I have always had an aversion to arts and crafts kits because of the potential for messes or the possibility that a project will require a large proportion of my time and creativity. If I buy a kit, my kids should be able to complete the projects without much assistance, leaving me free to take pictures, documenting their creativity. When I first glanced at the Super Beads kits produced by Zirrly, my radar was up, trying to detect any potential problem before I agreed to review the product. Although younger kids may require the help of a parent or older sibling, I was pretty sure my twin twelve year olds could complete the projects independently.
If you have been reading my blog for long, you know that we just sent our oldest daughter, Rebekah, to attend a YWAM Discipleship Training School (DTS) in Taiwan. I used to think mothering young children and homeschooling a houseful was hard, but the challenges of launching a young adult, particularly overseas, dwarf those earlier struggles.
Most of my kids love math and art, so we were excited to review the MathArt Online 4-Class Bundle from NatureGlo’s eScience. I loved the idea of using videos and other online material to supplement my twins’ math studies, allowing them to learn about concepts that I never encountered in math class when I was in school.
If my girls had been behind in math, we would not have taken on this supplementary study just yet. However, since they are already tackling Algebra at age twelve, I decided to scale back their main curriculum work a bit to make room for MathArt.
When the Homeschool Review Crew offered me the opportunity to review a product from Parenting Made Practical, there were many great resources to choose from. Videos like Navigating the Rapids of Parenting and Taming the Lecture Bug and Getting Your Kids to Think as well as the book, What Every Child Should Know Along the Way all looked interesting, but then I saw the one I knew I needed to watch—Dating, Courting & Choosing a Mate… What Works?.
Since my oldest kids are eighteen and nineteen, I expect a wedding or two in the not too distant future. Adding my twelve and thirteen year old daughters to the mix, I keep expecting dating to become a hot topic. Even though none of the kids have brought it up, I need to be prepared when they do.
This week has been a blur—homeschooling, writing, and going to regular activities as if it were a normal week, yet knowing that it was not. Every time I remembered that my oldest daughter, Rebekah, would be flying halfway around the world for a five month missions adventure, I pushed the idea to the back of my mind. Perhaps I could avoid dealing with the tumult of emotions the reality of her impending departure elicited. I was not in denial; I was simply taking Jesus’ words to heart and not borrowing worries from tomorrow.
So do not worry about tomorrow; it will have enough worries of its own. There is no need to add to the troubles each day brings. Matthew 6:34 (GNT)
It was an anxious drive to the airport and an emotional return trip Thursday morning after we dropped her off. Tears threatened a time or two, but I held them off by focusing on getting home. A texting session with my daughter helped me hold it together until she took off on the first leg of her trip.
From the time our oldest daughter turned two years old, we planned to homeschool her. Friends and extended family often asked if we would teach her at home all the way through high school. Our answer was always the same: “We’ll see!”
Each year, we continued to have God’s peace about continuing to homeschool, and in August 2016, our firstborn completed her high school work. Of course, we had to host a celebration to commemorate the occasion.
On Friday morning I was driving my twelve year old twin daughters to their arts enrichment program when the topic of homeschool reviews came up. We talked about the math, science, and history curricula we are currently reviewing, and then I mentioned the video about dating, courtship, and marriage that I’ll soon be reviewing.
“Oh, that must be for when your kids are older,” one twin piped up.
For the last six weeks, our family has been exploring the Holy Land, where the events of the Bible actually happened, using a unique Homeschool Bible Curriculum. In addition to reading the stories straight from Scripture, we take virtual field trips to Israel with Dave Stotts, our tour guide on a journey through the Gospels. He brings to life the historical context of each event as it unfolds. Our entire family has enjoyed reviewing the Bible History course at Drive Thru History Adventures.
Does your teen spend every spare moment with a drawing pencil or paintbrush in hand? Does she love to photograph everything she sees? Is your home filled with the joyful sound of music? If your student has an artistic bent, capitalize on it by helping him earn elective credit in the subject he is passionate about.
I remember that Christmas Eve like it was yesterday. We folded up the umbrella strollers and left them at the end of the jetway then trudged on board the aircraft carrying one child and guiding the other. Rebekah was three, and her younger brother was just shy of two.
Just after the kids finally conked out during the first leg, we had to deplane in Alaska. Carrying drowsy children into the terminal, we noticed display cases of stuffed wildlife that captivated them during our midnight stopover.
An hour later, the flight crew ushered us back on board for the final leg of our trip. We all eventually fell asleep. Before we knew it, we were landing in Taiwan on Christmas morning.
After passing through customs, we scanned the expectant crowd for the family members who were supposed to meet us. At last, we saw Grammy along with my husband Joe’s younger siblings.
Upon leaving the airport, we encountered rush hour traffic even though it was holiday back home. Inside the van, aunts and uncles played with the kids as we rode through Taipei en route to Grammy’s apartment for a once in a lifetime Christmas celebration.
The rest of the day was a blur; I am sure we slept half of it away in the haze of jet lag. In lieu of a homemade Christmas dinner at Grammy’s, we paraded down the street to a local Chinese restaurant where most of us feasted, though the kids did little more than pick at their food.
In the days that followed, we explored the city, played in the park with the kids, hiked a few trails, shopped at the night market, went to the zoo, and sampled all kinds of Chinese food. The kids heartily enjoyed the sweet variations, especially red bean paste. Our adventure in Taiwan was over too quickly, and soon were on board our return flight to the US.
None of us would ever forget the sights, smells, and tastes of Taiwan—not even our oldest daughter. When she returned to Taiwan fourteen years later, she felt like she was going home. “I was born for this!” she exclaimed when tasting authentic Chinese food the evening she arrived in Taiwan.
She drank in the sights and devoured all of the experiences Taiwan had to offer—exploring Taipei on foot and bicycle, visiting the night market, navigating the steep stairways on hiking trails, riding the high speed rail to visit other cities… When the time came for her to return home, she was reluctant to leave.
I was not surprised in January when she decided to apply for Discipleship Training School with YWAM in Taiwan. God has given her a love for Taiwan that I do not understand and cannot explain. I am excited to see how God will grow her and use her in this next chapter of her life as she seeks Him and shares His love with Taiwan and the world.
In two weeks, Rebekah will set off on an incredible five-month adventure of discipleship, missions training, and outreach. She tells her own story at GiveSendGo.com, where you can become part of her upcoming mission:
Pray for her.
Support her financially.
Share the link on social media.
Follow her to receive updates on her trip.
Will you pray for my daughter as she begins her adventure? Comment below to let me know you’ll be praying.
This is the third in a series of blog posts about Rebekah’s upcoming adventure. In the first, I share why my husband and I are encouraging her to leave the country. In the second, I share the joy of her acceptance to DTS along with the daunting preparations to be completed before her departure.