School Schedule 2010-2011
This is the post where I share some of the nitty gritty of our school schedule/days, and it might be long! And it might have a few pictures :)
I know often people wonder how a large, home schooling family functions. I know that often, I have been blessed, encouraged, and helped by what others have shared with me as they care for and/or school their children. And I'm so thankful for the Lord so patiently and continually teaching me, guiding me, and helping me as I strive to carry out each responsibility He's given me. So with that, I share our days with you.
I know that I'm no expert on really anything...I know I have so much still to learn! But I just am so happy! I love our days! I'm so thankful for the Lord's daily guidance, presence, and love! How sweet it is to simply trust Him with child like faith! How complicated I can make it sometimes when I want to do things my way or want to follow my own plan which may not be His. His yoke is easy and His burden is light!
Each Friday night we are able, Daniel takes me out for a date. I look forward to that time all week long :) We talk and talk and talk...and He lets me talk about anything and we just have such a blessed time together and I feel I just love him more and more all the time...how is that even possible I wonder!?! But it is! And it is just like that with the Lord. The more I am with Him, the more I feel His love and the more I love Him!
I told Daniel tonight that this is just the best year ever! I just feel overflowing with joy all the time! How good the Lord is to give us His joy! It is priceless and precious. It is far deeper than happiness, for happiness comes from our circumstances, but joy comes for Christ...from deep within our heart and nothing can take that away!
For those who may not know, about 7-8 years ago, I was given a book by Steve and Teri Maxwell called Managers of Their Homes. It was simply a book to help Christian, home schooling moms manage their time/days and accomplish all that God had called them to do. At the time, I believe I was pregnant with our 7th child and our others were ages 6 and under. I was a very busy mommy! And I was making it okay...I only had a couple that I was schooling, but as the years went on, I realized what a blessing the Lord had given me through what the Maxwells shared.
There were a few principles I learned back then that are still very important to me today .
1) The Lord has not given me more to accomplish than He has given me time in the day. If I "don't have time" then either I am using my time in something that I shouldn't be or what I want to do and think is important isn't what He has called me to do at that time.
2) Ask the Lord to show me what my priorities/ responsibilities/goals should be each year. There are so many "good" things that can be done, and so many things we can focus on. But the Lord knows just what we need to focus on...just what we need to be spending our time doing. And I want to please Him and there is so much peace and joy in giving my time and days to Him to direct as He will. In Romans, God tells us to yield our members as instruments of righteousness unto Him (Rom. 6:13). I was just telling the children this week that yield means to give up and submit. We are to give God our lips, hands, feet etc...to use as He wants.
And finally, 3) I learned that a little time given to anything, if faithfully done each day, adds up to much! How do you teach a child to read? A little bit of time each day, and it's amazing what they've learned in just a couple of weeks. How do you learn an instrument, organize an area, memorize a passage of Scripture, write a report? I am always amazed how quickly a little bit of time given adds up soon to so much. And that is one of the blessings of our school schedule. It's a tool to help us accomplish those goals and responsibilities we have! Little by little, step by step...
So I share with you a little bit about our days. Each family is unique. Our family is different than yours. And while every family has many of the same responsibilities, every family has many different ones as well and how we carry out those tasks will differ to based on our needs. For example, we have 12 children and our oldest was only 12 when our youngest was born. We live in a small town in Mexico. We work in the ministry together. My husband can be needed at any time, day or night, to help someone in need. We home school our children. Our children are mostly still very young. All those things make us different than other families. So how we do something or the time we spend on something may be different than that of another family. Through prayer and knowing the needs of our family, we made our yearly schedule.
I do not want to discourage anyone! We do not think that there is a "right" way vs. "wrong" way to order our days. God tells us to redeem the time, and this is the way that we have found that best enables us to do that.
The schedule is our tool; the children love to follow it! It helps give much order and stability to their days. I rarely hear, "I'm bored!" or "I don't know what to do!". It blesses me because at the end of each day, rather than feeling I have just "spun my wheels" and worked non-stop but have nothing to show for it, I know that I have worked on the areas I need to.
Yes, we have to be flexible. A neighbor stops by, someone is in need, a child gets sick, a bag of dried beans gets spilled all over the floor and needs to be cleaned, we lose power, so we have no computers, there are disagreements that need to be taken care of, a little one bumps his head and needs love, comfort and some ice :) etc... But overall, we do our best to follow our schedule and yet be sensitive to other needs the Lord brings our way.
This year, our schedule is a bit more flexible even in it's writing than in other years. It just seems to be what works best at this time in our lives.
I love the job the Lord has called me to do! I was telling Daniel last night that this is just the most wonderful year ever! The Lord answered so many prayers as we were praying about our schedule, schooling, and other areas in our home and lives. And I'm just so thankful!
Here are some specifics that have been big blessing to our schedule this year that differ from years past:
*Starting earlier each day
We have always started our school work at 9 am each year. But this year, we are starting about 45 minutes earlier. We are accomplishing much now before lunch time.
*Hna. Tola as a helper
Hermana (sister) Tola is a dear widow lady who has been part of our church from almost the beginning. She has brought up her 16 year old grandson, Ivan, since he was a baby. This summer, she was in need of a job as she works to provide for herself and Ivan. We had often talked about having a lady come to help in the home, and it seemed as the Lord arranged it just perfectly at this time for her to begin working here with us. What a blessing she has been! She arrives just as I'm finishing my time with the Lord in the morning and while I get the children up, dressed, do some chores around the home and check the children's chores, she makes us breakfast. After breakfast, the children clean up the kitchen and dining room, but she washes the dishes which enables us to start school earlier. While I'm teaching, she works on the laundry, does some general cleaning, and prepares lunch. After lunch, she again washes the dishes and sweeps/mops. Ivan arrives shortly afterwards from school, eats lunch, and then takes his grandma home.
She is so sweet, loves the children, and while we miss our family in the USA so much, it is like having an adopted Grandma right here. She's here Monday through Friday and I feel so very spoiled! I don't know how long this will last, but I'm enjoying the blessing of her help each day to the fullest!
*Some classes taught by video
Since the Lord gave us a child each year for 12 years, I will be home schooling all 12 of them Timothy and Elijah's final year of high school. This year, I'm schooling 9, with 2 pre-schoolers and baby Samuel. We had been praying the last couple years about the possibility of someone from the states coming to help me with the home schooling. We had some possibilities, but the Lord seemed to close the door. Abeka (which is the curriculum we mainly use) offers their classes via dvd or internet streaming. They have samples of their classes for each grade online. Our children loved to watch the video samples "for fun" :). Daniel started praying about the possibility of us using the video school for some of our children in order to lighten my load and give me more time to work with the others. It wasn't something we could afford, but we just prayed and asked the Lord to open the door as He willed. We just asked Him and left it in His hands to direct. And He worked everything out! Being missionaries, Abeka gave us a discount, the Lord provided the money needed for school, and we were able to get online streaming for some of the children's classes.
I was a bit nervous not knowing how it would go and hoping it would be a blessing and not a burden. The Lord is so good, and He knew! :) It has been just wonderful! The children are enjoying it so much, I've been able to spend extra time helping a couple of mine who need that extra teaching time and they've been growing and learning so much. I still work with the ones using the video's each day...they read to me, I love to read the older boys reports and help them with their assignments as they need it. I'm just so thankful!
*Giving direction to our little energy-filled Nehemiah
(Managing a very active 3 year old)
Often we hear, "Oh, your children all look alike." But what I love is how very different they all are! God has made each one so unique with different strengths, weaknesses, personalities, talents, likes, dislikes, etc... We've had 3 very easy going, laid back, quiet ones. And then there's the rest :) They are full of energy, thoughts, and ideas...and they talk a lot. :) Don't know where they got that from since Daniel and I are soooo quiet. ha! :) I just look into Nehemiah's eyes and I can almost see the thoughts running through his head. He is so full of life and I tell you, this past summer, he was constantly in trouble! Getting into something, doing something he shouldn't, putting together some strange contraption, acting out something, jumping, running, climbing, touching everything. He definitely kept me on my toes and quite entertained!
One day, Daniel said, "Jaynee, that child needs something to do most every minute of the day. It is only then that he is not in trouble." And he was right! If Nehemiah was working along side Daniel or I in a project or if we were playing a game together or he was helping someone do something, he was as good as could be. He just needs something to do! As I was working on our school schedule and the children were getting their new books and their desks ready for school, I asked Nehemiah if he wanted to start school. His big, brown eyes lit up, and he got the biggest, cutest smile, jumped up and down several times while saying, "Yes!! I want to do school! I love school!" I gave him his own little drawer, with his own little work books. He got a pencil box with pencils, glue, crayons, and and eraser. Daddy had an extra little Bible on his desk that he didn't use and he gave it to Nehemiah as he would want to study the Bible too. And wow! What a change! While he still has his moments, we are no longer saying, "Oh no! Nehemiah!" every 15 minutes.
He has Bible class with us all each morning, then he writes someone a letter (I write it out for him and he traces each letter with a crayon and colors a picture), then he and Susannah color together until it's break time and all the younger ones go outside to play for half an hour. When he comes in, he gets all his school books and he and Susannah do flash cards and work on work sheets with me. When we finish, Rebekah (who's simply wonderful with the little ones...she loves to teach and is so creative!) takes them outside for her break for a half hour and does school with them. Then he comes in until lunch and works on his "home work" with mommy. After lunch, he takes a rest and afterwards, he listens to his brothers read to mommy, has a snack, and we play together for a while. By then, most of the other children are finishing up their school/chores for the day and he either plays with them or sometimes just sticks with me because he loves to be hugged. :) And I love to hug all my children as often as they'll let me! :-)
Well, the rest is much the same as our other years...we all do chores in the morning, afternoon and evening. We love to work together and many hands make light work! :) We love to play together as often as we can. We love to share Christ with others. We love to help others. We just love being a family and are so thankful for the many people the Lord has put into our lives to bless, encourage, and pray for us as we serve Him. We pray we can be used to bless others and love them just as Jesus has loved us.
Anyways, we so enjoy our days! We don't schedule weekends as Sunday we are working in the church all day and Saturdays are filled with extra cleaning, grocery shopping, and other misc. projects that there isn't time for during the week days.
Our schedule often changes a bit in the evenings...Tuesday is family night (a trip to the park, a walk around the neighborhood, playing games in the back yard, going to visit someone in our church), Wednesday is prayer meeting, Thursday is all church soul winning, and Friday is date night.
But we always want to being and end each day with the Word and prayer and singing. I love hearing the children's questions about the Lord, hearing their prayers, seeing their excitement at answered prayer, and to see the Lord continually work in their hearts just as He does in mine. They, like their mommy and daddy, are far from perfect and struggle with the same things that we do...pride, envy, selfishness, anger, laziness. But the Lord is so faithful and how thankful I am for His forgiveness and His continual work in our hearts! The older I get, the more I know how much I need Him. And while I can follow a schedule, work my best, and do all I know to do, it is He alone that works in the hearts and lives of my children. And How I ask each day for His grace, His work, and His loving hand to touch their lives. And when I give each concern, burden, and care to Him, and I trust that He has heard and He will work, each day is a welcome blessing and even the troubles and problems that arise, I know that He is working!
Well, did you make it through all the way to the end? :-) Oh, and as to how I'm feeling physically/recovery... I am feeling like a new person! I'm so thankful for so many blessings! Oh, how He loves us! Thank you so much for your prayers!
I Corinthians 1:25-31
"Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For ye see our calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty not many noble, are called: But God hath chose the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and bas things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in His presence. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord."
I love listening to them read!
When this this little boy become a man?
They bring their books to the living room where I teach when it is their turn
Working on math
Completing pages at their desks
Hi Samuel! Do you like your lunch?
Susannah gets a Bible out each morning to read. When I finish up my chores, if there is still time before breakfast, she always wants me to read her some verses. The other day, I had 4 little ones on my lap listening to me read the verses they chose :)
Nehemiah's turn to help with the flag/Bible salutes and lead in prayer for our day.
Big, proud 1st grader Noah
Nehemiah is "SO" excited :)
Working on his letter
Studying hard...hanging a sheet in the window to keep the hot sun out!
Benjamin letting the little ones help him clean out a drawer from the fridge