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Showing posts from September, 2016

Plimouth Plantation

I have a tendency to stress the small stuff and it is always Greg who centers me and brings me back to balance.  I want all homeschooling has to offer.  I want the classes for my girls, the new friendships, the social time hanging out after coop, the yearbook and next year I will want the graduation. They want these things too.  So we have to find a way to keep balanced in a crazy life.  I do not want to celebrate busy or make busy our idol.  I'm sure it is the same everywhere, but here in this cramped corner of New England busy is normal and busy is seen as productive.  Busy is celebrated.  Busy is a badge on honor.  So how do you live a busy life while still finding time for quiet?  You honor the moments of quiet and calm and give thanks to God for the opportunity to be busy.  

Busy brought us a great field trip to Plimouth Plantantion, Mayflower II and Plymouth Rock.  It brought us 6 hours in the car to catch up on sleep and get some reading done.  It brought us a blustery day w…

September 2016

Like most months, this one has flown by.  I swear they are going by faster and faster and I just want to reach out and hold on and make one slow down just a bit.  September was a good month filled with birthday love, friendships both new and old, family time around my mother's dining room table, and the start of new educational programs.  
We are still adjusting to the work load increase that our coop brought us.  The addition of two classes, The Hero's Journey and History, has made for a home that looks just a little bit more traditional and less like it has looked for the previous eight years and some of us are deciding if that is a good thing or not.  For the record, I think it is a good thing.  The girls wanted more' more challenge, more opportunities, more friends, more time to be with friends and I was struggling to provide this to two very different girls with different learning styles, different personalities, and different interests.  I'm only one Mama and my h…


I remember 5 year old Grace staring up at Rockefeller Center, neck craned, tree glistening in front of her like it was yesterday.  We were in the city to see the lights, window displays and of course, the tree.  She always loved the city, loved the noises, the bright lights, the energy.  For the longest time her deepest desire was to live in a brownstone and have 100 cats.  When I kneeled next to her on that cold winter night, I told her there was a restaurant at the very top of Rockefeller Center and that I was lucky enough to to go there once, for a company Christmas Party.  I told her we would go when she turned sixteen.
Sixteen.  It seemed so far away back then.  In the trenches of motherhood with two kids in cribs, two kids in diapers, bottles, dogs, toys, blankets, stuffed animals, car seats, soppy cups, high chairs, and binkies, having a teenager seemed so far away.  The teen years snuck up on me and I've gone from having two babies in diapers to two teenagers sharing clothe…

Fair Warrior 24 Hour Retreat: Ender's Island, Mystic, Connecticut

24 hours to retreat, to withdraw from the normal schedule of life and focus all your energy on the bolstering of your faith is a gift and one I deeply appreciate.  Many people worked together for my benefit to make these 24 hours possible. 
To sit in silence by the shore and reflect on welcoming Jesus into your physical body is incredibly powerful when done in this setting, where God is in every detail, every flower petal, every rock formation, every grapevine, and every blade of grass.  God is in the hands that prepare the food to eat, the rooms to sleep and the spaces to gather.  He is in the breeze that blows through the windows.  He is there among the friends that gather in His name.  He is there.   While I retreated, over and over the song Abide With Me by Matt Maher played in my mind.

"Abide With Me"
I have a home, eternal home But for now I walk this broken world You walked it first, You know our pain But You show hope can rise again up from the grave
Abide with me, abide wi…

Photography 102: Beyond the Basics

It's a new semester of photography and my girls are thrilled.  We contracted with the friend of their last photography teacher, who moved to Colorado.  He is teaching Photography 102: Beyond the Basics which will meet at his studio and on location at local areas of interest.
Two of their friends wanted to take this class but did not have the prerequisite 101 skills.  The beauty of homeschooling is if there is a willingness, there is a solution.  The kids completed the online course Photography Starter Kit available on for under $40.  Then Grace held a photography boot camp at our house one afternoon.  The kids brought their cameras and their newfound knowledge and Grace showed them how to put the two together.  

Even Lilah joined this because her camera does not allow raw photography which is a requirement for this class.  Sharing Grace's camera does not work (learned that last semester) so she is using my Canon DSLR and while she understands the terminology, sh…

Decision America: Hartford

Sometimes themes in our homeschool/family just happen without any intention on my part.  I don't plan for them and I don't create opportunities to develop them, the opportunities come to me.  I always follow these themes.

A while back I wrote about my feelings of uncertainty surrounding the upcoming presidential election.  I fear that no matter which candidate is elected, our country is in for some hard times.  I came across a quote by Andy Stanley that basically said, stop.  Just stop because our children are watching us and what we project, they internalize.  There is an election.  There are two candidates (major ones), and we have a choice.  The candidate may or may not reflect our values, our morals, our philosophies, our ideologies.  We have to choose the one that most closely aligns to our standards (or God's) and vote.  We vote for a President-elect, however, if we are seeking real, lasting change, we are looking in the wrong place.  Instead of looking at the horizon…

Port Jefferson, Long Island

I don't get a day to myself often and when I do, I struggle not to feel guilty about taking it.  On a beautiful late August day, I ventured to Long Island with the members of my community group at church.  Our church is quite large, with approximately 3,000 people attending the three services every Sunday.  To find your place in such a large group there are community groups.  Some churches call them small groups or life groups.  I love the term life group because in a very short amount of time, you open your life up to the people in your group.  These are the people I asked to pray for Lilah before and during her surgery.  These are the people I carve out time for every Wednesday night to pray with, talk with, and learn from.  

Before our group resumes meeting weekly, we ended the summer, or depending on how you look at it, began our fall, by sharing time together at one of our member's homes on Long Island. We walked around Port Jefferson, ate lunch at a burger bistro, sat by …

Yale Art Museum, John Trumbull and History Homework

Two weeks ago we had another class at the Yale Art Museum.  This month the focus was American Art.  It would have been easy to skip this class.  It was h-o-t, Grace just returned from Lead Week the night before, Greg was home, we don't have any friends in this class, etc.  It would have been so easy to stay home, relax and get Grace unpacked.

However, it is a rare occasion when Greg is able to join in on our homeschool adventures, so we went.  We toured a temporary exhibit of 19th century furniture made in Rhode Island.  The docent had a great scavenger hunt that kept the kids engaged in what could be considered a less than captivating exhibit.  

We studied the works of Edward Hopper, which Greg loved because he is a big fan.  Then we went upstairs to the hall of Presidents which is where things got interesting (for me).  We learned about John Trumbull, the painter, as well as the person the town next to us is named after.  We discussed historical portraits and how often the artist …


Grace's 11th Grace year
Finishing up Math-U-See Geometry in fall.  Spring TBD. Guitar New Member of youth group's worship band Piano  Music Theory (taught by Lilah's cello teacher) Portrait Photography (coop) Studio Photography (professional photographer hired to teach class) Horseback riding Trampoline lessons American History (Notgrass American History 1 and 2 and American Voices with literature component) Hero's Adventure (English - fall semester) Painting (fall semester) Dave Ramsey's financial literacy with Generation BE (fall semester) Biology 101 series, Chemistry 101 series Driver's Education ASL 4 at The Sign Language Center in Manhattan
Lilah's 9th Grade Year
Writer's Workshop with Gail Carson Levine (completed summer 2016)  *She already has one credit for English from One Year Adventure Novel.  She completed curriculum with word count of 20,000+ which is more than anticipated freshman word count.   Hero's Adventure (English - fall semester) Science: Biology 1…