Thursday, October 10, 2019

Homeschooling Again

I haven't blogged for so long. After my eye surgeries, I have a hard time seeing a computer. It is just the wrong distance away and with my bifocals, it gives me a neck ache to be on here much. I miss it though.

I have had many people ask me why I am homeschooling again. The answer is simple and complicated. The simple part is that my three bottom children out of my six (two are graduated and my eldest daughter, Jessica, has no wish to be homeschooled) asked me if I would homeschool them. I had been homeschooling their elder brother, Andrew for two years because he just didn't fit in the school system and was having trouble socially. We brought him home and this country boy thrived as he had time now to pursue his interests in farming, welding, wood work, mechanics and food preservation and cooking. Jacob was a sixth grader last year and started having some trouble socially too. He was getting sick of it and asked if he could come home. I agreed and we started homeschooling a month and a half before school got out for the summer. It was great! After Jacob came home, Lily wanted too as well. This surprised me because she loved everything about school. She is a social butterfly and was having no problems at all. I really warred with myself on this one.

After much prayer, I realized my kids were wanting a good thing. I was just not confident enough to think I could do this. I had also had quite a bit more freedom while they were in school. It was going to be a huge sacrifice. I kept going back to my list of pros and cons. The pros far outweighed the cons. My children would get a good education based on the truth that I see in the Word of God. Evolution and many other things would be presented as THEORIES and not as fact. Good science is observable.

I am also concerned with the amount of politics of the nation that are being reflected in the public school system. It can't be helped. It is just how it is now. There is no turning this train around. So I am hopping off. I honestly don't know how I can screw this up. We are getting so much done and we are having FUN doing it!

I have decided to do unit studies with my younger ones. For my 5th grader we are doing a unit study called Prairie Primer that is based on the Little House on the Prairie Series. There is so much packed in this study that we can't possible cover it all. Lily is eating it up! Jacob, my 7th Grader is doing a unit study on America the Beautiful. It is a fascinating study on America history. From the earliest record of Native Americans, to the study of our national landmarks, biographies of famous Americans, every era and every war that we have been in as a nation is covered in this study. It also includes, maps, timelines, Bible, vocab, and creative writing. For math we are doing Teaching Textbooks online and it has been amazing. I rarely have to help my kids with math.

I homeschooled for nine years, starting with Josh was a kindergartner. I always had a baby and a toddler and was teaching at least one child to read. I had more energy back then and more zeal and passion. Now that I am 44, I have less zeal, less passion and have mellowed out considerably. My energy level is definitely not the same as it was when I homeschooled the first time around. But I have wisdom on my side now. I can chill out knowing that they will have gaps, but they would if they were in public school, too. I am ok with that. I am going to do my very best to maintain a schedule, accountability and discipline when I need to. Character comes before academics in my classroom. This is hard for them because I am "Mom", they are always trying to push or get around things. I have to stay strong under the constant pressure of them wanting to do less work than I require of them.

The other thing I am doing differently this time around is not threatening to send them back to public school. I am not willing to do that at this point, so there is no sense in even going there. I want them to know that I want and desire for them to be home with me. I want them to know that we can overcome any obstacle even though it is hard.

To be honest, I am NOT enjoying every minute of homeschooling. We have had terrible days filled with discipline and tears as we work on not arguing with the "teacher". I have never looked forward to weekends as much as I have this time around. I love teaching! It totally energizes me, but the disciplining drains me fast.

 Andrew is in high school now and all this counts now. I want to give him a true and honest transcript that reflects a well-rounded, well-educated young man. I want him to have a diploma that I know he earned. I want to do this well!

I have bad days too, hormonally speaking. My patience level is at an all time low certain days of the month. I am cranky, and snappish towards my children. I have much to confess to the Lord in my journalling and quiet time.

I take walks, exercise and try to give my children a break from me. I am asking my husband to take the kids on a monthly weekend trip to visit family once a month or to send me away to be with family so we can have some mental breaks from each other. It is good for all of us.

I am thankful that I have this opportunity. Not everyone has the ability or the time to homeschool. My husband works hard so that I can be home to do this. I am so grateful to him for supporting me and doing what it takes to make sure his children get a good education. God has lined this up. I grieved having to stop homeschooling for six years. I quietly accepted that those days were over. God has slowly given me my dream back. Two year ago, Andrew came home and then last year, Marcus decided to do his senior year online from home. Now Jacob and Lily are back. It is so good to be focusing my energy on educating my children. But in order to do this, God had a lot of work to do on me. He enabled me to start using the word "No" a LOT! I had such a hard time with this. I have taken almost everything out of my life that doesn't HAVE to be there. It is a sacrifice I am willing to make.

Grateful for Grace,

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Pleasing Him

The simple fact of the presence of the Lord and of showing Him all that I feel, sense, and experience, without trying to hide anything, must please Him. -unknown

This is why I journal. It is so therapeutic for me to get it all out there so that I can give it all to him. When I am dead and gone my children will know how much I loved them and prayed for every concern involving them. It will be my legacy. The good, the bad and the ugly. But they will see God is faithful.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Learning and Growing

I'm back like an unpaid bill! Sorry, I have heard that my whole life. It is one of my father's favorite sayings. I can't believe how long it has been since I have attempted to even write a blog post. It seems so weird that this blog was an online journal but the older I got, the less I feel like I have to share. So unless God lays something on my heart like He used to, I will try to update you the best I can.

Life has changed so much this past year. I am not watching Amanda anymore and am focusing my energies on just keeping up with five kid's schedules. The last two years I have had a hormone shift and spiraled into depression. Very strange since I have never struggled with it before. It was a dark place, but God used all my searching to lead me into a time of self-care. I was completely burned out. I had nothing left to give and I have 5 kids and a husband that still needed me. Josh is still out on his own, but he still needs me sometimes too.  I was irritable and cranky with my husband and children. I still struggle with it. I decided to go to a counselor and when I listed everything I was doing for my family and the church, she said, "there is no way you can do all that. You are one person." She gave me permission to scale back to the bare minimum. I felt so guilty at first telling people "No", but now it is the most liberating word in my vocabulary! My family comes first and right now we are in the THICK of it. This also, prepared me to take on homeschooling my 13 year old, Andrew. He has some unique issues and is a unique individual. My second to oldest, Marcus, is finishing up his senior year online, so I have two of them home now. He is 18 and this is a good transition for him to be working and being on his own schedule.

I have also decided to make exercise a huge priority in my life. I want to be fit and trim and strong. It has made such a huge difference in my mindset. After trying Prozac for a few months, I suffered from terrible side effects. Not sleeping was one of them. When I decided to get off of them, I knew exercise would need to be very important to me. It is one of the highlights of my day! That and Bible study! So overall, after building margin back in my life, I am able to cope better when a crisis hits.

I had multiple eye surgeries last year and this year and now my eyes are functioning way better. Still have some double vision, and now I can't see up close so I need bifocals. But my far sighted vision is now 20/20 so driving is way better. This is good, because I do a LOT of driving! When you are in a 1A school, games are far, far away.

Sports and Scouts have been all-consuming. This seems to be what I do besides clean and cook and do laundry.

Marcus: Football
Jessica: Basketball, Track
Andrew: Scouts
Jacob: Football, Basketball, Baseball
Lily: Cub Scouts, Basketball

This is all good stuff. I am not complaining. I love to watch the kids do their thing. It gives Steve and I something in common besides raising them.

Life is good. I am 2/3rds the way through this parenting journey. Less them 10 years left. My oldest, Joshua, turned 20 last month. That leaves me with (only) 3 teenagers, a middle schooler, and one elementary age. Tough days, but I am praying I will finish well. Lots more to do to prepare these kids for the outside world.

My newest Bible study is called "Elijah" by Melissa Spoelstra. It is all about developing and maintaining spiritual stamina. Nothing could be more needed right now. My children struggle, we struggle in our parenting, our marriage, and I struggle just trying to find myself in all of this. God gives me meaning to my life and purpose even in this "serving" season, where I don't feel like I am doing a lot for God's people, other than lead them in worship every now in then as a worship leader at our small church. I remind myself, I need to meet the needs of my family first. I have peace when I get things in the right order.

I used to be such a go-getter. So passionate about this cause and that cause. That really isn't me anymore. I want to live a quiet and peaceable life. My actions reflecting God's love to my family and those around me.

If you are a mom on the edge of burn-out. Do yourself a favor. Stop trying to be all things to everyone. It isn't possible.

And it's OK...

Marcus's senior pic

I so enjoy fall and spring colors! Especially in the forest.

Princess Jessica and Marcus after Homecoming Game

Lily before Homecoming

Jessica looked beautiful on her father's arm!

Andrew loves hunting and filling our freezer with meat!

Marcus and I at our "Senior football players/moms" Photoshoot

Andrew has been working so hard tearing out burnt fence and replacing it with new ones. There was a terrible fire by my parent's ranch and they need to get this done so they have pasture land for the cows in the winter. He is such a trooper!

Jacob is Mr. Sasamaphras. He is busy with sports and video games and spending time with friends. He is really excited about becoming a Junior Deacon this year and can serve communion to our congregation.

Sunday, February 4, 2018


My poor blog has been sadly neglected. We are in the thick of life. One grown kid out on his own, two high schoolers, one middle schooler (whom I homeschool) and two elementary age kids have been keeping us very, very busy.

I am trying to choose more wisely the things that I spend my time on. Blogging was probably one of the first things to go. Scrapbooking has also stopped. Cardmaking? Hardly. Ever! My days are spent cleaning, cooking, watching my sweet Amanda while four of the kids are at school, and homeschooling Andrew. I have also put exercise and Bible study on the top of my list.

Did I mention sports? Football, basketball (three different ages/teams), track and lastly baseball!

I love my life! I love watching kids grow and tackle challenges during games. Learning to work with different and difficult people is the stuff of life. Sports glues our tiny community together. We gather, watch, and support our kids.

Things are going really good right now. I am more rested now that the kids are older and I am healthier than I have ever been at the age of 42. I pursue peace like never before. Working on listening to my kids instead of just accusing them. Building relationships with my teenagers have been a priority. They are turning into amazing people.

This is our Christmas photo. 

So nice having all my kids under one roof for a few days. 

So here is my problem with blogging. The older I get, it seems the less I have to say. When my kids were little I felt free sharing all the lessons I was learning. Now that my kids are older, I want to protect their privacy. I could keep posting pictures of sports, sports and more sports but that could get a little boring too. So I will continue to post what is on my heart. A picture here and there but it will not be an online journal like when I first started blogging. 

May God bless you all and thanks for following despite my long absences. 

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Greece Trip Part 2

We woke up the next day and decided to go visit the travel agency to get a plan for the week. We had specific things in mind that we wanted to experience while we were Greece. Who knows if I would ever be able to get back here again?

We were delighted to meet our travel agent. Super sweet and helpful! She asked us to come back that evening and she would give us her ideas. So we had a whole day to go and see some sights.

Vern and Ethel wanted to take us down to the southern tip of the mainland of Greece. We stopped on the way and had a not-so-o great lunch at a restaurant on the beach. The Aegean Sea was so blue and beautiful. I put my feet in it and laid on the "sand" which was big hunks of rock and granite and even terracotta.
 Jackie, not really enjoying her shrimp.

 Me, walking on the beach while lunch was being prepared.

 Our waiter was not very friendly, which was strange because we only had two that were not. The others were amazing!

 Vern and Ethel sitting in the sunshine.

 So beautiful!

 The biggest ice plant I have ever seen in my life! It was everywhere.

I grabbed a few pieces of beach rocks so I could have some in my travel collection (you know, since I am a world traveler now. Ha, ha). Granite, marble and something else I couldn't identify.

We ended up 70 KM south of Athens and visited our first ruins, which was the Temple of Poseidon in Sounion. It was crazy to think how old it was. 

Lots of naval battles were fought below us.

 The Aloe Vera plants were MASSIVE!

 Loved the vegetation.

 Again, lots of battles were fought down in this inlet.

 Graffiti from the 1800's.

 Jackie in front of the Temple of Poseidon.

We all got pretty sunburned while touring the temple. There was a gift shop and Jackie and decided we were going to bring home souvenirs after all for our immediate family. Originally, we weren't going to, because we chose to have one bag apiece as just our carry on, so we knew we weren't going to have a lot of room. What we chose had to be very small. But it was fun shopping for them.

On our way back we followed and eventually passed this guy in a van that was so stuffed with crud he could barely see out of it. It was the worse hoarding I had ever seen. It was very dangerous. As we passed him I managed to get a few pictures and a video.

The traffic is so dangerous there, you have no idea how unsafe this is! The driver is in there somewhere!

We went and met up with the travel agent and she gave us an amazing plan! Four days worth of tours for only $250 apiece. This was including a private tour guide for two days. One for the Acropolis and one for the day to show us around Corinth. Very cheap!

Of course, I was hungry so we risked our lives to cross the highway to the marina. I can't tell you how scary that was! As I was standing on the tiny concrete medium strip in the middle of a six lanes of traffic (going very fast), I kept thinking to myself as I was waiting for the light, "I can't believe I am voluntarily standing here."  I will explain more in a bit...

We ended up going to a very America place called TGIF. This is when we encountered our first taste of Grecian cats. See that cat right there laying in the planter?...

We prayed for our food and boom, he was at our table trying to snatch our food!

Weird cat! The Greeks really like their cats. They have strays everywhere. Yet the funny thing is, is we didn't seeing any roadkill. Not one dead cat on the road, did I see in all our travels. Not one dead anything. They even feed their strays. All along the streets of the neighborhoods you hear fighting cats and see little tin foil bowls with cut up hot dogs for their food. There was cat scat everywhere. You really needed to watch where you stepped.

After having dinner at the marina, we went and looked at the HUGE yachts. We took our life in our own hands again as we crossed that highway back to our apartment. You have a red light that tells you to cross halfway. The problem is that "half way" is a thin narrow 2 foot by 10 feet long strip of concrete. There are cars going 50-80 miles an hour inches in front of you and behind you. I was so afraid the backpack Jackie was carrying would get hooked on a mirror and she would be ripped into the street and killed before my very eyes. You just sort of stand there and pray for 2-3 minutes until the light finally changes. This was by far the most stressful part of being in Greece. It seemed that people did not follow traffic laws. They parked on the sidewalks, they blocked people in, they practically ran you over if they could . Speed limits weren't enforced and motorcycles were allowed to go anywhere they wanted. Their favorite thing to do was drive in between the buses and cares and make their own lanes. They didn't where helmets and rarely did you see a blinker being used. They made Portlanders look polite!

We got back to the apartment and slept pretty good that night. Part 3 coming soon!