Saturday, September 3, 2011

Back to School

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!


  1. I say good for you! It is a blessing to homeschool and part of that blessing is to school when and as you see fit. You have a beautiful family and I look forward to keeping up with you all in this way!

  2. This was so encouraging to me! We've only been on one furlough so far, but we left our books at home for the reasons you stated. Also it was the first time they had seen extended family in four years and I didn't want them doing school instead of enjoying family.

    Your daughter is beautiful! You've got such a lovely family.

  3. Thank you Jolene, for the updated pics! I love your blog!! You are all awesome! We miss you terribly and seeing your posts and blog helps me feel closer to you all. Have a wonderful school year, God bless you all and I love you!

  4. Jolene, you're such a sweetheart! God bless you and your dear family!

  5. Jolene, I agree! When we are on furlough we leave the books here on the field and enjoy every minute we can with family visits and new adventures along the furlough travels. Works best for us as well. Cute kids you have there!

  6. I hope you all have a wonderful school year!

    Much Love!

  7. I agree with you - we leave the books at home too! My kids enjoy the oportunity to attend school with other children as oportunities present themselves, but when we are traveling we do not do school work.
    Have a great year!

  8. Brianna is growing SO much! She's beautiful, just like her Mama! And the boys are very handsome and tall now. We haven't had a furlough yet, but I've been planning on leaving the books at home as well...even more so now that I've read it working for so many other missionaries.

  9. Happy "back-to-homeschool" my friend! I love the pictures of your precious gifts! They all look so full of joy!!! And, I understand a little about not "official schooling" while traveling. =) We are learning so much through every-day-life, as we've moved! And, it's such precious family time, too. *Hugs*

  10. What sweet little people you have! :) I always love to read about different personalities. Each of ours is so very unique and so precious, too. God is amazing, isn't He?

    Glad your special delivery request was granted and is working properly. :)

  11. Always love to read your blog. Your kids are so cute! Your beautiful daughter looks like a little miniature Jolene! God bless you and your family.


Thank you for your encouraging comments! "As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country." Proverbs 25:25