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The Last Day of the Semester

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This is a more personal update versus financial. Please skip if that does not interest you.

Today is the last day of Princess and Gymnast first semester in public school. We made it.

Over the last couple of days, I’ve sat with each of them individually and had them look back at this semester and asked for their feedback and perspective. I thought I would share their thoughts with you.

I asked each of them:

  • How did going to public school differ or meet your expectations?
  • Looking back and comparing homeschooling in Virginia and public school here, which would you choose? (I didn’t ask them about homeschooling here as the challenges we faced were the main reason I chose to try public school.)

Princess’ Perspective

The stereotypes about high school are all wrong. First, I didn’t get bullied at all. And second, there is not a lot of homework at all.
Princess, age 14, 10th grade

She has had a really good semester. Gotten straight A’s across the board. Made the varsity volleyball team for the fall. Inducted into the Anchor Club. And made several new good friends.

Princess inducted into Anchor Club

Gymnast Perspective

I don’t like getting up, but I like feeling normal. And I’m learning things I hadn’t learned before, but maybe I wasn’t to that level. But there is not a lot of homework. I am glad I was homeschooled, but now I really like the social aspect.
Gymnast, age 12, 7th grade

He has struggled. Grades, fitting in, been assaulted three times and being so busy with training 4 nights a week. There were kids who told him they couldn’t be his friend “because he is brown.” But he has also grown and matured, and continued to be true to himself.  He is finishing the year with all As and Bs and squeaked through the standardized testing (where they tested for the full year of material and he was only there for a semester.)

He is ranked sixth overall in our eight state region in gymnastics. And has just committed to the next year of training and competition, moving up to Level 8. (Here he is modeling over 100 of the medals he has won over the last six years of competing.)

My Thoughts

I had no doubt that both of them would be successful. They are resilient and smart. I could not be more proud.

I think if we had done this back in Virginia it would have been a completely different experience. They would not have faced so much racism. The education is definitely better there. But then again, we had such a strong homeschool network there, I would never have considered it.

And we would have also had to deal with a great deal more bureaucracy. Whereas, here the schools have really worked with us to accommodate Gymnast’ training and competition schedule and Princess’ advanced status.

Next Year

There are some things we will change in the Fall. Riding the bus more is definitely one we will try. Getting more involved with volunteering at the schools. I’m going to apply to substitute teach.

But for now, we will continue with public schools…I will always regret that it came to this. But I know that at this time and at this place in our lives, it is the best choice for both of them.

Thank you for being part of our journey.

 


New Job and a New Outlook

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I am slowing shedding the feeling of shame I’ve been carrying for the last couple of years since we moved out of our home and into the apartment.  For the first time in a LONG time, things are really looking up!  It has been a really rough time, especially since December when everything changed so suddenly.

As I mentioned in the comments of my last post…I GOT THE JOB!!!

It’s full time, full benefits, work in an office…real life job!  And the way it happened could not be any more providential!  Here’s a little back story.

When we began our Christmas visit with my grandmother, I spent a great deal of time applying for jobs…everywhere, all over the world.  Well, I had been through this before, know the holidays were not a good time to be in the job hunt, but I continued to persist.  The job I got is one of those jobs.

Then while we were in Texas visiting my immediate family over Christmas, I got a text from our ‘landlord’ that the camper we were living in had been damaged and was no longer liveable.  Can you say full panic mode!?!  Up until that point, I had planned on us living in the camper until April when we could 1) wrap up the school year and 2) finish Gymnast competition season at Regionals.  Then was planning to move to GA to my grandmothers or travel for a bit.

With nowhere to live any longer, the timeline moved up for the GA move, but I was able to secure temporary housing in VA for a month while Gymnast finished his regular season meet. And to give us time to pack up and get things into storage and so on.  My grandmother graciously let us move in with her with first week of February.

On our trip to GA with our final load of belongings, I got the call. They were interested in my varied skill set for a brand new position, but I lived in VA. Oh, how funny, I’m was actually driving down to GA with our last load of belongings to complete a move to a town, that is literally one town over from the corporate base of this company.  They headquarters are 12 miles from my grandmothers home, 12 miles!

Our first three weeks in GA were filled with in person interviews, personality test, reference checks and phone follow ups, and our last Friday night there (before we returned to VA for a week) they called at 4:12pm and offered me the job, met my salary requirements and I start NEXT WEEK!!!!!

The timing of the call, the timing of the interview process and the start date…after over a year and a half of searching, I can only say that God had a hand in this.  But there is more, this company gives back to foster/adoptive charities (hello, near and dear to my heart,) the owners actually know some of my extended family (small town but wow,) and one of their goals is to empower women/moms.  Holy cow, can it be any more perfect!

Granted, this will be a BIG adjustment for my little family.  I will be going to an office for the first time in 13 years. My grandmother has insisted we remain with her for at minimum another month while we adjust to the new life and she will help with the kids.  She’s watched us homeschool all these months we’ve visited her over the past couple of years, and is comfortable with keeping the kids on track to finish out the year.  We will have school on Sunday evenings where I will give assignments for the week and then we will meet a couple more times during the week to make sure we are on track.  It’s not going to be easy, but I am confident we can adjust.

I am keeping both my part time jobs for the time being both for security and to help me get back on solid financial ground more quickly.  All jobs are aware of the situation as far as me working them all.

And just a small financial win…okay two wins. Maybe three.

  1. I was able to replace the tires on my car, yes, I waited until it was dire, but I paid in cash!
  2. The kids have all received a small stipend for some summer clothes and are looking forward to getting to shop. (They have had a couple of weeks to make lists and think through needs and wants, etc.)  This is especially crucial for the two youngest since they hit major growth spurts this year, so nothing old fits.
  3. I have almost $500 in an emergency fund, consistently saving 10% of any monies received.

I am so grateful for this community and the constant encouragement. I’ve still got a wait until I get my first paycheck and see how all the deductions and so on work out before planning a budget and starting to look for housing.

Keep us in your thoughts and prayers this week as Gymnast will compete at his state meet this week, his last with his current team…it is bittersweet and he is really struggling with the move the most because of it.  And then we will return to GA to start our “new life.”

 

 


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