Back to School (in other words, should have been an end of the year post)

I write an end of the school year post each year – since it is September you can tell this year’s post was an epic fail. Or maybe we could call it something less tragic like the beginning of a new tradition – A Back to School post!

Somehow, the end of this school year came and went in a blur (hello, my oldest graduated during a pandemic!) Here I am, starting a new school year wondering how the time got away from me. I still want to mark the accomplishments of our kiddos (mostly because I love looking back over these yearly posts and seeing how far we have come.) So, even though this post is embarrassingly two months late, I am putting it all out there. I want to remember my eldest’s last homeschool year and embrace that I begin Kindergarten with the baby of the family.

Moe – our Caboose who is starting Kindergarten
Biggest Accomplishment: He knows his numbers, can paint better than his dad, and his vocabulary is robust not because we have taught him. He just works hard at keeping up with the rest of the gang. If there was ever a child I could “un-school” it would be him; I am pretty sure he will just teach himself. It is a good thing. I am getting old and he might just need to drag me to the finish line in 13 years when he graduates.
Favorite Subject: Reading
Favorite book: My Lucky Day by Keiko Kasza
Favorite pastime: painting, drawing, or playing with his siblings. As if you can’t tell from the photo – this kid has personality and some moves. It is fun to add him to the school mix.

Little Man is starting 5th grade.
Biggest Accomplishment: nailing those multiplication facts and adjusting to life during a pandemic. This guy is our over the top extrovert who loves passionately and plays hard. Nothing like living in a new place trying to make friends when a pandemic hits forcing everyone to be home. Any other extroverts out there feeling that pain? Fortunately, he has a gaggle of siblings who all enjoy his antics. He used the extra time at home to learn many new games and he has become Mom’s running coach. He rides his bike along cheering to keep me going at a good pace.
Favorite subject: Science (on experiment days.)
Favorite book: The Pokemon Handbook
Favorite pastimes: playing carpet ball, cards, riding his bike or playing video games.

Little Monkey is about to begin 8th grade!
Biggest accomplishment: adding to her lists. She has started a life bird watching list – marking down all the different types of birds that she finds while on our nature walks and camping trips. She has also created a list of all the things she has learned to bake and cook. The whole family benefits from this delicious list. She is quite the cook and I appreciate all the ways she helps me in the kitchen.
Favorite subject: History (We studied the Roman Empire last school year and watched a lot of documentaries on Curiosity Stream. Pretty fun stuff. We will see if she enjoys American History as much this year.)
Favorite book: On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness by Andrew Peterson or maybe the Percy Jackson series.
Favorite pastime: You will often find our sweet sheltie by her side as she watches cooking shows, builds with LEGO, or listens to an audio book. Her servant heart is often shown in all the time she spends playing games that her brothers make up for her.

Roo: is jumping into 11th grade.
Biggest accomplishment: learning how to lead praise and worship on the piano and thriving at her summer job at Hobby Lobby. She originally had planned on spending her summer in Africa. Proud of her for handling the changes thrown at her. She is a light wherever she is. Proud of her for shining at home this summer. Her sweet nature, deep sense of responsibility and creative bent bless our family to no bounds. As you can imagine I have a new sense of how quickly the next two years will go before she heads to college. I am trying to savor every moment.
Favorite subject (beside the arts because that is just a given): Literature. It was fun to see her dig through her new Sonlight Literature books and dive in even before we officially started school!
Favorite book: Whatever book she is reading at the time – she says she just can’t pick. But, I recently asked her what four books she would take with her if she was stranded on an island. Her response – A tale of Two Cities, Hero’s of Olympus, The Hiding Place and Anne of Green Gables – because these are books she would read over and over again. She clarifies that the Bible is not on her list because surely the Gideons got to the island first and left one for her. (Funny girl!)
Favorite pastime: knitting, painting, drawing, playing piano….she always has her hands going at something.

B: Our English as a second language rockstar
Biggest Accomplishment: Healing after spinal fusion surgery, being tough for his SMA treatments (they are painful) and reading at a 3rd grade level. That isn’t a normal list for a 16 year old – not sure I can overstate how proud we are of his hard work to be healthy and to make such huge gains in his education. His English by far has surpassed my Chinese and he has only been studying English for two years. I studied Chinese for 8 years. He is smart and much better at languages than his mother!
Favorite Subject: Math. He is crushing Algebra in English.
Favorite book: Naruto
Favorite pastime: Rubics cube. He can even do these fancy patterns on it while timed! Blows my mind.

Soccer Dude: Our High School graduate who is now a Freshmen at Spring Arbor University!
Biggest accomplishment: finishing this long journey called homeschool. As a homeschool mom I carry a weight with me. Actually, I know all moms feel it. Will we instill our children with character, will we provide them the opportunities they need, will we shepherd them towards Christ? Add to that, I worry if I will pass on my bad spelling habits! Will the kids be able to compete with kids who are schooled in more traditional ways? And, I constantly am counting and wondering if I have missed things. Having my first son (um, I mean student) accepted into universities helped me to take a deep breath. We did it. He is successful. It gives me a bit more confidence for the five who are following behind him!
Favorite subject: Psychology (he took an online dual-enrollment from SAU) which has led him to his double major of Social Work and Psychology. He also will be getting an endorsement for teaching English as a second language. We are so very proud of him and excited to see what the future holds.
Favorite book: A Small Town Called Hibiscus by Gu Hua
Favorite pastime: He has really enjoyed his summer job at Hobby Lobby. In his spare time you can find him reading a book in our backyard hammock or listening to his vinyl in the basement.

Will you endure me a bit longer and allow me to share a few graduation photos with you. We are so very thankful for Hannah Wade Photography that captured these precious memories for us. Graduation wasn’t what we had planned with the pomp and circumstance but it was still special!

3 thoughts on “Back to School (in other words, should have been an end of the year post)

  1. All of you congrats, on your dedication to your education. Your futures look so bright. Many blessings to your family in this not so normal time. Keep up the good work. Stay safe. Jean.

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