Friday, August 1, 2014

Growing as we're going

Though it's been a nine month stretch since my last blog post, I've many times WANTED to blog but life has been a continuous roller coaster and finding the time to write about it seemed nearly impossible.

But with a year of many ups and downs and plenty of learning in so many areas, I'm standing still for a moment to reflect back...

Before our big US trip we had moved house - at least just in the same town. But moving is moving. Tiring, a huge interruption for school and yes, exciting too.

Our 2 month trip around the States was very educational. But not in the way you might expect.

I learned that we are NOT campers! (I actually knew that but we thought we'd give it a try anyway)

We are especially not campers in the WINTER, in the SNOW! Oh and it was our first time in snow too. It's a rather peculiar thing. I was quite surprised that kids can play in the snow and brush it right off (accept when they rolled around in it for too long, their clothes WILL get soaked) And that certain fabrics are NOT meant to be worn in the snow.

But I was pleasantly surprised that though I don't like the cold, I actually quite enjoyed the snow. And other than expected I stayed healthy the whole trip. Unfortunately three of the kids where sick on and off the whole trip - with fevers running as high as 40.2'C (104.3'F)

We learned to be very flexible in our planning... We had no idea that to drive 'cross country in the winter means you have to reach your daily destination by 4pm to have enough daylight for setup before nightfall! We adjusted the route several times to get to our have-to destinations on time.

We had no choice but to be flexible when every destination we reached had a much-earlier or history-making amount of snowfall. We left Chicago a day earlier to avoid Grand Rapids' oncoming worst-storm-in-20-years. That was quite an experience for this first-time-in-snow family! I cannot imagine how people live with that amount of snow for months on end?!

It took us a while to process everything - because when you're right smack in the middle of it - not everything is always exciting and happy. But reflecting back, we all agree it was a great holiday.

Oh yes, and I learned that where we use "holiday" for any trip that excludes school and work, others prefer "vacation".

It was a great vacation! The once in a lifetime kind. The we'll-never-get-to-do-this-again kind.

Ending the time off in the UAE for some sun and sand was so good!! And a great way to get over most of the jetlag from a 11-hour time zone change.

But scarcely 6 weeks back home and we hit the road again... This time back to our hometown to have our annual visit with family who wouldn't get to see us otherwise. And 2 weeks turn into 5 weeks away...

Once we got home we've had to put some extra effort into school to make up for all the vacation-time. But life had another few curveballs coming...

As we started the journey of starting our NPO that God has been leading us to, we find our feature unrolling in a slightly different way from what we expected. For years we've been talking about and wanting to be more flexible and willing to travel with the kids but with babies/toddlers or a baby on the way we've felt it better for me to stay home with the kids. Though we've moved countries a few times, I've always stayed at home while hubby does most of the traveling.

Now our youngest is on his way to 5 and it's not that hard to travel with kids anymore.

As our foundation is rolling out across the globe I have decided I am ready to take the next step of flexibility and to really take our school on the road. Up to now school was always at home and traveling was for fun and the learning experience. But could we actually combine the two?

We'll see in the coming months...

But first I'm getting ready for a break away with my dear husband to Italy next week :)

Thursday, December 5, 2013

The blessing of friends

When we extended a hand of hospitality to a girl a few months ago we didn't expect anything in return. It was such a blessing to us to provide a place for her to recover from an illness.

It turns out that she lives in a town we had planned to visit during our vacation - and that's where we find ourselves now. What a great opportunity to catch up with her and meet her family.

After about 5 days in the RV (which was preceded with and included intense jet lag and motion sickness for me) it was REALLY nice to stop off and visit at someone's home.

But it got even better... They had prepared a room for each of us! I am so grateful to be on solid ground again! Don't get me wrong, the whole RV thing is nice but since I've had such severe motion sickness lately, it's not high on my list of fun activities.

Today they have blessed us with a whole day of play at the family's indoor kids adventure park. The kids are having so much fun - well, dad and the grandparents are actually having as much fun, if not more!

As I'm sitting here, taking it all in, I'm once again amazed at how life can lead to unexpected places, people and blessings when we allow God to direct us.

Everyone we interact with is another opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus in this world. May we reach out to others today and be a blessing to them.

Sent from my iPhone

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Before we start our travels...

It's a race against time here to finish the formal part of our curriculum for this year before we literally take our classroom on the road. We are super excited to be able to do a 2 month holiday in the States which  will include a trip with the RV.

As homeschoolers, even holidays are learning times (don't tell the kids that! They learn without realizing it!) I'm hoping to do a few interesting posts along the way.

Counting down...

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Catching up

What a hectic few months... So much has happened and I've had much to reflect upon. One thing that I realized (again) is that I'm not a good blogger! There just doesn't seem to be enough hours in a day.

On the school front, we are actually doing really well this year. That being considering I've left the country twice and we've recently moved house (again). At least this time it's within the same town.

I've switched to a new Language Arts curriculum for my two oldest boys. The Latin Road to English Grammar.

It has been a really good choice for us. My oldest has much to catch up to reach grade level but it at long last seems possible. We're only 6 weeks into the course so I'll give a better review of the product in a few months time.

For more info on The Latin Road visit Barbara's page

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Speaking the truth

I faced one of those difficult moments this week when encountering someone who made a mistake but they are not willing to admit it. Instead, they flat-out denied it. That's a hard one to swallow when you saw the truth with your own two eyes.

Haven't we all landed in a situation where you made a mistake and you wish you can take it back. A moment when you wish no-one saw your foolishness.

I've certainly been there.

Sometimes it's really hard to fight the embarrassment and just admit "hey, I made a mistake... and I'm sorry"

I guess the hardest part is that last statement "I'm sorry"

Why is it that people find it so difficult to say that? Why do we feel it's better to pretend I never did anything wrong than just admitting it and saying sorry?

Yeah, I know. Human nature. Our sinful nature.

Truth is... it takes practice to admit being wrong. And even when you are in the habit of admitting your mistakes - it's still not nice to have to do it!

Telling the truth is a BIG deal in our house. Our kids knows that no matter what they did, telling the truth about it counts a whole lot more than whatever it is they are admitting to.

The biggest lesson I've had to learn is not to judge!

Just because I live by Matthew 5:33 "Let your yes be yes, and your no be no" does not mean I can judge others for not placing the same value on those principles! After all, I'm nowhere near perfect - I fail at dozens of things that others don't.

So these are 2 life lessons that I have been reminded of again this week - 2 of the things that I like to instill in my kids...

- Let your YES be YES and let your NO be NO (speak the truth no matter how hard it is)

- Do NOT judge others for not valuing the same principles as you (you are not perfect either)

Monday, July 1, 2013

Understanding The Declaration of Independence

Our history for kid #2 happen to fall into perfect timing with the upcoming American Independence Day. We have just finished the history of the American Revolution and I came across a great site that simplified the Declaration of Independence. It's definitely the best version I've seen so far - and you will find many other helpful articles and lessons on their site at Kidipede.

Help your younger kids understand history from an early age and they will have a greater understanding of what is going on today.