September 1st is the start of the school year in Ukraine, no matter what day of the week it may fall on. This year it was on a Thursday. However, we started early... August 8th to be exact. And this was only three weeks after we finished our last school year.
What?! Only three weeks of summer vacation?! Yep... unfortunately that was the case with us... and two of those weeks were filled with ministry.... VBS and Teen Camp. We're not terribly mean parents if that is what you are thinking... in fact while all other kids were going to school last winter, our three little munchkins were enjoying their "summer" vacation... a whole 5 months worth!
And that is how it sometimes happens on the mission field. Family always comes before ministry, but sometimes the two have to compromise. And that is how we look at schooling. We have learned what works for us.... homeschooling AT HOME. We have heard too many stories of the trials of homeschooling on the road (and missionary kids can spend lots of time on the road). In order to forego the trouble of traveling with school books, we just don't do it. So, every couple of years our summer vacations happen during the winter... when we are traveling on furlough, seeing the world, visiting new places, trying new foods, and meeting new people. So as much as missionaries dislike the question, "Isn't furlough just one big vacation?" for our children it really is!
Maybe your family is different. Maybe you do not have any other option because you are on deputation with school-aged children. If you have to homeschool on the road, go for it; but when you get to "furlough status" try leaving the books at home. You'll be glad you did.
And now, introducing our three homeschoolers this year:
Aren't they just darling?! And they are each as different as could possibly be. Davey is our studious child. Brianna is our organized one. And Nate.... hmmmm..... Nate is as smart as they come, but he is a "square that doesn't fit into a circle" if you know what I mean. He is easily distracted and would rather be outside playing or drawing pictures on the sides of his papers. He is my child that was born into a family of musically inclined people, but is tone deaf. Is this just the "second child syndrome"? Nate is absolutely the most fun person you would want with you if you were ever broke down in the middle of nowhere. Seriously... the child is a walking piece of entertainment! I can hardly wait to see how the Lord chooses to use his unique personality.
We love each of our children and consider it the biggest privilege ever to oversee their education! It is going to be a great year!