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Hello, there. It’s been awhile.

Hello!  Welcome back.

Well, it’s been a hot minute, hasn’t it?

It’s been a long time since I last posted.  There are a lot of reasons for that.

Reason #1: COVID Craziness

First, we were suddenly evacuated from our home overseas in March of 2020 due to the pandemic.  Then, we spent seven months (SEVEN MONTHS) living out of suitcases, unsure of when we’d be able to return home.  For the last two of those months, I was on my own with a newborn, a toddler, and a five-year-old.  We had to make new choices about where we were going to live and how we were going to school our kids every few weeks.

Reason #2: Are We Still Homeschoolers? (Spoiler – we are)

Second, we flirted with traditional school there for a bit.  After our third child was born in June, we enrolled our kids in a Montessori day camp, just to give me some breathing room with the new baby.  The school had a great COVID safety plan, and we were in an area with extremely low case rates. Our pediatrician and my midwife both signed off on the plan.

We planned to return to homeschooling in the fall, but right before that happened, my husband was called back overseas — no family members allowed.

This left me living in my (very generous) parents’ spare bedroom with a seven-week-old newborn and two very emotionally overwrought older kids.  Plus, the kids were loving this school and I was very happy with the school’s educational approach.  The benefits of the social aspect and the break for me cannot be overstated.  So literally days before it started — I had already purchased all our homeschool stuff for the year! — we switched gears and kept them at the Montessori school.  It was a pricey choice, but definitely the right call at the moment.

We finally —FINALLY — got word that we could return home in October. The Montessori school had gone so well and, to be quite blunt, I was so traumatized from the whole experience back in the US, I decided to try the local (all-virtual) school here in Guatemala.

Now, the teachers did an incredible job. Couldn’t have asked for better. My daughter improved her writing and Spanish skills in just a few weeks. But, ohmylanta, virtual schooling for a five-year-old? A WIGGLY five-year-old?

Not to mention the stress of trying to log in (on time) for various zoom calls while also trying to manage a potty-training, temper-tantrum-throwing two-year-old and a young baby who needs to be nursed to sleep several times a day.

It was constant yelling around here:

“Sit in your seat! Stop touching the cat! No, you can’t have a snack right now! Yes, I know this assignment is ridiculous and pointless, just do it quickly so we can turn it in. If you sit there for five more minutes, I’ll give you a piece of candy…”

I don’t need to tell you, this isn’t the kind of parent I wanted to be and this wasn’t the sort of education I wanted for my kids.

After five weeks, we all agreed that this wasn’t working and it was time to go back to homeschooling.

Reason #3: Kids Deserve Privacy

The third reason I stopped posting (if the first two aren’t reason enough!) is that my kids are getting older and I’m having to think carefully about how much I want to share about them online.

It’s one thing to talk about cute babies and toddler foibles, but as my oldest enters elementary school, I’m thinking more carefully about the digital trail I’m leaving behind. I want to be respectful of her privacy.

Moving forward, I will continue to post about homeschooling, but I will strive to focus on the parenting-side of homeschooling — my experience as a homeschool and expat mom, what works for me, and where we’ve found success.

There will be fewer pictures of the kids.

I will ask my daughter for her permission before I post anything about her, and she gets automatic veto rights — at any time, even if it’s years down the road.

So, I apologize for the long silence. And with three kids at home and all the other craziness in the world, things might not be quite so polished around here.

Hey, real life, right?

But I miss you guys. I miss geeking out over language arts curricula and messy art projects. I think there can still be a place for that on the internet, while still being mindful of my kids’ privacy.

In the upcoming days and weeks, I’ll share lots of posts about what we’re using for kindergarten, as well as our final take on various pre-k programs. I have lots of thoughts about Torchlight Pre-K, Bookshark, Build Your Library, The Good & the Beautiful, and a new phonics curriculum that I am loving.

We’ll get to all that. Right now, just…thanks for sticking with me. I’m glad you’re here.

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