Tuesday, May 28, 2013

It's a tea party!

One of Atiras classes at her co-op was "hospitality and event planning". She told me it was one of her favorites. To put into practice all of their new skills, the girls organized and planned a tea party for us! What a wonderful job they did! I am so proud of them! They made up a menu, assigned tasks, chose colors and a theme. They made and handed out invitations and even had a game for us to play! It was truly a fantastic afternoon! The menu was wonderful! There were cucumber and cream cheese sandwiches, cut out in different size circles, chicken salad sandwiches, fruit salad, cupcakes, two kinds of cookies, scones, lemon curd, cream, of course tea and lemonade! The table was set beautifully and all the girls were dressed up and looked so lovely. It was a blessed afternoon. We have made some wonderfully sweet friends at co-op. 

Monday, May 27, 2013

Homeschooling truths

Courtesy of Family Man Ministries

I got to thinking about my last post. It was such fun to live and to write out a day in our homeschool. However, I thought that a follow up post was needed on some of the truths of homeschooling. While many of our days are much like my first post on the subject, some days are not always filled with fun and rosy moments. And some days are a mix of both good and not so good moments. Some days are filled with craziness, running around doing errands, cleaning, cooking etc. Then there are days when these chores must get done for an event and you end up with a mom much more like the one in the cartoon above. *grin* Some subjects are a lot more fun and easier to teach than others. I love reading literature with my children, I love learning about history with them. I am not a fan of MATH. I hate math. When it comes to teaching math I am not very good at it. I use curriculum that does the work for me. The catch comes when they have a question. The dreaded question. I hate the questions about math. >(  And after my fit is over, I usually help them figure out the answer, or find someone who can. Thankfully we have people to go to when we have this kind of issue. People who know more about a subject than I do. I know when to turn to them and get help. I realize I cannot do it all and God has filled our lives with resources. 

In addition to those kinds of issues there is burn out. It is very real and I do believe it affects all homeschool moms. The hardest time is usually after a break. The word "break" really should be a 4 letter word I think. ;) Breaks make it harder to get back into routine. Breaks make your realize you are really burned out sometimes! When I hit that wall, I usually can push through and give myself a deadline to accomplish, then we take a real break. Not the usual kind of break where we more or less had to abandon any normal schedule because of life so it was not an intentional break thus leaving me feel frustrated and burned out, not rejuvenated and ready to tackle life! (nice run on, right?) 

Then there are just days when nobody is "clicking". Everything is a struggle. You sit there wondering if the words coming out of your mouth are intelligible or if you have been baptized in the spirit are now speaking in foreign tongues.  They look at you as if everything you say is unheard of, incomprehensible, undo-able. Ugh. Thats when I assign reading assignments or a nice documentary. Or perhaps it is time for a mama time out and I head out the door for a long walk. It does a mama good. 

Another thing about homeschooling, we all choose this path for a variety of reasons. Many are focused on time with their children, the ability to bring them up in their faith and avoiding the often misunderstood term of "socialization". No, we don't want our kids "socialized" in the public school system. Duh. We also feel we really can offer a much more well rounded education as well as foster a true of love of lifelong learning. The problem arises when we as the parents feel that we are being judged or graded for our choices. So often people will want to quiz our children, how smart they are, do they know this level of math, can they read yet? All too often I have felt the need for them to excel to make sure others know that I have done it "right" or a good job. I all too often lose my focus of why I chose to do this and I need a sharp reminder to keep me on track. My kids are fantastic, fun to be around, smart on many subjects including ones that don't come up on academic tests. They love God. I am blessed. I wish I did not have that feeling of failure if they don't measure up to their public school counterpart on a test that was created only to show what they don't know instead of the streams of information that they do know. I want to be rooted in the idea that God has led me through this wilderness and has shown me His way for my children to be educated. That should be enough. The public school part of me has a hard time letting go and renewing my mind that there is so much freedom in the homeschool world!

I share all of this because although I absolutely love homeschooling my kids, it is not always easy. It takes effort, it takes sacrifice, it take dedication and diligence to push through the hard times. Interestingly and as I often joke, I get smarter every year that I homeschool my kids. They teach me so much and I am forced to educate myself along the way, and not just in academics. In the really important things of life. I am thankful that my children are not only my students, but also my teachers. Together as a family, along with my husbands divine guidance in our homeschool choices, we are making this journey a memorable and family adventure.

If you have an interest in homeschooling, let me say this to you DO IT! It is SO worth it! It is worth the struggles and the joys and memories are irreplaceable! In my opinion there is no more worthwhile way of spending the years of child rearing than with your children, full time. If you have stumbled upon my blog and this particular post and have questions, email me! I am happy to help and be your cheerleader! We need support, encouragement and advice. All of us, the seasoned and the newbies! 

To all my homeschool mommy friends. You are amazing gifts to me, each of you. Thank you for your support, love and encouragement on this crazy, less traveled road. 

To our family who has always encouraged us and made us feel accepted by our choice. Thank  you! What a gift!

And finally to my husband. I am blessed to have a husband and daddy who wants the best for his family and is willing to work hard, sacrifice vacations and cool cars (and so many other "things") so his children can be blessed with this amazing life. You are my treasure. ♥

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Another moment to be shared today

Atira was inspired to make chocolate cupcakes from scratch today. She and Jordan made a deal that if she made them he would be the clean up crew. So, completely by herself she made these marvelous creations! The kids said they were delicious and I can say the frosting ROCKS!! She had a great time with fancy frosting techniques an she is very proud of her drop lines! 

Homeschooling in the moment

WELCOME to a day in the life of our homeschool! Today was a busy day, as most homeschool days are. Today is also unique. Each day of our homeschool is. We have a general outline for our day, but it is also filled with spontaneity, and adventure! So, while this was today, not all days look just like it. Thankfully. How boring would that be?! This is a photo heavy post...so get a cup of tea and enjoy!

This is how my day starts, I wake up usually around 7ish...lay in bed, praise and thank God for giving me another day to walk with Him. Then I usually check the cyberworld while my eyeballs pry themselves open and I wake up enough to get moving. Then it's time for tea. This is my current favorite tea; oolong pomegranate. YUM Hot water, 3 minutes steeping.....loveliness. It brings me joy.

Around 7:30-7:45 I begin the job of waking up the kids. Sometimes this is easy and other mornings not so much. As their publicly educated counterparts are standing out in the rain waiting for a schoolbus, they are whining and squawking that I want them to get up and join me in the living room....in their jammies.....with blankies....and pets. Sheesh. They have it rough. My heart breaks. So much so that some mornings instead of gentle back rubs and calls of good morning, I have been known to break out the shofar for a clarion call to utter and complete consciousness. It's pretty fantastic being a mom. :) After they have wandered around and found their place in the living room, we open our bibles and begin to study the word of God. I figure if nothing else gets done academically that day, we have always done what is most important "train them in the way they should go" and "teach them diligently". I always love this time of our homeschool day, my kids are pretty amazing and insightful human beings!


Shaggy of course, always gets in the middle of things. He LOVES to come and cuddle during our school time. Whenever a book is open there he is pushing his nose under it to get cozy. Pretty cool way to get educated. And if you will notice, our list of school supplies is not exactly run of the mill. While we use paper, books, pencils, pens etc, we have additional items that make our homeschool complete. Top of the list is our cozy couch, our pets, especially Gunner who Jordan uses as a pillow while reading. Blankets are a necessity for the first couple of hours of our day. How cool is that?
FOOD. Always food. They are hungry all the time. Except the very moment they wake up. Right after bible comes food, and usually within an hour they are hungry again. Our kitchen is a a VERY busy place, all. day. long. 


Then begins the fun!  The kids read. They read A LOT. They love it. They love it A LOT. :) You will find this exact scene often in my home, kids on a couch with blankies, books and pets. Happy place!



 This is the other place we use all the time. Our dining room table. It is generally covered in books, dishes and supplies. We are often found frantically clearing a space to sit and eat dinner. There are many nights we put on a fun show and sit in the living room when the table is just too far gone. It's a good thing.


Why is my washer in here? Because it is a vital part of my day, which all takes place in my homeschool. Many mornings, after my quiet time and tea I am up and moving! I am starting a load of laundry soon after getting the kids up, cleaning up the kitchen if it was not cleaned up the night before *gasp!*, figuring out what's for dinner and what I need to do to make that happen. Writing up grocery lists, thinking about lunch and of course breakfast, checking the calendar to see whats on the agenda for the day. Texting hubby reminders or just to say I love you. Army, we've done more before 9AM than most people do all day, oh pshaw! We homeschool moms have planned out lifetimes before our pretty little eyes have even fluttered open in the morning!

I workout. Nearly every day of the week. I have been doing it since Atira was born nearly 13 years ago. I feel great when I workout, it lowers my stress, it helps me with some anxiety issues I deal with as well. It also gives me a break just when I need it to take good care of me. Most mornings this occurs in the later part of the morning, after bible, after food, and once I have them started on their days agenda. For the most part, Jordan really is in charge of his own days. I may have something in particular I want him to complete that day...but usually, he's now on his own. And starting in the fall, well, we will see how that changes things!


This is usually when I get to see the shower. That's my bathroom clock, this is always about the time I have completed my workout and am ready to get fixed up for the day!

 Cuddles. An essential part of homeschool. I get to hug my kids ALL THE TIME! :)

Food - they are ALWAYS HUNGRY! Leftovers are a life saver for me. They make quick and easy lunches...they don't always want them, which I am OK with most of the time. But I am not a short order cook, so if you do not like what I am offering, you are free to make something else and clean up after yourself.  I am having leftovers.

This is another REALLY COOL thing about homeschool! Siblings teaching one another! What a great way to solidify information in the mind, SHARE IT! Here Atira had a lesson on reducing fractions and I asked her to go out and share with her brother some of the neat tricks she had learned, instead of doing a worksheet! She loved it and Jordan was reminded of some neat tricks he had learned years ago! Not only that, but they are working together! ♥


Off we go! Our homeschool day often leads us, WARNING! My children get outside on a regular basis and you are about to see homeschool children (wait for it) SOCIALIZING! This may be shocking to some of my viewers, so please feel free to scroll down if this is overwhelming to your senses. hee hee. As I was saying, our homeschool day often leads us out on adventures! That is another amazing aspect of homeschooling! So, here we are on a dreary day headed out to the pool to meet up with friends. Here is another REALLY REALLY cool benefit of homeschool. When public school is in session, nobody is at the pool and other fun places. So you get to enjoy these experiences in peace! I feel spoiled. Then summer comes....



These photos are unedited proof of homeschool children socializing with other children, what I failed to capture was their incredible ability to also socialize with adults of all ages. Something you don't often see in many public school kids. Oh, the sarcasm.
And here is a happy mama socializing with one of her dearest friends! What a blessing I have to be able to take a couple of hours in the afternoon to catch up with this amazing woman! I am so thankful Scott makes it possible for me to be home and enjoy this kind of lifestyle. Amazing.

We return home for a bit more school, and of course Kayli must be close by her kids. Finishing up our day of academics.


Atira has been studying about the Pilgrims and the Mayflower. She learned about hardtack and how they would eat it in the dark so they would not have to look at the maggots. Here she is mixing up her own batch, maggot free of course.

Here is the completed version. She thought they were quite tasty and they are VERY HARD! She is to leave them out for a few days and try them again. They should be much harder, perhaps she will try soaking them like they did on the Mayflower.

So, that is a typical homeschool day. After all of that, dad showed up, which I have to say no matter where we are in our day as soon as he is home, everything goes out the window. I always try to get things finished up before he arrives. Occasionally the kids do some of their reading or bible memorization in bed before they go off to sleep. Some days we blow every thing off and we head to snohomish for a walk along the water and cupcakes. Some days we head out to help a friend in need, or volunteer. Some days we talk to people who have lived history, or listen to a holocaust survivor tell their story.  It is all apart of education, we are not locked into books and papers. I am so thankful for that. 

Sunday, May 19, 2013


Today is the holy day known as Shavuot or Pentecost. We arrive at this day by counting off 50 days following The sabbath after Passover. It is a count up, not a countdown. It is a time of anticipation and remembrance. We remember the giving of the Torah to the Israelites at the base of Mt Sinai 3500 years ago, we also remember the giving of the Spirit of God on Shavuot 2000 years ago after Yeshuas ascension and promise to send The Comforter to us. At Sinai 3000 people died, years later 3000 were restored to God. We look forward and anticipate this season in remembrance of the greatness of our God. We remember His faithfulness, we remember His calendar, His appointed times. He has set this day as a special time to celebrate His goodness! Today we will gather with friends, share a meal, read scripture and play games. Last night after the sun set, we celebrated by talking about the significance of this day with our kids and giving them a present. They know they get a gift on Shavuot, it is a reminder to them that there was a promise made and the disciples anticipated this gift from the Master during this same timeframe 2000 years ago. This year we gave them each a siddur, a prayer book as well as a bunch of candy! It is a reminder to them that His feasts are a sweet time, His word is Sweet, as honey to the lips. It is an honor and blessing to remember this day and to proclaim it to the world! Happy Shavuot!!

Wednesday, May 08, 2013


JORDAN'S IN COLLEGE!!! Well, almost anyway. :) This fall he will be entering college through the running start program. It's amazing to me we are at this point in life already. The time has truly gone so very quickly. I'm so thankful that I can say I have no regrets about having him home for these years. What a tremendous blessing I have had getting to spend so much time with this incredible young man. I eagerly look forward to see what God has planned for his very bright future! I know it's going to be amazing!!

Co-op moments

12 weeks flies by when you're crazy busy! We enjoyed our second semester of co-op. Atira enjoyed taking a beauty basics class, crochet granny squares class and her favorite, hospitality and event planning. She is still looking forward to soon hosting a mother daughter tea as the classes final project. Pictures and an update will be following soon!

As for me, I had the opportunity to teach an Anne of Green Gables book study class. I had such a fantastic group of ladies and my helper Miss Tricia was great! We enjoyed making an art journal, we had tea and snack at each meeting and lots of great discussion. It was a blessing spending time with these young ladies.

Now, co-op is over. It was fun, but I'm thankful it's over. Great memories.

Saturday, May 04, 2013

Fun in the sun

Beautiful! Sunny! Warm! I realize these are not the adjectives that usually come to mind when describing our area, but today, they were perfect. It has been a lovely sabbath day, we enjoyed a quiet restful morning, watched the service from El Shaddai, sat out in the sunshine reading. Enjoyed waffles for breakfast. In the afternoon we headed out to do some geocaching! It was a perfect afternoon adventure! We had a good time too, found three out of the four caches we looked for. Success!!