Summer Schedule 2016

We’re having some fun!

Our days are full,
and there are adventures to be had!

Introducing Camp Gonnahaveablast!

Each week we will have a theme to explore.

June 13th-17th           Picnic Play
June 20th-24th         Backyard Bugs
June 27th-July 1st    Patriot Power
July 5th-8th               Creative Construction
July 1th-15th              Vacation Bible School
July 18th-22nd          Icky Sticky Ooey Gooey
July 25th-29th           Going Camping (for real)

The kids will pick camp names to use,
as well as group assigned names:
Babies- are the “Sparklers
Preschoolers- are the “Firecrackers
Primary Kids- are the “Bottle Rockets


Monday through Wednesday is full of friends;
where most of our themed activities will take place.
Thursdays are only an extra friend or two,
so our rhythm those days will be a bit different.
I’m trying to keep Fridays open for family fun.

Our Daily Rhythm

6:30   Childcare begins to arrive
8:00   Breakfast/clean up
9:00   Indoor/Outdoor Play
10:00 Themed activities
11:30  Nature shows/or nature walk
12:00  LUNCH/clean up
1:00   Quiet time (for littles)
D.E.A.R. (Drop Everything And Read)
Board games- mass variety
History Videos-
3:00   Snack
3:30   Creative Corner (writing supplies)
4:00   FREE play
6:00-7:00  is when childcare goes home.

Our evenings will consist of intentional family bonding, from chores to read alouds to prayer time, and yes, even watching Bob Ross, because we all become memorized at the apparently simple (not) art of nature.

How are your days flowing? 
Scheduled routines?  (our Monday-Wednesday)
Flexible and free?  (our Thursday-Saturday)
or maybe something a little in between?


Homeschool Convention- Speaker Highlights

Summer is here,
and conference time is around the corner!

If you homeschool, or are thinking about homeschooling,
or maybe just want to support someone who does homeschool,
you really ought to check out your local area
for a homeschool convention!


Ours will be July 22 & 23, 2016

Because I am already set with my curriculum choices,
the style of homeschooling I like to implement,

I already have a stock of books that will supply just about every need from preschool to college prep…

I have to admit I am not going to the Conference to
*learn about curriculum
*purchase good deals
*sell my used books/buy more books
*compare products

Speakers are my highlight this year! 

I’ll just be candid here….

I mentor a whole lot of moms.  Many (but certainly not all) are homeschool mamas.  I share what works for us, and what hasn’t.  I mostly try to come along side moms and encourage them where they are.   It’s totally (basically) a one on one thing.  Yes, there are a few facebook groups that I tend to have a voice on, but I try to ignore that a few thousand people are reading what I have to share and simply focus on that one mom who asked for ideas or for help.   I am probably the most introverted extrovert you will meet.    I love people! I do not love attention.  All THAT to say….kudos to the ones who are willing to teach and reach a crowd!  I’m all in, and all ears!

Conference Speakers

I don’t care how long one has homeschooled,
we can always learn from each other!

Like with me, with one on one guidance
like with a guest speaker at a large event
whose wisdom it there for the sharing!

I’m excited about the Featured Guests of the
Oregon Christian Home Education Conference.

All of them have been an essential part of my homeschool journey.
It’s a bit weird in a way because I feel like I know them,
even though they have no clue who I am
from anyone else in the world that they may be encouraging and helping.

Todd Wilson

The guy who keeps it real from a dad’s viewpoint.
I love that he keeps God in the forefront of his topics.
Although dads would benefit greatly from his ministry,
I have found that I glean much from his male perspective.

Steve Demme

After all the videos that me and the kids have watched him teach math on… it will be enjoyable to hear what he has to say in person to us parents.  I’m looking forward to it.  Maybe I’ll even brave a question or two?  Who knows?

Lee Binz

From our very own Pacific Northwest.
She’s the one that eased my mind to embrace the high school years.  And guess what?  The highschool years have been the very best of our homeschool experience!  I’ve got two homeschool graduates so far, as my daughter begins her 9th grade year this August!  Need direction for high school?  A peace of mind maybe?  Lee is the one to go to.

Vicki Bentley

Can I just be honest and say her life experiences intimidate me.  Just the idea of 8 daughters was enough to impress me, much less that she has fostered 50+ children through the years.  She has a great heart to help moms (this is where I can totally relate to her), and I feel she has a great benefit to offer guidance to parents of young children.  I, as a veteran homeschooler and older mom, will enjoy hearing (and observing) her interaction with the crowd.

Additional guest speakers include:

Copper Web

2nd generation homeschooler-
a homeschool graduate who now home-educates her own kids.
Her speaking topic appears to be preschool and kindergarten.
After endless years of teaching preschool ages myself,
I love hearing what others have to share about it!

Bruce Isham

Well be still my heart, apparently he is a historic storyteller!
I’m going to have to check this guy’s stories out.

Come join me for some fun fellowship

If you are anywhere near Portland OR
the week end of July 22 &23…
Come join me…
and we can learn and glean ideas together!


Homeschool Planning: Step 1

Homeschool Planning

Step 1:  Creating a school year calendar.

9 week quarters = 18 weeks per semester
2 semesters = 1 full school year

Our school days will consist of …
9 weeks on, 1 week off…
except at the end of the 1st semester,
where we will enjoy 3 weeks off for Christmas.

First Day of School:  August 1st

Fall Break: Oct 3rd- 7th

Winter Break:  Dec 10th- Jan 1st

Spring Break:  March 6th – 10th

Last Day of School:  May 12th

Note:  we do not, in general, take typical school holidays off….
such as Veterans Day, Martin Luther King, President’s Day, etc…
instead we choose to spend that day to reflect on it’s purpose.
The exception being Thanksgiving week end.

Pretty easy peasy huh?

What type of school year would you choose?
Follow the public school calendar?
School year round?
Start later (like when colleges do)?
or like us, begin early, end early?

Little Friends Discovery Place


One full (pre)school year is finished. 

I started up childcare in my home once again after having 7 years off.

Let’s face it…
after having 6 kids of my own,
I have t0 admit I adore kids!
When the “baby” is no longer little,
and you know you are no longer going to have any more littles,
you borrow other peoples littles, am I right?

I enjoy these four little treasures!
Full of spunk and sass,
Loaded with giggles and generosity,
Endlessly learning through play.

My daughter also loves littles.
I just randomly find photos on my phone…
so I thought I would share.


getting her hair done by the littles!

Followed by selfies with each girl…


Adelaide we have had since she was a baby.  She’s just always been a part of our family.  Basically the grandchild I don’t have yet.  She loves playing with my boys.  She has been fabulous at adapting to adding “friends” to our days.  She is very generous with toys, freely expresses her feelings, and is always willing to be helpful.


Addyson, our quiet, thoughtful one.  Somewhat likes her space, but joins activities freely.  It’s been fun to see her open up rather than hide behind her twin’s ideas.


Brielle is a focused, goal oriented learner.  Openly shares her feelings verbally, so no guess work there, ha ha.  She likes to lead ideas (Addyson is her sister), but is also a good listener.


Cabella is vibrantly outgoing.    A very active learner who has done well this year learning to stretch her attention span.  Loves playing with her friends!


and apparently, one of the babies couldn’t be left out…


Little Miss Avalyn stops by for just a few hours a day.
Just turned 1, an agile and articulate little thing!


Let’s not forget this little bug, Abby (Cabella’s baby sister).
Adorably cheerful and very animated!

AND because I like to add more excitement to my days, we also often enjoy other friends on occasion…


Always sharing, always caring…

I love all these Little Friends of mine!


Homeschool Planning

Let’s just face it.
Most of us homeschoolers love this time of year!
Before we have even wrapped up our school year,
we are already planning and plotting for the next year. 
We just can’t help it.
Fresh ideas and new beginnings; how can that not be exciting?!

I, personally, outline my school plans.
For the next 8 weeks, I will be taking one step at a time to discuss in detail.

Here is my outline:

  1.  Establish when the 1st day of school will be.
    Outline the 4 quarters; mark on a calendar
  2. Create a rhythm chart;
    a brief summary of the week
  3. List subjects to cover for the year
  4. Break subjects into details
    ie science/biology, history/Early American
  5. List resources to use for such subjects
  6. Take supply inventory.
    Make supply list; watch for sales
  7. Plan a 1st Day of School Celebration
  8. Hold a student/teacher conference per child:
    *establish goals
    *share expectations
    *set up planners

See you Monday.  Happy Planning!


Let’s talk Homeschool Convention

Homeschool Confession:
It took me over a decade of homeschooling
before I actually went my first Homeschool Convention,
and really it was only because friends invited me.

Crowds just aren’t my thing; and it tempts me to spend money.
Really it’s the same reason I avoid malls, county fairs, and yes, Disneyland.

That was 2012.  I went back again in 2014.
Again, a friend asked me to go.
Not only go, but to help promote the curriculum I love the most.
So I went, had a blast, and was blessed.

Guess what?  It’s 2016, and I’m headed to one once again.

Oregon Christian Home Education Conference

I’m enjoying the guest speaker line up,
which I feel is the best part of the conference.

So who goes to a Homeschool Conference?

I figure there are three main reasons.

  1.  Curious parents.  Whether just simply having infants, toddlers, or preschoolers and wanting to check out options, or the parents that know (for any given reason) that public school isn’t working for their child.
  2. The novice homeschooler.  Let’s face it, walking into the idea of homeschool leaves you with a plethora of choices and options.  To view everything hands-on can help make decisions.
  3. The veteran homeschooler.  We know what we want and will look for the deals.

In all reasons, the real benefit of a homeschool conference is the fellowship.  To see other like-minded folks that are real people like you and me, simply wanting the best education for our child(ren).  It’s pretty awesome.  Wanna join me? 

The Many Seasons of (this) Homeschool Family

6 kids (5 boys, 1 girl);
27 years of parenting

14 years of homeschooling

1 public school graduate (2007);
2 home-school graduates (20011, 2015).

3 homes-schoolers to go,
just completed 2nd, 4th, and 8th grades.

We just finished our school year. 
It happened to be long, a bit crazy, somewhat fun,
and full of many challenges as well as joy.

Seasons of Homeschooling

Year 1 & 2; classic boxed curriculum (Abeka)
Basically imitate the public school classroom by using texts and tests, desks and schedules.
It was great for beginning.  Expensive had it not been gifted to me, but great to feel like I had everything covered.

Year 3; Unit studies
Teach on a particular topic and cover multiple subjects.
This was particularly a great boost to our morale.
It took more planning, but we learned more together as a group.

Year 4; Charter School
This was a crazy year for me as a mom.
We had 4 children, one on the way,
2 being homeschooled,
ran a full time daycare of 6 additional kids.
The Charter was nice; they provide the books and homework assignments one day a week, and the boys completed during the rest of the week.  I soon realized I like having our own schedule and flexiblity, but we completed the year out as a commitment.

Year 5; Waldorf education
Specifically using Oak Meadow curriculum which provides structure of lessons while giving the student the flexibility to use various learning styles to implement their knowledge.  Basically, to educate the head while reaching the heart and using the hands of a student.  A holistic learning of sorts.  It was a peaceful year of progress.

Year 6 & 7; Eclectic approach
Knowing what works but always thinking there is something better out there;
a little bit of this (unit studies)
with a little bit of that (Oak Meadows)
splashed with the other (SRA reading program)

Year 8; Charlotte Mason Method
Using rich literature and hands on activities in a calm learning environment.
Good books while introducing the beauty of life such as music (composers),
art (artists), poetry, nature studies, and even foreign language.
Loved this year.  Slow, steady studying that created thinkers.

Year 9 (through 14); Classical learning splashed with some Charlotte Mason flair
This was the year I discovered The Robinson Curriculum.
To read, write, and do math…well
Self-led learning at its finest.

This has worked well for us, so I don’t change from it.
RC mornings of independent studies; read, write, math
Charlotte Mason style afternoons; group studies together as a family.

Year 10;
Added a special needs (6th grade) student to our days this year.
She was on the autism spectrum and happens to be one of the 6 kids I mentioned I did child care for up in year 4, although in reality I watched her from infancy til she entered public school, as well as her two younger siblings.  We had a great year with her.  I did her core studies with her and worked on social skills (yes, I know, sounds funny from a homeschool academy, but she thrived none the less), and she ended her school day with a special class at the local pubic school.

Year 11;
Co-schooled with a neighbor; This was new and a bit exciting.
My kids were 4, 7, 10, & 14; hers were 3 & 13.
At this point I was a seasoned homeschooler and she was a novice,
and it all worked out very well…
I provided the structure of reading, writing, and math;
she offered supplies, corrections, and hands on activities.

Year 12 & 13;
Same neighbor; began to homeschool a high school student.
I provided the structure, supplies, corrections,
spending one day a week at our house for guidance (and social outlet),
and she made sure he implemented the assignments as needed.

Year 14; yep, this finally completed year!
Added childcare and a preschool co op to our days.
Some things I loved, some things I’ll change.

Each year has been a blessing!
I’ve found a rhythm that works for my family, a curriculum we favor, a style we love…
but all in all, there is no perfect choice.
Steady consistency and a calm, caring environment is the biggest part of homeschooling success. 

Homeschooling; where curiosity and knowledge collide.