My name is Jana, (aka Mamita, Tia, or Auntie)
My present life can be summed up in these two words, “Spanglish Schoolhouse.”
I am an English speaking California girl,
married to my Spanish speaking Colombian guy (the cowboy that is),
homeschooling our five Spanglish speaking Panamanian children,
and staying sane only by the grace of God!
Now for the detailed version, or the “girl version” as we like to call it.
When I was 5 years old, I knew I wanted to be a Kindergarten teacher when I grew up.
After graduating from college on a cruise ship,
and a year of teaching second grade, my dream finally came true!
I became the Kindergarten teacher at a great public school in rural northern California.
A few years, long distance engagement, and LONG story later
(I hope to write a book about it someday…really)
…and it was time to meet in the middle!
My fiancé moved from Colombia in May, I moved from California in June,
we were married in Panama in July,
and I began teaching Kindergarten at a private school in August.
Talk about some transitions!
The next school year I transitioned to curriculum coordinator when Baby #1 was born,
and finally became a stay-at-home mommy in Panama.
Soon we added a little princess to the mix with Baby #2.
Through our years in Panama,
the Lord began awakening a desire to homeschool in me.
When our oldest was 4, our house became the official home of “Jungle School.”
We also welcomed Baby #3, who decided to come early, just in time for Thanksgiving.
Some years, that meant hosting a preschool program with some of our close friends.
Other years it was more like a preschool co-op. We all had an outline of the curriculum,
and worked independently throughout the week.
Then we met on Fridays for an activity for the children,
followed by fellowship time for the mamas.
(You can see some of those days, as we
In 2013 we found out we were expecting again, but this time it was a 2-for-1 deal!
Meet Baby Girl #4 & Baby Boy #5!
In April of 2015, the Lord called us to Colombia.
Within six weeks, we had our lives packed up,
said tearful good-byes to our Panamanian Family of eleven years,
and embarked on a new adventure.
Seeing the great interest in homeschooling in Colombia,
and recognizing the need for resources in Spanish,
my teacher brain and my husband’s awesome graphic design skills combined to form….Spanglish Schoolhouse!
The rest is history (as is the 70’s party we threw for his 40th birthday.)
Still want to know more?
10 random things I love:
- my Vita-mix. We use it the bare minimum twice a day, and even bring it on vacation.
- cleaning my house without chemicals. If someone tried to bring bleach through my doors, I might have a panic attack.
- blasting worship music…LOUD! Jesus Culture, Jason Upton, Bethel Music and Seeds Family Worship are my top go-tos at the moment.
- Hopewell Essential Oils, so much that I have an entire kitchen cabinet dedicated to them.
- decorating cakes, but I could never make it a business because it literally takes me hours.
- helping sort our LEGOs by colors. It really is therapeutic.
- learning about other cultures. I spent my last semester of college on a cruise ship, visiting 11 countries in 100 days. Semester at Sea was truly a life-changing, eye-opening experience!
- shopping used bookstores for children’s books. The best part is bringing the treasures home, and having book parties with my children where we all pile on a couch or bed and read until I lose my voice.
- my ERGO baby carrier. I just washed and put away both of ours since our twins are three now. Definitely my #1 recommended baby item, and would never leave home without it.
- dark chocolate. 60% or higher, with mint and caramel being my absolute favorite, although any flavors (expect chili pepper) will do.