Written by Claudia

As 2011 drew to a close, I reflected on many things that happened throughout the year. In January, our fourth child was born. We were in the middle of a difficult year of homeschooling. The last few months of the pregnancy had been tiring, and all of the extra midwife appointments and routine tests and examinations had caused many unwanted interruptions to the school days. I often felt like I just wasn’t getting anything done. When Lukas was born, the homeschooling aspect of my life became even more difficult. I focused on the core subjects, but even after scaling things back to the bare minimum we still found ourselves “doing school” until dinnertime on most days. Add to that the sleepless nights, and a three year-old who hadn’t yet outgrown the terrible twos, and you’ll understand why I was glad when June rolled around, and we started being able to close one school book after another, and finally begin our summer vacation. I enjoyed the lazy months of July and August, spending time outdoors with the kids. I didn’t forget about school completely though, because these months were also spent preparing for the start of St. Augustine Classical Lutheran Co-op. It was an exciting time, and we could hardly wait to begin in September.

So how were those long-anticipated first weeks and months of school at St. Augustine’s? Did the co-op meet the high expectations we had for it? Did our children learn as much as we hoped they would? Are we moms still friends with each other?

Well, the first weeks were not without incidents. In the first month, my three year-old broke a window at the church where we are renting space. It cost almost $300 to replace. The schedule we had laboured over for weeks before school started had to be modified over and over again. We had to adjust to a new space, a new schedule, and for some families the idea of homeschooing in general. It was a huge learning curve for both the moms and the kids. We all had our share of exasperating moments. But we worked through them, and now those moments are much less frequent.

And the rewards started coming quickly. Our 7 year-old daughter started learning Latin, and she loves it. One day my husband and I were talking about vocation with the kids. Suddenly our daughter asked, “Does ‘vocation’ come from the Latin word ‘voco’ (I call)?” Wow. Dad was impressed.

Our school day has become more stream-lined and efficient than it used to be. We start our day early. Sometimes we miss having the occasional relaxing breakfast with Dad on days that he doesn’t have to go into work until later, but we also finish earlier than we used to. On most days we have done everything but the music practising by about 2:00. And we still take Fridays off completely.

Yes, we moms are still friends with each other. We have gotten to know each other better, and although I can only speak for myself, I imagine the others would also agree that we have formed closer friendships than we had before. Even more importantly, though, we’ve continued to cultivate and strengthen our relationships with our children. We have been able to deal with discipline issues, teach them Christian values, and just generally be there. Although nobody likes to witness their child hurting or saying something mean to another child, I’ve been thankful that I’ve been there to deal with those things.

As for that three year-old, he very proudly and confidently recites Psalm 100 and most of Psalm 46 from memory, has found a new favourite hymn (LSB 656), whipped through his three Explode the Code phonics primers, and is now starting to read.

Have the first months of St. Augustine been perfect? By no means. Have they been successful? Absolutely. The second half of the academic year will surely continue to bring us many challenges, but we are ready to tackle them. And we look forward to continuing to reap the many rewards for our children and our families.