Wrapping up another week!


This is our 8th year of home education.  8 years………as I type that, I can hardly believe it.  I actually went back and recounted……..twice.  It seems that after 8 years of doing the same thing, one should be considered an expert, doesn’t it?  Well, I’m not.  Not in any way.  Each day, each year, each child is so very different.  It was much easier when I had only one child at home to teach.  Two was a challenge.  And three was just about more than I could handle.  It wasn’t the children themselves.  It was the amount of planning, learning styles, grade levels and individual personalities that almost drove me to visit the board of education to discuss enrolling my children. Just kidding.  Sort of.   I discussed my frustrations with my husband.  I prayed about it.  And decided to try implementing some changes and then we had an amazing week!!

It started when I dug out some magazines that were given to us by a dear friend of mine.  I had planned to pull them one by one according to the subject I was teaching, but when my children saw them, they just went crazy with excitement.  They spent hours this week pouring through the magazines, Zoobooks and Discovery Kids while shouting out, “Hey mom, did you know………?”  They also used the colorful pictures as art inspiration and drew/painted them.


lunch break

We dug out all the fun, messy art supplies this week.  We used water colors, acrylic paint, stencils and canvases.  My oldest son used his afternoon “creative time” (that is what we call the time after school and before they are allowed to use electronics) to paint his Warhammer soldiers.

On Wednesday, my little princess was feeling pretty crummy.  She ended up in tears when I asked her to complete a page in her spelling book and that NEVER happens.  She ended up spending most of the day in MY bed, listening to books on her Nook, playing with her stuffed animals that she hauled in, and resting.  A WONDERFUL resource to keep the younger kids busy and learning when you can’t sit right by them is Tumble Books.  Our local library has a subscription, so I get to use their log in and my daughter listens to numerous storybooks being read to her!  She loves it.  (so do I)

sick day tumble books

On Thursday, we decided to get out of the house for a few hours and had school at the library.  The kids breezed through their work and then went off to find books for the week.  We may start doing this once a week!  Another idea, would be to have school at our local Starbucks.  Kinsley went into the children’s department about 10 minutes before the boys were finished with their work.  When I walked around the corner to check on her, she was sitting at a table reading a book aloud!  She is a very reluctant reading.  It just has not come easy for her like it did for my boys.  So I was thrilled to not only see her, but hear her reading!

Kinsley reading

boys library

Today we tried something a little different.  We had a great result, so we will do it again next week!  We had only half a day of school work (math, spelling, reading and Hunter had a history test) and we spent the rest of the day cleaning.  We straightened, vacuumed and dusted bedrooms, scrubbed the bathrooms, deep cleaned the kitchen, dining room and living room.  Everything sparkles and shines!  And the best part is we have it done before the weekend, so we can spend more time relaxing!


Beyond an 8-3 education


I have been on a journey of consideration the last few weeks.  Frustrated by my lack of motivation which has carried over to my children.  I have started to realize that I simply don’t expect enough from them.  My husband has pointed that out from time to time over the last year, but I tend to pull the mommy card and coddle them.  I should have listened because he was right!

I spent the last couple of weeks going through all of the bookmarked sites on my computer regarding education.  You know, the ones we don’t have time to look at right then, so we tuck them away for another day that never seems to come.  Well, my day finally came (several days, actually) where I stole an hour here and there to organize and check out these websites.  I thought I would share the one I used last night with my 13-year-old.  I will be visiting often.


I printed off a worksheet and an essay question based for him to fill out at he watched the State of the Union last night.  He expressed concern that it was “boring” and he wouldn’t understand it anyway.  But you know what?  He filled out the worksheet listing the topics and proposed plans of action AND he had a discussion with his dad and I afterward.  We tried to send him to bed, but he asked if he could continue watching the comments and discussion for a bit longer.  Be still my heart!!!  Why, OF COURSE, you can!!


hunter watching state  What in the world happened to my picture?   The TV should be on top, not behind his head.  Geesh.  I guess I need to work on figuring out how to do this.


I had originally told the kids that they could watch 30 minutes of TV during their lunch break as long as it was somewhat educational (read, NO SPONGEBOB).  They record Cut Throat Kitchen and usually watch that.  However, I tried serving their lunch at the dining room table instead of at the bar.  They didn’t seem to mind, so I turned on a video that I wanted them to watch about Galileo.  Best decision that I made all day!  Because that 5 minutes video let to a discussion and more videos of several topics………Neptune, Aristotle, Italy, and eventually the space shuttle The Challenger.  It was a great discussion that held the interest of ALL of my students (6,8 and 13) and that is not an easy task.

lunch break video Galileo

I should also share that the discussion about Galileo started from this resource:  http://members.enchantedlearning.com/activitycalendars/

It is an EASY way to get social studies and/or science into your day on a regular basis and it requires little planning.  I started using this because I felt that there was just so much information that we were missing that I felt my kids would enjoy.  After we become familiar with a person or event, we sometimes follow-up with library books or videos depending on their interest level.

I love it when we have post worthy days!  I wish it happened everyday!  I’ll take it when I can get it though and will share whatever resources made it happen!

Have a GREAT Wednesday!




Wait! We didn’t get a weekend!


When I think “weekend”, I think relaxation. At least a little rest and relaxation would be nice, but this weekend had none of that!
I already shared that we traveled 4 hours down and back to my hometown to see my family on Saturday. We got in at 11 p.m. last night and left at 9:30 this morning to head to another town about 1 hr 30 minutes from here for my 8 year olds soccer game. He played goalie for the first time EVER and he did a GREAT job! On our way home this evening, we received a text inviting him to play on the U10 travel team in the Spring! We are so proud of him! We got home about 6:30 with a carry out dinner and I immediately started planning our studies for next week. I am working toward better time management so we do not have to do anymore spelling tests in the car! We didn’t have time to finish everything on Friday, so my oldest student took his test on the way to the soccer tournament today!

12 hours in the car

Jarrett soccer

kinsley slide

While I am very, very tempted to take the day off tomorrow, it just isn’t going to happen. We have SO MUCH to accomplish in order to earn our Spring Break trip to Florida with my dear friend Nicole and her children.  It is amazing how hard we can work when we know there is a reward at the end!  We are even adding in Spanish and Hunter will start his ACT prep.  He is only in the 7th grade, but I found a wonderful opportunity for him to take Freshman English online next year from our local career center.  I want to utilize this resource NOW while it is available to us!  They also offer Algebra I and II and Geometry.  I think he can do it.  I think it will push him, and challenge him greatly, but I have recently realized that I do not expect enough from him.  He is capable of so much more.

Speaking of expecting more…………my husband and I made a tough decision this weekend. (When you spend 12 hours in the car together, you have lots of quality time to talk!)  We decided that there will be no television or electronic games of any sort between the hours of 8 and 3 on Sunday through Friday. It has become too easy to have these distractions and breaks that take way to long because they are “checking their stuff” online!  I was leaning for no electronics Monday through Friday, but my husband thought we should start with an 8-3 timeline and see how it goes.  We told the kids and believe it or not, there were no negotiations, or whining that occurred.  We will see how it goes tomorrow when they get up and try to turn on the television.  I’m sure I will be the “meanest mom ever”.  That’s ok……………..I’ve held that title for several years now!  🙂

How many days until the next weekend?  Oh wait…………..we have soccer out-of-town then, too!.  Sigh…………

Stick with it Saturday – CREATE family memories


Our day started at 6:30…….never a good thing on a weekend. We quickly got ready, jumped in the car and headed to my hometown 4 hours away. First stop, was lunch at a local pizza place with our oldest son and his fiancee. Then we went to my parents house to celebrate a late Christmas with my brothers and their families, my two oldest children and their significant others. It was full of fun and many laughs. I especially enjoy these get togethers, because we have missed out on them for the past 10 years because we lived 16 hours away until this past summer! Good memories are being made as we catch up and cousins get reaquainted!

We went to visit my grandmother at the retirement home. She fell last week and broke her arm, and hasn’t felt much like getting out. She is such a joy and I love hearing her tell stories, or just vent about the state of our country. She is a very wise woman!

Last stop was my brother’s house since it was on the way out of town. They paid cash for a fixer upper last year and man have they fixed it up! It looks great and they own it free and clear! So proud of them!

We walked in the door tonight at 11:00. I’m ready to shower and fall into bed. Tomorrow we head to another town about an hour away to watch my youngest son play soccer. Our truck is starting to feel like our second home! 🙂

A dear friend’s words of wisdom


I enjoy getting together twice a month with a small group of homeschool moms to discuss a book on parenting or homeschooling.  Sally Clarkson is a favorite!   It is probably one of the most encouraging activities that I have been part of in years.  Our group is small and thus far drama free. ( A requirement if I am going to participate.)

During one of our meetings it was mentioned that our friend that hosts the gatherings has such a clean and orderly home, even though she has 5 children between the ages 14 and 6 months.  Another mom, asked how in the world she did it!  My friend’s humble reply was this, “As mothers, we all have things that we choose to do.  But not one of us can do it ALL.  My house may be cleaner, but I don’t grind my own wheat and bake bread for my family like you do.  I don’t cook everything from scratch like you do.  Therefore, I have more time, to spend cleaning.”

I just love how she said that and pointed out the other mothers strengths in her response.  Another woman in the group does a great deal of traveling with her family.  They believe it is best to expose their daughter to many activities, cultures, etc.  But the bottom line is that all of our homes look differently.  Our families are different.  Some have many children, some have few.  Our husbands are different.  Some travel often, some work from home.  There is no such thing as a cookie cutter home.

That being said, I am going to stop feeling guilty for my little splurge at the grocery store and share it with you as one of my “secrets”.  Are you ready?



pancake 2

Yep, that is it!  Pancake in a bottle.  A few years ago, I wouldn’t dream of wasting money on something that I can make myself.  However, I can put a hot breakfast on the table in 5 minutes, with one dirty dish and get started on school much sooner if I make this splurge!  And my kiddos LOVE them!

pancake cooking

We sometimes add chocolate chips as a special treat!


pancake 3

As it turns out, my friend is right.  We all make choices.  I can serve my kiddos this hot breakfast and not have a dish in the sink if you drop in at 10 a.m. unannounced.  But if I would have made them homemade whole wheat pancakes (as I used to do), I would probably have a sink full of dishes and messy counters at that!  🙂

Please don’t send me hate mail. (wink)  I know that healthy foods are important and I know that my pancake batter has lots of extra junk and even sugar in it.  But it is only one meal and it starts our day off right!  Try them…….they even taste homemade!  🙂


up hill

My husband and I have been trying to walk/jog together daily.  Today was a beautiful day and since he had the day off, we enjoyed a late morning walk.  It was nice to go when it was fully daylight and we used our time to explore our new neighborhood.  This pictures show one of the 2 BIG hills that we walked.  Can you say BURN??  Oh my!  We walked a total of one hour.  Next time, I think I’ll try biking.  I don’t know if it will be any better, but who needs a gym when you have hills like this out your front door?  I think I worked every muscle in my body today!  🙂

So much more than being content………



Dand J

Last Thursday was my grocery shopping day.  I wanted to find a way to fund a few “extra” activities we having going on over the next 2 months and I had decided to reduce the amount we spend on groceries in order to do that.  Is this called borrowing from Peter to pay Paul?  Anyway…………..after an exhausting grocery trip where I spent several minutes in each aisle staring at the prices and trying to figure the best deal for each item I bought, I returned home.  Can I just say that buying 2 weeks worth of groceries for 5 people is  e x a u s t i n g?  And the next struggle is finding space in the cabinet and fridge for all of the food.  Frustrated by my lack of adequate space, I was struck by something.  And then, for the next half hour of rearranging food, I had a complete conversation with myself.  (It happens when exhaustion sets in).

I first shamed myself for being annoyed over the fact that we have enough food for 2 weeks.  I realized that instead, I should be thankful.  I then heard me telling myself that I should also be thankful that I have a nice house to put the food in.  But I didn’t stop there.  I told myself that I was darn lucky to have a husband who works so hard, and is an amazing provider among many other wonderful qualities.  He works so that I can stay home and be mommy and teacher to our 3 youngest.  And I really don’t even think that he knows how much I appreciate him.  Well, I told him.  And I plan to tell him again and again and again.  And I want to show him how much I appreciate him by doing nice things for him, just because.

Being content is not enough.  But being thankful, leads to contentment.  I feel content.  I feel thankful.

There are many articles and devotionals written about contentment.  It is a pro-active decision to be made daily.  What are you thankful for?