WHAT OUR YEAR ROUND HOMESCHOOL LOOKS LIKE THIS SUMMER


Summer has officially taken over around here; the humidity and all the cooling activities to go with it. I’m sitting outside at what is slowly becoming my favorite time of morning: it turns out 9am can be as magical as 6am. Between walks, bike rides, swims, long evenings in our yard, outings around town, and visits to grandma and grandpa’s house, our days and weeks of summer are slowly ticking by. After our little vacation out west, I’ve taken an official break from my cell phone. Searching for GPS directions, campsites, hotels, and weather updates took a lot of phone staring, and a break felt like a much needed rest.

Something that is holding our summer schedule together is our morning school time about 3 days a week. I normally schedule in a little summer term of homeschool, but this year we’re still working on our spring semester that we haven’t completed yet. We work to complete our books, and between distractions and too many breaks this past year, we’re not quite finished yet.. whoops! But that’s the beauty of homeschooling; our books will be completed eventually, and learning is always happening, even when we take days “off”. Because my husband is a teacher, this summer has given me uninterrupted time with the girls working on their school while he takes care of the boys. We’re probably getting more work done these 3 days a week during the summer than we would get done in a full week of work during the semester without him here at home with us! I know I’m lucky to have the help, and I’m taking advantage of it as much as I can!

I’d probably have to define how we’ve homeschooled so far as eclectic. We tend to have a casual approach and use what works for each subject, often switching things up as needed. I think in the past 4 years of homeschooling we’ve tried nearly every form of homeschooling. We’ve tried traditional school at home, Charlotte Mason, unschooling, classical. I’ve definitely learned a lot these four years. I’m always trying to perfect what we do, always waiting to feel like I’ve finally found the perfect schedule, books, and routine. While I’m not sure that will ever happen, I am beginning to gather favorites! Whether favorite books or routines, I think discovering favorites is pretty close to finding what’s perfect for us! 

We’re on schedule to finish our spring 2019 work mid-July which will give us all about a month long break before beginning our fall semester late-August/early September. I’m already starting to plan for next semester when I’ll have 3 at the table; crazy to think about! I’m looking forward to a few changes that I’ll probably write about and share as I do more planning. For now, I hope you’re summer is going well! Do you homeschool year round? If you do let me know! I always enjoy hearing about how others plan their school days!

 

A MINI TRIP OUT WEST

 


 

 

 

 

A summer road trip was all we thought about this spring; we planned and mapped and looked forward to it for weeks. It eventually got shortened from three weeks to one week and ended up being less than a week away from home for a number of reasons that we couldn’t control. How often do we plan things with results in mind and the results we get are so different from what we planned? The hours in the car with the kids made getting home the ultimate goal by day 4. We landed in a hotel one night because a tire popped miles from a town, and we pulled into town too late to get it fixed.  Our last night ended in another hotel as the bright blue Kansas sky turned dark and tornado alerts started popping up on our phones. None of the trip went as we expected, but the vastness of uninhabited land is enticing and beautiful; seeing the variety of God’s creation was worth hours in the car with kids. We saw so much sky. The camping memories we made were golden: reading aloud in the tent, playing cards as a family, bathing with jugs of water from a lake. Still, home was the most beautiful word by the time we pulled in the drive. Sometimes all we need is a few days away to feel refreshed and remind us home is a pretty great place to be.

HYMNS


 

“Speak to one another with Psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the LORD, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Ephesians 5:19-20

I love traditions, and the older I get, the more I appreciate them. I started writing out some of my favorite old hymns to sing to my babies and kids as they were falling asleep a few years ago, and I often grab my list of songs, including these hymns, to remember the lyrics when I’m singing kids to sleep. I feel like the hymns double as peaceful songs to help them fall asleep and deep truths for them to think about. Do you appreciate hymns or introducing traditions to your kids? I’m linking some here; let me know if you have any favorites I’ve missed!

And Can it be That I Should Gain

As the Deer

Be Thou My Vision

Come Thou Almighty King

Come Thou Fount

Fairest Lord Jesus

For The Beauty of the Earth

How Great Thou Art

Just as I am

My Faith Has Found a Resting Place

O God Our Help in Ages Past

Praise the Savior, Ye Who Know Him!

This is My Father’s World

Thy Mercy My God

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus

SPRING CLEANING

 

I’ve been looking around our house the past few months, wondering how in the world we ever called ourselves minimalists.  It’s funny how quickly stuff just piles up.  The past two weeks I have been spring cleaning, though! It was a spring cleaning that turned into a spring purge and ended in a fresh coat of paint through the main room, and now everything is MUCH easier to tidy and fresher to look at! 

I really wish I could be a minimalist, but I know I have a tendency to save things.  When we were on our honeymoon, we watched Hoarders for the first time, and I was so convicted and motivated, it began our little journey of living more simply.  Pete was an unintentional minimalist in college: he didn’t call himself one, but I was shocked the first time I saw his dorm room.  It looked like he could pack up and leave in the night with just a bag on his back, and I was intrigued. 

Eventually, 3 years into our marriage, somebody walked into our apartment and asked if we were just moving in because it looked so empty– we had lived there almost a year.  It was thrilling being on the minimal side of that question! 

And then life happened; birthdays and holidays felt too close together, we bought a house, and eventually it seemed as if clothes and books and toys were pouring out of every drawer, corner, and empty shelf.  It was past time to reevaluate.  I viciously purged out 3 van loads full of stuff to the thrift store and an entire van full of trash/recycling.  I was even finally able to pitch some things that have made it through all the other purges over the years: some textbooks and sentimental items.

It all felt so refreshing and echo-ey that I decided to give our living room a fresh white coat of paint.  It was the perfect way to end a crazy week of spring cleaning, and I’m satisfied with how it looks.  Most of all, I’m pleased with how empty all the little spaces feel again.

Although I wish I could just pitch stuff once and be done, there’s a constant, sneaky flow of stuff coming into our home that piles up so quickly!  Gifts and hand-me-downs, things we purchase, and things the kids pick up here and there are somehow steadily streaming through our doors.  I’m realizing this is another repetitive life processes that never ends.  It’s nice to have a springtime to remind us to open our windows and the doors of every nook and cranny hiding all the unnecessary things taking up space in our homes.

The biggest bonus after my massive spring clean this year: I can tidy so quickly!  I know some people enjoy tidying constantly, but I don’t.  I don’t naturally want to walk around picking up and rearranging little things all day long.  However, because I enjoy cleanliness so much, the only solution I see is having less stuff to tidy.  With fewer clothes comes less laundry; fewer toys make less pickup time; less furniture means less dusting. 

And now it’s Friday, and I’m about to go do a quick house cleanup to prep for the weekend, and I’m so excited to tackle what I know will maybe take an hour instead of three! 

BARBECUE TOFU


I’m blocking out the sounds of the television as I write because we managed to have such a productive day, the kids are getting to enjoy a show while I take a few moments at my desk. The toddler is napping, my tofu is pressing for dinner, and I’m sipping some afternoon tea in this nice, quiet moment after a full day of learning, reading, playing, and an outing to the library. I made it to my scheduled writing time without even scribbling a tiny note on a scrap of paper today; the productivity of today feels noteworthy!

And, just like that, after 10 minutes of writing, I was distracted for 3 hours playing Stratego with Jude (his 4 year old version), finishing dinner, and cleaning up dinner.  However, that’s okay because now I can talk about the tofu that I nonchalantly mentioned above.  In reality, this is the first time I’ve tried cooking it.  And truthfully, I’ve been scared to attempt it.  I decided, however, I needed to try something new for protein after eating an on-again off-again vegetarian diet for about 7 years and never once using tofu.  I’ve eaten a lot of tofu prepared by restaurants that has left me more than unsatisfied, and I think I’ve assumed if they can’t cook it in a way that I like, why would I ever be able to do any better?  I found a few recipes I want to try eventually, but I finally settled on this recipe from ohmyveggies.com entitled Baked Barbecue Tofu (Tofu for Tofu Haters).  This seemed like a good place to start, when barbecue is loved in our home and tofu is new.

To begin, I research research RESEARCH everything to the extreme, and cooking tofu was no exception. I learned from a vegan cookbook from the library that firm tofu cooks best, and all tofu has to be pressed to remove the excess water from it so the blandness of the tofu can be replaced with whatever flavored sauce you choose to cook it in. I followed the tofu prep directions from the cookbook and the recipe closely, and I think I can say it was a hit! Kids weren’t clamoring for more, but we all ate what was on our plates and only the two year old wouldn’t eat his. For dinner tonight I paired it with roasted potatoes and a simple oven-roasted asparagus recipe (one of our favorite’s) from the pioneer woman.  I’m still unsure of the texture; I think that’s the number one reason I’ve been disappointed with tofu before.  However, as far as a meat replacement, it took the place of chicken in a way black beans never can.  I’ll be trying this recipe again but not before I try crumbling tofu in vegetarian tacos first.  I’m hoping crumbling it will hide the texture…?  I’ll let you know when I try it!

What about you? Are you a tofu lover or tofu hater? Do you have a favorite tofu recipe? I would love to hear your favorite way to eat it!