Thursday, August 6, 2020

First Weeks of School


The first  weeks of school we are covering the basic subjects--math, language arts, 4-H competitions (Clover Bowl and Wildlife Judging) and electives (art, Bible reading, guitar).  So, we are back in the swing of things!  
I found this cool color by number book and Michael has really enjoyed working on these "masterpieces".  

A little water balloon fun...

and Minecraft, of course!

Some of Michael's art...

Daniel finished up his summer job at Sonic!  He worked hard this summer, learned a lot of life skills, made some money and appreciates free time a whole lot more.  

Summer garden

A campus visit in the rain.  We wanted to get more acquainted with where things were located on campus before Daniel starts orientation NEXT week (How can that be?). 

Great weather lately for rainbows...


When you don't see Daniel ALL day...


Michael and I have been reading a book aloud called "Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer" by Kelly Jones.  There was a recipe for "migas" that Michael wanted to try for our Thursday tea time.    So, he and I made a batch for everyone to try.  He liked it so much that he wants to try it again with more of the suggested toppings.  Our "migas" recipe consisted of corn tortillas, eggs, salsa and cheese, but there are many variations in different Spanish speaking countries. 




Graduation Pictures








Social distance style graduation

Turning of the tassel

Throwing of the cap
Senior display and good friends...

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Stinky

Covid-19 has put us in a difficult stinky situation.  All of us.  We are all trying to do what's best for our sanity, emotional health and the health of our families.  All the time dealing with an external stress-inducing situation.  

Every errand is now more difficult.  Make sure you've got your mask, keep your distance, observe one-way aisle and other rules of society.  

Decision fatigue has set in! Things we never had to think about before become agonizing decisions.  Personally, these questions aren't born only out of fear; they are born out of consideration for others and doing what's best for our family.  

Do I send my kids to school?  (Not us, personally...but lots of our friends are dealing with this question.)
Do I send my kids to their extra-curricular?
Is it safe to attend this event?
Is it safe to have ANYONE over to our house?
What about work when you can't work remotely?
What if we get exposed and don't know it?  Then accidentally expose someone else?
Is someone going to go ballistic in a store because they are asked to wear a mask or lash out because you are wearing a mask?
How do we make school fun when it's hot outside and indoor spaces outside of your home aren't really places you can go and hang out?
How do you make sure your kid doesn't become too isolated from his friends because of restrictions?
How do we as a family deal with outside demands of others who don't have the same standards we have?
Do we put ourselves in potential danger (universal precautions) to placate and appease others?
What are considered essential trips?
Is is safe to do XYZ?  You name and we think about it.  

Loss and disappointment have been a constant for almost EVERYONE! Cancellations, postponements,  and unique responses to try and make up for the lack of normalcy.  

Milestone events (graduations, weddings, funerals)
Vacations 
School as normal
Playdates and birthday parties
Championship games, sports seasons, fencing
Band, orchestra, choirs
Chess with real people

Sometimes you just feel numb to everything that is going on around you.   It can be overwhelming.  It's stinky.  It's exhausting!  

Monday, July 27, 2020

2020-2021 First Day of School



What I Want to Be:



Michael wanted his sign to say "First Day of Middle School".  So, he learned the lesson when you have an idea, you need to be ready and willing to carry it out yourself. 




I usually post all the previous first day of school pictures, but I decided not to do that today.  It's very bittersweet to only have one student starting back to homeschool this year.  Maybe my college students will let me take first day pics of them this year, but that's not a guarantee.  

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Adapting

Back in January and February, Michael started feeling really overwhelmed and stressed.  He was doing a lot of things--competing and preparing for competitions.  One of our conversations revolved around how he wanted to do NOTHING this summer--no camps, no VBS, nothing big--just hang out. 

Fast forward a month or two and coronavirus struck.  For over 6 weeks straight, he didn't go anywhere except for hiking or outdoor places.  At first he didn't know what to do with himself.  He had a rough patch where he just wasn't himself for a bit. Then, a switch clicked.  He started going outside a lot more, wanting to go on hikes, playing. 

He still participated in his postponed competitions.  We submitted a video for his 4-H demonstration--"How to Make a  Bee Hotel", Clover Bowl was conducted via Zoom and Quizbowl app, and the Wildlife Judging competition was held through Zoom and Google docs.  

We've been out of school for over 3 months.  The longest summer break we've ever had.  Michael's played with Legos, been to karate (social distance style) and just chilled out all this time.  No vacations, no camps, no VBS, no parties.  

And you know what, he's adapted.  He's been okay.  We were talking about school starting and he said, "You know, I haven't been bored this summer at all."  How much of what we are afraid will happen is not really that bad if we just try to adapt to the hand that has been dealt to us in that season.  

We are starting school tomorrow with just Michael.  His "first" first day of school as an only homeschool student.  Tera and Daniel have almost another month before they start college.  Things are going to be different this year.  Cases are still going up in our area--mask wearing, social distancing are still a thing (despite varying opinions on that).  So, it looks like big events, touristy field trips and the such are not going to play a big part in our school plan.  But that's okay--we adapt.  

Daniel graduated Friday night and I really felt strongly that I could not focus or start on the next school year until we finished LAST school year.  I decided long before now that this first year with just Michael would be a different kind of year.  A year to try new things.  A year to change things up a bit!  A year we will look back on as a year we made the best of a crummy situation and had a wonderful time!  A year that he says one day, "Hey, that was one of the best school years I've ever had!"
 




Graduation!


It's been quite a journey to Daniel's graduation ceremony.  Our original graduation date was May 16th, but due to Covid-19 restrictions the graduation committee rescheduled to July 24th hoping that we would be past the worst.  Fast forward two months and we have more active cases in our neck of the woods than we had when we were shut down.  Then, there were problems with the venue due to that reality.  Our graduation committee worked so hard to make sure our kids got a ceremony as safely as possible.  Masks were required, social distancing encouraged, each graduate could have 5 attendees, and senior displays were spaced out in the parking lot.   It wasn't what we all have planned, but it was special and different.  We got pictures AND closure!  In our eyes, it turned out as perfect as we can get in this corona world we are dealing with right now. 

We took some pictures at home just in case it rained...BUT hallelujah, it didn't.  There was even a cool breeze.  






















Friends since 3rd grade...


















With our extra ticket we invited Daniel's flute teacher (since 5th grade), Mrs. Veal.  We were so happy and thrilled that she was able to attend.  Daniel would not be the musician he is today without her instruction. She has pushed him, guided him, chastised him and been the best flute instructor for Daniel!   She has been a blessing to our family through the years and has become family to us.  



















Processional



Senior display

Friend pictures...together since 2011!







As we were leaving the parking lot, this beautiful rainbow appeared.  What a fitting reminder of God's goodness in the midst of uncertain times.  JP leans over and says, "You had to wait for graduation, but God gave you a rainbow!"  So much truth in that.  Sometimes God has us wait for things, but the rewards are always magnificent!  

















The afterparty!

French bread pizzas and ice cream with cookies!



















Our professional photos of graduation--group photo and Daniel receiving his diploma will be posted after we receive those.  Graduate #2!

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