Students; a learner, one who studies

Each year I am blessed to have children in my life.
Both my own kids, and other people’s children.
Each year is different; in ages, needs, and ability.


Our Daily Students:

Katie-girl– 8th grade- A natural born autodidactic- devours all things learning.
Creative, logical, inventive; she has always been my precocious child.

Andrew– 4th grade- a free spirited learner-
he has his own unique vision of life and learning.
Caring, compassionate, sensible; our peace-maker of reason.

Bryson– 2nd grade- a thoughtful thinker.
Also rambunctious and charming wrapped together.
Bright, energetic, determined; our adventurous one.

Adelaide– childcare/preschool student- a cheery sweet thing.
Eager to learn, play, explore…

Picture Day is a funny thing ’round here:


~My Other Students~

My Homeschool/Tutor Student:

Shane– 11th grade- The laid-back learner.
Creative writer, inquisitive, and a self-led techie guy.
Shane homeschool’s, and I just line up his lessons and guide his learning.

My in-home Preschool Co op:

Until I get further permission, this will be vague.
Mon/Wed will be our Little Friends Discovery Place,
where young mom’s join me for some preschool fun!
Who will join us?
A momma with twin 2 yr old girls, plus a infant boy.
A momma of a 3 yr old boy (big brother goes to 1st grade)
A momma of a 3 yr old boy (big brothers go to Kinder and 2nd grade)

After-school Fun-care:
3 Siblings; 7 yr old boy, 9 yr old girl, 10 yr old boy

My days will be busy but joyous!!
Here’s to a new adventurous year!

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances;
for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
1st Thessalonians 5:16-18




A new house for our 2015-16 school year.
Hopefully it will be our last house for a very long time. 

I’m going to share our learning areas. 
I want to first explain that it does not take a classroom to create an education.
Homeschooling can be done anywhere;
the kitchen table, the parents bed, in the car, on a picnic table even!
If you and your family homeschool, do what is best for your family.

As for me, and our homeschooling, I chose to give up our front room and formal dining area in exchange for a learning area.  It is what best fits my personality (type A, organized, planner… you get the idea).

The photo above is the angle from our stairs of our “front room”.
This is our classroom.
Mostly intended for the school aged kids;
tons of literature books available.

This photo is the very left corner.  It is our “classics” bookshelf;
Dickens, Carrol, Twain, etc…

along with our “new” Book of Knowledge set (encyclopedia, in ABC order),
and our original (old) Book of Knowledge set (in chronological order).

The drawers are my teacher stuff to keep us organized;
our phonics review, our read aloud, and our game & craft of the day.


On the other side of my desk is the kids workboxes (drawers).
This is for their independent morning work.


In that same area is our Geography corner;
maps, globes, atlas’s, etc…


Located to the right side of the school room photo (viewing actually from the big white board) is our nature and science corner.


Our Preschool and Craft section!

Notice the nature area (and the big white board) on the left.
This section is just the continued space of the front room,
technically the “formal dining” room.

I found this awesome table set at a garage sale just recently.
It is a heavy, solid, old school table, and I love it!!
Ironic that it matches my pink dresser (that never matches ANYthing, ha ha).


This is the wall on the right side of the above preschool photo.
It will be for our morning board activities and crafts.


The corner cabinet is our fine arts and foreign language corner,
as well as some craft supplies.


…and to put reality into perspective,
these are (est 400) history related books placed into our office,
which currently is a big fat mess.
(not the books, but the room itself!)

We do read alouds & circle time in our living room,
we do snack & meal time in the kitchen,
we do recess & nature walks in our backyard…

In the ebb and flow of time,
The world is our our playground.

Living life is our education.




Here is where the fun begins!

Our first day of school for the new school year in our new home!

Admittedly, I had zero “first day” plans up until last night.
We had family and friends over, and I winged some ideas on a whim.
It actually turned out to be a really fun day!

I opted for a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle theme.


We began with a paper mache project, in hopes of making a pinata later this week.
Nothing like making a ooey, gooey mess first thing in the morning.  ha ha!!



We used a Venn Diagram to explore the similarities and differences of the 4 Ninjas.


Next I had the kids read through the Sunday Paper comics (gleaning through to the decent ones only) to understand the dynamics of how comic strip writing is created.  The kids then began to make their own TMNT version.



I thought it would be interesting for us to learn about the actual artist that the turtles are named after.  The kids were pretty excited to already recognize much of the work.  This is a fun video that we enjoyed:
Renaissance Art



M&M’s are always a fun option, right?
We sorted colors (ok, so they have no purple m&m’s to represent Donatello, so we substituted the brown ones), and tallied it up.  Then we worked on the fractions, decimals, and percentages to warm up our math brains once again.



We whipped up some Mutagen.
Slime is always a big hit around here!


We added a little glow to ours!



Ok, so we really did this for little Adelaide (2),
but we sent her home with hers before taking a photo.


pizza;  need you ask?


Ninja Training!
We made nunchunks out of pipe insulation.
They turned out well.


Tonight we will watch a TMNT movie, and call it a great start to a new school year!!

I did spend the morning talking to the kids about our expectations for the school year.
We have 2 general rules in our home:  1.  Be kind.  2.  Have fun.

I then went into detail about Attitude & Effort.    The whole concept that we don’t have to be perfect but that we do need to give our best.  Some things in life will come easy, and other things will be difficult.  Both deserve our effort, and life is more enjoyable for ourselves (and those around us) if we can maintain a pleasant attitude.  My kids are aware that if they are having a rough day, or a particularly moody moment, that they are free to take time to themselves quietly to regroup (aka a self-assigned time out).  If I see it is a real struggle, then I will come alongside them to talk it through and pray with them.  To slow down the moment seems to mostly help. 

Tomorrow we will begin our core studies of reading, writing, and math, sprinkled with history, science, fine arts, & foreign language. 

Here’s to a new school year…. COWABUNGA!!!

Summer life…

This is Our July, while in the Middle of Moving…

My family spent 2 entire weeks prior to the 4th of July to decorate our church for VBS, along with many other amazing volunteers.

Our theme was Journey Off the Map,
so we went with a woodsy wilderness style.

My classroom ideas:


Our sanctuary;
building a waterfall was a lot of work…


My four yr old class was a busy but fun group!
Thank God (literally) that I had such fabulous helpers!
(I’d be the red-headed lady in the back).



Yep, after VBS week, we began packing… books!


and then I’d take breaks to enjoy the small moments of summer~

like playing outside…


enjoying lunch dates…


join a mom’s Bible study where kids are welcome…


prep gifts for Nick’s 22 birthday…


watched U.S.A. lose against Jamaica for the Gold Cup…


and had friends over for a tea party…


where the girl’s made fresh peach pie!  Mmmm….

Did I mention that I have been packing books?
Lots and lots and lots of books.  oh my!

We are fortunate enough to be able to move all said boxes of books to our new house earlier than the planned move in date.  So grateful!  It took 2 full truck loads of just the books (followed by all the bookcases) to move them all.  I quickly (9 hours last Saturday) unpacked half of them.  So now we have extra boxes to begin packing the rest of the house!  Ha!

Bonus event:
First night we moved boxes, we had neighbors introduce themselves.
A mom with her 13 yr old daughter and 15 yr old son.
The daughter had picked blueberries from our new house to make us these…


Blueberry Muffins!  How lovely is that?!

In my spare time, I am planning out our preschool lessons for the year, deciding on our homeschool routine, creating a chore schedule, organizing our (new) school room, making a monthly meal plan, an organizing a preschool co op to join me on Tues and Thurs.    I am very excited to get settled in our new house to let the fun begin…  hopefully in about 2 weeks!  ~feeling blessed~ woo hoo!


Traveling down the narrow road once again…

We like our tiny town.  It’s peaceful.


Our view up the hill…


on our road…


and what our view is at the bottom of the hill.

Every time we go down our hill we get to view the beautiful Columbia River.

Our backyard is the woods


where we enjoy so much of nature.

However, we still spend much of our time in our old small town;
co ops, dance lessons, church, etc..
Honestly, I travel to the small town pretty much twice a day.
It’s close enough to do that, but far away enough that it’s getting old.

So we prayed. 
We prayed that either we get plugged into our wee li’l community,
or seriously think about moving back to our small town again.

And we are moving.
A decision handed to us by God.
We will move, not to the small town we are originally from,
but it’s neighboring town between tiny town and small town.
I guess we will call it the in-between town (?).

We can continue to serve at our church.
Play sports, take lessons, and participate in community events.

The house is in a friendly neighborhood,
with great neighbors, some of whom we already know.
Our backyard is pretty big and backs up to some woods.
The house is beautiful and fits all of our needs.

Along with the move, comes another big decision.


Oh, I am so excited for the opportunity to add some little people to my days again.  I have done childcare before for many years, and although, officially, I quite my business back in 2008, I really haven’t ever quit being with kids.  I still teach preschool ages for wednesday night church and teacher assistant for Sunday school, plus I’ve taught the preschool ages at co op for the past 3 yrs.  It just is my calling really.  I just love them.  Little people are such a treasure.

So we prayed, and with the move comes the opportunity to choose to do childcare again.  We will be in a great location.  So now I am praying for the child(ren) that may come my way, that we can love on the child and bless the parents all at the same time.   Working parents is tough stuff, and knowing your child(ren) are taking care of is so important.

What about homeschooling?  Is anyone wondering that?  We will still homeschool.
Honestly, with us down to only 3 homeschoolers this upcoming year,
and with them all having a self-led learning style, it will fit our days just fine.
In actuality, I homeschooled when I did childcare before.  The day routines flow smoothly.
I love that my own kids love to participate with the littles.
Katie (13) will help with crafts
Andrew (10) will help with story time.
and Bryson (7) will help with floor time (leggos, lincoln logs, cars, bristle blocks, etc).

I’m pretty much loving these ch-ch-ch-changes! 

The Days of May

Child #3 turned 18-
yes, no longer a child in reality, but still my child.

Some outdoor fun:


Child #6 turns 7-
“the baby” who obviously is no longer a baby.


and frankly, Bryson (7) is TJ’s mini-me!

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Then there was Mother’s Day…

me and my boys!


as we went to Grandma M’s place to visit her!


I’m pretty sure she enjoyed her time with us.


Next came homeschool State testing,
which officially wraps up our school year for 2012-2015.

The results excelled some of my expectations, and was typical for some.
It definitely showed that time, consistency, and individual attention was effective for my Aspie child.
Unlike the previous 12 yrs of testing, I opted to test the kids additionally in Social Studies and Sciences.  I was curious as to what the results might be, with the awareness that we have not truly had any formal lessons beyond interest-led topics and good quality books (not text books).  They all scored average in Social Studies (which was not history based much to my surprise) and excelled in the sciences.  Hmmm, I guess self-led learning is efficient!  *love it!*

So with all this, comes the announcement of TJ’s graduation!
Transcripts, a diploma, and some family fun!


* May was actually an emotional roller coaster of events;
from a recent loss of a beloved teen,
to reflecting previous losses of loved ones in this same month (3 to be exact),
to celebrating life and accomplishments and embracing joys in the moments…
I took time off from here (the blog) to regroup and regain a sense of normality.
I am well rested, reestablishing goals, and looking forward to a relaxing summer!

~simply grateful


Our 6 week study on Human Anatomy.

Week 1:  Skeletal System


We learned about the major bones and their overall purpose and had the “quiz” via stick it notes, followed up with a fun snack.


Week 2:  The Muscular System


IMG_4184[1] IMG_4190[1]

Hopscotch, jumping jacks, sweeping, talking/eating, push ups, stair climbs, and running laps in our woods!!!
I think their muscles have a good idea of the lesson at hand. Ha ha!

Week 3:  The Respiratory System


We used our lungs to paint lungs (aka straw painting);
played with balloons, bubbles, and ran in place… all ways to use their lungs.

Week 4:  The Digestive System

Playdough intestines, a snack lesson on food traveling through the intestines, and labeling all the parts for an art assignment.

Week 5:  The Heart

Learned all about how the heart pumps the blood as well as created our own “pumping” heart beat.  Fun stuff!

Week 6:  The Brain


It was interesting to explore what parts of the brains functioned what area of our lives.
We had limited activities for this one, but a lot of discussions none-the-less.

Other fun resources:

Children’s Human Body Encyclopedia

Magic School Bus Flexes its Muscles  (Season 2, Episode 2) –
covers bones, muscles, joints, and tendons

Magic School Bus Works Out (Season 3, Episode 9)-
all about lungs

Magic School Bus For Lunch (Season 1, Episode 2)-
digestive system

Magic School Bus Goes Cellular (Season 4, Episode 5)

and of course Pinterest!

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.
How precious to me are your thoughts,[a] God!
    How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them,
    they would outnumber the grains of sand—
    when I awake, I am still with you.
Psalm 139: 14-18


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