from 6 to 5

I have been spending the best part of the evening today getting prepared for school on Monday. The Journalism course is a huge challenge. Don’t get the wrong idea, I am looking forward to it immensely. But it is a headache for many reasons:

  1. I haven’t done this before.
  2. I have six weeks (my own goal) to get a newsletter printed. By then the children will need to know a humungous amount of stuff just for us to be able to do this.
  3. I know nothing about desktop publishing.
  4. I am not an organiser, and this course will require supreme organisational abilities from me.
  5. Juggling the broad spectrum of tasks that are happening simultaneously in the classroom as well as dealing with all the personalities in the group and their individual needs is going to be huge.

I have planned out the first 7 weeks so far and it looks good on paper. How it is going to go in reality remains to be seen. The weeks that I haven’t planned out will be tweaked pending review of the first 6 weeks.

The History planning is going well too, I did that first. I found it difficult to pull the curriculum together in a unified whole so that the children can get a good grip of the cause and effect of History. It is a very fast paced curriculum that has tons of information – enough for one to drown in. Which makes for interesting History, but this girl needs more structure!

The teacher who taught this course last year gave me an excellent tip: She used to check out children’s books on the subject from the library to give her a good idea of the ‘bare bones’, the essential must-know facts. That should be a time saver for me. I cannot tell you how much extra reading I have done on the topic at hand in order hash out the kind of basic understanding that she got from the children’s books!

Anyhow…I didn’t get the urge to blog just to tell you all about my planning for school. My one-track-minded getting-ready-for-Monday mind-set led indirectly to this blogging moment though.

I noticed how organised the veteran teachers are with all their classroom paraphenalia that I never even thought would be necessary until I saw it. So, duly impressed, I decided to keep an eye out for some nifty things for my class. I found some items right here under my nose.

About a year ago I decided (once again) to get a real chore system going for the household. This time, I was going to use the index card system. Everyone reads their cards and do what they are supposed to do and (voila!) they earn some pocket change that would add up to real money if they are faithful. I think the boys earned about $1.55 before the new chore system ran out of steam, like the others before it.

I had put some magnetic index card holders on the fridge, to file each child’s (and adult’s) cards in. Six containers, because Jenna would be required to help me hang her clothes and feed the kitties.

Walking past the fridge today, those containers caught my eye. They would be perfect for holding dry erase markers, index cards, pencils, what-have you. I could hang them on the inside of my metal class cabinet just like the organised veteran teachers did. Perhaps there is hope for me that I might look organised one day. 🙂

I took one down, leaving 5. Maybe now that I will be working and busy, I am going to need a chore system  again. Hopefully one lasting longer than two weeks. 

But oh…container number 6. It is an extra now, like so many other things around here. No  longer needed, just a remnant of what was. You all know what I did with that container, right? I kissed it. I hugged it to my chest. Then I gingerly put it in my school crate, to take to my classroom on Monday.

As I did so, I remembered a conversation I had with Jenna’s youngest brother shortly after she went to heaven. We had told the children that they still have a little sister, and that she will always be a part of our family. Within a week or two after our return from South Africa, a teacher asked the youngest boy’s class how many siblings each child had. It was a tough question for my son. He first raised his hand to say “two”, but then he checked himself and said “three”. I will never forget his words as he recounted the incident to me. “I said three, mom”, he told me, “Because Jenna still counts.”

Yes, you still count, my muffin. Some people can’t see you, but we do. Some people think we are a “party of five” now, but we will always be six. You will always be with us, right here in our hearts.


15 responses to “from 6 to 5

  1. Everybody who is touched by your blog will also always remember Jenna; she is beautiful.

  2. It is so sad that people think that Jenna doesn’t count just because she is with Jesus now. To think that way doesn’t give credit to Jenna or to God who gave her to you for those all to short years.

    I know that you are going to do a wonderful job this year!!! You are a fabulous teacher and the organization will come; wait and see….

    Many prayers and hugs for you this week will be coming.

  3. Yes, she does indeed count! I think that in the early days, the hardest question I got from strangers was “how many kids do you have?” It was kind of confusing. Now, not so much. I just happily say “two” knowing that Ellie still “counts” as your wise son said. Sweet post…

    Excited for you as you embark on this teaching adventure! I have a feeling that you will be the “favorite teacher.” 🙂

  4. Of course Jenna counts. How foolish for someone to suggest otherwise.

    Sumi, I wish you all this best as the year begins. I know that last year, teaching was truly my salvation. Being busy so much during the day, having 44 little beings dependent upon me for information, just the day-to-day management of a classroom really, kept me focused and helped me through my grief more than I could have imagined.

    You are ahead of me if you’ve got seven weeks planned, LOL! I’ve got Social Studies planned, but language arts is sadly lacking at the moment. That’s on my agenda for today…;o)

  5. She definitely counts.

    I look forward to reading how you’re doing on your self proposed time frame for getting a newsletter published. Good luck!

  6. I had a similar moment when I just about called Sabrina an “only child”. I had to check myself mid-sentence and struggle for a phrase that defined her status as a child with siblings but was still on her own. I wonder why those of us who have children in Heaven have to work so hard to ensure that they are remembered and validated?

  7. I think it is wonderful how you include Jenna in everything. The love she gave each of you will always remain in you. I think it is great and only right to count her. God Bless your efforts on your classes.

  8. this is not related, but do you want to trade places just for the day? I’ll teach your classes if you write my two thousand+ word papers… and my cable is still out from the storm, so I’m watching Sesame Street.

  9. who knew there was so much to learn about triangles??

  10. I am praying for you today as you begin this new adventure that God has started you on. May you be blessed and strengthened as you reach out in your teaching this year.


    don’t know if you read copland farley’s blogsite but she just posted about a friend whose 3 yr old just passed away from a brain tumor; thought you might have sweet words for her. only if you want. love, jan

  12. Sumi,
    Praying for you……Jenna is your family’s number 6 forever, eternally in fact. Praising Jesus for His promises.
    With love,

  13. Continuing to pray for you and your family!

    Cynthia Y.

  14. We can’t even fathom or imagine how much Jenna counts! Her precious life has touched so many and continues to do so. I pray the school year goes well for you.

  15. What a touching story… Jenna definitely counts! Still thinking of you all and praying. Best wishes as you start a new school year!

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