First Day of Homeschool!!!

Yesterday was our first day of homeschool and I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out. The kids were pumped and had great attitudes. I am well aware that this is the honeymoon stage, but aren’t honeymoons wonderful?

The first thing that greeted them was a chalkboard with a message and a table with goodies (very practical homeschool supplies) for each child!

The next thing we did was take pictures. Even though they are homeschooling we got them all new clothes for the occasion and we had to get the traditional first day of school photos.

Elle is 4 years old and in PRE-K. I didn’t get a great pic of her by herself because I didn’t want to spend an hour on photos. Here she is though!

Ezie is 7 and in 2nd grade!

SJ is 10 years old and in 4th grade.

Z is 12 and in 7th grade. He actually will be enrolled in his public school online. He is still officially doing homeschool with us, but he has three classes in the morning that are accredited through our school district.

The kids are excited about this next chapter. I think it helps that their cousins who are some of their closest friends have always been homeschooled so they are familiar with the idea.

After photos we celebrated day one with another tradition- BREAKFAST! This year we had Mickey Mouse Waffles with strawberries and whipped cream, along with bacon, eggs, and OJ.

The main curriculum we are using is called Miacademy. This is how they will get individualized basic lessons in each of the core subjects along with some extras like typing, Bible, and Spanish. So far they love the setup.

We ate lunch in the treehouse and read from a chapter book. They also worked on worksheets for their specific grade level. I plan to do one main activity each day together as a family. Today was to create a poster that represented what we felt like our homeschool will be all about.

They decided to name our school “Busch Academy” and they drew pictures of things that interest them which mostly included rainbows, rockets, and chickens.

We ended the day with journaling about what they thought about the first day of Homeschool. Good news, they were all really into it.

All in all yesterday was very lowkey. I wanted to start off with dipping our toe in for day one. I talked to the kids about some rules, I made a sign to put on our door to alleviate interruptions, and we talked about the general schedule. J prayed over us and I explained to the kids about how this was going to be something that I was learning along with them. We discussed how things might change as we go and have a better understanding about what works and what doesn’t.

In 2012 I wrote a blog post called “Processing the Diagnosis“. It’s very emotional to look back on because it’s when we learned that SJ was deaf. That season is definitely one of the most challenging. In that blog post I said something that makes me choke up now, but also gives me so much hope as I find myself homeschooling my kids for the first time while living in an era of a historical pandemic. I said that while there are still a lot of unknowns and I am sure some days will be easier than others, we are handling all of it one step at a time. I compared it to a video of SJ’s first steps (there was a video in the original blog post here). The song I added to accompany the video says “We’ll learn together, you and I” and that pretty much sums it up then and now. This is new for all of us, but we are all going to learn how to do this together.

By | August 4th, 2020|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Countdown To Homeschool!

In my last blog post I was mourning our departure from the public school district that we have known and loved for the past 7 years. No doubt this decision to homeschool wasn’t an easy one and I’m sure what lies ahead will be a challenge. I hear it can take weeks, months, or even a couple of years to “deschool” your children and find the right rhythm for homeschooling. Well, that really stinks for us because I don’t plan to homeschool for more than a year (although we all know by now that plans can change!).

I feel like I have realistic expectations for what homeschooling will be like. There will probably be tears, regret, and unmet expectations. On the other hand I am also very optomistic and looking forward to this adventure. Here are the top five things that make me giddy about homeschooling-

  1. Spending this time with my children

I know that sounds like such a cheesy saintly thing to proclaim after months of quarantine where so many parents are ready to throw their children out the window. Surely I must be a superior mom with perfectly well-behaved children. NOPE. I have my hands full (as strangers like to point out) and I too would love to get a break from the madness that is motherhood. However, as my children are getting older I feel the years slipping out of my grasp faster than they did before. J and I got our driver’s licenses renewed this week and they don’t expire for three years. Afterwards, he pointed out that next time we had to go to the DMV Z would be coming with us. At first, I didn’t get it. Then I realized he was talking about Z getting his driver’s license! The reality is, our children are growing up in the blink of an eye. “Sacrificing” my plans for a year to focus on them 24/7 is nothing. And God bless all the homeschool moms who do it all the time.

2. Flexible Schedule

I am starting our homeschool year this Monday. It’s three weeks earlier than the public school here, but I want to spread our breaks out more. I am really excited about extending our Christmas break from Thanksgiving to the New Year. I am also looking forward to potentially traveling during off-peak seasons and visiting places when they aren’t busy. Woo Hoo! Back in 2016 I wrote a blog post called “Summer and School” about why I am in favor of  year round learning.

Most people think that I’m crazy, but it’s how I have felt since my kids have been in school and now I actually get to implement it!

3. More Cleaning

I am not going to lie, as my kids have gotten older it’s been nice having more help around the house (see the blog post “Kids and Chores” for more details).

It’s tough to have kids wake up early, put in 7 hours at school, have extracurricular activities including church and then expect them to help out a lot around the house. Now that they are going to have all of their school work done in half the time, I am hoping to amp up the chores. Not anything crazy! I am planning to add some more in-depth cleaning and cooking to the chore list though. This isn’t  just for my sake, I promise! I think part of homeschool is learning valuable, practical life lessons like budgeting , grocery shopping, cooking, and cleaning. So that is part of our “schooling” this year.

4. Fun subjects

The joy of homeschooling is also getting to teach things that really interest you and the kids. I am looking forward to diving into more sign language, Bible, art, and music as a family.

5. The Lesson of a Lifetime

I’m not going to downplay the pandemic and the lives lost or the impact it has had on jobs and families across the globe. It’s definitely not as simple as life gives you lemons, make lemonade. However, this is a very teachable moment for my children. Even though they have missed out on a lot they will certainly have a story to tell about what life was like during the coronavirus pandemic. I really hope that they’ll remember when mom and dad were faced with some crazy new challenges they didn’t cower in fear. They took the bull by the horns.

Our strategy through all of this has been to play offense, not defense.

In the past four months we got chickens, learned how to live stream church services, planted a garden, built a treehouse, and now we are learning to educate our children from home.

I saw a shirt the other day that read “Underestimate me. That’ll be fun”. I think I need that shirt and for the record, my strength comes from the Lord.

Homeschooling is not something I saw myself doing but I hope my children can learn from me. Yes, I hope they learn academically, but I also hope they feel empowered as they watch their old lady navigate uncharted territory.

They will see me struggle, because believe me I am not always crushing it. We keep looking to God for strength though and I’m trusting Him with homeschooling too.

In January I announced my word for the year– “Home”. When I committed for that to be my focus in 2020, I certainly did realize to what degree but He did. Homeschool here we come.

By | July 30th, 2020|Uncategorized|0 Comments

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 | July 24th, 2020|Uncategorized|1 Comment

Chicks at 7 Weeks

It seems like seven weeks have just flown by! The once tiny fluffy chicks are halfway to adulthood already.

It’s hard to believe these tiny little chicken nuggets could fit in the palm of even the little kiddos hands not long ago.

Now they have all of their feathers and take two hands to hold. I try to grab them with one hand out of habit and then realize they are way too big for that.

Now that we have chicks (and a tree house and a zipline) we have visitors almost every day.

It’s like we’ve turned into the neighborhood petting zoo (with only one kind of animal, HA!) and I’m not even a little bit mad about.

 

 

 

 

Each one of the kids has really bonded with the chicks. At first, it was hard to tell who was who, but now we definitely know each one by name and they pretty much all have their own personality too!

Z named Zelda  (the grey bird in the pic) and if you know my gamer son then you know where that name derived from. Zelda is a Blue Rock from Mt. Healhy Hatchery.

Ezie named this bird White Stripes. There has been talk of changing her name because the bird is not striped or even a little bit white. Maybe the chick is a fan of the retro Jack White band? Anyway, she’s a golden Laced Wyandotte and despite her stuffy attitude, she is a keeper… at least for now.

 

Elle Is holding  “Bootsie” in this photo. Bootsie is a Buff Brahma and she is a doll! She’s so sweet and loves everybody.

In this photo I am holding “Penguin”. She used to look like a baby penguin when she first hatched.

She’s super scrawny and will probably only weigh four pounds when full grown. She’s a fun scrappy girl though. If there is a bug or worm around she WILL be the one to catch it. It never fails.

 

Lastly (for this blog post anyway) this is Sunshine on SJ’s head. She is a Buff Orpington. They are known for being friendly and she definitely is! Elle named her when she was a new chick. It seemed like a fitting name since she was all yellow, but now it’s fitting because she has such a sunny personality.

 

 

I  don’t want to make raising chickens sound like it’s all sunshine and nap time. We’ve loved the experience so far and when we had chicks in the past, however, it takes time and dedication. Once things get going the chicks mostly take care of themselves, but man the set up is a lot of work.

Since we are behind on finishing the coop and the run we have to “babysit” the chicks EVERY DAY. We can’t let them be totally  free range. In fact, we assured our neighbors the chicks wouldn’t just be wandering around in their yards. We also know that there are dogs and hawks during the day. Don’t even get me started on what’s running around at night, but we are trying to build a predator-proof home for our little ladies. Anway, it’s been fun taking care of the chicks, but having someone outside with them at all waking hours is NOT sustainable. Thank goodness my gorgeous hen house is almost finished!

They are sleeping in it at night now and when the run is done they can just carry on and go about their business from sun up to sundown. We have to finish it though.

 

We primed the outside today and my incredible husband is doing an amazing job on the whole thing.

He doesn’t do things halfway so we’re all in now! Despite all the hard work, I don’t regret the decision so far. We have conversations about whether or it was a bad idea. Then we discuss how crazy we must be, but in the end we always decide we are happy to have hens and they seem happy to have us.

By | July 16th, 2020|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Outdoor Projects All Summer Long

I haven’t posted anything in over 10 days!!! So today I am at least going to give a quick update via a phone photo dump. I have to use restraint here because as I was going through photos I started thinking,

Well that could be its own blog post 

or

Save that one for later, it’s not finished yet.

or

You need to go find another photo to go with this. 

NO. NO. NO, I have to tell myself. No rabbit trails allowed.

With that said here is a micro-update about what has been happening around here.

 

We have spent so much time outside (and Home Depot).

Our first project was the treehouse.

The older kids are really starting to contribute when it comes to building projects.

The treehouse is more like a fort, but it’s pretty cool. It even has a zip line. We still have a few finishing touches to add and then I will post in detail about this new attraction.

We also planted trees.

We love trees and we were hoping to add a little more privacy to our yard. As with anything I mention today this landscaping is still work in progress.

We also started a compost area. After years of “composting without a bin” which has been a very popular topic on my blog, we are taking things a little bit of a different direction. We do so much composting and gardening now that it seemed time to organized our scraps a little better.

Then ast weekend we built a fire pit!

 

I love it.

Just when you think Okay Busches what more could you possibly intend to do in your back yard. Well, we are currently working on my dream house…

Henhouse that is!

It’s a little further along than what you see in this pic. We have shingles and a nesting box now. The finished product will look like a variation of this

For now the chicks run around in this little portable, collapsable chicken run that J and Z made.

They still sleep in the brooder which they have completely outgrown.

All that and we still have our potted garden. Not much produce to report but plenty of herbs and berries.

We make smoothies every day.

Oh, and one final addition- our new/old tractor. J got a John Deere from my dad and brother. We have always loved John Deere because that’s what J’s dad (who is a true farmer) used. It’s J’s first riding lawn mower and along with making cutting grass a ton easier, it has been great for hauling stuff for these projects.

In this photo the kids and I are on our way to pick up more materials from the trailer in the driveway!

 

This photo was when the tractor (which I feel like needs a name) was having a little trouble getting over a hill. I’m driving, Z’s weighing things down to keep it even, and J is pushing.

It looks like we’ve been doing a lot of work and it’s true! We’ve found some time to chill too though.  Let’s hope for a whole lot more chilling once these projects are finally done!

By | July 8th, 2020|Uncategorized|0 Comments

37 the Year of the Anchor

I turn 38 tomorrow. I am absolutely to the point that I lose track of what age I am. I know it sounds ridiculous, but sometimes J and I have to do the math to figure out our ages. Then when we determine what age we are we gasp wondering where the time went.

I had a friend recently share what her 4oth year was like. It was her 41st birthday and she talked about some milestones and big changes she made for the better in the past year. I was inspired and started thinking about what I accomplished in the past year. This practice seemed promising but upon arrival of the memory I immediately found myself desending into a dark emotional pit. I don’t want to say it was the worst year of my life! Hello! 2012 called, they want their title back. For the record, 2012 was also not the worst year (my amazing and precious Ezie was born!), but some years are more challenging than others. It’s like waves at the sea, the ebbs and flows of life. Hold onto that analogy for a minute because I am going to come back to it.

We were in Texas last year for my 37th birthday. We had medicaid at the time, but it didn’t apply out of state so when strep throat hit the kids like dominoes, the out-of-pocket medical costs started to rack up real quick! It wasn’t the best trip ever, but everyone felt better toward the end. So the day after my birthday we decided to do one final excursion before heading back to Ohio. This is when I was driving the kids back from seeing Toy Story 4 and had an 18 wheeler cross into my lane on the highway and crushed my van up next to a concrete barricade.

I still have PTSD from that experience. For probably 10 seconds  I didn’t know if my children buckled in their seats behind me were alive. I have little flashbacks of the horror, but the experience as a whole is very fuzzy because my brain has blacked out a lot of it.

 It took us a couple of extra days to make it back to Ohio since my van was totaled. When we arrived back home we learned that our church, where my husband was employed full time as the worship leader, was going through a crisis of its own. I won’t go into details of all of that online because it’s so personal for many people that would be reading this, but the fact is my husband and everyone else on staff had their pay cut dramatically or entirely. We had to live on less than half our income and start looking for a new job. Not only did it take a physical toll on us, but it was all wrapped up in our spiritual sanctuary and some of our closest relationships too. While I don’t want to ellaborate anymore about this matter, I will say that God was and is always faithful. We had people bless us and care for us in extrodinary ways to ensure that our needs were met.

All that and then to wrap up the last 4 months of 37th year with a pandemic!?

Let’s just say I don’t look back on the past year with the fondest of memories or any sign of growth and accomplishments. It’s a time that I can look back and say, HEY I SURVIVED! And actually, I am quite proud of that. Sometimes situations can throw you into a disorienting abyss that can feel like drowning. This is where the waves analogy comes in.

The Bible talks a lot about storms and seas. It also mentions anchors. We read about them in a physical standpoint

Acts 27:29 “and fearing that we might run on the rocks, they let down four anchors from the stern and prayed for day to come.” 

and we read about them in a spiritual sense

Hebrews 6:19 “We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain.”

There have been times in my life, specifically in the past year, where I feel completely lost at sea. I have experienced panic attacks, depression, hopelessness and felt the absolute depths of despair. I thought for sure that I was about to get swept away with the storm until I realized there is something keeping me grounded, something I can’t deny no matter how lost I feel. It’s His presence that holds me. When I accepted Christ as my savior He became the anchor in my soul. He is the reason I can stay strong and have hope. It’s like the song “Cornerstone” by Hillsong-

“When darkness seems to hide His face
I rest on His unchanging grace
In every high and stormy gale
My anchor holds within the veil”

If I could scuba dive through this past year’s events and feel the turbulence and see the ship wreck I would swim all the way down to the depths and find the anchor. That’s my 37th year takeaway and for that, I am grateful.

 

By | June 26th, 2020|Uncategorized|2 Comments

The Big Surprise!

Notice, I did not call this post “Social Distancing Week 11”. I have done updates every week since school was closed 11 weeks ago. I will still continue to write about our journey through all of this Covid-19 stuff because I am well aware that the virus is still an issue. However, I’m ready to move on. This is our “new normal”… I guess… from what I hear. So the Busch household is shifting gears!

 

They wanted us to stay home, so we decided to make our home a little more self-sustaining where we can grow our own vegetables, hang out, and have fun together! We have somewhat secretly been working hard on some big plans! J even took several days off work to focus on our backyard projects. One of the biggest additions is our *drumroll*…

TEN NEW BABY CHICKS!

 

We had chickens nine years ago and loved it. This time we have a lot more chicks and a lot more breeds. They are only a week old, but they are doing great so far. I can’t believe how much they have changed already! When got them from the hatchery last week they fit in this little to-go box!

Right now we have them in a brooder in the laundry room. Eventually, they will go in a coop in the back yard. We haven’t built that yet, but we have five more weeks to get on it.

Because they each have their own look we have been able to name them which was fun. I will try not to overwhelm you with too many photos, but we love our little chicks.

SJ is especially smitten. She pulled a chair into the laundry room because she loves to sit and watch them.

I know I don’t have any photos of the other oldest three in our family holding chicks (Z, J, and myself) but don’t let that fool you. We all participated in naming chicks and we love to hold them and watch them too. Last night I even had a dream about them. I dreamed that they were all full-grown and one was a rooster! For the record, we shouldn’t and hopefully don’t have any roosters. I know our neighbors would not appreciate it.

The kids have never had any pets, so while we are definitely looking forward to eggs because we eat them every single day, the main investment is having some animals that we can love on and bring extra smiles to all of our faces. So far they are really good at doing that.

We have even more additions in progress for our backyard. The next one isn’t a living thing, but it’s just as fun and exciting. I’ll keep you all posted!

By | June 4th, 2020|Uncategorized|2 Comments

The Last Week of Distance Learning! (Week 10)

Goodness, I remember being in disbelief when the schools abruptly closed for what was originally looking like 2 WHOLE MONTHS! Here we are more than 10 weeks later and while Ohio is reopening the end of social distancing does not look like it will be happening anytime soon.

I am grateful distance learning is over and looking forward to SUMMER FUN! The last day of school is technically Thursday May 28th but there are no more lessons planned. Instead the school is doing a reading challenge and dress up days that are optional. To say that distance learning was a challenge for us is an understatement, but there were some good moments in the midst of the struggle. We finished several read alouds and I found a love for doing character voices. The kids enjoyed it too. Their mémé offered to read one of the chapter books one day while I was doing work for the church, but in the end they decided that it wasn’t the same as when I do it. I am beyond flattered.

While struggling to find books that the kids hadn’t already read and that we owned (since the library is closed) I asked a friend if she wanted to do a book exchange. We met at the library because that just seemed like the natural choice (we are both library geeks) and I passed off “Wonder” to her

and got the book “Charlie and Frog” for us to read and so far it’s really good!

The kids also did a Lego challenge early on in quarantine before distance learning made it difficult to do fun activities. I hope to share a whole post on that sometime, but here are some of their creations.

We have some fun stuff planned in place of travel for the summer but I will hold off on that announcement for now. I am also going to hold off on finalizing what we will do about next school year. I’ve heard from various sources that schools are expected to have somewhat of a strategy in place by mid-July and so we should know then whether we will be homeschooling or going back to their public school.

I’m sure some of you have seen the graphic that went around Facebook.

Then I saw some rebuttals,  like this one.

 

While not all of what the blue graphic says is exactly what is recommended by the CDC, it’s pretty close. I have also read the Ohio draft of what the Department of Education is going to try to implement. These guidelines might be necessary or okay with others, but they are not okay with me. As I mentioned last week, BEFORE the CDC shared anything, I’ve already been planning for what would happen if we need to homeschool.

I try my best to stay informed and get my information directly from the President and Governors through press conferences. From what I understand, until we have a vaccine or unless the coronavirus cases dramatically drop or disappear, this is “our new normal” for a while. If masks, and shields, and keeping six feet apart are the expectations for churches, grocery stores, and everywhere else then why would we expect that in two months they’re going to be ready to let millions of children do otherwise? Although I know that each state and in some cases districts get to choose their own reopening plans (which I appreciate) I’m planning on those plans looking pretty close to what the CDC is recommending. If I’m wrong, that’s great! I want my kids in public school! I rave all the time about their school and their teachers. It’s why we moved here!  I had a teacher friend that posted this graphic.

I wish the teacher could wave a magic wand and make the school reopening less sterile and rigid, the same way I wish pastors could just reopen churches and let everybody hug and high five and reopen the children’s programs, but it’s not our current reality.

Regardless of any kind of politics I need to know that the educational benefits that my children would get would outweigh the potential emotional and mental health costs that come with the distance approach. The thing I feel like might be in our favor is that our county is not a hot spot for coronavirus. We’ve had cases and even deaths (that could be counted on one hand from what I understand). Our city is not huge though and it is slightly more rural than a lot of areas. I know that those factors come into play with how different districts will proceed. J and I will continue to pray through this decision. I’m okay with kids eating schools in the classrooms and smaller class sizes. I am in favor of open windows and outdoor learning! We already don’t ride the bus, so I definitely don’t care what they choose to do about that. On the other hand, I am not okay with elementary students in masks, or no free play during recess, or no working on tactile projects and crafts together, or constant hand sanitizing. If you have known me and my delayed vax/cloth diaper/cosleeping/home-birth self for any length of time you know that I am not basing these decisions of a silly graphic (with a typo mind you) circulating online. This is my crunchy momma side that has been there since my first pregnancy including when I chose probiotics over antibiotics even though I tested positive for GBS. Come at me!

Just kidding, don’t come at me. I’m actually a nonconfrontational enneagram nine, but I do get passionate about my rights regarding my health and my children. I understand WHY these measures are in place, but if I had a choice for my kids I’d chose home in this scenarioio. If we do go that route I’d like to think that it frees up space in a time where that is really needed.

Enough about social distancing though! My next post will be an exciting surprise.

By | May 25th, 2020|Uncategorized|1 Comment

Social Distancing Week 9

The week of May 10-16 was a big one for our area in terms of the pandemic. Ohio continued the reopening process.

I just rescheduled with our dentist and the cleanings that were canceled in April have now been pushed back to August. I assured them it was not urgent and that I understood. Many restaurants with patios are now open. Retail stores are open again and people are out shopping big time! In Kentucky, a federal court overturned the governor’s temporary ban on churches meeting in person. This was big news for the church I grew up in where the rest of my family still goes. With strict guidelines in place for everyone’s protection, they were able to meet in person on Mother’s Day for the first time since the quarantine.

Our church is still recording services.

We aired our tenth service yesterday. It’s not easy to do virtual services. Whether you are meeting in church again or online please remember your pastoral team in your prayers (as I’m sure you already do if you have a church you consider home). The church and leadership are not at lounging in their recliners soaking up all of the free time! As someone who volunteers as social media director at our church and is married to a worship pastor I can assure that your pastoral team is working around the clock right now to figure out how to do virtual church or reopen or a mix of both while also doing mental and spiritual health check-ups, outreach in the community, and all the usual stuff on top of that. The church is essential and they are on the frontlines. God is big enough to take care of it all though and I am blessed to be a vessel. I just wanted to be candid about how much work it is. I have had people bless me, check in on me, text me, and pray with me and I appreciate all of that! I am sure your pastor, tech team, worship team etc. would love to hear some encouragement and positive feedback from you too!

Now about the whole distance learning thing, this past week was okay.

SJ had to create a fictional animal for science. This is UniDog. She also had to do a report that included vocabulary and information they’ve been studying.

Things are winding down as we only have two weeks left, however my mind will NOT stop racing about what happens in the next school year. Elle is already enrolled in her first year of Pre-K. Z’s classes are all lined up including his recent acceptance into a special math cohort program and Language Arts for his first year of Junior High. I was really looking forward to this next school year and still do, but I am starting to become fearful. I know that fear is not from the Lord, but there have been recent discussions about what school will look like in August in the fight against this virus. I’ve seen drafts of plans and they don’t look they are going to work for our family. I won’t get into all the details right now, but let’s just say for now we plan for all four of kids to go to school in the fall. However, that is contingent on what school will look like for the kids and if it’s something that seems like a negative detrimental experience then I will homeschool them. Or there is a possibility that some will go to school and others won’t. We are going from one school to three this year (it’s not the first time I would have children spread out in three different schools). Anything could happen. I am trying not to think about too much, but I don’t want to be naive and assume everything will be back to normal (or close to it). With all that we have been through so far in 2020, I don’t know if anything would shock me at this point. Either way J and I have a lot to pray about and consider for our family. I am thankful to be in a country where we are free to do that and also be in a situation where, as a stay at home mom, this is something I can consider. That’s all the information I have for now though and it will probably be a couple of months before I even know more.

By | May 18th, 2020|Uncategorized|1 Comment

Social Distancing Week 8- Ohio begins reopening phases

I used to love the game Minesweeper when I was a kid/teen.

The premise of the game is to clear the squares without clicking a bomb. According to Wikipedia “In order to win the game, players must logically deduce where mines exist through the use of the numbers given by uncovered cell”.  I feel like talking about the coronavirus right now is a lot like playing minesweeper. You can read the clues and skip through the board as best you can, but you never know when you are going to click the wrong thing and detonate a bomb or in the case of real-life, tick someone off. With that said I will warn you that I am talking about loosening the reigns a tad for social distancing. I know this can be a trigger for some people.

Anyway, this month Ohio is starting to open back up. It’s gradual but there is a huge shift in the atmosphere here.

A lot of people are out and about walking, sitting on benches, and visiting. There are more cars on the road and gas prices are going back up. It was a pretty good week for me compared to some of the previous ones.

On Monday we wore our Star Wars shirts for “May the 4th”.

Tuesday I had my first photoshoot since quarantine. Ezie learned to ride a bike without training wheels so we did a lot of that.

Z decorated a yard sign for his elementary graduation.

SJ went on a virtual field trip and so she had no school work on Thursday which was a huge relief since she has had a difficult time keeping up.

On Saturday our church had an outreach in the parking lot and the women’s ministry gathered items to be donated to people in need. They ended up with three van fulls. We were all bundled up with masks and sunglasses on so it was hard to really see anyone’s face but at least we could “see” each other and it was great to be able to do something for the community.

After that our family went to some plant nurseries to brainstorm for our backyard makeover and it’s getting pretty exciting.

J and Z are working on doing digital sketches and plans for the yard which will hopefully include a zipline! The kids all worked together to design their dream tree house (not that we can create it, but it’s still fun to dream).

There are still so many things that are off-kilter right now as we try to fight this virus. The stores are out of fresh meat. You can only buy in limited quantities which for a family of 6 is less than we would normally eat. We still aren’t at school or church, so that’s a huge difference. One thing I really miss is the library and another thing is thrift stores. I am all about eco-friendly shopping and recycling or borrowing to reduce waste and consumption, but right now we can’t do that and so it breaks my heart. Lots of people will be throwing items away because there is nowhere to donate. People like myself that would normally buy used or borrow are forced to buy new.  I know this is nothing compared to some of the bigger issues, but it is something that I think about.

It has been a long two months and writing each week has really helped me to process all of this. I realize it’s been a while since I have written about anything other than my quarantine updates. I do hope that I can start “reopening” as a blogger and write about other topics soon. While distance learning school is in session my time is extremely limited so I don’t know exactly when that will happen, but it’s something I will look forward to.

 

By | May 11th, 2020|Uncategorized|0 Comments