Exciting News!

For 15 years I was a stay-at-home mom with a couple of side hustles. That part of my life is a beautiful, invaluable sacrifice that is worth more than I could ever obtain by any earthly measure. While I am clearly still a full time mom,  I am also working outside of the home now. I have been a substitute teacher for two years and it has been an incredible experience. I love subbing!

My favorite part is getting to see my kids, my friends’ kids, and my kids’ friends!

Everyone always asks me how my kids feel about that and the answer is- they like it. They aren’t embarrassed or shy about me being at their schools, thank goodness. Ezie is the only one who has ever laid out ground rules. Before I was his substitute teacher the first time he told me I wasn’t allowed to show pictures of him or call him by his nick name (bubba bear). I agreed to this and stayed true to my word.

I was each of my  kids’ teachers at least once in the 22/23 and 23/24 school years.

One of my other favorite things about subbing is being all kinds of teachers. I have been a sub in pottery class, sign language class, behavioral management room, art, calculus, music, biomedical science, library, preschool, and so much more! What an adventure it has been. The only class I never tried subbing for was P.E. and that was by choice.














I also get asked about my favorite school/age to teach. I’ve always answered that high school is my jam. First of all it’s the easiest because they are mostly self sufficient. Also I have been  youth leader in the past, I have a teenager, and I guess I just like it at the high school. Everyone is shocked by that, because high schoolers are intimidating, but my experience hast been positive. I was actually a substitute  way back in my early twenties before I had children and we lived in Texas. I remember subbing for kindergarten and swearing that I would never do it again!!! It was the worst. Kindergarten teachers are angels on earth and I am so in awe of all they do. It’s not easy job.

I kind of changed my tune a little tiny bit earlier this year though when I worked a long term subbing job where I was an aide part of the day in two different kindergarten classes. Now that was a position that I LOVED. Kindergarteners are a handful but they are soooo sweet. They give hugs, they say funny things, pick you flowers, and give you sweet notes and they are just so stinking cute. I have a ton stories I could share about the time I spent with the kindergartners. I got really attached and it was hard to say goodbye when that job ended. The cool thing is Ezie, who is in 5th grade, got assigned as a reading helper for some boys in Kindergarten. My heart melted when he told me their names and I knew that he was helping two of my little buddies learn to read!

I have had some emotional days as a sub where I helped students dealing with some really sad or tragic things. It breaks my heart, but I know God placed me in that place with those kids for a reason. I also had some hard days were kids pushed my buttons and made want to scream (I’m looking at you junior high). As a whole though being in the schools has been such a blessing and I am grateful for the past two years.

This season of subbing is now coming to a close and while it is bitter sweet I feel like God has led me to this next position. As of today I am working full time as an aide/paraprofessional at the high school! I was not looking for a full-time job but it just kind of fell in my lap and I am beyond excited to see where it goes. I will share more later about the job, but let me get this first week under my belt.

PS, one more thing about subbing that I love is hanging out with FACILITY DOGS! Oh the joy they bring. That’s all.

By |2024-04-08T00:12:09+00:00April 8, 2024|Education|0 Comments

I Love My Public School

There has been a lot of hate for public schools right now. It’s a very prominent topic in political circles especially. As someone who sends my kids to public school I actually agree with a lot of the concerns from parents. I see so much wrong with the school system today and I’m not super enthusiastic about where it’s headed. However, as with any stereotype, there are usually exceptions. There are a lot of statements about democrats, white people, Russians, or Christians that are simply not true for the countless number of people that fall into those categories. So when I talk about loving MY school district, it’s just how I feel about OUR district. I’m not defending public schools as a whole. In fact, this time last year we were finishing up homeschooling. We homeschooled during the 2020/21 school year because I wasn’t happy with the school’s protocols for the pandemic.

Now that we are at the end of this school year I am feeling even more secure in that decision. In their final newsletters many teachers have said things like “This was such a great school year! I am so glad it’s been a fun and more normal year than last year” reminding me that I dodged last year all together. All the events we enjoyed like the school carnival, the art show, the MANY field trips, father daughter dance etc. were all canceled last year but were back again this year thank goodness.

I was hesitant to reenroll the kids in 2021 once talk of masks was brought up, but then I saw a rainbow the night of that important school board meeting and as cheesy as it sounds I knew the Lord was reminding me that he keeps his promises. I was at peace with our decision to send the kids back to school and it’s been a blessing to watch each one of them flourish.

While I love seeing test scores that reveal just how well my kids are doing I know it isn’t a true measure of success or understanding. What I really love seeing is their creativity, their interest in books and history and science. Even though Elle is struggling with reading she had a specialist that works with her and I have no doubt that she will blossom in her own time. No one is pressuring either of us.

All of their teachers are hands-on and make learning fun. I would pay good money for them to have these experiences (I am glad it’s free though, let’s be honest). I could go on and on about all that the teachers do to help these kids feel comfortable, inspired, and challenged every day. Here is a photo of SJ bringing a dozen eggs to school because her teacher asked if she could buy some and then insisted on paying her.

Then I found this math assignment that allowed SJ to use hens and hen houses as a way to understand the multiplication.


When they post photos and videos of the students they brag on them like a proud parent. For example this photo was shared with a caption about how the students spontaneously organized a class soccer game for those interested and she said “Great Kiddos!!!”  I’ve even received hand written notes in the mail about how well my kids are doing. I understand what a gift this is and I don’t take it for granted. 

As far as what kind of indoctrination is happing outside of the home I can’t possibly know everything that they are being exposed to. I know that we are putting great emphasis on faith in our home and they have Jesus in their hearts. Our pastor’s kids are at the same public school our kids are and I think the youth group and children that they spend their time with are a great influence and accountability for them.

All that to say I am so glad we put the kids back in school this year. I am always taking it one day and one child at a time and will continue to do so. For all the teachers I know that are out there doing a great job despite the obstacles you are facing I am so grateful for you. You all are heroes in my book! And for the families homeschooling and putting your kids in private schools the sacrifices you make are worth it. You are heroes too! I am envious of all the homeschool and private school perks. I just know it’s not the best fit for us right now.

So there you have it. I love our public school and I’m looking forward to 1st, 4th, 6th, and 9th grade!

By |2022-06-02T10:49:32+00:00June 2, 2022|Education, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Supporting Your Kids’ Home School Needs

How has your experience with home school been? Maybe you’ve got on really well? Or maybe some ups and downs? Home school has been a bit of a mixed bag for all of us, and that’s why we need to talk more about how to support your kids through it. After all, whether your children are being home schooled by choice or by necessity, it can be hard to support their academic needs from the comfort of your living room. 


Even when your child is in traditional school and requires a bit of outside support, you can still tear your hair out over what to do! But that’s why we’ve collected together the tips below; sometimes all you need is an idea to find the right solution for your child. 



Vary the Schedule


Kids need routine and structure, of course, but every now and then they also need something fun and spontaneous to do. So make sure any home schooling schedule you put together has some free spots on it; save these for special days, like Mondays and Fridays, when your child is going to have a lot more energy to waste. 


In these ‘free spot’ segments on the timetable you could do activities like storytime, or watch an educational program, or take them down the park as a little treat. You could also get them into the kitchen to do some hands-on practicals, whether you build a volcano together or simply bake a cake. Just do something different! 


Download the Right Software


It’s hard to be everything to your child at all times, and sometimes you’re going to need qualified, outside help to really support their schooling needs. So don’t be afraid to get online and see what kind of help is out there; it usually exists in the form of remote software, often recommended by your child’s teachers themselves. 


Indeed, kids tend to respond better when you’re using laptops and tablets to teach K-12 classes, so liberally apply this principle to your own home school classroom. Your child will be able to connect to subject tutors outside of your own areas of expertise, whether for mainline schooling or simple homework purposes. Better yet, they can do so whenever they need to. 


Keep an Eye on Your Child’s Natural Passions


What does your child really love to do? Play soccer? Draw and color? Maybe they’re a fan of going for a walk and picking up every leaf and bug they see? Well, if you want to refine your home school syllabus a little, make time to include these beloved activities. 


When you support your child’s natural passions, they blossom in so many more ways, simply because you take time to cater towards their interests. As a result, they’ll be far more willing to complete ‘boring’ subjects, such as Math or English, because they’ll have more energy for the school structure as a whole! 


Supporting your kids’ home school needs just takes a bit of thinking!


By |2022-02-08T15:58:34+00:00February 8, 2022|Education, Family, Motherhood, Parenting Tips, Schooling|0 Comments

Tips for Helping Your Child to Read

As a mom, one of the hardest things to face is the fact that your child may not be progressing as quickly as they should. If your child is not reading at the correct grade level and you are a bit worried you don’t have to panic.

You can teach your child to read and do it successfully. However, you must be prepared to learn as much as you can about the reading process.

There are varying opinions about what works and what doesn’t. There are also opinions about what age children should be able to read.

 If all this difference in opinion has you wondering, “When do kids learn how to read?” find out the answer to this question and discover some of the best reading strategies that you can use to help your child.

Use Nursery Rhymes

A nursery rhyme will capture your child’s attention. Children will hear rhymes and syllables in the words they are reading. This will help to build their phonemic awareness skills.

Phonemic awareness is the skill that allows your child to identify and manipulate the individual sounds that are found in the spoken word. You and your child should clap to the rhythm of the rhymes together.

While your child is having fun they will be setting the stage for developing solid reading skills in the future. Nursery rhymes are a great way for children with speech problems to learn how to pronounce words.

Make Word Cards

You can buy word cards but it is so much fun to make them. Begin with three-letter words and ask your child to choose cards and then call the word. Ask your child to identify each of the sounds they hear in the three-letter words.

Examples of good words to use are cat, cup, and pig. Try to choose three-letter words that lend themselves well to pictures since this will make it easy for your child to remember the word.

Creating cards takes very little time and they are a great way to build your child’s decoding skills. If your child is starting to learn the alphabet then this is a great activity to use to introduce them to the sounds each letter makes.

Make Your Home Print Rich

You should make it a practice to label everything in your home. In this way, your child will learn that everything has a name. This helps your child to connect words to concrete things and this makes it easier for them to learn.

When you are out with your child, make a conscious effort to point out printed words in the environment. A good place to start is by drawing their attention to signs that you see.

You can sound out the letters for them that make these words. You can begin by focusing on the sound of the first letter in the words you see. Ask your child to tell you the sound of the first letter and what word rhymes with the word you pointed out on the sign.

You can also begin using the word in a sentence right away and let your child repeat these sentences. This is the best way to subtly help your child understand the meaning of a word.

Children Love Games

Children like to play and word games are the perfect way to capture their attention and keep it. These games should help your child to identify and manipulate all the sounds they hear in a word.

Another great way to get your child interested in learning new words is to write and use sand or wool to outline them. Let your child close their eyes and use their sense of touch to guess the word they are feeling.

Let them tell you the sound of each letter they have identified in the word. 

Know the 5 Skills 

For your child to read and comprehend what they have read, there are five skills they need to develop. Once you know what they are then you should do all you can to research them and find learning materials that will help to develop each skill.

The skills that your child must master are the following:


  • Phonemic Awareness
  • Phonics
  • Vocabulary
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Fluency


The first hurdle you need to cross is phonemic awareness. Next, you need to develop your child’s skills in phonics. When your child begins to understand the connection between letters and the sounds they make then they are well on their way to developing their vocabulary.


Comprehension is probably the hardest skill for many children to develop. This is why as soon as you can you should have your child use the words they have learned in sentences this will ensure that they have a solid idea of the words they are reading.


Fluency will develop when all the other skills are developed. Fluency happens when your child is confident in identifying words. This brings speed and accuracy.

Use Technology

One of the easiest ways to grab a child’s attention is to use videos. With so many videos available on the internet that teach phonics and developing reading skills, it is up to you to choose the one that is right for your child.


Pay attention to your child’s expressions as they learn from the videos. Ask them questions afterward to see what they have grasped.


Once you find a style of video that works then you can use it often to make your child develop reading skills.


There are also software, apps, and learning academies online that will help you to teach your child. The wonderful thing about the internet is the amount of information it provides. You don’t have to go it alone.

Model Good Reading Habits


If you are that parent who doesn’t like to read then it is time to change all of that. It’s good for your child to see you reading since this will help them to develop their interest in reading. Aside from this perhaps the best reading strategy you can use is to read to your child daily.

Read a variety of books to your child. This approach will help you to introduce a lot of different stories. Make sure you read books about things your child is interested in since this will make it easier for your child to relate to what is being read.

The next thing you should do is buy read along books. Those that have picture clues are the best ones and make it less likely that your child will fail at recognizing a word. This will help them to develop confidence.

Help your child to select books that they are likely to succeed with. The five-finger test is an excellent way to know if a book is too hard for a child. To do this test open the book to the middle.

Ask your child to begin reading the page. Every time they see a word they don’t recognize they should raise a finger. If by the end of the page five fingers are up then the book is too hard for them.

Time to Read

Now that you know some of the main things you should be focusing on it will be a lot easier for you to get your child to read. 

Once you notice your child’s strengths work to develop them even more. The same is true for any weaknesses that you notice. Be consistent and patient because every child develops reading skills at a different pace.


5 Word Puzzles Apps To Challenge Your Brain

Christmas is over and winter is in full swing. To be honest, this season can feel glum and sometimes you wonder if you brain is turning into mush!

Word puzzle apps can be a great way of challenging your brain and keeping you more alert! On top of helping you to expand your vocabulary, these word puzzles can test your mathematical and logical skills. They’re great for keeping your mind sharp as you get older and can equally be great for helping kids to develop their vocabulary and logical skills. There are hundreds of these word apps available to download from Android and Apple app stores. Below are just a few of the most popular word game apps to try.


Based off of the popular board game, the Scrabble app allows you to compete against other players online by building words and collecting points. On top of trying to reach the highest score in each game, you can compete with other players to build the best overall score. There’s also an option to play against a computer if you don’t want to play against real players (or simply want some practice). There’s also an in-built dictionary feature that allows you to search up words beforehand to check that they’re real words.


Wordscapes is a popular app that challenges you to build words out of a selection of letters. As the rounds get higher, the selections of letters get harder. It’s a fairly simple and intuitive game that anyone can play and takes you across lots of relaxing landscapes in the process. The game gets quite hard as it progresses but if you get stuck on a level, you can find Wordscapes cheat codes online. There are also many guides and tips online to understand the points system. 


Alphabear challenges you to select letters on a puzzle grid to create words and collect bears. The more letters you use, the bigger the bear. It’s a unique word game with a fun bear theme to it (there are animated cartoons that play.throughout the game). A sequel to the game was released in 2018 that features even more bears to collect. Kids will love this game (as will adults!).


Typeshift is an anagram puzzle game that challenges you to create words stacked together. This makes it very unique to other word games. You’re given a new puzzle every day – the puzzles get harder throughout the week. For those looking for a game that’s slightly more challenging, this is the app for you. Like other games listed here, it’s completely free to download. You can find tips for playing Typeshift here. 

Word Search Pro

Love word searches? This app challenges you to solve a range of word searches in order to find the hidden words. You simply swipe up, down, left, right or diagonally to mark the word. The game allows you to select your difficulty and can be surprisingly challenging. This is a great game for honing your vocabulary and is a game that all the family can play!

When I am needing a moment to myself these word game apps are a great way to decompress for minute. Not a bad idea for the kiddos that have extra time to kill on dreary winter day. Do you enjoy word puzzles? What apps are your favorites?

By |2020-12-30T17:24:11+00:00December 28, 2020|Education, Family, Lifestyle, Schooling|1 Comment

Homeschooling Update

Originally written October 5, 2020

I now have 10 weeks of homeschooling under my belt. Now that public schools are all back in business it feels so much more real. For example, when my kids were in public school they would get out at 3:15 and we’d often hit up the library which was right next to another elementary school that got out at 3:45. I used to make sure we hurried so that we could grab some materials and get out before the school traffic hit. So the other day I told the kids we had to watch out for that traffic. Then I realized it was 1:00 in the afternoon! Hooray for homeschool perks.

Another time was when my co-op group rented a gym during the day and let all of our kiddos run around and play dodge ball and nerf war. That was definitely a homeschool perk.

On Ezie’s birthday last week we got to visit an apple orchard and a pizza and icecream place that you would typically have to wait an hour or more to get into. We went during the day on a week day and there was NO line at all.


Even though I have shared about all of the plusses and fun times, I want to be honest that there is still plenty of head butting and push back when it comes to really putting in 100% and doing the hard work.

All in all I would call our first 10 weeks of homeschool a success. Here are some more highlights from the past month.

We finished reading the book “Charlie & Frog” by Karen Kane. It had a lot of sign language included in the story. Part of our family homeschool lessons is ASL, so that was really neat.

We also did video book reviews for what each of the kids read individually. I posted the videos on Instagram stories. If you have an account and would like to follow me I’m @messymom.

We learned about Patriot Day, as shown on the chalkboard. That was a tough lesson, but an important one. We also did science lessons like the power of air molecules shown through the balloon and a toy car.

One of my FAVORITE lessons was a study on the Constitution which we celebrated on September 17th (Constitution Day). We camped out on this topic for a week, reading books and watching a video about the Constitution and even making our own quill pens using our very own chicken feathers. 

One week we focused on handwriting using a curriculum borrowed from a friend in our co-op.

Going to the park in the middle of the day with your grandparents is another homeschool perk!

All that and playing outside with the chickens and lots of leaves made for a wonderful September. We are looking forward to even more fall weather and fall fun! 

By |2023-06-12T06:28:17+00:00November 23, 2020|Education, Uncategorized|2 Comments

First Impression of First Month of Homeschooling

We officially have one month of homeschooling under our belt. One of our recent lessons was about cause and effect. I loved this sincere answer my daughter gave on one of her worksheets.

It’s the truth.

I feel like it isn’t real yet because we started school a month earlier than our public school district did. Now that they are starting it seems more official and I actually am even more nervous than I was before! I realize that this probably shows just how much of a product of the system I am. Maybe that will eventually wear off. August went really well though! I looked back through the photos to remind myself what I wanted to highlight and it was tricky because there are a lot of things that weren’t necessarily “homeschool” but were very educational. For example when the kids went to the Creation Museum with my parents,

or when we observed wildlife in the back yard

or made Amish Friendship Bread from a starter bag that my sister in law gave us.

That’s the cool thing about homeschooling is that you don’t turn it on and off. It’s perpetually educating your children and fostering a love of learning in them. Granted this is what I have always done with my kids, even when they were not homeschooled. I guess it’s just around the clock now.

Anyway, one of my absolute favorite homeschool moments was a field trip we took on the first week to a park called Heritage Village.

There just so happened to be a free event at a place that teaches about life in Ohio in the 1800s and it was phenomenal.

Another hands down favorite lesson in my opinion was when the kids made chocolate chip cookies.

We were reading a book about a boy who didn’t have parents around and he tried to make cookies and they didn’t turn out. I told the kids I wanted them to make chocolate chip cookies without my help. They immediately started considering the ingredients and utensils in the kitchen. I told them it doesn’t start there. First, you had to find a recipe (I directed them to the Messy Mom Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe which they printed out). From there they had to see if we even had all of the ingredients (which we did not). So I told them I would help them get to the grocery store and I would pay for the groceries, other than that it was all up to them.

Z printed out the recipe, while SJ made a list of instructions, and Ez wrote down the grocery list and then we headed to the store. 

I sat back and watched them learn that there is so much more to cooking than just the final results in the kitchen! There is money, planning, preparation, and a lot of time that is involved in the whole process start to finish.

When they actually made the cookies they kicked me out of the kitchen. I tried to resist because I wanted to take pictures. So they took my phone and took their own pictures.

I had forgotten all about it until I found this selfie later. It was so cute! The cookies turned out great and the experience was even greater.

Another fun homeschool day was when we had a big field trip P.E. outing to swim with their cousins who live in Kentucky. We only swam one other time this year because of COVID, so getting them in the water again before the weather turned cold was a big priority for me. It was the perfect day for it.

We have also been going through each country of the world a day at a time. The goal is to learn about all 195! It has been so cool.

I personally am learning A LOT right alongside them and each day we pray over the countries we talk about. The kids love to use the Intelliglobe. We were so blessed to have found this gem at a yard sale several years ago and boy has it come in handy.

Every day at the end of our school day I have the kids write in a journal. One day I read these precious words and it made my heart melt.

Today we talked about the world. We learned the [ASL] signs and verses of the world. Like John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only son.”… We also learned about Algeria and that America isn’t the only country that matters to God. I also prayed for Algeria…

Of course reading something like that makes it all worth it!

Oh and one more favorite memory from this month is doing schoolwork outside.

I love that the kids can get sun and fresh air while learning casually in the treehouse or on the patio. I feel like when weather permits it’s so much healthier than being cooped up indoors.

Often times we have had other children join in on our school time.

I’m sure that won’t happen as much now that public school is back in session but it’s been a fun twist to spontaneously include other kids in our “classroom”.

Today I was doing our read aloud and I looked around and each of the kids were holding a chicken.

I had to question if this was my real life, but actually I loved it! I wanted to have someone walk up and take a picture. Since that didn’t happen I snapped this pic myself at the end of our reading time.

Now onto the ugly parts of homeschooling so far. This is an actual photo one of the kids captured of me teaching one morning.

We have a lot of fun but there are times that I have them work individually on math and language arts so that it is grade specific. This includes daily worksheets, reading, and writing. For my two middle children this can be like pulling teeth! I know they never acted this belligerent with their teachers. It can become a battle and one child in particular has been digging their heels into the ground. I’m hoping as they come to the realization that we ARE doing this every day and there is no way to opt out, then maybe they will start co-operating more easily. Some days are better than others and I have already seen progress in the area of writing. I want to ensure I am keeping it real on Messy Mom because I could say “It’s going great” and if someone peeked in to see the arguing, whining, meltdowns, and disrespect that goes down on the daily then you might call me out on my optimism.

So there you have it. Month one done. I am sure I’ll be writing a lot more on the subject of homeschooling. We have an entire school year ahead of us.

By |2023-06-12T06:28:10+00:00September 4, 2020|Education, Uncategorized|1 Comment

Homeschooling for 20/21 School Year

I’ve been considering homeschooling since we started distance learning last March. I had a terrible experience with distance learning. To be clear. distance learning (or NTI, or online/virtual learning, or whatever you want to call it) are not the same as homeschool. Distance learning is when your child is enrolled in a public school and is doing all of the assignments remotely. Homeschooling is when you are the teacher and responsible for all aspects of your child’s education. One of the reasons distance learning doesn’t work for us is because I have four kids and a husband working at home. So imagine me trying to keep everything quiet while half the family is on a video call. It is a nightmare. I wrote about back when I was in the middle of all that.

I also already wrote about why I don’t want to do in-person learning. This is NOT to shame anyone who wants their kids in school and has no issues with social distancing, but it isn’t the best choice for us.

In the past, I have felt like our school had many benefits over what I could give them at home. I hear a lot of criticism towards public school because it is a rigid and outdated style of learning. I know some brick and mortar schools might be full of rows of desks with a teacher writing on a board and students memorizing and reciting information like robots. At our public school though, it is the total opposite of that and I have told our teachers how much I appreciate their approach to learning.

I would receive photos on the school app of my children daily and they were always either on their feet, outside, or sprawled out on the ground learning.

They were never in desks and never bored and disenchanted. This school is all about the tactile, kinesthetic, collaboration, imagination, nature, motion, friends-problem-solving, creating, building, hands-on, having fun while discovering!!! I wanted to share a hundred photos from this past year, but I narrowed it down. Their lessons are always super creative.  Is that awesome or what!? However, with the guidelines that are in place so much of that is going to change.

When I think of my kids being in an environment where their face is covered all day, as well as everyone around them it breaks my heart. No doubt this amazing group of teachers and staff will find creative ways to still ignite kids’ enthusiasm for learning but there are some ways their hands are tied. Day in and day out the children will be constantly encouraged to sanitize and discouraged from coming together which goes against our family’s philosophy on health and growth. In the pandemic public school, they can’t get into small groups, or play games together, or see smiles, or share crayons or a microscope. So that’s why I feel like I could serve them better at home for now.

Originally I wasn’t going to homeschool all of them. I was taking it one kid at a time.

First off Ezie, he’ll be in 2nd grade. I feel like he thrives in a school environment. He loves people. He works well with a teacher and not so much with me (when we did distance learning). He also is EXTREMELY physical. He notoriously hugs EVERYBODY. I’ve talked about this before. He has been called “Huggy Bear” since he was two years old. He had to make an “all-about-me” post for school last year and here are some of his answers-

I am special because- he wrote “I give hugs”

I help others by- “Making them feel better by hugging them”

For Favorite Book, he put “The Hug Machine”

He will tap your shoulder when he wants your attention. He wrestles and does secret handshakes with his friends. He stops during a school assignment to announce a “hug break”. Ironically this is the same reason I used to feel like homeschool wouldn’t be a good fit for him! We have friends and family that we are quarantining with, along with just having 5 other people in our home that I think he can meet his physical contact quota at home much more than in public school right now.

Then there is SJ.

Because she spent the first three years of her life without cochlear implants her little rapidly developing brain is hard-wired to read lips and facial expressions. Because of this, I am certainly worried that she would fall behind with facial coverings. There are some exemptions for teachers to wear shields when a child has special needs, but even then, that leaves the rest of the school with covered faces. I have hearing loss too and I know how hard it is to hear when the voice is muffled by a mask and then tack on being 6 feet away! It’s nearly impossible. I have had to tell many employees at stores when I’ve been out and about- I’m sorry I have hearing loss and I just don’t understand. So for SJ, I think she’ll have a better 4th grade year absorbing a lot more information at home. We are working on a scholarship that would still allow her to receive the services that she would have gotten from her IEP and I am really excited about that opportunity.

Lastly, there is Z.

We had fully planned on him starting his first year at Junior High in the school building. Then things started escalating with COVID and J and I thought, well at least he’ll have the online option and he can work from home. We really wanted him in school because he is starting accredited High School math and the grade is on his High School transcripts. However, when we found out that online learning would be sitting at a computer the entire school day and you are expected to be there joining in virtually the whole time. There was no flexibility and I understand why, but he wasn’t interested in that and neither were we. So we said no thank you.

This was not an easy choice at all. I love our school, teachers, and principal.  I almost cried yesterday when I filled out the decision form and had to check “my child will not be attending”. It’s a grieving process. I’m not mad at the school for doing what they feel has to be done or what is mandatory. I think they’ve done a phenomenal job navigating all of this! That’s part of what makes it harder for me. I feel like I’m betraying our beloved school that has served my children so well. It’s almost like a break up with someone you really care about, but you agree to take a break.

So that is a lot of words about all the heavy stuff that is on my heart. Maybe you’ve seen this graphic floating around.

That’s how I feel. Everyone has to make this very personal decision for themselves. This whole crazy unprecedented time is wearing on all of us. It’s not hopeless though. Next time I will write about why I am looking forward to this next season.

By |2023-06-12T06:24:25+00:00July 24, 2020|Education, Uncategorized|1 Comment

SJ’s First Year in a Mainstream School

This time last year SJ had just graduated from her deaf school. Her graduation was one of the greatest moments of my life for sure, but followed by a little anxiety and trepidation about what was next. Her whole life SJ had been in an environment that catered to her needs as a deaf child and she was about to be going to a school that was built for hearing children. This is one of the reasons we chose to have her repeat second grade at her new school.

I have had a lot of people ask how her transition went and what the first year was like, so here is a recap of life since graduation for SJ.

For starters, she got her first cochlear implant upgrade, the Nucleus 7, which has been AWESOME. I really can’t think of a big enough word to describe what these new devices are like for her. To think if they improved her cochlear implant processors this much in 5 years what will they be like when she is in high school?! As much as it is an added burden for her compared to hearing kids and it’s always a little scary to have a bionic anything on your body, it is also such a blessing. I am so grateful for her sound processors and the tracking device on the iPhone has come in handy!

She had several milestones last December including being a part of the church Christmas services, her first deaf alarm clock and her first journal.

She also had her 6th hearing anniversary!

The little film that she was a part was released on International Women’s Day and she did a great job.

Her first field trip at her new school was a success. She was so excited, she had an extensive checklist leading up to the big day.

Looking back I am moved to tears as I read the words I had typed out last year when I was anxiously awaiting her first year at a mainstream school:

“She will experience recess on a big outdoor playground. She will hold a lunch tray for the first time. She’ll begin reading chapter books and walking the same halls as her brothers and hearing announcements on an intercom. She’ll learn to use an FM system so that she can hear her teacher. She’ll learn to adapt and be an advocate for herself.”

and now she has done all of those things! She is crushing it and my heart could soar. She definitely knows how to navigate her own equipment. She made this little tutorial for pairing the mini mic with her devices.

She won an award for star student one month and got free Chick-fil-a for lunch! She loves reading chapter books now which was never the case before.


Were there days she struggled? Sure. She’s had a great year though and I owe an enormous thank you to her team at her public school. Not only did they support J and I and walk us through the process when we chose for her to repeat 2nd grade, but they went above and beyond to meet all of SJ’s needs as a deaf student. I hear horror stories all of the time about IEP meetings and schools not being able to accommodate the needs of disabled students but my experience has been the opposite!

At each meeting they addressed every little concern that we might have and at first this was hearing at recess and lunch when it’s loud. They recommended we have her audiologist adjust her implants to allow her to change the settings depending on the environment (which we did). They also said the intervention specialist might need her own mic instead of just having her teacher wear one (and they had it for her in no time). They also got a “Pass Mic” because the students at each table work together and discuss things often. This allowed the students to talk into a microphone so that SJ could hear them better with all the background noise. The list goes on. I love our school and I do not take it for granted.

On top of all that, SJ had a best friend at her deaf school who has a twin sister and she was in SJ’s class! This friend was even at SJ’s birthday party the year before so they knew each other and their relationship blossomed from there.

When we go to events at SJ’s old school the twins are there and when there parties and things at her new school the twins are there. It has been a wonderful bridge for SJ during this transition!

3rd grade is going to be a big jump but now I feel like she is totally ready. I have no regrets about any of our decisions. Cochlear implants, private school and therapy, summer school and an extra year of 2nd grade are all tools that have allowed her to speak, understand, and flourish.

This first year at mainstream school was an answer to prayer. To quote SJ’s journal “I had joy everywhere in my heart”. I can’t wait to see what is next for our shining star.

By |2023-06-12T06:24:51+00:00June 17, 2019|Education, Our Hearing Loss Journey, Uncategorized|1 Comment
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