10 Thoughts for December


 It's time for one of those posts where I just dump my brain.

As I'm driving my daughter to a chorus practice, or when I'm falling asleep at night I think, "I need to blog about this", but then I never get the chance because, well - it's December. Here are ten BIG things that have been on my mind - personal things, homeschool things, and random things in between.

It occured to me - there has been A LOT going on in my life (as I'm sure there has been in yours) and I want to document those occurences and my thoughts about them. 

*This post contains affiliate links.

1. One Year Ago

Exactly one year ago I was in Ecuador with Operation Christmas Child. That trip forever changed the way I look at Christmas ; it has ultimately changed the goals and dreams I have for my family. 

The simplicity of last year's holiday, coupled with an eye-opening adventure in a foregin country, allowed me to fully anticipate Christ's birth - to participate fully in Advent. In previous years I struggled with the commercialism and hustle and bustle of the Christmas season, but I don't feel that struggle any more. 

Yes, we are busy, but it's been abundantly easier to see the Messiah in everything we do - to fully recognize that gift God gave us in all of the small things. 

Surrounding ourselves with beauty guides our anticipation and Advent devotions. Our favorite tools?

2. Preparing for Speaking Engagements

2015 will be a year of great personal/professional challenge. As 2014 draws to a close I find myself preparing for a new step in my life. 

I will be speaking at two events in the first half of the year, and I will be honest and tell you I'm excited and nervous at the same time!

The Refresh Retreat in Birmingham promises to be a relaxing, rejuvenating weekend for homeschooling moms. I will be presenting about Interest Led Learning.

I will also be at the Florida Parent Educator's Association Conference in Orlando, FL - on behalf of LEGO® Education. My topic is using LEGO® Education StoryStarter curriculum in your homeschool. 

If you are at either of these events, please FIND ME -- I love to meet readers!!  Last year at the Great Homeschool Convention it brought me such joy to meet readers of the blog in person! 

3. Change is Constant 

It's so cliche, isn't it? The only constant is change. 


In the past three months our family has been through a whirwind of CHANGE - and I will not even categorize it as good or bad - just CHANGE.

The health of our parents, a job change - these are just a few of the major changes we went through, but oddly enough I am completely at peace with everything. Maybe I am aging, or maybe I am more open to God's grace than ever before.

It's all OK. 



4. Challenge is Amazing!

When I say "Challenge", I am referring to my daughter's schooling program, the Classical Conversations' Challenge Program

I am simply in awe with her intellectual and emotional growth. As you may know, a 13 year old is in the Dialectic phase of learning:

"It is in the dialectic that the emphasis in cognitive skills shifts from the concrete to the analytical. This is where children are naturally inclined to ask the question “Why?” This is where they question what they have learned in the grammar stage to see if it is in fact true. Truth holds up very well under examination, and only proves its nature by this process. While not advocating children question the things they were taught, if what they were taught is true, we need have no fear of it being questioned, even if that questioning runs to things such as the existence of God or the veracity of the Word." (from Classical Christian Homeschooling)

The formal study of Logic and Latin alone have sold me on the Challenge program, but the level of discussions and questioning -- and even the ARGUING - are growing her into a THINKING PERSON, not a person who will be able to regurgitate what someone else has taught them.

As a parent, I have been forced to examine WHY we are educating our children in this style, and I've been forced to articulate that to friends and family. I don't believe this method is for everyone, but it is for our family and for that I am grateful. 

5. We are slaves to our devices

I am having a love-hate relationship with technology these days.

My husband is an IT consultant and I'm a blogger, so sufficed to say we RELY on technology.

I do not like, however, the way it has changed communication - specifically communication amongst teens. 

I could write much more about this, but I'll save those thoughts for a full post! 

6. I am thankful for friends (and a great husband!)

A bout with the stomach flu knocked me down this weekend. I am thankful for friends who stepped in and transported my children places and just did things in general to bless me.

It is RARE to find people who think of others ahead of themselves, and I consider it a great treasure that I have friends that fall into this category.


And (sorry if I gush for a moment), I can't tell you how much I love my husband of 18 years. He is the most kind, gentle, considerate, and disciplined person I know. Nineteen years ago on Christmas Eve he proposed to me in front of my parents - a very brave move, I must say!

All that change I talked about in #3?  He has led our family peacefully through all of the changes and never once complains or falters. 

7. Television and Play Stations 

We are moving our television from the family room (which connects to our kitchen) upstairs to the bonus room. Our main living area will be devoid of a television - I can't wait!

But... there's more. My husband (yes, the one I love and adore so much) purchased a Play Station 4 for he and my son. This was one of of those things I could have fought, but decided in the end it's pretty harmless if we set limits early on. 

 {I know, I know - I can see some of you shaking your heads and wagging your fingers at me right now. If you despise video games and ban them completely please don't leave me a nasty comment. }

My husband and son LOVE to play sports video games, so I think the bonus room is going to be the fun palace! 

8. Reading for Teens

My teen is funny about reading. Oh, she LOVES to read, but she reads the same books OVER and OVER again. Her all time favorites?  The Harry Potter series. Go figure. 

I am wondering how to "up the discourse" as far as books go. I want her to love the classics, but right now she would deem them stuffy and boring. Did I go wrong somewhere along the line? Or, will she develop this love later in life? 

I question permitting her to read some of the more popular literature in her formative years, but then I remind myself I can't shelter her from the real world.


I am thankful that her booklist for first semester Challenge B interested her and she loved these books. They are age appropriate reading level AND discussion level. Sometimes we forget that our children need the life experiences to dig into super heavy books. I appreciate the wisdom that went into selecting these books. 

9. Looking in the Kid Mirror

Now that my kids are getting older it has become painfully obvious to me that they watch EVERY single thing I do. They might also offer up criticisms about said things, too.  


Homeschooling means my kids know ALL about me - my good and bad points. Homeschooling gives me such an opportunity to improve myself, because every time I look at my kids I am looking in a mirror.

Know what I mean? 

I have some big goals for 2015, and I'm wondering whether or not to articulate them here or not. If I tell you, then I'm really ACCOUNTABLE, and that's more work for me! 

10. Music Helps!

I've been playing loads of music this holiday season - music therapy, if you will! It puts everyone in our house in a good mood. 

Our subscription to Beats Music gets a workout this time of year. The kids take turns choosing their favorite Christmas music each time we hop in the van. 

Our favorites? 

And, just so you can feel that Christmas spirit, here's my all time favorite!  



That's my brain dump for December. I imagine my blogging will be sparse as we move into Christmas and New Year's - we're doing minimal schooling and I want to soak up the peace, rest, relaxation, and yes - even the hubub of the season.

Do you have anything on your mind in December? Big or little?  Share it in the comments below!