What We've Been Up To Lately: The Homeschool Road is NOT Easy (and a few other updates)

The homeschool life can be beautiful, but it can also be HARD.

If our perspective is eternal, then even the hard can be beautiful.

Last weekend I went on retreat with 15 other homeschool moms from our Classical Conversations community. The biggest takeaway from the weekend was this: We are doing something of eternal significance and joy through homeschooling our children. LIFE, however, doesn’t stop when you are homeschooling.

We still take on the regular burdens of any family - struggles with relationships, caring for aging parents, caring for our OWN physical and emotional health, meeting the needs of many different types of children, coping with job and financial stress. The list could go on and on…

Moms, it is imperative we take care of ourselves. Surround yourself with friendships and situations that lift and support you. Whatever curriculum you choose, it won’t be of any value to your children if YOU aren’t healthy, happy, and pouring love and grace into your children.

The Homeschool Life is Hard - Why It is Important to Have Community & Friendships

The Homeschool Road is NOT Easy

Can I be completely transparent with you today?

Life is HARD.

Being a mama in my late 40s brings about its own set of physical and emotional changes. Add to that death of parents, caring for parents, chronic pain struggles of my own, raising teens, running a business, and a myriad of other demands on my time, and life gets overwhelming.

Add the responsibility of my children’s education on top of this, and sometimes it feels that it might be easier to crawl into a little hole and escape for a while.

I am, however, seeing the FRUIT of homeschooling. I see two teens who are kind, responsible, personable, and compassionate. As I’m reading Beauty in the Word I am learning that educating our children for BEING, not DOING, is the goal.

Homeschooling has allowed me to teach my children how to BE - and this skill will take them far as servants in God’s kingdom.

We all need a support system.

All moms need a #homeschool support system!

I love the ladies in our homeschool community.

Each of the ladies in the above picture have their own struggles. They each also have their own special way of encouraging and supporting others, and their unique ways of pouring into other homeschool moms.

We need each other. We laugh, cry, pray, and love each other.

I couldn’t do this homeschool thing without community.

Three days with this community of women (plus 10 more not pictured here!) have equipped me until next year at this time, when we will do it all over again.

#Homeschool Moms need community!

How appropriate that we could end our retreat with worship time and visiting a chapel on the property of the farm where we spent our weekend.

In a world that seems to be going a bit wonky, this was a slice of heaven on earth. Truly.

A Bookish Update

Another thing that keeps me sane is reading… reading to my children and reading on my own. Below are the books that are laying on nightstands, coffee tables, and fire places right now:

I’ve been trying to read a bit more widely in 2019, so you will see more nonfiction and spiritual reading.

A lot of people ask how I can read so much. My answer is this: I love Audible and listen to A LOT of audio books!

Homeless BirdBeauty in the Word: Rethinking the Foundations of EducationThe Ragamuffin Gospel: Good News for the Bedraggled, Beat-Up, and Burnt OutDefiant Joy: Taking Hold of Hope, Beauty, and Life in a Hurting WorldGhosted: A NovelPrivate Peaceful (After Words)One Summer: America, 1927An Anonymous Girl: A NovelMiss Pettigrew Lives for a Day (Persephone Classics)Next Year in Havana


Curriculum & Graduation Update

We made the decision to move Grant into Challenge I (Classical Conversations) next year.

Our community is so very strong, and he will be in a class of 12 wonderful peers.

I know there is often a lot of reevaluating and decision making when a child enters high school, and we did wrestle with whether or not to send him to a fully accredited homeschool hybrid school or keep him in Classical Conversations. In the end - community won out! Plus, I also believe in the CC model for the Challenge years.

We will be adjusting - adding and subtracting - curriculum pieces as we move along, so I will keep you updated on that.

Right now he is busy preparing for Mock Trial, digging into Logic and Latin, and really enjoying his switch from Saxon Math to Shormann Math.

Anna graduates May 17 and is ready! Would you believe she already has her first semester college schedule already? And, she is rooming with a friend of hers from home, so I think she’s feeling good about going to college.

See what I mean about homeschool paying off? I’m so so happy I decided to follow her lead in these high school years and make a huge change when it was needed. It all worked out for the best.

We’re learning a lot of life lessons here. Things like managing money, time, and relationships are valuable life skills!

It’s an interesting mix of letting go and reigning in at this age. I spend a lot of time praying about how best to handle certain situations, and I’m relying a lot on my husband, who is DEFINITELY the most patient parent!

We have a lot of family coming for Anna’s graduation - what a blessing that will be. In our hearts we will be missing my mom and my husband’s father, but I know they see it all and are so proud of the young lady she is becoming. I find myself overcome with tears several times a week just missing them, but it’s ok to be sad - and then I move on.

Being Spontaneous

I’ve never been very good at spontaneity. It is, however, my children’s love language.

They LOVE surprises.

On Tuesday a friend of mine posted on Facebook “Who wants to see The Piano Guys tonight?” I jumped on it! (It didn’t even matter it was 2.5 hours away - I snagged the tickets, rented a hotel room, and told my kids to pack a bag!) Dad was on a business trip to California during our Winter Break, so I decided we needed to take a little trip, too!

What an amazing concert!

I have used so many of their videos in my SQUILT curriculum; I figured this was “business research” for me.

Surprise Trip to See the Piano Guys

We’re full steam ahead until the end of the year.

I go back to the emphasis of our retreat weekend: God is always there in the midst of ANY circumstance. He loves us so much and rejoices and cries with us. We are NEVER alone. He wants the best for us and often times has us in the valley so that we must struggle to reach up for HIM.

I’m thankful for this online community of homeschooling mamas, and pray that I can be an encouragement to each of you.

#Homeschool is hard, but if our perspective is eternal, then even the hard can be beautiful.

If you feel led, please share a struggle and/or joy from the past week in the comments below.

Let’s encourage each other!

You might also like:

How to Reach Your Teen Homeschooler’s Heart

Homeschooling Your Teen: Are You Missing the Most Important Thing?

What We've Been Up To Lately: February Book Stack and Some Basketball

Are you a planner by nature?

I am confessing right here that I am NOT.

So, the very thought of laying out the books I want to read in a month at the BEGINNING of the month feels a little stifling to me. I have come to the realization, however, that this will be a good way for me to evaluate my bookish goals.

By “bookish goals” I mean my goal of reading more non fiction, more Christian works, and in general keeping myself away from too much twaddle.

February Book Stack @ Homegrown Learners

February Book Stack for Mom

I completed Inhertiance, by Dani Shapiro, just yesterday. I had heard the hype on this one, and I can tell you it lives up to that hype.

Dani Shapiro knocked it out of the park with this memoir about her shocking discovering of her ancestry.

In addition to that book, I have the following books on my TBR for February

Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and LoveOne Summer: America, 1927Mere ChristianityThe Enchanted April (Penguin Classics)The Duchess of Bloomsbury StreetMiss Pettigrew Lives for a Day (Persephone Classics)


Audio Books

I always like to keep an Audible selection going in the car.

I am finishing The Secret Diary of Hendrick Groen, 83 1/4 Years Old - it’s hilarious - but I’m warning you… you have to have a good sense of humor about aging and people being in a nursing home. I can chuckle at his stories because my dad lives in an Assisted Living, and this is SO TRUE to life!

Additionally, a book club friend asked me to read An Anonymous Girl, so that is next up in my Audible cue.

The Secret Diary of Hendrik GroenAn Anonymous Girl: A Novel


Reading for My Teens

Grant is reading short stories for his Challenge B curriculum. I have been reading a few of those aloud with him, which is interesting. I love the discussions we are having.

He is bound and determined to finish the Pendragon series. I think reading books in a series is a universal thing for middle schoolers, yes?

My daughter is taking a World Literature class this year and is finishing Julius Caesar right now. For fun, she just re-read Forever Today, which is a a story about the English musician, Clive Wearing. It is a truly heartbreaking and fascinating story.

We are starting a new read aloud this week, and I am taking the advice of so many and starting Echo. I have heard the audio is excellent, but we already own the book. What to do? I think I may use an Audible credit so we can listen and follow along.

Pendragon Complete Collection: The Merchant of Death; The Lost City of Faar; The Never War; The Reality Bug; Black Water; The Rivers of Zadaa; The ... of Rayne; Raven Rise; The Soldiers of HallaForever Today: A Memoir Of Love And Amnesia by Wearing, Deborah New edition (2005)Echo


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A fun aside - I’ve been able to get a lot of reading done because it is basketball season!

I do a lot of waiting at practices and before games. I also sneak in reading if my husband is driving us to an away game.

This weekend my son’s team is in the STATE CHAMPIONSHIP!

We’re very excited. It is so much fun watching these kids play. He plays for a local Christian school that allows homeschoolers to play on their team, so he has quite a few of his homeschool buddies that play with him. Good stuff!

Initially I was resistant to a lot of organized sports, but this has been a spectacular experience, and I can see the many benefits this is having for my son. I anticipate he will play next year.

My life right now is SQUILT, homeschool, basketball, and BOOKS — and next week I’ll talk more about getting my oldest registered off for college, because that deserves a post all of its own.

What have YOU been up to?

Do you have a reading stack for February?