Saturday, May 16, 2015

Homeschool Journal: Time Gets Away

Oh boy, it has been nearly a month since my last Homeschool Journal post.  I thought I would shoot for every-other week.... time got away (as it often does)!  So what have we been up to for the past few weeks?

Since "Claiming Victory" on the 24th the warfare took a turn and instead of self-defeating mantras I instead struggled with worry, which I shared about in This Mama's Heart and Higher Education.  I am happy to report that Ashley's college application is turned in and the only 2 things left to do are take her entrance test and find the money to pay for fall semester (the school's scholarships won't cover all.)  Her school JUST got accreditation... which means, yay, they qualify for federal financial aid (FAFSA)... but their school number isn't in yet so that probably won't be till spring semester.  It is simply a reminder to trust God.... IF He wants her at this school in the fall, a way will be made and if not, we trust His timing.

May Day (May 1st) offered a FREE self guided tour of a local mansion once owned by a pivotal figure in our city's founding history.  I LOVE touring old mansions in tact, the kids enjoy the 'walk through history' with me and all the studying I have done through the years has helped me to provide valuable information even on self-guided tours.  I feel blessed by this base-line, though the personal lives and stories to fixtures was missing.  We did enjoy ourselves and I only wish I had taken more pictures as we went.  The mansion seemed a bit dark in many areas and I had all I could to just soak up the textures and details of 1900 opulence.

We wrapped up our study of Renaissance Europe with a Jeopardy style game of Review the European Map.  It was a lot of fun, though the Jeopardy theme song gritted at Ashley's nerves so I tried to use it at a minimum!

Last week, at the climax of my over-whelmedness with our predicament post-nearly-two-months of illness and trying to play catch up, I offered Brenden and Brooke the option of self-study research/project base schooling for the remainder of our scheduled school year, or continued work through text books which often require my assistance (especially for Brenden who is severely Dyslexic).  Brenden chose the hands-on approach which I expected and feel is more his learning style anyway and Brooke choose her book-work claiming she likes her text books... which I also expected!  Ashley has NO option.  Trying to keep her on par to complete base-knowledge and young-adult 'training', she doesn't seem to mind since most of her studies are self-led anyway, I just grade the work!

Fixing broken pieces on a museum display a couple months ago!

The funny thing about all that is 1) the complete liberation I felt when I didn't have to sit at the table next to Brenden all morning.  Don't get me wrong, I LOVE sitting with him, teaching him, and seeing him grow in knowledge and understanding.  However, after discussing my stress levels with my husband and how behind we are post-illness in many things, I needed SOMETHING to open up my availability to re-balance our household.  I look forward to Brenden's book-work picking back up in the fall, yet knowing and trusting he is learning to search out and understand information on his topic of choice (he is researching clocks!) gives me great peace and joy.... finding and processing information is such an important life-skill, ESPECIALLY for a high schooler!

2) I never thought Ashley would be capable of self-teaching.  Ranked pretty high on her scores for ADHD in elementary school, she has always struggled with focus and textbook learning.  Yet there she sits, each weekday, pouring over the books around her and enthusiastically sharing tid-bits, even choosing to do assignments not prescribed!  Her main texts this year are Exploring Creation with Biology by Dr. Jay L. Wile, Abeka Consumer Math, Abeka Literature, Abeka Vocabulary (she LOVES vocab!) and currently she is reviewing for her entrance test using last year's Abeka English Composition book.  She is even correcting my work at times!!  Her other subjects are research based and she does a marvelous job with those.

Hold on mamas... the prospect might be bleak right now as you wrestle with elementary school, memorization, dedication and the such.  It does come... in it's own time.... and trust me, you will miss many parts of what seemed like the harder days!

Another item consuming our time these past weeks (and to blame for my spotty posts on the blog) is the garden.  We extended it some this year.  The weather has been amazing and perfect for planting though it took to raining these last few days.... forecast seems to 'assure' me that my early season crops are safe.  Seeds went in over the past week.  I have mixed feelings since we meet with a loan officer on Wednesday to discuss options in buying a house!  It is possible my garden will be left for my neighbors to harvest!  I'm ok with that though.  After all, it is possible I will be harvesting it!  Either way, I keep praying for an abundance to whatever purpose God would have for it and the kids love getting their hands in the dirt!

They also enjoyed some water 'play'.  Yup, two high-schoolers and one middle schooler and they STILL build with recycling and make temporary wading pools out of old shower curtains!  At least they clean up after themselves now!!  It was fun listening to them talk and watching them build as I worked on planting and putting in a stone path in my garden area.  Who needs to pay for therapy when you have good ground to work and wonderful kids to listen to as you do!

Ashley was blessed with an opportunity to play during the offering at church 2 weeks ago.  She shared one of her songs she wrote.  They enjoyed her gift so much they have invited her to do it again!  She will be playing and singing next Sunday.


Mother's Day was marvelous.  The kids hi-jacked my change at Michael's last week when purchasing felt and bought me a beautiful necklace, which Brenden picked out!!! Brooke started making felt bookmarks... I got to be the first recipient of her beautiful creations!  Then, while everyone worked at making dinner I decided to tidy up the front of my house and transplant a few more pretties into the area that greets people when they visit.  My oldest son called me from Seattle where he attends University and we had a wonderful chat, I miss him so much!

This week was serving week it seemed.  Brenden and Brooke are fundraising to attend training next month with CEF and Christian Youth in Action.  They will be summer missionaries this year helping in backyard Bible clubs and VBSes.  Monday they helped an older couple with their yard and Wednesday evening we worked with a local Christian owned pizzeria.  Ashley and I pitched in on that one too. Multiple workers with CEF bussed tables and shared about the program.  All the tips and 20% of the checks that night went to June's training.  We had a great time and kept very busy.  Even enjoyed some free food and, can I just say, if you are ever in Billings, Pizza Ranch on King Ave is the place to go!

Friday Brooke started back up with piano lessons.  Her teacher moved away back in October.  For various reasons it has taken forever to get re-started.  Our elderly neighbor 2 doors down started teaching a little boy in the neighborhood so I asked her if she would take Brooke in through summer since she would understand the goofy schedule ahead with summer missions (her and her husband are part of the missions program at our church!)  Brooke is glad to get back to lessons but I can tell she misses her old teacher who was a fraction of her 'new' teacher's age!  My hope is that she will come to have a deeper appreciation of the generations before her through this interaction... and if she gets better at piano too, then that is great as well!

We breathe a long sigh this weekend and prepare for the only semi-normal week we are likely to have between now and July!!  I hope for moments, like above, when Ashley brings out her ukulele and sings us sweet songs.  Bitter sweet, I know these days are wearing thin, I want to savor every last one. 

I pray your school week(s) is blessed by sweet memories in the midst of all life's happenings!


Linking up today with:


  1. What a full month. Both my kids who are still homeschooled will me be middle school age next year. I can't believe I won't have any more elementary kiddos. All of our children have special needs so I still sit at the table and did with our oldest all the way through high school. I do see independence starting to develop. Thanks for the encouragement.
    Blessings, Dawn

    1. I am relieved to see we aren't alone! I tried to let Brenden to his own devices last year but he seemed to struggle with that because of the dyslexia and I suspect he has APD. Sitting with him this year has really helped him to grow and I love that! However, these last few weeks he seems 'checked out', don't we all this time of year? But with learning challenges, checking out can be detrimental. I had to keep asking if I was pouring information into a bucket with a hole in the bottom!!! I would rather light a fire and watch it burn... hence the offer to do self guided work. He is actually choosing to read encyclopedias on his own as a result!!!! I am amazed ;-) Thanks for visiting, I am blessed you could be encouraged :-)

  2. Hi Amanda! Thanks for linking with Collage Friday -- I enjoyed reading your post!

    1. Mary, thank you for providing such a fun link-up! I love getting to see what other homeschoolers are doing each week! Thank you for visiting :-)

  3. Wow so much going on in your household! I love all the different activities your kids have in their week.



    1. Over 3 weeks, the variety piles on! Winter was so slow and monotonous, it is nice to liven things up in the spring!
      Blessings to YOU!! :-)