To the Sibling of a Child with Special Needs

A Letter to the Sibling of a Child with Special Needs - jenniferajanes.com

To the Sibling of a Child with Special Needs

You’re on my heart more than you know. I know sometimes you feel like your sibling gets all the attention and I don’t notice you, but it’s not true. Entire days go by that I ache because I am so tied up in dealing with the newest symptoms, medications, and endless consultations with specialists and therapists that I don’t have time to sit down and talk with you, listen to you, like I really want to.

I see the tears you cry when a new set of symptoms means seeing another specialist, and we don’t know how many times we’ll have to travel to get to an appointment there, how many years we’ll need check-ups with that particular specialty.

I see your frustration and sadness when you witness another meltdown, are told about another surgery, or have to endure your sibling being in the hospital yet again. I see your struggle to help out when you’re asked to in situations where your dad and I aren’t around and other adults ask you to step in when they don’t know what to do.

Just let me say this:

You’re a child. You’ve had to take on far too many “adult” responsibilities and grow up way too fast already. I’m already wondering if you’ll end up being the one responsible for your sibling after your daddy and I are gone, and how you will handle that. Please enjoy being a child and let me take the burdens I can remove from your shoulders. They’re far too heavy for you. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: When something happens and adults turn to you, do immediate damage control and send them to get us. You are not responsible for handling the situation alone.

You are loved more than you can imagine. I see you, I see your pain, and I see the sacrifices you make every day—to not rock the boat, to not cause us any trouble, and to help in every way possible. I love you for trying to be the “perfect” child and not cause your daddy and me more stress. Please see You’re a child. above and know that we don’t expect perfection. We don’t expect you to be able to avert every meltdown. We love you exactly as you are, mistakes and all.

I love who you’re becoming. Despite the frustration, anger, sadness, and other negative feelings you experience from time to time, I love who you’re becoming. I see your compassion, kindness, and sensitivity to others’ feelings. You are wise beyond your years. God is going to use the experiences that cause you the most pain now to continue developing character traits in you that will be invaluable to you both now and as an adult.

I love your love for your sibling. I am always amazed at how you are the first to defend your sibling when someone says something unkind. I love how you play and share life together. Although at times your hurt is deep, your love is deeper, and I am so grateful for that.

I’m sorry. For all the times you’ve felt neglected, unseen, unloved, or unwanted, I’m sorry. Please forgive me. I am making an effort to find ways to spend more alone time with you—both in little moments we can steal at home and in times we can go out together for a soft drink, meal, or to browse our favorite stores. Balancing everything gets difficult in certain seasons, and I am trying to get better at it.

You are amazing. And don’t you ever forget it.

I’m here for you. I love you every bit as much as your sibling, and I want you to know that I’m here for you too. We only get one chance at your childhood. Let’s put the mistakes of the past behind us and make the most of every moment!

Love always,

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Other posts you may be interested in:

To the Sibling of a Child with Special Needs - jenniferajanes.com

Posted in Parenting, Special Needs | 28 Comments

I CAN Be Two Places at Once!

I CAN Be in Two Places at Once! - jenniferajanes.com

I CAN Be Two Places at Once!

Make that three, since I wrote a quick post here too. ;)

I have writing up on TWO different sites today, and I wanted to share my excitement!

I have a post up at We are THAT family! “Saying YES is Always More Than You Bargained For” begins with:

When I said “Yes!” to my younger daughter’s life, refusing to discuss termination with my doctor, I had no idea what that would mean. All indications were, despite the doctor’s fears, that our daughter was just fine. Later we realized that she does, indeed, have medical and neurodevelopmental issues, and she is a struggling learner too. All of this information has come to us little by little, although we realized at birth that she was a bit different.

I had no idea that saying yes to my daughter’s life would mean an entirely different life for our family. . .

Read more

I also have a devotional for special needs parents up at Comfort in the Midst of Chaos. This month’s topic is “When You Just Want to Hide”:

Not long ago, we found one of our young cats buried in the laundry basket. She was hiding away from the rest of the family, and when we found her, it was obvious we had disturbed her nap. We dug her out and got the laundry put away, and the cat found another place to sleep. In a way, I envied her. There are many days that I’m just flat-out weary and would love nothing more than to hide somewhere that no one will find me for a few hours, a place where I can sleep, pray, or cry my way to a place of peace and rest. It rarely happens, though, except for those times I manage to escape to the shower at the perfect time.

When those days come, the really hard ones, I get through by. . . 

Read more

Please support the ministry of both those sites by leaving a comment or sharing some social media love!

(Don’t miss my new post: To the Sibling of a Child with Special Needs.)

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A Typical Homeschool Day 2014-15

A Typical Homeschool Day 2014-15 - jenniferajanes.com

A Typical Homeschool Day 2014-15

As I looked at our “typical” days from the past couple of years (2012-13 and 2013-14), I realize how much things have changed—and how much they have stayed the same.

There’s still no “typical” day in our homeschool. Unless you want to count as “typical” the fact that no two days are the same!

Here’s a general timeline (all times are approximate):

6:00 am: BookGirl gets up. She spends an hour doing her personal Bible reading and devotional time, and then she reads whatever fiction book she’s involved in. She usually goes ahead and takes a quick shower too. Sometimes I get up at this time. Sometimes I’ve been up since 5:30 or so. Sometimes I’m still sleeping at this time. It’s all good. My husband gets up about this time to start getting ready for work.

7:00 am: BookGirl gets her reading, language arts, and math books out and starts her lessons for the day. She used to work at her desk in the school room, but now she does most of her work in her room, sitting on her bed or lying in the floor. Her cat, Midnight, hangs out in there with her, keeping her company. They’re quite a pair!

8:00 am: I’m definitely up and going by now. I pray with and for my hubby, and he goes to work. I like to do my Bible reading, devotionals, and prayer time first thing, so I make sure I have those done pretty quickly. BookGirl eats breakfast and wanders into and out of my room, asking any questions she has about her lessons. Sometimes she brings everything into my room, and she sits on the bed next to me and works while I read my devotionals. Princess Roo often gets up somewhere around this time. I make sure she takes her morning medications, and she usually hops in the shower to help her wake up.

9:00 am – 12:00 pm: Princess Roo has usually eaten something by 9 am, taken the rest of her morning medications, and is ready to begin her school work. Somewhere in here I eat and get ready for the day. I spend a lot of this window of time sitting on the couch or at the dining room table with Princess Roo, helping her with math, language arts, reading, and penmanship. (Now that I think of it, no one is working at the desks in the school room anymore. Maybe it’s time to think of passing them on?) BookGirl finishes her lessons, checks them (or has me check them if they’re quizzes and tests), and reads or knits while she waits for Princess Roo and me to finish up. If everyone finishes with the basics before lunch, we go ahead and start science, social studies, and whatever else we have planned.

12:00 – 1:00 pm: If my hubby comes home for lunch, we all eat together. If not, the girls and I eat together, and sometimes we listen to an episode of Adventures in American History while we eat.

1:00 pm: This year, a couple of times a week, the girls are working through a lesson from Here to Help Learning’s writing program. After lunch, we also finish up any activities or lessons we didn’t get finished with during the morning.

2:00 pm: By this time, we’re almost always finished with our lessons. This is the time when we leave the house to run errands, or we stay home to do laundry and prepare for supper. I try to do some writing at this time (but that’s been getting pushed back to late nights recently; have to work on that), and the girls enjoy reading, doing crafts, watching TV, playing games on the iPad, or playing together.

5:00 – 9:00 pm: This is family time. My husband arrives home from work, we eat supper together, we do our daily Bible reading together (we’re reading through the Bible as a family again this year, but this time chronologically), clean up the kitchen, do more laundry, play board games, watch TV, etc.

9:00 pm: This is the girls’ bedtime. Then my hubby and I finish doing whatever we need to get done to prepare for the next day, and we go to bed!

I love days that operate pretty much like that, but sometimes those days are rare. Some details are still being worked out, but our “regular” schedule for this school year also includes these activities (and some that are pending):

  • Dance lessons for both of the girls each week (not on the same night).
  • Wednesday night activities for the kids at church. (Hubby and I will help with this ministry.)
  • A weekly appointment for Princess Roo at a therapeutic riding facility.
  • OT for Princess Roo, possibly twice a week.
  • Counseling appointments twice a month for Princess Roo.
  • Specialist appointments (average of once a month, but I already know we have two in October).
  • Princess Roo’s weekly immunoglobulin infusion.
  •  Playdates (about once a week).
  • Homeschool science co-op class every three weeks.
  • Anything else I may have forgotten or that may come up.

Other posts in the Not Back-to-School Blog Hop:

Recent articles you might be interested in:

What does a “day-in-the-life” look like at your house? Write about it and share at the NOT Back-to-School Blog Hop for Day-in-the-Life Week!

Not Back-to-School Blog Hop 2014 Calendar

Posted in Homeschool, Special Needs | 2 Comments

2014 Texarkana Autism Conference

2014 Texarkana Autism Conference - jenniferajanes.com

2014 Texarkana Autism Conference

I’m on the board of a local autism support group, and I’m very excited to announce that we are working closely with FEAT-NT as they host an autism conference in Texarkana! FEAT-NT has built an amazing autism community in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, and now we’re all working together to bring more resources and support to Texarkana and the surrounding area.

Date and Location

The 2014 Texarkana Autism Conference will be held on October 24-25, 2014, at the Texarkana Conference Center and Hilton Garden Inn Hotel. We went to look at the facilities and discuss setup a few weeks ago, and it’s a beautiful, comfortable space to hold a conference.

Speakers

The speakers for the conference will be (descriptions taken from the conference’s speakers page, where you can read more):

Dr. Regina Crone, Ph.D., BCBA-D:

She has over twelve years of experience providing services to individuals with autism and other  developmental disabilities as a public school teacher and ABA provider within the home, clinic, and school settings. As an invited speaker at state, national and international conferences, she has presented on topics related to behavior management, self-help skills, social skills, academic strategies for reading and research findings. In addition, she has taught graduate coursework focusing on autism programming and provided classroom consultation and professional trainings for school districts.

Kimberlee Flatt, MA, LPC, BCBA

She has gained over twelve years of experience providing services to individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities as a public school teacher and private provider within the home, clinic, and school settings. As an invited speaker at state, national and international conferences, she has presented on topics related to behavior management, self-help skills, social skills, academic strategies for reading and research findings. In addition, she has taught graduate coursework focusing on autism programming and provided classroom consultation and professional trainings for school districts.

Daniel Durany, Self-Advocate with Aspergers

Daniel Durany is a public speaker and advocate for individuals and families affected by autism spectrum  disorders. He pioneered an adult asperger’s support group and volunteers with FEAT (Families for  Effective Autism Treatment).

In spring 2013 Daniel was appointed by the Governor to serve for Texas Council on Autism and Pervasive  Developmental Disorder. Then in October 2013, Daniel became the Keynote Speaker for the Texas State Autism Conference.

Daniel will be sharing his experiences in what life is like for him with Asperger’s Syndrome. He offers insightful information on how and why his struggles can be directly affected by how others view and/or understand an individual with an Autism Spectrum Disorder.  Come share in Daniel’s personal story and gain perspective, knowledge and strength from his journey.

Something for Everyone

There will be something for everyone—parents, teachers, therapists, siblings (Sibshops!), and anyone else who comes into contact with people with autism! We’re also planning a silent auction on Saturday night to raise money to provide new resources and programs for Texarkana’s autism community.

Get Involved Today!

We’ll have more details soon, and I’ll share them as they become available, but in the meantime we’re busy signing up sponsors, exhibitors, and vendors (you can see who has already signed on at the bottom of the every page of the conference website), and registration has started! We’re also collecting donations for the silent auction. If you are interested in any of those or have questions, please contact me! I’m happy to help.

Stay Informed

To get in on the latest information about the Texarkana Autism Conference as soon as it’s available, join the conference mailing list and stay tuned to my blog and social media channels!

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Posted in Autism, Special Needs | Leave a comment

To the Special Needs Mom Who is DONE

To the Special Needs Mom Who is DONE - jenniferajanes.com

To the Special Needs Mom Who is DONE

I’ve wanted to write this to you ever since we last talked, met for tea, or chatted via text or private message. (And it holds true for those of you I haven’t had the privilege of meeting yet too!)

I want you to know this:

I hear you.

I hear you when you say you are DONE. I hear you when you say you are beyond tired, past weary, and don’t know what else to do. I hear when you when you say you’re ready to throw in the towel, when you’ve gone to the last parent-teacher conference, heard the last evaluation result, spent your last night in the hospital, or sat through your last therapy session in yet another waiting room. I hear you when you tell me, through tears, that you feel like a terrible mother yet don’t know what you could do differently.

I love you.

Yes, even if I don’t know you beyond an interaction or two on social media, I love you. Behind the tears and the hurt and the frustration, I see a mom who loves her child fiercely but is just worn out with the fight—always fighting for a diagnosis, fighting for services, fighting for medications, fighting for appointments, fighting for people to give your child a chance. I love you for fighting for your child, for your marriage, for your other children, even when you haven’t had more than a few hours’ sleep in forever. I love you for being honest with yourself and with me, for sharing your struggle, for admitting that your life isn’t as perfect as you’d like for everyone to believe. I love you for the way you sacrifice for your family, almost always placing others’ needs before your own.

I pray for you.

My heart aches for you, and I often feel the same way, so I pray for you. I pray for all of you I’ve heard from, and for the countless numbers I’ve never had contact with who are in similar situations. I pray for God to blanket us all with His peace, a strong sense of His love, and an assurance of His presence stronger than we’ve ever felt before. I pray that He will give us favor with specialists, doctors, and insurance companies, with therapy facilities, our employers, our spouse’s employer, and everyone we meet during a day’s time. I remind Him of His promise to provide for our needs and thank Him for meeting every one. I pray for grace and strength for each one of us to get through the day. I pray that He would allow us to be His hands and feet to our families and others we meet in the course of our days. I pray that He would send you the support and encouragement you need to go on, knowing that no matter how “done” you are, you will get up tomorrow to do it all again, because you do it for love.

I don’t have all the answers, but I’m here.

I am honored when you ask me to recommend resources or tell me how my writing has helped or ministered to you in some way. I am blessed that you trust me with your heartaches, concerns, and fears. I enjoy hearing your family’s triumphs and victories. I love the pictures you send me of your precious children and your pet chickens. I don’t have all the answers for your situation, but I hear you, I love you, and I’m praying for you and your families.

In His love,

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How may I pray for you today? Please leave a comment, or send me an email or private message via social media.

Other posts you may be interested in:

Posted in Parenting, Special Needs | 16 Comments

Back to Basics: Learning Size and Capacity

Back to Basics: Learning Size and Capacity - jenniferajanes.com

*The required FTC disclosure: Awesome news here—I am now a Better Beginnings ambassador! I do get paid to write an article for them once a month, but the best thing is that I get to learn, and in turn share with you, great information about how kids learn and helping them learn through play. All thoughts and opinions are my own. I believe in the mission of Better Beginnings.

Back to Basics: Learning Size and Capacity

I write a lot about hands-on learning and all the ways we do that in our home, but I have neglected to write about the way that all children learn, whether they have special needs or not, especially in the early years. They learn through play!

Princess Roo and her kitchen - jenniferajanes.com

I was reminded of this last week when my younger daughter brought me a small plastic pot with a plastic hamburger patty and bun inside. They were stuck, and she had already broken several toothpicks in an attempt to dislodge them, and the hamburger patty also had a significant gouge from a pen. I used a butter knife to get both items out of the pot and briefly explained to her that something that is almost exactly the same size as the container she’s putting it in is likely to get stuck. She nodded, took the toys, and went back to her play kitchen.

Food doesn't fit in container - jenniferajanes.com

I was fascinated moments later to realize that she was still playing in the kitchen, but this time she had several different pots and pans out and more plastic food items. She was putting different food items into various containers, testing to see which ones were big enough to hold the food, how much they could hold, and which food items would fit in which containers.

Learning size and capacity through play - jenniferajanes.com

I was reminded of the times when she was younger when she would play in the bathtub until her fingers and toes wrinkled and the water got cold, pouring water into and out of various containers, seeing how many times she would have to pour one cup into another to fill it up, pouring everything out again, and starting over.

Then it hit me. Children learn about size and capacity through play! I also realized that, because she’s older, I don’t give my daughter enough time to explore these concepts through play, even though she still struggles with them during math assignments.

I would have missed this revelation that will help me teach my daughter more effectively if I hadn’t just heard the Better Beginnings philosophy explained. Better Beginnings wants families to realize that learning often looks much different from the textbooks and workbooks we were given. Children in Better Beginnings programs don’t bring home worksheets. They spend their days in hands-on exploration, and much of it looks just like . . . play!

Children learn as they play quote - jenniferajanes.com

While Better Beginnings provides a ratings system for child care programs (both in-home and day care centers) in Arkansas, they offer resources and information about child development that are helpful to anyone who cares for children! Be sure to visit their website and social media channels for more information.

Are you in Arkansas? Want to know more about the Better Beginnings program? Here’s a video that explains it:

The Better Beginnings program has inspired me to start a year-long series called Back to Basics: Learning Through Play. I’ll see you next month!

Back to Basics: Learning Through Play - jenniferajanes.com

Posted in Back to Basics: Learning Through Play, Homeschool, Parenting, Special Needs | 33 Comments

Homeschool Student Photos 2014-15

Homeschool Student Photos 2014-15 - jenniferajanes.com

*This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting this site!

Homeschool Student Photos 2014-15

We started our 2014-15 homeschool year on July 25, and it has been a busy few weeks! We are easing back into our homeschool routine and finishing up summer activities at the same time. So our not back-to-school student photos are a mixed bag!

The first day of 4th and 6th grade:

First day of school 2014-15 - jenniferajanes.com

Just a few days later, Princess Roo started her Christmas list:

Starting a Christmas list - jenniferajanes.com

The girls observed reptiles at the pet store:

Studying reptiles at the pet store - jenniferajanes.com

Waiting with their daddy to do food distribution on our mission trip:

Waiting to do food distribution - jenniferajanes.com

Striking a pose while taking a break during the back-to-school celebration we helped with on our mission trip:

Helping out at the back-to-school celebration - jenniferajanes.com

Loom knitting to finish a project that’s been dragging on for too long:

Loom knitting - jenniferajanes.com

At a back-to-school swim party with our church’s children’s ministry:

At a back-to-school swim party - jenniferajanes.com

Other posts in the Not Back-to-School Blog Hop:

Please share your kids’ pictures in iHomeschool Network’s Not Back-to-School Blog Hop during student photo week!

Not Back-to-School Blog Hop 2014 Calendar

 

One week only! Sale on resources for the entire homeschool family at less than 25 cents each! (And a recording of my time management talk is included!)

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Wherever the River Runs by Kelly Minter {Review}

Wherever the River Runs by Kelly Minter {Review} - jenniferajanes.com

*Note: I received a free copy of Wherever the River Runs from Propeller Consulting, LLC in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Wherever the River Runs by Kelly Minter

When I read the subtitle of Kelly Minter’s Wherever the River Runs—how a forgotten people renewed my hope in the gospel—I didn’t realize how much those people and the people who ministered to them would change my life too.

Wherever the River Runs is Kelly Minter’s tale of how she became involved in a ministry to the people of the Amazon and how, rather than doing the ministry she went for, she became the one who was ministered to.

Kelly describes how she was changed by the people’s faith in God and His goodness despite their impoverished and tragic circumstances. She shares how she was inspired to draw closer to God rather than struggling with the Why? behind what she saw in the Amazon and how she grew in her faith as she witnessed the indomitable faith of the people of the Amazon.

One thing that really resonated with me was how serving in the Amazon opened Kelly’s eyes to the needs surrounding her at home, and how she felt compelled to meet the needs in her own neighborhood. I think this is where I need to change my thinking. I don’t have to go on an overseas mission trip to be a missionary. There are people I see regularly who need medical care, food, clothes, and a big dose of the love of Jesus. I mustn’t neglect meeting the needs God has placed right in front of me because I’m longing to go to a foreign country.

I enjoyed the beauty of the story Kelly shared about her journeys to the Amazon and the relationships she developed with the people there and with those who traveled with her on the brief trips. But what I really took away from the book is the idea that we’re on a mission field no matter where we are. I am praying for God to open my eyes and heart to the needs He wants me to meet, whether I’m in my own neighborhood, across the state, or around the world.

Want your own copy of Wherever the River Runs?

If you would like to read Wherever the River Runs, enter this giveaway! Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing the giveaway copy!

  • The giveaway is open to US residents ages 18 and older.
  • The giveaway ends on Wednesday, August 20, 2014, at 9:00 pm CDT.
  • To enter the giveaway, leave a comment answering the question below.
  • Only one comment (entry) per household.
  • If you have won a copy of Wherever the River Runs on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again.
  • Duplicate or “extra” comments or comments left after the giveaway ends will be deleted.
  • The winner will be chosen at random using the plug-in “And the Winner Is.”
  • The winner will be notified by email within 24 hours of the end of the giveaway and will have 24 hours to respond with the requested information. If the information isn’t received within 24 hours, another winner will be chosen. The information will be sent to Propeller Consulting, LLC so your book can be shipped.

Ready to enter? Leave a comment answering the following question:

What do you hope to gain from reading Wherever the River Runs?

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Posted in Book Reviews, Giveaway, Review | 4 Comments

10 Things I Learned on Our First Family Mission Trip

10 Things I Learned on Our First Family Mission Trip - jenniferajanes.com

10 Things I Learned on Our First Family Mission Trip

Last week, I asked you to pray for our family as we left on our first mission trip together. I know many of you did, and I’m very grateful. We went with a team from our church to Marion, AR, (the same place BookGirl and my husband went in October of last year) where we assisted the same church we have worked with for three years now. They hosted a lot of back-to-school activities over the weekend, including a clothing giveaway, a back-to-school celebration (including hot dogs and bounce houses), and a school supplies giveaway. They also partner with some other churches and non-profit organizations several times a year to do food distribution in partnership with Mid-South Food Bank, and we helped with that on Friday morning. (The food distribution was my kids’ favorite part!)

It was a busy few days, and we learned a lot—about serving others and alongside one another.

  1. It is critical to have a team leader who is flexible. We had three kids 11 and under on the mission team, and two of them were mine. We may have made a couple more bathroom stops than we would have if only teens and adults were traveling, but our team leader took it all in stride. He also handled other situations well, but I’ll get to those later.
  2. It is critical to be flexible yourself. I can’t count the number of times our plans were changed at the last minute—or even in the middle of an activity. When you’re serving others and are trying to do what they want or need to have done, you just have to go with the flow. For my very rigid thinker, this was a difficult concept to grasp. We had multiple near-meltdowns with her because the plans kept changing constantly.
  3. Take snacks. Because our plans changed so frequently, our meals kept getting spaced farther and farther apart. I was thankful we had packed snacks to take with us! I thought the kids would be the only ones who needed them, but DH and I ended up eating them too, and we shared with other team members!
  4. Be prepared to be humbled. I lost count of how many times I was reminded of how blessed we really are and how content we should be with what we have, or was touched by an interaction with one of the residents of the community we were serving.
  5. Wear comfortable shoes. Fortunately, I took comfortable shoes, and I’m so thankful I did. We were on our feet a lot more than I normally am in a day. It actually reminded me of how I felt in the first week of school when I was a classroom teacher.
  6. Be prepared for inclement weather. We had a lot of outdoor activities planned, and we didn’t always have the option of going to Plan B. Some events (like the food distribution) had to happen at the scheduled time, regardless of weather. It helps if your comfortable shoes are water resistant, your hair is low maintenance, and your clothes are dark (especially if it rains). The only thing we could really do was stop and buy ponchos for the entire team. We did, and we used them.
  7. Don’t get discouraged by the immediate results. During the food distribution, we served over 650 families. It was easy to see we were making an impact. During some of the other activities, we had a very small turnout, despite our having divided up on Thursday night to distribute invitations all over the neighborhood. I know the impact we have will go on for longer than just the few days we were there, but it was discouraging—until the pastor of the church we were helping told us that he had already had some breakthrough conversations with some of the adults in the community and thanked us for watching the kids on the bounce houses so those conversations could take place.
  8. Plan a day of rest upon your return. For some reason (probably based on the original schedule we were given for this trip, which didn’t pan out, as I mentioned above), I thought we would get more sleep on the mission trip than we did at church camp a month ago. We didn’t. I’m thankful that we were able to have a day to rest and recuperate when we got home before we had to jump back into our regular schedule. Next time I’ll kn0w to plan for one.
  9. You get to know people better. While we were there to minister to others and spend time with them, we also spent a lot of time together as a mission team, traveling, eating, and working alongside each other. It was a blessing to get to know some of our church members better. I had worked with some of them in the children’s ministry before, but I hadn’t ever spent this much time interacting with them. It was a great experience.
  10. Hold everything loosely. Because of multiple changes to the schedule, we were already learning to hold our time and sleep loosely, but we got another lesson in holding things loosely when one of the vehicles we were traveling in was broken into while we ate lunch before heading home on Saturday.  Some of our bags were stolen, along with some pretty important contents. We were also robbed of our time because the process of getting a police report done, checking security camera footage, calls to cancel credit and debit cards, etc. put us over four hours behind on getting back home. We worked together as a team, prayed each other through, and finally made it home at 11:15 pm.

What have you learned while on a mission trip or doing volunteer work?

I’m linking up with List It {Tuesday} at  Real Life at Home and Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers today. Join us!

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Posted in Faith, Family, Special Needs | 3 Comments

Our Homeschool Room 2014-15

Our (Home)school Room 2014-15 - jenniferajanes.com

Our Homeschool Room 2014-15

Our homeschool room doesn’t look a lot different this year than it did last year or the year before. We still have a lot of books. Probably too many, if I’m honest. And we use them. We do read alouds, and the girls have curriculum resources they work from most days. But the more we homeschool, and the more I learn about how children (especially those with special needs) learn, the less our homeschool has become about being “school at home” and the more it has become a lifestyle of learning that we all enjoy together.

So, while a lot of our learning happens at home, it doesn’t all happen in our school room. Some of it happens in the den:

Working in the den - jenniferajanes.com

Some of the learning we do happens in a friend’s backyard:

In a friend's backyard - jenniferajanes.com

Sometimes we learn during a field trip to the zoo,

Field trip at the zoo - jenniferajanes.com

Or a state park,

Field trip to a state park - school room - jenniferajanes.com

At a state park - making stick bread - jenniferajanes.com

Or a national park.

Field trip at a national park - jenniferajanes.com

Sometimes our learning occurs through technology instead of books.

Using technology - jenniferajanes.com

Sometimes it happens in waiting rooms.

In the waiting room - jenniferajanes.com

Sometimes it happens while playing board games (or teaching a pumpkin to play a game).

Teaching a pumpkin to play checkers - jenniferajanes.com

Sometimes it happens during therapy.

Therapy session - jenniferajanes.com

Sometimes learning happens at museums (we especially like the ones with hands-on science activities!).

At a science museum - bed of nails - jenniferajanes.com

science museum - brine's building blocks - jenniferajanes.com

Sometimes it happens at the kitchen table.

Spelling with gluten-free pretzels - jenniferajanes.com

Sometimes learning happens while participating in charity events.

Race for the Cure 2013 - jenniferajanes.com

Princess Roo at charity event - jenniferajanes.com

Writing stories and signing books for charity - jenniferajanes.com

Sometimes we learn during homeschool co-op classes.

At a homeschool co-op - jenniferajanes.com

Sometimes we learn while making hats for a local homeless ministry.

Making hats for the homeless community - jenniferajanes.com

Sometimes learning takes place on mission trips.

Leaving for a mission trip - jenniferajanes.com

Sometimes learning takes place on the road, traveling to and from homeschool conventions.

On our way to Teach Them Diligently 2013 - jenniferajanes.com

Some learning takes place at the fair on the educational day they host for kids every year.

With Ms Moo at the fair - jenniferajanes.com

Most days you’ll find us at home, our noses in the books, and quite possibly in our homeschool room. But if we’re not there, you can be assured we’re still learning . . . somewhere!

Other posts in the Not Back-to-School Blog Hop:

What does your homeschool room look like this year? Share it during school room week at iHomeschool Network’s Not Back-to-School Blog Hop!

Not Back-to-School Blog Hop 2014 Calendar

Posted in Homeschool, Special Needs | 13 Comments