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Year round homeschooling or traditional school schedule?
Do we take summers off?
Do we follow the public school calendar?

These are the questions I am frequently asked.
My lovely friend Nicole at Journey to Excellence recently shared her school schedule,
so I thought it was a good time to share ours also.

Our Basic Outline

9 weeks on, 2 weeks off
4 quarters quarters per year.
We grade formally per every 2 quarters (each semester).

We do not follow the public school calendar.
We did for many, many years, because frankly, my oldest son went to public school and it was easiest.  But then he graduated and life became much more flexible!

Our school year begins the first week in August. 
It’s hot, the kids are beginning to get antsy, and honestly, we simply enjoy finishing school in early May when our public school friends are still in school.  We take advantage of some fun field trips without things becoming crowded yet.

Another notable difference is that we do not take off ALL the random holidays that public school chooses to.  Instead, we often choose to study specifically on the topic, such as Veterans Day, MLK Jr Day, Presidents Day, and so on…. we do however take Thanksgiving and Christmas/New Years off.

June and Julysummer vacation or a sunny education? 
Technically, we consider these two month to be our summer vacation,
but let’s face it, once you get in the flow of homeschooling,
learning never stops.
Summer is when you pull out all the fun topics you just didn’t seem to get to during the school year.
It is also a time to really explore some self-led interests with more freedom!

Our summer (2015) will include
Abacus math, more science exploration, and an emphasis on our foreign language interests…
as well as park days, beach time, hikes, and lots and lots of play time!

How does your family enjoy summer?
Do you have the usual school schedule?

 

“There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens”
Ecclesiastes 3:1

…. 10 questions, 10 answers, and 10 more questions !

Ok, so I was nominated for this kind award by…

Beyond the Books Homeschool!

The Liebster Award is something within the blogging world,
that is passed on from one new blogger to the next.
It is an honor to receive a nomination because it means your blog has been recognized
…for its potential to grow and reach others….
and someone liked it enough to give it to you!

Now awkwardly enough, I am pretty sure I am not a new blogger.
I’ve been doing this blogging thing since 2009.  *smile*
And this specific blog, Traveling the Narrow Road, has been active since 2011.
However, I am what I would consider an ‘unknown’ blogger,
yet based off the official rules, I do fit in this category.  =)

So here are the official rules of the LEIBSTER AWARD:

  • Each nominee must have under 200 followers
  • Thank and link to the nominating blog
  • Answer their 10 questions and propose 10 new ones for your nominees
  • Nominate 10 blogs and tell them that they’ve been nominated
  • Write a post containing the questions
  • Include these rules in the post

liebster-award

So here are the 10 questions I was asked:

1. How long have you been homeschooling ?
We began our homeschool journey in 2002, when I pulled my 2nd son out of public school (in 4th grade).
The following year I began to homeschool our 3rd son beginning in 1st grade.
The rest of the journey has been quite adventurous over the years!

2. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you go ?
I joke about moving to Alaska or Texas, but really, I find the Pacific Northwest the most beautiful place to live.  Specifically, Washington, in terms of beauty.  Oregon is our preferred choice because of the community we live in, and honestly, the homeschool laws that are flexible and friendly in our state.

3. What has been the most amazing moment in your homeschool journey ?
When your child graduates from high school and you realize not only did you not mess up your child, but that you truly did the ideal thing for that child’s best interest!!  An educated, articulate, independent-thinking adult who is grounded in who they are, what they believe, and how to begin to embrace life.  That, my friends, is the true beauty of the journey!

4. If you could take your kids on any kind of field trip, what would it be ?
My Dream Field Trip:  To take an RV with the entire family for a year and visit a state per week, homeschooling hands on, on the road… going across the Northern States by summer (so it’s not too cold), and hitting the Southern States by winter (as to not experience too many creepy bugs, ha ha).   That is my ultimate field trip!

5. What was the silliest argument, you were confronted with, not to homeschool ?
I have never been confronted to not homeschool.    Don’t get me wrong, we often come across the usual stigmas; socialization, what about diplomas, how do you know they are really learning, etc… but never addressed specifically to me, because, well I suppose, because I am prepared to answer such things.

6. What are your hobbies ?
Me?  My hobbies?… my kids?  Ba ha ha…  ok, maybe they aren’t my hobby, just my life.  *smile*
My hobbies/interests… reading (surprise!), mentoring, walking/hiking, learning a foreign language.

7. Does your homeschool, have a name ?
L.I.F.E. Academy– which interestingly enough was created with help from my oldest son (who was public schooled).
Living In Faith Everyday

8. What is your favorite season ?
It has been Autumn for many, many years, so much color, changes, moods that seemed to match my life.  Recently it is becoming more of Spring that I am fond of.  Fresh new beginnings, of sorts.

9. How many languages do you speak ?
Speak?  One.  Learning?  French, Spanish, sign language…

10. What do you wish for your future ?
Grandkids!!  Yes, someday I want to be blessed with some grandbabies!
For my actual future?  Honestly, that we just keep doing this parenting thing with as much grace and guidance that we can offer, and that my marriage is continually blessed in the process!

The 10 Blogs I Nominate:

Concealed Foundation.

A New Journey of Faith.

The Learning Cove.

Grace Filled Pockets.

Ummm, yeah, that’s all I got.  I haven’t had time to explore fresh new blogs in awhile…
so if you have any favorite’s, let me know?!

My questions to the nominees!

1.  Why did you start blogging?

2.  What type of blog reading do you prefer?

3.  What are your hobbies?

4.  What is your (own) favorite blog post up to this point?

5.  Are you a morning blog post writer, or a late night one?

6.  Do you plan your posts ahead of time, or wing topics as you think of them?

7.  If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?

8.  What is your favorite type of book to read?

9.  If you were to give random advice about life, what would it be?

10.  What is your best childhood memory?

ENJOY!

 

 

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The 3 man-childs hanging out with dad.

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Our Joe and his lovely wife, Amber

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Nick and his girl Kailynn.

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and some game time.

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A lovely lady asked about our Easter eggs (here you go Mary)
It is shaving cream and food coloring, swirled lightly with a stick.
Roll egg in mix, set aside 10 min, and voila….

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…tie dyed eggs.

Admittedly, this worked great for us.
We used neon colors (purple, pink, green)
and farm fresh eggs.

Fun stuff and way less prep than that vinegar & warm water.

No Easter basket, fancy clothes, or awesome family portraits…
just some good ole family lovin’.  Yep, that was our Easter.

An Easy Easter

to celebrate a simple Savior.

His death and sacrifice was any thing but easy or simple…
quite humbling, and painful, and sorrowful at best.

So what becomes the simplicity of Him who loves us enough to die for us?
His gift.  His free gift to us.  All we have to do is accept it.
To simply accept He is the son of God…
that he died for us (for you.  and for me.)
…to accept His love in our lives.  Who doesn’t want to be loved?
The real love.  Beyond our flaws, our mistakes, our sins…
that unconditional love.
Hey!  Are you listening?
You, yes you…
God cares; YOU matter.
Have you accepted His gift?

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and just as we stained these eggs,
the sins of the world (our own and others inflicted upon us) have stained us.
The Good News?
God can peel back the outer shell, washing us clean on the inside, with a renewed spirit.

May love and joy and peace be abundantly within your heart this beautiful spring!

 I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love,  may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,  and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Ephesians 3:16-19

Our SPRING Rhythm Chart

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Our Schedule this spring term is different for us.

Because the kids wanted to participate in two co-ops, which takes up our morning, I switched our 3R’s to the afternoon.  Meanwhile, as I wrote out our scheduled activities, I realized we have a lot of science going on.

Monday science is for the older kids astro-physics class where we do a weekly science experiment.  My tutor student joins us for Monday and Tuesday, so this works well, as often times, it takes two days to complete the project.

Tuesday Science co-op offers the younger boys a biology class (and cooking).
I teach the Kinder and PreK group at this co-op, and it will be on Anatomy.

Wednesday School is offering a Physics Quest class for the older kids,
and I am co-teaching some basic science stuff for the younger crowd (9-12 yr olds).

Thursday and Friday– Well, since I am doing all the research for anatomy for my tuesday class,
I can’t NOT implement the resources for my own kiddos (with more depth),
thus we will do some hands on projects Thursday and Friday to compliment that.

…and of course, don’t forget our week-end nature walks!

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I happen to love the ebb and flow of homeschooling,
because some season we don’t do any science (well, minimal anyways),
but then another season always makes up for it. 

 

Are you doing Science?  Did you enjoy it as a student?

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Multi-age interactive learning is the best socialization skills for life preparedness.

Have you thought about that before?

My kids that are homeschooled are not “sheltered”

Take my 13 yr old as an example:

Family Matters-

Katie has older brothers.

Her oldest brother is married.   She was able to see first hand how a lady is properly courted, how to work hard towards beginning a new (married) life, and how to wait til marriage to live together.  On the flip side (of society fairness), she is very aware that others make different choices than what God would intend.

2nd oldest brother (21) is working towards journeyman certification, chooses to still live at home, which in turn shows Katie that adults work hard; that you don’t have to hurry to move out, get married, or to move in with a girlfriend.  She gets to see first hand how hard work pays bills (car, phone, and yes, even rent), and that you can bless others with your spare money.

3rd oldest brother (17) shows her that in order to be a teen, you do not have to be >insert rude adjective here< ie rebellious, awful, wild, or the like…
He also displays that siblings, in general, can and do get along.

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Katie also has younger brothers.

One brother (10) has Asperger Syndrome.  She gets to learn about patience and understanding as she is able to discern how to work alongside his social quirks.  As a result, she also knows how to respond to others who may have special needs.  That everyone deserves kindness and a smile regardless of their mental or physical differences.

The littlest brother…. well, as cute as he can be…. is also quite the spunky spitfire.  He is getting better, yet in the process, Katie gets to exercise some leadership skills on redirecting mischievous behavior effectively… those are some life skills I tell ya!

What about outside influences?

Mommy Mentors-
Quoted from a previous post:  ” I must say God has blessed me with several friends who all have unique gifts that nurture Katie’s curiously creative personality;
One whom laughs and loves a lot, and allows Katie to explore the beauty of babysitting, and inspires her interest in Spanish.
Another who shares holistic health which includes essential oils, natural beauty products, and crunchy living.
and yet another who provides artistic encouragement such as sewing, crocheting, gardening, & photography.
Funny enough, these younger mamas think I am lovely and encouraging, when really they are the true gift.”

Friends-
Due to homeschooling, my kids are not inundated with a mega peer source, which blesses us with the opportunity for the kids to develop intentional friendships.
Katie has been friends with her bestie since she was 2.  They have distinctly different personalities and interests, which just seems to compliment the friendship.  They have had different school scenarios over the years; homeschool, private, and public.  Their friendship has survived two moves (us to Seattle area for 2 years, and them to Mexico for 15 months).  The teen years are stretching them as their lives become busy with their individual interests, but they know they will always have each other.
She also has a close friend that she has also known for a very long time.   This friend has very similar family life styles; Christian, homeschool, big family.   The cool part of this friendship is that we don’t get to see this family nearly as often, but we always seem to pick right back up where we left off.  No awkwardness, no expectations, just beautiful fellowship.

Acquaintances in society-
Our family participates in 2 homeschool co ops.  One is a science co op, the other is a “supplemental” co op (cooking, Bible study, P.E., choir, etc…) which really is for “socialization” rather than education.

Interest-led activities including (but not limited to) sports, dance, piano, drama, art studios, youth groups & clubs are some other ways to develop acquaintances and begin to develop friendships.

Other “social” opportunities-
Libraries,
shopping,
parks,
field trips,
relatives,
neighbors,
volunteering…
just to name a few things.

So when someone mentions their concern about homeschooling and socialization,
just smile as we realize that…

Socialization is not an age-segregation, but a way to experience life in real settings.  

The real lesson is to “walk with the wise and become wise,
for a companion of fools suffers harm.”
~Proverbs 13:20

Ever notice how many labels there are for parenting styles?

Can I admit I have never been in favor of labels?

In high school I avoided belonging to a specific clique,
honestly, I pretty much liked everybody.

Having a few children with unique traits could easily be labeled…
adhd?  ocd? gifted?
Even with Asperger’s, I do not have any interest in getting an official diagnosis.
why?
because the labels don’t define who my child is.

Same with parenting labels.

Parenting labels don’t define who I am.

Instinctive Parenting- ‘trust your gut” old school method.
the positive- having your own personal style of parenting
the negative- apparently this means that you will mimic how you were raised.
the reality- I believe ‘trusting your instincts’ is a God given skill that let’s you reason beyond how you were actually parented yourself.

Attachment Parenting– the goal is to build a strong emotional bond.
the positive- being sensitive and emotionally available to your child(ren).
the negative- pressures specific choices in your parenting.
the reality- by definition alone, I suppose this is what I am.  We homeschool.  We let our kids sleep in our bed.  We don’t spank.  baby wearing?  never managed the whole cool wrap thing mom’s do know-a-days, but I definitely was a baby-on-the-hip mama.  Ummm, natural childbirth?  not.so.much- only my first and last (of the 6) were considered “natural”.  I tried that whole birth-at-home thing (love the idea), but yeah, the results were a high-risk hospital delivery.   See?  I don’t fit into labels much.

Authoritative Parenting– my roof, my rules.
the positive- clear expectations, firm discipline.
the negative- sometimes a quick decisive correction lacks nurturing and understanding.
the reality- kids need rules, and they need consideration.  I always ponder the ‘why’ behind the actions when disciplining.

Helicopter Parenting– I don’t even know what this one means, but it makes me laugh.  I get the gist that it is smothering your child, but when I see explanations of this, sometimes I see mixed messages, like ‘dependent on advice from parents as adults”.    pshhttt, I don’t know about you, but my mom has had the best advice ever and always!
the positive- being available as a parent helps create security
the negative- to lack the ability to switch from a nurturing stage to a mentoring stage at the age appropriate time.
the reality- I am on top of all thing related to my child(ren).   From habits, to peers, to interests, to struggles.  However, they are not bossed nor babied, and thus far are turning out just fine.

Permissive Parenting– lenient with little discipline.
the positive-  child is allowed to think for themselves
the negative- creates chaos and lack of boundaries
the reality- let’s face it.  We all want our kids to like us, right?  and honestly, my mom is my best friend.  That being said, God gave us our children to nurture, love, and guide.

So basically, all of these titles apply to me, none of them define me.

We chose parenting by grace.

Ever hear, “I must be doing something right, because my kids turned out ok” ?

or

“through you, you can make a difference for your kids” ?

Well, honestly?
Through my skills on parenting alone, I will certainly not make a difference…

however…

Christ through us can make a difference for our kids!

You know that old Bible verse… The Golden Rule.

Do to others what you would have them do to you.

Yep, that one.  That is how we parent.

Take the time to listen to your child when they are young,
and they will take the time to listen to you as they get older.
Be available to your child, and later, they will be available for you.
Live out your faith by action, and they will begin to act by faith.
Love them unconditionally, and they will be able to unconditionally love others.

Parenting by Grace~
…intentional kindness,
…to be considerate,
…a thoughtful way of responding to our child(ren).

Therefore, my child, be strengthened in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.
   ~2nd Timothy 2:1

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