Saturday, January 19, 2019

HMJ: #homeschoollife

Wow!  Has it really been over a month since I last logged an entry for the Homeschool Mother's Journal!!??  I suppose it is a sign of my life for the last 30+ days and, from what I have seen out in the blog sphere, I am not alone!  So many families had grandiose intentions of homeschooling focus TO the week of Christmas and jumping right in after New Years and then, many, like myself, saw those good plans just sort of slip to the way-side. 

#homeschoollife

Every December I kick myself for not intentionally scheduling next to ZERO for the curriculum.  And ever January I think we will jump right back in.  After so many years, about the only thing I have learned AND walked out, is to give myself grace in this process.

So, this December, we crammed in the necessities to be done before the second week of the month was out.  And January... well, instead of starting the first week as planned, we started on the 7th with a partial schedule which just switched to full schedule this week.  Brooke had her Sweet 16 in the middle of it all!  More on that in a moment.


The BIG reveal I meant to post last Friday was in the epiphany I had concerning her THREE math classes she had insisted on and my non-math functioning mind!  Over our break I took a lot of time to pray and reconsider our schedule.  Most days this fall she was happy to be done BY 5pm and many of these days I was equally and exhaustively needed until 3 or later.  As my ONLY student now and a Junior in High School, I didn't feel this was acceptable.  I also had to come to terms with the fact that I am just not good at teaching Pre-calculus. 

Thank you Captain Obvious!

I managed Algebra 1 and 2 just fine.  I would read ahead, maybe grab some how-to vids and all-in-all, we managed.  I feel she could have done better than me as a high school teacher, but we fared reasonably well.  Geometry this year would be a cinch except she HATES the tedious work of Proofs, so that has been a challenge, otherwise I could manage that as well. 

But then Pre-calc. 

Concepts I barely grasped in Trig are now, even more so, alluding me in Pre-calc.  I watch the videos and I think I am ready to teach and then.... I'm not.  I've managed to get a problem right by chance... or by momentary understanding... but I can't seem to teach it to her learning ability and we both end up frustrated.  Not to mention all the TIME spent on prepping and teaching which feels wasted inside an endless cycle of mis-understanding.

She doesn't like to learn by videos.
She prefers one-on-one.
She did NOT want to take classes at the college until she is ready to start working on her degree (she insisted she wanted ONE college and ONE college alone... not a bunch of random experiences)

BUT

I made the judgment call to stick an ultimatum to her:  either she wait and take Pre-calc with the college next fall in order to get "all her maths in before graduation" OR she follow an online video.  (I considered teaching textbooks but I couldn't afford the fee OR the calculator right now.)  I also found a great Geometry program through Math Is Fun which I also recommended for this year so she could finish Geometry.  I appealed to her heart in letting her know how much I wanted to be able to teach these things but that I didn't feel it was fair to her to not really be 'learning' anything because of my methods.

She pondered, we discussed, and ultimately it was decided to try the college classes in the fall for Pre-Calc and beyond and she is going to look over Math Is Fun for the remainder of Geometry this year!  I could have heard the 'Hallelujah' chorus playing in the background!! 

Technically she can be done with math if she wants.  According to our state requirements, she had to take Algebra and Consumer Math.  She's almost done with CM and Algebra was knocked out freshman year.  According to college entry, 2 years math minimum and 3+ preferred.  She has hit that minimum as well and, if she finishes Geometry, preferred will be managed.  However, she is still convinced she wants to take ALL High School math possible before she collects her Diploma next year!

We also switched Literature curriculum.  I had her reading Charlotte Mason style: REAL living books.  But she has fought me all year on it... missing deadlines, complaining about difficulty, lamenting how she has no time for leisure reading, etc.  Tired of the fight, I spent the tail end of our break using an Abeka World Literature Book I happened to have and integrating it with her existing Grammar Comp program (also Abeka).  I hated to switch gears since I LOVE the living books style and she wasn't a fan of the idea of Literature Textbook.  However, after trucking through our first, and now second, weeks of school.... I am absolutely LOVING our new schedule... and so is she!

We have 3-4 lessons together on any given day and often finish before lunch when we don't get distracted with girl gabbing!  Then, she goes to do her assignments for those lessons along with some other OYO (On Your Own) work.  So far, except for 2 instances where she wasn't making the best use of her time, she has finished BY 3pm every day!!!  Perfect since she very badly wants to get a job ASAP.  Early finish = greater work availability. She is also loving the freedom to read leisure material again.

I felt all of these changes were realistic and appropriate.  As I begin to prepare for new ministry work as well, I am grateful for freed-up afternoons to get some work done!

The break was loooong, and we are just now finding routine again, but some seasons are like that.  The important thing we found: just keep putting one foot in front of the other and eventually, momentum will build and you are back on top!


Oh, and the Sweet 16?
My mom started a tradition with me of 16 roses for the Sweet 16.  I have carried it on with my girls.  My mother-in-law also wanted her to have Daisies (Brooke and my MIL fave) so I kinda got those (I think they are actually Poms or something like that)

She wanted to start the day by testing for her Permit.  In our state you cannot test without Driver's Ed until 16.  So, she scheduled 9am on the 9th!  She studied like crazy and sailed right through.  Out of all of my kids, she did it the fastest and almost tied her big sister for best score!  She's already making plans for July 9th's official driving test and full-fledged license (per the required 6 month wait)!!


Brooke felt compelled to One Word this year: Perspective.  She asked for a cake of seasons to reflect the constant changing in life and the Perspective necessary to manage each well.
winter/spring
summer/fall
We celebrated with just us on her big day, since weekdays aren't very conducive to big gatherings.  Her brother took her shoe shopping (absolute treat!)


Then, Saturday the 12th, we had her BASH.  She wanted an intimate gathering so didn't invite too many.  She was excited to share "The Resurrection of Gaven Stone" with her friends so we went with a Movie Night theme and, to top it off, she loves Paris.  As a result, the entirety was "Outdoor Movie Night in a Paris Park".  How do you think we did?









She is a phenomenal teen and I am so proud of her.  I can't believe we are finally HERE, at this stage, the rest is going to roll by so fast.  I pray to soak in as much as I can in the process.

Also, I couldn't help but include fave moments (other than the Sweet 16) since I last logged an HMJ entry :

Singing in the Christmas Program with Rush of Fools... such a great bunch of guys!




ALL my kiddos under one roof for Christmas. Highlights were games, Christmas Light walks and doing something fun for others on Christmas Eve.

How has your back-to-school after the holidays been?

Blessings,






P.S. I DO keep my Instagram updated if you want to see the latest things we are up to when blog posts become irregular!  Follow the link in-text.



*Are you subscribed to my newsletter?  You might want to be.  Why?  Well, the newsletter contains bonus material you won't find on the website... not to mention, in those busy months when I can't get regular blog articles up, you can count on this periodical popping up in your email in-box each last Thursday with all new content!  What exactly does the newsletter contain?
  • Encouraging articles on Faith, Home(making), and Homeschool
  • Free printables under different themes each month
  • Insider info on the latest goings-ons with all things on my blog and writing related
You won't find all this great bonus material on the blog so be sure to sign up so you don't miss out!  It's Ok, hop over real quick, right there to your right, see it on my sidebar where it says, "Subscribe to my Newsletter" with a  picture of the "Faith and Home Times" logo above it?  Ok, now enter your email in the box labeled "email address" then click "Subscribe"....(don't worry, it doesn't hurt and I promise not to spam you!). You should receive a confirmation email from me.  

I look forward to sharing Faith and Home Times with you!!

Monday, January 14, 2019

A Day In The Life Of...


Hello World!  It feels like ages, even though it has only been a month.  The newsletter headed off without a hitch at the end of December (are you subscribed? If not, scroll down to bottom for details) but otherwise, my head has been filled with Christmas, visitors, New Years, Goal Setting, Sweet 16, getting back to school routines in motion (with a re-write on some of our curriculum), new ministry work, and ambitions for articles... among a plethora of other mundane details!  Scanning the blog-sphere, I learned I wasn't alone.  

Even closer to HOME today, hit the ball of the hard work of a housewife.  Studying Consumer Math with Brooke this morning, we were wrapping up our latest unit with a study on burning calories. Feast your eyes:
That's right, the only job/activity which ranks higher than a housewife for calorie adjustment is a CONSTRUCTION WORKER!!  Although, I wonder if that percentage changes (higher) when a woman is pregnant (with youngers under foot)!

What I do know is, a day in the life of a hard working housewife isn't anything to sneeze at.  Even if/when some of it is sedentary, the brain is ALWAYS on... {did I remember to start the dishwasher, I've still got to fold that load of towels... oh, and put them away, is Suzie getting enough sleep, where did Fred put the keys, what time should I start dinner, how should I coordinate carpool, it's time to pay the electric, (and if you homeschool...) how can I get Sally to study her spelling words without complaining, I just can't figure out how to teach this math assignment, I need to catch-up my record keeping....}

I think you get the idea.

I'm not saying a wife is better than a husband or a stay-at-home is better than a working-outside-the-house woman... what I AM saying is that your job IS important, valuable, viable and worthwhile.  The errands run, the housework completed, the meals cooked, the tears dried and so on... each and every task draws from our energy.  Each and every one is worth every ounce of exertion.

As many of my regular readers know, I have a personal mission to dispell the "Just a Housewife" myth.... to revive a realized value of stay-at-homes who have found themselves in a society unappreciative of their valuable contributions.  Some women have chosen outside work... some have chosen inside.  ALL have value.

If little ole me with just a 16 year old and all adult children can get lost in the din and to-do, why not everyone else.  Sure, some of us juggle better (or worse) than others... but we all juggle.  In the day of the life of, we push through.  But, Ms. Housewife, may I suggest one little thing?  NEVER think you do to little when you do all you can for those you love.  NEVER get lost in the rat-race feeling like you have to prove to the world you're 70% has been earned.  When in doubt, think on this:
God sees me.
Have I sought Him today?
Have I sought to honor Him today?
When I fell short, did I surrender it to Him today?
When I fell short, did I consider a way God calls me to rise up next time?
Did I forgive myself, as God forgives me, when I needed it?
Did I surrender ALL to Him today?
This isn't a perfect recipe, but sweet Ms. Housewife, it is the ONLY standard you need to consider each and every day.  HIS approval is all we seek, not that of a disapproving wandering world.  It is HIS assurance we count on, not the fads of a wayward age.  And when we don't hit the mark on any given day in our life, it is HIS forgiveness and restoration we can seek in order to get up and try again the next.  

You won't get it right every day.  
You will get it right as often as you can.
You won't exert 70% every day (some more, some less)
But, if each day you exert 100% of hope and faith and trust in God, you will honor Him in all you DO get done on any given day in the the life of...
It's still the beginning of a whole new year, my sweet friends.  A call to arms to re-focus on Truth and push forward into the place God has called you to without distraction from the fog of war outside.  

Take courage in your identity as God's and, with eyes on Him, commit your Work to Him, lock out the din of worldly condescension, love on your spouse, care for those who God gives you to care for, be a Keeper at Home and treasure each moment, small and large, 0-100%, because it is all part of the marvelous tapestry of each day in the life of...YOU♥️


Commit your work to the Lord,
    and your plans will be established.
The Lord has made everything for its purpose...
- Proverbs 16:3-4a 

(...and He has made YOU for this purpose)

Blessings,






P.S. I DO keep my Instagram updated if you want to see the latest things we are cooking and doing when blog posts become irregular!  Follow the link in-text.



*Are you subscribed to my newsletter?  You might want to be.  Why?  Well, the newsletter contains bonus material you won't find on the website... not to mention, in those busy months when I can't get regular blog articles up, you can count on this periodical popping up in your email in-box each last Thursday with all new content!  What exactly does the newsletter contain?
  • Encouraging articles on Faith, Home(making), and Homeschool
  • Free printables under different themes each month
  • Insider info on the latest goings-ons with all things on my blog and writing related
You won't find all this great bonus material on the blog so be sure to sign up so you don't miss out!  It's Ok, hop over real quick, right there to your right, see it on my sidebar where it says, "Subscribe to my Newsletter" with a  picture of the "Faith and Home Times" logo above it?  Ok, now enter your email in the box labeled "email address" then click "Subscribe"....(don't worry, it doesn't hurt and I promise not to spam you!). You should receive a confirmation email from me.  

I look forward to sharing Faith and Home Times with you!!

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

What I Read in 2018


It's that time of year where we all tend to cast a glance back at the compilation of time and experiences of the past 12 months.  Highlights, low moments, adventures had, experiences enlightened and so on.  Media outlets issue the year's best lists and even bloggers find recaps a fun way to realize all life has held for this year preparing quite quickly to close!

When 2018 began, I was in the middle of sabbatical and finally turning a corner to some much needed spiritual healing.  I prayed for God to show me how to best honor Him with the extra time I had on my hands since writing was on hold, He was faithful to answer.  He said, READ!  And read I did.

The books God led me to played a phenomenal role in my return to peace and understanding.  Some were titles I enjoyed with my high schoolers as they worked on literature tie-ins to their history studies.  Others were finds intended to encourage me as a homeschool mama (even after 11+ years it is still needed!!) Even my leisure fiction finds were a reprieve, helping me to find missing pieces of my more romantically creative self!

Being a firm believer in the idea, good things are meant to be shared, I have decided to compile a recollective list of my literary adventures from the year!  NOT included are my book reviews for Tyndale and Lifeway or the books I started and then returned to the shelf because I didn't like them at all!!

 I can't remember how I found this book but I can say, it was a TOTAL LIFE-CHANGER for me.  I read In_Security at the beginning of the year and through it's pages, God healed me from over 40 years of self-destructive thinking stemming from un-attended insecurities.  If you or someone you know struggles with even a small measure of Insecurity I HIGHLY recommend this read!

God led me to read "Loving God..." directly after In_Security.  I had it sitting on my shelf for some time, having read some of George's other works and loving them, I always welcome opportunities to read her material.  This book mirrored In-Security in some ways and filled in gaps in others, solidifying the healing process God was guiding me through.

This little devo intertwined with the above two books during my morning study time.  I don't really follow Charles Stanley and I didn't have any of the teaching series Sandra references but this book worked well on it's own anyway.  Comparison is something I believe many women struggle with, and I was no exception by far.  Walking out the daily devotions helped me find peace in who I am and where I am.  I also learned how to better celebrate others, even when they are "have" those things which I long for.  I am now truly able to walk more contentedly as I genuinely celebrate other's regardless of where I am at!  Loved it.

I attended an online writing conference where this book was showcased as a self-publishing success.  The title grabbed me because of my missions experience so I ordered right away!  I have since called this my field exit debriefing in a book!!  God used it to tie up some of the loose ends in my healing this year.  Learning how so much of what we experienced in and out of field work was ordinary (even if hard) helped me make peace with many hurts and adjustments.  This book isn't just for missionaries though, I recommend it for ANYONE, especially those who know missionaries!  Ellen's insight can help open dialogue and understanding for better interpersonal communication with missionaries.

All of my spiritual growth reading this year was well caped off with the Casting Crown's lead singer's book "The Well".  I sent this to a friend of mine for reading material during major surgery recovery.  I sent other books as well... she never read them because she couldn't put this one down!!  Said she read and re-read... it is truly THAT good!  Mark uses the story of the Samaritan Women at the well as the base-line in this manual on recognizing when we are drawing from any other source than God for our strength and purpose.  A must read for the discerning Christian!

I asked for and received this great break-out book for Christmas 2017.  I enjoyed every minute of authentic sharing Amber Fox poured into these pages.  Her words were a breath of fresh air blowing across the spectrum of juggling homeschooling AND the art of Housewifery.  She approaches all aspects of daily life with a Biblical perspective and left me encouraged to keep plugging ahead, knowing those bad days are normal and hopefulness really does go a long way.

I sampled Prime Unlimited on my reader this year.  "The Homeschooling Highway" was a perk I enjoyed during my free trial.  Amy's book is a quick and easy read encouraging homeschool moms with tips and tricks of the trade.  I will admit, much of her advice was old news to my seasoned experience... but it was a blessed confirmation to hear another mom with the same heart.  I recommend this book most especially for new and newish homeschool families.

I finally read ALL of Screwtape Letters.  LOVED IT.  I had assigned it to the kids during a C.S. Lewis unit we did in conjunction with our World War II studies.  We know, from the Apostle Paul, that the life we live has spiritual battles happening in the unseen.  Lewis did a fabulous job of looking at this unseen fight for man's soul.  Timeless.

Also on our homeschooling reading list during our World War II unit was this eye-opening true account paralleling a young Jewish woman and German boy as the events of Hitler's Nazi regime unfolded across their lives in Europe.  We were going to read the typical Anne Frank, which I had found utterly moving years ago.  However, I wanted Brenden to be able to read about a BOY during this period and this book satisfied both him and Brooke on identifiable perspectives.  In the end, I found I prefer this story over Anne's!  Not to diminish her sad account, but because of the rounded perspective it provides.

As we moved out of World War II and into the communist era, the kids and I each read about Brother Andrew.  I found his story inspirational because he went from falling so far away from the Lord to risking his life in absolutely radical faith moves which I felt reflected what true relationship with Christ should look like! 

I had yet to read any Orwell but as we wrapped up the school year and Brenden prepared to graduate, I felt it imperative to be exposed to the concepts in Animal Farm.  Zach had read 1984 in public school and Ashley read Animal Farm for me in her Homeschool senior year (though I didn't read it with her then!), I figured it was time.  We all LOVED it, though the satire of socialism/communism was quite sad, it was also inspirational, reminding us to stand up for our freedom, be educated and stand firm by truth... even if you end up as glue.

Having NOTHING to do with homeschool, I decided to read something a bit fun and lighthearted this summer!  I love Juvenile fiction and the subtitle on "The Penderwicks" seemed enchanting.  I liked the book and can see why it won awards, however, I am glad I didn't require my kids to read it.  I expected it to be reminiscent of books like "The Boxcar Children" but instead I was surprised to read of more mature issues like crushing on a boy too old for a pre-teen girl and the lengths which she would go to calculate encounters with him.  If you read this with youngsters, be prepared to discuss this area.

I actually started this one in 2017 but I finally finished it in 2018!  I read Anne at bedtime on my reader.  I was never exposed to her as a child but I am grateful to be enjoying her adventures as an adult.  I love Anne's carefree and imaginative spirit.  She reminds me of myself when I was younger!

I even started AND finished book 3!  With Anne maturing in this installment, I found it to be much more suspenseful and lost much sleep reading onto next chapters to find out what would happen next!!  I am now slowly trotting through book 4, hopefully I can report that as a completed read in 2019!

And that is it!!  Or at least that is what I can remember! My brain feels full and I have loved these literary adventures in 2018, I look forward to what great books God has in store for 2019!

What did you read in 2018?  Any big favorites or recommendations? 

Have a blessed rest of the Christmas Season and a joyous New Year ringing-in!

Blessings,








This has been a Five Minute Friday Post in conjunction with Kate at Heading Home where bloggers are sharing the books they read in 2018.  Hop over for more great reading ideas and/or to share your own!
https://katemotaung.com/2018/12/17/books-i-read-in-2018-book-recommendations/

For 5 Minute Friday posts, where writers tap away for 5 minutes, un-edited, on a predetermined topic, check out the link below:
http://fiveminutefriday.com/