Saturday, September 28

Home School: Love it or Leave it?

First and foremost, we will not be leaving it. :)  I have seen so many positive changes in both of my kids already so that tells me the was one of the best decisions we have ever made for our kids.

When we first decided to take on home schooling I was scared. I wasn't sure I would have the discipline to do it every day as much as needed to be done. So we decided to use an online public school program, the fact that it was a free program made it even ore possible to start sooner. So we thought it was going to be perfect.

The first day was scary, up until the morning before we logged in we had no idea what to expect. Partly because the school did a poor job of explaining to us how things were going to work.
We spent most of the day listening to teacher after teacher telling us the same things over ad over. And I learned that listening to a faceless person talk all day long was completely boring.

But once things started rolling school work wise we all started feeling overwhelmed very quickly. The kids were working their very best, as far as I could tell, but they were not able to finish everything in a day. We were working from morning until far after dinner and still not getting everything done that was on their agenda for the day. We were all feeling very defeated. There were many times I had to walk outside to hide my frustration and to keep from crying.

I started researching online and talking to people in our home school group about other options.

Finally after just 3 weeks of this I talked to my husband about it and we decided to quit, cold turkey. We gave notice and began winging it.  Last week was our first week and it was amazing. We had fun, we learned more about each other already, we got so much done!

Here is how we are doing things for now.

 We started out with the basics.
Math, Science and Reading/Language Arts are most important so I knew we should start there.

Week One Independent:
Started off the day with a writing prompt that I found on various internet sites. I just let the kids free write which is one of their favorite things to do. This gave me time to settle into my day and I knew my kids would love this because it is one of heir favorite things to do.

We also read from our favorite books just for fun, with no agenda.

For math we found a free program on  It started out with a pretest and takes the info from that test to cater a program just for that individual and begins teaching one lesson at a time. You have to get 5 problems right in a row in order to move on to the next lesson. I actually have an account  as well and whenever they do their lessons I do mine to brush up on my own skills. ;)

For English/Language Arts we are using a website with another free program called  It's a flashcard system that teaches almost everything in every grade level, they also have math and science and even lessons on manners and internet etiquette! As well as training for medical school! LOL  With this program is where we have the most fun learning, so far. We have learned a lot about what each of us knows by trying to guess the answers before looking at the "other side of the cards"

For science we have been doing science experiments from various sites and kits I have been collecting. And on other days I watch a TV show from the science channel the night before and write questions and quiz them on what they learned after watching it the next day. Then we look up more information on each topic afterward if we have any questions.

For their "electives" we are planning to create some sort of art program to follow for my daughter and Levi is continuing to attend his previous Jr High school for his guitar education.

Oh and we have a World history curriculum that was shared with us with is a Christian Curriculum that focuses on God throughout the lesson.

Thursday, September 19

I Took the Plunge

It's official.

I am a home school mom. Whew!

I actually finally did it.

Ever since my kids were tiny I secretly wished I could keep my kids home and teach them myself.

I honestly didn't know how legal home schooling was. I kind of thought that people were kind of cheating the system when they said they were doing it.

But every couple of years my husband and I would visit a new church and each time there were more home schooling moms than the last church we belonged too.  About 5 years ago we started going to our current church where I would venture to guess at least 80% of the kids are home schooled!  And not only that but they all belong to the same home schooler's group. Olive Tree.

My son started junior high 2 years ago and things got a little scary for me. I saw how horrible the kids were these days, my kid had a small bout with harassment from another kid. Mine was blamed for doing something that I fully believe he didn't do and so did the dean of students at the time, she backed my kid up! Which I was sincerely grateful for. And my poor kid fell "in love" with a girl and got into a pickle in that situation as well. Noting major, but nothing I was prepared to deal with already. :/

Not only that but he was getting into trouble at home for not getting good grades, he was failing classes, not turning in assignments, just doing enough to pass his tests so he didn't fail the classes. This did not sit well with me. Not to mention he would come home telling me stories he had learned in his science class that I definitely didn't think were right. (We won't go there.)

Then there was just my side of the story. I missed my kids! On any given school day this is what would happen.  We all get up, kids would get ready for school but every time one of them would hold still for more than 30 seconds either myself or my husband would start running of a checklist, "Did you do this? did you do that?"  No quality conversations were had all morning. no time for that.
Off to school they went. 7 hours later we returned home to have the same conversation every single day. How was your day? What did you learn today? (reply was almost always 'I don't know") What do you have for homework?

The rest of the evening was homework, homework, dinner, one tiny little chore because we still have homework to do, homework, shower, bed. No time for fun, smiles, laughter, conversation, LIFE.

Did you notice something missing? God. yea, Him.  I found out that I was saying to my kids, "We need to do our Bible study" every day but it kept getting put off until tomorrow because we didn't have the time.

So I finally sat my husband down and asked him what he thought. My husband, the love of my life, I sincerely love this man... He loved the idea and in fact had kind of wanted me to do it all along but never thought I wanted to or I would have already been doing it. Can you tell we both think we know each others thoughts more than we actually talk about them to each other??? :sigh:

So the ball got rolling...We signed up for an online school and started home schooling the last week of August. Woo-hoo!

We have had tremendous support from everyone in the Olive Tree/church group we belong to and we are all so excited to see how the school year will play through this year.

tomorrow...Homeschool, love it or leave it?

Wednesday, September 18


1There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
2a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
4a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
6a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
This year has been a doozy!
Actually, I should say this past summer was a doozy!
I called it our season of change because for a few weeks it seems as if "My life got flipped, turned upside down. And I had to take a minute, just sit right there and tell you how I..."  made it through it all.
I am so thankful I have a God who stands by me no matter what, who I can turn to at any time of the day and say, "Um, Lord, YOU do this, because I can't."
In a nutshell this is what this summer brought us..
~A decision to homeschool
~A decision for my husband to accept a new job, in the middle of nowhere.
~A decision for our family to move closer to where he'd be working.
~A Diagnosis of high blood pressure (diet changes)
~A Diagnosis of Diabetes (more diet changes)
~A minor surgery (first surgery ever)
All of this happened in about a month!  Every one of these situations is a MAJOR event and every of them cause a tremendous amount of stress and a couple of those that were listed were increased by stress which caused more stress about stressing to much about the stress... "Um, Lord? No more. Please?"
But in time everything worked itself out.
We did decide to homeschool our kids this year, which I will go into more detail about in a future blog.
My husband decided a couple of days before turning in his 2 weeks notice at work that this just wasn't what he thought God wanted us to do.
That took care of the moving- Woo-hoo!
Blood pressure has been staying under control with medications so far, to be tested later to see how diet changes are taking effect.
Diabetes diagnosis was later determined to be only PRE-Diabetes, however I have changed my diet tremendously and I am feeling much better. I lost 10 pounds in 4 weeks. This is the first time I have ever LOST weight on purpose. However I did slip back into bad habits about 2 weeks later and those dreadful pounds found their way back to my scale somehow. But as of Monday I have been back on my lifestyle change and I hope I don't fall back again so soon.
And the surgery went well. It was just a small removal of a lump on my head that was about the size of a pencil eraser. I wasn't worried about the actual surgery. What made me slightly uneasy was it was my first time going under anesthesia. Didn't know what to expect. It was a very weird experience but I am good now. Part of my head is numb still, and a small piece of the incision is still very tender but it seems to be healing well.
Thank you, Lord.