My daughter asked about the first miracle of Jesus…How do you tell her it was wine?


My husband has taken to telling stories at the dinner table that encourage my daughter for school. This past week marked the end of the first month of Polish school that she has started and nearly completed.

Woot-woot. Victory.

She seems to have fared fairly well. We’re even doing okay keeping up with the homework. And she is even eating school lunches—which are vastly different than American school lunches (like couscous and meat sauce for day 1 or ham and other random meats soup for day 4). This is a big victory, too, as she has had to readjust her palette upon returning to Poland.

For example. They put fresh parsley on everything. Potatoes, Meats, Soup. Everything. Which is great—when you’re an adult. But when you are 8, it is like, “What is this green thing that they are putting on every piece of food I am eating?!” We’ve had to start telling the restaurants “Without parsley, please,'” as she readjusts to the Polish cuisine. But I also told her, “Ada girl, you better start eating it because soon school will start and you won’t have a choice.”

At home, parsley was a battle, but at school it seems to have been a non-subject. She just eats what they serve and likes it ūüėČ

Life with kids, eh?!

It is cute, however, because she was playing “restaurant” at home the other day and made the menu. 3 of the items were Polish specialties: Zurek, Barszcz, and Pierogi. So we are making progress in the food arena…Especially if she includes barszcz on a menu (it’s beet soup).¬† Now when she makes a menu that includes mushrooms, you know we will have won!

School.  Oh, it is so difficult.  Everyone asks if we kept up with Polish while away.  The answer is a Big Fat No!

We originally intended to keep up with Polish, but, you have to understand, our daughter had never lived in the United States.  And so every experience was like Disneyland.  And every day was a big ball of bubbling joy.

She did things like swim team and dive team.  She did things like soccer teams for girls and softball.

She joined chorus for two years and the running club for one.  She even went to circus camp.  CIRCUS CAMP!

It was awesome.

School in America.  You can say whatever you want about school in America, but we loved school in America.

It taught character traits and exploration.  It taught teamwork and discovery.  It taught respect of authorities and looking out for others.

School in America was AWESOME!  So awesome, in fact, that my daughter continues to wear her school PRIDE shirts even while in Poland.

Our intentions were to continue her Polish while in the States—but, you know what, living in the States is an invaluable experience that I wanted her to soak up and enjoy.¬† I wanted her to live every minute and smile as much as possible.

I wanted her to play freely, read much, and learn about everything.

Now she is back in Poland.¬† And she sits.¬† And she does workbooks.¬† It’s okay.¬† Her teacher is precious and her friends are grand.¬† But we are so happy that while our daughter lived in America that she got to experience America.

Funny insert story. ¬†The other day at PE the PE teacher said to the kids, “Okay, boys, follow me! ¬†Girls go over there.” ¬†The boys went and played football (soccer) and the girls were put in a small ball pit. ¬†My daughter was not amused and did not find it fun, as it was a lot of girls crowded into a small pit of balls. ¬†She said, “Mom, she didn’t even ask if any of the girls wanted to play football!” ¬†Oh my precious daughter—hang in there! ¬†And we told her, “Next time tell the teacher that you want to play football, too.” ¬†But that is hard for an 8-year-old to do. ¬†I understand.

Anyhow…Back to the blog posting.

All of the above brings us back to present day Poland.  She is in the 3rd class.  And she works really hard each and every day.  She receives two hours a week of Polish as a Second Language, and we send her for study hall twice a week.

It’s different and the language will largely be a barrier all year.¬† But she is trying hard and that’s exactly what we’ve asked of her—to try hard!

But that brings me to the first miracle of Jesus.

We were talking about firsts in the Bible.¬† And then we asked her what story she wanted to hear about in regards to the Bible.¬† She said, “What about the first miracle of Jesus?¬† What was that?!”

Rich and I glanced across the dinner table at each other and paused.

Well, hmmmm…How do we tell her it was wine?¬† Because, honestly, living in Europe, she would find that a bit fun.¬† And funny.¬† And the significance on the miracle might be lost on the fact that while it was not healing a leper, it was still a miracle of God takes on the elements and the disciples believed proportions!

And so we sat for a moment.  And we thought.

And this is what we said…

You know, Adelyne.  The first miracle of Jesus was turning water into wine at a wedding.

Giggle.  Yep.  We knew that would happen.

“Why?” followed. ¬†Fair enough.

Well, you see, Adelyne.  Jesus and his mother and some disciples were at a wedding (See John 2:1-11).  And the wedding was a very special event, as all weddings are.  And Jesus was not yet known to many to be the Son of God.

Big eyes.  Listening.  Because, at 8, every story she has ever heard is about how Jesus is the Son of God.  I think sometimes we forget that there was Jesus, son of Joseph and Mary, before he revealed himself to the world as Jesus Son of God.

And they ran out of wine. ¬†And so his mommy came and told him that there wasn’t any more wine (maybe in hopes that he would help somehow).

Look of confusion.

But, Adelyne. ¬†This is where it gets really special. ¬†Did you know that Jesus didn’t just run out and buy some more wine? ¬†Or he didn’t just make any ol’ plain wine. ¬†He made the BEST! ¬†Out of water he made the BEST wine.

Eyes widen.

Let me tell you, honey…That is exactly how Jesus takes care of each and every one of us each and every day. ¬†He doesn’t run out and look for other people to solve our problems.

He doesn’t just do a so-so job.

He doesn’t even wait until the very end to give us our gifts.

Jesus takes control of all of the elements and gives us the best!

He cares for us the best.  He loves us the best.  And he saves us the best.  Because that is who he is.

So Daddy and I want you to know that when you encounter something in your life, you go straight to Jesus because he has your best intentions in mind.

Nodding head.

What do you think about that Adelyne?

“Can I have some wine?”

Giggle, giggle. ¬†Sigh…

And then we prayed, together, as a family, ¬†“Dear Lord, thank you for this example. ¬†How you took control of the elements. ¬†How you blessed this family. ¬† How you turned water into wine. ¬†And not just any, old wine. ¬†The best wine! ¬†Because you care best of all about us. ¬†Please help each and every one of us to remember who you are—almighty Son of God—as we enter each new day and to believe in you. ¬†Amen!”

And my daughter said, “Amen.”

You know. ¬†I thought that it would be much harder to tell that story to a child. ¬†But, in the end, it wasn’t. Because each story told in the Bible has great significance. ¬†And there is no reason that any of us should falter in sharing any or all of them. ¬†The difficult stories of the Old Testament. ¬†Tell them. ¬†The miraculous stories of the New Testament. ¬†Tell them.

Because, and this is a big B, because in each story of the Bible, God is revealed.  God is glorified.  And we should never shame in sharing what it is He has shared through His word.


Because everything he does he does because he loves us best of all.


Homeschooling is not for the weak. Or faint of heart.

I am not a homeschooling mom, and, yet, here (in Poland) I find myself just that—a homeschooling mom. Or, as I call it, an English instructor for my own child.

Problem, you see. Or should I say, “Problems…”?

My daughter knows it all. Well, at least that’s what she tells me with every lesson I sit down to instruct ūüėČ

Okay, okay. She’s not that bad.¬† All the time.¬† The other part, it pretty much goes like that.

And, ironically, I have taught for about 8 years in actual schools.¬† Teaching over 250 students (middle school and elementary school).¬† You would think that would give me a bit o’ cred, but it doesn’t.


Funny thing, too.¬† It doesn’t matter if you are preparing a day’s lesson for 1 student or 30 students, it still takes the same amount of time.¬† Realizing that once again.¬† Yikes.¬† It’s called lots o’ work.

Homeschooling, it’s not my cup of java, but it’s where I find myself in life.¬† And we are surviving.¬† Decently well, too, I must add.¬† I must, however, reiterate…Homeschooling is not for the faint.¬† It’s not for the weak.¬† It’s not for the pushover.¬† Boy howdy…homeschooling is for the tough mother!

And, sometimes, I think I need to get tougher, but we’re off to a good start!¬† Well, at least we’re off to a start.

I’ve got to be thankful to God that I have a good student.¬† Even if she knows everything (smile and wink).

Student:  Adelyne

Age:  8

Grade that she is starting this 2014-2015 school year:  3

Years of School in Poland:  Preschool (2 years, 1/2 of a year taught by her Momma), Kindergarten (1 year), 1st Grade (1/2 a year)

Years of School in Arizona, USA:  1st Grade (2nd half), 2nd Grade (from start to finish)

Book she is currently reading:  Remarkable by Lizzie K. Foley

So, along the way of instructing my child at home, I am learning the ins and outs of HOW MUCH I appreciate teachers.¬† When I taught, it was easy for me to correct a student’s work and hand it back to him or her with correction and tell them to watch for future mistakes.¬† With my own, it’s like pulling teeth trying to get her to believe me that, despite the sound of it, goes is spelled G-O-E-S and not gose.¬† If I was her teacher in America, I’d tell or show her once, she’d sit with wide eyes and a nodding head, and then she’d try with all her might not to do it again.¬† Perhaps I am exaggerating a bit, but she did constantly tell me, “Mrs. Boyd knows EVERYTHING!”¬† I loved her teachers in America.

Alas, we are not in America, so I am doing my best to do right by my Ada Girl and learn her her English abroad.¬† Oh my, you may shake your head and grunt…

But, overall, I think she is doing well.¬† I am trying.¬† She is trying.¬† We are surviving.¬† Our last unit was Ramona the Pest.¬† Our next is Arizona.¬† After that it’s Storks in Poland.¬† And, of course, she’ll have her quizzes and reviews and book report on Remarkable when she’s done with that.¬† Halfway through as we speak and reading it on the couch right now.

Really, it is fun.

In the meantime, I need to figure out how to throw spelling tests in the midst of all of this.

Oh, and she does learn Polish and French outside of my classroom—phew!¬† I don’t think I would do the best job of those here.¬† Haha!

Enjoy the photos, and look below for comments on ideas, frustrations, or web sites I used along the way.


We are working on writing, obviously.¬† And what’s more fun than writing letters hoping that friends write back?!¬† And it is a good way for me to gauge her spelling along the way, as well as her grammar usage.¬† Like, “Every day me and my family go swimming in the lake…”¬† I was able to tell her that if she dropped “family” how does, “me go swimming in the lake” sound?!¬† She thought that was pretty funny.¬† I did too.


With Ramona the Pest, there are a million study guides out there, so I found a couple I liked and combined them.¬† Here are a couple of her comprehension questions from the book and answers.¬† She also tested on the book at the end on this site:¬† Book Adventure.¬† Since we can’t AR Test from home, we simply use the AR Book Finder to figure out the grade level they assign the books and the words in the books.¬† We keep a separate book for Adelyne that keeps track of that information.¬† Then, if the book is on the above site, she takes the final comprehension test on it.¬† It has quite a few tests.¬† So I am pleased.¬† To date she has read over 100,000 words and counting.¬† She’s my little reader.¬† I especially like how the above site (Book Adventure) keeps track of the tests she does take.¬† That’s nice for sure!


For vocabulary, I used several words suggested in one study.¬† I had her look up their definitions all high tech style and all (on the computer—Merriam-Webster online).¬† She had to figure out which definition was used in the book, the part of speech it was, and then rewrite the definition in her own words.¬† It was a bit hard, the last part.¬† But then she was able to choose 3 of the vocabulary words and use them correctly in sentences of her own.¬† So even though defining them in her own words was hard, at least I could see that she understood their meanings when she wrote her sentences.


Instead of writing a formal book report at the end of her book, she chose to make a game.¬† Here is the final result…Well, nearly the final result.¬† You’ll see us playing the game in a minute.¬† Her game had to be centered around the book.¬† Her characters/game pieces were characters from the book:¬† Howie, Danny, Ramona, Beezus, and Susan.¬† Her cards for moving were based on questions she came up with from the book, and her board centered around one of the activities from the book:¬† Halloween.¬† She had to create rules for the game that made sense.¬† This got frustrating as she wanted to skimp out on creating true rules.¬† After we both pulled our hair, she came up with 4 rules, and she had to pre-write them, edit her mistakes, and rewrite them in NICE handwriting.¬† Sometimes it is very hard being a mommy-teacher.¬† But she did it, and she did a fantastic job!¬† I guess it’s hard being a daughter-student, too.

Here are the rules and game pieces:



And, finally, here we are playing the game.  It was actually very fun.  We did have to add a few more move forward cards while playing.  Overall, however, it was a great first success and you could tell she read and understood the book.  Just FYI, the game that she made took about 20-25 minutes for 3 of us to play when the babies (our 2-year-old and 6-month old) were in bed.  It was a great end of the evening for sure!


Hope you enjoyed the unit and maybe picked up a few ideas for your own school at home!

In the meantime, I have most definitely been reminded how hard homeschooling is.¬† Yikes.¬† Like I said, it’s not for the faint of heart.¬† But I do look forward to our next unit which will include more social studies and science bits and pieces.

I’ll keep you updated as we go…

A post about cooking in Poland will follow.¬† But not for a few days, as we head to the oldest Polish city this weekend as we join them for church there.¬† Where’s that, you may ask.¬† Why KALISZ!

Perhaps Adelyne will do a unit on that, too.

Oh, and we (Ada and I) are about to embark on writing and illustrating a book together.¬† Can’t wait for that unit, too.

Much love for now.¬† And, as Maxwell (the 2-year-old) would say, as he has learned in French, “A-be-ben-to!”¬† (Also known to the rest of you as “A bientot!”)

See you later…And, please, leave ideas and comments below on how to help this mother out ūüėČ

Big kisses (3 for Poland) and an American hug (from me)!