From Homeschooling to School (The Realm of the Unknown)

Just recently my good friend IRL (in real life), The Scooper, dished on her family’s transition from homeschooling to school in her most recent post:

School Decisions: Finding Your Family’s Path & Walking in Freedom

I’ve walked beside her as she took the brave and scary step to enter this realm of the unknown.  As homeschool moms there is so much encouragement in our decision to homeschool.  Although there are adversities if you have “your people” you have lots of support.  Scooper admits she has ONE friend who has gone before her on this journey.  ONE.

I can say I have Two.  Two, including Scooper, who have walked this path just one year before me.  I am so thankful for their support in our family’s decision.  Their encouraging words have been a life line to me at times.  Scooper says it well:  “Even though homeschoolers are still greatly in the minority, there is a lot of online support and often much personal, community support for making the switch. It’s a countercultural decision and as I’ve said before, you need your people. I know I did. I’m thankful that such support exists; I know it hasn’t always been the case.”

The switch is difficult.  I, like Scooper, yearn to base my decisions on what God wants for my children.  I am a Christian.  I’m a Believer.  And in my heart of hearts I long for heaven.  When my kids were little my life required a lot of physical work.  As they have grown into 14, almost 13, 11 and 8 I find I now spend more time and energy on emotional things.  I no longer change diapers, rope them in for nap time or feed them with those sweet baby spoons.

Now I spend my energy tightly curling back fingers that I have woven into their lives, allowing them to grow into the person God wants them to be.  For me, this means learning to let them fail within the safe confines of our home so when they leave they do so as strong, God-loving adults.

I know many moms struggle with some of the same voices I do.  We often feel entirely responsible for our children, their grades, their dress, their friends, their attitudes.  But I’m learning, ever so slowly, to remove myself from their lives in healthy ways as to allow them growth and maturity.

And again I find God leading me through these unchartered waters.  From Scooper:    Allow me to share what I’m discovering:

  • Sometimes God leads us through His word. This was one of the ways he confirmed, for us, the decision to homeschool nearly six years ago.
  • Sometimes God leads us through prayer and meditation as we seek answers.
  • Sometimes God leads us as the Holy Spirit moves and leads in powerful and unmistakable ways.
  • Other times it is a still, small voice.  Sometimes God leads through wise counsel.
  • Sometimes God leads through the guidance of our spouse.
  • And sometimes God leads through circumstances and common sense.

For me it’s been the prayers and love of good friends, words from my husband, circumstances and God slowly opening my eyes to see that he has something better for my family than “the stuck place” I’ve felt we were in.  The merry-go-round of life.  The beating my head against the same wall and expecting different results.

I tend to glorify our years of homeschooling when I think back.  Yes, they were precious and they were sweet as we intertwined our lives with the sweet families God placed around us as “our people”.  There were park days and field trips and snuggle days with Barney, Blues Clues and lunches filled with jelly beans and PB&J.  There were also times I wanted to bang my head against the wall and scream, “I’m only one person!”  With four children depending upon me I took it upon myself to be their all and all.  Dare I stop her to ask myself, “In what way was I serving myself and not my kids?”  How does that get all messed up inside?  When did I depart from God first; me, my husband and my marriage second; and my children third?  When did they become the rulers of my universe?  Why did I let them?

I’ve never been one to say I need to be needed.  But as I dig deep within myself I wonder……”Did I need to be needed without even realizing it or did I accept the role of caretaker of the universe because I felt it my duty?”  Or maybe it just made me feel important. (ouch!)

The transition from homeschooling to school has been so difficult for me.  However difficult I’m beginning to learn to walk in the FREEDOM God has set before me.  I’m taking baby steps.  It’s hard.  Sometimes I cry all the way home from dropping the kids off at school and walk into a quiet house and wonder what to do with myself.

The Lord cautions me away from busyness.  He calls me into quiet.  There are days I feel I’ve accomplished nothing and days I feel successful.  And I wonder about the labels we place on things.  What is success?  I think back on Scooper’s words: “Trust that God has the right training ground for your kid and it may not be the one you’d planned. Your hope is not in a formula; it’s in a Person. Though we lead and guide our children, we too are led and guided by our own Shepherd.”

I’m holding tightly to my Shepherd’s hand as I continue down the path into the realm of the unknown.

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Someone’s turning eight…

She honestly was born just yesterday.

She called out, “My boys, my boys” every time she saw her brothers.  She cuddled with my youngest son in her crib (video proof).

Now, on Memorial Day, she is eight.

It’s hard to believe growing up happens so quickly.  Days sometimes crawl but as you look back they were gone in a single breath.

We celebrated her birthday with friends by a chilly pool, but kids don’t care!  They had a blast.

One forgot her suit so she swam in her clothes.  We’re easy like that.

Her brothers even made an appearance.  This is one of my favorite shots.  Something about the tilt of his head, the texture of his hair….

Life flies by so quickly.

Go hug your kids.

The Joy of a Jeep

When I met Rocketman in 1994 he had a sweet Jeep.  He loved that thing.  But even before kids he sold it and we bought a Suburban.  (We have a strange car history.)  If I remember correctly we sold the Suburban before Child 1 was born.

For years a Jeep has been in my husbands heart.  He has endured Custom Vans, Minivans, a couple trucks, and a small SUV.  So when we changed jobs a couple years ago I got a computer and he got his Jeep.

While my family was here visiting over Thanksgiving Rocketman took them to the beach.  He taught my niece how to drive his beloved Jeep there on the open sand.  All this took place while my brother-in-law, my other niece and I were at the Apple store having regretted my decision to purchase another PC years ago.  Black Friday at the Apple store and we were still in and out in 15 minutes having spent a load of money. ……..beautiful photos of my new MAC to come!

Here’s the gang who went to the beach……

My sister tried to get one of those photographic moments with Rocketman and his Jeep…

But there was something (one) that kept sneaking into the picture….

She loves her daddy!!!!


Seems like my Host was having some issues and I’ve lost something I thought was already out there in bloggy land.

Oh well…

I wanted to share some Thanksgiving photos with you anyway…

My family (except for my brother who lives in OHIO) came to Florida to visit for the holiday.  It was so nice to have everyone here.  We had 12 in the house and it was wonderful.

Here is my, my sister and THE BIRD

She’s a beauty isn’t she??

Here’s my crazy daughter.  She SO takes after her daddy…

And here’s almost half the gang….

And finally Rocketman carving the bird……

What a feast!  Food, Family, Faith.

What more could you ask for???

Saturday in Green Bay – WI

I sit here in Green Bay, WI with my birth mom.  She has been battling cancer for something like 20 years.  I met her 8 years ago.  Our story is a wonderful one I’ve yet to write.  The cancer is gaining ground and she just had several operations.  I went with her to chemotherapy yesterday.  The whole thing was quite an experience and made all she is going through even more real.  Since we live so far apart I’m not a part of the day by day challenges of battling cancer.

She has been such a blessing in my life.  She gave me life.  I look like her.  A nurse yesterday told me I have her laugh.

It’s a quiet day.  We are still in our pajamas.  The Auburn football game is on TV.  WAR EAGLE!!

My sweet friend is at my house cleaning up from the movers packing my house in SC yesterday and moving it to our new house in FLA.  The day after I get home from WI the truck arrives.  My sweet mother-in-law is staying to help with the unpacking, unloading and decorating.  I sit here in awe of how God gives us rest, provides, and takes care of things the more we (I) let go of my life.

If there is anything I have learned in this last year it is to live life one day at a time.  There Jesus resides.  The Holy Spirit leads and God smiles.  God always works out the next day.  It is not for us to solve, worry or think on.

My mom has lost most of her hair and she still looks beautiful to me.  She has fought such a valiant fight.  Her strength is amazing.  Her attitude is quirky…sometimes sarcastic, sometimes loving, sometimes accepting, always trusting in the One who is in charge.

The last few weeks has been a whirlwind as they have moved our furniture from one house in FLA to the other.  When I get home the furniture from SC is being delivered.

And in this crazy life place God has provided the needed time with my birth mom, a break from life as we move into our home He has given us, rest, and help when I return.  Not to mention my mother-in-law taking care of my kids while I’m in WI and a husband who’s allowed me to come visit my sweet birth mom.

What is life like when we really let go and trust Him to handle it all?

I want to live in that place.

It’s the best.

Whether it’s here or there…

Most of you know that we’ve been living in a rental house for over a year now.  I was just sure our house in SC (above photo…..oh, not the bird house, just a bird house in our front yard) would sell quickly and we’d be buying a home in FL in no time!  But, alas, I was wrong (not surprising).

After 10 years in SC it was difficult to leave the home we loved, the friendships we had formed and the homeschool group we were apart of.

Since moving to FL God has been so gracious to put many interesting people in our path.  I’ve met 3 Messianic Jews….I think that is super cool.   One was the man at the Oreck store today.  He came to know Christ after a major brain surgery in which he could have died had they not performed the surgery within hours.

Last weekend I met a woman on the beach who attends the same church we do, is teaching at Classical Conversations this year (I taught there last year), lives in the neighborhood beside us and is a professional photographer.  She homeschools her three children on top of all that!!  She was wonderful and I felt it was a God-ordained trip to the beach that day.

We’re anxiously awaiting a close date on our home.  Here she is!!

I LLOOVVEE, love, love the kitchen…

We feel it is such a gift from our Father!  We all absolutely love it and can not wait to move in.

As we anxiously await God’s timing for moving in I am keenly aware of the journey He has taken us on through the last year.

He’s used the time to help us select a section of this big city we live in.  And he’s provided so much for my youngest and oldest children.  Last year was a tough homeschool year.  One child was diagnosed with ADHD and I fought that tooth and nail.  I’ve read books, searched on the computer for answers and have been led by God through a friend to a wonder center Learning Rx.  The place is amazing.  They retrain the brain to be able to pay greater attention, retain and store what they’ve seen or learned, retrieve that information, process information more quickly and a tremendous amount of other things!  Check out their website.  We are concentrating on our learning there for the first part of the year and I am so looking forward to what God is going to do with my children through the center.  I feel I am setting them up for future success in life and attacking the real issues going on in their brains and not just the symptoms.

I have even found an app for the ITouch that I am going to use to exercise my muscle called “The Brain”.  Lumosity also offers an affordable solution if you are interested in exercising your brain online.  Take a look at their website too.

After posting a Community Question on Pioneer Woman’s website months ago I have taken an amazing journey to find what I believe is the next step in helping my children succeed in life.  The brain is an amazing muscle that needs exercising and even tho I still believe in right brain vs left brain thinking (to a degree) I’m learning more and more about developing cognitive skills and long and short term memory, auditory work memory, working memory, visual processing, logic and reasoning, processing speed, auditory processing and spelling of sounds.

God’s journey is never our own….even tho it is.  He just has a different way of bringing us around so we know that we know it’s Him and not us!!!

Vacation and Family

Here’s our newest toy…

It’s really marvelous.  You’ll have to visit and come for a ride with us.

After we left the beach after our family vacation my sister had the nerve to take pictures without me.  Here are a few of my favorites…

My mom snapped this one of my sister and her girls…

And here is one my sister snapped of my mom with her girls…

I really was jealous to have missed out on some girly pictures, but at least she sent me a disk.

Hope you have a great weekend.

Oh, and I was just kidding about that YACHT!!

On Fishing…

Florida provided a beautiful weekend this past weekend and we had our eyes set on a trip to the beach….not in bathing suits but just to walk and see the water. Clouds rolled in which cut some of the warmth out of the air so we decided on fishing instead.  It’s been a while since we’ve been because it’s just been cold, down right cold.

We weren’t encouraged when the bread we tossed in the water wasn’t even eaten by a turtle but we went through our assortments of beetle spins, grape worms and just plain ole bread!  We were about to give up when our youngest son snagged what appeared to be the only fish in the pond.  We huddled around to see what he would bring to the surface.

Baby Girl is usually the master (only) fisherman when she joins her dad at the pond so she’s gotten herself quite a name in these parts!  (These parts being our family…all 6 of us!)

But the baby boy came up with this prize this day!  Boy was he proud.  Check out that fish!  It had to be ten feel long don’t ‘cha think?  Just had to be!  And no, Lisa, we did not eat him.  He’s happily swimming with his buddy Rocky and his tube shaped hamburger deep within the lake.  Happy as a little camper, just the way you make me.

He’s a looker!!!!!  Especially with the worm we call Hannah Montana in his mouth.  It’s very sparkly!