I love fall, and I love homeschooling……..it seems fitting that my two favorite times of the year should begin together. The smell of school supplies……a new box of crayons, freshly sharpened pencils, crisp sheets of notebook paper…….Fabreeze should bottle up that fragrance and sell it…….they’d make a mint! The windows are thrown open now and the air has that amazing scent that only fall can bring. My garden plants are gone, all the spoils of summer have been harvested and prepared for winter, and my family is ready to snuggle in for a cozy season of learning and living in our little Hobbit Hole.
There is a weirdness factor around our homeschooling table this season though. DJ has graduated and works full time now, so his lack of presence has left an incredibly big hole in my day. Although I do not miss the constant struggle of brow-beating him into completing his school work, I do miss his humor, his spirit of camaraderie, and his cuddles 😦 Of course, my loss is Dave’s gain…….DJ’s job is in the same field as Dave’s, so they work together quite a bit. Such a blessing it is that Dave is able to train and mentor DJ on a daily basis…….what father does not dream of that! I am incredibly proud of DJ and his drive to carve out a living, and thankful that we still have his heart, but the piece of me that loathes change wants him back at my table!
God always seems to give me exactly what I need, at the precise time that I need it……….so, when one precious bird flew my little homeschool nest, God filled my table with another. Coconut has started Pre-Kindergarten, and even though there are moments when I cannot believe that I am starting all over again, watching him delight in his school work and discovering things for the first time has filled me with a serious joy. How blessed we are to be a part of this child’s life…….all of our children’s lives. Not a day goes by that I do not thank our heavenly Father for allowing me to parent all of these precious angels. Praise God!
Philippians 4:19 But my God shall supply all your needs according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
Although Mowgli has moved on to a home where there are no small children, we still have his half sister Kiwi with us. Mowgli’s departure is bittersweet. His raging and inappropriate behaviors took a major toll on our family life, but there is a sweetness that lives inside him also, and that is the boy we miss. He is doing well in his new home, and our lives have once again fallen into a blissful state of normal (for us!) so there is comfort in that. Kiwi loves to ‘do school’ as well, and she is picking up her preschool material very quickly. She is like a little fairy……so small, so dainty……and she has such a precious spirit.
Casey, more of my partner in crime nowadays, is somewhere in between the 10th and 11th grade this year. That is what I love most about homeschooling………the flexibility to cater an education around your child’s strength’s and weaknesses. ADHD is no joke, and learning to live with it effectively and successfully is hard. After years of struggling in a public school setting, she is just so thankful that she is able to learn at home. Here, she is free to learn at her own pace, and if we need more time to develop her skills, so be it! The key to homeschooling is to do what works, throw out what doesn’t, and to focus on what matters the most in life………serving God and others. Casey may struggle in math and punctuation (along with her Mama!), but she is developing into an amazing Servant of Christ……what more can I ask for?
Along with one child graduated, one child entering into formal homeschooling, a preschooler, and a teenager who is half in one year and half in another year……..there is Cocoa Bean 🙂 Our precious baby is still absolutely adorable, still fat, and still the sweetest baby on the planet. He’s a tank now……..he’s a strong little booger that will snatch you into a bear hug while ripping your hair out, or will try to pinch your nose off with his chubby little paws…….but, I don’t care one bit, cause even as he has a fistful of my hair, he is smothering my face with his slobbery kisses that melt my socks off. I love this kid! ‘Mama’ is his favorite word, and hearing it all throughout the day is a privilege that is not lost on me……..even when I am busier than a one-armed paper hanger. I know there could very well be a time that I no longer get to hear that precious voice, so I live in the blissful present, and enjoy every moment that I have with this chubby cherub.
Finally, there is a new little buzz of excitement this year. For the first time in 16 years, Dave and I are going on a mini-holiday……….alone……..for a whole weekend!! In our family we have a motto…….’Where we go one, we go all’. We’ve always been this way. Even when I run out to do a quick errand, I usually have at least one or two kids with me. Yet, as our family size increased, so did an awareness of tending to our marriage. Fitting in alone-time is hard with our kids’ ages ranging from 8 months to 18 years. The needs they all have are so diverse. Caring for little ones goes from sun up to sun down, and just when you get them all in bed, a teen is at the bedroom door needing to talk. We take those times seriously, so snuggling and cuddling and focusing solely on my Hubby is tricky. Sooooooo, this year for his birthday, I surprised him with a weekend trip free of crumb-snatchers and young adults. Praise God again!
Yes, fall is an amazing time of year………and this year is a blessed one indeed!