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Homeschool Confession:
It took me over a decade of homeschooling
before I actually went my first Homeschool Convention,
and really it was only because friends invited me.

Crowds just aren’t my thing; and it tempts me to spend money.
Really it’s the same reason I avoid malls, county fairs, and yes, Disneyland.

That was 2012.  I went back again in 2014.
Again, a friend asked me to go.
Not only go, but to help promote the curriculum I love the most.
So I went, had a blast, and was blessed.

Guess what?  It’s 2016, and I’m headed to one once again.

Oregon Christian Home Education Conference

I’m enjoying the guest speaker line up,
which I feel is the best part of the conference.

So who goes to a Homeschool Conference?

I figure there are three main reasons.

  1.  Curious parents.  Whether just simply having infants, toddlers, or preschoolers and wanting to check out options, or the parents that know (for any given reason) that public school isn’t working for their child.
  2. The novice homeschooler.  Let’s face it, walking into the idea of homeschool leaves you with a plethora of choices and options.  To view everything hands-on can help make decisions.
  3. The veteran homeschooler.  We know what we want and will look for the deals.

In all reasons, the real benefit of a homeschool conference is the fellowship.  To see other like-minded folks that are real people like you and me, simply wanting the best education for our child(ren).  It’s pretty awesome.  Wanna join me? 

6 kids (5 boys, 1 girl);
27 years of parenting

14 years of homeschooling

1 public school graduate (2007);
2 home-school graduates (20011, 2015).

3 homes-schoolers to go,
just completed 2nd, 4th, and 8th grades.

We just finished our school year. 
It happened to be long, a bit crazy, somewhat fun,
and full of many challenges as well as joy.

Seasons of Homeschooling

Year 1 & 2; classic boxed curriculum (Abeka)
Basically imitate the public school classroom by using texts and tests, desks and schedules.
It was great for beginning.  Expensive had it not been gifted to me, but great to feel like I had everything covered.

Year 3; Unit studies
Teach on a particular topic and cover multiple subjects.
This was particularly a great boost to our morale.
It took more planning, but we learned more together as a group.

Year 4; Charter School
This was a crazy year for me as a mom.
We had 4 children, one on the way,
2 being homeschooled,
ran a full time daycare of 6 additional kids.
The Charter was nice; they provide the books and homework assignments one day a week, and the boys completed during the rest of the week.  I soon realized I like having our own schedule and flexiblity, but we completed the year out as a commitment.

Year 5; Waldorf education
Specifically using Oak Meadow curriculum which provides structure of lessons while giving the student the flexibility to use various learning styles to implement their knowledge.  Basically, to educate the head while reaching the heart and using the hands of a student.  A holistic learning of sorts.  It was a peaceful year of progress.

Year 6 & 7; Eclectic approach
Knowing what works but always thinking there is something better out there;
a little bit of this (unit studies)
with a little bit of that (Oak Meadows)
splashed with the other (SRA reading program)

Year 8; Charlotte Mason Method
Using rich literature and hands on activities in a calm learning environment.
Good books while introducing the beauty of life such as music (composers),
art (artists), poetry, nature studies, and even foreign language.
Loved this year.  Slow, steady studying that created thinkers.

Year 9 (through 14); Classical learning splashed with some Charlotte Mason flair
This was the year I discovered The Robinson Curriculum.
To read, write, and do math…well
Self-led learning at its finest.

This has worked well for us, so I don’t change from it.
RC mornings of independent studies; read, write, math
Charlotte Mason style afternoons; group studies together as a family.

Year 10;
Added a special needs (6th grade) student to our days this year.
She was on the autism spectrum and happens to be one of the 6 kids I mentioned I did child care for up in year 4, although in reality I watched her from infancy til she entered public school, as well as her two younger siblings.  We had a great year with her.  I did her core studies with her and worked on social skills (yes, I know, sounds funny from a homeschool academy, but she thrived none the less), and she ended her school day with a special class at the local pubic school.

Year 11;
Co-schooled with a neighbor; This was new and a bit exciting.
My kids were 4, 7, 10, & 14; hers were 3 & 13.
At this point I was a seasoned homeschooler and she was a novice,
and it all worked out very well…
I provided the structure of reading, writing, and math;
she offered supplies, corrections, and hands on activities.

Year 12 & 13;
Same neighbor; began to homeschool a high school student.
I provided the structure, supplies, corrections,
spending one day a week at our house for guidance (and social outlet),
and she made sure he implemented the assignments as needed.

Year 14; yep, this finally completed year!
Added childcare and a preschool co op to our days.
Some things I loved, some things I’ll change.

Each year has been a blessing!
I’ve found a rhythm that works for my family, a curriculum we favor, a style we love…
but all in all, there is no perfect choice.
Steady consistency and a calm, caring environment is the biggest part of homeschooling success. 

Homeschooling; where curiosity and knowledge collide.

 

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February began with a wind storm;
a 90 min wind storm that created a bit of local havoc.
Fences were crushed, a few cars smashed, roofs of some were demolished.

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In turn, all our beautiful old growth behind our house was taken down.  A whole row of fir trees that lined around the backside of our neighborhood.  Kind of sad, but we are still fortunate to still get a great nature view!

My last post Winter is Blowing by… part 1
was about some fun daily activities
we do with mostly my preschool/childcare kids.
This post is more sharing about our homeschool activities.

In the morning:

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While I am doing our Preschool lesson hour,
my boys are in my (the parents) room doing their math.
By themselves?  Mostly, yes.  They are working hard on math facts, along with a few other things, and they know if they have any questions they will have to wait until until the hour is up.  Quite frankly, they rarely need assistance, and work quite fabulous together.

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My daughter also opts to do math in the parents room also.
I’m pretty sure they enjoy the view that I mentioned at the top of this post.

After lunch:

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We read books to the littles before settling them for a nap.

Then the afternoon is set for reading time (literature),

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followed by our writing time.
This day we worked on synonyms for the word peace.
We have been emphasizing stronger verbs to use,
and are still going over adjectives.

Writing consists of penmanship practice, copywork, writing to penpals, and working on essay skills.  It’s coming along nicely, partly because Katie sits in on the lessons with the boys and participates, thus they learn by peer example.  Katie is also working through a writing program called Advanced Writing Resources, on her own time.

Followed by:

self-led interests… such as…

Katie (14)- French, crocheting, blogging
Andrew (11)- comic books (charlie brown style) to read, often draws his own stories.
Bryson (7)- geography.  Using our GeoSafari learning games, our interactive globe, and my phone (he is fascinated with maps).

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We have also enjoyed a few nature walks this month…

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as we continued our evergreen study.

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Admittedly, it’s been quite wet here in the pacific northwest
so we haven’t been out venturing as often as we like.

In the evenings:

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Our time to explore interests together.
I use to call this time our “morning time”
when we use to open our days doing this…
now that we have implemented childcare into our schedule,
I have found the evenings to be a perfect fit for this.
We call it Table time,
which instills some quality time with the kids
so they still feel they have their mom’s attention,
and also a fabulous way to decrease media habits,
and the bonus is that it has created
a more mellow transition to bed time.

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Table Time consists of:

a read aloud-
Often a history biography, although currently enjoying
The Burgess Animal Book for Children,
in which I often pull up sounds and real videos
of the animals we are reading about (on my phone).
Kind of cool really.

Timelines/map work is easily implemented with history reads
Classification charts for the animal kingdom
is what I am currently beginning with my kids
to compliment the book we are reading.
Hoping they begin a diorama soon.

Bible-
We read scripture, as well as discuss character traits, and ponder on the prayer needs around us.

Art-
doodle art, sketches, journaling, clay sculpting, crafts;
with the intent of classical music in the background.

It usually take an hour before bedtime.
I’m enjoying the calmness of it all.

“Winter comes to you, quietly. It arrives at that one precise moment when the atmosphere turns an almost indescribable shade of blue-gray and is at its best in the Indiana countryside. It shows itself to you in a snowy, late afternoon and can be seen best while gazing across a tree lined field or a meadow where everything the snow touches becomes a new piece of God’s handiwork. When time has found exactly the right moment, from every direction there comes an amazing crescendo of silence and, in that silence, nature whispers in your ear to tell you just how right things can sometimes be. Winter smells like marshmallows melting in hot chocolate. It sounds like embers popping inside the fireplace and looks like an old stone hearth where the cat sleeps and basks itself beside the smoky warmth of burning hickory. And the best part of winter comes to you, quietly. ”    -F.C. Wade

 

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January went by fast…

we had spent the month enjoying our Winter Theme.

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Our nature tree was as naked as the trees outside,
so we added our winter mitten craft to add some color.
We included some mitten games while we were at it.

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as well as having had enjoyed some hot cocoa days.
Need an easy hot cocoa recipe?
Here’s one from my daughter; enjoy
Easy Hot Cocoa Recipe

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Books and winter activities were a blast,
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as we were teased by a few dustings of snow.

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Outside we adventured a few nature walks in the brisk air.

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Inside we enjoyed circle time with our preschool friends,
as well as some table time activities.

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Indeed, none of these littles are mine.
I’m not sure when it happened,
but my “littles” are no longer little.  *sigh*

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The older kids entertain themselves well.
(The two on the left are my “littles”,
see what I mean?  not.so.little)

I’m so grateful to spend my days with all these people;
littles, bigs, and the handful of moms I get to enjoy each week!

“Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth,
for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire:
it is the time for home.”       ― Edith Sitwell

 

martinluther

Martin Luther King Jr Day-

A day we don’t take off from school,
but rather reflect on it’s meaning (and divine purpose).

Katie-girl created the meme above as her assignment.
We came to the conclusion that God’s Golden rule …
“Do to others what you would have them do to you”
is the quickest path to peace.

I find Martin Luther King Jr’s quote,
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that”,
to be quite profound. 

Why do we still struggle, cept by sin alone.
Evil exists, but so does hope.

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Our family discussed that each one of is a part of the peace process.

To understand that concept better,
we wrote down all the words that could mean peace
(on a dove as a symbol of peace).

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…on the other side of our dove we did fingerprints of ethnic diversity,
as a symbol that Jesus Loves All the Children (people) of the World.
(yes, that is a Sunday School song *smile*)

We also watch a Reading Rainbow episode on Martin Luther King Jr,
as well as listen to his (famous) speech.

What God inspired in Dr King ain’t no holiday…
it should be a life style. 

“To recognize that all men are created equal,
that we may all be judged not by the color of our skin,
… but by the content of our character,
that we should all be able to sit down at the table of brotherhood
… together.

We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”

What do you choose?

I began blogging in 2008 with this opening statement:

To New Beginnings…

Ah yes, the changing tides of life are upon us…life is so fast, and as one child begins his new journey in our loving home, our oldest son ventures out to face the world…thus the desire to share ‘the little things’ with those we love…Life is a journey, not a destination!

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It was a fresh new beginning in many ways that year.  The biggest one being that I had closed a chapter on my years of providing daycare for many lovely families.  Baby #6 was born that year, and we were in a new season… I was in a new season… to learn to just “be”.
Just be a mom, just be at home, just be still even…

In the last 8 years I’ve learned to embrace intentional parenting, to guide a self-led learner in their homeschool journey, face special needs with a gentle approach, and endure an highly sensitive (albeit gifted) child…

we have moved 6 times; have had a mother (-in-law) with severe dementia get diagnosed, live with us, then live in a care facility near us; have had 3 young adults take turns in 3 consecutive years living with us for their own reason and season; we’ve graduated two homeschool students, and have seen our oldest son marry the girl of his dreams…

It’s been a blessed journey.

And the voyage continues…

This year is different.  

Instead of adventures outside of the home,
such as field trips, co ops, and homeschooling alongside other families, sports, random park days, etc…

we are now creating them inside the home,
such as providing childcare, offering a preschool co op in my house, and still encompassing learning from home.

It’s been a huge transition for us.

We went from following a rhythm to our days, where we had guidelines
but could embrace the moments in life as they came.
It was a low key and very effective way to learn and live in our family environment.

Now…

we follow a schedule,
not just a schedule for my own days activities with my kids and care kids,
but also the care kids parent’s work schedules, sports schedules, public school schedules, etc…

The hours are long, unpredictable, and busy…

my stay-at-home responsibilities are still in high demand as well…
and some days I question my sanity (as in why am I doing all this?)…

yet I already know the answer.

~To share Christ’s love.

I admit I have to do a lot of things to make this all work, family life and all…

but more importantly…

I get to…
*play with little people all day
*do what I love to do
*follow God’s lead for my life
*show God’s grace in our daily lives
*cultivate friendships with other moms
*show my kids that endurance with the right attitude means everything.

So I welcome 2016 and all it has to offer!

 “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.
 

Do not be anxious about anything,
but in every situation, by prayer and petition, and with thanksgiving,
present your requests to God.

And the peace of God,
which transcends all understanding,
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 4: 4-7

We, as homeschool parents,  had good intention
of Fridays being SO creative, clever, cunning;
a day to explore nature, share projects, experiment ideas…

cept life happens, right?

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Thankfully our homeschool buddy’s mom is as flexible as I am.
So when her baby is feeling under the weather or I am struggling to breathe,
we commit to being understanding of each other…

so some days get called off at the last moment,
and other days are fine detailed in educational entertainment,
and this day, we simply winged it, and had fun anyways.

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Having hands on projects make everyone happy!

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Our homeschool buddy is definitely enjoying it.

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The dear daughter took it another step and created some…

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Flubber fun!!

Who wouldn’t have a ball with this much excitement?

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