Sunday, January 27, 2013

Homeschool, WHAT?!

Anyone who knows me will know that I am a poor candidate to be a homeschool mom.
It's not that I don't like the idea.
It's that I stink at teaching school.
Part of the reason is that I just don't enjoy it and don't want to do it.
Nor do I like doing any type of 'kid' activity.
Hence...the poor candidate I am.

Not liking kid activities also makes me a poor candidate to be the mom of 10 kids.
But God wanted to show others that He is still in the business of doing miracles.
So He gave us 10 kids.
And they are reasonably well adjusted in spite of my weaknesses in many areas.
I do adore them.  They are the source of incredible blessing to me.

About a month or so ago, I was asked to share our adoption story with some of the women at our church.  I explained to them how I was not cut out to be the mom of a large brood but that God had stepped in a picked up the slack.  (Lots and lots of slack.)  I was encouraging them to step out in faith if God was leading them to do something that seemed crazy and it was on the tip of my tongue to say, "You me homeschooling or something like that."

I'm pretty sure I didn't utter those words out loud.
I know from past experience that if I do say something like, "I won't,"  or "I'll never," it won't be long before God will say, "Oh yes you will."
He laughs when He says that.
It's not a mean kind of thing.  He doesn't force me.  He just invites me in a very persuasive kind of way.
And I can't resist Him.
Mostly because I have learned that if He asks me to do something, there is a ton of blessing involved and it's in my best interest to go along with Him.
So basically, it's selfish on my part.
I want the blessing.

So recently, He started in with the homeschooling thing.
You DO remember that I tried this once and was an EPIC FAIL, right?

Yes, He remembered.
But He had a different plan.
One that involved video teaching so that I don't teach the subjects...I just make sure they are doing them and grade their tests, etc.
But wait....I tried something similar and failed at that too.


He continued to lay it on my heart and gave me lots of Scripture DAILY with things like, "Don't be afraid."  "I'll be with you."
He reminded me that our income had been shrinking lately and it might behoove me to find a way to cut our expenses.  (Thank you, Mr. Obama.  Not that I'm bitter...just speaking the truth.)

I asked the kids if they would want to be homeschooled.
They did.
Their response was enthusiastic, to put it mildly.

Everyone knows that once you mention something to a kid, you HAVE to do it or they will bother you incessantly until you follow through.
We parents just can't stand up to the reproachful eye of a 7 year old who says, "But you SAID you would."

So we took the plunge.
We ordered the videos and books.
They came in box after box.
And I wanted to cry.
I was so completely overwhelmed.
I sent a distress signal via text to Jeff...."We needs more shelves!"
We have an IKEA not far from where he works and he headed over there and brought us a bookcase with cubbies so we could put the incredibly huge amount of stuff away.  Love that and decent quality.

By the third day we were crying.  I was so frustrated trying to figure out the schedule.  After I apologized for losing it, we all decided to soldier on and make the best of things.

And it got better.  I've been praying a lot.  God is amazing.  He always comes through!

Let's recap, shall we?
I am not cut out for this.
But God is....
And He gives me what I need.

I realized at the end of every tiring day....
I had JOY in my heart.
The kind of joy that comes from God when we obey Him.  A supernatural kind of joy that makes no sense.
Because obviously, homeschooling 8 kids shouldn't fill a person like me with JOY.  {snicker...}

And the kids?  They LOVE it!  They have been telling me over and over how much they love being homeschooled and in spite of my pathetic attempts, they say they love having me for a teacher!  SaraGrace says she wants to be homeschooled for the rest of her life.   All I can say to that is that God is still in the business of performing miracles.

We have had so much fun together (even though we had those moments of crying)! 

I am so thankful that He has called us to do this!  I am looking forward to what He will do with ALL of us as we spend each day together.

I took some pictures of the older kids in their PJ's doing school but since they are party-poopers, they have forbidden me from posting any of them.

So here are some boring iPhone shots of the 'school room.'

All of their pencils, erasers, etc. are in buckets with their names on them.  They can carry them around the house if they are doing their work in a different room.  The older kids don't want the little kids in the school room when they are on the computer, so the little ones come down to the kitchen to do their workbooks.

They each have a cubby--which SaraGrace informed me was for kindergartner's--and I informed her that I didn't much care.  Baaahahahahahaha   That pile of paper in the right corner is a huge paper chain they made on Friday that stretches from one end of the house to the other.  We are going to try to hang it up.  The curriculum came with an art project for each week but since we are starting in the middle of the year, they can do the projects from the first semester.  They did one each day and had so much fun.  I think I'm going to have to find an art idea website for them.  Anyone?  Anyone?  Bueller?

I will keep you posted on our adventure. 

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Round Two of Sickness

Just when we thought that all the sickness was gone from our house...

Round Two.

This time, Chloe, Molly and Mommy succumbed.

I forgot how crummy you can feel with a fever and a cough.  I'm just glad I'm in my own house and not on a trip.

The doctor is sending Tamiflu prescriptions for SaraGrace and Kate since they have somehow miraculously escaped illness.  With their compromised hearts, it's not good for them to get the flu.

I would add a picture of Chloe, Molly and I sitting on the couch with blankets, but it would seriously disturb you and burn your retina's

So I will spare you.
You're welcome.

Saturday, January 05, 2013

Update on My Dad

My dad had a biopsy yesterday on the tumor in his bladder.  It was not good news.  It has grown from the size of a quarter to the size of a softball since August.

The doctor is going to discuss things with the oncologists and come up with a plan.  There is a possibility that they can go in and remove the tumor but we won't know until next week if that is going to be a viable option.

My parents are both tired and my mom is very sad.  But they are hanging on to God and He is walking them through this.

My dad was able to write his life story for his grandchildren and presented it to all of us at Christmas.  It was so cool to read the stories--many of which I have heard--but some I had not.  We also spent some time reminiscing about my dad's sense of humor and the jokes he had played on people over the years.

My mom came into the room and said, "Yeah....he pulled one on me last week at the hospital."  They have just started going to Cleveland Clinic for treatment, so all the doctors are new to them.  They have a doctor named, Dr. Stein.  My dad told my mom that Dr. Stein's assistant's name was Dr. Franken.  My mom, not expecting a joke from a very sick husband, thought nothing of it.
She came back from lunch one day and asked my dad, "Has Dr. Franken been in to see you yet?"
My dad gave her a look and then started laughing.
There is no dynamic-duo-doctors named Franken Stein.

We all went into gales of laughter imagining the look on the assistant's face if my mom had actually addressed him as Dr. Franken.

The little kids are completely impressed by my dad's ability to take a handful of meds in one gulp.  They all cluster around to watch the spectacle. 
My dad always says, "Down the hatch!" 
And the kids all chorus, "Down da hatch!"
They find this mesmerizing.

Here are a series of pictures of the morning event.
Getting ready to watch Grandpa down his meds.

"Need any help, Grandpa?"

This is truly fascinating.

"Down the hatch!"

"Good job, Grandpa!"