Back on Track

Before going on furlough to America, we took some precautionary measures against invaders. And it was a good thing too, considering that they did come. Our first week has involved two big-ticket items for me: undoing those precautions to make our house more home-like, and beginning homeschooling again.

A Woman’s Touch

Usually unpacking makes a bigger mess before you see improvement. Sort of like the theory of communism, actually…and mine worked out somewhat like that–disaster that never really morphed into beauty. Just taking things out of 20 suitcases/carry-ons and organizing them into piles doesn’t qualify as “unpacked.” I’m hoping that tomorrow (being free from homeschooling) will be the magic day for Super Woman Homemaker.

I did manage to reorganize all of our family’s clothing closets and wardrobes. We had stored all the clothes in trash bags in an attempt to keep the cockroaches from defiling them with their waste. That precaution was successful–along with new poison left out just before we left, as well as having someone stay in the house to scare them away. I only had to scrub two items of clothing because of the little beasts, versus my co-worker who had to wash every single thing in her house after her furlough!

We also retrieved valuables that we had stored at our co-workers house or in our attic. The thieves who broke in only stole an extension cord on their first break-in. We have burglar bars on the windows of our back wall of our house; that along with having someone house sit at night, made us feel fairly safe. Nevertheless we had also locked and dead bolted the rooms that our house sitters weren’t using.

Apparently the thieves used a very small boy of few years of age to squeeze between the burglar bars of our kitchen window, walk through the house, and unlock the front door for them. A young man from our church who stayed here to scare away thieves caught the two thieves with the help of his cousin (also a church member). With some help, they literally bound and gagged the thieves in our garage, shocking our coworker when he found them the next morning in reply to their calls for help. The police then intervened to handle the criminals (one of them was a teenage neighbor who has attempted theft in the past). We were humorously impressed with how our youth dispatched the situation!

Burglar bars

Burglar bars

The picture also shows how my life is back to normal with occupations such as hanging up laundry, grocery shopping, hand-washing dishes, and cooking. I will definitely miss staying with my mom! Caleb and Colin have begun their chores again as well.

My Teacher’s Name Is Mom

Probably my major occupation (regarding my time) is teaching my children. I thought I had planned this week off as well; but when I looked at the calendar, I realized that we really needed to start school this week.

We are actually halfway through the school year for Caleb’s first grade. We made some changes to Caleb’s curriculum for language arts. We are now using All About Spelling (Level 1), First Language Lessons 1, and Writing with Ease 1 (workbook), instead of ABeka’s spelling and language workbooks. First Language Lessons also covers poetry and picture study.

New-to-me curriculum!

New-to-me curriculum!

This week we reviewed. I had good intentions regarding review in America; but it rarely happened, outside of him reading here and there. He had forgotten most of his subtraction facts and was rusty and slow on addition. After daily practice, I’m already seeing him slash his time on his addition flashcards, and we have begun reviewing subtraction, which is…happening.

He forgot a passage in Psalms he had memorized, so we’re reviewing that. And we took the week to review phonics concepts as well. He’s caught up fairly nicely in phonics. We are almost through reviewing how to write cursive letters, which he’d forgotten almost completely. I also introduced the first lessons in our three new curricula. My favorite of the three so far is Writing with Ease, which concentrates on copywork and narration, not penmanship.

He begged to do history, so we did read about Rome one day. I had planned just to review the major points of history and science. I find it discouraging how long school takes though, being only first grade! Maybe there can be too many good things in a school day. Is less really more?

We are now working on K4 materials with Colin. We have two workbooks from ABeka, one for writing and one for phonics and numbers, and a reading manual with the cumbersome-to-read title Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. I thought we would try it out with Colin. If we don’t like it, we can easily go back to tried and truck-along ABeka in kindergarten. So far he’s doing great! I do have to keep on top of him with his writing. Though he’s never formally learned letter formation, he thinks he’s a master already and can do it his own way.

I try to start my homeschool day with reading to Callie and Carson so that they are not pushed away from my attention all morning. I know this will be a trying next year or two. Every day my patience is tested to teach with two toddlers around. Then in the afternoons, I have anywhere from 10-20 village boys wrestling and running in my yard. Please pray for me to have the fruit of the Spirit!

They love our grass.

They love our grass.

About Amy

I'm Amy, a missionary wife and homeschooling mother of five children, blogging about our lives and perspectives on culture in South Africa.
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13 Responses to Back on Track

  1. Seth says:

    One editing comment regarding the thieves who broke into our house in July (the coldest month of the year): The young men staying at our house hog-tied them and left them on the cold cement floor all night. In the morning they woke them up by poring ice cold water on them where they interrogated them and then left them until the police arrived around noon. There is some justice here on this earth.

  2. It is hard to start up after a break, isn’t it? And I am still trying to figure out how much less is more!

  3. Well, that sure was a deterrent to breaking into your house! You have been busy! We just started school with Joshua, and he doesn’t know how to write any letters, so that might make you feel better! And we just put an app on the ipad that is like flashcards and timed. You can pick +, -, x, or / and pick 4 levels of hardness. The girls love it, and it releases me from having to do 5 minutes of flashcards daily along with all the rest of their homework.

  4. Amy O'Brien says:

    Awesome to hear of your settling back into things in South Africa. I’m so glad we had some time to visit with you during your furlough! How crazy about those burglars…and awesome how the young men took care of them! Ha! We will be praying for your endurance and patience as you start up a new school year. Praying for your ministry as well. Love you guys!!

  5. Wow! God bless you, Amy, and give you a love that surpasses all human understanding! I will be praying for you as you homeschool… you are inspirational in your testimony as faithful Wife, Mama and Homeschooling Teacher while ministering as Missionary… I pray our God richly blesses all your efforts! Hugs and Prayer!

  6. Wow! What a story!… And getting back into a routine after any break in schedule always seems so difficult!

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