As of Tuesday, May 31, about 5:00 pm, we officially finished our 2010-2011 school year!!!!!!!!
The children worked so hard the past 2 weeks to get all their books/lessons completed. I was so proud of them! They still had to do their regular chores when they were done studying for the day, so there wasn't much free time at all those days, but (with some encouragement from Mommy) they persevered and they woke up June 1st knowing that it was officially "summer"!
Proverbs 16:9 says, "A man's heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps".
I had a plan for our summer this year. With our upcoming travels this fall, I decided that we would take a couple weeks off of school, do some projects/cleaning/special activities, and then get right into our 2011/12 school year. We had ordered our books, I was praying about just how to organize our year/classes, and just wanted to get a head start so we wouldn't get behind during our furlough traveling.
I do not like to get behind. I would much rather be ahead. In my mind, it sounded like a great plan.
But the Lord directed differently. And I know His way is best.
The Lord began to bring some things to my mind both in my quiet times with Him and as I went about my day.
I began to pray and ask the Lord what He would have me to do. Just this morning, I was thinking of the story of Mary and Martha when Jesus came to their home (Luke 10:38-42). Martha was busy serving taking care of the many needs of the home. Mary was sitting at the feet of the Saviour hearing his every word. I desire to be like Mary. And I am naturally like Martha. I will get cumbered and troubled about many things...so many needs, so much to do... Yet Jesus reminds me that one thing is needful. While I've often thought of this passage when I feel pressured about the day's work and am tempted to rush or skip my quiet time with the Lord, today I thought about it in relationship to what the Lord put on my heart for our time this summer.
There are many things that are sometimes easy for me to overlook. I get busy with the work of the day and what we have on our schedule but neglect those "needful" things that aren't written down on my schedule or any list. Areas in which my children need to be trained/taught/instructed. Areas of their tender hearts that need to be cultivated. So often, I can be so focused/troubled to stay on task and get each job done that I overlook that which is most needful.
I began a writing down a few lists. Throughout the day, as more things came to my mind, I'd open my notebook and jot them down. I shared my thoughts with Daniel and asked him what he thought. I told him about my plan to get right on school and all the reasons that I thought that would be a good idea. Then I told him about what I'd been praying about and shared some of the things on my lists. He said, "It is your decision. You have my support on whatever you choose. But, right now, our school books are sitting in our PO box 800 miles north of here, and it looks like we won't be able to take a trip up north until furlough, so that might just make your decision for you :)."
When I finally gave up my plans and said, "Lord, I will do what you want me to do," I knew I had my answer. Such peace and joy! I still sometimes get cumbered and troubled when I think, "How will we get everything done with our travels? Will we have to school all summer next year?" And then I remember to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ! And I remind myself that I do not need to worry about tomorrow. I just need to trust and obey for there is no other way to be happy in Jesus. And I do love our summer breaks!
I like to be scheduled. My husband does not. :) ha! We make a great team! He likes to work on one thing until it is finished and then go on to something else. I like to break up all the little areas of needs into little pieces and work away at them day after day. He is spontaneousness..."Let's build a brick wall today, boys." or "Let's see if a fisherman will take us out to an island today". And I will say, "But what about school?" And he just gets that smile and raises his eyebrows and before you know it, we're on our way to the ocean. :)
Okay, it isn't quite that bad, but he does sometimes come home in the middle of the day with a tub of ice cream of a bag of fish. And all dinner plans are set aside. :)
If you want to have some fun treats in the house, have Daddy go grocery shopping with mommy. Mommy has a list, but Daddy gets all sorts of things that aren't on the list. :)
But I do love to have fun. I do love times of rest. And for that reason, I always look forward to summer!
But with 14 people living in this home, if we just decided to live each day care free/come what may, it would not be pretty. For one, everyone would get bored. Children need direction and stability. So with my lists in front of me, I've been working on our summer schedule. A time for projects, time for learning new chores/brushing up on old ones, a time for training, a time for writing/reading/and other educational activities, a time for play! :)
I'll share with you a few of the things I have jotted down on each of my lists.
My first list is titled "Training/Teaching Needs".
-Getting in and out of the van
My children have the gift. Getting into the van, the little ones end up getting stepped on half the time. The person sitting closest to the door gets in first so everyone else is climbing over him/her. Then someone ends of getting kicked in the face. And then half the family is crying.
Getting out of the van is even better. It's like explosive dominoes. I'm not sure what the rush is, but everyone seems to try to get out the door first. And whatever garbage or toys happen to be on the floor, it all falls out right along with them.
Now, I haven't thought too much about this, but knowing that we are about to spend a good 4 months getting in and out of our van, I'm thinking about it now.
Here's a few others..
-Brushing teeth without using half the toothpaste tube and keeping the mirror/counter/floor free of whatever it is they manage to cover it with when they brushing their teeth
-Greeting people in English
-Teaching them to not interrupt
-Being more quiet (I'd like to blame it on our cement house which does exaggerate the noise, but not everyone has to talk at once and I know they can clear the table without sounding like a herd of elephants in a china cupboard.)
I'm planning on focusing on some of these things throughout our days and then having a time each evening to train in a specific area like practicing getting in and out of the van. :)
My next list has on it summer school ideas. These are areas in which I want the children to keep working or those in which they need extra practice:
-Oral/written book reports to share
-Furlough Preparation (USA map, learn more about the churches/families/friends whom we'll be seeing, set up trip notebooks)
These are all good things to do in the heat of the afternoon when it's too hot to be outside.
I also have a list of home cleaning/organizational projects:
-Go through/organize children's clothing (make needs list)
-Clean/organize kitchen cupboards
-Clean boys bathroom thoroughly (it might involve removing the toilet...It's not going to be fun, but I'll be so glad when it's done!)
-Clean all kitchen appliances
-Organize Linen Closets
-Weed/clean side fruit tree area
-Clean Ceiling fans
These are things we'll work on during the morning.
Daniel also has a list of projects and I love it when the boys are able to work along side him! They love it too. And look so handsome :)
I have a final list where I've written down other fun summer ideas.
-Our church family camp
-A couple trips to the beach
-Having families over for a meal
-Visiting our church families in their homes
-Playing family games outside or inside in the evenings
-Thinking of ways to help/serve others
Before we know it, our summer here will be over and furlough will begin.
This week, the boys have been working at the church with Daddy. The girls and little ones have been home with me. We pray the Lord will bless our time this summer as we begin to work on those things He's laid on our hearts.