Monday, May 12, 2014

This Is Real Life: For The Day After Mother's Day

Husbands are sleeping in today after the exhaustion of doing dishes and taking care of the kids all day yesterday so that their wives could have a bit of a break. The kids have already forgotten the sweet cards and hearty promises to be "soooo good on Mommy's special day" and are back to fighting over Legos at 7:30 a.m. and demanding cereal before Mommy's eyes are even fully open. The honeymoon is over and it's back to reality. Back to our daily lives of cleaning up spills, wiping bottoms, and washing floors. It never does end. But yesterday. . .yesterday was nice, wasn't it?!

If you are anything like me, I enjoyed a fantastic day of little responsibilities. The kids created homemade cards and gave me time to myself to write blogs and watch marathons on Netflix. Even after dinner, the hubs washed the dishes and layed down with the little monsters at bedtime. He was pretty darn great, I must say. But I also must say that he's pretty darn great and the littles are pretty darn sweet MOST DAYS. The "work of moms" are exhausting and sacrificial and repetitious and sometimes without gratitude, but even if we didn't get a day off once a year, we would still trudge along, doing what we do for our families. The same goes for dads, who once a year get really noticed for how hard they work to provide for the family. The day after Father's Day, they will go out there and do what they always do because it's also a privilege and not just a job.

For the day after Mother's Day, I want to take a few minutes to remind myself why I do what I do everyday. I want to remember why I yearned to be a mother even before I was one. When my belly was growing and I felt little kicks inside and I realized that the day was coming soon. . .why was this experience one that I couldn't live without? Because I think so many of us (myself included) wish that yesterday could have been longer! We wish we could leave all the responsibility parts to someone else. To not make breakfast before my eyelids were awake, and calm a tantruming child before sunrise because his toy wasn't operating correctly. To sleep in and wake up to a clean house and clean children and a cleared schedule seems like an amazing situation, but in all honesty, there's a certain pride that I would lack if I didn't feel like I was "doing it all". At the end of my normal days of mothering, I lay in bed and smile that it's over, but that I did it. God gave me enough stamina and strength and patience to keep everyone alive and healthy and well for one more day. And tomorrow, I get to do it all over again.

As we go back to our busy lives today, mamas, remember why you answered this call. This amazing call to make daily sacrifices for the good of your family. To make the decision to get up when you still want sleep. To prepare macaroni and cheese when you would prefer steak and potatoes. To curl up on the couch with Toy Story when dancing the night away seems a bit more appealing some nights. Because the moments of gratitude and pride that come when we watch our littles do something for themselves for the first time cannot be matched. When they look up at us with those big eyes and declare that MOMMY is their very best friend are moments that last a lifetime. When they would rather be in our arms or on our laps or curled up beside us than out with their friends. These moments will not last long. Before we know it they will be out in the real world and our work here will be done. We must remember, mamas how precious our time really is. It's worth the long, hard days of mothering. Nothing could possibly be more fulfilling than knowing that you did your best with these little humans. That this family is growing with the work you put into it. As I pray for patience and endurance for myself, I will pray a little your way too. This is such a challenging privilege, this chaos of mothering. May you held together by little smiles and "I love you's" throughout your days. :)

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Homeschooling for Dummies: What One Day Taught Me

I'm pretty sure the process of homeschooling is just that. . .a learning process for both the child and the adult. It certainly is never a decision that is made lightly and one that needs to come with a lot of thought and research. When my husband and I decided to give it a try, we had been praying and thinking over it for quite a while. It made sense, as we are raising our two boys abroad in Nicaragua and are on a "missionary budget", if you will. They were currently enrolled in a private international school here and the school days were extremely long (8 hours, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.) leaving not a lot of time for family and one-on-one attention from us. It was/is a fantastic school, one that encourages learning through play, cultural diversity, and extracurricular activities. We are not against public and private schools. But both of our kids, though learning a LOT, were still not learning the native language and were lacking attention from us. They needed US more. Not to mention that private schools, even in third-world countries are quite expensive. Financially speaking, it made sense for us to try this new approach to our kid's education. I would encourage all parents to think VERY thoroughly before making academic decisions for your kids. You can never have enough information and not all popular ways are right for your own family. We all have very diverse needs.

We decided to wean onto homeschooling, since I have ABSOLUTELY no idea what I'm doing. I did not go to college myself, yet always desired to be a teacher. The idea of homeschooling my boys seems like one I will personally enjoy, but I know that there are pros and cons to all situations. We decided to keep the boys in their international school for two days a week and have them home for three to see how they would do on a trial run. Would they like the schedule that I established? Would we have enough time (or too much) for all the things that I would want to cover in a day? How would they respond to my instruction in a teachers capacity? Will I have enough patience for this? These are all questions that ran through my mind the entire first day of homeschooling. And I have to say, I realized one very important thing. Not all homeschooling experiences look the same. There are also many kinks to work out. That first day, I did my best to prepare a lesson plan and schedule and took notes throughout the entire day as I saw things that did/did not work. For example, we did PE Exercises first thing in the morning because my initial opinion is that the kiddos would need something to wake them up and get them moving and thinking before we sat down to do computer work. After further review, I've decided that after an hour of computer work (Reading, English, and Math), my son needed a "movement break". It was after sitting that he needed some physical stimulation and that would be a better time to do our PE Exercise time. We adjusted the schedule for Day 2. I kept a notebook of all of the little things that I noticed all day long and I will use those notes to re-evaluate my lesson plans going forward. After day 2 and 3, I'm realizing we will continue to have more notes and things to change, and that's okay. I think the problem lies in seeing how one family/blog/curriculum tells you to do it, and not understanding that those insights are just a springboard into finding out what works for your family specifically. Homeschooling seems to be a learn-as-we-go process.

Here is our Day One Experience:
I have two boys who are very different playing fields when it comes to where they are academically. My seven-year-old is right on-course if not ahead of most kids his age in Math and Reading. My four-year-old is still learning all of his letters and their sounds. Splitting up the day to accomplish the needs of each was a challenge, but we did the best we could. Both are also very technologically savvy so we knew we wanted an online curriculum and "game times" to be a part of their homeschool routine. We got started at 9 a.m. and did PE Exercise time. (Again, I do not think this was the right time of day to do this and will push it back to mid-morning in the future.) After that, we all did Spanish together. They both responded well to doing this early. The day continued with me breaking the two of them up. One would do puzzles and mazes and games on the kindle, while I worked with the other on online curriculum. Then after 45 minutes, we would switch. Then we met back up to do coloring worksheets catered to their age together at the table. After lunch, we did more interactive games. ABC matching games for the little one, and card games with the older. We wanted to get to and Art History lesson and a Science activity, but we were already burned out and needed outside playtime again. We went to the beach to collect rocks and to swim for a bit instead. And I realized then that it's important that I give them ample time to be active. A lot of sitting in front of a computer or doing worksheets and even interactive activities will not compensate for their need at this age to MOVE. Maybe we can find other parents who are homeschooling in the area and get together for activities with them throughout the week.

Overall, what I learned on Day 1 of homeschooling:
*The schedule you begin with will never be exactly the schedule that you end with. You may need to adjust the curriculum and routine to suit your children.

*Taking notes on how to improve is always helpful. Always be evaluating how you can make this experience better for your kids.

*Comparisons are not allowed. Seeing how this mom or that mom accomplishes this job of homeschooling and may seem to do it better than you, will only stunt your growth. You are learning right along with your child and with practice and an open mind, your Day 2 will be better than your Day 1.

*Your enthusiasm for learning the materials makes a world of difference in how the information you are teaching will be received by your child.

*PLAY is just as important as academics. Developing a love of learning early is important. Make every effort to make all the material FUN for your child.

*We are all doing the best we can.

One whole week of homeschooling is now under our belts and we are still very enthusiastic about it all. The boys think it's exciting to do their schoolwork in the pjs and so do I. We are learning a lot already and cannot wait for week two. :)

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Learning With BananaGrams

My four-year-old is still getting the hang of his letters. We are practicing with tracing and writing them, and even seeing how many we can find on signs as we drive down the road. He's loving "alphabet activities" lately. During homeschool this week, we decided to build an Alphabet Match-up Game with BananaGrams. Just write the letters of the alphabet on a small card or piece of paper, and let your little get to digging out random letters and matching them up on the paper. This actually kept him busy for about 30 minutes, as he got done with it, dumped it out, and wanted to do it again. Fun little activity that could also be done using the letters from a scrabble game. Or heck, use construction paper and make your own little letters! Anything we can do to help our kiddos learn their letters by sight!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Redeeming The Time: TAKE A TOUR

Wherever you are, no matter how long you have lived in a location, there are always things that you've never done. We've lived in Nicaragua for one full year this month and have yet to see most of it. This week, we were honored to house/dog sit for some friends of ours who were going out of town on vacation. They live an hour away in the colonial city of Granada. We loaded up our stuff and set out to spend a relaxing weekend around their awesome pool. It was a fantastic "stay-cation" for us, as most of the weekend we just stayed at the house, cooking all meals and swimming a ton. We realized, however, that we had been to Granada numerous times and had never seen "the sights". We decided to "take a tour" as a family on Saturday and do something that we had never done. We spent the morning touring the isletas (tiny islands) off the coast of Lake Nicaragua. Many have historical sights on them, mansions, restaurants, as well as monkeys! We took a long speedboat out on a 3-hour ride through the island coves, pointing out birds and fish and other wildlife. It was such a great thing to do some exploration as a family.

It hit me that as families in general, we do not do this enough. It doesn't matter our geography, there is always room for exploration. Whether it's a random walk around the lake, a hike up a hill, a boat ride, or exploring a historical site in your area, we MUST find time to see and experience new things as a family unit. Times like these create memories for our little ones and encourage the idea of pursuing new things. We want our children to grow up with a desire for adventure. We need to show them that adventure awaits around every corner! Take a tour today! Look online for things in your area that you can explore and experience for the very first time. And when you've found it, share in the excitement and enthusiasm of making a memory with your kids. Hold hands, laugh, and share in a first together. These are the moments that matter!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014


We received some really sound advice prior to our move to Nicaragua. A few other couples invested quality time in us beforehand to prepare us, as much as possible, to be a family who functioned efficiently though we were about to be uprooted. When all that is familiar is lost suddenly, it can be difficult to transition. Even more so for kids. This was not something I thought of in advance and I'm so glad someone took the time to pour into us about what those first months would be like for our children. When roots are exposed, a family must learn how cope temporarily until what can now feel like chaos and insecurity can begin to feel like a "new normal". Let me share some nuggets that made this transition flow more smoothly for us.

We spent the better part of our preparation months getting rid of TONS of stuff. This seems to be the norm among families creating this change in their lives. We had MAJOR garage sales and for three weeks straight, our kids witnessed objects of stability and security slowly mosey out the door with random people. Hot wheels now belonged to a friend of theirs, their swing set went to live with cousins, their bunkbeds were replanted at grandma's house, and most of their toys that they had spent their entire 7-year lifespan accumulating were being sold off to random strangers. I could sense that they felt the bottom was falling out of their little world. Those things were their things. Now, they were gone. Rooms became bare and all that they held so dear was being packed up into 13 total suitcases. This is scary for grown-ups. Kids that associate material possessions as security have a really hard time with this process. One of our friends told us that we needed to keep certain things that would be remembrances of "home". Aside from the blankets that we were bringing already, we decided to keep a large star nightlight that we plug into whatever room they are sleeping in. This has been something that provides security. We have moved to three different homes in Nicaragua within our first year and their star burns bright in all three. Wherever they are, there it is also. We even brought it with us when we returned back to the States for a visit and kept it lighting up their room at Grandma's. It's something they can count on and even these little things have made a huge difference.

This is an idea that I credit to our missions pastors at church. They lived for 4 years in Cambodia with small children like ours and had so many helpful suggestions for making this transition as a family go smoother. One of my favorites was their idea of creating "signposts" throughout your day for your children. In any move abroad, whatever routine that kids held dear back home has been thrown to the wayside. Each day in a new country is a growing and learning experience. The new language and culture and food and way of life forces one into living more adaptively. This is especially hard for kids who have always associated daily occurrences with security. For example, back in Oklahoma, every time we got into the car to go to school or the park or to the store, I would put on the ipod of songs that the boys loved. Car rides meant fun, sing-along time with mom. It's something they looked forward to on a daily basis and counted on. When we moved to Nicaragua, we didn't have a vehicle. We still do not. We hail taxis and grab rides with friends or walk anytime we need to get anywhere so those moments of family sing-alongs in the car are distant memory. In exchange for all the "moments" that were normal in the life we led before, we have tried desperately to created new "signposts". Moments that are routine throughout our day that the boys can hold onto and know that they are a "constant" in their new lives. One is morning bible study during breakfast. Once we all wake up and get our cereal and fruit and coffee, the boys and I sit around the table and read a chapter story out of the Jesus Storybook Bible. They look at pictures and ask questions and we spend those few moments every morning creating a repetitious moment that they can count on. Other "signposts" throughout the day could be 15-minutes of "face time" right after school. A moment every single day that they know that you ask questions and are interested in what's happening in their day. Or maybe a "highs and lows" game at dinner time when everyone goes around the table and talks about their high of the day and low of the day and discusses them as a family. Another one that we've tried to stick with is bedtime stories. Each child picks a book and we sit on the bed, read each book and talk about the story right before we say goodnight. I think the best signposts are just moments that you can consistently create on a daily basis no matter where you find yourself. They are not tied to geography and can happen anywhere. Our friends encouraged us to a a few of these each day so that when our days get away from us in a foreign country and we are on-the-go and shoving the kids in and out of taxis and restaurants and constantly meeting new faces and places and all is turned upside down in their little worlds, they have moments throughout the day where they can regroup and feel some form of stability. Living abroad can be difficult for anyone and people of all ages can benefit from the idea of "signposting".

It seems silly sometimes to think that once you are living abroad in a new country, that you may still need a vacation. We are surrounded by palm trees and live a short drive from the beach. Our kids build sandcastles daily and are constantly in the water. We live in a perpetual state of summer here in Nicaragua. People back home look at our lifestyle and see "fun-in-the-sun" with some mission work opportunities in the mix. One would assume, Why would you need a vacation?! You LIVE on vacation!" While this observation is correct to a certain extent; we live in paradise compared to where we lived before, it's not exactly the full picture. When you move abroad, as opposed to when you "vacation" abroad, your perspective has changed. This new place is a whole new life, not just an "experience". You are finding your new grocery stores and gas stations, your kids are settling into school, you are learning to eat new foods and find out where you can buy necessities and cleaning supplies and pay speeding tickets. You are setting up a new life and all that comes with that. Geography and scenery after awhile, become secondary. You and your family must learn to function in this new paradise. You make friends and hold play dates and help with homework and most of the time still work a job of some sort (my husband does graphic design work online). No matter where your new home is, it's important to get away every once in awhile as a family, even if only for a long weekend to refresh and recollect yourself. For us, it's been going home to the States every 6 months for a visit. We've needed that time to reconnect with family and indulge in conveniences that we've missed. As well, we just recently were able to travel to another part of Nicaragua to house sit for some friends and had a mini-vacation away from our small coastal town. This time was perfect for us to reconnect with each other, spend ample quality time with the kids, and just relax without the normal daily responsibilities of school, work, and mission work. "Stay-cations" are also beneficial for the family. We've had many days that we have stayed at home and just relaxed and napped and removed ourselves from the bustle of this new life abroad. I think it's especially important for the kids to have this time away. No matter where you are living, sometimes you just need a break. Even more so when you are extra exhausted from learning a second language and striving to find your place in a new culture. Remember to step away every so often to rest.

Kids are flexible. For the most part, they are way more adaptable to new surroundings than adults are. But we, as parents have had time to emotionally prepare. These months leading up to the move, we have read books and blogs, adjusted budgets and made special provisions for our new life abroad. To children, one day they are going about their normal lives, and one day all that is "home" is gone. We can try to talk to them about it and prepare them for what will happen when we relocate, but the truth is, kids lack a sense of timing and mental preparation. Anything that happens to them, happens suddenly. When their roots are exposed and they cannot find a semblance of normal for while, they tend to feel completely and utterly out of control of their little lives. We, as adults still get to decide where we live and find a new home, decide on what we will have for dinner that night, what sights we will see that day, who we will befriend and how we will function day-to-day. WE have chosen this lifestyle, not our children. They benefit greatly from being able to come to a new place, have exposure to new language and culture and diverse new friendships. And they will grow and have the time of their lives in the process. But it doesn't alleviate the fact that they are hopelessly out of control and may try to compensate in ways that will make the transition harder on everyone else involved. We noticed a lot of tantrums the first few weeks. They wanted things that were always readily available to them and because we were still blindly searching our way around a new place, we asked for their patience way more than they were accustomed. Meltdown city, over here in Nica. Crying and whining and complaining about the smallest things filled our first couple of weeks. Then came the boycotting of foods. To this day, food is our biggest cause for concern in living abroad. Our kids have control of little else, but what they can control is what they put in their mouths. Sometimes, I feel as though they will exert their stubborn will of not eating THAT simply because they have had no control over anything else that day. It's the one thing they can say NO to. As well, we were met with digression from the potty-training accomplishment we had made earlier in the year. We moved with a three-year-old who was completely potty-trained and the minute we stepped foot in Nicaragua, it became a battle again. Accidents and refusal to go to the bathroom. Grasping for control whenever possible. I've spoken to many moms abroad and this is something that is found to happen a lot. Eventually kids settle into the new lifestyle and can release the clenched fist of control once they feel safe and secure again, but don't be surprised if their behavior and attitude change drastically for a time during this transition. As you are all growing and allowing this new lifestyle to change you as a family, it may take the children a bit longer. Patience and understanding that they need to feel in control of some things is important. Letting our kids have some leeway and more choices along the way has helped.

Though the transition of moving abroad with kids can be a difficult one, I'm finding the perspective and growth it provides for a family is far worth it. I think it's all about having realistic expectations about how it will affect everyone and reacting accordingly. Immersing ourselves in this new culture and language and lifestyle has grown us closer together. We have learned to understand and relate to each other better. It's created a healthy dependence on the family unit that we were lacking in the States. Because we "uprooted" together, we have had an opportunity to be more vulnerable together and adopt a perspective on life that sees things differently. The world is HUGE and people are DIVERSE and memories are EVERYTHING. These are just a few of the lessons a family can learn while raising kids abroad. I pray your journey abroad is just as eye-opening as ours has been thus far.

Monday, May 5, 2014


This is a photo of a mom trying to stay sane while her kids are trying to kill each other in the backgroud.

And so is my life.

If moms (and dads, for that matter) were paid to referee like those who work for the NBA or NFL, then I would understand the constant tattling, tantruming, demanding, screaming, withholding, and general roughhousing that goes along with this game. But this IS NOT the play-offs and I do not get a whistle and I am not paid NEARLY what I'm worth to settle disputes all day.

Especially when they are ridiculous.

I have two boys, two years apart. I probably could stop there and parents everywhere would nod their heads in acknowledgment at the unbelievable task of refereeing that I must do daily. It's never ending. Truly. If one is not "touching" the other annoyingly, or "looking" at the other weirdly, or calling names, or tattling, or not playing fair, or not sharing, or acting like a "meanie", then I would have a very boring day. How I lovingly covet "boring" days.

I'm tired of being the sheriff. (Where is my badge, by the way?)

A few days ago, I am in the middle of 5 million things (as usual) including sweeping sand out of my kitchen that the kids and the dogs tracked in, wiping down the countertops where someone had just spilt jello, trying to find a hair thing to put my hair up because it's 5 million degrees in Nicaragua currently, and stirring a pot on the stove of chicken noodle soup. All of the sudden, shouts are heard in the living room, and then. . .the crash. Followed by huge sobs. Awesome.

I run in there to find all the crayons spilt all over the floor and my littlest in a heap, crying and screaming something intangible. My oldest, hands on his hips starts in about how he "is the red dog and how brother cannot be the red dog because he's already said first that he's the red dog and two people cannot possibly be the red dog". SIGH. My youngest screams that he said first that he's the red dog and he's "not going to be any other color of dog and he's not going to be his brother's dog-friend if he cannot be the red dog". DOUBLE SIGH.

I mean, really.

I can understand refereeing when it's necessary. When there are legitimate kid fights over toys or turns or tattling. I get it. I really do. I understand that we are still learning what is right and wrong and fair and not fair. That things get a bit gray and cloudy on the "you-move-you-lose" rule or someone maliciously steals a toy. I can rush in and slam down the iron gavel and rule in favor of one or the other, depending on the plaintiff's proper gripe or defendant's understandable excuse. I'm generally good and fixing these things. Turning tantrums into learning experiences and getting all involved back to laughing and smiling terms until the next legitimate argument.

But now we are fighting over imaginary things?!

I would really love to hear what Judge Judy would have to say about who in this house should have the right to be the red dog. I'm completely at a loss.

I scooped up my youngest and told him that he could just be the red unicorn instead. That seemed to do the trick, until his brother decided that the red dog wasn't cool anymore and he wanted to be the red unicorn too. I did what any good mom would do and grounded them from being any imaginary things for the rest of the day. I couldn't take it anymore.

I'm really hoping that this is a phase. Everything else has been. The constant crying at bedtime--phase. The screaming when you leave them at daycare--phase. The wetting the bed--phase. The insistence on having/being/wanting everything that the sibling has/is/wants--TELL ME IT'S A PHASE! I cannot have anymore fights over imaginary animals in my house. I cannot handle the constant bickering. I have not been deputized and I am not paid NEARLY enough for this.

Commiserate with me. . .is anyone else having this problemo? Do your kids fight over everything? Tell me when they outgrow this (because I vaguely remember still fighting with my sister over whose turn it was to use the hot rollers when we were in our teens) and the thought of ten more years of this makes me want to take out a craigslist add to sell them both. (Although, they would probably just argue about who is worth more so loudly and so often that no one would agree to the sell.)  Mad props to the parents like myself who are in the trenches, handling imaginary problems as we speak. We need to stick together. What is the craziest things that your littles have fought over?

Friday, May 2, 2014

90-Day Homeschool Experiment

Everyone knows I love a good social experiment. For other times I've embarked upon crazy new fasts or adventures, look into these posts-- 7 Weeks To A More Simplified Life.   .

Ever since we've moved abroad as a family, education has been at the forefront of our priorities. There are so many different options out there, but homeschooling was always something we shyed away from. Mainly from lack of knowledge about it and the mere fact that I didn't feel qualified to teach my own children. It's such a amazing responsibility, I didn't want to screw it up.

We were blessed to settle into an area in Nicaragua with a well-known international school. The boys have thrived there at San Juan Del Sur day school. A hands-on learning approach and diverse teacher and student-body have helped our transition into this new culture in wonderful ways. The boys adore the school. But we started noticing some emotional and social issues that needed addressing. Though the boys were growing academically, they needed more of US. Going to school from eight in the morning until four in the afternoon left them screaming for our attention in the evenings and extremely exhausted. They are long days for a seven-and-four-year-old, and we noticed them fighting (more than normal) for quality time with us. Visiting with some homeschooling families and observing their relationships with their children left me feeling a bit jealous. Their children seemed calmer, not nearly as needy as mine, and way more spiritually fed than mine. I am well aware that comparison is the thief of joy, and all families are different, but with these observations, another family close to us choosing the homeschooling option, and the fact that my children began asking why they couldn't have mommy teach them, I started really considering this journey.

So here we are, making a change and committing to a 90-Day Homeshcool Trial Period. For other parents like myself who have thought seriously about homeschooling, worldschooling, unschooling, etc, but have not yet made the leap, let me jump off the ledge for you while you watch and take notes. I thought it best to record the process here and all that our family learns in this lifestyle change. It will be a transition and a learn-as-we-go adventure. Let me preface by saying that I know I have not done ample research and I may fall flat on my face a time or two in this whole endeavour. I'm no teacher and I'm praying WAY in advance that God will grant me wisdom, patience, and sanity through what will inevitably be a time of growing pains for me as a mom. But amidst the anxieties that I have, I am extremely optimistic and excited about seeing how this new lifestyle could actually enhance our home life and bring us a lot closer to our kids. This is something that we feel led to do.  We are quite sure that it will be hard, but we are excited to see some positive results in these 90-days.

Here's the thing. . .we could hate it. It could be impossible and chaotic and hopeless and just really not work for our family. OR it could be the best thing that has ever happened to our family. We shall see. We are committing to 90 days before making a lasting decision. We hope you will follow along! We'd love some feedback and advice from all of you homeschool superstars who have been doing this successfully for years! We'd also love to hear from those who are skeptical about homeschooling and why. It all helps us in researching and helping us find our family's niche in the topic of education. All comments are needed and welcome!

Here's the plan:
*I have found some amazing, FREE online resources and plan to utilize those as often as possible.
*We will attempt to "school" at least 4 hours a day, with room throughout the day for play and rest.
*We will be focusing heavily on learning Spanish as a family with formal lessons at least three times a week.
*We've met some other sweet families who are also homeschooling and we will be getting together to do crafts, activities, games, and field trips at least once a week.
*I will be posting updates about this homeschooling journey; the highs and lows and all in-between on Fridays. For anyone else who has wondered if this option is right for them, we hope to shed some light on the reality of starting the process of homeschooling and all the things our family learns from it in these first 90-days.
*We will be doing unit studies in 30-day increments, with the first being The Planets and Solar System. The second month, we will study The Weather. The third month, we will study Systems of the Human Body.
*Everyday, we will have focused time on Reading, Math, English, Bible Study, Science, and Art. All of these subjects will be taught with our unit study in mind.
*Because schools are year-round in Nicaragua, we will be beginning this trial period starting this coming Monday. May, June, and July will be the months of experiment and a long-term decision made for August.

So, how many others are homeschooling? What are your thoughts and advice?? Please follow along as we jump head-first into the exciting adventure of educating our own kids!