8th, 6th, and 4th grades~
We are hybrid schoolers now, not traditional public-, private-, or homeschoolers. The boys have elective classes at our charter school (ex. computers, speech and debate, writing, science lab, sports, VAPA, etc.) and we homeschool for the core subjects. Michael takes live, online history and writing classes through the publishers of our classical curriculum. Olivia is taking Chemistry (+lab) and Fitness through the charter high school, independent study English with weekly one-on-one teacher/student discussion, French at the community college, and the rest through independent study at home (our choice of curriculum) but under the supervision of the charter school. She is blazing through her HS requirements, and it's been fun to think how she can use her last couple years of HS. There are so many options available to us, and we are very thankful for the freedom to pick and choose each year based on the needs of our kids and the desires of our family.
For the first time in 15 1/2 years of mothering, I have found myself with a kid-less three hour block each Monday! I've obviously never been the type to count down the days till I could put my kids in pre-school, or when they would start kindergarten, or head back to class at the end of the summer months. I haven't chosen to homeschool only because I am greedy to be with my kids all the time (although that did factor in!), but I have been keenly aware that all too soon the day will come when I will long for more time together. I know the years will come when getting together may not be very frequent. I pray that my heart will be ready for that time, ready to let them fully go and do what God calls them to. So for now, I am super grateful we still spend so much time together.
And yet, three hours per week sounds great! Today I did some birthday shopping, I made a quick stop at Marshall's, and worked on some laundry, dishes, emails, and birthday plans. Olivia is home for much of the day on Mondays, so we spent a tiny bit of time hanging out between her study time. Three hours has a lot of potential for me, especially when I am mindful that I only have three hours. I'm sure I'll end up spending it on errands and chores, but perhaps there will be occasional lunch dates with Jon, and maybe some time for blogging or exercise or reading.
We gathered around the living room yesterday evening. It was a time to talk about the coming year and to keep conversations open and honest. Jon and I desire to come along side each of our kids, to enthusiastically guide and encourage them, and to be compassionate toward them in their struggles. Last night we talked about issues of character, holding high the bar but explaining that we are here to help and encourage them. We talked about relationships and accountability, respect, self-control. We shared some of our struggles, too. Jon prayed for us, acknowledging that without the help and blessing of the Lord, we are all doomed for failure.
Today, at one point in my three hours of quiet, I knelt by my bathtub and prayed for my kids. I prayed that they would each be sensitive to the Spirit. I thanked God for His presence with them, and I petitioned Him for His blessings on their lives.
Tonight, I smile because I know that God loves them more than I can comprehend, and that his ear is toward this mother's heart. He delights to be entreated, and delights in being made known in our lives.