Homeschool | Summer Edition


Summer has officially taken over here: the humidity and everything we try to do to stay cool. I’m sitting outside at what is slowly becoming my favorite time of morning: it turns out 9am can be as magical as 6am. Between walks, bike rides, swims, long evenings in our yard, outings around town, and visits to grandma and grandpa’s house, our days and weeks of summer are quickly ticking by. After our little vacation out west, I’ve taken an official break from my cell phone. I spent a lot of vacation time searching for GPS directions, campsites, hotels, and weather updates, and I just need a rest.

Something that is holding our summer schedule together is our morning school time about 3 days a week. I normally schedule in a little summer term of homeschool, but this year we’re still working on our spring semester that we haven’t completed yet. We work to complete our books, and between distractions and too many breaks this past year, we’re not quite finished yet.. whoops! But that’s the beauty of homeschooling; our books will be completed eventually, and learning is always happening– even when we take days “off”. Because my husband is a teacher, this summer has given me uninterrupted time with the girls working on their school while he takes care of the boys. We’re probably getting more work done these 3 days a week during the summer than we would get done in a full week of work during the semester without him here at home with us. I know I’m lucky to have the help, and I’m taking advantage of it as much as I can!

I’d probably define our homeschool method as eclectic. We tend to have a casual approach and use what works for each subject, often switching things up as needed. In the past 4 years of homeschooling we’ve tried nearly every form of homeschooling. We’ve tried traditional school at home, Charlotte Mason, unschooling, classical. I’ve definitely learned a lot these four years. I’m always trying to perfect what we do and always waiting to feel like I’ve finally found the perfect schedule, books, and routine. While I’m not sure that will ever happen, I am beginning to gather favorites! Whether favorite books or routines, I think discovering favorites is pretty close to finding what’s perfect for us! 

We’re on schedule to finish our spring 2019 work mid-July which will give us all about a month long break before beginning our fall semester late-August/early September. I’m already starting to plan for next semester when I’ll have 3 students at the table instead of just 2. I’m looking forward to a few changes that I’ll probably write about and share as I do more planning. For now, I hope you’re summer is going well! Do you homeschool year round? If you do let me know! I always enjoy hearing about how others plan their school days!

 

Family | Roadtrip West


A summer road trip was all we thought about this spring; we planned and mapped and looked forward to it for weeks. It eventually got shortened from three weeks to one week and ended up being less than a week away from home for reasons out of our control. How often do we plan things with results in mind and the results we get are so different from what we planned? The hours in the car with the kids made getting home the ultimate goal by day 4. We landed in a hotel one night because a tire popped miles from a town, and we pulled into town too late to get it fixed.  Our last night ended in another hotel as the bright blue Kansas sky turned dark and tornado alerts started popping up on our phones. None of the trip went as we expected, but the vastness of the uninhabited land was enticing and beautiful; seeing the variety of God’s creation was worth hours in the car with kids. We saw so much sky. The camping memories we made were golden: reading aloud in the tent, playing cards as a family, bathing with jugs of water from a lake. Still, home was the most beautiful word by the time we pulled in the drive. Sometimes all we need is a few days away to feel refreshed and remind us home is a wonderful place to be.

Spring Cleaning

 

I’ve been looking around our house the past few months, wondering how in the world we ever called ourselves minimalists.  It’s funny how quickly stuff just piles up.  The past two weeks I have been spring cleaning, though! It was a spring cleaning that turned into a spring purge and ended in a fresh coat of paint through the main room, and now everything is MUCH easier to tidy and fresher to look at! 

I really wish I could be a minimalist, but I also really like to save things. When we were on our honeymoon, we watched Hoarders for the first time, and I was so motivated, it began our little journey of living more simply.  Pete was an unintentional minimalist in college: he didn’t call himself one, but I was shocked the first time I saw his dorm room.  It looked like he could pack up and leave in the night with just a bag on his back, and I was intrigued. 

Eventually, 3 years into our marriage, somebody walked into our apartment and asked if we were just moving in because it looked so empty– we had lived there almost a year.  It was thrilling and fit with where we were at in life-renting and moving often. 

And then life happened; birthdays and holidays felt too close together, we had more kids and bought a house. Eventually it seemed as if clothes and books and toys were pouring out of every drawer, corner, and empty shelf.  It was past time to reevaluate.  I viciously purged out 3 van loads full of stuff to the thrift store and an entire van full of trash/recycling.  I was even finally able to pitch some things that have made it through all the other purges over the years: some textbooks and sentimental items.

It all felt so refreshing and echo-ey that I decided to give our living room a fresh white coat of paint.  It was the perfect way to end a crazy week of spring cleaning, and I’m satisfied with how it looks.  Most of all, I’m pleased with how empty all the little spaces feel again.

Although I wish I could just pitch stuff once and be done, there’s a constant, sneaky flow of stuff coming into our home that piles up so quickly!  Gifts and hand-me-downs, things we purchase, and things the kids pick up here and there are somehow steadily streaming through our doors.  I’m realizing this is another repetitive life processes that never ends.  It’s nice to have a springtime to remind us to open our windows and the doors of every nook and cranny hiding all the unnecessary things taking up space in our homes.

The biggest bonus after my massive spring clean this year: I can tidy so quickly!  I know some people enjoy tidying constantly, but I don’t.  I don’t naturally want to walk around picking up and rearranging little things all day long. However, because I enjoy cleanliness so much, the only solution I see is having less stuff to tidy.  With fewer clothes comes less laundry; fewer toys make less pickup time; less furniture means less dusting. 

And now it’s Friday, and I’m about to go do a quick house cleanup to prep for the weekend, and I’m so excited to tackle what I know will maybe take an hour instead of three! 

Spring Things

We’ve been spending SO much time outside the past few days because the sun finally came out, and it feels like spring this week! We are officially warming up, and enjoying our last days in the woods behind our house before the poison ivy and copperheads take over. Here are a few things happening this spring…

Gardening: I’m always motivated this time of year every year to start a garden. For a few years I grew a successful garden planted in large tubs on our patio. Last year was our first summer in our new house, and I spent spring break building raised garden beds and planning out my garden.  However, I discovered we don’t have enough sun in our yard because we live in the woods. We also had too many wild animals eating out of our garden before we could harvest any produce ourselves. We regularly have squirrels, rabbits, opossums, deer, armadillo, and raccoon in our yard, so I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised. This year I’ve decided to take a break and not have a garden after last years’ disappointment. I think we might have enough sun on our deck to plant things in containers, but I’m really trying to have self control this year and not purchase any plants.

Morning workouts: I’ve really been enjoying morning workouts this spring.  I know that’s normal for some people, but not for me. I’m normally really inconsistent when it comes to the time of day I feel like working out, and mornings are normally my least favorite time to exercise. I’m trying to be more disciplined, though, and sticking to a morning schedule has been good this month. 

Yoga: For years I thought yoga was boring. I also had trouble with the asymmetrical-ness: when the workout would spend too long on one side of the body before switching sides I would get an OCD panic that we would never get around to completing the exact same exercises and stretches on the other side of the body. However, when weight lifting and other fast paced bodyweight workouts weren’t interesting anymore, I had to find something else. I went months bored and frustrated last year doing the same workouts over and over. I think different workouts fit different seasons of our life, and what works one year might not work the next. We have to be willing to search out something different and not give up altogether. I realized I had never found a good yoga workout video and finally found a few great ones that I really like. I still haven’t gone to an actual class yet (I know, I need to), but I’m really enjoying my morning yoga at home for now!

Spring allergies: I can’t talk about spring without mentioning allergies. This past week has gotten really bad. I can’t go outside without suffering through sneezing and itchy, watery eyes. I can’t run outside in the spring, but I’m thankful my allergies only last a few weeks.

Spring break: We’re having spring break at home this year and loving it! Sometimes it’s just nice to stay home and do home things without the rush and seriousness of regular life. We’re taking care of all the errands that are easier with two adults (one to watch kids and the other to run the errand!)  Pete’s been running every morning; I’ve been teaching ESL classes every morning online; the kids have been playing outside every day; we’ve had family visit…and this is just the beginning of the week!  

All the sunshine we’re having is so refreshing after so many cloudy days this winter. Spring is still my favorite season in the Ozarks, regardless of the allergies! I’m off to enjoy another day of our spring break, now…I hope you are all enjoying this first week of spring!

Genesis 8:22

“While the earth remains, seed time and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.” (Genesis 8:22)

I find comfort in the stability of the seasons and in God’s promise of their steadiness. There will always be a time of growth and life, no matter how dark or dead things seem now.
“He set the earth on its foundations, so that it should never be moved. You make springs gush forth in the valleys; they give drink to every beast of the field…You cause the grass to grow for the livestock and plants for man to cultivate… He made the moon to mark the seasons; the sun knows its time for setting. May the glory of the Lord endure forever; may my meditation be pleasing to Him, for I rejoice in the Lord!” {Psalm 104}

《Summer and winter,

Springtime and harvest,

Sun, moon, and stars in their courses above,

join with all nature in manifold witness,

To thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.》