Monday, August 25, 2008

Third Grade Graduation!

August 22, 2008

Today we celebrated Ryan finishing third grade in his home school. We made vanilla ice cream and sang his praises. We gave him a 600 piece puzzle of the world (thanks grandma and grandpa for leaving that) which he and Jeff diligently worked on past bedtime. I am really proud of Ryan and his accomplishment. He is smart like his dad and picks up on concepts quickly. He enjoys Geography, learning about other cultures, and history. Even though he doesn’t enjoy reading and creative writing too much he is good at those subjects too.

Monday he will begin 4th grade. Starting a new school year is always a bit challenging at first until we both figure out what we’re doing. This year Ginny will begin 1st grade. My hope is that Joshua will be able to sit in with Ginny’s history and science lessons and then do his own kinder work at other times. It will be extra challenging to juggle more than one grade level at once but I know that God will supply all our needs.

When Jeff and I began looking at mission fields the one thing I mentioned over and over again is that I absolutely did not want to have to home school my children. I didn’t feel called nor qualified to be responsible for my children’s education. Plus, I knew it would be extremely time consuming and I had no extra time to give.
God led us to Paraguay where most of my teammates home school due to lack of better education options. Although I wasn’t gung-ho about being in a teacher role, for 2 ½ years I taught Ryan out of obligation and while I nursed a baby, potty trained a toddler, attended language school, cleaned the dishes and made the beds. I praise God for my wonderful husband who rescued me in my hour of distress and began teaching science, math and history to free my plate up some. As Ryan entered 3rd grade in July of 2007 I dreaded the new school year. I hadn’t really taken 1st and 2nd grade very seriously. After all, Ryan was smart and usually knew the lessons before I taught them. But third grade I knew would be different; more would be expected now that he could read and write well. I felt terribly inadequate to teach. Jeff was still willing to work with Ryan but he, too, was busy with medical clinics and people at our door. Plus, I felt guilty and behind in preparing Ginny for 1st grade. I felt that my time was so pulled that I had not one more minute to give to anyone else.

In October of last year God got a hold of me and spoke in a way that I will not forget. He reminded me of the scripture we were teaching our kids from Colossians 3:23 “Whatever you do work at it with all your heart as if working for God and not man.” I was not doing this job of teaching my children for Him. I had been doing the job with a sour face and a half-hearted attitude. I cried out to the Lord, “What do you want me to do? I don’t even want this job. I cannot do it.” He replied, “I don’t want you to do it either because YOU can’t. I want to do it through you.” If “I” would get out of the way He promised to equip, supply and bless. I instantly felt a burden lifted! God, the Father, wanted a job done and he chose to use me! When I agreed to let HIM teach things changed almost overnight. I began to ask advice of Godly home schooling women on and off the mission field. I also bought a few books on learning styles and how to be a better teacher. Most of all, I prayed (and still do). I prayed for new ideas and ways to make learning fun. I pray that God would give me answers and be able to direct their curious minds. I pray that I will be able to reflect Jesus even in the classroom setting.

Once in a while we still have those stressful home school times – when Ryan turns in a paper and has followed none of the instructions or when Ginny stumbles over a word that she should be able to say in her sleep and when I look at Joshua who is so eager to start home school and wonder when can I squeeze in a lesson with him? But what follows those times is a moment of prayer. Sometimes it is a prayer of, “Help me” and sometimes it is a prayer of “Now what?” And sometimes it is a prayer of “thanks”. Thanks that I get to be the one pouring into my children’s lives day after day. Thanks because His promises are true. Thanks because God has so blessed my home schooling time with my children and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.


paraguayalyssa said...

You are so amazing, Amy. I would have never, ever, ever imagined that you ever had a bad attitude or felt inadequate about ANYTHING. You're supermom with the super attitude, for goodness' sake! Thank you for sharing this blog :) YOU inspire me!

Allen and Sandi Smith said...

Hey Amy,

Thanks for sharing about your home-school trials and blessings. I can totally relate. I did not want to home-school either, but it was the best option in Peru also. We just finished our first year and about to begin our second year. I have to pray all the time for joy as I teach, but there have been so many blessings in seeing my kids learn. Love hearing about how you are doing, keep in touch! ~Sandi

Liz said...

I am so glad you have started to blog! I like the window into ya'lls world. Thanks for adding it into all of the many things that you do! Thanks for sharing the struggles as well as the fun.
We sure are missing ya'll!! Hugs to all of our grandkids!

bernitasheets1955 said...

Hi Amy, Bernita Sheets here. The most important thing you are teaching your children is character, Love for God and hearts that want to follow Him. I was a "terrible" teacher when it came to academics. Basically we just didn't do it. But...Terah is a lawyer now. Heather is a doctor and Sarah is a nurse. We used the "unschooled method" by default. The kids learned anyway.
Sarah started public school as a freshman and made all "A's" and "B's". Keep up the good work. Your kids will be ok and always remember that a "heart for God" is the greatest thing you can give your children. Tyler's death has reminded us that nothing in this world is of value except knowing Jesus and God.

Kim said...

Amy, You truly are an amazing women. Thanks for opening up and sharing your heart. This is exactly why God wanted you to teach your children, so they can learn humility, obedience and diligence. Along with all the other awesome qualities you have.
Love tons Kim Moffet