish accent is different than I’m used to but I could understand almost everything that was said. Which makes me happy happy happy. Too bad it’s in Louisville :( but I think it will be worth it. Next appt is dec 7. Which I already found out is the same day I already planned something…. So now I juggle the schedule. Haha. What’s new.

I’ve been on an emotional roller coaster lately and not necessarily at my best. Lots of shed tears. Lots of anger. Which I’m not used to. I’ll be the first to admit to having anxiety. But this was different. I’ve prayed a lot. I’ve asked people to pray for me. And today I feel better. It took someone reminding me what our hopes and prayers looked like last year. Oh adoption you are so hard. And we wanted these kids so hard and for so long. Time, no, past time to remember that and and let the love I feel for them show through. Yes it’s frustrating at times to have sooooo many people talking to me at one time. But worth it. DIOS es bueno. Y nosotros somos una familia para siempre. Y este yo me gusta!!! (God is good. And we are a family forever. And I like it)

Along with my rediscovered love for my kids, was my patience and appropriate discipline. We’ve been letting some things slide that we shouldn’t. And after a warning that better behavior was going to be expected, several had timeout/consequences today. Our main issues: not listening / having to say (loudly) name too many times to get attention and/or not obeying the first time. The day ended with some really good obeying kids. Por fin! Finally! Hahahaha.

Prayers for my friends in Costa Rica now for the finalization of their adoption to go smoothly so they can get home quickly and my friends that are reviewing some waiting child files to have peace and clarity in their decision and for others that are just starting the process in country, for all to go smoothly. And our prayers remain that our bonding continuing and we all continue to grown in our confidence of our places within this family and with each other.

Gracias a Dios y buenas noches.

Weather

Well. The kids are used to much more consistent weather in Costa Rica. All the time sunny. Or all the time rainy. With about the same temp. Ericka is like “que raro no entiendo ni papa. Hace mucho frío en la mañana, hace calor en la tarde, nieve mañana, a veces lluvia” (it’s weird. I don’t understand a thing! It’s cold in the morning, it’s warm in the afternoon, snow tomorrow, sometimes rain) oh the things we take for granted!

Also. Temperature controlled inside air….. They want to dress for the temperature inside the house and then are SHOCKED when they go outside!!!!! No matter how many times I say it’s cold out…..

Also. I have now 2 boys that HATE wearing coats…. But they are…. I have 1 little girl that loves coats and 1 that hates pants, shoes, long sleeves, and coats….. And one big girl that hates “poofy” coats…. So she wants to wear light jackets….. Ugh….

Hahahahahahahahahhahaha

Ok. Time to get them up and tell them they get to go to school in the freezing cold and snow today!