Year 7…in Review

Last Friday, we finished our year seventh year as homeschoolers!

And, it was quite the year I must say…

A couple days ago, I had the chance to have some much needed “mommy & me” time with my eight-year-old daughter. We chatted about her love of Mr. Popper’s Penguins, as well as why she wants to skip ahead of our family’s plans to read The Lord of the Rings together this summer and read it solo instead! (SMH, lol) She also weighed in on Charlotte’s Web, calling it “so-so” (lol this kid is a trip!).

Later, during our time together, she shared a story I had never heard before. She recalled a situation at the traditional school she briefly attended at start of this school year. As she was participating in a group read aloud, her teacher told her to slow down because she was reading, “too fast”. I was taken aback when I heard this! I was filled with pride for how far she’s come in her passion for reading. If you’ve followed my family’s homeschool journey, you’ll see her progression and success story over the years. Check out some of these past blog posts as a refresher and then meet me back here: Hope for the Hesitant Reader, Hope for My Hesitant Reader…a follow up, Hesitant Reader No More!!!

This year especially, her fluency and enthusiasm for reading has soared! She’s currently hooked on the Nancy Drew series. If you ask her what her favorite subjects are and what she’s got planned for this summer, without hesitation, she’d answer, “Reading and lots of History!” I know summer break is upon us, but she’s got big plans for reading a bunch of books and doing tons of projects surrounding history! She informed me of this last week (lol)!

That’s why as I reflect on this school year, all I can think about is how its looked completely different than any other years. But the truth is, after seven goes at this whole “homeschool thing”, I’m constantly learning this is the norm. Every year since 2013, has been different.

At the start of this school year, our two oldest entered brand new territory. For various family reasons that I outlined in this post, we enrolled them in a traditional school. I was a nervous wreck. I was so sad and disappointed that I wouldn’t be doing what I’ve grown to love over the years with my two big girls anymore. Yet, I was really happy that they’d be able to have new experiences and meet new people.

After about two weeks though, my middle girl made (in my opinion) a very mature decision to actively take responsibility for her education. That meant choosing to return to being homeschooled. And she hasn’t looked back. Please don’t hear me saying this as a knock again the public school system. I just know my daughter. And her decision to come back home was a HUGE deal! That’s all I’ll say about that for now.

Any who…our school years are usually marked by me reading TONS of books to my kids. However, this year was different because my soaring middle girl, set her own goal to read 100 books! She’s actually about to crush this goal as I type this. She’s only got about 15 books to go!

Something else that was new and exciting was that my kids got to see first hand, the start of a small business. This past winter, I launched my first children’s book! That meant my kiddos participated in helping stuff envelopes for new customers. They attended book events and helped me set up and break down. They engaged new customers, talked about my book with potential customers and even jumped in to count change. They witnessed me being interviewed on several occasions, and helped to celebrate my personal successes. I’m so very grateful for the grace and patience my family has showed me during this all consuming feat of self publishing!

Something else that was new was we experienced our first homeschool year outside of the city we love as we moved into a new home. This was very different because our school years are typically marked by frequent field trips in the city that coincide with our studies. Due to being further away from the city, these field trips haven’t been as often as I would prefer. We were able to sneak a few in however. 😉

Another novel circumstance we are still experiencing is this worldwide pandemic that has greatly impacted everyone’s lives. These final months of homeschool have been so different as we now have a house FULL of folks! My sis and her fam moved in several months ago. Meanwhile, my oldest’s school was closed for the remainder of the school year. We literally have nine people AND a dog living under one roof at the moment. Did I mention two of these people are toddlers! Its loud, its crazy, its fun and its life as we know it right about now!

One more thing…

I can’t overlook the current state of racial affairs in our nation and world. Racism and White Supremacy have ALWAYS existed in America. Our country was built on it. Equally, the oppressed, i.e. Black and brown people, have ALWAYS resisted. What is currently going on is not new. We are not the first generation to speak out.

However, I believe we are currently living in an unprecedented time of which my generation has never previously seen. This younger generation is finally getting a chance to experience what change feels like when its brought about by your own participation in the fight for justice.

That’s major!

Its true that the necessary change that my people need is slow moving and not nearly enough. But, what has and is occurring is still meaningful to me. My children have often heard about those who have gone before us to pave the way for Black and brown people. But my children to now be living witnesses to the results when people demand change is beyond words. My family attended a peaceful march and protest against systemic injustice and oppression a few weeks ago. I won’t ever be able to fully explain what it felt like to experience that WITH my children instead of only TELLING them about it. I give God thanks and praise for this!

All that to say, this has been QUITE. THE. YEAR!

We made it! *insert praise dance*

To celebrate, we spent last Friday afternoon as a family. My husband and I wanted to commemorate the close of another successful school year. We played games, watched movies, hung out, laughed and ate a bunch of junk.

Curtis and I are both so dang on proud of these kids! They have rolled with SO many punches. They have been stretched in so many ways to make room for the countless adjustments and nuances this year held. They were mature. They complained less. They fought at times. They apologized. They were helpful. They were honest with their feelings. They stay present despite all the changes we were experiencing.

They grew.

And so did I!

So here’s to a wonderful summer full of more adventures!

I hope you’re all enjoying the end to your own school year. I hope you’ll take time to reflect on this school year and celebrate the fact that you made it! I’d love to hear your about your school year in the comments. Please tell me what you’re looking forward to this summer! Please be safe as COVID-19 is still very real for many of us. My prayers are for your safety, happiness and health!

Thanks for reading!

Blessings,

Courtney

P.S. Just in case you’d like more information about my book, its called, The Rumble Hunters, and you can purchase it here! I’ll even sign it for ya! 😉

Published by Courtney B. Dunlap

Christ follower. Wife. Mother. Friend. Writer...and excited to grow! I believe there's a need for more down-to-earth online spaces in which moms like you and me and anyone else in-between can explore the in's and out's of homeschooling free from competition yet rich with encouragement. I'm hoping to do that through the sharing of resources and any ideas I may stumble across as well as giving you a tiny peek inside our homeschool life. Together we can experience the good, the bad and the sometimes cranky of this homeschool journey. So if you're motivated beyond the messiness I encourage you to come along for the ride! You might just be surprised what you find out. :)

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