Dotorina (as my oldest called her), a friend from the village of Lucinda, gifted my girls with a gift we have come to love more than we ever thought we could. The gift’s name is Nilla Zoe. She was a kitten back then, a year before my baby boy was born.
She had been gone once before, only for a few days, back at Loma de Luz. She had birthed a few kittens, none which had survived. She was still a young cat herself. But she returned and was nursed back to health.
The transition from childhood to adulthood can be an exciting time for a young man or woman between the ages of 13 to 19. But it can also be a confusing time, with all the emotional highs and lows many teens experience – the crushes, long talks on the phone with friends (or should I say, texting?), parties, heart-breaks, physical changes and testing the limits. How far can I go? Should I take a little sip of that drink? Should I try that cigarette? Should I take that picture? What if my peers won’t like me? What if that boy won’t like me? Do my parents really know anything?
My teen years are so far behind me. I lived through them and wished I had been more confident and prepared to make wiser choices in the face of different teenage traps along the way. And now I am a mama of a 13 year-old. Some of the pressing questions I have had as I have approached this season have been: How will I prepare this child for all the physical, emotional and social changes she is about to face? What can I do to set her up for success and help her become confident in who she is as she faces the challenges that will come her way?
February flew by and March flashed before my eyes. I blinked and they were both gone. As you and your family adjust to a new schedule, a new way of accomplishing tasks, you will find yourself wondering where your time went.
When you move from a warm-climate culture into a cold-climate culture, you will realize that time is a very valuable and non-renewable resource. You will find more and more demands on your time that will force you to become much more scheduled and much less spontaneous. I did not want to fall into the busyness trap, rushed, anxious and tired. But all of a sudden, without realizing it, I became over-committed, disappointed and exhausted. How do I step back, re-evaluate and re-arrange my and my family’s schedule? How do I protect this valuable resource? Allow me to give you a few suggestions.
This is my seventh year to home school and because we lived in rural Honduras, the decision to teach my kids from home was the most practical one we could make. The Honduran public school system was in chaos, with constant national teacher-union strikes that forced children to constantly miss school reducing the school year, some years, to less than 100 days. We also did not have an adequate private school option for our oldest daughter, who at that time was five years old. Our decision was reinforced by the fact that, all the other ex-pats families we worked with home-schooled their children. We also observed the the quality of the kids being educated at home. They displayed many characteristics we wanted to see in our own kids. The homeschoolers around us were polite, smart, talented and able to carry on an intelligent conversations with a varied age group of people. We assessed our family values and decided home school would be the best choice. It was not a difficult decision, so our home school journey began. Continue reading