Thoughts on Online Homeschool

20 May

Several people this school year have asked me about our experience with Liberty University Online Academy. Yes, this is a little off my blog’s focus (and long), but I thought it could be beneficial.

Some background info.:
-Stephen did the 3rd grade program with LUOA.
-He struggles with reading and has never liked school.
-I have a background in education but somehow lose resolve when teaching my own kids.
-We are very laid back around here when it comes to school. I love for the kids to learn hands-on (We lean toward Charlotte Mason ideas).

With that being said, LUOA could have set us up for failure. But it DIDN’T!

Here are some pros:
-All the lessons and quizzes are set up for you so there’s minimal planning. (It’s like reading a textbook on the computer. It’s not video school where you watch a teacher all day. Often they include links to games and videos that further explain the lesson. Stephen loved these.)
-It includes a subscription to Reading Eggs and Education City (which we loved and shared with all 3 boys).
-I don’t have to keep up with piles of papers in case we’re “homeschool audited.”
-Stephen’s teacher was awesome and remained in contact with us throughout the year (including his adviser who was precious).
-We had to be focused to get everything done by our yearly deadline-instead of floundering around and never doing school. (We ended up finishing in 9 months as opposed to 10 and took about 4 weeks off during the year).
-Stephen rarely complained about school because it was no longer me asking him but “Mrs. Taylor.”
-I quit comparing myself to other homeschool Moms and what they were doing, because I trusted LUOA would provide a solid curriculum. (This nearly makes it all worth it!)

Here are some cons:
-We used a lot of printer ink and paper.
-I often got behind scanning and sending in written assignments.
-It’s a little costly at $250 a month for 10 months (but not compared to private/Christian schools I’m told). Oh, and if your child ends up going to Liberty University, you get all your money back in a college scholarship.
-I had to read a lot of the assignments with Stephen (he has some reading delays), so we were one on one about 2-3 hours a day (this isn’t necessarily a negative thing but hard to manage with 4 other kids).
-We couldn’t take off all the days I would have liked to. We had to stay on task to finish. (This is also a pro.)

To summarize, Stephen ended the year liking school (He’s not the type that will ever love it.). His reading jumped nearly 2 grade levels. He learned a ton and read some awesome books. We are so pleased with the results that we’ve re-enrolled him and enrolled Caleb for 1st grade.

No, it wasn’t easy. Yes, there were times I thought we’d made a mistake. No, the curriculum wasn’t perfect and sometimes I wanted to spend more time on certain topics than was given.

But it worked. I kept my sanity. And we’re doing it again.

If you’re thinking homeschool (or maybe burned out), I’d say give it a shot. LUOA gives you an excellent curriculum and accountability with the perk of being home and planning your own schedule.

Hope that helps someone. Please comment or email me if you have questions! I’d love to chat more about it!

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Last day of school!

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Our end of year cake…We were all celebrating!

Africa, The Gospel, & “Mommy-hood”

12 May

She came over for dinner last night. Embraced our crazy. Was grateful for the BJ’s rotisserie chicken I picked up and the Sun Chips I poured in a bowl. Only the best.=)

And she shared her heart. For the nations. For Africa.

We prayed with her as a family and ate cookie cake to celebrate her graduation and all that’s ahead. In October she’ll fly to Senegal and serve God there. She’ll take the love of Jesus to people who haven’t heard.

I can’t go. Not now. Not in this season. But I can equip others. I can pray for them. And I can pour into the 5 littles that call me Mommy.

Out of the 5…Surely God will call one of them to serve Him somewhere crazy. Surely this Mama’s heart will break as I watch our child take that step of faith.

But isn’t this what we’re called to? Could there be anything greater for our kids? Is my part in this mission partly to raise up little people who can take the Gospel all over the world? What if all 5 of them did?

The mundane seems pointless most days. Feed. Diaper. Clean. Teach. Blah. Blah. Blah.

But He could use this. He could use me. He could use them. What if?

“I am content to fill a little space if God be glorifed.” -Susanna Wesley

“Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth.” (Psalm 127:4)

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One Day They May Marry…

27 Apr

Stephen walks down the aisle. Cowboy boots. Suspenders. A pink bow tie. The ring bearer in a beautiful wedding in a lit up country barn.

And I long. Long for a night like this for him one day. Long for him to grow into a man who loves God. A man who loves a bride and lives life serving God with her.

I don’t wish these little days away. Later the mother/son dance nearly unraveled me. We’ve got years to grow and love and pray.

Every Wednesday we pray for our kids’ spouses. We pray for their purity. We pray for their hearts and minds. And on a night like tonight I ache for it for them. And I kneel by their beds and beg God to protect them. To lead them. The boys to a wife. Esther to a husband.

And I pray for us. That Jeremy and I would model for them what it could be like. That our marriage will be something worth imitating. That our sacrificial love will point them to the sacrificial love of the cross.

I beg for grace. For them. For us. And I fall asleep…believing He wants more for them than my feeble words could ever ask.

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us,” (Ephesians 3:20)

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From the Journal…

14 Apr

I stop doing laundry. Little piles spread across the bed. I grab my journal and scribble these thoughts…

God works in the middle of my fear. In the chaos of my questions. He makes a way when there doesn’t seem to be one. He answers wordless prayers. He’s so faithful.

I hear Him say, “Let me take the wheel. I won’t pry your fingers off. I’ll just love you until letting go only makes sense.”

I hear these words filling my brain-“See, I am making all things new.” “I own the cattle on a thousand hills.” “Be strong and brave.”

There are wilderness days. There are Promised Land days. And in the in between He’s asking, “Will you fall in love with me?”

We are looking for a new home. We are learning to be content in the now. And continuously, He is proving Himself faithful.

“This is my command–be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”
(Joshua 1:9)

photo 1 (22) In the dress her birtmom made her

photo 2 (22) First smiles

photo 3 (16) First lost tooth

Good Friday & First Birthdays

3 Apr

It’s Good Friday. It’s Esther’s first birthday. And neither makes sense. I wonder at the Good in Good Friday. I wonder at the miracle of this day last year.

Good Friday brought sacrifice. Jesus gave up His life for us.

Esther’s birth brought sacrifice. Her birthmom gave her to us.

Both compelled by love. Both willing to say yes when it was the hardest choice in the world.

All day I’ve fought tears. She’s toddled around, sported a birthday tiara, and wore the dress her birthmom made her.

There’s just so much overwhelming grace on this day. There’s so much Gospel all around.

We’ll celebrate His resurrection on Sunday. It’s been thousands of years. Today we celebrate the gift of Esther Grace. It’s been a year.

So humbly, with words that don’t do my heart justice, I say thank you. Thank You, Father, for sending us Your Son. What a perfect gift for undeserving us. Thank you, “M,” for trusting us with Esther. We are undeserving of this precious little girl.

Much love…

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11)

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