The Bryant Family Spotlight!

I am so excited to put my family in the spotlight for you.  You guessed it!  We are the Teach Me Joy family!  This will give you a close, inside look at our family in Papua, Indonesia and how we live here.

Let Me Introduce My Family

Luke is my husband of 16 years.  When we met and married he was a mechanical engineer, but in his 30s felt like God was calling him into missions, specifically aviation!  So now he is a pilot here in Indonesia! (More on this later.) 

Caleb is our oldest and 13 years old.  He loves all things sports and video games with friends.  Reagan is our 10 year old princess. She loves pink and dolls wants to go into mechanics and engineering!  Our little surprise blessing will be 2 in March.  Yes, he has red hair, just like his granddaddy!  He is the busiest little boy and always wants to “Go Go!”  

Our “Home” Country

This has always been a loaded question for me!  I was born in Kentucky, U.S. but grew up in South Korea as a missionary kid until I graduated from High School.  After college back in the U.S., I went to the Philippines to teach. I met my husband there.  Now, my extended family lives in Texas, where 2 of my boys were born. I can say that I have NEVER lived in one place for more than 4 years!
Luke is a full-blooded South Georgia Boy!  He lived there all his life and STILL can’t believe he is not living there now.  My guess is that if we ever leave Indonesia, we will return there.  

Why Are We Living in Papua, Indonesia?

After my husband spent 3 years in extensive training as a pilot/mechanic, we joined an organization called Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF).  This is an amazing organization that helps reach isolated people groups around the world. 

After a year of language school in Java, Indonesia, we ended up flying in Papua.  We live in Wamena, which is the world’s largest city completely supplied by air.  We live in a basin surrounded by mountains. There are NO roads that connect us with other cities.  Luke flies to isolated tribes taking missionaries, medicines, supplies and people in and out.  He does medical evacuations for serious medical issues that cannot be treated in the tribes. 
We are truly blessed to be able to supply missionaries who completely rely on MAF’s little airplane to supply all their needs!  We are always in AWE of these brave missionaries who live out in the jungles to teach the people about God’s love. To see our MAF bio, Click Here
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The Best Part of Living Overseas

The best part of living overseas is seeing my children grow and develop with an expanded worldview.   I love listening to them as they discuss the differences between various areas of the world. They have a beautiful view of people and love them unconditionally. It also helps us to grow and stretch in ways we wouldn’t have if we hadn’t moved here.
It is also super neat to be able to take vacations in cool places that others don’t ever have the chance to see. Last year my 13 year old got his diving license. We are planning on taking him to next year, which is considered the most beautiful place in the world to dive. Of course, it helps when you live on the same island!


The Hardest Part of Living Overseas

Being homesick for our family has been the hardest part of being here. We have been overseas when our family back home have been struggling. We’ve missed babies being born and were not there when a family member has died. We also long for the convenience of living back in the U.S., shopping and restaurants, movies, and other fun things to do.

Caleb really misses playing organized sports, which aren’t available here. Another tough part of living here is to see the filth and depravity of a culture that is still developing. It can really be depressing at times and we have to keep our eyes focused on the beauty of the mountains, the calling that the Lord has given us, or the blessings God places in our path each day.

The Kid’s Favorite Things to do in Indonesia

My kids love to play with their friends. They will spend hours outside playing games. Our son also loves video games with his friends, so we often have a room full of teenage boys whooping and hollering! Our daughter spends so much time playing with her American Girl dolls and doing crafts. They both enjoy hiking to the river, or local caves. One favorite thing to do is to hike to various airplane crash sites that litter the mountains in the area. They don’t call it the most dangerous place to fly for nothin’!

Spotlight on our Homeschooling

We have done a mix of homeschooling and going to small mission schools while in Indonesia.  I have also spent time teaching in our local mission school when there weren’t teachers available. This year Reagan is homeschooling exclusively. Caleb is doing a mix of school and homeschool. His class has 6 students in 3 different grades (6th, 7th, & 8th). This has been a good experience for him, but we will be homeschooling everyone next year, even the toddler!

Every year that I homeschool looks a little different. I am constantly re-evaluating what I am doing and changing things to create the most ideal situation for all of us. I guess you could say that I’m great at planning with flexibility!

My 2 oldest have two OPPOSITE learning styles. Although I have done some things the same in the past, next year will be the first year that we will do completely different plans. I am planning on using more online curriculum options, since they are older and can start taking a little more ownership of their learning.

I am very eclectic for our curriculum this year. I’ve said before that I LOVE finding things that fit for the child. My curriculum choices this year have worked very well for our 10 year old 5th grader.

For Reagan this year we are using:

  • Math Teaching Textbooks have changed our math this year!  We started using them over the summer as a supplement, and stuck with them!  The lessons are so clear and easy to catch on to, so I rarely have to help the kids with the assignments.  
  • Language Arts – We are using several different items for Language Arts this year. Apologia’s Jump In! for writing has done an excellent job walking through different styles of writing. Editor-In-Chief has been our grammar, and Spelling You See is a fantastic spelling program that uses “chunking” the letter blends and dictation to teach spelling. This has also gone perfectly with our Ancient History study this year. We have also used Critical and Creative 5 for critical thinking skills.
  • Reading – Reagan has been interested in American Girl for awhile, so this year I decided to use the AG Meet books for her readers and the Lapbooks with them. Reagan LOVES doing the lapbooks! Instead of doing each book in a separate folder, we use a nice notebook and she adds each lapbook to it. It is turning into a nice little keepsake for her. 
  • History – We have done quite a few WinterPromise programs over the years. We have never been disappointed and this year is no exception! Quest for the Ancient World does a fabulous job pulling in quality books, but using Mystery of History and optional Story of the World as the spine. We are using the Audio version of those 2 books and it has been perfect! It is a great mix of listening, reading, notebooking, maping, and doing projects.
  • Science – Apologia has been our go-to science curriculum for awhile. We LOVE the Exploring Creation Series. This year we are doing Zoology 3: Land Animals of the 6th Day.  I took a chance and spent the money on the Zoology 3 Lab Kit from Christian Books.  It was the best money I spent this year!  Living overseas, it is so hard to find many of the objects needed for the experiments.  With this kit, every experiment is pre-packaged and labeled in it’s own baggie.  All we have to do is pull it out!  It has been absolutely perfect for us.  

Caleb’s Part-time focus this Year:

Caleb has always struggled with different aspects of school.  When he was in 2nd grade he was diagnosed with a Visual and Auditory Processing Disorder.  This basically made it very difficult to process anything heard or seen. OK, so how do we do school then?!

We have worked hard and he has done Great! This year I noticed that there are some major gaps in his learning. We decided to homeschool only half days and focus on these problem areas. He has a fantastic teacher at the mission school he is attending and is actually doing well in math for the first time in a long time. So we are focusing on his language arts at home.

  • Spelling – This has been our biggest hurdle.  I found a FANTASTIC program that I highly recommend for any level.  All About Learning has a reading and a spelling program that can be used at any age.  They suggest to start at level 1 regardless of age in order to catch holes or gaps in the learning.  We just started this program a couple of weeks ago and have caught SO MANY GAPS!  I was actually surprised how much was missed when he was younger.  (Honestly, I didn’t even know some of the rules we are learning!) I am really looking forward to doing this program all the way through, and I think we ALL are going to be better spellers because of it!
All About Spelling
Auditory Processing Disorder
  • Grammar – Being able to manipulate parts of a sentence and knowing the different parts can be difficult.  I knew we needed work on this, but what would be the best way to go about it, without being boring and childish with a 13 year old?  Diagramming has been our solution!  I have always enjoyed teaching grammar by diagramming sentences. Not only do you learn the parts of speech, but you also know how they fit in the sentence and how they relate to other parts. I have used 2 diagramming books this year, but I have also developed a set of posters for sale in my store for only $1.99.

Diagraming Sentences (All Ages)


From My Heart

Always give yourself a little grace!  Homeschooling is tough no matter where you live, but adding in the challenges of culture and language make it harder some days.  Wherever you are in this world, or whatever time of life you are in, know that you are not alone!  It is so easy to feel alone some days.  I have to continually tell myself that there really are women all over the place that know what I am going through!  Just look at how many online communities there are!  It is so important to have someone that connects with you and can be your encourager! 

If you don’t have a support system where you are, I have a couple of Facebook groups that you can join if you qualify. If you have an idea for another group, let me know! Maybe we can make it happen!
I am also looking for NEW Spotlight Familes for 2018!  If you homeschool overseas, fill out the form and I will consider you for my 2018 lineup.  If you’d like to ask me any questions first, email me at joy@teachmejoy.com.  I personally get all my mail and will get back to you.
From My Heart to Yours,
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Some More Family Spotlights!

Teach Them Diligently 2018

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