this is why I love homeschool

IMG_1997Confession time, this title is a little misleading.

In my real life, there are about 2,456,897 reasons why I love homeschool. This post is approximately reasons number 2,456,898 and 2,456,899 but I wasn’t sure that made a good blog title. 🙂

This is the fifteenth year we’ve journeyed this path called homeschool. It’s also roughly the third consecutive time we’ve started a new school year following my definitive declaration the previous spring, “this is my last year of homeschool.”

Honestly, we keep going with this educational choice because of the opportunities that it presents. However, after fourteen years, I truly thought there was nothing new. We’ve done homeschool, public school, and private school. We’ve explored Charlotte Mason method, Classical Education, unschooling, and child lead learning. We’ve taken our homeschool on the road camping across different states, to two other countries, and we’ve taken advantage of two different colleges in our town for dual-credit classes. I thought we had mostly done it all.

Wrong, again.

This year new adventures await.

project Salud y Paz....Emme started Certified Nurses Assistant training this morning. While this is not a required step in her goal to become an RN someday, her dad (a nurse, himself) encouraged her to go this route. Emme is a senior this year and has only 12th grade English and U.S. Government left to complete for her diploma, so the CNA class at our local career center fit nicely into her schedule. After her first medical missions trip to Guatemala six years ago, my girl hasn’t wavered in her desire to do something in the medical missions field. Today is her first step and I can’t wait to see where God leads her. I don’t have a picture of her in her new eggplant colored scrubs this morning, but here she is, a few years ago, where her adventure began… in Guatemala.

IMG_1999Ellen’s schooling adventure this year is all about renovation, design, and budgeting. Meet Betty. Betty is a 1964 Bee Line travel trailer made not too far from where we live now. Ellen is giving Betty the ultimate make-over in hopes of selling Betty to generate funds to buy and restore her very own glamper. So, aside from her typical math, writing, science, and history classes, Ellen is learning all about repair and restoration, as well as learning which things are “needs” and which are “wants” when it comes to making Betty beautiful again. We’ll be heading to the RV Museum in Elkhart this week and taking advantage of their extensive library to learn more of what Betty used to look like and hopefully gain some make-over ideas. Thankfully, we have a friend with experience and he’s been incredibly generous in sharing his tips of the trade with Ellen. Stay tuned. I can’t wait to show you what she does with Betty this school year. Here is the link to her Facebook group if you want to follow along:

As I look back, I can honestly say that the number one reason I love homeschool is because I have been gifted fourteen years to encourage and equip my kids to pursue their dreams and passions.

I’m grateful for one more year!

this mom’s identity…

On Fridays over here a group of people who love to throw caution to the wind 
and just write gather to share what five minutes buys them. 
Just five minutes. 
Unscripted. Unedited. Real.
Your words. 
This shared feast.

Those are Lisa Jo’s words… joining with her and her writing community at Gypsy Mama for five minute Friday.   
Today’s topic: identity
I wrote of this yesterday… this sense of finding my identity now that my children need me less and less.  A decade and a half of my life spent as Mama, Mommy, Mom.  A decade spent educating at home… gathering around great books, exploring together through field trips, and living life together.  I would do it all again.. over and over and over.
I wouldn’t have spent this time in my life any other way.  I’m now wondering though, what do I do next?  In investing that much of my life, I also invested my identity.  I laugh because I meet people in my area now who say to me, “oh, you’re that homeschool mom.” To my children’s friends, I am “Eric’s mom” or “Emily’s mom” or “Ellen’s mom.”  Perhaps to the neighborhood dogs, I am even “Ebony’s mom.”
I knew parenting wasn’t for the faint of heart before I jumped in.  I did not know, though, that I would willingly invest myself to my very core into the lives of these 3 Es.  I didn’t know that I would want to give up my individual identity in order to help them form theirs.  I didn’t know they would become so much of who I am.
Even in the midst of a new school this year… a broken arm and a 3 hour surgery… a trip to another country… writing a novel… and another year of homeschooling my youngest, I’ve spent this year re-evaluating.  
Who am I?  What will I do next?  What is my purpose?  My worth?  My identity?
I don’t have all the answers yet… and I may never.  However, I do know the One who knows.  And… I know that my true identity belongs in Him.  
I also know that my children will always need me.  
They have their own identities now… I don’t need to give them mine.

gratitude from Pinterest…

This was floating around on facebook this weekend.  I think it originated on Pinterest but I don’t know where… I don’t know who gets the credit for this, I only know that I like it!

gratitude unlocks
the fullness of life
it turns what we have into 
enough and more!
it turns
denial into acceptance
chaos into clarity
problems into gifts
failures into success
the unexpected into perfect timing
and mistakes into important events
gratitude makes
sense of our past… brings peace
for today and creates a vision 
for tomorrow

Two years ago, I started following Ann… I started joining in on Multitude Monday.  I started counting gifts to change the way my heart saw things.  I took Ann’s challenge to find 1000 gifts in the everyday and I was overwhelmed.  I thought that there would be NO WAY I would ever be able to count 1000 things for which I was grateful.  Instead, I was thrilled to find 100.  

I was wrong.  So wrong.  As my heart began to change, I discovered more and more gifts.  I’ve counted to 1000 a couple of times and I continue to count… because my heart needs to continue to change and I need to be more grateful.


On this rainy Monday morning, I’m sitting in a bowling alley with fifty jr/sr high students.  They’re having a blast bowling for a fundraiser.  I watch my girl.  The one that won a year’s tuition at this private school.  She’s having a blast!  … and my heart is full of gratitude to the one that provided this year for her.

…so my list continues….

…for gifts that include school
…for new friends
…for a day of fun with old friends
…for the privilege to help the ones who have helped her this year

…for a week with the one I love the most
…for all the stories from their trip to Guatemala
…for no more nights sleeping alone

…for the laughter and fun around me
…for the one who is still homeschooled
…for wisdom gifted as we continue to seek His face with their education

…for his new job
…for the thrill it gives him
…for the privilege to watch him grow up

…for this life that looks nothing like I imagined
…for the fact that it is so much better
…for dreams that are being fulfilled

…for rain
…for refreshment
…for the sound of storms in the middle of the night

…for the rain of His grace on my parched heart
…for His faithfulness in spite of my failures
…for the fact that His love is boundless and endless

let’s party!

They’re leaving … on a jet plane… and I’ve decided to party while they’re gone (my RN husband and 12 year old daughter are traveling to Guatemala today for a week long medical missions trip.  This is their second trip and I now understand that my heart will be in a knot for 8 days). 

 It’s been a few years since I’ve joined the Ultimate Blog Party.   So, I figure there is no better way to make time go faster than to party, right?

Thanks to Janice and Susan at 5 Minutes for Mom for hosting the Ultimate Blog Party.  Join in!  

I’m Heidi… and, honestly, sometimes this is what being a mom to 3 feels like for me.  Crazy, out of control fun… and often my peripheral vision is blurry and unclear!  I never know what’s coming next.  

I am mom to 4 Es (if you count the dog).  Eric is 15, Emily is almost 13, Ellen is 8, and Ebony, our lab/chow mix is 3.  For many years I described myself as a homeschool mom.  I found my identity in the homeschool community and started to dig deep roots there… thinking I would be the quintessential homeschool mother who graduates her brilliant children with high honors. 

The greatest lesson I’m learning these days is to not get very comfortable with life.  This place… this earth… this life, it’s not my home.  God has taught me this lesson by uprooting me a few times.  Last year, he uprooted Eric and he went to public school and loves it!  He’s a dynamite athlete and is excelling above our expectations with his academics and with his athletic ability.

So… I redefined myself as a homeschool mom of two girls and thought I could be happy letting Eric do his thing and I would graduate my two girls.  Wrong again.  In mid August of last year, God allowed Emily to win a one-year scholarship to our local Christian academy for 7-12 grades.  She loves it there and in her own right is excelling in sports and classes above our expectations.  She’s clearly where God wants her… and I’m down to one at home.

I no longer have visions of grandeur and after ten years of homeschooling, I’m learning to redefine myself.   I’m realizing that I am uniquely made by my Creator to accomplish great things for Him.  I am not defined by one aspect of my life, whether good or bad.  Instead, there is a grander scheme and I have been made for more.

 I am a homeschool mom but I am also many other things…
I am child of the King, seeking to live for Him
I am a wife, of almost 18 years, who still struggles to put her husband first
I am a mother, to three incredible individuals
I am a home maker, whose home is constantly being unmade
I am a sister, who maybe is finally figuring out that sisters are your best friends for life
I am an aunt, I have 11 nieces and nephews who I adore
I am a friend, who is blessed beyond measure
I am an elders wife, though I often fail to embrace my role in ministry
I am an author, who, now that 2 kids are in school, is pursuing a life-long dream

So… you see, that funny iPhoto picture of Ellen and I.  I think it’s an accurate portrayal of myself.  I’m learning to let go… to have fun but to not get comfy.  This life… my life… it’s fleeing and maybe that is why the edges are blurry and unclear.  I don’t need to see what is in the edges, I just need to keep my eyes on Jesus.

with a side of light cream…

Yep… it’s my second post today.  Mostly ‘cuz I have a lot of random thoughts swirling above and it’s Tuesday… which means it’s {virtual coffee} with Amy!!  So here’s a much lighter post than the last few… lighter is better!

So… let’s chat over some coffee or tea on this beautiful Tuesday.  Mine’s iced with maple syrup and a little milk… ran out of half and half yesterday.  What I wouldn’t do for a little cream this morning…. mmmm… 

Yes, you read that right.  Maple syrup in my coffee.  I think it’s my new love.  I wouldn’t have tried it though, if I hadn’t given up coffee creamer.  I had a serious love affair with coffee creamer… after weeks and weeks of migraines and severe headaches, though, I started to take inventory of what I was consuming.  Over the past 10 years, I have slowly {read at at snail’s pace… obviously, since this has been in the works for a decade, huh?} changed my eating habits.  So, anymore, there really isn’t much that isn’t good for me… except coffee creamer.  So, on a whim Saturday, I poured my java down the drain, gave away the remainder of my coffee creamer, and poured myself a new cup with maple syrup… OH YEAH!  I’m in love again… I may need to find something a little less expensive though….

Speaking of maple syrup, we didn’t tap our trees this year because they started to bud early.  Amazingly, we were all kind of bummed, until my friend, Angie, called and said they had more sap than they knew what to do with and would I like some?  Yes ma’am!  So, Ellen and I trekked sap home and in the end got over a gallon of syrup!!

Maple syrup and my screen door, those are the things that make me think spring.  Sunday my screen door came back!  LOVE!!  Isn’t he a great guy?   The really funny thing… see that hair?  About an hour after I took this picture, it was all gone.  He’s back to a shaved head… another sign of warmer weather.

‘k… just have to say… I don’t like DST!!  Why is it we have to go back to being dark when I take Emme to school?  I just want to come home and crawl right back under the covers… yesterday, I did! ; )

Speaking of kids, the mancub goes back to the doctor today.  The boy’s a little concerned.  He cannot extend his arm… not because of pain, because it won’t go there.  So, we’ll see what the one with more knowledge than us has to say.  So far, though, it hasn’t slowed him down much.  He was playing back yard football yesterday… just catch and release but for him, it’s better than nothing.

I really wish we were sitting across from one another today.  I’m having a hard time getting motivated to do anything.  Mostly I want to find a hands-on book {as opposed to ebook}, a blanket and head outside!  Since we haven’t started school in these parts yet… it was a beautiful morning delay… maybe we’ll take school outside the walls of this house.

So… what would you tell me if we were really playing hooky from school over coffee?  What’s going on in your neck of the woods?

Join in!

what if we are all wrong…

What if we/me approached life knowing and acknowledging that I am wrong rather than trying to prove I am right?

As it is written,
there is no one righteous, not even one
there is no one who understands
there is no one who seeks God.
Romans 3:10-11

Seems lately, in Christian circles {love that vague term}, so many are trying to prove their stance based on right vs. wrong in how to follow Christ, where to educate our children, how to parent, how to be married, what movies to watch, which holidays to celebrate, which version of God’s Word to read, etc., etc., etc.

I’m beginning to believe we are all wrong

… because if we were right, we wouldn’t fall into the trap of trying to tear down our brother/sister to build ourselves up.

My children are teaching me this lesson.  It seems as if they are constantly fighting to be right.  In the fight, they tear down their brother/sister in order to defend themselves.  In the end, this parent is left to deal with puffed up pride and hurt feelings.

It’s taken 42+ years to realize I do this and my Father God is left to deal with puffed up pride and hurt feelings.  

Sin is wrong
I sin
I am wrong

This is how I want to live the rest of my days… I know I will fail miserably.

I want to be wrong so that I don’t fight to be right.

{virtual coffee} again…

maybe caffeine would help?!?

Good morning… it’s a yucky, rainy, cold and mostly miserable day outside… a GREAT day for {virtual coffee} dontcha think?

Joining up with Amy to sip some virtual coffee together today.  Care to join us?

Ellen and I brought school to the library today.  Doesn’t she looked thrilled?  I have to confess that I’ve kinda let school slide a little lately.  Not that I’m a rigid homeschool mom; but, even to my standards, things have slipped a bit.   What, with writing a book and now working on a sequel, celebrating Christmas and New Year with friends and family, almost running over myself, passing out toys for Toy Time, and waiting for puppies to be born… it seems as if I don’t have enough of me to do it all and school too.

I used to worry about such times in our lives… worry that my kids weren’t learning enough, getting enough, being enough, whatever enough.  Somehow, putting the two older in school has changed my perspective greatly.  They both were homeschooled.  They both transitioned beautifully.  They both have high GPA’s.  They’re fine.  Ellen will be fine too.  So, I don’t worry anymore over the days when we stay in our pj’s and read 3 entire Boxcar Children books or the days when we make Bosco sticks, hot pockets, mini pies, cookies and granola bars for the other kid’s school lunches.  

Just think of all the time I’ve wasted worrying!  So, today we push the “restart” button and we work diligently on our schoolwork while still having fun at the library.

Speaking of libraries… I think mine is about the best around.  You know, we could actually have our coffee here?  Yep, my library is cool like that.  Just make sure you keep the lid on…. ; )

I’ve been attempting to make my own coffee creamer at home.  So far… I’m undecided on it.  I’d like to do it to cut cost and preservatives but not so sure it’s worth it.  I’ll keep you posted on different recipes I try.  Here’s the one from today…

Honey Almond Coffee Creamer
1 can sweetened evaporated milk
1 1/2 c. milk
1/4. c. honey
1/8 t. almond extract

Pour all into a 1 quart canning jar and tighten lid.  Shake well until all honey and condensed milk is mixed in.  Store in fridge and use with your favorite coffee.

… this is the recipe I like best, thus far.  I’ve tried vanilla and pumpkin spice.  Still not as good as Sweet Italian Cream, which is, by far, my fave!!

In this little chat, Ellen has finished her school work.  Time for us to move on.  

Hope you have an amazing Tuesday.  Thanks for joining me!