The ONLY first day of school

Can I get an amen!? No, I’m not being over dramatic (please refer to “Bye, Felicia” & “My 3rd first day of school” blog posts from last year). Seriously, read them to appreciate my happiness and deep relief!

It’s going to be a long one. Grab whatever it is you need to settle in.

Months and months ago at the Bible Study we have in town for missionary women we were all talking about the kids, school, how we were all stressed out about HOW we were going to do it all….my sweet friend, Rachael, decided we should get a missionary kids teacher. WHAT A GREAT (crazy, never going to happen) IDEA!

Fast forward a few months, one long, meeting where everyone was talking all at once, reference letters, requests for finger prints, 1 million side conversations and a very shell shocked, dear woman whose family was about to pack up and move to Mexico, later and BAM! We have a missionary teacher!!

She. Is. Amazing. She has homeschooled her three kids (two grown and a 16 year old) from the get go. Experience. Check. I’ve met two of the three kids and love, love, love them. Functional adult children. Check. Now, (the second week into school) I’ve seen this woman wrangle 8 kids from 4 years old to a Junior in high school, at one time, across multiple subjects and (at times) the same subjects like a pro. She is calm, patient, quiet…someone the very opposite of me. Check. It all equals perfection, really.

My kids love her and her family. They come home and WANT to do the homework she assigns them. What is this witchcraft?? They love her. I love her. Every missionary parent in this group loves her!

You guys, prayer works! The start of this school year has been so drastically BETTER than last that I’m counting it as a win! (Even with the looming days that promise bad attitudes and all the other normal stuff!) And every mom said, “Amen.”

Thank you so much for praying for us and for the boys!


My 3rd “First Day” of School

You guys. I’m serious. In less than a month I’ve had 3 “first days of school”. THREE. Let me break it down: first day of homeschool, first day of Ryan in local Mexican school and now, the boys’ first day of bilingual school. THREE FIRST DAYS. 


As you can tell from the picture, homeschool was a bust. It’s just not a good fit here. For the kids, for me…it just wasn’t the best thing. Then Ryan went to the local Mexican school. This was basically just language emersion and he understood nothing – there was a kid who did all of his homework for him before he came home. And we still had to do reading instruction and math after school. It was draining and while he was picking up Spanish he was picking up some not so stellar things too. And that has led us to our 3rd first day of school in as many weeks.

After Ryan went to school, Jace became very secluded. He builds relationships through communication (Ryan through play) and he was spending a lot of time alone and at home because he is unable to express himself in Spanish. He came to me one day and shared how he felt and we started to pray. I asked a few of my friends here what options are available. (The most popular bilingual school is like $350/month per child…ain’t no body got money for that!) One of my friends suggested a bilingual school that her sisters kids go to. It’s 25 minutes one way, 8a to 2p and is taught in English and Spanish with a bilingual staff. After visiting and taking Jace we decided to go for it!

During the discussion of how we would make this work for Jace (how we would pay the $100/month and gas for back and forth)…some of Ryans insecurities surfaced. For his privacy I’m not going to share but I will say, I know without a doubt that we couldn’t send Jace to the bilingual school and leave Ryan in Mexican public school. Hence…our third “first day” of school.

The bilingual Mexican school is a great fit for our family. Almost everyone speaks English so it allows Jeremy to be fully involved. The boys are being taught to read and write in Spanish in addition to communicating. They have made friends! (This has been a huge issue for Jace. And a source of heartbreak, quite frankly, for me.) There are only 8 kids in Jace’s class and 10 in Ryan’s. So that’s GREAT!

The not so great (if I can just be real): the homework I don’t understand and they can’t explain, the fits that are thrown because they are not used to being in school all day and  coming home to do homework, the 40 minutes twice a day of driving and the mental stress of hoping we are doing the right thing. Are you thinking that you wish you could help in some way? YOU CAN!!!

📌 It’s $200/month plus gas for the boys. We have raised $80/month toward this. We still need help with the rest of the monthly fee: $120. Can you comitt to help  educate the boys monthly?

📌 Pray for us. During the day as the boys are in school, while we are making the drive to and from the school and around 5p when they are doing homework.

📌 Pray for me: as I wrote this I have two boys with homework who are crying and having total meltdowns and I want to cry too.

On a side note my new phrase of the week is, ” Animo!” It menas “cheer up!”. God help me. 

Bye Felicia.

At first I thought I would be saying this today, but it turns out I’m on the receiving end of this phrase. Let me go back to explain…

Before homeschool started this year Jeremy and I talked {at great length} about our options for school now that we are in Mexico. We talked about the bilingual school in Rosarito (too expensive), continuing homeschool and the boys going to a public Mexican school. Jace was happy to go with the flow and continue homeschooling. Ryan begged to go to Mexican school. Looking back I’m not actually sure why we just went ahead with homeschooling- I faintly remember phrases like “keeping them together” and “learning more Spanish first” being part of the conversation. 

Fast forward to two days ago. The first day of school for everyone in our parts. (Home) School itself was great, Ryan was rough. Day #2: Jeremy witnesses the full assault of a homeschool day gone bad in every way. Bad on my part for reacting like a wild person & bad on Ryan’s part for being less than outstanding {confrontational, mouthy and flat out rude}! Jeremy, bless his heart, was like, “I don’t know how you do this. Maybe Mexican school would be better.” I’m instantly reminded of the conversations we had before starting school. Ryan’s response, “Yes! This is what I want!!”

We went to the Bodega, sized him for a uniform and called to meet with the school Director. This morning, Jeremy, Panchita (the Open Arms Psychologist – who deals with the schools daily) and I went to the school with Ryan (in full Mexican school uniform). The smile on his face was beaming! His eyes were saying, “Bye, Felicia!” {I might or might not have sent a few memes to very close, non-judgmental friends with this exact phrase!}

Within 10 minutes, Ryan was in his class, sitting front row and smiling from ear to ear! It was surreal: there was no long list of forms to be completed, no waivers to be signed and it was basically the opposite of every school in the U.S. For example, we needed to get him a desk. Yes, a desk. A school desk, for him to sit in…because they didn’t have one. And the fact that, you know, they only speak Spanish. (Although his teacher speaks a little English and one other boy in his class speaks a lot!) He goes to school Monday through Friday (if the teacher shows up and it’s not raining…yes, seriously!) from 8am to Noon. He will ride the bus from school to the daycare in the mornings and afternoons. The school is 5 minutes from the daycare, all the friends he has at the daycare go to this school  and that’s good – for me! 

At home, we will continue reading and math instruction. Jace will have full homeschool for now. Although he did come up to the office to tell me he is considering attending the Mexivan school too. Lord, help me! 

Jace’s face says it all (he was upset all morning that Ryan left for school!

As I write this, Ryan has finished his “Mexican homework”, told anyone who will listen that he’s going to the Mexican school and asked to wear his uniform everywhere (dinner, the store, back to the daycare…every.where.) Can I be honest? I do not know if this is THE best thing for him, I don’t know if it will cause problems for him mentally or physically and I don’t know if it’s forever. I do know that I wish I had been as brave as he is for my whole life. I know that not all kids get this experience. I know that God made him {every part of him} and He has a plan for His life. 

Panchita and Ryan (ABOVE) after his first day:)

With that said, I pray every day I don’t mess it up. Can you pray with me?