Let’s Talk Attitude

As this fresh new year has began, I suggest we take a look at the attitudes in our home.  Seeing this is a family blog with a homeschool focus, this topic is something dear to my heart.  Many of us are halfway through our school year, when taking inventory of how things are going is common.  Whether you are a homeschool family or a public school family, couldn’t you agree that attitudes can often make or break a productive day, particularly pertaining to learning?

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I’m actually not referring to our children.  I’m actually calling attention to us, the parents.

Are we displaying the fruit of the Spirit around our children?  Are we setting a loving tone to our children’s (home) education?  Even when they’re not being very lovable at times?  They learn from example, so what we model matters!  Just something to ponder in this new year.

Family update: Meet the Hollingers

Greetings from Oregon.  It’s been a few years since I’ve really spent any real time communicating here, so I though a fresh introduction would be appropriate.

Hi, my name is Sheri!  I’ve been married to my hard working, dedicated husband for 26 years now.  Wow, that all goes by a bit fast; the good, the bad, and the amazing of it all.  I am a glass half full, ridiculously happy morning person, in which, over the years, I have found can be annoying to some people.   But I can’t help it.  I love people!  I love my Jesus!  and I most certainly love my family.  My husband, on the flip side, is pretty even keel, prefers being a homebody, and also loves his family, and keeps God’s truth centered in our family.  We balance each other out rather well.

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Here’s our Kids!

Our oldest, Joe 29 (that bearded guy) and his wife Amber (the red head on the very left) have been married for 4 years now.  Bought a house, have a ridiculously awesome truck, and I’m still waiting on grand kids.  ha ha.  They live about 5 miles from us and most often visit us on Sundays.

Nick 24 (that other guy in the back row) and his wife Kailynn (the blond in the front) are newly weds.  They were living in a house next to us on 3 acres, but now live in an apartment in the house we just moved into.  We are all a very close family, and this arrangement fits us perfectly.  Kailynn is a freelance graphic designer, so I see her a lot through out the day as she works from home.  She’s a joy to have around.

TJ 20, (the guy on the right) has also moved back in with us.  He’s a hard working guy who likes to fish in his spare time.  I’m selfish and super glad he is home again for a season because he’s awesome at barbecuing!  (and I suck at cooking, just so that’s out there, lol).

Katie 16, (the 2nd girl on the left), is a autodidactic (look it up).  I’m pretty hands off on her education as she thrives faster at her own pace than I could ever keep up.  I suggest a few books, some topics, but she’s already covered things I require for a high school education.  I hope her love of learning is a lifetime habit.

Andrew 13, is my creative writer.  He’s gifted at telling stories and writing witty comics.  He has Asperger’s sydrome, which makes his personality a bit unique.  Over all, very high functioning, with a strong moral compass, but learning takes some strong steady consistency.

Bryson 9, (“the baby”) is my firecracker.  Everything is high energy.  He either really likes something, or really doesn’t.  Often tosses between too serious (much like his dad) and too silly (probably much like me).  But hey, he keeps things interesting around here.

We adopted 30 chickens on this 2 acre plot we just moved into.  We are blessed with a few fruit trees and a grapevine.  Our pitbull and turtle are going to love it here as well!

So that’s us in a nutshell.  We work hard, we play hard.  We enjoy nature, games, and family time.  We love our God and our country.

*feel free to introduce yourself to me.  I’d love to get to know my readers better.

PAUSE

Hello friends.  Much has been going on since I last posted here.  As much as I missed writing, I was just too busy in the daily grind of life to find time to be here.  The last I wrote, I shared about my beautiful daycare kids.  What a blessed season!

In the midst, we had moved to a tiny house in May 2017.  Truly we had a blast as we had 3 acres to explore.  This was so much fun for both my family and my childcare.  However, as the autumn rains came in, the house became small.  Add to that that the house was for commercial sale, and it became clear we needed to find another home… once again.

On the flip side, God has been working His will in my plans.  To make a long story short, I closed my doors to Little Friends Discovery Place, and am opening my willingness to start up a women’s ministry with a dear friend of mine.  That all will be shared at a later time.

So here we were, looking at the Christmas season with changes, and boxes, and no decorations, crafts, or baking.  The move came on Christmas Eve/Day, I was sick, it began to have freezing rain and snow, and much was chaotic.  But God is good, and His grace is merciful.

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So as 2018 knocked on my door, I had a friend prompt me to think about One Little Word for the year.  Then all these “p” lettered words began to pour out of my pondering, and truly PAUSE came to mind.

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My focus is to pause a bit.  To rest in the moment while settling into our new normal.  To recognize and embrace the small seemingly overlooked moments in my life.  Which oddly, is exactly the same calling I had back in 2008 when I began my blogging adventure.  To journal those small simple moments that slip past us too easily.  I’m also choosing to pause before decisions.  To pause before commitments.  To pause before God and Proclaim His glory.  That’s my 2018.  Do you have One Little Word that came to mind for your new year?

Miss Sheri’s Little Friends

BABIES:

Henry!

Maggie!


Katie-girl loves hanging out with the babies!!
This is quite useful when I’m doing circle time with the preschoolers!

The TOTS:

Abby and Avalyn!

I love the snuggle age of these two!
They are transitioning from babies to preschool activities and it’s so adorable.

The PRESCHOOLERS:

Left to right:

Livi 3, Ainslee 3, Emery 4, Adelaide 4, Cabella 4

Bryson often helps entertain the preschoolers during floor time.

Andrew is our story time teller.

A Busy Blessing

Yes, these kiddos keep me (us) busy,
but all but one of them is part time.
I have one baby the first 3 days a week;
the other baby the last 3 days a week.
One preschooler is only here for 2 days a week;
another for 5 days a week. 
The rest are 3 or 4 days a week. 
It varies. 

Regardless of how long the days are,
life with Miss Sheri is always entertaining!

 

 

 

 

 

Enjoying the Classics

We’ve had an ongoing theme for the year…

Read a classic; watch a movie

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Here are some of our picks that were from our Robinson Curriculum reading list;
others are simply good ole classics we have on hand. 

It takes us about a month per book to read, discuss, and then watch a correlated movie of each one. 

Homeschooling does not have to be difficult to be educational.  We didn’t have to use a study guide or workbook or a complicated scope and sequence to learn from these classic treasures.  Frankly, you don’t even need to own these… simply check your local library (or even with older relatives if you get the privilege of doing that).  I do highly recommend to avoid abridged versions (not.a.fan of the “Great illustrated classic” books).

Benefits I’ve observed from reading classic books with my children:

An increase in vocabulary

Improves their ability to comprehend

Strengthens ethics (good vs bad)

Understands history and culture in context

Recognizes to learn from past mistakes

Creates a natural desire to learn more….
which leads to rabbit trails of self-led interests.

The high quality literary content of these classic books are a treasure to explore!

It’s ingenious to be a homeschooler!

Welcome to My Life

Hello friends, family, and followers,

It has been a busy season for me and I have let a few things go in the process of gaining order and routine in other areas of my life.   Blogging was set to the side as well as some other projects that I personally enjoy.

What have we been up to?

HOMESCHOOLING

Schooling has been going pretty consistently over all.  Still following the Robinson Curriculum approach.  The boys (12 & 8) have really transitioned to self-led learning for the most part.  The 3rd grader still needs some prompting at times, but his attitude (I hate school) has had a turn around.  So after a year and a half of balking school, now he gets it done and shrugs about it, “eh, it’s easy”.  Go figure.

CHILDCARE

The fun part of parenting and homeschooling for so long, is that everything comes easier from tried and true experience.  In enters Preschool fun, Tot School, and some Baby Love.  We have a few preschoolers, 2 Tots, and 2 babies.  All but one is part time, so getting a doable “schooling” routine down for them all has taught me some more flexibility.  Some of the kids are three days a week, one is half days only, another is here for only two days a week but for 14 hour days.  Most have been with me for a couple of years now and are getting ready for “Kindergarten lessons” as they will have another year with me while turning 5 this fall/winter.    Now that I don’t have any littles of my own, and the grandkid potential is still out, I am thrilled to love on these Little Friends of mine!!

SELF CARE

So last fall I became determined to strive for health and fitness.  It has been a learning curve to try to set aside time for myself.  Fitness takes time.  It has been filled with ups, downs, and plenty of plateaus.  I am down 22 lbs as of Oct 31.  I have a long ways to go to get to a healthier me, but I’m embracing the journey.  Frankly, I am surprised at how much emotional health has to be addressed in the process of all this.

PERSONAL GOALS

I have a few writing projects on hold.  One I’ve been intentionally avoiding as God keeps persisting on it, and two others are in the works.  I am also opening myself up (mentally preparing) that speaking to an audience may also be on God’s agenda.  I’ll be letting you know how that unfolds.

THE HUBBY

Bless this man who has provided much for his family in ways beyond monetary means.  Faith, respect, integrity, fellowship, guidance… He’s such a rock in our family.  Not perfect.  None of us are; yet faithful to serve his family in hard work and dedication to provide for us always.  He’s worked hard labor for decades, runs a home-based business (The Good Life), always finds time (and energy) for his kids, and continues to love me through all my flaws.

THE KIDS

I have 6 kids (of my own).
More if I want to include teens that have lived with us in the past.

Bryson (3rd grade, the youngest) has transitioned a lot this year.  Finally out of “being the baby” mode, and is stepping up to be more helpful.  Loves documentaries; specifically anything space related.  Tends to be a sports fan like his older brothers, although he has not really expressed an interest in actually playing any sports.  He does like to work out in the garage with me, so that’s been fun!

Andrew (5th grade) has really matured this year.  He steps up to help out when needed, gets his school work done without asking (most times), has been incredibly patient with his younger brother, loves reading to the preschoolers, enjoys drawing his own comic stories.

Katie-girl (Freshman) is back at dance after a 2 year hiatus while working on some severe food sensitivity issues.  It’s good to see her back in her element.
She still has a ridiculous amount of hobbies and interests (crocheting, knitting, sewing, drawing, foreign language, make up and hair specialties, fashion, photography, etc)  As long as she gets her core school work done, she’s free to explore self-led interests as she wishes.

TJ (20 next week) works full time, helps teach at Sunday School, helps coach a local soccer team with his two older brothers, and seems to be the go-to brother when someone needs help with something.  We also call him “the baby whisperer” as he scoops up a baby when gets home from work.  They love him!

Nick (23) is getting married in June.  Woo hoo, it’s about time.  They’ve been dating 5 years now, and his fiance, Kailynn, has been a part of our family all this time.  She finished college, got her degree last year, and finally they set a date!  He’s a fire inspector, and currently coaches soccer with his brothers.

Joe (28) is happily married to such a lovely young lady.  They have bought a house.  He currently got his dream truck, and they like to do some traveling.  No grandbabies…. yet.   Fun fact:  Joe is ordained and will be doing Nick’s wedding, while TJ will be the best man.  Love that my kids can bless each other into adulthood!

As a mama of with half my kids grown, I am incredibly blessed to continue to see my kids friendships with each other flourish.  It is a treasure that on most Sundays they all come home to hang out with each other.  God is good!!!

How is your life?

Same routines?
or
new adventures?

 

 

 

I HATE SCHOOL, and How our First Few Weeks Have Been

That’s how our school year began.
We are going into our 16th year of homeschooling, and my youngest child decides to have an attitude.  Clearly it is a disorder of some sort because just the mention of said word “school” creates a strange reaction of moaning, whining, and flopping down to the ground like a slug.

SCHOOL …

How can the child not like school?  He loves learning, exploring, and frankly, learns easily.
Well, apparently it’s the word… “SCHOOL”

You see, I could of fussed back at him,
got frustrated at his lack of willingness to do school,
disciplined him for poor behavior,
but instead I looked at the pathetic behaving child
and had him cuddle up to me and we talked about the planets,
pondered some outdoor activities, and discussed his feelings.
Then I prayed.

The Answer… don’t call it “school”.
After all, LIFE is the Lesson,
and just about anything we do
is applicable to learning something.
It’s kind of why I picked L.I.F.E. Academy
as the name of our “school”.

I can easily say “hey, let’s go up and lay on my bed and you can read a book to me” and viola, 30 min of reading.  (Reading-check)
I can then say it’s time for Math, and poof he does it (math-check)

Then the real magic comes in the evenings…
tons of fun family time and no one knows it’s still “school”.

We are watching a Math-U-See video for some fun review,
but this child LOVES seeing it and then working with the manipulatives used for the lessons.
We then watch one episode of “What’s in the Bible” which is packed with facts, vocabulary, theology in a fun way.

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Next we pull out these chalkboards to review our penmanship.
It’s been quite the hit.  Write the letter mom says,
then draw a word to compliment the letter, and spell it.
Dad joins in, Sissy joins in (the highschooler).
I will slowly begin doing phonics review,
and eventually spelling games with these boards.
The creativity is endless…
for the letter “i” my youngest came up with “imagination”,
not your typical ice cream or igloo answer, lol.

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We end our evenings by reading our Jesus Freaks Devotional,
finding on the map the country that was the read about,
and pray for that country.

FRIDAYS are also open for some fun.
It’s the one day during the school week that I don’t do childcare,
and I take advantage of that time to spend more intentional with my kids.

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Because we are entering into Medieval Times for History,
I opened the era with the Byzantine period.
We read about Constatine,
while listening to Beethoven in the background,

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then we attempted Byzantine mosaic art,
each of us doing our own masterpiece.

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I also threw in a science project for fun.  Used food coloring (yellow and blue), paper towels to wick the color into the empty center cup, and obviously, we made green.  The cool part was to see the water travel through the paper towels and actually begin to fill the empty cup.

All in all, that was a fun afternoon!

And then there’s my highschooler,
who has been fabulously working at her own pace independently,
while still participating in the things I want her to join us for! 

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Her garden got attacked by moles; it’s a sad affair.
But she still got some harvest.  Those carrots though?

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Oh, and we can’t forget the preschoolers…

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The 3 yr olds are loving preschool time,
and that sweet little photo bomber in the background is just about ready to join the table at almost 15 months of age.  She loves seeing what’s going on with our Discovery Time lessons!!

And That my friends is a random look at how our school year has started so far…

It’s a bit crazy to be a homeschooler.  *smile*