It’s that time of year again. I can hardly believe it! Summer flew by in a haze of peppers, pickles, puppy, and the pool. (see what I did there…hehe) For reals, it went by so fast! I’m not a mom that gets super excited about her kids returning to school. Sure, I can get more done for work when they are gone at school, but I like having them here! I love the freedom of summer. It’s bliss to not have to have them out the door super early in the morning. I’m a firm believer of letting sleeping children lie and it absolutely goes against my morals to wake my kids up bright and early each morning for school. I detest it! But, summer can’t last forever, so alas, we are crawling our way back into the swing of things.
This is our ninth year in Ukrainian school and we’ve come a long way, baby. It actually hurts my stomach to think about our first 2 or 3 years in Ukrainian school. We knew nothing, understood little, and every day was a lesson in how much we didn’t know. It’s not even just about the language (although most of it was about the language, let’s be honest) but it was also little things like, there are no school supply lists here. You just have to know what is required, and everyone knows the requirements because they never change. There are these little notebooks that the kids need for every subject with different types of lines on them. Slanted lines for the first couple of years while kids are learning to write, grid lines for math and other “mathy” type subjects, and then regular lines for other subjects. But that’s not all! All those different types of notebooks have different varieties with different numbers of pages…so you also need to know how big of a notebook to buy, depending on the grade and the subject. These are not things you ask about, these are things you just “know” because this is how it’s always been. Now it’s second nature for us and school shopping is a breeze, but man oh man, it wasn’t always that way.
Now, entering our 9th year in Ukrainian school and our 8th year in our current school, I can confidently say that we are solidly a part of the school community and our kids are just one of the crowd. They are just Hava, Seth, and Evie. They are not “The Americans” or something special and weird. I feel glad about that and proud of my kids for how far they’ve come. I’m also super thankful to God for leading us to our current school. My kids feel at home there and I know the teachers care about them. That’s not something you can find just anywhere.
So how old are the kids and which grades are they in? For those of you who have followed our family for a long time, I’ll share the deets, starting with the youngest.
Evie Joy is 5 years old and is in her last year of preschool/kindergarten. Kids start first class here when they are 6, so next year she will officially be in school. Crazy! The kindergarten is in the same building as the school and is a Montessori school. Evie loves to go there and I think it’s a wonderful environment for her. It has been a huge blessing to us to have her there.
Seth is 13 and is in 7th class. Seventh class is when they begin algebra, geometry, physics, and chemistry, so that’s a bit intimidating! Seth has an individual learning plan because of his diagnoses, and the class has an aide available for when he needs extra help. Last year he had his best year yet, so we are hopeful that this year will also go well. He has some good friends at school and socially he doesn’t struggle at all. He is the football star of his class, so as you can imagine, PE is his current reason for getting up each day. 🙂
Havalah is 14 and in 8th class. She doesn’t love school, but is smart and generally does really well. She has some good friends at school and feels her place there. She’s also really involved in our church and the youth group there. She’s doing great and is growing into a wonderful, beautiful person.
Ezra is 17 and will be a senior!! He is currently finishing up his last little bit of junior year work online and will start senior work in October. Our time in Germany really messed up his schooling trajectory, poor guy. But we are hopeful that with a lighter senior year he will be able to graduate next summer. He is doing an American program online so he can get a US diploma. Ezra is also working as an intern for Dim Hidnosti (the Ukrainian arm of Wide Awake) and is on the church youth group lead team, so he keeps quite busy. The kid is never home, I swear. But, when I do see him he is a delight. 🙂 I’m super proud of the man he is and is becoming.
Addie is 19 and just began her first college classes this week! My baby is all grown up. Addie is living in Montana with Jed’s parents and is starting the pre-nursing program at a community college there. She’s working as a barista and is excited to finally begin her journey to becoming an RN. She’s wanted this for a long time. Since moving to the US in the spring she got her driver’s license, her CNA license, and her first real job. I’m so happy for her and proud of her and all the adulting she’s having to do with her parents so far away. We are really thankful that she is with Jed’s parents and has other extended family nearby to support her. She is not alone and that calms my heart a lot.
Vlad is 23(!) and is living with my parents in Oregon. He has been with them for a little over a year now and is doing really well. We left him there after our visit last summer so that he could get his teeth treated by an orthodontist. He has braces and his teeth have changed so much! This week he will have 8 teeth pulled and then I think we will see even more progress. Vlad works 2 days a week at a company that employs people with disabilities. He does landscaping and they told my mom he is their star employee. No one is surprised by that, right? Ha! Vlad loves to work like no one I’ve ever seen. He’s proud to earn his own money is thriving there with my parents. He recently got baptized at church and that was a big step for him. He’s spent the last few weeks with Jed and Ruslan in California and it has been a really special time for them all.
So, that’s the lowdown with our kids. This is the beginning of the second school year during the full-scale war and true to form, there was an air raid and they had to go down to the bomb shelter on the first day of classes. It’s routine now and no one is particularly bothered by it, but it’s always a reminder of the difficult and crazy time we are living through. I’m just thankful our school has a functioning bomb shelter so our kids are able to study in person.
Thanks for loving our family through all the years. Many of you have been with us from the very beginning when our kids understood nothing I was often wondering if we’d made the biggest mistake of our lives. Whew. We’ve all come a long way. Thanks for sticking with us!