New Beginnings, A Welcome to 2016

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!

DSC_0505
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

Our Nature Tree

Fun For the Classroom!!

DSC_0699[1]

This lovely lady painted me a “nature tree”.
Over the years I have used a paper one that is old and worn.
Now, at our new house, the tree is on the wall,
and we are ready to explore our seasons and all things nature.

DSC_0705[2]

Didn’t it turn out cute? 

and because she knows me so well,
she signed her sketch of the project
and left it for me.  “love” it!

DSC_0704[1]

Just sharing a little joy in my days…

The Flexibility of a Homeschool Room

I love school rooms. 
I admit it.
There are some amazing classroom ideas out there.
Yet a classroom is not necessary to be able to homeschool.

I do prefer one.  Like this one at our old house.
(odd angled view, but you get the idea)

DSC_0093

and this is our class room now.

IMG_2137[1]

However, with it being winter, our house is actually more warm and cozy down in our daylight basement where our family room is… thus currently our previous school room is being called the “library”.  I don’t know why *wink*….

IMG_2145[1] DSCN3964[1] DSCN3957[1] IMG_2135[1]

This is our newest learning area set up:

DSC_0140[1]

It’s in a corner of our family room.
That table is right behind our loveseat .
We call it our “learning corner“.
We use the wall for calendar/weather/season/time work.  Also our Spanish words of the week, our math flash cards of the day are up there (along with a picture of a covered wagon that complimented our Pioneer Twins book)

Here is our workbox corner.
(where school supplies go)

DSC_0149[1]

yes, in another corner of the family room;
next to the TV actually.

The older kids actually do their work on our couch and loveseat,
but the table set up is fabulous for the younger kids.
We’ve been doing some cozy evening school work;
math, writing, & our history read aloud.
Reading lessons and some language arts are done right after lunch.

So yes, you could say we ditched our old school room
AND
our newest rhythm chart.
NO more of this either:

IMG_3637[1]

It appears that all our kiddos enjoy playing with the toddler I babysit.  Thus we have free time in the morning now.  Definitely out of my “plan it” box, ha ha!  But I really am enjoying our quiet evenings of study and family time, and it seems to be helping our wild 6 yr old wind down for bed.  So I’m claiming it as a win.

Does your daily routine ever make drastic changes?
Do you like change? or prefer the consistency of what is known?

The School Room and More Books

Give and ye shall receive?

I went through my schoolroom this past spring.

I gifted my whole set of Abeka (Kindergarten through 6th grade) set to a new homeschooler in the community.  I don’t know them, I haven’t met them, but I did hear about their need.  So I boxed up 3 large boxes and sent my husband on the “surprise” drop off.

Then I heard about someone really desiring Sonlight for their 2 young boys (7 & 9).  I happened to have what they needed, so I boxed up 2 years worth of books and sent them on their way.

Next was someone who needed leggos; yep, we have an overabundance, so we shared!

These are things that a person really could have made money on, but my heart really was to “bless it forward”…

SO….

imagine my surprise when I became the recipient of a gift of BOOKS!

IMG_2096[1]

8 boxes of classic literature, history novels, nature books, and more!

I received (I do believe!) just about the whole entire set of
American Landmark series-
The Landmark Books are a series of non-fiction books published by Random House in the fifties and early sixties.
Simply put, the Landmark series is the best collection of children’s histories ever written. ~ Exodus books

My cousin and his wife have finished homeschooling their daughter and, like I mentioned above, wanted to “bless it forward”.
Thank you D.T. & Leola!  I am SO excited!! 
People have joked about me having my own library, however, I now believe I just about do!  *smile*

Here’s our SCHOOLROOM:

IMG_2138[1]

All those cubbies on the right contain classic literature and history books.
-below is a small view of them.

IMG_2135[1]

Then we have readers.
These shelves are more for *free* reading interests.

IMG_2145[1]

Thus they fit nicely in our reading area.
We use the cork board for weekly themes for the week,
such as life cycle of a frog, spring trees, farm life, etc.
We actually put a daily craft on there to make a mural by the end of the week.
Schools out, so obviously it’s a little blank right now.

IMG_2149[1]

Next is our nature and science shelves!

DSCN3957[1]

…along with our nature observation window.

DSCN3960[1]

I also have a small bookshelf for early readers.

DSCN3964[1]

Here is the angle of the classroom from the reading area.
It gives a better view of all the history books too.

IMG_2137[1]

We add a small white board to the top of the bookshelf for Spanish/French lessons.  Since we are officially on summer vacation, it is a great time to review and get the younger kids to learn more.

IMG_2151[1]

And to utilize space, I put the older kids workboxes by the wood stove.
It works for now.

DSCN3959[1]

Yes, technically, our schoolroom is really what is suppose to be a living room, but hey, I’m living the dream…
I’m homeschooling my kids,
I have my own library,
and we have nature in our backyard.

Life is good, and I feel blessed!

 Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” ~ Luke 6:38

We moved.

Go 'Hawks!

Moving seemed more daunting this time.
Thankfully, (photo from left to right),
Chanelle (Fred’s sister), Nick, Joe, Fred, TJ, and Amber all helped out tremendously,
as did a few friends when they could.

Honestly, moving can bring out the true character of people! 
Fred, Nick, and TJ did an amazing amount of grunt work!
I must of had close to 75 boxes of just books (not to mention bookcases that held them all).
We are all tired, exhausted even, as we cleaned both the home we moved into as well as the home we were moving out of in the midst of hauling all our stuff load by load.  I am pretty proud of my boys!

I love to move.

Not so much the packing,
but the unpacking.
The organizing.

Maybe I am just getting older,
because it took much longer to get settled this time.

Instead of my usually couple of days to get my house in order,
it has been a week and I am still not done.
Chanelle stayed up til wee hours of the night last week helping me unpack.

Of course we are still having fun in the process! 
After all, have you heard?  The Seahawks made it through the play offs!
Yep, they are Superbowl bound.

So we packed, and moved in between game plays.
Loaded trucks at half-time.
Got our house unpacked just in time to watch our ‘hawks win the NFC championship.

So now my goal is to get our house in complete order.
I am excited about our new home in the woods.
Looking forward to sharing our fresh routines,
our new surroundings, and giving you a tour of our humble place in the world.

Making a House a Home~ our school room

We’ve had big houses and small houses, but I always find an “area” to call our school room.
As much as I love using our school room,
school does not always stay contained within those four walls;
*the living room is great for gathering together to watch educational shows.*the parents room is a great getaway place to concentrate. 
*outside has got to be one of our favorite spots~ weather permitting. 
*to simply sit on the stairs to read about nature while viewing the outside is encouraged.

This is our view from the entry way (as I stand by the pile of shoes).
I *love* my desk that I found at a garage sale last summer.
My absolute favorite teacher item.

Here is a closer look at our books.  Admittedly I have many more books shelves throughout the house, but these are our favorite school books.  Many were gifted to us.  The handful in the top left cubby are ones I “made” using the Robinson Curriculum discs.  Now I know how “Never judge a book by its cover'” is intended.  These books have great content, some of them are quite priceless, like learning so much more about the Life of George Washington (than I ever did in public school).

Here is the stair-side wall.
Again, the piano was gifted to us,
and is probably Katie’s favorite school item.  =)
We are oh.so.blessed to have a brilliant young lady come to our house for Katie’s piano lessons.

Another closer look at the bookcase full of learning.

Our final wall.  (I could not get good lighting for this pic).
The left is our state & world map,
along with our compassion kids seasonal display.
This helps us stay focused on praying for them.

The ‘pet’ center is on top of our workbox drawers.
and the easel is used oh.so.very.often.

Many folks want a closer look at how we keep our schoolwork organized.  Let’s face it, paperwork and supplies for 4 of my own students (plus the 3 students we add to our day) can make for a chaotic paper trail.  My kids just simply work down the list of drawers/subjects.

This corner is where we stash many of our preschool activities for our learning trays.

Our school room is most commonly used for preschool (10 a.m.),
Andrew’s Learning Lesson’s (11 a.m.),
and for our group studies; aka ‘power hour’ for the older kids (1 p.m.)

It is also endlessly used as a craft & activity place!

Who needs a fancy dining area when there is learning to be had… right!?

Whether you homeschool or not, where would your favorite place be in your home to study?