Woodpeckers- a nature show right outside our classroom window!

Our nature study will be All About Woodpeckers
awesome updates and fascinating facts coming soon.

It’s getting near the end of our school year. 
We will be sticking to the basics;
Read, write, do some math, explore some interests.

The older kids will review grammar because, well, testing is just around the corner.
Silly things like remembering the use of a colon vs a semi-colon,
adverbs vs prepositional phrases, etc…

Honestly, it will be interesting to see how Katie does on her math section as she boycotted math most of the year.  I will make it more pressing next year.  Hard to push a child who scores years above her peers as it is; and her self-motivated appetite for learning is always an educational feast.  I’ve learned to let this one roll at her own pace.   Seems to be effective… so far.

TJ is wrapping up his junior year.  We are working on setting up some goals for his senior year.  Senior year!  gah!  Where does the time go?

Andrew is doing great.  We stretched his reading time.  At first he asked if he could go back a grade (thus less work, lol), but his efforts are paying off and his reading is getting more fluent.  I can’t express how exciting this is for me, for learning to read was such a long process for this child, and now learning becomes limitless and opportunities endless.

Bryson is wrapping up kindergarten fairly well considering he thinks he’s on a school boycott.


His “lesson of the day” board is doing well.
I am going to add money and place value to his board.
I think we will transfer his reading lesson to the paper roll at the top of the easel.
This will leave space for him to also practice his penmanship,
using a variety of writing utensils such as:
crayons, markers, finger paints, pencils, etc…

Can I admit I am already swirling summer fun ideas in my head?!
Not to mention outlining plans for next year!

I can’t help it…
I love being a homeschool family!


Are you a social statistic?


Are you a product of your childhood?

Have you simply became who you are because of the environment of those around you?


Have you became who you are despite the environment you may have been in?

For me, and for my husband, there is a defining difference.

Despite our childhood, we have chosen a better path.

I reflect back to a high school social study class I was taking.
By the statistics shared, I didn’t have a chance as far as becoming a decent person in society.
I remember being offended that my destiny was already defined for me.
By the mistakes and harms of people in my past, I was already condemned.

My family is choosing to break statistics.

Statistics that my husband and I are not only breaking, but shattering…

Childhood abuse:

Physical, Sexual, Verbal, & Emotional…
between my husband and myself, these are the core ones we were faced with as a child;
2 that I dealt with, 2 that my husband dealt with.

The harm produced in our own lives helped us to develop an empathy for such tragic things.
We know the fears, insecurities, anger, & hopelessness these abuses can create.
We also know the answer lies within knowing who Jesus Christ is!
His unconditional love can and will heal all things…in His timing.

So what can we do?
Reach out and love others, just as Christ loves us.

To love… on our moms.
Despite the poor choices they made for themselves when they were younger that unfortunately impacted us, they deserve compassion and understanding.  One needs to look into their childhood to better understand why they made the choices they did (that whole statistic thing ya know).  For us, we have to recognize that Christ was not in their lives, that they didn’t feel loved; that at the time, they did the best they could in the situation they found themselves in.
They already know the mistakes they’ve made; what they don’t know is the strength they had to get through it.
What they need to know is that we very much know how much they loved us despite the circumstance.

To love… on our kids.
This has been a gift for us.  6 amazing kids.
Parenting is a journey,
and I don’t care how many parenting books there are out there,
you get to write your own as you go.
What do you want the pages to say?
In the beginning, we all start out fairly clueless,
and honestly?  We grow alongside our children.

If I were to give one piece of parental advice, it would be…
Let your kids know why your no is no,
let them know why you reacted as harshly as you may have,
let them tell you how they are feeling,
let them have emotions, teaching them all the while that there is a proper way to handle them.
Let them know they are not perfect, that we are not perfect,
but that there is One who is perfect who loves us unconditionally.

To love… all children.
We have a heart for kids.  What can I say?  They are unique, beautiful beings.
Kids of all ages need to be heard, need to feel wanted, need to be loved.
God cares, they matter, and we intend to give them that message.

To love… the elderly.
There’s a lot to learn from the elderly,
it is only wise to hear what they have to say.
There’s a dignity that adds to the value of life
when we treasure those who have gone before us in this journey called life.

To love… the special needs, the disabled, the ill.
Not to lump everyone into one category,
because they are all unique as specific individuals.
My intent is to draw attention to them for what they offer.
Often you will find beauty, grace, courage in those loved ones who face challenges in things we take for granted.

To love… the lost.
Of course, as a Christ follower, this has a specific meaning,
in which Christ himself says to love your neighbor.
To share hope, to spread joy, to live by faith…
simple ways to live His love out loud.

Marriage & Divorce Rates

I won’t even go into the detailed statistics I read that would apply to me,
but I will share the obvious… both my husband and I were raised in broken homes.
Not just divorce, but multiple divorces in each of our childhoods.
The odds of us getting married and then staying married, I think has surprised a few people.
Me?  I am just grateful.  Grateful that the man I love is still with me.
Thankful that grace covers a multitude of flaws, in both of us.
But mostly, I appreciate that our relationship shares an example of how families can work through tough stuff and that through Christ, all things are possible.


Children of addicted parents are the highest risk group of children to become alcohol and drug abusers due to both genetic and family environment factors.
Well, my dad was a drug addict.  My 1st step-dad was an alcoholic.
My husband?  His family has heavy drinkers abundantly in his family genetics; both maternal and paternal.

And honestly?  We’ve each had to face our own types of addictions early on, with hiccups along the way, but at some point a decision is made.  Do we repeat the insanity, or choose a way out?  Did you know God provides a way out of our temptations?  It is not meant to be an easy choice, but rather a faithful one.

1 Corinthians 10:13
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man.
God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability,
but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

Christian kids; Adult faith

Our journey is far from over in the parenting field.  We still have a vast range of ages (although we have past the baby stage 25 yrs into this parenting thing).  One critical thing close to a Christian parents heart is their child’s faith.    We get the honor of nurturing our children in God’s grace, guiding by the Holy Spirit as we go; however, when it all comes down to it, their relationship with Christ is a very personal one.

We can teach them truth, and doctrine, and moral values, and about His amazing love,
but when it comes right down to it?  It is their choice.
A relationship with Christ is personal.
As they become young adults (ie teens),
it does not matter if they go to the same church as us (ie appearances),
or even if they go to church at all (building attendance does not define the heart),
but that they know what they believe and why.

Then the question of truth comes…  will you be a statistic? 
Will you choose to walk away from your faith before the age of 23?

We have one son (25) thus far who has survived and thrived this passage.  (praise Jesus)
We have one son (20) in the thick of it, still choosing to be grounded on a solid foundation. (thank God)
We have one son (17) who is entering this journey with a level head and strong conviction… (hallelujah)

but truly, only time will tell…

What statistics are you breaking?



Our classroom is set up!

Do I look a little whiteboard happy?  HA! 

Well, they are all useful, anyways.

The medium whiteboard has daily assignments on it for the big kids;
currently going through Benjamin Franklin’s Poor Richard Almanac,
wrapping up our constitution study by going through the Bill of Rights,
and beginning our Early American studies for some college prep.

The big board will eventually become full (it’s a new quarter ya know);
we will list history notes on there, plus add some French and Spanish lessons to it.

The little white easel board is, well, for the littles.


A fabulous mom shared this idea from “Mommy Garden” facebook page.
She had this on paper, however, due to my kinder’s lack of school interest *ahem, read here*,
I found it useful to put all his school work from his reading and math lessons onto the white board.

The purple lesson is literally from his reading lesson from Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons.
However, I “call it” his “sounds of the day“, “his words of the day“, and “his sentence of the day“.
Add the math, viola, lessons are complete.  Then lo and behold, the rest of the day consist of this:


…reading books at his own interest and leisurely time


…and pulling out random activities to keep himself busy.

Our Reading Nook/Nature View area

IMG_1654[1] IMG_1655[1]

and our nature study area…


which is also our view from our school table!


So far we’ve seen a deer, a squirrel, 2 red-headed woodpeckers,
an amazing blue jay, and tons of unidentifiable birds as of yet.
The sounds of nature are the most incredible, I must admit!

We are loving our little place in the woods! 

Free play & the flu…

Yup.  It’s been an interesting week.

Original plan?  prep for 4th quarter schooling, and organize the house.

Plan B... apparently to nurture, nurse, and Sanitize!



The younger boys are pulling out old activities to do;
working with patterns, sculpting clay, the game of LIFE.

AND then…

the flu hit.  3 kids down, hopefully no more to go!

We have a LOT of plans this week end and really cannot take the time to be sick!

Grandma M is moving!
I am co-hosting a self-teaching meeting!
Our spring break friends are coming for a visit.

Can’t wait to share the adventures…

Week 5!

I am finally starting to feel alive.


Actually, it was a rough start to the week.  Chanelle and I bumped our hill-walking game from 4.3 miles per day to 4.8.
Up until this point, we were adding a mile per week, so obviously this was a slower increase.
The first day at 4.8 lead us to a much steeper incline, and my legs weren’t happy.
Thankfully, throughout the next few days they seemed to adjust.

Rainier hills

This is our view at our mid-level point up the hills of Rainier, Oregon.
Clear, but overcast this particular day.

Weekly Progress

Miles complete this week:  23.4
Inches lost: -4
Weight lost: -4


Better food choices = less quantities of junk food.
I am not creative w/ healthy foods, so coming up with a reasonable meal beyond salad seems difficult at this point.
Confession:  I did go out for frozen yogurt… twice!


Fruit of the Spirit focus-of-the-week:


Just do it!
Just walk.  Just eat your greens.  Just face those emotions.
Just pray.  Just get ‘er dun!

Your love, oh Lord, reaches to the heavens,
your faithfulness stretches to the skies.
Psalm 36:5

Fun in the every.day.ness of life!

What is it about setting aside school work to just enjoy life?

We never have big ideas or trips planned,
but rather we just embrace being (to exist).

Here is our random, but fun-to-us week:

Being Outside!


Explored our new neighborhood…


and went puddle-jumping!


We checked out our local park,
and wandered the river shore.

Media-Free Play Time:

Trouble, Chess, Spot it, and Uno Attack were the top games of the week.


Leggo houses and Lincoln log homes were built,
Tinker toys were rummaged through, as were our basic large foam blocks.


Color and drawing;
TJ helped Bryson with his poster,
and Katie worked alongside Andrew drawing cartoon characters.

Then of course we had to have a “character” day to follow that up…


Bryson chose to be Anakin Skywalker
(with the dark “cape”)
and Andrew decided to be…
TPB!  (toilet paper boy).
Don’t ask, I still don’t know myself.  ;^)
but they had fun playing around and “battling”.

Other Activities:

Katie randomly began to read To Kill a Mockingbird,
and can’t put the book down.

TJ helped Dad put brakes on his truck.

Andrew cleaned the house as a surprise for me!
(How cool is that?!)

Bryson began his own self-taught style of reading…
like reading the Bob books,
reading lightswitches (on/off) just to tell me we live in the backwards house because when the light switch says Off the light is really On,
recognizes that No is the opposite of On,
reads Press on the car seatbelt, then asks how to spell Yes,
only to question why one has 2 s’s and the other only has 1
(who thinks of these things, especially at age 5?)
Well, at this rate, he isn’t going to need reading lessons, eh?

TJ went on a 3 mile hill walk with me.

The young boys have began to ride their bikes around the house;
and with living in the woods, let’s just say it’s a muddy mess.


what do YOU do for Spring Break,
especially when you don’t have any plans?

Yep, that good ole classic “The Little Engine That Could”
a story about optimism and hard work. 

That is my theme this week.

The upside is that I am now 4 weeks into this health journey.


For fitness, Chanelle and I have pretty much added a mile to our hill walking each week, thus we hit the 20 mile mark this past week!  We’ve had our share of rain, but also of some lovely cool, clear mornings.


and I was gifted with a new pair of walking shoes!
They are so comfortable that I don’t even have to break them in!
The “other” Sherry gave them to me.
Oh dear, just reading that link reminds me how much I slipped back from just 19 months ago…

I think I can, I think I can…
>optimism and hard work<
(just reminding myself… *sigh*)

The Results… after 1 month of …
hill walking (57.6 miles),
cutting out diet coke (w/ an occasional sip),
juicing (almost nightly),
and by far reducing the junk in my diet (aka attempting to eat clean)…

Up 2 lbs (yes, I could cry…maybe even did)
down 2″… in.my.arms??

I think I can, I think I can…
>insert scream here<
ok, now to focus on optimism and hard work…

I feel better, and stronger, and less lethargic…
but I am still very much … round!

Fruit-of-the-Spirit focus of the week:

yep, you guessed it… patience!

I think I can, I think I can…
I think I can climb mountains, and achieve goals!


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