What We've Been Up To Lately: Visiting, Celebrating, Playing & Reading

I have a New Year’s resolution (in addition to my homeschool word for 2019)

It includes documenting our daily goings-on in weekly What We’ve Been Up To Lately posts.

Sometimes we see a blog and only see the shiny. We only see the perfect curriculum, the well manicured children, and the homeschool supermom.

I’d love to give you an accurate picture of our life - our life as a homeschooling family - on the verge of graduating their oldest. A life of a homeschooling family where mom is a working mom. A life of a homeschooling family that only has teens at the moment.

Welcome to What We’ve Been Up To Lately!

What I’ve Been Up To Lately (January 1)


We traveled to Southwest Florida to visit my 88 year old dad last week.

My kids are seasoned road trip folks.

Here’s my dirty little secret: I turned on my internet hotspot and let them spend the ride on their devices. I think someone watched a lot of Dude Perfect, and my daughter told me she watched a few movies on Netflix.

I finished a WONDERFUL book.

We were stuck in traffic. My back has been teetering on the edge of going out for the past week. I was uncomfortable.

People were getting a little crabby.

What We’ve Been Up To (January 1, 2019)

But we made it!

The weather has been gorgeous here, and my dad is the best I have seen him in a year.

So much of my children’s time has been spent watching my husband and me care for our aging parents. What a gift this has been.

My dad is the only one of my kids’ four grandparents still living, and we cherish him.

We gave him (in my opinion) the best present I have ever picked out!

What We’ve Been Up To (January 1, 2019)

The sunsets have been gorgeous - just picture perfect.

We had fun one evening snapping photos on the beach, and my goofy Grant just couldn’t resist an opportunity to photo bomb.

These times are dwindling with my children. Quickly.

I want to make the most of them.

What We’ve Been Up To (January 1, 2019)


Even though the water was cold, he went in all the way and watched the sunset from there.

Goodbye 2018 - Hello 2019.

What We’ve Been Up To (January 1, 2019)


From my dad’s we traveled a short bit north to my sister and brother-in-law’s house.

My sister is always a wonderful hostess. We eat such good food and she always has fun things planned for everyone.

We have a game of Monopoly (still going on, actually) that has drawn everyone in.

I don’t know how that happened, because I do NOT like to play that game!)

What We’ve Been Up To (January 1, 2019)

My husband and sister and brother-in-law took the kids on a kayaking trip this morning.

I’m so sad I couldn’t go with them - I think my poor back wouldn’t be happy with me if I crammed into a kayak for a couple of hours right now.


Everyone is reading something this trip. I love it.

I just finished the audio for 84, Charing Cross Road. SO charming!

Then, I started The Time Traveler’s Wife. The jury is still out on this one.

What We’ve Been Up To (January 1, 2019)

My husband is reading Andrew Jackson and the Miracle of New Orleans - he is a history buff so he’s enjoying this one.

My son is trying to finish the Pendragon Series because he claims he has bigger fish to fry after this! But, he has really liked this series.

My daughter (who much to my chagrin isn’t much of a reader) brought along the The Diary of Anne Frank graphic novel and has told me she likes it. (I read it and loved it!)

On a side note, I’m knee deep in SQUILT LIVE! lessons right now.

January is a month of musicals and I find myself falling down rabbit holes preparing engaging lessons for all of my students.

I just ADORE teaching kids about great music.

You can join me at any time.

What have YOU been up to lately? Tell us about your homeschool goings-on in the comments below. I love to hear how other like-minded families spend their days!

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What is Your Homeschool Word?

I’ve never had a “word” for the year.

Too often we let events in our homeschool just happen, without giving a lot of thought to why we are doing them, or what the consequences (good or bad) of those events will be. Sometimes just making it through a homeschool day without bloodshed or major trauma is a victory.

Recently, a good friend of mine texted me to say she and her husband had just gotten back from a dinner where they strategized what they wanted the next four years of their oldest’s homeschool experience to look like. That got me to thinking about my own children, and if I could articulate what I wished for them.

And then it hit me.

In 2019 I need to be more INTENTIONAL.

Our Homeschool Word of the Year 2019: Intentional

Because I’m getting ready to send my oldest to college in the fall, the word INTENTIONAL has great meaning for me - so that’s my word for 2019.

Let’s unpack what being intentional means in our homeschools.

Be Intentional About Activities

I know there are so many resources out there for planning our days and even planning our years.

But what focus do we give to a long range plan? What skills do we want our children to have when they leave us?

Being INTENTIONAL means keeping this plan in mind at all times. Does what we are doing fit our goals/plan?

Does participating in a team sport fulfill our goals? Or, are we just doing something because everyone else is doing it? What is the PURPOSE for what we are doing?

Is your child in a particular club or organization or another extracurricular? What function does this serve in their education and life? If you cannot articulate it I would suggest you need to let it go.

I want to be more INTENTIONAL about evaluating our commitments and activities.

Be Intentional About Time

How do we spend our time?

I recently saw something online that said our diet isn’t just what goes into our body - it is what goes into our minds and how we spend our time.

Are we modeling a proper use of our time (ahem - too much time on the cell phone, perhaps)?

What time are we getting up in the morning?

What do we do with our “free” time?

Does how we spend our time reflect our intentionality?

Be Intentional About Curriculum

Why are using a certain curriculum?

If you have older children, have you mapped out what you want them to accomplish by the time they graduate and then have you intentionally placed them on that path?

I discovered a few years ago that I had been keeping my oldest in a program for all of the wrong reasons. I wasn’t being intentional!

Are you sticking with the same math curriculum because you just know it works and it isn’t making any waves? Do you think you should maybe change to increase the rigor or for more accountability, but just don’t have it in you to try something new?

I would argue you aren’t being INTENTIONAL about what your children should be learning.

Do you want to me more intentional about reading aloud? Then make time each day for that. Don’t just give it lip service and then bemoan the fact you haven’t read aloud as much as you wanted to when 2019 draws to a close.

You get the point.

Know your goals and take steps to accomplish them. If a certain curriculum piece doesn’t fit those goals, set it aside (even if “everyone else” is using it).

What is Your Homeschool Word for 2019?

Be Intentional About Friendships

We all have friends that either build us up or tear us down.

Are you seeking out good, healthy friendships for you and your children, or are you stuck in a rut with people that don’t quite feed your friendship needs?

Again, sometimes you have to let some things go in order to make room for better things.

Trust me, I understand letting friendship go and then praying for new friendships to take hold.

Have faith. God wants what is best for our families, and honors us when we make hard choices.

Be Intentional About Possessions

This is going to be the hard part for me.

I am a bit of a book junkie, curriculum junkie, game junkie - I just like my stuff.

Do these possessions contribute to my goals, or do they weigh me down?

I don’t need that board game just because it is $2 at Goodwill. I don’t need ALL the books on my shelves (well, maybe I do - ha!). I don’t need all the boxes and boxes of homeschool materials I’m saving “just because”.

Again, this intentionality is being modeled for my children - it is one of the greatest gifts I can give them.

I just love thinking about our year in terms of everything being DONE ON PURPOSE and being done DELIBERATELY. It implies a high level of care and consideration that will lead to excellence, don’t you agree?

As we think about 2019, I would encourage you to adopt a word for the year. Brainstorm ways this word can help you achieve your goals.

Write the word boldly and put it up in several places around your home. I’m thinking of making a few bookmarks with the word INTENTIONAL on them to serve as reminders for me.

What’s Your Homeschool Word for 2019? #homeschoolword

If you have a word, share it in the comments below.

I’m going to be sharing my progress all year long via my Instagram account using the hashtag #homeschoolword and I’d love for you to join me!