Thursday, May 17, 2012

Wrapping Things Up

1.  Our homeschool year officially ended last Friday with our study of Alexander the Great.  We enjoyed watching a video about his life, battles, and, of course, his horse Bucephalus.   We look forward to picking up with the Romans next year and working our way through to the Reformation.   Seth finished up the week with a unit on the Grouchy Ladybug.  Most of the focus was on learning about telling time, but we also took time to study insects and some of the other animals mentioned in the book.  Nicolas is finishing up some writing assignments and his math book.  Seth and the girls continue to do math facts and reading every day.  Eventually we plan to get started on our keyboarding/typing program, but right now we are enjoying a bit of a break.

2.  Russ also finished up his classes for the year last Friday.  I can't believe that two school years have already come and gone in Grand Rapids and that he is officially half-way through his seminary studies.  Russ plans to work 30+ hours/week for Dr. Murray this summer, doing research and helping revise some of his courses. 

3.  Monday night the kids and I wrapped up our year in the BSF children's program.   I really wondered if I would be able to swing being a leader and homeschooling this year, but found that after a rough month I was able to find a routine and thoroughly enjoy leadership.  I was blessed in many ways:  by the extra study of God's Word for lesson preparation, by the fellowship of many godly women, and by building relationships with the middle/high school students in Level 4/5.   I still have leader's fellowship on Saturday morning and sharing night on Monday night, but the children's program is officially done.

4.  Track is also winding down for the year.   The regional track meet (like districts) is on Friday night.  I don't imagine any of the team will move on to the state meet at this point, but that is okay.   Coaching track definitely was a challenge in many ways, but Russ and I both enjoyed being around track and field again, interacting with high school students (most of the time), and being involved in Caleb's school.  I know I enjoyed watching Russ and Caleb interact as coach/athlete and father/son at the same time.    The younger four kids were complete troopers about the entire season.   If the layout of the track facility was conducive to allowing the kids room to run around, the kids could entertain themselves the entire night without difficulty.  If the the layout of the track required them to sit in the bleachers, well, then the night would drag on a little.   Since we had many cold track meets we were thankful for the little tent the kids had to protect them from the wind and keep them warm.

5.  Caleb ended his spring season with the St. Cecilia Philharmonic on Saturday night with an awesome concert.  I thought the acoustics in the old concert hall were great and the music was wonderful.  He has his school orchestra concert tonight.  He is playing the same Phantom of the Opera piece that he played with St. Cecilia so it will be fun to compare.  I can't imagine that it will sound better on a gym stage, but you never know!  He auditioned Tuesday night for next season's Grand Rapids Youth Symphony.  He was not happy with how the audition went, but with his perfectionist tendencies that is not surprising.  He will find out the results of the audition sometime near the end of June.

7.  Nicolas plays his last soccer game for the spring season on Saturday.  He loves soccer and will miss his Tuesday night practices.  We'll have to get the ball gloves out more often now.  He loves baseball too!

6.  I am saying good-bye to my time away from physical therapy (almost two years!) as I have officially been hired by Spectrum Health Continuing Care to work in the sub-acute facility less than a mile from our home.   I was hired as a PRN or casual PT and have no minimum hours that I need to work.  Next Monday and Tuesday I will jump through all the orientation hoops and then plan to work from 1-3:00 the rest of that week and the next to really get a handle on how things work in the department before going on my own on Saturdays.   Evidently, weekends are staffed primarily by PRN therapists, so it is good to know the ropes working with the full-time staff before working with the other "clueless ones" on the weekends.   Russ can do most (all?) of his work for Dr. Murray at home this summer if I work other days during the week.

One other reflection to wrap up this post.  I was privileged to host a homeschool mom's coffee last evening for about 8-9 moms.   We had a wonderful time of fellowship, encouragement, and sharing of ideas.  Most of the ladies attend the Free Reformed Church, but I also invited two seminary wives who do not currently have the support of a homeschool group--Nicoline from South Africa and Sarah from England.   I opened our gathering with prayer and then read a short article written by a homeschool mom who was giving advice on how to properly reflect back on a homeschool year.    "Homeschool mamas can really beat themselves up," the author writes.  She encouraged homeschool moms, "Instead of red-inking the entire content of your year, pause to think of 2-3 ways you know that God was honored and praised in your year...then celebrate the beauty of your homeschool year."   I was amazed at how much this little article echoed the sentiments of all the ladies present--I thought I was the only one with a stick.   We all agreed with the author that it is a privilege to "labor with Christ in nurturing, training, and teaching your children."   I think many of these thoughts are true for all moms whether they homeschool or not.   So we labor on with God's help...

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