Friday, April 26, 2013

How We Educate the Little People In Our House

     I've had all these ideas for posts lately swirling around in the ol' grey matter but since I rarely ever get to actually sit down at a computer things haven't made it from the to actual written words. With this post I'm going to start on how we educate the littles since most of their time (and mine) revolves around the 's' If you know us personally, you know where this post is going and feel free to click off at any point. Or, you may even go to school with us and if you stick around you may have something to add as a comment. Here we go.....
     We have 5 awesomely intelligent, bright kids. We've done public school, private school, and home school. They are all excellent viable choices in today's world. We've done home school strictly at home (made me gag....too isolating), home schooled with a co-op, home schooled part time while taking outside classes.....pretty much covered the gamut on the home school market. When the littles came to us our son was still in public high school and our oldest daughter was part-time home schooled/taking outside classes. She actually spent her high school graduation day with us in China. I actually think we were climbing the Great Wall the day of her graduation. That or we were eating chicken feet and/or had eyeballs staring at us from our food.  Can't remember.
     When it came time for the girls to start school I was stumped. The older two of the littles are only a year apart and I wanted to develop some sort of criteria list for how we were going to school them, so I began to look around at the schools in our area.......not omitting homeschooling as a viable choice.
       After careful consideration, for the first two years we chose complete homeschooling. Mostly because these girls came from such disruptive backgrounds and now had a new China sister, that we wanted unhindered bonding time for them and me. Homeschooling it was, and it was good.
First day of school 2012. They are all in the same school!!
     Pretty soon though about a year and a half into our new girl school venture I began to get itchy feet. I wanted out of homeschooling. It was too isolating for me (yes, we did alot of outside activities....and remember I had a newly adopted China doll with RAD, and a SN 5 yr old. Tricky, tricky, tricky business) and mostly I wanted to be involved more in ladies ministry and volunteer work. I knew I was done (after 20+ years) of homeschooling full time. Finito. Done. It was time for the little ladies to go to school. But I also LOVED being in charge of their education and character building. I loved the time with them and was torn about what to do.  We began scouting out schools.  A big, big, deal to us was that all 3 girls needed to be in the same place. I didn't want to trade our 'home' days for being in the car carting 3 little girls to different places and having them only know me from the back of my head. No bueno. That wasn't going to work either. What I found was that public school was right.....private school was right....and homeschooling was right. We also felt that it was important that each of our kids be challenged and working in a school that was academically requiring them to work consistently at the upper level of their intelligence. Kids need to be challenged y'all. No slacking allowed! ( I confess....I am a school Nazi about education).  I made a list to sort through what would work best for us. We definitely wanted an actual school (vs a co-op or just outside classes)....and we hit the bulls eye.
Field trip to Wycliffe Bible Translators learning about missionaries.

Me and my 2nd grade peeps gleaning corn to donate to local food banks.

The Doc and I felt that the girls needed something they could 'own' and belong to, that they could call theirs.... something with academic excellence, sports, and friends that were a part of a bigger picture of teamwork, unity and our Christian faith.
     We found a school that is the best of both worlds. For the last (almost) 4 years the girls have gone to a private accredited 'hybrid' school in our town. They go Tuesday and Thursday from 9-3 and are taught by certified teachers in a VERY structured but grace filled classroom full of the most awesome kiddos you would ever want to meet. Friday's are 'enrichment' day and they again are on campus taking classes that include Drama, American Girls, Personal Fitness, Backyard Science, Art, Creative Construction, Music.....and the list could go on and on. What then about Monday's and Wednesday's? Well, those same certified teachers send home detailed lesson plans that you the parent follow while you and your child stay at home these other two days. So, we got everything we wanted in a school. The girlies are in a private Christian accredited school.......and they are home with me two days. The great thing is that I don't have to come up with lesson plans or do any planning for that matter.....AND the girls are working at a much higher academic level than I would've required of them had they stayed home full time. After being around for 15 years, this school is a well-oiled machine. We absolutely LOVE the staff, the teachers and can't say enough about the families we have grown so very close to. They have bent over backwards to accommodate us and any special issues we have had. It is indeed a marvelous thing to know the staff and the other families have your back. Win, win, win, win, win.
The squinkies working hard on a recent home day. Organized chaos it is!
     Last year the school (through a very good friend) even offered me a job. Score again. With the exception of a day here and there, when the girls are at school I'm there with them in some capacity (I teach Personal Fitness on Friday and Substitute teach or volunteer in their classroom the other days). When you have adopted kids, anxiety can be an issue.....add that to some learning differences, and my presence at the school along with the structure of the classrooms has proven to be a HUGE piece of the puzzle solved in these girlies education.
      It is a lot of work. On our home days we work easily 6 hours or more. If you've been keeping track you will notice we work around 6 hours on Monday/Wednesday then we are all on campus Tues/Thurs/Fri...... a full time job. but it's oh so worth it. These little ladies have risen to the occasion and are thriving in such a loving caring environment. I'm not sure what the future holds, but for now we could not be more grateful and excited about how God has directed us in giving us this option for the girls educations. It's exhaustingly awesome!

Rah, Rah, Rah!
P.S. If y'all see typos in this post please do not judge. I stayed up waaayyy late typing!


  1. ICS is such a great place :-) One of the key pieces is the awesome families like yours that are such a big part of it! One major things that I miss being here in Indo is not being able to be involved with ICS!

    1. We miss you Cait!! Can't wait till you visit!!