Isn't there something beautiful about fresh, fallen snow? Maybe it is how clean everything looks, or how it transforms this dusty city into something much better to look at. I should have been disappointed with the snow since I was really enjoying our warmer, spring-like days, but I wasn't. I was just too happy that my husband finally made it home before it all started, and our city needs the precipitation. The snow is also less messy than rain, at least at first.
January seemed like it dragged on forever, but this month went by fast. I know February has two less days, but the days seemed to fly by twice as fast. It has been a quiet month which was much needed. Once again, I am linking up with Emily at Chatting at the Sky and others in what they have learned this month. Without further ado, here are my lessons for the month.
1. Big D is officially going to boarding school.
Big D received his acceptance to a boarding school in Germany. He is super excited. I am too but not because I am trying to get rid of him. The academics will be a good challenge for him. He will be around other teens that are also TCKs. In many ways, he is ready. I just wasn't quite expecting him to leave the nest quite so soon. I will miss him a lot but am not going to dwell on that now. Big D is the one I hang out with the most. He will walk with me to the office telling me all about his day. When I am sick, he usually ends up being the one taking care of me. We both like to play games even though sometimes our choices differ. Each day, he takes the time to tell me he loves me. I will miss these daily interactions but believe that boarding school is the best option for this next season.
2. I do better with a routine or a to do list.
Our homeschool is set up like a university style school with three days on and then two days off to work on HW and self study. Setting a routine for the three days "on" is easy. I have a schedule and for the most part we stick with it. When my students have break time or are all independently working, I usually take care of a few household chores. The two days "off" are a bit more challenging. I am tempted to sleep late and just goof off all day. It is good to have the balance of these slower days, but I still need to be intentional with how I use my time. If I don't, I am not ready for the next "on" day, or I am not able to do some fun projects that are on my to do list. One thing that helps keep me focused is a to-do list. I have tried two different to-do lists that I like. One is from Ann Voscamp at A Holy Experience (here) and the other is from The Art of Simple (here). I find the second fits my personality better. Sometimes I will actually use to-do list for two days instead of one by adding to the original list a few new items on the second day.
3. Natural cleaners actually work, and I like the smell better.
While my honey was gone, I mixed up some natural cleaners. I tried a bathroom cleaner, a fabric softener, and a tile cleaner. My recipes for the bathroom cleaner and fabric softener came from the book, Homemade Green Cleaners and the grout cleaner from this post from Gathered in the Kitchen. The tile cleaner made a big difference on my bathroom floor. The grout is much whiter even though it could use another deep scrubbing. Sorry, I forgot to take before and after pictures. The fabric softener is mostly vinegar and hair conditioner. I had some half empty bottle of hair conditioner that people had given me when they left here. Since I didn't really care for these brands to be used on my hair, it was a great way to use them up. The tile cleaner uses vinegar, lemon juice, and baking soda. The baking soda was actually hard for me to find here in our city so I am hoping to find a better source soon.
4. I hate grading essays.
Essays are so subjective. Math is easy to grade. It is pretty much right or wrong. I know you can have some partial credit, but it is a little more cut and dried. For the essays, I use a rubric or writing guideline but still feel unsure about the final grade. I even have a friend do a second read. Sometimes we come up with the same grade and sometimes not. I do enjoy reading my students thoughts on music, the book we are reading, or some government topic. Their perspective is fun to see.
5. I do better emotionally and spiritually when I stay connected with others.
Staying connected to others doesn't even have to be in person all of the time but is vital to my sanity. While Noel was in the states, we spent at least three meals with friends talking, eating, and playing games together. One night I even had the team wives over to watch Bride and Prejudice. I am not a person who naturally reaches out to other people, but I need to do it more often.
This past month, I have been blessed with friends reaching out to me through email and Facebook. It has been a blessing to see where they are right now, and also to know that even though we no longer live in the same place, our friendship is still important. It has encouraged me to be more sensitive to God leading me to connect with others. This week I have scheduled in some time to both connect with others in person and via the internet.
What have you learned this month? I would love to hear from you in the comments.