Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Spring Break 2010: The Ft. Worth Botanic Gardens, Japanese Style (My 3)

During the kids' Spring Break I took them to Ft. Worth for the day.  While we have been to the Arboretum in Dallas many times, we had never been to the Botanic Gardens in Ft. Worth.  On this beautiful Spring day in March, that was our first stop...

The Botanic Gardens is a huge place.  We had not planned on only visiting the Japanese Gardens section, but on this day it is all that we had time for.  It was so beautiful!

I love when my kids laugh! 

~jumping on the stepping stones ~
We enjoyed feeding the fish!
I am honored to be their mom!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

A New Adventure: Here We Go

A new adventure is beginning for our family... and it seems like a really, really huge deal to me.  While I have partially homeschooled my kids for 8 years as they have gone to school on Tuesdays and Thursdays and been homeschooled the other days of the week, I have never homeschooled them 100%.  I have never chosen a curriculum.  Never considered lesson plans.  Never been totally and completely in charge of my child's education.

Earlier this school year it was clear that the course we were on for Allie's schooling was not working.  At that point, I began looking into our options for a new school situation.  With her entering 8th grade in fall and nearing high school, I knew that there was much more at stake with her education than there had ever been before.  I checked into a few schools and even toured one... Were we ready to move to a 5 day model?  Was a full-time Christian school the route that we should take?  Were we ready to leave our Christian school/ homeschool combination and enter the public school world?  Should I look into homeschooling her full time?  What would that mean? For her?  For our family?  For me?  Was I capable of that?  Would I be able to figure out how to do the whole thing by myself?    I was open to whatever the Lord had for us, but even as I prayed for guidance I was completely confused about what I should do.  As most parents do, I take this job seriously.  The idea of messing my kids up or not providing the best for them makes me ill.  Literally.  The last several months have been very stress-filled as I have anxiously and repeatedly asked God to show me His will in this area and to give me peace regarding the kids' educations.  And I have waited (some-what) patiently for His answer.  A neon, flashing sign telling me what to do would have been my preference, but He doesn't seem to speak to me in that way.

As time went by, Corey, Allie, and I all felt led to consider the option of totally homeschooling more seriously.  In the last couple of weeks I have had a passion to consume as much information about it as possible.  I have talked to any mom of older homeschoolers that I could get my hands on.  I have asked them for advise and prayer, and they have generously shared of their wealths of knowledge with me.  I have researched classes and clubs and curriculums until I was thinking in scopes and sequences.  And I have prayed.  A lot.

Last week, I had the opportunity to take Allie to the art museum - just me and her.  It was an unexpected treat.  I didn't take her there with the intention of deciding about homeschooling her, but that is the day that I think I knew that we were going to do this thing.  We arrived at the museum around 9:30 because I thought that it opened at 10:00.  To our surprise, it didn't open until 11:00, so we strolled the streets of downtown Dallas and ended up in a Starbucks.  While we sipped our drinks I asked her, "If we decided to homeschool you what would you want to learn about?"  We talked about history, and english, and art, and many, many other things.  We talked about her interests and passions.  We talked about our strengths and weaknesses and how we would handle it when (not if) things get hard.  It was a precious time with my girl, and I think I knew - right then and there - that we were about to embark on this journey together.  When we were at the museum, we enjoyed the art - something that she loves - together, and I knew then, "I could do this!"

Today, I went to the huge homeschool bookfair  in our area, and I spent 8 hours learning about different curriculums and piecing our puzzle together.  The last few weeks of researching curriculum and deciding what I thought would work good for us right now coupled with finding the combination of subjects that fit together to meet our needs has taken more brain power than I have expended in a long, long time... and it felt good.  I went from totally confused and overwhelmed with my choices to fairly certain and very excited as I made my decisions regarding which curriculums we will use.

I can't wait to see how this year plays itself out.  If there is anything that I know for sure, it is that we will have to be flexible as we work out the details of how to homeschool in this new way, but I think it is going to be great.  I don't know what the Lord's plan for us is beyond this school year, but I am anxious to get the chance to school Allie in a way that I have never thought that I wanted to before.  I am ready for the challenges that we might face, and I am excited to see where this road takes us.

So buckle up... here we go!

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