Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Changing Seasons

This last week has been a busy one, and we are finding ourselves in a season of change.  I suppose this was bound to happen as our children grow,and find themselves needing, wanting different things.  Thankfully, the Lord has been protecting my tender mama's heart from too much change.  I am not sure I could handle a lot more!

The change is in several forms.  The first is that we are finding it more difficult to go camping as a family. Already, our oldest had stopped going a few years ago.  Now that he is 17, he is able to stay by himself and cat sit.  And his involvement in marching band makes our camping trips less frequent, as we are trying to be supportive band parents.

The other two still enjoy camping, though not as much as they once did.  And frankly, Jeff and I are finding it a lot more work than fun, even with the teen's willing help.  So, we had the unusual experience of coming home from a camping trip and deciding to cancel two upcoming trips!  It is usually the opposite.  Nothing bad happened.  We all just said that day trips would be as nice, and we love our home!  Perhaps that is one of the precipitates.  We love being closer to home as there is so much to do around here.  We did schedule a trip up to our beloved lake in July, but we will stay at a hotel.  We will see how it goes.  We don't plan to sell the camper just yet, but it is an idea on the table.  We spend $40 a month to store it.  We still have one camping trip left on the books.

The other change has to do with our schooling.  Our youngest had already declared himself ready to try the local public school.  With our oldest doing well there, we were considering it, however, they are two very different boys, and I was not totally on board.  Grace has mostly finished the Sonlight offerings for high school, as she started the high school cores when she was in middle school with an older brother going through them.  So she was also looking for a new school plan.  So, it has been decided that they will be enrolled in an accredited online school.  They will still be at home, which I like, but they will have outside accountability. Then if Trevor comes up with a compelling reason to try the public high school the following year, he will have accredited records that our local school will require.  He may not go.  He may like this online school well enough.  We shall see.  We have two friends who are enjoying this online school, so that gives us hope.

And as I mentioned last week, Jeff starts a new job this coming Monday.  I am praying it is a good fit.  I am so thankful that it is close to home. (Another reason to love our home!)  It is ironic though.  If he had not taken the job so far away, we never would have moved here.  God knew though!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Pace of Life

Life is moving a long at full speed. Despite our school year winding down, we are pretty busy.  Last week, we finished AWANA.  We have agreed to be Trek directors again next year.  A big part of our decision came down to a major change for us. Jeff accepted a new position at a CPA firm 9 miles from home!!  Jeff won't have to drive 60 miles a day now.  He will be saving so much in gas and time.  As I am someone who craves stability and security, a new job brings anxiety, and a chance to trust the Lord!  He starts in June.

Ryan has started marching band!  He will be playing saxophone.  Last Saturday was kick off.  Do you know how much work goes into band?  That boy has made quite the commitment, and we are so proud of him. He will be learning saxophone on the fly.  He says it is not hard.  He is one happy kid!

Grace and I finally got our raised garden beds put together and filled.  Hers has marigolds, zinnias, and sun flowers.  Mine has tomatoes, cucumbers, basil, parsley, and catnip. A bunny ate two of the tomatoes and cucumbers.  I need a fence! It was such a joy to be able to have boxes again.  I am so thankful and grateful for my husband who helped make our dream come true!

We finish school Thursday.  These last days are the hardest.  We can smell freedom!!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Last Five Photos

In an effort to find something worth posting, I have decided to upload and share the last five photos taken on my phone.

My dear husband painted our table.  It turned out great.  Now the old plastic chairs that we have look terrible.  So we are kind of, not really hard looking for second hand chairs.

Grace was looking so lovely that I snapped this picture before we left for church.

This geranium is one that I propagated from my grandfather's geranium.  We call it, "Son of Grandpa."  Trevor says,"Does that mean it is really Daddy?"

My cousins got together for an evening meal to celebrate our cousin's visit from England.

Trevor's grandpa sent him this meal, as Trevor had a fever and was unable to join us at another family gathering this week.  He is all better now, thankfully.

We have had quite a lot of socializing this month with friends and family.  I am looking forward to the quieter weekend coming up.  Too bad it is only Monday!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

It's Been Almost Nine Years

My family when I first started blogging. 
Have I really been blogging for 9 years this coming October?  Truly amazing.  And yet, here I am plugging away, trying to record the happenings of my little family.  I never set out to be a blogger's blogger.  I have always been content to write when the notion strikes, as this blog really is just for me.  I did not want to forget these precious days that slip into years so quickly.  

Over the years I have made friends here, for which I am thankful.  I have felt the tug away from blogging for several years now with the popularity of other social media.  But, I am committed to this format, the humble blog.  When I look back at this record, I am so thankful that I have kept up with it.  I know that my ramblings are not very brilliant.  This post is a prime example of said rambling!  

I was just thinking about all the life that has passed these last 9 years of being a home educating family.  We have been blessed.  And I am glad to have captured some of it here so that I can look back and remember how God has been faithful, which is so good to do now and then.

In life, one is always adapting, always changing.  I have only a few years left as a home educating mother, if I am allowed that privilege.  I want to hold onto these last years.  I need to take  more pictures, be even more committed to recording them here.  I really am excited to be a part of my children's launch.  I know it will be difficult for me, but there is no stopping it.  (As if they'd let me!)  At least I am not alone on this journey.  Thank you, the few, the faithful, my blog friends!!  

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Enjoying Life Again

Tax season is over!  (This was our 9th tax season, by the way.)   This is truly the best time of the year.
Grain free, sugar free, but still awesome!

Thrift find
To celebrate, Jeff received a four day weekend from his generous employer.  We made the most of every moment.  First we took 2 bikes to get tune ups.  Then, we worked very hard on our front and side garden beds.  We hand edged, moved plants around, mowed,and mulched.

Hard workers.

Edged, transplanted hostas, and mulched. 

Then we had friends over for dinner with lots of yummy healthy food.  We also rode our bikes.  We even found a patio table at a thrift store.  This week it will get painted.  And, we bought garden boxes to build as well.  Since it looks like we are going to stay here for awhile, we have decided to start making our backyard the way we would like to have it, a little bit at a time.

Hooray for spring!  In the past years, we have taken day trips to a favorite park, but this year we wanted to direct all our resources to our home and friends.  Either way, it was just a blessing to spend four days together!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Things Always Work Out

Here we are, at the last Saturday work day before tax season is over! I am pretty excited to soon have our family time back.  Looking back, it doesn't seem so bad, but in the thick of things, it was so hard.  Next week, we  may even get a couple extra days off, maybe.  Actually, he will probably just work from home a couple days, and not as many hours, because he is a manager now, and they are never totally off.   That is almost like time off.  

As for the questions of what to do this coming school year, those are sorting themselves out.  My oldest went back to school after spring break, and had a chat with his band leader.  It seems that if Ryan wants to, he can be in 6 bands next year.  Of course he wants to, so he went to see his guidance counselor and they set him up to take concert band (which includes marching and pep bands), beginning jazz for saxophone, advanced jazz band for guitar, and a combo jazz band.  That young man is going to spend a lot of time in the band room!  He is also going to take physics, AP literature, combined calculus/trig honors,and US history. I think it was a good decision.  I could not make it for him, and I would have supported him coming back home or going to community college.  I am thankful that we found such a good music program at our small local high school.  It's just a small town high school.  Who would have thought?  

My youngest is also going off to school, 8th grade, at the public school.  He wants to go, and we can't think of any reasons to keep him home, if he really wants to go.  We are calling it his "rumspringa" after the Amish children who get to go off and taste what the world has to offer before joining the church.  He will see that public school is not all that it seems to be or maybe it will be a good fit.

My daughter will be home, and we will be working on making 10th grade a great year.  One of my hopes is to find a place nearby to volunteer together.  I am thinking about our options, like an animal shelter or nursing home.  I can't believe that she will be 16 this summer!  I have a lot of planning to do on her behalf.  I also need to locate all the books that we already have from when my oldest was home educated.  

My world is going to be so different next school year.  I know there are some who might not agree with our decisions, especially in my homeschool friend pool.  I think it is best to look at each individual child and decide what best fits their unique needs when making school decisions.  I also do not think public schools are all that great, unless you can use them to your advantage, like band. I cannot provide band at home.  In addition, as much as I try, I cannot keep them home forever.  I have to let them test their wings, especially my young men.  They are going to be in the world supporting their families one day. My daughter, well, she doesn't need that exposure, so I am glad she wants to be home sweet home.  Above all, I am grateful to the Lord's leading us.  I truly feel this is His will.  

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Almost Easter, Time to Plan for Next Year?

In just a few days it will be Easter.  This is just another reminder how fast the year is going.  But this post is not to lament that fact. It's a bit of an eclectic brain dump that I am in need of here.  So many things to consider as we try to make plans for our next school year.

First of all, number one son is in the home stretch of his first year in a public school.  He is thinking hard about finishing at home next year.  The only thing keeping him from that decision is jazz band.  He has grown as a musician this year through his involvement in the public school band program.  He was even inspired to get a saxophone for his birthday, and is moving right along in that endeavor.  He is also working on his piano skills, because as he tells it, the piano is where music is written.  He takes his SAT next month.  That will probably help him to make the decision.  He is so bored by the public school's inefficiencies.  Dual college credit is a possibility if he leaves public school next year.

Secondly, my youngest has expressed a desire to go to the middle school next year, just to "see what it is like."  Well, we can guess what it is like from our high school experience, but he can't seem to get it out of his mind.  What I would love is to find an affordable class or two for him to take somewhere.  There are homeshcool classes around, but they are expensive.  I am praying for guidance.

Third, our current homeschool year is quickly winding down.  We only need 40 more days.  I have loved our studies this year, Sonlight 20th Century World History.  It's time to think about next year. I am not sure who will be home next year, so it is hard to plan for certain.  It is impossible, when I think about all the combinations!  So, I am just in a waiting mode.  I am waiting on the Lord to show me where to go next.  I could have 3 scholars or 1 or 2!  See my problem?  It will all get straightened out sooner or later. We are also waiting on the high school to see what classes my oldest could take if he stays.  He is not going to stay if they will not let him take advanced courses.

As for the one scholar who will certainly be home, well, she is the challenging one who loves to read, create, serve others, and hates all things math and science.  That doesn't add up to a Core 40 high school diploma, so we may have issues next year with biology, geometry, and a foreign language to tackle.  She wants to be a mom.  I want her to be a mom.  But is that God's plan?  We don't know.  We need her to be prepared for other possibilities.  It is hard when they get to be 10th grade and graduation is looming nearer.

Slow down time, cries my heart!


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