Instead of doing a normal weekly wrap-up today (because really, that can be summed up with "we're packing, things are chaotic, we're trying to fit in a little school where we can), I thought I'd look back on 2012 for a few minutes . . .
This has been a year of travel and change . . . there have been challenges, but God is good. . .
Some highlights . . .
SOOO much travel. Perhaps too much travel, but I wouldn't NOT DO any of it . . .
Perhaps the most significant, was our trip to Tennessee this summer. Sassy and MiniMe were soo excited to "meet" their Great-Great-Uncle Bruce (they'd met him when they were toddlers, but didn't remember him), and, despite his failing health, they had a good visit. They got a glimpse of the master story teller that he was. He seemed to enjoy having a new, captive audience to share those stories with, it was a priceless time, made even more precious by the realization that if we had delayed even a couple more weeks, it would never have happened. He passed away a couple of weeks later.
One trip that I might change was our Williamsburg trip in February. It was fun, as always, but we definitely and unanimously concluded that September is the better Homeschool Days to attend from now on.
Our children are so blessed to have living great grandparents, so it's important to us to find the time to visit those great grandparents. Since my grandmother lives next door to my parents, and less than 3 hours from us, we see her often, for which we are thankful. Rodney's grandpa lives several states away however, and I'm thankful that we were able to make the trip to visit him this fall. He was so appreciative of our effort and, as always, loaded the children with gifts. It is priceless to now have Little Bit look at picture albums and say "That's Grandpa Hess, I know him", or cuddle her stuffed bunny, or play with the obnoxious battery-operated yapping puppy, and comment that "Grandpa Hess gave this to me.".
Florida was a FUN trip. . . we fit in lots of great learning along the way, but it was fun to see how differently the twins enjoyed the amusement parks now, compared to even 2 years ago. And to watch Little Bit enjoying the parks in ways similar to the twins' FIRST trips there. . . Fun times, despite the bee stings on the trip home!
School . . .
Perhaps the most dramatic "progress" in school-related-stuff is Little Bit. I never DREAMED, when she told me she wanted to "do school too" and I started her on a laid-back "Letter of the Week" path, how she would TAKE OFF with that. Now, at a few months shy of 4, she can not only recognize, but write most of her upper case letters. She can write her name and pick it out of a page, as was emphasized at Christmas when she went through the packages under the tree and picked out her own. She loves counting and numbers and letters and is basically doing her darndest to disprove my "better late than early" leanings LOL (I still, strongly believe that, when it comes to parent/teacher initiated/directed learning, better late than early stands, when a parent or teacher is following the child's leading, things can move at whatever speed is right for that child!)
There has been so much growth in the big girls too. . .
The Civil War has been such a fun learning adventure.
Reviewing products is a wonderful fit for our family, we all learn so much thanks to the variety of resources that cross our path in the form of review items.
Writing: while both girls continue to balk at writing "assignments" I'm seeing more and more spontaneous writing. Sassy's handwriting has improved dramatically this year. And MiniMe's cursive is coming along nicely (I'm hoping to use her love of art and making things "pretty" to encourage her to improve her printing in 2013, we shall see).
Both girls will pick up and read anything and everything without batting an eye. Recently, due to some behavioral issues, Sassy missed out on our bedtime read aloud, currently The Lord of the Rings. While I wouldn't encourage them to read these books on their own quite yet, she was perfectly capable of reading the part she missed the next day, and actually asked if she could keep going because "it's fasater", now THAT'S a child after my own heart!
Life of Fred has been a wonderful fit for Sassy and MiniMe this year, and is encouraging their love of math.After starting last month, they are already on books 3 and 4 respectively.
And of course, the big news of 2012 . . . moving! We have loved our little hidden farm house (and I'm not sure it's been that clean since . . .). The girls have loved exploring the woods, we have awesome neighbors . . . I truly believe that God brought us to this house and it has been a wonderful place for us. But I saw just as clearly, as the second half of 2012 unfolded, God leading us to look elsewhere, and after sooo many houses that seemed almost, but not quite right, I believe, once again, God has led us to a place that is perfect for us. I don't understand why God decided December/January was a good time for this move, it was frustrating to not be able to maintain our normal traditions and focus this month on Hanukkah and Christmas like we'd hoped, but I'm sure God had a reason. And now, as the year winds down, we are, so much more than usual, looking at CHANGE . . . so many changes, piling on top of each other as we look at a new house, new neighbors (God is sooo good, saying "goodbye" to our awesome neighbors here (but not really goodbye, we'll still see them at church) is easier when we know that we're moving TO awesome neighbors as well, new routines . . . a new curriculum for Little Bit . . . so much change, but I think it will be a good thing . . .