Help, We Started Late!

Help_We_Started_LateLet’s face it, there are times in life when we all run a little behind. We arrive to appointments late, we show up tardy for Christmas dinner, and perhaps don’t get the bills in the mail on time. As homeschoolers, the one time we shouldn’t have to worry about running late is during our learning day.

Each of us is on our own schedule. We all have a routine which best meets our family’s needs. Once we have established ourselves it can be all too easy to start feeling like a failure when we vary our day or even our week. We get up a little late and it seems the whole day is out of focus. Life hands us a curve ball and school for the week is a total loss.

Instead of allowing this situation to get the best of us perhaps we need to look at this from a different angle. We are homeschoolers. Unless our state or PSP mandates a particular day-to-day routine, we have the freedom to start our learning any time we like! There is no ‘running late’ to start arithmetic and science. There is no waking up ‘late’. Apart from outside appointments, running late is nonexistent.

To take this a step further, we might even consider these occasional variations in our routines a blessing. Maybe we needed that extra sleep and our bodies are renewed. Maybe we needed those extra minutes to get the science project done. Whenever we experience a slight change in our schedule, this doesn’t mean we are failing or running behind, it means we are adjusting our day to best meet our family’s needs. Sometimes that means more sleep, sometimes that means a longer learning lesson, and sometimes – in my case – we decide our local theme park looks good today.

Now, don’t get me wrong… I like routine. I thrive on routine as a matter of fact. I am the first one to admit ‘running late’ is a frequent worry of mine. There is a time and place for having a schedule; many of us benefit from a daily plan. However, we need to plan our day; not let our plan run our day. Don’t live for the routine.

This month, as most of us head back to our learning routines, I pray we all forget the imaginary clock in our heads; the one that tells us we ‘didn’t start on time’. Instead, let us live each day to the fullest; grateful for each moment we have with our kids.

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet[a] no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.
~ Ecclesiastes 3:11

Your Turn!: What helps you get back on track when things seem to be running a little longer than you planned for?

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When Our Children’s Anger Feels Personal

When_Our_Children's_Anger_Feels_PersonalShe just snapped at me. Why did she snap at me? As I walked by her room, all I did was poke my head in the doorway and ask if she needed anything. Instead of the cheerful response I was hoping for, I received a scowl and a short reply. Now, I’m nursing hurt feelings and wondering why my child’s anger feels personal.

Am I the only one who takes their children’s outbursts to heart? Please tell me I’m not alone. It’s difficult enough managing feelings of guilt when I know I’ve stepped out-of-bounds, but even more of a challenge when I’m left scratching my head wondering what has gone wrong. What’s a parent to do?

We Need to Pray – First, foremost, and always. I pray for myself and how I should handle this. My child, so they are willing to hear. I pray for wisdom, to know when to speak and when to remain quiet. That the Lord’s will be done and relationships restored. Reading Scripture is also key. The Word allows God to speak to my heart and direct my steps.

Emotions Have Nothing to do With This – How I feel about this situation is not important. Yes, I am hurt, but I need to step back from the pain and evaluate the situation for what it truly is. A lesson, a spiritual battle, an opportunity to disciple my child, or a character training moment. I want the emotion to run clean through me, so there is nothing left but Christ and what He wants for our family.

This Isn’t About Us – Often, I hoist my children’s choices upon my own shoulders and this is wrong. They are their own people with freewill. While I am responsible for discipling and training my children, I cannot dictate their every move or be held accountable for their actions; they have to choose to do right. Their guilt is not my own. Instead of making this about me, I need to redirect my thinking towards drawing my children closer to the Lord and what He wants to do in their lives.

What’s Really Going On? – Poor behavior is without excuse and should be dealt with. There will be consequences for stepping out of line. But before we can determine appropriate ramifications or restore relationships, I want to understand what is happening with my child. Sometimes the action is unintentional; they were interrupted while finishing a project and acted without thinking. They are hungry or tired. Other times there are deeper issues at work. When the Lord opens the door, we communicate and start moving towards resolution.

Our Responsibility – While I am not directly accountable for my children’s poor choices, I do have a responsibility to fulfilling my role as a parent. I need to ask myself if I am discipling and training the way God has commanded, and whether or not I am being as involved as I should be. Then am I able to move forward with confidence.

I love my children. I enjoy seeing their happy faces light up as we’re having fun and learning new things. So when they are having a hard day or a tough moment it breaks my heart. Especially when they choose to take it out on me. Through the guiding of the Holy Spirit and a large dose of prayer, I’m learning to step back and remove myself from the equation. This isn’t about how I feel. What’s important is understanding my child and guiding them toward a righteous relationship with their Father.

May He be magnified and glorified in us and through us, as long as we have breath.

“A gentle answer turns away wrath,
But a harsh word stirs up anger.
The tongue of the wise adorns knowledge,
but the mouth of the fool gushes folly.
The eyes of the Lord are everywhere,
keeping watch on the wicked and the good.
The soothing tongue is a tree of life,
but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit.”
~ Proverbs 15:1-4

Your Turn!: What is your favorite way of “Tying Strings” with your children?

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It’s Okay to Be Tired

Its_Okay_to_be_TiredLike all of you, I tend to be a busy person. From the moment I get up till the moment I force myself into bed, I am on the go. I pride myself on how much I can accomplish in a single day, and tend to judge our overall success based on this factor. Pride can be a challenge. It’s no wonder there are times I feel downright exhausted. So why does it surprise me when I get to that point, and at what point had I started viewing my being tired as a weakness?

I want to choose to look at being tired in a positive light.

First, I have put in a solid day of ministry and fun; no matter how that manifests itself. Whether we are doing a little learning at home, going on nature hikes, spending the day on an art project, or simply baking cookies; being a mom and an educator is hard work. When we add outside factors into the mix, it’s no wonder where all that energy goes. I have definitely earned that tired!

Second, the Lord is telling me it is time to take it easy. My Father is gently reminding me I cannot do all things; I need rest to refresh my body, soul, and mind. A moment, or two, of relaxation does not make me negligent. It is a subtle reminder I am human and need a break.

I should give a word of caution. Taking a day off now and again, or needing to get a few more hours of sleep in the evening is not the same as feeling tired day after day. Trust me, I’ve been there. There is a significant difference. When we notice a trend toward a continual tired, it is time to take the matter seriously. Don’t put it off. Go see a doctor and deal with the issue. This is too important to ignore.

Being tired is not a weakness, no matter what my pride is trying to tell me. Being tired does not mean I am being lazy, or that I am lacking. Being tired is not a sign that I am failing. When friends ask if I’m a little tired they are not being mean or unkind; they simply care and notice I am probably pushing myself to an unhealthy limit.

While it is true there are certainly constructive ways to reduce the amount of things being done and streamline our routine, the fact is there are weeks which just hull me out completely, leaving me tired. It’s life. It’s to be expected and that’s okay. The issue isn’t whether or not we will get tired, but how we handle these moments. We shouldn’t see being tired as a weakness, but a natural occurrence and an opportunity to take a breath. Being tired is a sign of a job well done, even if the job is serious playtime. It’s a time to enjoy well-earned rest and allow the Lord to renew our spirit.

Of course, taking the occasional nap might not hurt either.

I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.”
~ Jeremiah 31:25

Your Turn!: When was the last time you took a nap?

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Review: The Electric Pickle

The_Electric_PickleI love reading other people’s blogs, don’t you? I have had the pleasure of meeting some of the loveliest people and being introduced to a world of possibility. On occasion, I also benefit from exposure to choice resources which change the course of our learning year. The Electric Pickle: 50 Experiments from the Periodic Table, from Aluminum to Zinc by Joey Green and Chicago Review Press is changing the face of our chemistry lessons, and we couldn’t be more pleased!

The Electric Pickle by Joey Green is a unique learning resource. With each fun experiment we are reminded science does not require a fancy lab or expensive equipment in order to accomplish serious learning. The Electric Pickle seeks to bring chemistry to life through amazing reactions and stimulating activities. This resourceful handbook is perfect for learners of all ages, organized so even younger students are able to participate and enjoy. Written by Joey Green, author of more than 50 books, The Electric Pickle is a fascinating guide to the world of periodic elements.

While perusing our online friends’ blogs and their incredible homeschooling adventures, we happened upon a review of this fantastic resource. Imagine our surprise when publisher, Chicago Review Press, kindly offered us our own copy for review! We were excited to add The Electric Pickle to our weekly chemistry lessons and put the handbook to the test. Twice a week we delved in our lessons; all four children present and excited to learn. We progressed through experiments on elements such as Hydrogen, Helium, Lithium, and more. Each lesson included a quick safety reminder, a list of necessary materials, and instructions. Lessons were followed by a quick explanation of what is happening during the experiment, why the experiment works and a few wacky facts about the particular element being studied.

From the start, our experience with The Electric Pickle was fruitful. Unlike previous attempts with experiments, we found the included list of materials easy to locate. (Most could be found within our home, others purchased at a local hardware store.) Several of the periodic elements included more than one experiment, giving us more options and added fun. Each experiment included a full-color image of all materials needed which was especially helpful when making purchases, and the easy to understand instructions made experiments simple to work through. Each element was enjoyable to explore, with experiments which livened up our learning and engaged our students.

The Electric Pickle to be an incredibly fun and educational resource. All our learners have enjoyed exploring, from our oldest in high school to our youngest in fifth grade. While our favorite experiments include explosive reactions, even the more subtle adventures prove engaging. Experiments are easy to prep and simple to follow. All are fun. Thus far, The Electric Pickle has proven to be the best chemistry exploration we’ve experienced. The included experiments far exceed any we’ve attempted in any other resource, and “Wacky Facts” keep us actively digging deeper. The Electric Pickle has become one of our favorite resources for science exploration and one we anticipate recommending to all our friends.

We’ve always appreciated perusing other homeschooling and parenting blogs, but when our reading leads to the discovery of a fantastic resource for our family we’re overjoyed. The Electric Pickle: 50 Experiments from the Periodic Table, from Aluminum to Zinc has definitely changed the face of our chemistry lessons, and we’re excited to continue exploring the wonderful world of science.

If you’d like to learn more about The Electric Pickle: 50 Experiments from the Periodic Table, from Aluminum to Zinc or Chicago Review Press please visit them at their website, and on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram!

FTC Disclaimer

Your Turn!: I feel foolish saying this, but until I was an adult I didn’t know Krypton was a genuine element. Did you?

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When Learning Isn’t Fun

When_Learning_Isn't_FunWe’re just coming off a three-week break. One which was much-needed by us all. As we prepare to launch into the second half of our current learning adventure, now would be the perfect opportunity to make adjustments and evaluate where we stand, especially areas of study which are proving to be anything but fun.

I think we’ve all been there if we’re honest with ourselves. That one area of study which brings us to tears. If not us, at least it starts our children sniffling. The lessons are boring. The book is too lengthy. We’ve done the same exercises so many times our children could do them in their sleep. We’ve heard them all. Before we throw up our hands in frustration and proclaim this area of learning to be “no fun”, let’s first take a deeper look at our situation.

Pray – Once again, we’re reminded all things should begin with prayer. Before my emotions get out of hand and I start using human reasoning to solve this problem, I want to seek the wisdom of the Lord. He knows exactly what we need.

Understand – Pride can easily be my downfall. Instead, I want to keep open communication with my children and together understand what is not working. This isn’t about the perfect curriculum which was supposed to solve our issues or my immaculate lesson plans the kids don’t appreciate. What’s important is growth and a deeper understanding of their Maker.

Evaluate – What about our lessons isn’t working? Am I pushing too hard, too fast? Are we moving too slow? Perhaps the curriculum isn’t working as well as we’d like, and a few adjustments are needed. We will not be defeated. Instead, this is a chance to make this area of study our own and do it right. We just need to figure out what that looks like.

Adjust – We start with one change, and take a step back to see how that works. Slowly, we slide one adjustment for another until we find a working system. Other times we do a complete overhaul and discover something magical. I never want to be afraid to step out in faith and move where God is working.

Persevere – “If at first you don’t succeed…” is a mantra for a reason. It might take several tries to get it right, and even then we might find ourselves needing to make adjustments again as the children grow, but every moment will be worth it. And that is a lesson in itself.

Not every area of learning is going to be our favorite, and that’s a fact. However, this does not mean these areas of study are not important or valuable in our children’s lives. I want to pray about where we’re struggling and make adjustments where possible. What I don’t want to do is quit. We’re going to try, and keep trying, until we find what works and motivates us to learn.

As we step into this new chapter of learning, I’m excited to see where the Lord is going to lead us. I look forward to watching my children grow and increase in wisdom. Will every area of study work perfectly? Probably not. But it will definitely be an adventure!

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”
~ Romans 12:12

Your Turn!: What area of learning is your family struggling with this year?

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2017’s Top Posts


2017 is officially at an end. Before completely kissing off the old year and tipping our hats to the new, let’s take a few moments to look back on all the fun we’ve had during the past twelve months.

Top Posts of 2017

School Lunch, A Reason to Homeschool?
A Hot Topic
I Loved Morning Basket, But We Dropped It Anyway
Dwell on These Things
A Homeschool Open House

It’s been an awesome year getting to know so many of you and learning how the Lord is working through your homeschooling. Thank you for sharing your tips, words of wisdom, and links with us! We love having you join us in the adventure of homeschooling, and can’t wait to see what the coming year will bring.

Your Turn!: We’d love to read your top attractions of 2017! List two of your favorite posts that you’d like to share.

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Happy New Year!


We’re not sure what the night holds, or what God has in store for this coming season, but may we be among the first to wish you a Happy New Year.
May the Lord continue to keep us, bless us, and use us for His glory wherever this new adventure leads.
Happy New Year from our family to yours!

“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the LORD. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.'”
Jeremiah 29:11

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Merry Christmas!


If you’re reading, may we wish you a Merry Christmas. May the true reason for today’s celebration be evident in your home, and meaningful to your heart. We pray blessings over your day and all the days to come.

Merry Christmas!

All I Want for Christmas is… (Part IX)

All_I_Want_For_Christmas_IsAs far as I’m concerned I don’t need a single present under the tree or even a piece of coal in my stocking. While both are appreciated, my soul is set on a few other goodies. Not necessarily things to be wrapped, but much-needed gifts. Join us during the month of December as we explore several blessings we’d love to receive this Christmas.


I did it again! I keep telling myself I am going to put an end to this nonsense, and yet here I find myself back in the same place. I’ve gotten a grand total of four hours sleep, and I’m now paying the price. The silliest wish for Christmas by far this year is a desire to get more sleep!

I always intend to go to bed earlier; really, I do. But by the time the kids are settled for the night I just want five minutes to breathe slowly and enjoy a chapter of the book which has been sitting on my shelf for days. Before I know it, one chapter has turned into ten and the clock is so blurry I can’t even tell how much trouble I’ve gotten myself into. Sleeping in is an option, I suppose. However I’ve always struggled with this. Daylight offers too many adventures, learning opportunities, and things to do. Who can sleep once the sun rises, encouraging me to embrace the day and make the most of each moment?

Ultimately it appears what I’m asking for is more time in my day to do the millions of things I’ve planned plus downtime for less active pursuits; then get a full night’s sleep so I can do it all over again the next day, and the day after that. – I did mention this was a silly request. – Silly because in truth I have all the time in the world I need. I simply choose to overfill my day. The lesson lies in seeking the Lord to oversee every second of every day so that each moment is overflowing with Him, especially in the stillness.

Perhaps it is because we have too few moments we appreciate them. If given all the time in the world, we would take them for granted and they would be wasted. By limiting our time we are forced to make the best use of our moments, giving precedence to Kingdom goals.

More sleep would be grand. Oh, it would. But the culmination of our Christmas list comes to this: May we use the time we have, the resources we’ve been given, the gifts of the Spirit, and the blessed relationships in our lives to further the Kingdom of Christ. If by sleep I can better accomplish this, I thank the Lord. And if by less pillow time I can meet a need, praise be to God who sustains us. May He be glorified today and always.

“I lay down and slept; I woke again, for the Lord sustained me.”
~ Psalm 3:5

Your Turn!: If you could either give up eating or sleeping in order to get more accomplished, which would you choose?

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All I Want for Christmas is… (Part VIII)

All_I_Want_For_Christmas_IsAs far as I’m concerned I don’t need a single present under the tree or even a piece of coal in my stocking. While both are appreciated, my soul is set on a few other goodies. Not necessarily things to be wrapped, but much-needed gifts. Join us during the month of December as we explore several blessings we’d love to receive this Christmas.


Living in America, truth be told, we are a little spoiled. Even when times get hard they are nothing compared to what some of our brothers and sisters experience on a daily basis in many other parts of the world. So it is with no little shyness and humility that I share one of the last items on my Christmas wish list. One of my personal prayers for the coming year is to finally go on vacation.

Before I have CPS breathing down my neck, or a concerned family member texting me, please allow me to elaborate. We do take breaks from learning. When I say I’d like to go on vacation, I mean I would like for my entire family to be able to take a few days break and get away from home to enjoy one another’s company. Not mom spending the day out with the kids while Pop works; not a day trip where we have to rush home so Pop can get to work the next morning. Not even a business trip turned family adventure. A genuine, we might need an airplane, vacation.

Believe it or not, with all the hustle, bustle, and struggle of the last few years, we haven’t been on an honest-to-goodness vacation in over five years. Maybe not even then. It’s about time, don’t you think?

It’s a funny thing. While I’m sure the kids would enjoy a large trip to somewhere like Disneyworld or a cruise to the Bahamas, what excites them most is renting a cabin in the woods and watching it snow. They would also like to know what it’s like to fly in an airplane. It’s not the destination as much as the traveling they want to experience. Most of all, it is undivided attention and family time they’re looking forward to. I’d like to be able to give that to them.

Before the kids all graduate, and we no longer have the opportunity, we’d like to take advantage of the years we have left and make some memories. Together we’ll learn the art of saving for a mutual goal, using our money wisely, planning the adventure, and making the most of these God-given opportunities. I don’t know where the year will take us, but I hope it’s somewhere fun.

“There, in the presence of the Lord your God, you and your families shall eat and shall rejoice in everything you have put your hand to, because the Lord your God has blessed you.”
~ Deuteronomy 12:7

Your Turn!: If you could take your family anywhere for a week’s vacation, where would you go?

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