Tuesday, January 29, 2013


Y'all might not remember this, but back in July when we announced our plans to adopt Sweet Baby Wyatt, I told all six of my readers (two of whom are my husband) about how we were approved to adopt two children from China.  This is important, folks.  I want the record to show that I did warn you of this possibility. We really didn't know if two more Robinsons was God's plan for us at the time, so we waited and prayed and wondered.

2012 was an interesting year for Team Robinson, a time of much reflection and prayer and seeking God's leading for our lives.  If there is a word that would characterize 2012 for us, it would be YES.  God drew us closer to him as we said "yes" to some pretty exciting things and some pretty hard things, too.  We've experienced His blessing in beautiful ways that I struggle to put into complete sentences. His provision....His grace....His mercy....His LOVE!

There were times in 2012 when the possibilities of what might be captivated us with expectation, anticipation, and excitement.  There were times when we experienced disappointment, loss and frustration, too.  More than once we questioned whether we had heard God correctly.  I've even wondered why some things made the pages of His story in our family.  Ultimately, we experienced a year like many before, where we've found blessing in obedience to Him and peace and joy in saying "yes".  Each "yes" from 2012 brought us to this moment where we are right now - prepared to say "yes" in this New Year to more than just ONE more Robinson.

I've been sitting on big news for over 2 weeks, waiting and waiting for the letters P-A!!  They finally arrived late Sunday night.  We are beyond excited to share the news that we've received Provisional Approval from Ch*na to adopt a second child, a precious little girl we're calling            .  Actually, we just call her the baby.  We're still contemplating her name.  Dean has offered up a few suggestions that are completely unacceptable....Fiona is Shrek's wife, right?  And I'm just not diggin' that for a baby name.  He's also contributed the name Josie Wales.  I can assure you, that will NOT be her name.  I'm not sure baby namin' is Daddy-O's gift.  Josie (from Joseph), however, means "God will increase", and that's oh-so fitting for a member of Team Robinson.  I also like Jubilee, but I've not really strayed that far from the mainstream in baby names before.  I don't know.  We're just not sure yet what her name will be.  Name or no name, I'm sure you'd love to see her now, wouldn't you?

She is ADORED already!!!  Since we have already received Wyatt's LOA (that's adoption mama hipster talk for Letter of Approval), we're hoping that our precious little girl's paperwork will make its rounds through the necessary channels very quickly so that we can travel to pick them both up at the same time.  We expect Spring 2013 to be one wild ride, indeed!

Monday, January 28, 2013

How DO we school so many children?

Alrighty.  It's taken over three months to find the time to write this post - mostly because we're schooling 7 children with two working parents while completing the adoption of another child from China.  There's not a lot of free time around here these days.

School is not one of my favs.  Over the past 12 years, I've tried a million different methods and curriculums and approaches.  Well, not really a million, but you get the point, right?  I've never really found anything that I like right out of the box.  I've tried the whole unschooling thing, but I am WAY too uptight to be successful with this method.  The kids would totally go for not schooling at all, but the fabulous State of Georgia won't let that fly, and neither would I, honestly.  I'm a bit of a high achiever.  I like As and all -- neat little rows of capital As in my tidy little teacher's grade book...7 subjects and 180 days, check!

As much as I like the tidy rows in my teacher's grade book, 7 little pupils and 7 different grade levels have rocked this school house.  I've had to learn to chill, man....let things go.  And you know what?  My little pupils are thriving, even when all the boxes don't get checked.  It's all good and all that jazz.  I get a little freaky every now and then and standardize test everybody just to make sure we're not depriving the little scholars of all the potential that State standards ensure. Our kids are geniuses, and I've got the standardized test scores to prove it!

A typical week day is pretty full around here.  I work full time.  Dean works full time.  The kids have a full day of school.  It's a balancing act, and no two days look just alike.  Both Dean and I work from home, covering for each other when one has to be out of the house.  It sounds like it would be a hassle, but it's not really.  It's no more complicated than figuring out who's picking Suzie up from drill team, and who's dropping Billy off at baseball.  I know many a parent with kids in public school that seem to have more hectic and busy lives than we do, even without two working parents.  Everyone makes choices about how to spend their time, and this is just how we divvy ours up.

We have two littles, two middles and three bigs - not necessarily in order of birthdate.  I group the kids more by ability and need for oversight than I do by age.  The littles require a lot of oversight and a lot of help with academic tasks.  Their schoolwork isn't time intensive, though, and the middles and bigs each help out by taking time to play with a little brother.  The middles are able to complete much of their assignments on their own now, and the bigs are pretty much independent learners, coming to me only when they need help with their schoolwork.

During each weekday morning, the kids work through their daily tasks, chores and independent schoolwork.  They have a folder that I prepare ahead of time with certain assignments that they should be able to complete on their own.  These are skills they've learned before that they can practice and reading assignments that will prepare them for our afternoon lessons.  The littles usually need help, and there is nothing a kindergardener has to learn that a 5th-11th grader cannot teach him.

Developing talents is also part of our morning.  Some play the piano.  Some play the guitar.  One likes computer programming. They like to sew and draw and cook.  They play and build and color and cut and paste.  They feed the cats and chickens and race each other to the barn and back.  By the time 1:00 rolls around, there's a guaranteed solid hour of clean up that occupies littles and middles alike.  Lunch is loud and I usually miss it.  I'd love to sit at the table with them, but mostly I don't.  Food is a big time babysitter for me.  I can get a lot of work done during that lunch hour.  And yes, they eat for an hour.  I don't know about your kids, but mine can pack away the PB&J!

From 2:00 - 6:00, it's school house rock.  We knock out the geography, social studies, science and math.   We read about people and places and talk about God's word.  We conjugate up some Spanish verbs.  We discuss injustice and chickens and whether twins will be allergic to the same things.  We take placement tests when I start to feel insecure about how much they're learning.

Some days we have guitar, piano, art lessons, 4H or baseball.  We love loving on extras and often have more than our own children here.  We love visiting with friends and neighbors and driving to town for Chick-fil-a.  We can fit a whole lot more into our lives, even with two working parents, than we could if Team Robinson made the daily trek to three different schools.

So why do we go to all the trouble?  Why not just let someone else fill their little noggins with all that knowledge?  The truth is, we like it, y'all.  It's our beat.  It's our thing.  It's what we do.  We're buckin' the system...changing the way it's done....making academic strides.  It's an amazing life, really.

If you're thinking about homeschooling, and you're thinking it might just be a bit too much, drop in on Team Robinson for a visit.  This little gig we've got going is truly a blessing!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Math Camp

I'm not sure if any of you other parents get a kick out of messing with your kids, but Dean and I live for it!!  Back around the end of December, we broke the news to them that we had signed them up for  math camp - five days of mathematic fun with homeschoolers from around the nation.  Pack yo bags, peeps!!  It's going to be a blast!!!!

The news brought mixed reviews from Team Robinson.  The teens were less than happy.  What kind of homeschoolers wouldn't want to go to math camp?!?  One of my peeps asked me what math is, which concerned me a bit since we work the numbers every.single.day.  There were several excited shouts and an abundance of bouncing at the word camp, but overall I didn't get the response I thought we would.  Bahahahahahah!!!!

The funny thing is, we really weren't going to math camp.  We only told the kids we were to mess with their heads.  Hee hee.  That's just the way we roll!!  The plan was really to take the team here.  And it was AWESOME!

Our little campers had matching t-shirts and everything, thanks to Uncle Larry.  Our master trickery was really a joint effort with our faves, Larry and Laura Lea.  It was a hoot!   We packed the pencils and notebook paper and made it all the way to the front of the hotel without a one of them suspecting a thing.  Well, one of theirs suspected something since this isn't the first time Larry and Laura Lea have pulled a fast one on their little scholar, but it was fun just the same.

I love this little video clip, although I hate that you can hear my voice laughing like a goofy goober.....The audio isn't great....oh, and Tate is totally not listening because he's changing out of his math camp t-shirt the whole time.

So, the moral of the story is, if you want to spend several weeks messing with your kids' heads followed by five days of amazing fun, tell them you're taking them to math camp and then take them to Wilderness at the Smokies instead.  Wavepooling, body surfing, water sliding, and Sky hiking beats math camp any ole day!! Oh, and then - because your kids are all out for the night by 7:30 - you get to spend hours talking, laughing, sharing, drinking coffee, dreaming and casting visions with some of your favorite people in the whole wide world.  Math camp is AMAZING fun!!