Building a rhythm:

I really wanted to slowly develop our days.
I kept things simple this week,
with the intent to guide my self-led learners
while building a routine for the littles.


The older kids simply did math, and read history and science.
The younger kids worked on random math facts, phonics review, and reading lessons.

Dare I say it was… peaceful?!


The senior student would get up early with the puppy…
do his math and reading,
and then go outside to play, er do recess with the 1st grader.


The first grader then got the wiggles out to focus on his reading lesson in the afternoons.


IMG_2705[1]   IMG_2706[1]

This was using the How to Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons.
Last year my youngest was anti-school, lol, so I “compromised”  *wink, wink*
He has his “sounds of the day”,
his “words of the day”,
and his “story of the day”.
Obviously, it is just the lesson from the book, but I am not telling him that!
For his writing last year he was like a crazy perfectionist who melted down at every letter,
so I decided he could trace for now.  Highlighters work well for that!

Admittedly, I was a bit concerned to take 2 months off for a summer break.
I felt like my youngest should probably maintain some form of structure,
and my 9 year old had just begun to read fluently.  I didn’t want to lose ground.
However, we took the much needed break, and much to my surprise,
the youngest is so much more focused now,
and the 9 yr old has picked back up with reading much more smoothly than before!


Getting ready to line up a soccer season for TJ (17) and possibly Bryson (6),


while Katie-girl has decided to do a 30 day sketch challenge.
No lessons, just going by sight and a few suggestions from Nick’s girlfriend.

Homeschooling in the Woods

~has been so relaxing…
doing school on our front deck.
Birds chirping, a light breeze blowing,
siblings playing afterward…

I can’t help but close my eyes and whisper a ‘thank-you’ to our Good Lord above.

Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. (May) the Lord be with all of you.
2 Thessalonians 3:16



I decided to keep things simple this year.  We always have something fun cooked up on our first days of school.  So I tried to be creative, yet keep things easy.

I served them pancakes/German pancakes, some w/ chocolate chips, some plain.
My “hint” was on the board… they didn’t know it.



We opened up our day talking about the Fruits of the Spirit.
I decided since we’ve had a few attitude-ish moments the last few months, that a lesson on each of the characters would be beneficial.  We had some flat rocks from a previous beach vacation, so I thought using them as “faith” rocks would be fun.  I was hoping for a tool to engrave the small stones, but that didn’t happen, so the kids just wrote on the rocks with markers.


As a service of good deeds the kids went outside to do some outdoor chores; sweeping the deck and driveway (we live in the woods, it’s daily task, lol), stack wood, scoop poop (aren’t puppies cute, ha), and rake tree debris.



We ran down to the local park and played for 30 min.
Tag always seems to be the game of choice.


When we got back to the house, I led my kids on a treasure hunt.  The clues let them discover things about our property that had gone unnoticed… an apple tree, grape vines, and a pear tree.  They also got led down around the the trail to the (now very little) creek, which led to our fire pit, where I thought it was brilliant to have hotdogs and s’mores for lunch!  I mean, how cool is that, right?  Mmm, it was nice idea, but the reality was a little bumpier than that.  After sending TJ up the ravine a few time for matches, plates, etc… and me not totally prepared; can’t ya just grab a stick and slap the hotdog on?  uh, no, one must carve the tip off with the knife that is in the house which leads to another trip up the ravine!  Did I mention it was 90 degrees?  *giggle, snort*  Of course it was TJ, who carried the puppy down, ran up and down the hill 3 times, and now I am asking him to build a (small) fire.  Can I admit he wasn’t thrilled?  (oopsies).


The younger boys loved their lunch, Katie enjoyed it alright… and once the fire was going and the sticks were whittled, and things calmed down… the most priceless gift came from this senior student of mine… that quiet still moment followed by…

“thanks Mom”.

In honor of us completing 12 years of homeschooling,
I thought I would share my ponderings about the topic.

1.  Quality matter more than quantity:
Ideas are endless when it comes to homeschooling, from styles to techniques to ideology to creativity.  Don’t get sucked into “doing it all”

2.  Bible:
um, yeah.  As lovely as some Bible curriculums are (and some are quite spendy at that), truly the actual Bible is the best resource on this topic.  The biggest lesson to share is daily devotions.  To be the example and read the Bible daily ourselves.  Let the Holy Spirit whisper the “lesson” into your child’s heart.

3.  The 3 R’s:
To read, write, and do math… that is the path to success.  Learning then becomes limitless.

4.  Consistency matters:
Wishy washy makes a homeschool setting become washed up quickly.  Make a plan, and stick with it.

5.  Attitude & Effort:
Set the example yourself (let’s face it, we have our blechy moments, right?), and be a guide for those attitudes and emotions we deal with throughout the years with our children.  Some would call this character training.

6.  Expect Respect:
How do we gain our children’s respect?  By respecting them as a person.  What is that Golden Rule?  Yep, treat your children the way you want to be treated.

7.  Hooray for High School:
Seriously!!  That seems to be the biggest fear amongst homeschoolers.  Guess what?!  If you taught you kids the basic 3 r’s (see number 3 above), your kids gain the ability to think for themselves and can pretty much learn anything they set their minds to.  As the parent is less hands-on for education because the young people are self-learning, we gain the opportunity to mentor through these years.  It is quite priceless.

8.  Don’t get hung up on “grade levels”:
Accept your child(ren) wherever they are at… and simply move forward from there.    I am not going to hold back a child because she devours her learning quickly, but let her pace herself; just as much, I am not going to push a slower paced child simply because society (public school) has their own agenda and quotas to meet.

9.  Do Read Alouds:
All ages included.  Sitting as as a family to listen to a story is valuable.  It creates memories, prompts good conversations, stretches the attention span, and enhances creative thoughts.

10.  Create a Rhythm for your Days:
Be flexible, because honestly, life happens.  However, a flow of expected activities make the day run smoother.

11.  Perfection is not an option.
There is no perfect curriculum, perfect lesson plan, perfect child, nor parent.  Practice does not make perfect; practice makes better.  Our child(ren) are valuable regardless of performance.

12.  Enjoy the process:
We’ve all heard it, and it’s true… it all goes by oh.so.very.fast.  Celebrate the small victories along the way.  Feel free to journal the “ah ha” moments, the cute sayings, the accomplishments, the heart-smile moments.  Homeschooling, it’s a beautiful thing!

I can not believe we are entering our 13th year homeschooling (and our 26th year parenting *gasp*), and I have to say I am grateful that I still get to enjoy the journey for another 12 years.  I feel so blessed to grow and learn alongside my children.

Echo eyes

We have a new addition to our home.

Our last little pibbles, ASIA, was put down 3 yrs ago.

We are finally ready to start a new journey with another pup.

Yes, she is another pit, and has quite the impressive heritage to her title before her name.

and yes, we’ve had her less than a week and have already received a snide comment on her “breed”,
but that’s ok, because we realize the ignorance is out there,
and we are just gonna let our dog’s loveliness show for itself.


“Echo” is getting familiar with her new pack (our family members),
is getting potty training figured out,
and most definitely is learning to control her puppy nips when playing.

It should be a fun year!

I would like you to meet our newest adopted big kid…


Meet Lyndsey! 
She is on the left with our Katie-girl.

I love the way God puts young people in our path to mentor and guide.
Sometimes it has been a difficult journey, one where you pour out your time, efforts, and heart, yet we just can’t quite reach them.  Their walls are built and we just can’t get through.  I like to think that we some how plant a seed of grace in there, and somewhere down the path it will get watered by another loving soul who will reach out to them also.

However, the past few years we have been very blessed to see the prosperity in the power of simply loving on others.


Justin lived with us back in Nov 2011- June 2012 to wrap up his senior year in high school.
He loved to cook for us, and was always willing to play games with the kids.


Preston (on right) lived with us for a year (Aug 2012-Aug 21013),
after he had graduated from high school.
He wanted to be closer to his job while he was going to college.

4th of July Lyndsey and Preston

Preston and Lyndsey are getting married in August.
We are blessed enough for her to stay with us while she prepares for the wedding.
I have to admit she is probably the quietest, cleanest roommate Katie will ever have!
Lyndsey has been with us for over a month now,
and although she seems to work a lot,
I think we will have lots of fun this summer!

I am so grateful to be there for others;  that I have spent these many years being a stay-at-home mom that allows me the freedom and flexibility to love on others.

Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
Romans 12:13


We still have freedoms!

There’s a lot going wrong with our country lately,
and I won’t drag in those political view right now;
however, we still have some freedoms left!

The Right to bear arms.
The Right to homeschool.
The Right to have what ever sized family you want!

I feel so blessed lately with our family and holidays.

4th of July group photo

Everyone shows up!
Our six kids!
One son’s girlfriend, and our daughter-in law!
My 3 nephews!
Often an adopted big kid or two!
Makes my heart full of JOY! 

4th of July football
We tend to be a bit festive for some holidays!
Football anyone?


or maybe futbol?

4th of July the men

My brother-in-law (on left) rocked the smoker this year with bacon-topped ribs!!  Yumm!


while my little sissy and I got to visit and giggle a lot!

4th of July drawing lessons

Katie-girl got some drawing lessons from Kailynn (Nick’s girl),
which I think is super cool since she’s a very talented young lady who has been going to college for Art Therapy.


Our oldest son and his wife are always a joy to have join us!

4th of July Lyndsey and Preston
Then these 2 showed up at our house when we got home,
which completed our family day with all of our kids!


And as we continue to pray for our great nation,
may God bless you…
and may God bless America!



It’s just about over, and time flew by!


Father’s Day was great because the dad did his own BBQ!
Yummy for us!  and all the kids were here too!


We had beautiful weather overall and this would be our first day of sunburns for the season.


The kids and I have spent 2 weeks helping decorate the church in preparation for our VBS.
Doesn’t TJ look excited on top of that ladder?  I think it was me taking his picture that he wasn’t thrilled about.  ha!


Let’s not forget the World Cup Games!!
Nick takes soccer very seriously!
Doesn’t he look like he would fit in the crowd for the USA?

Summer is off to a busy, but fun start!

We have also attended a graduation party and a bridal party.
Went to our local summerfest where Katie got to do one of her dance routines.
I spent a week end at a Homeschool Conference to encourage the Self-Learning concept,
along with beginning to plan out next years lessons for homeschool.
In the mean time, I blinked and now it is just about July!

So, how did your June go?  Got plans for July yet?



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