Saturday, December 22, 2012

Christmas Break!

I think it is especially beneficial to any homeschool mom to take the first week of Christmas break and simply refuse to think about school. The first semester is over! Semester exams for the high schoolers are graded and in the books, the youngers kids are done with their projects... it's time for a breather.

It is tempting to view a holiday as a time to "catch up" on all the things that have fallen by the wayside, but that is dangerous. Dangerous because it takes your mind off the beauty of the season. The Incarnation of Christ is the most immense, amazing, gorgeous event in all of history. Let's just take a week to dwell on that. Meditate and ponder. Discuss with your kids and use your imagination. Let it sink in.

Then, sleep late. Have a cup of hot cocoa on the couch at ten in the morning. Take the kids to the park. Star gaze until midnight and count the falling stars. Sit in the dark living room and stare at the lit Christmas tree with your youngest. It's ok. Their eduction will not suffer because you took a week off.

Your mind will empty, your heart will calm and your priorities will scoot back into line.

After a week, go back to the goals you listed before the school year started. Assess, re-evaluate, tweak. Decide what is working and what isn't. Look for blind spots. (once, I started a great elective and somehow forgot it by Christmas. yowza.) Then rewrite your goals for the rest of the year.

The week off will help you so much more than powering through and pushing yourself to catch up. With the added benefit of being emotionally present for your family...

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Hobbit

My three oldest kids and I recently read The Hobbit. Not together, per se, but at the same time. They had to read certain chapters at a time and answer questions, explore the text and compare it to other works of literature.

They created their own riddles, explored fables and myths, and even learned the six characteristics of a quest story. We had a really good time together and with our reading group.

Tonight is the big night. The Hobbit opens tonight at 12:01 am. I've taken the two olders to midnight shows before, but this is Gracie's first one. She is super excited. My sister and nephew are coming, as well as some of our homeschool friends. It should be quite the festive event.

Tonight is one big reason that I love homeschooling. We can dedicate time to a subject and then follow it up with something fun. One thing I've found to be true and have seen proven over and over is that a fun excursion means so much more to my kids when we've studied it ahead of time. This was true when we went to the Space Center and when we snorkled over a coral reef. It was evident when we saw Big Ben and when we walked on a Roman Wall. Tonight it will be fun to watch them watch a movie based on a book we just studied. I can't wait!

I feel very blessed that God has given me the grace to enjoy where he has placed me. It's not so much homeschooling as it is just deliberately enjoying my life. And you don't have to homeschool to do that.

Saturday, October 27, 2012


A quick word about vacations.

Never let it be said in your home that we take a vacation from learning. Every day is a chance to learn something. Tests are not the point, neither are grades. It glorifies God for us to learn. Vacations are breaks from responsibilities, but not learning.

We leave tomorrow, on the one year anniversary of our trip to the UK, to go to Miami to stay with my first cousin. We will swim, relax, read books, watch movies, but we will also swim over a coral reef in the Keys and take a fan boat ride in the Everglades. Think that's learning? Yep.

Everyday is an opportunity to grow and learn. Sometimes that looks very structured. Sometimes it looks just plain fun! Enjoy it and show your kids how to enjoy it as well. To quote an overplayed song, "Never lose your sense of wonder!"

And then, when it's all over, count it as school! For realz, yo.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Slowing Down

My friend Sophia made the comment the other day that sometimes she's so busy homeschooling that she's never home to homeschool. For the uninitiated that makes zero sense, but for others that statement is met with an immediate head nod and maybe a heavy sigh.

Homeschooling isn't just about worksheets and reading. There are many facets to it. For moms of little ones, there are the weekly play-dates, Children's Theater and field trips. For olders, the options are endless. And exhausting. Co-op, driver's ed, dance class, music lessons, tutoring sessions, Key Club, sports, and on and on and on...

Last year I almost drove myself into the ground. Literally. I was putting about 500-600 miles per WEEK on my van. No joke. Monday: music lessons. Tuesday: Biology. Wednesday: church. Thursday: co-op for the youngers. Friday: Biology lab. Saturday: football. Sunday: church. Start over. We never had two consecutive days at home to just school.

I learned something though. I learned that it can be done. We finished school books. We accomplished our goals. But it wore me out and almost broke the bank when gas prices skyrocketed.

This year we're trying something different. Mondays are crazy full. We have English Co-op, Anatomy class, piano and ballet, all in the same day. But then Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday are at home. Friday we have the youngers' co-op. One tank of gas per week. Oh yeah.

It is hard to decide what activities to do and what not to do. I wish I could whip out my handy dandy formula that tells you exactly how to find the right balance. Heck, I wish I had a formula like that. But it's not like that. Homeschooling is, many times, trial and error. You hardly ever get it right the first time. Or the second.

I have to remember (or be reminded by my sweet husband) that I don't have to do what others expect of me, just what is best for our kids. And I have to THINK. Be deliberate and thoughtful about what we do. Busyness for busyness' sake is exhausting and counterproductive. If in doubt, slow down.

Parenting Teenagers

Teachable moments with teenagers are rare and random. I was thinking of this as I painted Gracie's fingernails this afternoon and recounted to her tales of painting my nails during chapel when I was in high school. How must that have felt to my principal who was giving the devotional?... I remember maybe two or three talks from chapel.

I was subbing the kids' Sunday school class this morning and we talked about how we always watch our favorite movies over and over again. One little boy said that it was so we could examine them and understand them better. Or maybe it's just because we need repetition for us to ever remember anything!

We talk and talk and talk at our teenagers. Experts give us sure-fire strategies to get them to listen. We want to have that one movie-scripted, defining moment with our kids where they experience this huge epiphany and change their ways. But that's not how it works. When they're little we sing the ABC song ten times a day for months before they can sing it correctly, all by themselves. We remind them "chew with your mouth closed" and "put the seat down" and "wash with soap" and "no jumping on the furniture". We don't remember being told the same things over and over and over again as children. We think they should just know these things instinctively. I think the reason we don't remember it is because we were told so many times and taught so well, that it went very deeply into our core. We would never dream of jumping on the couch or not bathing with soap as adults!

Talking to teenagers requires the same endurance as training toddlers. We have to say it over and over in the hopes that it will one day go deep enough that something clicks. But we cannot give up and we should be encouraged, in a weird sort of way. I don't know about you, but I want the things I teach them to go to their spirit. I want the lessons I harp on about "loving your sister", "cleaning your room", and good hygiene to be a part of their lives.  I don't want instantaneous, superficial change. But Lord give me patience. It takes time.

Gospel training is just as difficult. Training my kids in grace means that I have really, really believe the Gospel myself. There are times when it feels like I'm screaming the gospel to my own heart. "I am completely known. I am completely loved. I am completely forgiven. I am completely righteous. By faith ALONE!" Over and over and over.

I forgot a meeting: Others opinions of me do not define me.
I committed that particular sin again: I am completely forgiven. Past, present, future.
I despise myself: I am completely loved and righteous.
Etc, etc.

If my own heart requires repetition, why do I think my teenagers hearts don't?

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Learning to Enjoy

I genuinely enjoy my children. I remember when it was not always so. I don't know if that was due to their "littleness" or my selfishness, maybe both. All I know is that I enjoy them now.

I remember when their noise and demands grated on my nerves. I took it all personally. I felt slighted and taken advantage of. I feel ashamed of that now, but I must admit the truth. I longed for "me" time. I looked forward to bedtime. In hindsight, I can see the dilemma through which I struggled. Little kids are hard. They whine and demand and epitomize the word persistence. Many a day finished with me almost in tears. I was just so tired.

I know there were days that I enjoyed them. I know I tried to enjoy them. But trying and doing are distinctly different. If you have to try to enjoy your children, you end up plagued with floating guilt. I remember enjoying snuggles in the morning and the delicious scent of syrup in their hair after breakfast. I remember teaching them to read and stretching out in the floor next to them playing with counting bears.

I've always liked them. I've always attempted to enjoy them. Now, it is so much easier.

I enjoy waking them in the mornings and kissing their cheeks as they stumble to the kitchen for breakfast. I can't help but smile as I see them each working at their own task, learning and concentrating. I relax into their teasing and hugs and easy affection for me and each other. I just like them.

I like Maggie's profound statements and Ty's wit. I like Gracie's observations and Brody's giggles. I like explaining a math concept and watching their eyes light up with understanding. I revel in their ability to tidy the house in thirty minutes flat.

As they grow older, I feel the days shorten. I see the platform ahead where they will disembark this train that we've traveled on for so long and it fills me with a bittersweet dread.

At the end of the day, I want them to know they are loved. By me and by an omnipotent God. I want them to remember their childhood with fondness and extend grace to me in all of my failures. I want them to trust God with all their heart, soul and mind. I want to spend eternity in heaven getting to know the reality of the potential I see in them. I want to look at them then and say, "There you are. There is the person I always knew was in there."

But for now, I will finish this blog, go command them to bed and kiss their cheeks when teeth are brushed and lights are out. I will enjoy this moment; they feel so fleeting now...

Monday, August 27, 2012

First Day of School

The first official day of school is in the books.

There was one slight meltdown, not by me. I was impatient with the meltdown-er and Chris stepped in to take care of things. I always forget how beautiful that looks, to see their father love on them. I was and am grateful.

It was also an abbreviated schedule since neither of our co-ops have started yet. We finished by lunch. Co-op will add another hour or two to the day.

Changes made that have had an immediate impact:
1. No texting - AT ALL during school. I don't know why I was so lenient last year.

2. No videos, movies, Netflix, etc during the week. I feel punished too, but they can't use these things as a crutch anymore. I see imagination at work already.

3. Chores begin first thing after breakfast. By the end of the school day, they don't want to work; they want to veg.

4. A written schedule was handed out to each child first thing. It cut down on the number of times I was asked, "Now what do I do?" My sanity told me 'Thank you'.

5. Teaching Textbooks Math. There are no words for how lovely it was today. No words. I hope it continues to be as great as I think it will be.

So, first day done. Today we all did math, reading, writing/grammar, Bible. Maggie and Ty had their first Anatomy class and loved it! When the youngers' co-op starts we will add science, history, geography, missions and current events. The olders' class will be college prep writing and should be very challenging. They also have their electives.

I felt a bit like holding my breath before jumping in this morning. This year is so different from previous years. As I get accustomed to the idea of everything though, I'm getting excited. This year will stretch all of us, but it will also grow us the most. That's something I definitely look forward to with excitement.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Advice About Your Homeschool Budget

Money, oh how I loathe it. I hate having extra because then I have to figure out how to use it. I hate not having it because then I panic a little bit. Money is a necessary evil and when it comes to homeschooling, things can get pricey.

When your kids are little, you don't have to spend a ton. Buy used books. Print free worksheets off the internet. Check out books from the library. Borrow from your friends. Write your own. (seriously, it's not that hard). But when they get older, you have to start making tougher choices. You can't make up a science curriculum... well, unless you're crazy smart, which I am not! You have to do your research, ask around, think of your kids interests and above all, pray. Pray, pray, pray. God will provide. It may not be laid out in your lap easy peasy, but you can work it out.

I posted on here a couple of posts back that my friend volunteered to teach my olders A&P. That is still happening and I'm still excited about that. There is a hitch though.

Upon further examination, the anatomy books Trish and I had in common are not the same. (Hitch #1) Different editions. That makes a difference too. They have different page numbers, different chapter questions, etc. But that could be overcome.

Hitch #2 -  the books are so old buying another copy is expensive ($300!) because there are not that many copies out there for sale.

My dear friend, Heather, gave me her A&P book plus the unused lab manual (she just completed nursing school). Awesome! We'll just use that plus our other books.

Hitch #3- They are too different. Trish would have to go page by page with Mags and Ty to make sure they know what to do. So... We'll just buy more copies of Heather's book and manual.

Hitch #4- The book is 7th edition, the lab manual is 9th edition. Grrr. This is getting ridiculous. I go to my amazon app. I scan the barcodes on the books. Boom. I find the textbook. $6 each. Not bad!

Hitch #5- The 9th edition lab manual is $30 each! So, I ask, can we buy the 7th edition manual to go with the book? Sure! Let's just do that. Even though the 9th has the fetal pig dissection in it. At this point, who cares? We'll deal with that later. And these manuals actually GO with these books.

So. I have 4 items in my Amazon cart. Two 7th edition A&P books, two 7th edition lab manuals. Grand total with shipping is about $50. I haven't bought them yet because, frankly, my head is spinning. I'm going to give myself a day to let the dust settle and make sure I haven't forgotten anything.

I know some of you may ask, "Why not just make copies of the books you have?" That is a good question. It sounds great in theory. It really does. But I discovered many moons ago that it just never works that way. I don't know why, but it doesn't. I'm all about being thrifty and saving money. We usually have zero extra money to spare. But in the case of school, if you need the book, buy the book. Sure look at used book sales, but if you cannot find it there, buy it.

ADVICE: Just bite the bullet and spend the money. Buy your kids their own workbook/lab manual/book. Things will go much smoother. No one will feel slighted and you will not regret it.

This is especially important if you have multiple children and you're buying for the oldest. Spend the money on the older ones and re-use with the youngers. Buy the Biology book and extra lab manuals. Buy the good math and use it over and over again. Buy the non-consumable and then just buy the consumables for the youngers.

I homeschooled my kids through elementary school on practically no money. Seriously. High school is a bit different though. But even then, it's not out-of-reach expensive. For both of my high schoolers this year I have bought: math (books/cd/automatic grading), Rosetta Stone foreign language (new), the A&P books, their required reading books (all used or borrowed), an elective (architectural design), and Writer's inc (used). Grand total: less than $700. That's much, much cheaper than a private school. It's worth the investment to me.

I can re-use everything I bought except the lab manuals and the grammar and comp workbooks I already had.

These are some of the books we'll be using. Some are from the thrift store, some I already had, some I bought at a used curriculum sale. My new ones that I purchased on Amazon should be here in the next day or two.

I need to clean out the small bookshelf off to the right of this pic in order to put these in place.

So there ya go. Those are some of my thoughts on money. If you have a comment or a thought, please post it in the comments!

Thursday, August 9, 2012


Accountability. That's a nice, unoffensive word if you've got everything under control. However, if you've got a gaping hole in your curriculum, it can be either your saving grace or the thing you fear most.

I've talked to a lot of homeschool moms and without fail, they always express the fear of screwing up. We tend to be plagued with fears and worries about college preparedness, life preparedness and basic skills. On a bad day, or night, the "what if" questions stalk us like a dementor in a dark alley. We can feel their cold reality pressing in on us.

I delayed my children's standardized testing for two years when they were young out of fear of what the test would say. I agonized over them. Turned out the tests showed my kids were either on grade level or ahead. There were no surprises. I knew they struggled in spelling and the test showed it. I thought their science was okay and they tested at least two grade levels ahead. The test gave me concrete proof of our strengths and weaknesses. It also showed me where we needed to focus more.

As my kids grew, I realized we were passing were I was comfortable in science. By seventh grade, I was burned out and not interested. I'm sorry to say that we passed the entire school year only touching on science briefly and shallowly. The following year, God sent help.

My sister is a science buff. She loves dissecting, identifying and learning about all things science related. I, on the other hand, am a huge history buff. It fascinates and captures me. My sister, Kim, loves to hear me talk about history but cares nothing for researching it and teaching it. We decided to combine our Wonder Twin powers and formed a co-op along with our great friend, Missy. Now all our bases are covered. My kids are scoring higher in science; my nephew is loving history. I don't slack off during the year because other people are depending on me too.
*(the pic to the right is of our little co-op)

My two olders are weak in writing. My fear was that, somehow, I was the only one in my circle who was deficient in this area. Imagine my surprise when a friend of mine approached me about forming a grammar/writing co-op for our high school students! Perfect. This year we will meet once a week and co-operate in teaching our kids college level writing skills.

It is so easy to allow my fear and shame to paralyze me into inactivity. I don't want all those other, really amazingly smart homeschool moms to know how bad I suck at teaching English. I want to be self-sufficient and autonomous. I want to do it myself. ... hmmm. That sounds familiar. Like, maybe, in the Garden?

My heart is deceitful and wicked. To ask others for help is humbling and my flesh protests. No, protest is too soft a word. My flesh screams and kicks and makes excuses. I ignore, justify and worst of all, try harder to do better. That's the one that kills me. I seek to find my worth and identity in how smart/educated/knowledgeable my children are. I forget who saves me.

I am not the hero of this story; Christ is. I do not determine my children's paths; he does. Psalm 37:23 says that a man's steps are ordered by the Lord. Not their mother, no matter how well intentioned. When I don't ask for help, I have to ask myself why. Is it to protect my reputation? Am I finding my worth in my ability? I have to fight to remember who I am. I am no longer the orphan fighting for my next meal; I am a daughter of the King. He has clothed me in His son's righteousness. He cannot love me any more than he already does. I am chosen, loved, forgiven and made right.

If I am completely righteous, I can admit my weakness. It no longer identifies me. Therefore, accountability is an invitation for the gospel to work in my heart and in the hearts of my children. 

I am blessed to be held accountable by a God who delights in me and by friends who aren't surprised by my failures. If you don't have friends like that, begin praying now for God to send you some. And when they come, be ready. Accountability will shake your life up... in a wonderful way!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Getting Ready for the Year

These next few weeks is the final push before starting the school year. I remember when I first started out, lo those eleven years ago, I didn't put much effort into preparing. I was teaching little bitties. It wasn't that hard to me. Now, though, I have older kids and it's me who's having to keep up!

Algebra 2 is keeping me on my toes. I've always been pretty good in math, went all the way through calculus. But it's been a long, long time. I have to constantly refresh.

Pre-algebra is not that hard, but it is a hard subject for the student. Yeah, that makes it harder.

The younger maths aren't hard, per say, but they do require me to be familiar with the material, explain it to them and then go over the problems. That takes time.

We have a pretty clear math schedule. Or should I say 'rotation'? I sit in one spot and the kids rotate to me. It takes some practice.

So these next few weeks, I have to finish out the older kids' syllabus for history, as well as one for American Lit. I'm having some trouble with it because it's important to me to have some continuity and flow to the year. So, I'm going through the books and curriculum and trying to co-ordinate.

The youngers need basics like school supplies, workbooks, etc. I already have all of their books. Except for history... I write their unit studies. This year we're going to "travel" around the world. We will go to every continent and spend a few weeks learning about the history, geography, religion and art of each one. I have this outlined, but I really, really need to sit down and actually write the worksheets. *sigh* Not hard, just time consuming.

I am very glad that I don't have to work out a science curriculum. That's my sister's job. I teach my nephew history; she teaches my kids science. It works beautifully. I make history real and exciting and she has them cut up animals and do experiments. Everyone is happy. If you have the opportunity to do this with someone, JUMP at the chance. It will make your life so much easier. Just make sure that the person teaching your kids is passionate about their subject. If they're not, your kids will be bored out of their minds.

The important thing that I've done and gotten out of the way is to write out my goals for the year. These may be broad- "For Maggie to be conversational in American Literature."- to specific- "For Brody to be proficient at reciting his multiplication tables by Christmas break." They are thoughtful and written down somewhere. It helps to channel this beginning of the year excitement. Otherwise, your school year turns into a trip to the grocery store with no list: I know there was something else we needed, but I can't remember what it was...

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Have You Asked Them?

Have you ever asked your kids what their favorite part of school is? I just asked Brody. His response... "I like that you're learning something, the point of something that God did, that God wants you to know." I like that response.

I also asked him if he liked homeschooling. Turns out, he likes that he doesn't have to sit at a desk all day or ride the bus. Hmmm... ok.

After asking Brody and writing it down, I went to the other children where they are hanging out in their rooms and asked them. This is what I learned.

Maggie said she likes learning things, figuring things out. She likes the hands-on stuff, like the dissections. She likes that moment of discovery when she finally understands.

Gracie said she likes learning about stuff she's interested in. She likes that she can explore stuff.

Ty said he likes figuring things out and finding out new things. He likes having the knowledge of new things and sometimes knowing things that other people don't know. He likes knowing how things work.

Then I asked John, who is our dear friend. He goes to a prep school. He said his favorite thing about school is being able to bounce ideas off of classmates who are of the same mindset. I think that's interesting. I don't really know what to make of it, but it's cool.

Turns out, that my objective of ten years has, to a certain extent, been realized. I have always wanted my children to love learning. I've taught them that learning is an act of glorifying God because he is the maker of all things. Kepler said that to try to discover/understand new things is to try to know the mind of God. That's awesome. For real.

Why do you homeschool? Is it so your children will be happy or successful? Is it because you are afraid of the alternative? Whatever your motivation, that is what you will teach them. They learn what we REALLY believe; not what we SAY we believe. Actual theology vs  Verbalized theology.

Friday, July 20, 2012


The wonderful thing about homeschooling is how other people want to participate. As I mentioned in a previous post, I've been struggling with what science Maggie and Ty are going to do this year. I've spent hours looking into it. This morning while I was exercising with my good friend Trisha, I made a passing comment about it.

Background on Trish, she's an amazing physical therapist. So much so that I tease that she's a magician. She has magic hands and a ridiculous knowledge of the human body and how it works.

Anyway, when I mentioned my frustration with finding a science curriculum for my kids, she looked at me like I was crazy and reminded me that she told me a year ago that she wanted to teach them Anatomy and Physiology.

Duh! I had completely forgotten. So now, I have a great teacher who will use the anatomy book that we already have and she's doing it for FREE! Woot! God is good! SO excited!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Inspirational Quote

"The mind has 3 aspects: the intellectual, which gives us truth; the ethical, which gives us nobility; and the aesthetic, which gives us beauty. It is really impossible to seperate one of these things from the other entirely; but we may say that in science we have intellectual, or truth; in religion nothing but the ethical, or nobility; and in art nothing but the aesthetic, or beauty. But as a religion without truth or beauty would be a very poor affair, so art without truth or nobility would be almost inconceivable."

- The Art of Writing and Speaking the English Language
              published in 1906

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

This Hidden Side of Me

Maggie went to a private kindergarten. It was fine, twenty-five minutes away, brand new teacher. She didn't hate it, but she also didn't really learn anything. She was easily distracted and struggled with memorization. She struggled with everything. I have home video of us trying to make it through her word ring homework. She was definitely NOT a visual learner.

On the other hand, Ty, only 18 months younger, was an extremely visual learner with strong memorization skills. He taught himself to read by listening to Maggie and I do her homework. He could add, subtract and understand math concepts, as well as read, by the time he was four. But he also acted out when he got bored. Like stick someone's head in the toilet acted out. Not good. He cried if I put him to bed when his room was untidy. He needed structure and a challenge.

When Maggie "graduated" K5, she still didn't know all of her letters and could care less about math. And the private school went up on tuition. We simply could not afford it. But the public school we were zoned for was a mess. The police were called to the middle school almost twice a week and the middle school shared a building with the elementary school. The test scores and reputation for our zoned school were appalling. It was not an option. What's a parent to do?

Our small group leader at church had just started homeschooling the year before and I mentioned to him that we were leaning towards it. I had no idea that the other family there that night would react the way they did. The father started screaming, not talking loudly, screaming, at me. The mother started crying hysterically. How dare I pull my kids out of the private school? Didn't I know that because of people like us the school was in danger of closing its doors? Did I not even care about all the other families? Why was I being so selfish? He went on a ten minute rant until our leader could get him under control. Ever since then, I have been afraid of that kind of a reaction. It's only happened once since but it still leaves its mark. I've also had people, adults, make fun of my kids for our choice to homeschool. I don't understand why though.

I once overheard an acquaintance from church made a comment about how if those people really loved their kids they wouldn't send them off to some public school. I immediately pulled her aside and lovingly reproved her. She, and I, have zero right to make that kind of a statement about someone else's life. We are not the Holy Spirit and cannot make condemning, blanket statements like that. It puts that person under the weight of a law that God did not institute. That in itself makes it wrong.

People who meet us for the first time have no inkling that we homeschool. We don't advertise it. If someone asks about school, we freely tell them that we homeschool but I'm always on my guard for the ones that get offended. I've only had 2 people yell at me about it but countless others take it personally for some reason. I've even been told a few times that I was crazy.

In talking with a good friend, oh about five years ago, he gave me some advice. Now this friend was still in college, unmarried and had graduated from a public school system. After stating that if he had children right then, at that moment, and had to choose, he would definitely homeschool. BUT, he said, but he would be very careful about socialization. I asked him what HE meant by that and he explained, "I would make sure that my kids spent time with people who are different than them. Kids who were not raised the same way and have a different way of living life." He made an impression on me.

So many people, myself included, want to protect our kids, keep everything perfect and right and good all the time. But by doing so, I isolated them from the very people Christ sent us to share the gospel. That's a blog for another day.

I wonder if anyone else has had experiences like ours.

Post Number 2 or Ten Minutes Later

I just posted the first post about ten minutes ago, but I have more to say.... now, what was it?...

Homeschooling high school is scary to me. Like, for real scary. So many opportunities to screw up with no one to blame. It makes my head spin. Deep cleansing breath. In. Out. What does it look like to trust God in this?

I have chosen our math for the year. We are going to try Teaching Textbooks. I am hopeful. With four kids, it gets almost impossible to give them each the instruction they need, especially with one child with a Specific Disability in Math. Teaching Textbooks has tutorials included. We shall see.

English/Lit we are continuing on with Learning Language Arts through Literature. I like that curriculum. Plus they will have their required reading lists. A sample of this year's lists (I'll not take the time to differentiate grades): The Neverending Story, Fahrenheit 451, Pygmalion, Lord of the Flies, The Education of Little Tree, The Whipping Boy, Fantastic Mr Fox, The Silent Boy, The Secret Life of Bees, Mere Christianity. That's not all but I'm tired of typing.

History will be a mid-depth study of the continents. Culture, art, missionaries, language, politics, geography, history, etc. The olders will be reading biographies as well.

Foreign language will be Latin with Rosetta Stone.

Science is still sketchy. The youngers are taken care of but the olders... geez Louise. Still searching. I'm leaning towards Chemistry.

Electives? Hmmm... Home Ec for Maggie and Automotive for Ty, for sure. Health. PE. Other than that? No idea.

One of the hardest things to me about homeschooling is deciding what our year needs to look like. Do we do like last year and enroll the kids into a co-op or not? This year is really our last year to be flexible and travel. Maggie and Ty are going to do dual enrollment in the local community college next year. I want to travel as much as possible this year. My sweet nephew is stationed in southern California right now with the Marines and I want to take the kids on a road trip down Route 66 to visit him. My first cousin lives near Miami and has offered us a place to stay. I want to do these things with my kids so badly. So this year is the year of the traveler... I think.

Post Number 1 or Introduction to My Insecurities

I could have just as easily titled this blog Square Peg Round Hole or Keep it Secret, Keep it Safe. It occurred to me the other day that I have a bit of a complex about homeschooling. No, not just homeschooling, about having lots of kids too. I feel the need to apologize to people for some reason. I don't really own the path upon which God has set my feet. This blog is the first step in making that right.

I will introduce myself for anyone who might not know me. My name is Crissy (full name, not short for anything). I am married to Chris (I call him Love Monkey). We have four children: Maggie, 16, Ty, 14, Gracie, 11 and Brody, 9. We have been homeschooling for a decade.

I am sitting on my Ikea couch in my small living room in my house in Alabama, praying. I am praying about the coming school year and the curriculum and the future of my children, Maggie especially.

I think every mother worries about their oldest child. My friend Gordon says, "We always over-parent our firstborn." He's right. I am riddled with fears about my oldest. Have I taught her well? Have I taught her enough? Is she prepared for college? Is she going to grow up and wish that we had parented her differently? Blah Blah Blah. I make myself tired.

If you are looking for a pep talk or a try-harder-do-better blog, this is NOT your destination.  If you are looking for someone to paint everything rosy and tell you "YOU CAN DO IT!", this is not your Mecca. But if, for that one person who is just starting out or feeling overwhelmed and would like some company, welcome.

I do not have all the answers. I do not even know all of the questions. But I do know that homeschooling my children, being with them 24/7, and being responsible for their worldview, socialization and education is the most joyous, terrifying, overwhelming, blessed experience of my life and I love it.

Disclaimer: *because I am afraid of people thinking ill of me*
I do not think that if you love Jesus/angels/your children that you will homeschool. At all. Period. That is all I have to say about that.