Homeschool Highlights From 2018

Raising butterflies is always a highlight of my year.

I am finding extra pockets of free time during our holidays, and I thought I would use a little of it to put together a list of my favorite memories from this past year. We live an ordinary life, but it’s been a good year. I am thankful that we are all healthy, and we’re able to keep homeschooling.

The most time consuming adventure has been my son’s Three Years of Piano. He has come so far in such a little time, and we’re so proud of his hard work. This summer we took the time to interview teachers and chose a new one, and earlier in the year we started his YouTube channel. You can see his most recent performances there. I’m sure some people think we’re tiger parents, but I truly don’t think a child could do this unless he wanted to do it, and I know my son does.

I’ve also truly enjoyed being with my younger son as he takes cello lessons and practices almost everyday. I feel like I’m learning so much about the music world through both my boys, and we love attending local classical concerts at the university too.

For my younger son It’s Still Birds, and he has turned us all into birders. We had an exciting moment when two wood ducks landed in the trees in our front yard. I also loved visiting the Audubon Center near Biloxi, MS, and then we had the most exciting adventure when we visited the Sandhill Crane Wildlife Refuge (and part of that adventure had to do with the carnivorous plants too). Then, of course, my favorite part of our visit to Ormond Beach over Thanksgiving was the birdwatching too.

On dreary winter days, it can sometimes feel like we’re always stuck in the house, but keeping this blog is a remedy for that. Because it reminds me of all the places we took the boys this year, including the Museum of AviationNoah’s Ark, Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art, Mobile Museum of Art, USS Alabama Battleship Memorial ParkMichael C. Carlos Museum, Booth Western Art Museum, Tellus Science Museum, North Georgia Zoo & Petting Farm, Georgia Aquarium, Atlanta Botanical Garden, and the Atlanta Botanical Garden at Gainesville, which I never wrote about. We also went on nature hikes a few times too.

This blog also reminds me of those wonderful nature experiences we had this summer, including raising black swallowtail butterflies and then giant swallowtail butterflies. Speaking of bugs, the boys had a great time in their bug camp too.

This is the year the boys and I had fun re-creating the tiny trail that winds through our wooded backyard, and my eldest son also became interested in trees. We’re trying to identify and label all the trees and plants that grow naturally in our yard. I haven’t written about that yet.

And what an accomplishment to finish up the 5th and 2nd grade and move on to 6th grade and 3rd grade.

Wow. Time flies.

I wish you all a very Happy New Year. What have been your highlights of 2018? I would love to hear about them.

2017 was a year of homeschooling

Gazing at Tyuonyi Pueblo ruins in Frijoles Canyon at Bandelier National Monument, New Mexico, on our first trip out west in May 2017.

It’s always good to take a moment and look back at what I accomplished in the past year because, well, it helps to soften the regret of all the things I did not do. The year 2017 was not a year of new things or grand projects (at least by me). It contained minimal hiking, picture taking and writing on my part…those things always high on my list of “want to do.” I did less baking than I had hoped. However, I did read some great books, and it was a good, full year of homeschooling. That is what it was supposed to be because that’s my priority right now, and it will continue to be so. Though I’m always hoping to get more time to do this or that, I love being with my boys more than anything, and I know they are better off with my full attention. And I’m thrilled about the subjects I’m learning along with them. I’m glad I’m a person who has many varied interests and who struggles to find time to do all the things I’d like to do. Life would be boring otherwise.

With those thoughts in mind, I picked out the posts (out of the few I wrote 😥 ) that showcase what I’m most happy about from this past year. Those things we did, the stuff I learned along with my children, and the nitty gritty curriculum choices, which I spent a lot of time finding.

Our 2nd Grade Homeschool Schedule and Curriculum and 5th Grade Homeschool Schedule and Curriculum are exactly what they sound like.

Why Do We Homeschool? – Something I wrote a year ago to answer someone’s question. It says it all.

Our 4th Grade Piano Adventures – Oh yes. It was an adventure last year with a big learning curve for my husband and me, and it still is.

Trip West – It was the highlight of our year.

What My Kids Have Taught Me – I am the one who has learned the most from this homeschooling gig.

History Lesson Log #1 – I never liked history very much in school, but now I’m loving it, and I’m so pleased we dived into world history this year. Since writing Log #1, we’ve done the Hebrews, India, and now we’re in ancient China, so I need to start writing Log #2 soon!

My Year of Citizen Science – Technically, most of this project took place in 2016, but I finally topped it off with this post in 2017. It’s a project I’m very proud of completing, and I hope to continue participating in citizen science projects for the rest of my life.

Your Guide to Teaching 1st Grade – I did do some writing in 2017, and I’m very happy to have completed The Everyday Homeschooler’s Guide to Teaching the Early Years.

Raising Monarch Butterflies – Our grandest adventure of 2017 (besides our trip out west) was raising monarchs, and I think it will remain one of my favorite homeschooling memories of all time.

What were the highlights of 2017 for you?

And Happy New Year! I hope 2018 will be everything you hope it will be. I deeply appreciate your readership, and I hope you will connect with me by leaving a comment or sending an e-mail. I’m always happy to offer encouragement to homeschooling parents who need it.

Happy New Year

20161107_122728_hdrHappy New Year!

Though 2016 was coined as a bad year by many people, and it wasn’t the best year for us either, I like to focus on the positive, especially when I realize that in the big scheme of things, I have a very good life. I am so very grateful for my family and the lifestyle we’re living even if it has its challenges. And for me, 2016 will always be the year when my eldest son blossomed as a pianist. I know from previous life experience that these will be the memories I carry with me and everything else will fade in memory.

I also found this wonderful thread written by Commander Chris Hadfield on Twitter about the positive things that happened in 2016. If you click on it, I think you can scroll down and read all 46 points!

Click here to read the entire thread.

Let’s hope that 2017 will be a great year!

 

Happy New Year

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High five if you can guess what restaurant we’re at here. 🙂

Note: This column was published in the Barrow Journal on Wednesday, January 6, 2015.

It’s hard to believe that it’s already 2016. It seems like yesterday when I wrote a column about the beginning of 2015 – we had a rough start to that year. My husband spent New Year’s Eve in the ER and later had to follow up with several doctor’s appointments, and he almost needed surgery. We had to change health insurance, lose our beloved doctor of many years, and my husband learned about many stressful changes happening at his workplace (and those are still happening).

Later still, I ended up in the ER one night, and at another time, I had to get to urgent care quickly. All this plus my kid’s routine check-ups, and I felt like the beginning of 2015 was nothing but doctor’s appointments. But all that passed, thankfully.

Then, of course, came the home repair. Yes, 2015 was not only about health issues, but some serious home improvement projects…many more than we had anticipated. (This is what happens when you’ve lived in your house for 12 years!) Thankfully my father-in-law visited just in time to help us out with some of the work, and eventually, all that stress passed too.

If nothing else, 2015 reminded me that bad things happen to us, but 95% of the daily stresses we endure are washed away in time. Whatever I am worried about today, by next year, it’ll probably be forgotten. Sometimes all it takes is a week, or even a good night’s sleep. As long as we and our loved ones are healthy, fed and making the best choices we can, things usually work out.

So now I can look back on all the good things that 2015 had to offer, and the first thing that comes to mind is our short trip to see Cloudland Canyon in May. We stayed in a near-by cabin, and the area was so beautiful that I still long to go back. We also took many day trips this year. We went to Greenville, SC; Macon, GA; Milledgeville; Dahlonega and more. Nothing we did was very expensive, but it still gave us many good memories.

In 2015, our nine-year-old surprised us by wanting to take piano lessons, and he’s proving to have a natural talent at it. My husband and I enjoy the twice-daily concerts! My six-year-old continues to love drawing (mostly prehistoric creatures), and he also loves birds. He’s making us all into “birders.” Having a cardinal family nest right outside our living room window this summer was a delight to all of us.

The boys went to a variety of camps and classes this year, and we continued to meet with friends who become dearer as each year passes. No matter what kind of stress we faced, nothing dampened the joy of educating and spending every day with these curious, imaginative kids.

Now I am looking forward to 2016, which will hopefully have less health and home improvement projects, but will continue to enrich us with more day trips, good music, secure work, enough work, a warm home, good friends, and quiet days to play and reflect on how lucky we are.

I hope 2016 will give you the best of new beginnings or the continuation of peace and security. Happy New Year!

My Favorite Posts of 2015

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For the first time, we stayed up until midnight on New Year’s Eve. Of course, we had to take some silly selfies in the dark while we waited for the ball to drop.

I hope that 2016 is a wonderful year for you and your family! I want to thank all of you for reading my blog, “liking,” commenting and occasionally e-mailing me. Connecting with other people, especially about homeschooling and parenting is what brings joy to my life, and I hope you will continue to reach out. Thank you so much for taking the time to read whether it was one post or many. I hope what I offer helps you even a little bit!

I thought I would take a look back at some of my favorite posts from 2015. I tend to like the ones that are about my kids and their projects the best because, as you know, they’re my favorite people, and they inspire me to be the best I can be.

Project-based Homeschooling: Sketching at the Botanical Garden

Art Fridays: Homeschool Art Lessons — I’m looking forward to getting back to this in the new year!

Piano Lessons

Project-based Homeschooling: Robotics

Project-based Homeschooling: Birds & Feathers

I’m also pretty proud of How to Make a Big History Timeline for Your Wall.

In addition to this, I have many great memories from our trip to Cloudland Canyon this year as well as our other day trips, which we take as often as we can.

Finally, this is the year that my husband launched his History for Homeschoolers — all his college history lectures online for free!

I also decided to offer Free Homeschool Coaching, and I hope you’ll take me up on it!

Happy New Year!

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Happy New Year

2013 was a good year for us. For me, personally, it was one of the most fulfilling years of my life. Watching my boys grow into the precious ages of seven and four – wow! It has been fun. They are sweet boys, full of curiosity about the world, and through them, I have been given a new lens to view the world. It’s a good place.

I’m hoping that 2014 will be just as good, and I have a few goals for this year. I’ll write about some of my homeschooling goals in upcoming posts. My other goal is to bring you my next e-book on storytelling. First, I’ll be writing an article about it for a magazine (yay!) and then I’ll be expanding it into a book. You may see less of me on social media and here on this blog because of that, but I will still be writing my weekly columns, and I am working on a series of homeschooling-update posts.

I hope that 2013 treated you well, and I hope your future year will be even better! Please leave a comment about your year in 2013 and your goals/resolutions for 2014. I’d love to hear about them!

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year

Happy New Year!

This has been a great year with so many wonderful memories.  I put together this slideshow of some of the places we’ve been and our adventures in homeschooling the boys.  It may be more interesting to our family members, but I hope you enjoy it.

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And WordPress tells me these were my most popular posts in 2012.  I thank each and every one of you for stopping by my little corner of cyberspace. You know I’m always here if you have any questions or want to chat about homeschooling!

I wish you and your families a fantastic 2013 with hopes that you’ll have lots of fun learning while making wonderful memories!