When my mother-in-law came to stay with me when Steve was out of town, chaos was at an all time high. At least I think it was. I have a way of forgetting things that are some-what long past. But at any rate, I began to realize with each passing day that changes needed to be made. I knew this before-hand but I guess having someone witness it-cemented it.
Benjamin and Samuel are 21 months apart. For some of you, that is a fair distance apart in age. For me, it was the closet ever. The next closest in age that I've had were Micah and Andrew who are 2 years and 8 months. I've concluded that this is the perfect age separation. Yet, God in His providence, knows better than I. He has used these two boys, so close in age, so fraught with difficulties, to cause me all the more to realize my humble dependence upon him.
Why do I have five sons to raise? Because God consistantly chooses the foolish things of this world to confound the wise. Because I'm so small, so incapable, and so HE shows up---because he MUST. I'm not ashamed to tell the world that I need Him. Desperately. And I love Him-because He is everything good in this world, my only solace, my sole provider, my faithful friend, my helper, my comforter, my refuge, the balm of my soul. I'm not much, but He is everything.
I've made changes in the home. I had to ask Him for help. When everything was in motion from one place to the next, I looked around and said, "Lord! This is too much for me! This is so much. You've given me so much. You must have a reason. So Lord, help me to organize it well. I don't really know how. But you do. I need you."
Because of surmounting health issues, I have been struggling with little to no energy for the past few months as I try one extreme diet after the next. This compounded the earnestness of my prayers. Truly, "My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever." (Psalm 73:26) I'll tell you the truth...I'm embarrassed that I don't have it all together, yet I will share my struggles with you, because if one other person is struggling too, and after reading this will know, that they are not alone and that God loves them and will help them, than it is worth it. I compare myself to other mothers, just like you do, all the time. But the Holy Spirit gently reminds me that it is before Him and Him alone that I rise or I fall. And thanks be to God-in Christ I rise!
So here are pictures of the changes! The boys are in sports camp this week (and enjoying it so much-it is their first camp and their first time to really play any organized sports!) so our new school schedule starts on Monday. I'm super excited to get back in our routine!
This supposed to be the formal dining room. It is the room to the left when you walk in our front door. It used to be our school room. But we typically did school at the kitchen table. I found that doing school in the midst of the kitchen, dishes, scattered toys, messes, that I was constantly distracted. I found the boys had no quiet place to get away and do their independent work. So I got to thinking about how we could rearrange things to provide an official school room.
So far having this open space has been wonderful. The boys love coming in to play with, primarily the leggos!
So what we did was move Isaac down into the guest room and made his old room (which is upstairs) the school room. We don't have guests often so it made sense for him to use that as his room and when we have guests he can sleep on the couch which he enjoys! My boys are funny like that-they like sleeping in alternative locations! :) I'm excited to have the table by the window-I love the light coming in and I plan to put a few narrow planters at the end of the table to grow some plants!
This is our little "arts" area, with our art supplies, art instruction, coloring books and also nature guides. It's so great having most everything in one place. I'm hesitant to have the nature guides upstairs---they may end up back downstairs. We will see!
In the far right corner of the picture where the black chair is, we are going to put a very compact computer cabinet. It is really small and perfect for the space. My mom had it in her basement and was happy to give it to us! Thank you mom! We are going to try and get the boys on the computer a bit more this year and use some of the wonderful resources out there. (we have an excellent firewall that prevents anything bad coming into our computers through the internet! But even with that-I will set up the internet to only be able to go to the few sites we have approved) I also think it is a good time to teach Micah to type. Since we plan to use My Father's World, Exploring Countries and Cultures this year-I am thrilled to also finally have a wall large enough to hang our huge world map. I'm so excited about this year. I adore learning about people from other countries and cultures! I had the BEST time going to the Dekalb Farmers Market the other day. I was able to chat with a young mom from Jamaica, I prayed with the teller who was from the Congo, and was able to identify all the Sudanese people with their distinctive look as I dodged carts and made my way through the busy aisles. Next time, I'm going to invite one of them over for dinner. :) Most have never been in an American's home. So that will be fun. :)
In our kitchen, we had black shelves against that back wall. The space isn't really big and I began to feel more and more claustrophobic in this area. It was literally starting to drive me bananas! So I was thrilled to move the shelves out (which held a lot of our homeschooling materials). They went to my bedroom and the smaller mahogany shelves that were in my bedroom are now in the new "playroom".
This billboard had been put away and I'm so glad to put it back in use. I have our current memory work for history and our newest memory verse posted so we can review often. And I printed out pictures of the Georgia trees we will be learning for science. We are going to wrap up our year of American History with a few really fun books and we are going to memorize a portion of the Declaration of Independence. I'm so excited about this! Hopefully I will be able to post more details about our curriculum and what we are doing for the remainder of our year soon. Steve has given me the opportunity to go with Micah and Andrew to Colonial Williamsburg as an end of the year special field trip-so I decided it made sense to just continue on and wrap up our year with that trip in early September. Sort of a weird time to conclude a year and start a new one-but that is the beauty of homeschooling! Flexibility!
Blessings to you and yours!