Friday, June 29, 2012

It's nothing, but it's everything...

My New Art Space.

I had kids' art supplies in different rooms all over the house.  So, when somebody wanted to create, we had to "get stuff out" from numerous places....and then put it back when finished.   Or, put it away even if we weren't finished so we could use the space for dinner, etc. 

My neighbor has an "art table" in her house.  The stuff is all together and accessible. 

I copied her.  

Don't worry, I asked first!  I didn't even have to buy anything, just rearrange

Here it is.....I promise it doesn't look like much, but it's sooooooo much.  We've used it everyday since I put the space together.  It's nothing, but it's everything....

Hanging on the wall:  colored pencils, crayons, scissors.
On the right side of table:  paper, paint brushes, popsicle sticks, tape, glue, ribbon, etc.
Below in the cabinet:  Play-doh, paint, beads, markers, other supplies.
Shhh, under the table:  trash can, yarn, rubber stamping supplies.

Look what I created the same day that I made the art space!

A nameplate for our house.  I bought the supplies at the end of the school year hoping to finish it this summer.  It took a few hours.  In case you can't tell, the colors are black, white, and BLUE because I love blue.

What's your favorite color?  Do you wear your favorite color, decorate your house with it, or both? 

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Crazy. Helpful. Caring. Gap Fillers.

You could have blinked and missed the few posts I wrote about our journey to adopt that started last December.

Two steps forward. One step back.

Somehow in the past few weeks the journey became a sprint. Still the forward and backward thing. But, now at what seems like lightening speed.

 Oh, we had to re-do our entire packet of paperwork after ours was, unfortunately...lost.

At least we have some bragging rights now, "Oh yeah, well we had to do our whole packet twice"!

 About two days ago when we thought we would finally be licensed (allowing us to receive kids) we found out that there is yet another new necessary form. 

We need to have at least one person who is willing to care for our foster kids (they will be foster kids until the adoption is final) in case of emergency.  Oh, is that all?

Hmmm.  Who do we know who would be willing to take in children for an indefinite period of time?

No huge list here.  Okay.  The list is blank.  Not sure if this is a good idea or not, I posted the situation on a few of my homeschool groups' pages.  Almost immediately, no I think it was immediately, I had a handful of ladies saying they were willing to do be our "respite care provider" in case of an emergency.  Although they are in my groups, I didn't actually know most of them.  As I'm writing this the offers are still coming!!

They were sincere.  Caring.  Responsive.  Busy, I'm sure, moms.  Incredible.

Ezekiel 22: 30  "I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found none. 
 These ladies saw a gap and were ready and willing to fill it.  Thank you ladies.

What gaps do you think you were meant to fill? 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Summer School

Levi (my 3 yo) had swimming lessons for the last two weeks, so school continued after it's official ending.

 I didn't have to teach, I just had to get in the water and push him away from me in the water (or so it seemed) so that he would have to learn to swim.  He learned.  It was awesome!!  Here's a clip of his teacher teaching Levi by playing with him in the water.

One of the days during the swim lesson there was an International Swim Lesson.   Swim classes from all over the world gave the exact same swim lesson simultaneously.  Fortunately, ours was at 10:00 A.M.  Here are some pics of our local lesson.  The swim school was trying to beat a world record for number of people attending.  I don't think they made it, but the kids will remember it. 

Me and Levi

Caroline and her friend on the right.

My summer school is consisting of getting ready for the next school year.  This week I'm ordering some books and signing Luke up for chemistry and pre-calculus co-op classes.  Oh, and I'm spending time at our neighborhood pool with the kids...and "Levi the Shark!"

What does your week look like? 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


On Sunday, Luke and I competed in a local triathlon.  

His first!  

He's hooked..  

His friend, who's done them before, also competed.  It was sooooo much fun.

Unlike running marathons, triathlons give you variety.  Once you are sort of tired of one event, you switch to another It's the best.  

It was so funny when my son told me that he overheard one competitor saying to another, that he had ran a "light" 24 mile run yesterday.  "Yeah," the other guy said, "that 70 miler the other day really wore me out." 

I remember when I did my first triathlon, there were guys doing the same thing...talking about their bikes that cost thousands of dollars.  A different league.  It's all good. 

Here we are before the race at about 6:20 in the an outdoor pool.

If the race is small, you usually end up with a medal!

After the race!  We all got medals.

Me and Luke.
We're looking for more triathlons to compete in this summer.  For years I hoped that one, some, or all of my kids would enjoy running and competing with me. So it was exciting to compete with one of my kids!  Who's next?!?

 It's not about the win, it's about the drive, the commitment, the ability to finish what you set out to do. 

Just in case you're wondering, it was a 400 meter swim, 10 mile bike and 2 mile run.  Short and fun.  We even made it to church on time afterward!!

I was so excited to be able to do this, and so thankful for my health!

"So take a new grip with your tired hands, stand firm on your shaky legs, and mark out a straight, smooth path for your feet so that those that follow you, though weak and lame, will not fall and hurt themselves, but become strong."   Hebrews 12:12
 ... let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.  Hebrews 12:1-2

Doesn't everything point back to God?!  Even running and triathlons!

What excites you that points you to the Creator?

Monday, June 11, 2012

Mission Complete!

My goal when I started this blog at the beginning of the school year was to blog about our homeschool journey
 for a school year 
 so that I could, in some way, encourage or help others.

Our school year is over and I blogged about it and our life for the year.  
Mission Complete!
The school year culminated with school pictures of the kids.  I haven't done that for a few years and I was so excited to get that accomplished this year too.


Decision time.

Do I continue blogging?


 Sometimes it seems that I have diarrhea of the mouth when people want to dialog about homeschooling.  I get homeschooling.  I live it.  And, I like sharing about it and how it's woven into our family's story. 

So the story continues.  




Time to...
1.  Order a hard copy or digital version of my blog.  It's my family scrapbook for the year!
2.   Get to know my fellow bloggers better!

Would you share a comment about yourself, your family, your blog?  Or all of the above?

Thursday, June 7, 2012

What do your kids do on summer mornings?

No answers on this post.

Just a question.

What do your kids do when they get up in the mornings in the summer?

I mean on the mornings when there isn't anything planned for the day.  I don't want my kids turning on the TV or the computer everyday.  I  would love some suggestions. 

They eat, do some light chores.  One has some school work to complete.  Eventually they go outside and we often spend hours at the pool. 

But, in the mornings, in the summer, they are prone to turn on the TV/computer...which bugs me.  And, it is all about me, right?  If left to themselves they could be watching TV for hours.  Not preferable!

 My kids are 3, 8, 10, 12, 14 and 16.  It's mostly the younger ones that I need suggestions for.

Levi has swim lessons for 2 weeks!

What do your kids do on summer mornings when they get up?  Especially kids 12 and under.

Consider the Lilies

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

High School Portfolios

What did you have for dinner last night?

Time's up.

Did you remember?   I didn't.
That's why I spent time this week putting together High School Portfolios for my teen students.

My oldest is going to be a junior so I haven't had the college application experience yet.  But, after listening to others, I'm keeping records in case my kids need them for college.

Since I can't remember last night's dinner, it's important that I write things down (and store the information in the computer).

I have a binder for my two oldest.  The binder has tabs for each subject for each grade.  With my oldest, I started in 9th grade, but for my next I'm starting in 8th grade because he may use some or all of his 8th grade as high school work.  Actually, my oldest will probably use some of his 8th grade work as early high school courses too (possibly Algebra 1 and Physical Science).

For each subject put some/all of the following in the binder:
  • description of the class which I can usually get from the curriculum provider's website or the website of the online class
  •  final grades
  •  copies of tests
  •  a list of every grade the student received for that class ( I only do this for some classes)
  • for writing- an example of a writing assignment
  • a list of books used for each class- the literature and history lists are long 
  •  service hours- I require at least 50 hours per year for high school 
  • special awards (ie: Eagle Scout)
 A great website that we use to track service hours is

How do you keep track of your middle school and high school students' work?  

Any veteran homeschoolers have additional suggestions? 

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Why I Dread Summer



Still  thinking.

Nope.  Can't think of ANY reason why I dread summer.  What's to dread?!

 I love having 'off' in the summer.   

 As Buddy the Elf would say, "It's my favorite."

I guess it's not really off, just more of a change of pace.  As a matter of fact, during dinner tonight my kids were dicussing some grammar rules.   So, noooooooo, we're not off.  

However, my whole family looks forward to the more leisurely days.  Here are the 
top ten things
  that we are 
looking forward to doing this summer:
1.  Levi (age 3) has swim lessons for two weeks. 
2.   Summer campsLuke (age 16) and Josh (age 14) will attend Home School Legal Defense Association's GenJ government camp in Colorado in August.  Luke, Sophia and Caroline will also go to  other summer camps (church,  gymnastics, horse). 
3.  Host a 12 year old girl from Spain and a 16 year old boy from France for three and a half weeks so they can learn English.
 4.  Go to the beach in Texas for a week with our family (and our two exchange students).
5.  Steve and I will continue attending Toastmasters meetings and I'll be preparing to teach my year long speech class to 7th-12th grade students next year.
6.  Caroline (age 12) will have her friend, who lives two hours away, come stay for awhile.
7.  Compete in a (few) mini-triathlon(s).  Luke will do his first one.  It's scheduled for next Sunday but it may be cancelled...ugh..  we'll find more.
 8.  Maybe, just maybe, take Luke to get his driver's license.
 9.  Proceed with the adoption process.
10.  Celebrate my birthday in August (or maybe I'll just celebrate the anniversary of my 29th birthday!).
And here is something that will take most of my time, but not something that I'm necessarily looking forward to:   
  •  Preparing for next year's school year.  That alone, could fill the entire summer.  
I wonder why it takes so long to do that?  Can't I just have each child follow the schedule of the oldest as they get to be his age?



As I think about that, that could actually be worse!  Having each child take the same courses that the child before him/her took.  That wouldn't work.

They need individualized schedules/curricula,  and we need to change schedules/curricula based on what's going on with our family that year.

Now I feel better about spending that time preparing for the next year!

Pro 21:5  The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty. 

Galatians  6:9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

How do you prepare for next year's school?  

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Sunday, June 3, 2012

End of School Year Organizing

What do I do with all this stuff?  Has that question come across your mind? 

That probably depends on a few things such as how much storage room you have, whether you are going to move soon and if you have younger children (or may have more children) who will use your books.

I think the optimal idea would be to have a library in my home with all the books labeled by curriculum.  I know at least one family who has that.  It's amazing.  We've never had a room with ALL of our books on shelves so I've used storage bins.  I prefer the clear ones.  I'll keep them in the attic, the basement, the garage or the laundry room depending on our house!  The bins need to be accessible.  They need to be handy.

One time when we moved and I had all the books organized in their respective bins, the movers TOOK THEM OUT AND RANDOMLY PLACED THEM IN MOVING BOXES LABELED "BOOKS".

Breathe in.

Breathe out.

Sigh.  There isn't much worse than that for a military homeschool mom.  So, now I tell the movers to pack those specific plastic bins with the books in them and not to in any way, shape or form, alter what is in the bins.  Breathe out.

They usually object, saying that my plastic bins will break in their cardboard boxes.  I tell them I don't care.  And I don't.  It is much easier to buy new plastic bins than to organize 12 years of homeschool books when you arrive in your new state or country and have to start school in a week.

Back to- what do I do with all this stuff?

I tend to keep some books out on our book shelves that I'm pretty sure I'll use again next year.

The others I put in a bin labeled with the curriculum and year of that curriculum.  For example, "Tapestry of Grace Year 2 (LG, UG)."  I now have kids in all four levels of  TOG so I find it easier to have separate boxes for Lower Grammar/Upper Grammar and another for Dialectic/Rhetoric.  I also a have some bins that say science, grammar or math for those books.

I try to keep a folder from each year with kids' artwork, drawings, etc.  I usually keep them in the bin with the curriculum we used that year.  In four years we pull out that bin again and I look at some of the arts and crafts they did four years before- priceless.

One bin that I have says "School Supplements."  That has those books and curricula that I haven't used, but don't want to part with, or that I've used and think I may use it at some point in the future but I'm not sure.  I try to weed out that box often.

And, OH!!! I just found a great website to buy/sell used homeschool curricula.

What about those workbooks???

I tend to get rid of them at the end of the year.  In the past I would save them for posterity or so I could see what they did when they were five.  Awe.  I'm pretty much over that now and I don't save so much. 

What do you do with your school books at the end of the year???