Finishing Strong


Life with littles and life in Africa–both require flexibility. I have tried several times to sit down and write about our week, only to have a more immediate task brought to my attention.

On the homeschool front:

Caleb had a great week, starting off with a certificate from Xtra Math for knowing all of his subtraction facts perfectly in under 3 seconds. As I’ve mentioned before, I love this website that takes some of the drilling pressure off of me and makes it more impersonal for him, yet fun. He loves getting a certificate, and his only challenge is typing correctly at times!


He also got a few more stickers for passing lessons in spelling and was excited to finish his Bible reader for this year! Hopefully next week we will finish his phonics curriculum as well as another reader.

In my mind I have been thinking that we have 3-4 more weeks worth of work to finish before we can finish our school year. But due to a comment of Seth’s that jogged me out of the rut my mind was in, I realized that for all practical purposes we could be done with school after next week.

Phonics will be done, math and spelling have been done for a while (we’re working ahead now), language and writing can be finished or skipped into second grade, one reader remains, and handwriting papers–well, who says the whole workbook has to be finished to say the school year is done? We will have about 14 pages left, and considering that on “test” days, he writes two pages of work, that’s a complete school year, I’d think. (And he has beautiful penmanship!) Science is done enough, as well as health. I would like to finish history, and we’re close, but I’m not sure we will. However, that’s fun and Caleb can just listen to the audio for the last 200 years of Rome before we start next year.

My little ancient Brit--painted in blue and dirt.

My little ancient Brit–painted in blue and dirt.

So I thought, do I push off starting our next school year in order to finish every single history and science lesson? They don’t do that in brick and mortar schools. I may still do that (I’m a little OCD/box-checker, etc.), but at least it took some pressure off my mind and made me happy that we’re almost done! Considering that we started this school year last December, I feel like it’s taken forever!

nelson_mandela__my_heroThis week we read a book on Mandela so my kids would hopefully remember his death later on in life. I also received more of an education on him and feel conflicted in my mind as to the level of his greatness. I blogged about him Monday and Tuesday. It will be a relief to have the international hullabaloo over.

When an African dies on a Wednesday or Thursday, often the funeral doesn’t take place until the next weekend, causing a wait for loved ones of about 10-11 days before having closure. All family activities and work stop as they gather together for those days. It’s too long and drawn out for me. After several funerals lately, Seth and I sincerely hope we never have a funeral here ourselves. The African method of comforting would be one of our severest trials. IMG_1058

We drew twice for nature study this week–an interesting black slug and a grasshopper.

We drew a swan for art and listened to Rachmaninoff for music.


For science we studied our nervous system and talked about the senses. Caleb read My Five Senses by Aliki and made a page for his science notebook. I can tell I’m getting draggy and impatient regarding homeschooling for the second Christmas season in a row in 1st grade. I gave Caleb a book of projects to do for the senses, told him to look through it, and if he wanted to do any, I’d help him. He did one. He’s a box-checker too. 😉

On the home-church front:

We went to town Friday so we could go to the dentist and finish grocery shopping before Christmas. I avoid town as much as I can in December, as it is so packed-busy. At the dentist, we discovered a cavity and gum recession with bone loss for me, which will require a visit to Pretoria sometime next year to repair.

Opening our package!

Opening our package!

A friend sent us a package for Christmas! So fun! Seth attacked one of his new books from the package–Strange Fire by John MacArthur. Even though it repeats what he’s been saying for a while, I think he’s so happy to hear a big name fighting for the same issue that he’s thrilled with the book. I am snacking on Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Honey Mints from the package as I write this.  😉


Cooking for the men vuswa–their staple food–thick cornmeal.

The young men have been working 1 1/2 days a week on the church property during their school break. Some young men are home from college, and it’s nice to have their muscle behind the effort. Today, one-third of the foundation (specifically the “footer”) was mixed (by hand) and poured. I pray the rain will stay away for another day or so. Soon we will run out of money and need to take a break from digging and building to raise more funds. I am prepared (after our trip to town) for some serious baking sessions in case that happens this week. I’m going to try selling caramel corn and Christmas sugar cookie-cutouts this time.

Such a praise though–when we called to order the small stones to mix in the footer (they call it “concrete”), the company owner,  a Christian, delivered a load for free!

Seth is preaching on the fruit of the Spirit, and we have both been convicted several times lately about certain deficiencies in our character. I’ll write more on that later…

…since I’m also in a blogging group with my sister this year that will keep one another accountable regarding our personal goals for 2014. Most of the group has already written down some personal priorities, which you can see here. (I’m already behind. 🙂 ) I am excited about the extra push to keep my goals, and the extra writing shouldn’t require too much more time from me since I already wrote on goals last year and intended to again. We would be happy for any friends to join in with their goals, either in the comments section or on their own blogs.

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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5 Responses to Finishing Strong

  1. Victoria says:

    I’ve yet to sort out my writing goals for 2014. But one of them will involve keeping it in its place. 😉 I’d like to spend less time on the computer this coming year, and more time just enjoying my family.

    • Amy says:

      Hey, great to know! Thanks for responding! We’d love to have you join us. Our goals are all-encompassing, not just regarding our blogging. We are blogging about our goals for 2014, which can include any goals you have. I agree–I don’t want blogging to take over family priorities and sometimes it’s hard to find that balance.

  2. That was fun to read (I’ve read it twice!) And no, you don’t have to finish every page. Oh, the joy of homeschooling–and as a teacher that graduated from PCC, I did try to finish every page (almost). But as a homeschooler, why drive your child and you to insanity if they can do the work beautifully and it mundane? Have a great week!

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