The School Year Begins!

This week, we were officially “back to school.” I admit to feeling woefully unprepared; I haven’t re-visited my scope-and-sequence for each of the children to refresh myself and provide necessary direction, which is something I’ve faithfully done in previous years. I haven’t reviewed “daily responsibilities” with the children to help things go smoother. And we haven’t been having a daily Circle Time or training times except for a handful of days since coming to Africa. I miss that terribly and know what a great difference it makes in the overall scheme of things. But honestly, the burden of daily work has just made it impractical for all of us to get on the same page and sit down together as I would like. The best time has been afternoon, but inevitably when I think “Wow, we can have Circle Time or do a little bit of training!”…the afternoon rains are upon us and it’s so loud in our tin-roofed house that all we can do is sit down and look at each other. The person next to you can barely hear you, even if you’re yelling. But, it sure makes a good time for each of the kids to sit down with a book (which everyone also enjoys).

In our first five days of schooling, we actually only did three complete days. Life kinda got in the way. We ended up harvesting and canning our carrots one day (21 quarts plus a bunch fresh, which will last a while!). That day, we managed a half-day of school in addition to the extra work. Marc and I went to town another day, and the kids under Isaiah’s supervision did well in managing the day’s work and food needs, as well as taking good care of the baby, but only did a half day of schooling in the process.

On Friday, after not having cleaned my kitchen floor in two weeks and having that on my to-do list (and needing to wash the dining area/sitting room floors as well) PLUS having an extra-large load of wash to do, I was sure that trying to get all that done AND a full days’ school was pretty unrealistic…but I was pleasantly surprised. Jonah cleared out the sitting room and swept, then Deborah followed up with water and squeegee. I set aside my laundry for a quick quality-control check, and then they got to their books. Everyone else had other jobs to do, which took some time, but they got done and got to their schooling as well. And the baby was happy to sit in his stroller while I did wash, instead of wandering around looking for trouble as usual.

Recently, we’ve been having some issues with faithfulness (the children doing as asked, particularly while I am outside focusing on the daily wash)…they know I’m not really paying attention and you know what the Bible says about children left to themselves bringing their mother to shame? It’s true! Well, on Friday I was certainly distracted with my daily work but pleased to see a change in the “norm,” with all the kids inside staying on-task. The difference? I suddenly realized that Marc was unexpectedly HOME, and although he was trying to rest and ended up reading a book in bed…HE WAS HOME. The kids knew it. They got their stuff done! And even had a little time to enjoy the new swing set before lunch. Granted, lunch was a bit late as I finished up the laundry and squeegeed the kitchen floor…but everyone agreed that it was both a productive and enjoyable morning. And in the end, a full day of schooling was accomplished! God is good.

Isaiah (our oldest, age 13 and in 8th grade) has decided that he wants to be a missionary bush pilot and has been focusing a lot in that direction. There is a flight school in Nairobi, which he can enroll in as early as age 16, so he’s prepping for the GED and wants to test-out as early as possible to get into the program. All as the Lord wills, but the goal is a good one and GED prep is a fine thing to aim for. He’s got lots of enthusiasm and it’s helping him take responsibility for his education. So also this week, Marc and Isaiah sat down for a planning session and figured out his scope-and-sequence for the sciences, which was a big relief to me. Now I just need to sit down and so the same for the Social Studies. We use a curriculum for math that we feel will prepare him well enough (not to mention, he’s got a pretty analytical mind, anyway).

Not a bad first week, though (needless to say), I hope in subsequent weeks to get more accomplished in less time.

For those of you who are homeschooling, how’s your year going?


African Old Wives’ Tales

  • If a baby boy wears diapers, he will have fertility problems as an adult.
  • If you wear glasses you will damage your eyes, but carrots will “wash” your eyes.
  • Chameleons are dangerous and mzungus who handle them must put special chemicals on their hands when they do so.
  • If you sit on cooking stones, you will grow a cow’s tail.
  • Men and women who are interested in becoming more fertile should run around naked at night.
  • If you have joint aches and fever, it must be malaria.
  • A baby who does not wear a hat during the cool of the afternoon will not grow hair.
  • Chewing sugar cane cleans your teeth.
  • Ugali (and only ugali) makes you grow strong and healthy.