We have officially kicked off the new academic year.  Originally, I had planned to take a two week break, but little Hosannah had a bad bout with lung inflammation that was a complicating factor of a virus.  She needed to be in the hospital for a couple of days.  Not wanting to push things when the whole family was fighting off the terrible cold going around, I decided to add an additional week of rest and recuperation before hitting the books again.  Yet one more great blessing of homeschooling – the ability to choose our schedule.  I’m really glad we decided to wait.

Our school year began on the Jewish festival of Purim, so the kids are actually suffering from a hamentashen-induced sugar coma in this photo.  Be that as it may, we were still able to begin on a great note.  Everyone was thrilled to rush from the breakfast table into the school room to start the day off with Bible.  While I love that I didn’t have to cajole anyone today to do a good job, I realize that it’s only a matter of time before we have some sloggy days.  That’s just the way it goes.  Starting well is still a great encouragement, though.  The girls are already looking through their new books and squealing with delight.  I can already identify some that will make my favorites’ list – Window on the World and Robin Hood, among others.  My heart is so full of thankfulness to our loving Father for giving me a heart to teach my own little ones.

Even after testing the girls and being frustrated at the difficulty we endured, I am so glad we decided to give it a try.  I got the girls’ scores back at the beginning of this week and was amazed to find that even though they really struggled with the math in particular, on the whole they did well.  I don’t know how this is possible considering how much they struggled while taking the tests, but it gives me yet another reason to be grateful for the opportunity to teach them at home. I am proud of the girls for the way they pushed through this new experience, and also encouraged to see the areas I need to work on this year. The way I see it, I have two options before me.  One, give a great sigh of relief and keep doing things as usual in order to expect similarly average results next year.  Two, take what the tests showed as our greatest weaknesses and work diligently to turn them around in the coming year.  I am definitely taking the second option, and I believe I can do it without changing my homeschooling philosophies in the slightest.  We just have to work on our perseverance and work ethic, something that everyone has to confront at some point in life.  I am dealing with a bunch of little kids, after all!  I cannot say how wonderful it is to have a sort of vision into where the girls stand after having homeschooled “in the blind” for about three years.  Part of me is relieved to know my efforts are paying off, and part of me is challenged as I can clearly see the methods that need tweaking.  It’s a wonderful motivator as we begin the new year.