Tag Archive | Trace Academy

Teach Your Children Well

Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.
Deuteronomy 4:9 ESV

This post is a part of the Five Minute Friday link up. Every Friday we write for just 5 minutes on a one-word prompt, without heavy editing, and see what happens. Today’s prompt is “teach.”

For 15 years, our family was involved in a K-8 parent-involved school where if your kids were enrolled, at least one parent had to work on campus in some capacity. Our first year, when our eldest started kindergarten, I was pregnant and due with our third child just 5 weeks after school started, so my job was working in the school office one day a week.

But two years later, I was tasked with becoming the registrar and a member of the management team for the school. After 6 years on that job, I took a step back and became the teacher’s assistant for our middle school teacher. But within a month, our new 3rd grade teacher decided to un-enroll her kids, and therefore a void was left on the teaching team. Now, I had said that I was not a teacher and I would never teach, but as I prayed over the need for a new teacher in my daughter’s 2nd grade class (one of her current teachers stepped into the 3rd-grade role), God changed my heart.

And so I took on the task of co-teaching 3 little 2nd graders (it’s not a big school). Within two years, I was asked to lead the breakout of our 6th graders into a new class of their own, separate from the other middle schoolers in 7th and 8th.

For the next 5 years, I lead the 6th grade class and taught language arts and humanities. I got to teach my daughter again in 6th grade, now with several more classmates than just the 3 from 2nd grade.

But what didn’t click in those years of saying I would not be a teacher, was that, even prior to 2010, I was teaching my kids every day those principles that I prayed would stay with them a lot longer than Greek and Latin roots: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, and your neighbor as yourself.

Ride Into The Danger Zone–Or What Teaching Seemed To Me To Be

schoolhouseAt the beginning of last year, I set out to list 1,000 things for which I was thankful. I stalled out at 860. As we approach the end of the school year–and my first year of teaching 6th grade–I want to work on completing that list. Today’s are all school related, but the rest won’t necessarily be. Better late than never, so here goes the first of the last:

861. Jenni, my fun and capable co-teacher who has owned the science curriculum
862. Iris, my math teacher, because I would be totally unable to teach that subject, but she loves it
863. An hour at the beginning of each school day to gather my thoughts and consult with the teacher who has taught this curriculum for 16 years
864. 10 bright, happy students who have given their all this year
865. A grace-filled school that understands my limitations but entrusted me with this job anyway
866. That our school is right across the street from my house
867. For relatively little drama in my own house so that I could have the emotional energy to tackle this job
868. The Internet, which allows me to look up information on the fly when I have very little knowledge of the subject I’m teaching
869. My education, which taught me more than I thought about things like ancient civilizations
870. Julie, Michele, Sheryl, Christine, Gigi, Sheri, Cristina, Jo and Jill–my students’ moms who are also my friends
871. Carol, my stupendous teacher’s assistant
873. Mary Alice, the aforementioned previous teacher of this curriculum. Her input saved me many, many times
874. A management team who believed I could do the job
875. My husband, who put up with my hours of lesson planning and paper grading
876. Grace, both to do what I feel incapable of doing and to cover my many mistakes
878. Recess
879. Field trips
880. Latin curriculum so that I have tracks to run on
881. My iPad and Apple TV, which way rock over overhead projectors
882. Shari, our teacher mentor, for her input
883. Flexibility
884. Starting each week with teacher prayer
885. My students, because they’re engaged, fun, good kids with good attitudes and good hearts

That’s all for today. It’s good to look back and remember all the good that has happened. It gives me a renewed breath for looking ahead to next year.

A-Camping We Will Go

Every year for the last 11 years, our family has gone camping with our kids’ school, Trace Academy. Trace started this tradition the very first year it opened, believing that the “shared adversity” of tent camping with everyone would build unity. For our parent-involved, “family owned and operated” structure, unity is very important.

Some of our families had never been camping until they joined us, and some will never do it again after they leave. I wasn’t in the first group, but I may very well end up in the second after freezing at night for the past two years.

I am not built for the cold. I know, I know. There’s no bad weather, only bad clothing. That may be true, but, living in Florida does not lend itself to keeping cold-weather gear on hand. This year, I watched the weather report; I knew we were in for nights in the low 40s. I pulled out my ancient thermal underwear, got my fuzziest, thickest socks, piled on the blankets, had a little heater. Still, I froze.

Even my hot flashes weren’t helping.

There is nothing longer than a night with no sleep. O.K., I shouldn’t say NO sleep: I probably got a couple of hours scattered throughout the 7 hours I laid there shivering. The next morning, I was the teacher on for the day–and even before that, I was a part of the worship band during the assembly that starts our day. But God gave me grace, and I was able to get through it and even enjoy it. But man, when we got home, did my warm bed ever feel so good.

Now, before those in colder climes call me wimpy because anything less than 60 is cold to me, let me just state that all people are different, and I am one of those who would rather sweat than shiver. But, I want to look on the bright (think warm and sunny) side, so here are the things I like about camping with our school:

#1 sitting around the campfire with friends
#2 cooking outdoors
#3 the change of scenery
#4 knowing my kids are having such a great time with their friends
#5 once it finally warms up, I love the beautiful, Florida fall weather
#6 the assembly time, laughing at the MCs’ antics and being a part of the worship band

Next year, though, I’m seriously considering borrowing an RV. Our neighbors have one–about a 20-footer I’m guessing. That should do the trick.

Thankful today for

642. A weeklong break
643. Hair cuts
644. Protection
645. Coffee–not because I need the caffeine, because I drink only decaf, but just because I like it
646. Slow mornings
647. Health
648. My far-away family
649. S’mores

Teacher! Teacher!


The pressure is on. I’ve been handed responsibility for 10 new 6th graders who will start out their middle-school careers under my tutelage. How scary is that? I’ve had exactly two years of teaching experience. In 2nd grade. That’s a far cry from what I’m expected to do with these 11- and 12-year-olds. That God would trust me with my own 3 kids is one thing; that others would trust me with theirs, quite another.

In 2nd grade we studied the Olympics, U.S. sites and symbols, farm animals. I can talk to 2nd graders all day about such stuff. I could attempt to teach them about verbs and adjectives and hope they remember to start their sentences with capital letters and end with some sort of punctuation. Sometimes they did it, sometimes they didn’t. But that was OK; they were only in 2nd grade.

Now, I’ve got to try and talk intelligently about the ancient civilizations in China and the Indus Valley, Egypt, Greece, Rome and Sumer. I don’ t even know where Sumer is! I have to guide them into beautiful wiring with strong verbs and quality adjectives. (Or is it quality verbs and strong adjectives?)

And I have to teach them Latin.

The only Latin I know is carpe diem! And e plurbus unum. Did I spell that right?

Lord help us all. Good thing that’s what He does. I hope He’s not busy elsewhere this year, because I’m going to need a lot of His attention.

“That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10 NIV84).

Thankful today for:
564. A good start to my son’s sophomore year
565. After-school swim-team practice instead of 5 in the morning
566. A team with which to work
567. Trace Academy
568. Vista Community Church
569. Photos
570. Our avocado tree
571. My new iPad 🙂
572. The weekend
573. Sunshine
574. Animals
575. Massages
576. Homemade chocolate chip cookies
577. The ability to keep making our mortgage payment
578. Gifts

Character Counts

Tonight, our school, Trace Academy, will hold our graduation and awards ceremony. Unlike other schools, we don’t give individual awards for attendance, or service or scholarship. Those often are just compiled by the few. Instead, we give each child an award for character. Each teaching team spends a lot of time praying and pondering on each child and what we have seen in them this year. We want to encourage those things. We pick a character trait that we have seen in them such as honesty or good friend or resourcefulness and present them with that at the ceremony, along with a ribbon and a magnet with that word and a Bible verse that goes along with it.

Character counts. It’s who you are when no one is looking. It’s not the persona of an athlete or a scholar or a good citizen who picks up trash or feeds the homeless or collects money for the starving children in Africa. Those are all good things. But in the dark, where only God can see you, are you humble and gentle of heart? Do you pray for the salvation and needs of the world? Do you love others like Jesus loved? Are you honest and pure?

I will be up on the stage tonight, handing to my  10 second graders blue ribbons and magnet cards, but what I really hope to hand to them is encouragement to keep letting God build in them good character, which is only produced by perseverance.

“Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us” (Romans 5:3-5).

Thankful today for:

333. summer break!

334. our Incredible Journey plans coming together

335. the opportunity to sleep in, even if it doesn’t happen

336. my friend Sheryl, celebrating her birthday today

337. tonight’s event

338. sweet gifts and cards from my students