Wednesday, September 26, 2012

3rd Grade Homeschooling

What a year it's been in regards to Emma's schooling. We started her at Sojourn Academy last fall in second grade. She liked the school but wanted to learn more Spanish since we would be staying here (most of the students are missionary kids who leave after a year). We transferred her to Colegio Metodista in February where she began second grade again (Costa Rica school calendar is Feb-Nov). It was good at first, but after  7 months we felt it was time for a change. I won't go into all the details, but just know that as her parents we needed to step in for her and make the decision that was best for her and our family. The decision needed to be a quick one, and homeschooling seemed to be the right option.

I would have NEVER thought I would home school.

I am not a teacher.

I do not have very much patience.

I like having alone time during the day.


Well, it wasn't about me anymore.

So, the decision was made...where do I begin?!?! I quickly realized that there are a million different curriculum out there and a million different opinions about them. Everyone offers suggestions and advice whether you're asking for it or not. It was starting to be very overwhelming. We had heard about a great "homeschooling for dummies" curriculum called Sonlight which offered a complete grade package along with lesson plans and everything. Sounded perfect for me. Done. And we decided since she has done two halves of second grade that that was good enough, so let's move her on to 3rd grade. Why not?

Since the decision had to be made quickly, a girl coming to live here for a year agreed to bring an extra suitcase with her with all of our homeschooling supplies in it with only a few days advance notice. Thank you thank you Hannah Loden!

Emma was thrilled about homeschooling and she has quickly become a bright happy girl again. She is such a hard worker and does everything she's asked so it's been a very easy adjustment for us. And we're having a lot of fun with it! It's pretty nice devoting about 3 hours to it and then being done by 11:00. We also go to the park regularly and she's taking gymnastics again.

I love feeling like we're doing the best we can for her. Thank you Lord for this special opportunity.

The night we received our suitcase full of material

Here are the subjects we do: History/Geography, Read-Alouds (which are 2 grade levels up meant to challenge her listening & comprehension skills), Readers, Math, Science, Poetry, Handwriting, Spelling, Creative Writing, and Spanish. We also do the pledge every morning with a devotional and scripture song (thanks Grace Evan music team!).

Emma on her first day of 3rd grade

This is now our dining room table on a daily basis

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Ortega Training Visit

A few weeks ago we did our first follow-up visit with the people of Ortega. Back in July, Will and some guys distributed the tablets to the pastors and leaders of Ortega and Upala, and this was our first follow-up visit with them. They have two months to complete a class, so we visited them a month into it. We wanted to talk with them about the class they're studying, if they have questions, what have they learned, which part has impacted their lives the most, and if this material is applicable to them.

It was amazing.

We did not have our translator with us, so it was just Will and me talking with these people for about an hour. Will led the discussion and asked questions, and I listened and threw in my two cents every now and then. I enjoyed talking with the ladies when we arrived and trying to connect with them as much as possible. It's wild how you think the language barrier will be the only issue...the main issue I found was trying to find things to talk about! I mean, what do I have in common with these women? Not very much.

Just to give you an idea...Santa Cruz is the closest city to Ortega and it has about 45,000 people in it. From Santa Cruz, we turned down a dirt road and drove through the country for another hour. We had to dodge cows in the street, swampy roads and men on horseback the whole time. We don't have air conditioning in our car, so the dust and dirt just pours in our car windows as we're driving. So we're over an hour outside of the closest "town" and we come across this little church. When we get there we see about 12 people walking up from all different areas for our meeting about their first class on their tablet. The main concern of the people of Ortega is flooding during the rainy season...not that their houses will flood...but it's the issue of crocodiles that will float up and into their homes. Can you imagine?!?!

The weather is very hot and muggy there. Being so pregnant I was sweating to death, but oh well. There was another pregnant lady there about a month behind me and we swapped pregnancy stories. It was fun.

Okay back to the meeting...

The first class they are taking is called "Kingdoms, Covenants and the Canon of Old Testament". To hear them talk about all this material they have never heard before was awesome. Like how the Old and New Testament are connected together, how God is the same God today as he was then, and how being part of the covenant family is such a privilege. Most of them have never even completed middle school and are talking about such great theological truths. I am so honored to be a part of this!

Will leading discussion

I guess I'm attempting to talk about something. I'm so thankful that I have a husband that wants us to be a huge part of this ministry as well. I decided that day that I can no longer take 5 hour bumpy trips out into the middle of nowhere until after Ally is born.

Emma and Jack brought a soccer ball to play with the kids and a bag of Oreos to share. That's all it takes to bond kids together. And they wanted to match and wear Angry Birds shirts that day.

They did an awesome job jumping in, playing, and using their Spanish

I was so proud of both of them...I hope they always remember these times

Those little girls loved Emma

Group picture in front of the church

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Oasis Weekend

Latin America Mission asked us to participate in a 6 month coaching course since we were in our first year of missions here. They connected us with a couple here through Life Impact Ministries and they live about an hour away from us. We've talked with them twice a month over Skype and they have been really helpful working through adjustment time and life here.

To finish up our time with them, they invited us to their ministry home to rest, relax and connect as a family for a weekend. They have a nanny that took care of the kids while we were able to talk with them some and hang out together just the two of us. Our kids loved it and their house was beautiful. What a neat ministry they have there offering an "oasis" for missionary families to get away.

To find out more about them, visit Thank you Tim & Erika Harris!

Their home and beautiful yard

We ate lunch and dinner with them and their two boys

Our kids loved being able to run around and play

Beautiful bird
Cool-looking caterpillar...only in Costa Rica

View at night off their porch of the city of San Jose

Narnia lantern...Emma and Jack LOVED this & made a clubhouse back there

Huge hydrangeas

Huge dogs

Kids playing

The house in the back where we stayed

Our cozy porch where we drank coffee in the morning

Yes, I know I'm huge