Summah time again....or, the return of the Diary of a P.A. student ('s wife).

  It's here! Today starts our summer vacation...the longest break we've EVER taken from homeschooling (ok, so I've only been doing this for 4 years. But still.) We had adopted a year-round school model when we moved to AZ, because it's crazy-hot here in the summer and what else are we going to do when it's 115 out? But then there was this year.
    This year was....hard, homeschooling-wise. We learned a lot (yes, we as in I AND the kids), we did a lot, we read a lot (a lot a lot) but it was HARD. Especially once January hit. I've made some modifications to the way we do things and weeded things out that aren't essentials (I may be a little ambitious in my homeschool dreams vs. what we can actually handle. Maybe.) and things have smoothed out reasonably in the past couple of months. But Pax and I still need a break. Blythe, she's one who could (and would, if we'd let her) continue on with school every day all year long. But she needs a break, too, whether she knows it or not. And not just any break, but an extended break this time--6 (or maybe even 8!) whole weeks of playing and friends and traveling and swimming and reading and baking...learning, yes, always, but doing it in a much less structured, more creative and interest-led way.
And I.can't.wait.
    I have a booklist of my own for the summer; and, yes, plans to do some organizing and cleaning out. Plans to sew and to take my "real" camera with me more places and slow down and enjoy the beauty we stumble across. Plans to spend time doing what the kids want to do, whatever they want to do... plans to write, even (gasp!) to blog; and to spend hours with good friends laughing deeply and talking even more deeply and re-setting.
    You see, if I've learned anything during this year, it's that I can't do it all. WE can't do it all. So I've been leaning in and seeking my "why" for this season; which has meant weeding out a lot of other things are wrestling with my ambitions and, yes, my pride. In homeschooling, in photography, in worship, in chicken-farming, and in every other part of our life-because this is where we're at. Defining our "why" makes it SO much easier to say "no" to good things that come along, and leave way for the best things. Because Adam is almost done with school, and there are some huge decisions facing him right now. He'll graduate in August, take his boards, and then start practicing medicine. But the question right now is where and how he'll be doing that....so really, this break comes at the perfect time. For reflecting, for digging in, and for solidifying our "why" as we move forward as a family. For being less distracted by my lists and more open to listening.
And I.can't.wait.


Oh, this kid...

     My parents came to visit a few weeks ago, to see Blythe's end-of-the-year dance recital and  giving Adam & I a chance to go away for a night to celebrate our anniversary-our ninth! We went as a family to drop them off at the airport Monday evening, and per usual one child was crying as we drove away. This time, it was the littlest guy. He started out crying about them leaving, but soon he decided to start throwing a fit about the fact that we were listening to Adventures in Odyssey instead of...anything else. He was throwing a royal fit, which in this house means you don't get what you want...so the other 4 of us were (more or less) happily listening to the story. Finally, 3 miles from home, he started winding down. But he wasn't quite done yet. So, as he whined and whimpered and tried to think of something else to cry about, he suddenly wailed, "Bob Latrielle..." which happens to be the production engineer for Adventures in Odyssey. And Adam and I immediately cracked up.
"Bob Latrielle...."
Oh, this kid. This costume-changing, warrior-loving, word-playing, fierce and cuddly three-year-old...what would we do without you??


Morning Thoughts.

It's still early-6:29-but our day is speeding along. I've been up for over an hour already, did a little exercise, made a smoothie, sat down to spend some time with The Lord...quail and woodpeckers are playing  on our roof. It's foam, so this means those little patterning bird feet are very loud. It's like Wild Kingdom here sometimes...quail,rabbits,lizards galore, chickens, the occasional snake...lots of bugs. I love our little slice of country-in-the-city.
    School starts again today, after a nice long spring break full of Easter and birthdays and grandparents and shopping and trips to the air museum and the zoo...a good visit.
Now back to reality.
Reality hasn't been so easy lately, on the homeschool front. When you have a kid who "doesn't want to be taught" it's....well...there are days I want to find the closest school and enroll the kid. But this is where God has landed us for now, and for as long as He says "homeschool", we will. I'm trying a few new things; letting go of getting through a curriculum in a set time and focusing on mastery and a love of learning.
Mostly, though, connecting to my children's hearts. I truly, deeply desire that connection. Because, honestly... homeschool is nothing without the relationship.
And sending my kid to school May take the pressure off of me for a few years; but it won't change my child's heart and make it teachable.
Character....it's vital to teach in these little years. So that when they go off one day-to school or to a job or to college or the mission field or wherever God calls them-their heads aren't just filled with knowledge; their hearts are filled with godly character. Because that matters more in the long run, honestly. Would both be nice? Sure. But if it's a hard day and the choice it between forcing the. Curriculum and working on character-I want to choose character every time.
Theirs and mine.
I'm being taught and refined  and re shaped just as much-honestly' probably more! Than they are.
I prayed for more patience one, several years ago....and The Lord told us to homeschool.
Delightfully ironic. Uncomfortable.  And beautiful.

As I journaled last Wednesday, this was my heart's prayer...
               "How often I try to fight the battle my way-
without asking my Captain for His orders.
               What are they today, lord?"
He responded-
"Keep your feet steady. Raise your heart to me. Serve them, with love, to renew your mind.
              It's not in the "whats", it's in the "hows" and the "whys". 

Amen, Lord. So be it. I raise my Heart to you. Steady my feet, as I serve them today (and tomorrow, and the next day...). Create in me a clean heart, O God. It starts with me. It starts with you. Amen.