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?


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.


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.


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.


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.



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?

Enjoying the Classics

We’ve had an ongoing theme for the year…

Read a classic; watch a movie


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!

Gardening… a.k.a. highschool agriculture credit with labs

Homeschool Science

Better yet, high school homeschool science.

Is that possible to teach from home?
Yes!  yes it is.
Yet oddly enough, that is the one subject that many folks hesitate with.  So I thought I’d share one of the many ways for your (homeschool) student to earn (science) credits towards their transcripts for their (much earned) future diploma.

My 4th child (3rd homeschooler) is
entering 9th grade in less than two weeks.
We opted to let her jump start her science “class”.


She began with a lesson in shop class with dad teaching her how to use power tools.
At the same time she began reading these assigned books:


And began this part of the project:


Trays of seedlings… can you see the sprout?


Next, soil was hauled in as Katie and Dad began setting up the netting  to protect the garden because our backyard is backed up to some beautiful woods where critters, birds, and deer roam quite freely.


Not too bad of a start…

Meanwhile, the littles are enjoying their own garden project…



Further along there is continued progress…


and although we have more time to enjoy a modest harvest,
August will include starting seedlings for the fall crop.

Katie will continue to care for her garden until November.
She will journal her garden plans,
explain her theory on how it will progress,
continue to write weekly updates on the results,
and write a comparative analysis between the summer and fall garden process.

When the garden is harvested and cleaned up,
and the paperwork is in,
she will have earned her Agriculture credit w/ labs.

This is not to forget that her biology study will begin in August also,
which we will share in more detail later in the school year.
Regardless, by May she will have wrapped up two sciences to list on her high school transcripts.

One question I often get is…
How does one grade such a process?
Well, for us, attitude and effort is 50% of the grade,
the work required is the other 50%.

In other words, if I had to remind her to water her garden,
or if she were to complain about the process,
her grade would get deducted.
Gratefully, she is a hard worker who chose this task,
but we will see how she feels by November.  *smile*

See?  Science isn’t so scary, eh?
If you are (or were to homeschool),
what is the one subject that you would be hesitant to offer?

~It takes growth to be a homeschooler~

Winter is Blowing by… part 2


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.

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:


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.


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:


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

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


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).


We have also enjoyed a few nature walks this month…


as we continued our evergreen study.


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:


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.


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.

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

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


An unplanned Friday of Fun!

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?


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.


Having hands on projects make everyone happy!


Our homeschool buddy is definitely enjoying it.


The dear daughter took it another step and created some…


Flubber fun!!

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