Monday, January 8, 2018

Whoppers and Doozies

I was chatting with some friends tonight at the coffee shop about some realizations we've had in our "old homeschool mom" age.

When our children are young, we are told that we are raising sinners. We shake our heads and think oh yes, we know that.

No, we don't. Not really.

We don't have any clue, at that time, that we truly are raising humans that are gonna choose sin sometimes. Ohhhhh, noooooo...I'm not talking the hitting, throwing tantrums, calling you names, and screaming at you stuff. Yeah, we know that stuff will probably happen a time or two or ten thousand. We are prepared to endure that mess.

No, sister, I mean the whoppers...the doozies...the grand things that you don't even give thought to that your little precious will do! Those things that will throw you for some of the biggest loops of your life!

For real... it's like we are so disillusioned to think that if we give them more and better information than we had, then they will make all the best and right choices.

It's a sweet dream. It's an admirable pursuit. But, it rarely, if ever, happens. I mean, seriously. I have now watched a number of kids grow up. Very few haven't participated in crazy stuff at some point and left a trail of astonishment behind (or their parents have no idea yet because their kids are Sneakies...and those are the real scary ones!!!!!!).

running away...moving out...trying drugs...drinking alcohol...smoking...nearly catching themselves on fire...coming home attempts...reckless driving...ugh

What happened? We did this parenting thing differently! We read the blogs! We watched videos! WE DROVE TO CONFERENCES!

Especially us homeschool moms. I mean we gave up stuff to stay home with these little stinky treasures. We were there to correct their behavior and mold their character into fine, upstanding, productive members of society who wouldn't...who wouldn't...

What??? Who wouldn't sin???

Yes, it is ridiculous when you put it like that. But, you would be amazed at how many sweet, unsuspecting homeschool moms really, truly live in this Land of Denial or Valley of Illusion. That was me for a while. 

I'm not trying to be Debbie Downer if you are a young homeschool momma reading this. But, it's in your best interest that I play Realistic Rhonda for a minute and make sure you really, really get this.

You need to know that all of your best efforts and well-laid plans will pay off someday, so stay the course, BUT you most likely are gonna get a few curveballs thrown at ya girl!

Truth is, your little angels are cute, but they are people. They will have their own stubborn wills and curious minds. I know you think you know, but you haven't seen anything yet. You are likely to have at least one experience that hits you in the face like a board flying out of a cyclone! I'm not trying to scare you. I just want you to know the truth so you can be ready. I want you to remember reading this and be able to stand strong when the wind blows.

I refused to have rebellious teenaged boys, and I am thankful for the most part I don't. We have a good relationship, and they tell me more than I feel I can handle about themselves on a regular basis. They don't mind hanging out with me too terribly much. They are actually quite kind and sweet to me. But, they have had some moments...some big ole, slap-ya-gramma, I-can't-believe-they-did-that-I might-kill-em-they-act-just-like-their-dad moments! (hahahahahahahaha!!!!)

I would've told the younger me to be ready, but relax. Don't freak when you find this stuff out. Stay calm and mom on. Don't jump to the worst possible conclusions. They likely won't be felons, drug addicts, or pyromaniacs! You will be tempted to react by putting them on lockdown. You'll want to box them into your protective bubble by taking everything away and keeping everyone out. 

Listen, DON'T DO THAT. Don't be that crazy homeschool mom lady. (Really, don't because you make the rest of us look like wackos!) 

Yes, you might have to set some intelligent boundaries for Mr. Impulsive's not-yet-developed-frontal cortex (that may take until 26 by the's okay...breathe), but he's gonna be alright. 

How do I know? Well, just look over at the dude there in bed beside you who's making that horrid noise through his nostrils. 

Go ahead. Do it. 

Now see, he's okay, right??? (Note...if you don't have one, I'll let you think of mine and trust me when I offer him up as Exibit A, that there was some serious questioning time as to whether he would be alright!)

This is where the rubber meets Parenting Road. This is where you've gotta believe that the good seeds you sowed into that sweet little soil will produce fruit. You've gotta turn that urge to yell into a song of life over your child. This time, more than any other, is when they need to hear you say, "I love you. No matter what you do, I love you." Chances are, in their heart, they know what they did was wrong, and they probably aren't too proud of themselves. Don't speak to their sin...speak to their potential. They will believe what they hear you say, even, and maybe especially, when you don't think they are listening. Speak life! And keep speaking life. Call them back to their rightful place. Don't help the enemy isolate them in shame.

Next time, I'll share my theory on why we mommas tend to freak!

Monday, May 16, 2016

Graduation Party Prep Continues!

Grad party stuff threw up all over my living room!!! 

It was a whirlwind week getting ready for the big day, but it was all worth it.

Here are before photos of the venue. As soon as I can get the party pics edited, I'll post again. Everything turned out so well.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Spring Fever Outbreak!

Yikes friends! Spring fever has hit bad around here!

Anybody out there feeling it too???

What in the world causes this? Is it just the change in weather, with the sun peeking out and the trees waving their green leaves at us through the window?

Are we all just ready to get outside and breathe fresh air again?

Is this just a Midwest homeschool problem or is this an issue that spans all education models and geographical locations?

All I know is that this "fever" mixed with graduation party planning and a new driving permit and a new job and a vacation on the horizon has this homeschool house ready to hang up the backpacks and call it quits! Tee hee

Good thing we school year round so we get a lot of learning in :)

It's in these times that we have to do some life skills and unconventional learning to keep things moving along! Stay tuned to catch some glimpses of what that looks like for us.

For now, I'll leave you with some pics from our last co-op day when we dissected a fish and a frog. (Yep, still gross. I gagged all over again ya'll!)

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Graduation #1 Party Prep Under Way

I cannot believe this time has arrived, but here we are! I'm deep in the midst of planning our first graduate's party!

The facility has been rented
Beautiful setting with plenty of space to play football! There will be fishing and his live band playing...his brother will DJ. Soda floats and smoked BBQ...a cookie bar! 


Invitations have been designed and mailed

Decorations are being made and banners are finished

The college has been selected. We've already been to orientation.

I can't believe this is really happening.

It seems like just yesterday

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Convention Season!

Spring has sprung, and I can smell...

books! Ha!

Tis the season for homeschool conventions!!!

I personally LOVE this time of year. I am that nerd homeschool mom that loves to browse through every aisle and look at all of it! I wish I could go to every session and listen to each speaker.

If you're not that kind of momma, that is TOTALLY fine! Don't feel condemned because you don't enjoy this process. We are all different.

I can absolutely see how someone could be easily overwhelmed at a convention because I have been myself!

We thankfully live in the age where we can do a lot of peaceful browsing at home as well. That's so helpful, but I do truly like getting my hands on all those physical books and being able to look at more than a few pages!

Some tips if going to a convention:
1. Wear comfy shoes!
2. Take some kind of cart with wheels. Yeah, they look silly, but they save your arms and back!
3. Walk through and look at every table once before you make a purchase. No, really.
4. Keep a small notebook with you to jot down things you want to come back to or that you want to look up more information about while you are at your hotel. Think this through.
5. Don't impulse buy...walk away and come back to it. Yes. Again. Believe me. You are going to want to get a lot because it all looks fantastic, but the truth is that you won't have time to do all of this in one year. 
6. Pray. Ask God to direct you to the resources that are best for your children.
7. Take a refillable water bottle and some snacks. Most conventions allow you to bring your own food, and it will save you money as well as be healthier than concession stand food.
8. Don't go with any whiners! Not whiny kids or whiny husbands or whiny friends! Make this a tradition for yourself that allows you to get away and enjoy the process. Take it slow and don't rush!

Friday, March 25, 2016

Springing Out of Tough Seasons

Like it or not, hard seasons befall us all. Trials are bound to happen, and our best-laid plans crumble into ashes. Day after day ticks on into the future. We wonder how time goes by so quickly when the days seem so long and exhausting!

Never would I have dreamed that it would be a year since I posted on this blog. That was never the plan. But, plans get made and get left behind. 

We all have seasons that don't go as we hope. We must learn to, as the saying goes, dance in the rain!

This past year has been one of busy, but intentional living and healing. It has been one of transition and rest at the same time. It was much needed for my soul.

I'm happy to say that I have remained flexible for the most part, bending with the winds of change and allowing God to direct my steps. It's always nice when you see spiritual maturity in yourself, amen?

As I enter this new spring and plan the graduation and 18th birthday of my oldest son, I'm so thankful for even the wind and waves...for the storms and trials of this life. They have made me who I am and refined me by holy fire.

I see the light at the end of the tunnel. I have hope of time to express "me" again! I have the desire to encourage others in their journey and difficult seasons. I'm coming back :)

God be with you in your tough seasons, and I pray this is a time that you are springing back and finding joy in new blooms of your life.

Happy Spring!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015


Today, I want to share with you about our co-op!

Last post, I shared about the cottage school my oldest son attends once per week. I wanted to compare the two for anyone out there who may not know the difference.

As I previously stated, at the cottage school we pay a private tutor to come in and teach. At our co-op, we are a group of parents who each take turns teaching different classes. We meet at a local church that is very generous to let us use their building.

We have our group divided into three groups for classes: younger elementary, older elementary, and middle school. We don't have any official high-schoolers yet, except my oldest son so that's why he doesn't go. (Yikes! That really does mean I'm getting old! :)

This year, I am teaching Health and Introduction to Logic, both for high-school credit. I don't work with the younger students too much...only if I need to sub for someone so I'm not as acquainted with how their day flows. 

For my two younger sons, who are in 8th grade, a typical co-op day looks like this: 

8:45 Parents meet for prayer while children take their things to the classrooms
9:00-10:00    Apologetics 
10:00-11:00  Introduction to Logic 
11:00-12:00  Physical Science Experiments
12:00-1:00    Lunch 
1:00-2:00      American History
2:00-3:00      Health
3:00-4:00      Geography

We meet on Mondays. I wasn't sure when we started this year that I would like this as Mondays tend to be a little hard to get back in the groove. I have to say, though, that I have found it to be a great way to start the week. It's a nice transition because it is school, they are definitely learning, but it's fun!

We have been part of some other co-ops before, one we really enjoyed and one we got out of asap! Sometimes it just isn't a good fit, and that is perhaps the hardest thing about joining a co-op. You have to make the commitment for the long haul and if you find out it isn't your family's cup o' tea, you are kinda stuck.

My advice would be to talk to a few members very thoroughly. Don't be afraid to respectfully ask hard or uncomfortable questions. If they can't or won't answer them or even get offended that you are asking, run! You have to be with a group of people that can communicate if this is going to work well.

I hope wherever you are that you have some like-minded homeschool friends. I've been through a few very lonely seasons on my journey, and it's definitely not easy! If you can't find a physical group in your community, at least join an on-line one so you can be encouraged to keep your feet to the path God has called you to.