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School is OUT!!!!!!!!

I just took this picture 15 minutes ago -- yea, we're done for the year!!!  I didn't notice until I downloaded the picture that Frederick is not looking at the camera but oh well. . .so happy to have this picture of the 4 of them.  They did really, really well this year.  Those are their grade reports that they are holding up :)

This was their first day of school in August. . .I know Thomas is much, much taller now!!  And Marie sure has changed a lot too. . .the younger two are still wearing those same clothes so they must not have had such a growth spurt.

It's been an interesting year.  They started their 5th year at the same country school that three of them started kindergarten in.  We fully expected an exciting, fun year there for them. . .this was a county-wide PE Extravaganza that two of the kids participated in. . .(our school was in yellow)
 Margaret performed with the third grade

 . . .and Marie with the fourth grade.  There really was no rhyme or reason for who participated and who didn't. . .I think they drew names out of a hat or something since they could only have so many kids on the floor at once.

And Thomas got to play basketball for the Rickman Bulldogs.
But then the snow days hit. . .and the kids might have gone to school 4-5 days in the entire month of December.  Then January came around and the snow days continued.  To be fair, we had a horrible winter here in the middle of Tennessee and it is very dangerous to send the buses (or cars!) on these mountain roads with the amount of snow and ice we had.  This, too, is considered a snow day:
We felt our children's education was suffering.  So, in January, we decided to bring the kids home for school.
We decided against "traditional" homeschooling and instead went with a satellite program in town where we paid tuition and they supplied the curriculum, workbooks, timetables and such.  They also offered tutoring and the kids had to go into the center to take their unit tests.  The school kept all of their grades. . .my job was to make sure they got all their work done.  Where ever that might be :)
at work at the YMCA after-hours. . .
or all together in my bed in the morning :)

No need to comb your hair. . .

. . .or get dressed!
It has really been a terrific five months.  I thought I would miss the classroom (I was a substitute teacher) -- I found out how much I didn't really care about doing that.  Tom was afraid we would have too much "together" time. . .that was never the case.  In fact, I enjoyed this role of full-time mom so much more then I remember it when they were all four under the age of 6 -- ha!  I have played more tennis in the last five months then I had in the previous five. . .I had consistency in my schedule and the kids were great about tagging along to tennis every Monday morning, Tuesday afternoon, and many Friday mornings as well as keeping up with my two-mornings-a-week work schedule. They became more independent about their school work.  Frederick, who was in the second grade in January, tested at the beginning of third grade in the satellite school and excelled. . .he finished the year with all "A's"!  Margaret tested right at grade level (and a little lower in math) when she started out in January and did well with the curriculum.  Of the four, she is probably the only one who would leap at the chance to go back to school.  She missed her friends and classroom. . .she had had a terrific, terrific teacher.  She ended this year well, too, with 3 "A's" and a "B" in Language Arts. . .easily the most difficult subject for all the kiddos.  Marie probably flourished the most.  She is the right "type" of student to work independently. . .she gained so much ground these last months and I will jump at the chance to do something like this with her again.  She had a solid year and worked hard.  Thomas probably had the most difficult time adjusting, being in the 6th grade and all.  He started homeschooling with us two weeks later then the others because he wanted to finish out his basketball season with the school and they wouldn't allow him to play unless he was in attendance at school.  His team ended a good season and then he came home, making up ground quickly.  The work was much, much harder then he was used to and there was a learning curve to it all (passive-vs-active learning) but he was proud of the way he ended the year today.  It's been a sprint to the end for him -- I think he's done two math books just this month! -- and it was well-worth it.  Today as we were leaving the school after their last sets of tests they were all smiles to be "done with school" for the year -- Marie said her "shoulders feel lighter".  Ha!  Such good, good kids.  Tom and I have grown as parents too.  We see our children a little differently now. . .know them a bit better.  Their reading has improved 100% and they now know how to study on their own, keep a schedule, and find answers when someone isn't right there to tell you the answer.  We've used the library, gone to Community Bible Study, and become "regulars" at Ralph's Donuts :)  It has been a good, good year. 

So. . .what started out as one of the most difficult decisions Tom & I have made in regards to our family life, has become one of the biggest blessings in the world.  God knew.  I'm so glad we listened and obeyed Him, even when we were walking into completely unfamiliar territory without any idea of how it would all turn out.  It turned out GREAT!

And now, tomorrow, we're off to Dollywood with our good friends for our end-of-the-year celebration!!!!  We can't wait :)

~ Jenni


  1. I loved reading this Jenni, I also am planning to homeschool and wonder about some of the same things. It's neat to see it "in action". You have a sweet family. :)


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