Tag Archives: vacation

Homeschooling Forever?


Has our homeschooling journey been that long?  No, not really, but it sure has seemed that way some days.  Way back in 1997 when our daughter was a baby, we decided to homeschool our oldest.  We really didn’t know much about the process aside from what I’d read in a handful of library books.  There were two homeschooling families at our church and I picked their brains for what worked for them.  It still was a walk in the dark and every step was preceded by much prayer, thought and hard work.

We have had many days it truly felt like we were stumbling around in the dark, stubbing our toes on the furniture.  Other days were filled with euphoric moments of triumph when new concepts were mastered!  I think most homeschoolers would agree that their experiences has been a combined mixture of both.

Where are we now?

Our older son was in fifth grade when we began this journey and he graduated in 2006.  Ten years ago?  How can that be?  Time truly flies, folks!

Our daughter wanted to do school like her big brother so she began kindergarten at age four. She’s always been very curious and precocious and we felt she was ready.  She graduated in May 2015.

Our younger son is currently finishing up 10th grade and will begin 11th grade in the fall.  He’s almost 6′ tall and we have a lot of fun learning together.  We use the Abeka video program, which I absolutely love!  All of the video teachers have a wealth of knowledge and experience, which make it worth every penny.  We use a separate curriculum for math, though.  That’s the beauty of homeschooling – you can tailor it to your child’s needs depending on their strengths and weaknesses.

I always say, “One of these days I’m going to graduate!”  🙂  The truth is, I’ve been in nearly every grade four times (once myself way back when and then once for each of the 3 kids).

We’ve had many bumps in the road along the way.  We’ve moved quite a bit over the years, which always throws a wrench into schooling preparation and plans.  Also, I just had surgery.  It’s times like these I’m very thankful for the Abeka video program and the fact that my son is older and can work independently for the most part.  We do work pretty closely with math, however.

Life is always full of interruptions and that is why we have always appreciated the immense flexibility of homeschooling.  For instance, we are not bound by school schedules that prevent us from taking a family vacation if desired.  There are so many opportunities my children would never have had if it weren’t for a home based education.

Has it been easy?  A resounding NO!  But then, nothing worthwhile in life ever is.

Has it been fun?  Yes.  We’ve had many laughs … mixed with tears sometimes.  Mixed with worry that our children aren’t learning enough…or fast enough…or on par with their public school peers… It’s times like these, our kids do something really amazing or we have lengthy conversations that allay all my fears that they will, in fact, turn out just fine.

Has it been worth it?  Every minute.  Every ounce of energy.  Only eternity will tell, but I know that in my heart of hearts, I’ve given it my all.

{Side note:  My 18 year old daughter & I had a conversation about the stresses of raising kids, family size, etc.  I shared how important extended family can be, especially relieving strain when the children are small.  Our conversation went on and she said, “Mom, I have many fond memories of you doing crafts with us and always making things fun.  You’ve done a great job.”}

Well, I guess I should frame this, not that she hasn’t said similar things before, because she has.  She’s always so sweet and affirming.  But, because sometimes those “Mommy fears” rear their ugly head and needle away at any confidence I may have had.

Moms have such a full and far reaching job on their hands, raising a family, taking care of the house, their husband, and whatever involvement they may have in church or the community!  Goodness, we need to give ourselves a break!

You’re doing GREAT, Moms!!

Frame this!  “You’re doing GREAT!”  You really are.

If your hearts’ desire is to be the best Mom possible, I’m confident that you are, in fact, doing just that.  We need to give ourselves grace.  And don’t worry so much!  We worry because we love deeply but really we should transfer that worry into a prayer and leave it there.  I’m preaching to the choir now.

It’s hard to imagine life beyond homeschooling but in May 2018, our youngest will graduate.  And then a new chapter of my life will begin.  But this one has been an exceptional run and one that has been rich, meaningful and a real time of planting seeds into our children.  For that, I am ever grateful.

And to those who are just starting out on this homeschooling journey or are midway through – Hang in there!  Enjoy every step of the way.  Do those crazy art projects and science experiments.  Go on those educational field trips and family vacations.  Find beauty and learning opportunities everywhere!  Enjoy your kids, moms.  Those formative years only last so long and then they’ll be taller than you (like all my kids are now!).

I saw this quote many years ago:

“A parent’s true role is to work themselves out of a job.”

Our job is to raise the next generation to be moral, independent, critical thinkers.  If we have done that, our work is done.

Of course, as a Christian Mom, I have prayed for my children since they were in my womb and I will always intercede for them until I draw my last breath.  I love them so.  So, even when our children are out on their own making their way in this world, our role as intercessors never ends.

Do you homeschool?  How would you sum up your journey so far?  Have any of yours graduated?




Filed under Christian Homeschooling

Packing Cubes: My New Favorite Thing!



My husband and I love to travel! And these packing cubes fit perfectly into my Type A line of thinking.  I just stumbled upon these nifty packing cubes a couple months ago and I love how they transform the contents of your suitcase into neat little cases.  These are particularly helpful if you’re traveling by air!  We drive pretty much everywhere, but the next time we fly, they’ll definitely be in our luggage!

They are simply zippered cases that help to organize your clothes.  For instance, we break up long distance drives by staying in a hotel at a midway point.  Putting our change of clothes for the next day & p.j.’s, etc. into a packing cube for each of us means that we don’t have to lug the entire huge suitcase into the hotel just for one night.  Genius!  Of course, you could simply throw everything into an overnight bag, but using the packing cubes just makes it so much more organized.  I put my husband’s clothes in one cube and mine in a separate cube.  He doesn’t have to ask where anything is!  All of his things are right there!  Love it!  Where have these things been all my life?  I suppose they’ve been out there.  I just wasn’t aware.

They come in various sizes too:


There are other brands, aside from the eBags, like Eagle Creek and others.

If you’re planning a summer vacation, you may want to check these out.  They would be especially helpful when packing for young children too.

They are a bit pricey, but perhaps you could put them on your wish list for a birthday or Christmas.  Mine were a gift, which makes them even more valued.  🙂  I ordered the canary yellow color as it’s just so bright and cheerful.  🙂

And because I’m so Type A … I’ve made up these drawstring cloth bags to hold toiletries and medicines, etc. in our suitcase.  And, I put our shoes in clear, plastic gallon size bags.  So, everything is neat and contained!   Love it!



Filed under Travel

Vacation Dreaming


Okay, I’m heading south.  At least I am in my mind.  I’m ready…more than ready to bid farewell to this bitter winter and say hello to sunshine and warmth!  Anybody with me?

The white, fine sand of Florida is beckoning me.  I am sitting on the beach, under my trusty beach umbrella, of course.  (Gotta protect my fair skin.)  A stack of books are nestled in a yellow tote bag beside my rainbow colored beach chair as I listen to the waves lap against the shore.  The seagulls are squawking and swarming around those who foolishly offer their human food.  The lifeguards are in their wooden stations keeping watch over the happy swimmers enjoying the warm waters.  Mounted police officers casually make their rounds up and down the coastline.  Occasionally, beach goers stop to pet the officer’s horses.

The cool breeze coming off the ocean is enough to ease the warm temperature.  A father controls a huge, red kite with his little ones running behind with excitement.  Power boats and jet skis can be seen racing along the blue green water in the distance.  Daring souls are having the time of their lives as they parasail above the crystal ocean.  Children merrily build sand castles while the older ones hone their skills on their wakeboards.

One or two older gentlemen make their way slowly down the beach with their metal detectors actively waving across the sand in hopes of finding treasure.  A family from up north plunks another handful of seashells they’ve collected along the shoreline in their sand bucket to remember their fun vacation.

The sunshine is unrelenting and the relaxation tangible.


My suitcase is pleading to be released from my closet, and my summer wardrobe is itching to see the light of day once more.  My new white, Crocs flip flops are waiting to get broken in.  The SUV is gassed up and ready to navigate the busy interstate.

Oh, that the calendar pages have turned to the circled and highlighted date when my inner coastal lover can be released!  🙂

I can hear the symphony of the sea.  Can you?



Filed under Travel