Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Called To It

The other day the kids and I all went to the Farmer's Market. All my kids enjoy this weekly outing in the summer. They especially look forward to the treat that comes at the end for good behavior -usually honey sticks, but last week, in the heat, we had "apple cider slushies" instead. YUM!

I saw a couple of old friends at the Farmers Market last week. One I hadn't seen in years, the other is a parishoner at the Church we were at before we switched when Night Owl started Highschool.

The first friend asked the kids what school they were going to in the fall. "We homeschool" was the reply. She looked at me like I was nuts and said "I don't know how you do it!"

"We just do", I replied, not knowing exactly what else to say. Later, the other friend approached and asked why she hadn't seen us in church. I explained that when Night Owl started highschool, we switched parishes so we could be a part of what goes on at the parish connected to his school.

She asked why we had decided to put him in school instead of continue homeschooling, and seemed very disappointed in our decision. This surprised me because she does not homeschool her children. Once again, I was unprepared for the question and gave a rather lame answer.

The real answer to both the comment and the question is "because we are called to it". God blesses us with the grace we need to do all that He calls us to do. I feel His grace every day, and I'm glad because I could not continue on without it. Eight years ago, when my husband suggested we homeschool, I thought he was crazy. I prayed desperately that he would have a change of heart. I did not want to be in opposition with my husband. The Lord changed my heart instead. I saw clearly that this is what God was calling us to do. I took a step in faith and He has blessed us tremendously. Homeschooling has become part of who we are. It just fits. The children are thriving and I have grown so much in my Faith.

So, when my husband came to me last year and said he felt that we should enroll Night Owl in the highschool, once again, I thought he was crazy. How could he even suggest it?! Things were going so well! I prayed. And, as before, the Lord helped me to see that I needed to step in faith, that He was with us, that He willed it. We made the step, and the blessings have been many.

This obedience, sometimes so scary at first, is the key to our peace. I saw it growing up when my own mother made decisions based on what the Lord called her to do - even though some people she knew thought she was crazy. I hate to think of the person I might have become if my mother had acted selfishly, based on what the world was telling her, instead of listening to the Lord. I want my own children to be raised under His watchfulness and care. I want to do all that He calls us to because I see the graces, even in the midst of hardship, when it comes. And it does come. A life of grace is not a life without hardship!

This obedience, this "doing what we are called to do" has also taught me that not everyone has the same calling. When a person asks me about homeschooling, in my exhuberance, I want to reply - "It's great. You should homeschool your kids!" But I don't. I know that God does not call everyone to this life. Without His call, and the grace that comes with it, I don't think it would be possible. Well, maybe possible, but not peaceful. I also know that His perfect will requires some parents (like my own) to work full time jobs, and some children to be in schools to "shine His light" there where it is so necessary.

I hope he calls us to continue homeschooling for a very long time because I have become passionate about this lifestyle. It works for us. It is peaceful. I find so much joy in it.

But, if He calls us to something different, I will be obedient. It might take some time to convince me, but I'll do it. Because, as I said in so many words above, it is in obedience to Him that we find our peace.

Planning Planning Planning

I'm still in planning mode around here. Schedules, syllabi, chore lists are all being typed into word documents. All the kids, especially Beany tend to get into trouble when I am at the computer too much so this is all being done in the early morning hours or when they are asleep in the evenings.
This is part of what I love - the planning. I don't know what it is but having it all before me, neatly organized, ready to go, is so worth the time it took all summer. I always enjoyed this part about being a classroom teacher, and learned, as I am learning now, that for me, "failing to plan is planning to fail". There are some moms I know that take a less intense approach to the planning. It suits them better not to plan so much. They are excellent teachers. I guess it's a personality thing.
I'll be back with the results of these days of planning, and hopefully more great pictures of the kids. They are having a great summer!

Thursday, June 25, 2009


Summer has officially arrived here. As you can see from yesterday's thermometer reading, it was HOT! The forcast said 93 degrees, but our thermometer read 105! I think our thermometer must be off a little. Never the less, it was too warm for comfort.

The kids found a way to beat the heat though! Their good friends came over and they all found something cool to do. The big boys went on a 3 hour kayak adventure. I have no pictures of that but it was apparently quite fun. Night Owl is very adept at keeping his kayak afloat, but it would be just my luck that the time he had the camera with him would be the time he flipped!
The younger kids all ran through the sprinkler!

Social Butterfly was a bit timid at first ... but eventually jumped right in.Afterwards they all came in and the girls made "No Bake Cookies". I'm glad they are gluten free and work with rice milk. "No Bakes" are a summertime tradition around here!
The boys played on the Wii, of course... But after a few games and a few cookies, they were back outside in the sprinkler!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Planning Time

It's probably a good thing that I lost my camera. My computer time lately has been taken up with planning for next year. I usually try to figure out what curriculum I will need before the annual Homeschool Conference. My husband goes with me and this is when I make most of the purchases for next year. It's a great day for me - listening to the talks usually gives me the boost I need to"keep on keeping on". My husband is so good about going with me, even though I think it is more draining to him than "boosting". It's a day when we can talk about the kids education though, and he likes to be informed. This year's conference is tomorrow so I've been working hard to get everything done.
Besides researching curriculum choices I've also been reading several books as I plan. One of them has been particularly helpful - Discover Your Child's Learning Style, by Mariaemma Willis. For one thing, it's helped me to see why the methods I used to teach Night Owl don't work for Social Butterfly, Jetter, or Builder. My kids all have different learning styles and guess what? None of them have mine!
I'll be posting plans as I have time and sharing some of the information I have found from this book.
I did find my camera by the way. Just yesterday a friend let me know she had it. I guess God knew if I had my camera I would have spent all my time taking cute pictures of the kids and blogging about them instead of getting my planning done.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


We had a wonderful time camping, as I expected! It didn't start out so great though.
We arrived on Sunday, in the rain. We quickly put on our rain gear (I was so thankful to have packed it within easy reach!) and set up the tents ... in the rain. It took us a while to settle into the fact that it was probably going to rain all evening, but once we did, it really wasn't too bad. I put the "wet suit" on Isaac and let him play, no longer worrying about the mud on his hands and knees. The older kids sat under the screen tent (I was so thankful to have the new screen tent with side flaps. They kept the rain out and the warmth in) and played Uno, Clue and Monopoly . That night it rained some more. I wasn't as happy the next morning, Monday, when we discovered there was water in the tent. It wasn't a flood. We were able to mop it up with old towels, but it did make a few sleeping bags wet. We spent that day in our rain gear as well. Our friends arrived and set up their camper in the rain. They said the forcast was more rain through the night. I was starting to lose heart. The rain stopped long enough to build a campfire and that helped a little. I went to bed hoping things would be better by morning, listening to the rain drops on the tent.
The next morning I was relieved to wake up with sunshine streaming into the tent. It was warm enough that the kids could play at the beach. We hiked, rode bikes, ate, played at the park, made new friends and had a great time for the rest of the week.
Builder made a special new friend. He is a little boy, exactly Builder's age and with exactly the same amount of energy - too much! I talked to his Grandma, with whom this little boy was spending the week. It turns out that this little boy has a twin brother with Leukemia. He was undergoing treatment that week and Grandma decided to bring his brother camping with her. She said it was such a blessing to see this little boy play with a friend. He had really been missing his brother. It was a blessing for Builder too. He's been feeling left out lately and needed a buddy.
So, as usual, we came home from our trip rested and looking forward to the next trip. My only regret is that I can't find my camera and I wasn't able to take pictures. Please say a prayer that I find it. My husband got it for me not long ago. I have a terrible feeling that the last time we were at the park someone helped themself to it, and in the hustle and bustle of loading kids in the van I didn't notice it was missing.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Almost there

Two days ... We're all really looking forward to our camping trip. Social Butterfly has packed and repacked two or three times and now wants to pack for the boys. I should probably just let her because time is running out! (And honestly, she's a pretty good packer!)

Dad and I are going to be gone for most of today. We are going to the ordination of soon-to-be Fr. David. He will be taking the place of Fr. Denis who will be leaving for Rome. We are sad to see Fr. Denis go - he has been such a blessing. But, we are also looking forward to getting to know Fr. David. It will be a nice day but that really only leaves Saturday to get ready!

Every time we go camping I fret and fuss over packing everything up. I think "there has got to be a better way" and finally, on the way to the camping destination I tell Dad "I'm getting to old for this!". But, then we arrive, unpack, the kids play, Night Owl fishes, Dad and I relax and then I decide it's worth it all. I just wish I could skip the packing part!
We are taking this camping trip with our friends. We try to go at least once a year with them. Their kids are similiar in age to ours and we like the same sort of camping activities - relaxing, hiking, kayaking, playing at the beach, relaxing, s'mores, campfires, bike trails, and did I say relaxing?! - all the traditional camping sort of things. They are great friends and we love the way the kids get along. My kids feel like they have 4 more siblings when we are with them.

So, tonight I'll start packing and we'll eventually have the van (over)loaded with tents, kayaks, fishing poles and marshmallows. We'll have the classic argument about how much stuff we're taking, how much we really need, and what exactly we should leave behind. Then we'll hit the road, the adults a bit frazzled, the kids overy excited. But, we'll get there unpack, and have a great time and I'll remember what it's all about...
Family, friends and building memories.