Collage Friday - Making Hard Life Choices


It seems that we've had a couple of difficult weeks in a row here.  

{Our short trip to The Great Homeschool Convention in Greenville, SC, this weekend comes as a much needed change of pace and scenery.} 

With difficulty, however, comes blessings, and I have seen many in the past several days in particular.   

Sometimes as a homeschooling mom I've had to lay aside things that mean a lot to me - lay them aside for more important things.    I'll share a lot about that near the end of today's post.

This Collage Friday is going to be from my heart - not full of many resources (since I was sick most of the week and the kids just read, played games, and did some independent work).

Let Me Tell You About My Husband...

I don't speak much about my husband on the blog, but he is an INTEGRAL part of our homeschool.   He's the one working tirelessly behind the scenes so we can live this amazing life we have.   

He has a big heart.  He is patient, kind, loving, and very conscientious.   He's a software guy - and works for a large non profit agency that educates people about getting (and staying!) out of debt.  

He is the "quiet" one who does a lot of behind the scenes work everywhere he goes.   I love this about him.   He's very unassuming.    



Over the past few months my husband has suffered from a lot of back pain.  {Now that makes TWO of us with horrible back problems.}

He has remained, however, so positive, and has been pushing through it all.

In the above picture I'm struck by how tired we both look, but then I'm also struck by how much we are in this TOGETHER... and that is the biggest blessing in my life.


Let Me Tell You About My Church...

A very big part of our lives (and something I don't write a whole lot about, but really should) is our church family.

I wrote about our church, Word of God, in May of 2011.  Since that time, we have grown.  We have a permanent full time pastor (who, by the way, writes a blog!).    God is good. 


In the pictures above are the church activities from this past weekend.  

Anna was part of a middle and high school event called Disciple Now - service events, worship services, and fellowship were her entire weekend.   

My husband and I teach the 4th-6th grade Sunday School class.  This week's lesson was about The Road to Emmaus.   I found a great game  and we played together - it was fun!   

Grant will be taking his First Communion on Palm Sunday.  He has been going to classes each Sunday afternoon.  This week we started working on his First Communion banner.


A Fun Field Trip

We had a last minute opportunity to attend the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra's "Roots of American Music" field trip.   Anna had a previous commitment (she volunteers each Friday morning at a preschool), so it was just Grant and I that went.

1.  The music was such a treat!   The ASO is an exceptional orchestra - the concert consisted of music from the time of the founding of America until present day.   

2.  This is Grant and his very good friend.  These two boys crack me up.

3.  Grant and I -- it was nice to have a morning where we got dressed up and went into the city.

4.  My friend Kim suggested we go with them to the symphony.   It was fun to go with friends.

5.  We rode  the MARTA (public transportation) train to the symphony.  This was a first for the boys, and quite an adventure.

6.  Lots of friends were there, and they got to spend time together after the concert. 

The Hard Choice

This week (after several months of thought and prayer), I let my piano students know I would no longer be giving piano lessons.

I have given piano lessons since 1993 - when I graduated from college.  

When I taught elementary music full time I always gave piano lessons on the side.

When I gave up my full time teaching job after Anna was born, I taught lessons part time, and have continued to do so.  

I love bringing the joy of piano to children.  It is just a part of who I am.   

I wrote a lot about piano lessons in a post last year:  What About Piano Lessons?  


Recently, however, I've found I just don't have the time and energy to focus on my students. 

As my children get older they need me MORE.   

In the collage above you can see my very first student and I.   

The other two cuties are students I have currently.   The other pictures are from this past weekend.

We have a large piano festival each year, Federation, which requires students to play two pieces memorized for a judge, and then they receive a ranking.   It's a great experience for all involved.

I spent my Saturday greeting students, filling out certificates, and shuttling students to their judging rooms.   While I love doing this, it was an entire Saturday that I worked.  It was an entire Saturday that my husband had to watch the kids and get them to various activities, when he was feeling horribly and really needed me.

We discussed things and I made the final decision to give up my teaching. (We've been thinking about this for quite some time now.)

My family, homeschool, and health need to come first, and much as it breaks my heart to stop, it is the right decision.

I came to the realization that I cannot do it all.   I thought I could be a homeschooling mom, piano teacher, church volunteer, wife, friend, blogger,etc...   I can't, however, do any of them effectively if I'm overloaded.   

So for the first time in my life I'm officially a 100% stay at home mom - with no part time job (well, other than the blog!). 

It's a strange feeling.   

But this is where I need to be at this point in my life.    I'm certain of it.

*And, I am HAPPY to report that Anna received a Superior rating at the Federation Festival, AND she was given a special Artistry Award - which was only presented to a few children during the day.   This is HUGE and her dad and I are so proud of her and the pianist she is becoming. 

Sorry for the shameless bragging, but she's been working so hard for this festival.  

My Focus Now and Our Week

There will be years to give lessons when my children have left the house.   

Right now my job is to educate them to the best of my ability.  

I also feel it is my ministry to share what we do so that other families can benefit from our journey.   THANK YOU for joining me here on this blog.


 1. Both kids read A LOT this week.   When I am not feeling well I tend to say -- find and read some of your favorite books.   I am so blessed that my kids LOVE to read.  

The book of choice this week for Grant was the Guiness Book of World Records 2012.   My little boy picked up so much trivia this week it scares me!

2.  Anna parked it in the family room a lot this week while I wasn't feeling well and read.   I finally allowed her to read The Hunger Games.   She breezed through the first two books in the series.  And no - she won't be watching the movie.  I've read the books and thought they were pretty good, so when I found them on sale for Kindle I snagged them for her.  

3. I printed this Angry Birds game for Grant.  He had fun with it.  You can download it for free at Teachers Pay Teachers.

4. In Saxon 3 Math Grant is learning a lot about fractions.  I got out the buttons this week and used them as manipulatives.   It clicked for him!

5.  LEGO creations galore this week.    Did you catch my LEGO Deals that Won't Break the Bank (with a DVD giveaway)?

6. Messy rooms really drive me up a tree.   I'm learning to let that go, however, because everyone's room is messy this week, and guess what?   It's ok (take a deep breath).

7. Both kids are starting a Color Yourself Smart geography book.  My mom sent one to us last year and I just ordered another.   Anna knows that as a part of her Challenge A in Classical Conversations next year she will be required to draw the ENTIRE world by memory.  She asked if I had something to help her get started, so this is what we chose.    These Color Yourself Smart books are great!  I would recommend them for upper elementary all the way to adults!

That's it for this week.   I can't wait to report to you next week what we learned at The Great Homeschool Convention and how our trip to Greenville was!   


Please join me for Collage Friday!

The rules are simple.   Link your post (that incudes photo collages) about your homeschool week.   Be sure to grab a Collage Friday button or text link back to this post in some way.   Then, be sure to visit the other blogs on the list to offer support and gain ideas.    This is a wonderful community and I love reading through your blogs each weekend and seeing how you all encourage each other.  

*I will delete any links that don't comply with these guidelines.  {not trying to be crabby, just trying to respect the hard work of those who do follow the rules}