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Our hopes of 2020 & the start of the pandemic

 As you all know, 2020 didn't turn out the way we were planning. Like most of you, we had many plans and ideas that never happened. Here are a few of ours...

In December of 2019, we made the decision to homeschool Jonathan for the rest of his 7th grade year. This was all prompted because a friend of mine was doing an online school with our same school school district for her daughter and loved it. It was basically all the same curriculum, but from home on a 4 day a week schedule. We were excited to try that along with extra bible and reading curriculum we would add in. When we approached his counselor in December and eventually the online instruction department, they told us they do not allow students to participate for only one semester and that he could apply in 8th grade and do it for that whole year. We told them we would homeschool for the rest of 7th grade and then try it in 8th grade. They said we could not do that because once we pulled him to homeschool him, he was no longer a student and that in 8th grade they only allow current students to apply for online school. It was crazy! So we made the decision to homeschool him anyway with the intentions to homeschool again in 8th grade or send him back to full time school in 8th grade. And this was all before COVID.

We had a great first 8 weeks. Jonathan fell in love with reading, got way ahead in Algebra and enjoyed John's history lessons. When Ashlyn was due to come home early March for Spring Break and the other 2 boys were still going to be in school, we decided to go on a trip just the three of us. At that time, COVID was already strong in China and all over Europe and most of the world. We were hearing of it in the US, but no one was wearing masks yet or using many precautions. We voted on Minneapolis because we had all gone to Mall of America when the kids were younger and Jonathan couldn't remember the Nickelodeon Theme Park well. We loved the idea of riding rides inside, eating out, shopping and an escape room all within minutes of our hotel. It was a great trip! Our last week of normal. When we got home, literally the next couple days, America shut down. We bought toilet paper, paper towel, hand soap and stocked our kitchen. Then we began our new normal.

The two other boys went virtual like most of America. It was long and unorganized, but they survived. Ashlyn ended up not being able to go back to campus. She had one scheduled day she could go pickup all her belongings, and moved back into her bedroom. Jonathan continued homeschooling, which was wonderful because we still decided what each day looked like and how it was spent. Best decision ever! We missed out on so many fieldtrips we had planned because we couldn't leave and they were all shut down. My time was also divided between him and Caleb now which was never in the plan. But he did end up finishing 7th grade in his pajamas and with a a lot of new head knowledge, which was always the plan!  And we got to decided anything school during this new crazy time, which was not the case for Joshua and Caleb. When he did go back in August for 8th grade, his counselor laughed and said we must have predicted the future - and he could have done online school in 8th grade now after all. But he didn't, he went back to in person (I mean hybrid) in the fall and is enjoying it.

Ashlyn was hoping to live in Seattle this summer for her Amazon internship she received with her Amazon scholarship. But the entire Seattle office had gone virtual, so she was sent a monitor and laptop and worked 5 days a week, 8 hours a day from her messy bedroom. She learned so much and actually enjoyed the experience and extra money. She plans to intern again Summer of 21, hopefully in Seattle this time.

Our family loves vacationing together. That was one decision we made years ago when we stopped paying for private education. We would use some of that money making memories with our kids before they left home. We have done that intentionally since then. 2020 cancelled some vacation plans for us. But we were able to make a couple new plans! We took a long road trip to Wyoming and Yellowstone with the boys this summer. Ashlyn had to miss it because of her Amazon job. But she watched Bear and the house (and I think enjoyed the solitude) while we were gone. Jonathan and I went to Colorado for a wedding of a friend in August too. We saw my family while we were there and called it the end of the school year party! It was a great trip. We all went down to Susan's lake house for a weekend this summer with Carol's family. This was a great trip and relaxing for sure! John's international trips were canceled, rescheduled and cancelled again. We're hoping for a Branson trip in late December/January now that we have all had COVID this week. We'll keep you posted...enjoy some vacation pictures from 2020...