Monday, August 29, 2011

School is in Session!

Ready for our First Day of Kindergarten
Homeschool was never in my plans when we decided to have kids.  Nope, it really wasn't even a passing thought.  As a matter of fact, I quickly told  people "NO" when asked if I was planning to homeschool my kids.  Don't get me wrong, I had nothing against homeschooling.  I knew about the benefits. However, Kris and I both survived at least some public school, and we both turned out okay!  I felt like God had gifted me in teaching ESL, and it would probably be best for all of us if the kids went to school.
Well, as it goes with parenting, plans are best made to be changed!  Soon after starting our application for Wycliffe, I realized that homeschool was going to be a big possibility for us.  That possibility turned into reality last week when Kieran and I started home.  We considered putting him in public school here in Dallas, but after weighing all the pros and cons and then realizing that we would have to pull him out for a month when we go to Mexico for orientation, we decided that homeschool was our best option.
In spite of all the prayers and good feelings about our decision, I still had some hesitations.  Last week, when I read all the facebook comments about Kieran's friends getting excited about meeting their teachers and heading off to Kindergarten, I was a little sad that Kieran wasn't going to be able to experience this excitement.  That sadness quickly lifted when I saw my eager pupil talking non-stop on Monday about starting school.  He was so excited that he pretty much talked continuously during all our lessons!  He even started rearranging the schedule and giving suggestions for lesson plans!  In just a few days, I can already tell that Kieran is going to do well in homeschool.  I'm sure we'll have slow days, but, for now, I'm going to take advantage of his excitement.
While Kris and I are in classes in the morning, Kieran and Elyse attend the childcare center on campus.  In a way, Kieran has the best of both worlds, school with peers in the morning and school with mommy in the afternoon.  Thank you, God, for changing our plans and for giving Kieran a heart for learning.

"Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it."  Proverbs 22:6

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Reflections - Empty Rooms; Full Hearts

417 Cranewater Court
For the past couple of days, Kieran has been talking a lot about our "old" house.  Usually it is triggered by a picture that pops up on our digital picture frame (the only picture frame I brought with us).  He will say, "Mommy, don't  you miss our old house?"  Or, "Mommy, do you remember ________ about our old house?"

Sometimes, we talk about the memory and move on, but sometimes we shed a few tears.  The morning we left our first family home, I walked through each room thinking of the wonderful memories made in that house.  Kris and I sat on the balcony and had one last swing on the porch swing that he built for me on my 2nd or 3rd Mother's Day.  I may have shed a tear or two. 
The Master Bedroom
 It was very strange to see that house with empty seemed much bigger all of a sudden.  Funny how that happens when you take out all the stuff!   Thankfully, a heart full of memories is easy to pack up, and it travels well.  This morning, I heard Elyse and Kieran giggling in his room together.  Suddenly, I realized that we were filling our new rooms with memories.  When we leave here, we will pack up some more great memories and take them with us. 
Our Empty Living Room
When we were deciding what to call our family newsletter, we chose "Toler's Treasure" based on the verse from Matthew 6:19-21 which says, "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.  But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."  

Thank you, God, for teaching us the importance of putting heavenly treasures ahead of earthly treasure and thank you for hearts full of the memories made along the way.  Amen.