Another year under our belt is a personal victory for me.
Homeschooling is a challenging job. It’s one with endless working hours, requires copious amounts of patience, and demands reaching far within yourself to uncover the grit, stamina, and creativity you never knew you had.
As our school year is coming to a close, I’ve been reflecting back on the year and fondly remembering some of our milestones and victories.
Living on foreign soil presents challenges at times, and one of those challenges turned into a wonderful gift for our family. I felt it was time for my 10-year-old son to complete some standardized testing. We found an incredible ministry that provides U.S. standardized testing services for missionary families serving in Europe.
In the spring, we hopped a small plane to Greece where we had the privilege of attending a conference. My eldest completed the testing (he’s learning what I’m teaching!!), both our boys made friends from different countries like Iran, Switzerland, Russia, and Croatia, and we as parents were educated as well! It was a gift.
Earlier in the school year, my 6-year-old hit the wall in math. Last year, he sped through both Kindergarten and first-grade math. This year, well into second-grade math, it suddenly stopped being fun. He didn’t want to do school anymore. He cried.
My youngest, he’s a studious sort of kid who often aims at perfection. The fact that he could no longer do something he had found so easy and fun could have been devastating for him.
What made this a great milestone for me?
We were able to slow down, make the lessons fun and help him retain his love of learning while we navigated the roadblock. That is a win.
He loves math again!
Sports. An awesome milestone for my boys. They completed a year of both swimming and tennis in a foreign language. It’s not only the language that creates a formidable challenge, but also the instruction. In Italy, they work the kids hard! Sometimes the instructors can be tough on the kids, and we had to work through those difficulties as they arose.
In the end, the boys both achieved two new levels of swimming, made friends, learned new Italian vocabulary, and really improved their tennis skills.
One of my favorite things about teaching at home is the joy and satisfaction I get from my boys learning a major skill.
This year, my 6-year-old learned how to read big-boy books and is consuming anything he can. He has no fear in attempting to read signs or anything written in Italian or English! A great gateway for the rest of his life opened this year, and I taught him that. It’s so rewarding.
A personal milestone – more for me than him – was getting through our first extensive talks about puberty and sex with my 10-year-old. We have introduced the concepts in prior years, but this year was about his body changes and things he can expect his body to do in the near future. I learned a lot too!
Thankfully, those talks have drawn us closer and kept the conversation open — we’ve had to have some impromptu talks as well, like when my son saw two men kissing in the metro station here in Rome a few weeks back!
I’m grateful to have the best Guide in the world, the Holy Spirit.
He is faithful to give me the words my son needs to hear so he can understand, and the calmness I need to keep a level head and an open heart for a great discussion.
We’ve enjoyed our walk through ancient history this year, and experienced first-hand some of the historic sites we’ve studied. What a gift to be able to give my children!
We devoured books about science, including anatomy, DNA and nutrition. We are learning cursive, and my eldest declared he doesn’t hate writing so much these days.
Next year will have its share of ups and downs, as they all do, but I’m looking forward another year of homeschooling… after Summer Break, of course!