Halfway Through

It was ladies’ day at the tree farm this year

It is hard for me to believe that Kris and I are at the mid point in our school year. It has been a wild ride this fall with all that is going on in the world around us. I need to step back and reflect on how it went.

The beginning of the semester starts out poolside and it ends at the Nativity. I am being careful to mark the milestones as we go since it is my last time taking this trip as a homeschool mom.

Most of the academic struggles we had this semester were in Algebra. This is not uncommon as the math skills Kris is acquiring are new and the concepts force her to train her brain in a new way. She is a perfectionist and a good student so it is difficult for her when she has to wrestle with ideas.

Although she does not appreciate this struggle it is precisely what she needs to propel herself into understanding the higher level math concepts. It has been a bit of a challenge for me to allow her to vent, while at the same time gently pushing her forward, encouraging her to go back over those ideas that cause her to stumble in her work.

There is a lesson here, maybe even more valuable than the firm foundation she is getting in Algebraic principals: the value of work!

Hard work is what separates excellent students from good ones. It is the one factor that really determines wether a student will succeed or fail.

It is not a subject we teach, but its value is understood by the standards we hold our homeschool students to. I don’t expect Kris to attain all A’s every time she takes a set of tests, but I do expect her to try diligently each time she completes a task. If her answers are too brief on an English assignment, I ask her to add more information, right on the spot. If she misses a problem in Algebra then she needs to try another problem of that type to show me she understands what went wrong.

In this way, I am reinforcing that with a bit more effort she can achieve great results. I offer plenty of praise for that second effort. Developing the practice of seeing mistakes and improving upon them will help her to succeed whatever she tries.

We have had plenty of successful school days this semester. Kris is highly motivated to get her work done. This has not been the case with all of my students, so I am very grateful that most of our school days go smoothly.

Christmas beckons!

It is so difficult to study in December. We had our last school day on the 14th. Some years we finish up even earlier. When we lived in Arizona we had school for the month of August (it is soooo hot in Arizona in August!). We then had the whole month of December off so we could spend time outside and prepare for Christmas. The closer the calendar creeps towards the 25th, the harder it is to concentrate. As soon as we can be done we start our Christmas preparations in earnest, hooray!

We have been decorating the house…
Betsy and Kris have been making cookies

We are hoping to make this Christmas extra special with all of our favorite home baked treats on hand to enhance the spirit of the season.

With COVID raging like the out of control beast that it is, our family is preparing to celebrate outdoors with my adult children and their kids.

We have added lights, Christmas decorations and a tree to our porch. My husband purchased a portable heater and we plan on building a fire to help us keep warm. The temperature is supposed to be hovering in the 30’s when we plan to gather for our Bring Your Own feast.

It is the perfect way to celebrate the end of my last semester teaching at home. I am grateful for the lessons I am continuing to learn. Even amidst the confusion of this year I am getting an inkling of what I may be interested in doing next year…

More on that later! For now I am going to revel in the season and all of the Blessings it brings. May God grant us good health during the Christmas Season and better days in the year to come!

“God bless us, everyone!”

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