Brendan started back to school the 2nd week of August at Sahel Academy. Nadia, Anna and Victoria returned to Ecole Alliance last week. And as of yesterday, Rebekah and Jonathan are officially home schooling - and we are loving it!
When I home school, I don't even try to approximate or imitate a regular school setting. We curl up on our waterbed - Elsie Mae is right in the thick of things, usually on my lap and she thinks this is all for her benefit - Rebekah and I go through whatever subject we are working on, she starts to work on her assignment, and then I do something with Jonathan. I really debated if I was going to do any formal schooling with Jonathan this year as he doesn't turn 4 until December. However, because of some of his speech and language challenges, I figured some phonics work would be beneficial and he was begging to do something. And the little bugger has totally shocked me. His eye-hand coordination is much better than I dreamed, as coloring is not one of his preferred activities (he prefers chasing chickens, building with legos and sword-fighting with his big brother), so he's not done a whole lot of that. We had been playing math games with him over the summer - and so I pulled out the K5 math book - and he is verbally answering the questions correctly with little hesitation or obvious thought. In two days, he has Romans 3.23 fairly well memorized (albeit not everyone would be able to understand him), and if we could just convince him that 9 comes after 8 and not after 4 - he'd be counting to 12. I'm just not sure if he's clowing around with us or if he's having a hard time hearing the difference between 9 and 5? He loves Bible stories and reading time and thinks it is hilarious when Elsie tries to repeat key phonics words (although she says Adam - for the short a sound - more clearly than her big bro!). The smile never leaves his face the entire time we are working together, unless Elsie decides to plop onto his lap instead of mine or tries to steal his special writing markers.
Rebekah's school is a little different this year. She enjoys listening as I read to the little ones, and they enjoy coloring and cutting and harassing each other as I work on algebra, grammar and French with her. But our focus is not so much on academics as it is on relationship building and discipleship this year. Brendan went from CM2 at Ecole Alliance directly into 7th grade. Rebekah is not quite old enough for 7th grade yet although she is academically ready. So this gives us some time to work through a more in depth Bible study, spend time cooking, baking bread, sewing - by hand and using the machine, and also gives her a chance to try her hand at teaching her younger siblings just a bit.
All in all, I think it will be a delightful year of home schooling - I love teaching my children and if it wasn't for the fact that we are convinced it is God's will and plan for them to be in their present schooling situations, I'd be tickled pink to have them all here with me, all year long. We also love the fact that they are becoming fluent in French and learning to love and relate to their African friends, as well as the missionary and expatriate communities.
And, speaking of kids in school, I'd better wind this up and go pick up the other girls from their afternoon classes at Alliance...