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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.

 


Our New Life in Full Affect

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The last month has been a blur.  Today is my one month anniversary on my new job.  It is going great, and I am LOVING what I do. The wait was worth it to find the perfect position and the perfect company. I am so grateful.

Let me fill you in on what has been happening:

  1. Worked 40 hours per week in the office at my new job.
  2. Continued to work 25 hours a week for one of my part time jobs.
  3. Continued to work approx. 10 hours a week for my other part time job.
  4. Continued to school the kids – we are meeting twice a week (Sundays and one night a week) with intermittent study times together at night when the kids get stuck. It is definitely not ideal.  I’m going to have to re-evaluate our curriculum for the fall. But we will finish the school year in the next month and move on to a lighter schedule for the summer.
  5. Gymnast is going to gym (1 hour away) twice a week and soccer less than a mile away, 3 days per week.  He needs the energy outlet.  He is gone for the week with cousins to FL — this is why I wanted to move near family.
  6. Princess is playing basketball and has gotten involved with the youth group (that’s a first for her.)
  7. Sea Cadet continues to work at the movie theater he transferred with from Virginia, and looks forward to returning to VA the first week of June where he will spend the summer working as the Senior Boys Counselor at the same camp he worked at last year.

If you have done the math…I’m putting in upwards of 70 hours a week at work.  Oh, and I forgot, I’m starting every day with an hour in the gym.  It’s been life changing.  It’s been a whirlwind!  But I do have some exciting news…

We have rented a house!!!!  And you will not believe my rent…it is only $650 per month!!!!  I can’t believe it.  It is exactly the reason I wanted to move here.  We have not moved in yet, because frankly we don’t have furniture. Sea Cadet is staying there now on some old furniture family gave us, but we don’t have any beds.  Our stuff will be delivered by Upack on Tuesday so we can start making it home.  I have decided to move all the way in (we haven’t unpacked our stuff in over 2 1/2 years) and make it home.  We are all excited.  But it’s going to be a while before Gymnast, Princess and I move in while I watch for good deals and save money to get beds.

Our new home is 3 bedrooms, 1 1/2 bath, small manageable yard with just enough space for the kids to play.  Really, the only two things I am going to miss right now are 1) a dishwasher and 2) being able to have pets.  But all in due time.

A monthly budget is on the horizon.  I’ve just gotten my first full paycheck so I have a better idea of what my take home will be.  I did use every bit of my savings to get into the house.  I have to pay a $500 deposit, $650 first month’s rent, $250 to the city to turn on utilities and about $100 for a few odds and ends to get us started (toilet paper, broom, mop, cleaning supplies and a shelving unit to create a pantry in the laundry room.)

Princess and I return to Virginia this weekend for her to get her braces off.  It will be a quick turn, and it is the last trip we have planned. My new job has already agreed to let me work remotely while I travel, which thrills me to no end!


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