Tuesday, August 14, 2012

They Have Come. Now Let’s Build It.

The kids are in their second week of school.  While they are always most excited for the first day of school, I always look forward to the second week of school.  At this point, the party money has been turned in, the “Getting to Know Me” forms have been completed, the books are beginning to feel familiar, and we are starting to fall into a routine.

I have found myself waking up this past week feeling deeply aware of how blessed my children really are.  I have always known that our children are privileged to attend quality schools, complete with big libraries, smart boards, and computer labs.  This year, however, as I stand in the bus line with Trey, dressed in his new shoes with his new backpack, my gratitude has been multiplied.  I cannot help but think that had things gone slightly different in his story -  if he still lived on the street in Ethiopia - he would most likely not be going to school.  He would not be eating hot lunch.  He would not own a notebook or even a pencil.  My heart struggles between feeling blessed for my children and burdened for the many others who won’t be starting school this fall.

During this second week of school, I do feel especially grateful for organizations like Children’s HopeChest and for my friend Karen Wistrom.  I am thankful for their dedication to making education a reality for those children who are equally deserving, but would otherwise go without.  I am grateful for the Kind Hearts CarePoint in Ethiopia which provides for 150 orphaned and destitute children.  These are the faces that come to my mind throughout the day:

Back to School from Dave and Robyn Davidson on Vimeo.

150 more children are waiting.  There are plans to expand the school at Kind Hearts so that 150 more children can attend school, receive healthy meals, and clean water.  This is the point where things can go different in their story.  It’s not a matter of “If we build it, they will come.”  It’s a matter of “They have come. Now let’s build it!”

If your heart connects with this and you’d like to be a part of this project, here’s one simple way we can help:

Apryl, who blogs at Not Quite Done, is selling magazine-bead bracelets and earrings.  She is donating the proceeds to the building project at Kind Hearts.  I ordered some bracelets a few weeks ago and was really impressed with how wonderfully made they were.  I should have taken a picture to share, but I gave them to a friend as a thank-you gift.  I’ll definitely be ordering more.  While it’s only August, I think they would make really sweet Christmas gifts if you’re the type that likes to shop early.  I love this fundraiser.  The beads are purchased from a non-profit organization that helps support impoverished women in Uganda (www.beadforlife.org), the bracelets and earrings were made by teenage girls (I always want to support and encourage young people who are trying to make a difference), AND they will help to build a school for children in Ethiopia.  How great is that?

If you think you would like to know more about Kind Hearts, you can visit their page on the Children’s HopeChest website.  If you would like to know how you might become involved, I would love to talk to you, or you can e-mail my friend Karen at kjwistrom@yahoo.com

Thursday, August 9, 2012

First Day of School: I’m an Eighth Grader with a Kindergartener

It was back to school for the Davidson kids yesterday.  It was Trey’s first day of kindergarten and he was insanely excited to be going to the same school as his big brother.  No worries.  No tears.  He climbed onto that school bus without a moment of hesitation and wildly waved good-bye with a ginormous smile smeared across his face.  He makes things easy on a mama’s heart.

Toby’s a big 5th grader this year.  This will be his last year of elementary school.  Toby always enjoys school, digs his teachers, and looks forward to seeing the guys (and the girls :)  Yesterday, he was mostly excited for Trey. 

Sharing some last minute advice at the bus stop:
My favorite moment of the day:  On the school bus (which my kids love), the kindergarteners sit in the front, and the older kids sit further back based on grade.  Toby was finally big enough to sit in the very back (where all of the good stuff happens).  Instead, he independently and happily sat in the very front seat with Trey, right in the middle of the kindergarteners.  That kid makes my heart gush.

Sammie started her 8th grade studies yesterday for her second year as a homeschool student.  We had a great 7th grade year and I anticipate this year will be even better.  We will be visiting a few high schools this fall so she can explore her options.  We’re both torn over what to do next year.  We’re leaving it up to her.  However, for now she’s quite happy to do her studies curled up in a blanket, take long walks with her mom over the lunch hour, and still spend four hours a night at the gym with the sweetest group of friends a girl could ask for.  We both think she has a good thing going.

We made a few changes to the curriculum we’re using this year. 
In case you’re curious, here’s what we’re doing:

Math: Teaching Textbooks.  Last year we did Math 7 and Pre-Algebra.  This year it’s Algebra 1.  I could rave about this program all day.  I love it.  I even have Toby doing Math 5 and he likes it!

Science: Earth Science by BJU Press.  Of course, it rocks!

Writing: Sammie is working with a writing coach through the Write Guide program.

Spanish: Rosetta Stone

It’s ridiculous how excited I can get about textbooks, science experiments, and lesson plans.  I keep telling Dave how smart I’m going to be someday.  It’s so much easier to be an 8th grader when you're 39 years old.

Here’s the recap I got from Trey about his first day of kindergarten:
“I loved school.  It was so fun.  My teacher is nice.  I have lots of kids in my class.  One was naughty.  It wasn’t me.  We had cheese pizza for lunch and we wiggled to a song in PE.  We have a fun slide at my school, but no swings.  I wish we had swings.  At story time we read a book about a dog.  Or maybe it was a bunny.  It was hard to tell.  I rested at naptime, but I did not sleep.  Two children fell asleep.  One was a boy and one was a girl.  I do not know anybody’s name.  My favorite part of the day was snack time.  Oh, and lunch time, too.  I love school.”