Friday, May 25, 2018

#7QT How to Get Stated with Homeschooling

It's Friday, and it is beau-ti-ful outside my window!! Thank you, Jesus, the sun is shining! How is your day going? Have any great Memorial Day plans?

Before I take a bit of a computer break for the long weekend, I thought I would jump on here to share a litle #7QT post about making the decision to homeschool.  Linking up with Kelly!


So You Are Thinking of Homeschooling!
Are you considering homeschooling? Have you thought of the benefits of having your children home more, having control over their education, and a more manageable family schedule? Are you overwhelmed and don't know where to start?

Don't worry, you are not alone. Truth be told it took me six years to make the leap! Hubby and I began discussing homeschool the day Cowgirl was born. When she turned five I still wasn't ready to commit and had so many reservations. I enrolled her in preschool for three full days a week to stall the process a bit. She had made the kindergarten birthday cut off by mere hours, everyone was okay with that response so that is where we were for a year!

When Cowgirl was coming up on turning 6, Hubby told me that preschool for another year was no longer an option, I needed to make a decision! I jumped in with both feet and 9 years later, we are still going!

Where to Start with Homeschooling
The best place to start is with your "why." Why do you want to do this? Why do you think your family needs this? Write it down. Say it out loud. Paint it on your wall if you want! Knowing your why will solidify your decision because now you gave a vision.

You could do a pros and cons analysis--that is a favorite exercise of mine, but your why is the biggest piece to this decision making process. A homeschooling friend once said, "Write down why you are doing this in August and then take it out in January and remind yourself when you forget!"

Dealing with The "What About...?" Resistance
One of the first questions you will probably be asked when you announce your decision to homeschool will be, "What about Algebra and Chemistry?" 

The second will be, "What about socialization?"

What about them?? If you child is starting kindergarten, the truth is that you don't need to know what you will do about anything beyond kindergarten. No one is asking public school kindergarten parents, "What about AP Spanish?" 

That is years away. The years go quickly but you really only need to tackle this year. 

On to the socialization question...ask them to define socialization, and then proceed. Homeschooling is not some back woods, underground movement. Today, it is as mainstream as charter schools and abounding with opportunities. In fact, most homeschool families struggle with actually being home!

However, even if you are not on the road every day for co-op, classes, meet-ups, and field trips; socialization is the skill of being able to relate to others, form relationships, and interact with those beyond your immediate family. Homeschooling provides more opportunities to interact with people from all age groups and demographics than any other schooling option. Homeschool activities are not segregated by class or geographic neighborhood, there are children from all grades and often several towns, counties, even states in one place, learning together!

Is Homeschooling Even Legal? 
Well, yes it is! Honeschooling is legal in all 50 states of the USA, Canada, and most countries around the world. There are exceptions, however, and you can see a break down of homeschooling laws for the world here

Each state does have it's own regualtions and requirements. Some are more homeschool friendly than others. If you are considering homeschooling, your first stop should be HSLDA to see what your state requires of homeschool families and how to proceed. 

Even in the most rigid states, homeschooling is still a completely viable option. Do not fear that you will have to hide in your basement and use code names to survive. I promise you, no laws are being broken by teaching your child to read!

Are You Qualified to Teach?
Some states do have stipulations on home teacher requirements that need to be met. That said, parents teach their children every day! You taught your child how to dress, how to speak, how to safely go up and down the stairs, how to ride a bike, how to write his name....the list goes on and on. Lesson abound at home. Also, homework turns parents into teachers whether they like it or not. If you are spending hours each night reviewing multiplication, working through essay writing, helping a child match shapes and colors, etc, guess what, you are already homeschooling!

If you do come across a subject that you just can't or won't teach to your children, there are numerous options for online, video, and self guided courses. Being a homeschool parent does not mean you are the only one allowed to teach your child, it just means you are the one in charge of overseeing his complete education.

In fact, recent studies have show that the biggest factor in successful learning is student/teacher relationship! Teachers are being encouraged to get to know students better, and many schools are adopting a "looping" system so students stay with one teacher longer. That just begs for an increase in homeschooling. Who knows a child better than his parents?

Where Do You Find Homeschool Curriculum?
Do you have a library card?  I know that seems over simplified, but back in the day, before textbook companies existed, there were books! Just books! That is how Abe Lincoln learned, and it seems to have worked pretty well.

Of course, you may want more structure, more accountability, more support. In that case, there are an overwhelming amount of homeschool curriculum options out there. Honestly, there are too many! Instead of worrying if options exist, prepare yourself to be overwhelmed with the programs and texts available for homeschooling today!  I will be publishing a guide to finding homeschool  materials this July!

What If I Fail at Homeschooling My Child?
Well, that is a possibility, but so is your house being struck by lightening, you live there anyway, though. The fear of failure holds back the best of ventures. You will never know until you try. Playing the "what if" game is not beneficial to any decision making process.

You are making this decision to the best of your ability today for this year. Take it one year at a time. get through kindergarten without worrying about 4th grade! You are free to change your mind at any time. Children change schools all the time due to moves or school choice options. Don't let the fear of failing hold you back. YOU CAN DO THIS!!   

What is your biggest question about beginning to homeschool?  
Drop it below or send me a message. I would love to help you out! 

Friday, May 4, 2018

Serving the Least With The Most Love

Today I have something a little different for you--a guest blogger! I am busy working on some big things over here---BIG THINGS!!! I promise to share more when I can. I am so excited, I can hardly wait.

Sheila M. Hupp is a lovely virtual assistant and mommy to some beautiful little ladies. I am so happy to have her here today! Thank you Sheila, this is a treat for me, too. Please show Sheila so me love and leave an encouraging comment! I'm linking up with Kelly who has an excellent series going on the apparitions of Mary for May! Have a blessed weekend!

I have three little girls at home with me every day. Life is never dull with these gals and one (or two or three) almost always needs something. I spend my days hopping like a monkey on fire from one need to the next. As soon as one nose is wiped, another has a booboo in dire need of kissing.

With the best of intentions I will start my day with a fresh attitude and a determination to be a patient and loving mama; but, end up so grumpy I could give Cruella de Vil a good fright. The service that I am called to now as a mama of little people is not easy but these gals are not going to raise themselves.

How I approach this calling can make all the difference in my experience as their mother and their experiences as my daughters. The diapers will be changed, the meals will be cooked, the laundry will be done; but, I have the choice on how I show up to serve my family. Each day I have the choice to show up with love or with contempt.

Mother Teresa once said, "It is not how much you give, but how much you love you put into giving."

Dang. She can throw down some truth that can snap my eyes back into focus. I've been blessed with the three little ladies and it should be a joy to spend my days with them. They need me to teach them, to guide them, feed them, and nurture them. This time I get with them is a blessing and although it doesn't always feel that way, I need the reminder that what I am doing is showing my girls a glimpse of the love Jesus gives to us.

In Matthew 25:31-46, Jesus tells a story that gives indisputable guidance on how and who we should serve. In this parable, he said that the King will divide people like sheep and goats, putting the sheep to his right and the goats to his left.
To the sheep on the right, he will praise them for how well they cared for him. He says that they now have an inheritance prepared by the kingdom long before the creation of the world. The King goes on to say how they satiated his hunger, quenched his thirst, welcomed him into their homes, clothed him, nursed him to health, and visited him in prison.
Confused, the sheep asked him when did they do those things because they had no recollection of being in the King's presence and serving him. The the King told them, "Truly, I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me." (Matt. 25:40).
Could it be that our job each day is to simply open our eyes to see the needs in front of us? Should our prayer be that God would give us the guidance to use our unique skills and gifts to serve others as if we were serving Him? Is it possible to make a difference serving where we are right now?

Yes! Yes! Yes!

One June evening a friend of mine showed up in the best display of love and service. She arrived at my house unannounced with a pot roast in he crockpot. When we were surprised she wanted to bring us dinner and hug our necks.

The day before I called her asking for prayers as my little girl and I were in a bad car accident. The events of the previous day threw my life into a whirlwind and my thoughts were all over the place. That day was spent mostly on the phone recounting the accident multiple times to insurance representatives and police officers, each time reliving the horrific details.

As my friend stood there with an amazing dinner in her hands, my heart burst. What an incredibly beautiful surprise. I had not thought once about how I was going to feed my family, but she did. To her, she was delivering a meal, but to us, she was nourishing our spirits. Completely drained from the chaos, a warm, delicious dinner allowed our family to sit together and be fed.

Our friend Mother Teresa hit the nail on the head when she said, "When Christ said, 'I was hungry and you fed me,' he didn't mean only hunger of bread and for food; he also meant hunger to be loved."
Sisters, we aren't called to the glamorous life but rather to the life that honors God by loving like He loves us.
My prayer is that we have eyes to see where we can be used and open hands willing to do the work. The people we serve may never be able to return the favor and what we do may seem insignificant to us, but to those being served and loved, it could be a front row seat to heaven on earth.

Sheila is a wife, mama, homeschooler, and believer. She and her husband love raising their three girls in the woods and taking each day as slowly as possible. You can follow her on Instagram @sheilahupp.

Friday, April 27, 2018

#7QT Seven Reasons to Take An Adventure with Your Kids

We are just back from our third annual Road Trip with Mom. Well, it's been five days but I'm still catching up. Have you taken any adventures with your kids? Here's seven good reasons to try!

Linking up with rockstar mom Kelly!

Time Goes by Too Quickly

Remember Ferris Bueller? Bueller...Bueller...anyone? (I know, I'm dating myself, so I won't even tell you how old I was when I saw that movie for the first time!) "Life comes at you pretty fast. If you don't stop and smell the roses once in awhile you will miss it." 
I may have butchered that quote but taking an adventure causes you to slow down, unplug, and just spend some time with the kids.

There's More to Life than Laundry And Dishes

I borrowed that from my friend, Theresa! Yes, I am still catching up on laundry, cleaning, and reorganizing after our adventure, but for four days I had no cooking or housework.  Working and teaching at home is a never ending to-do list. Even when business and school tasks are complete, there's the housework, yard work, and hungry kids to feed.
On our adventure, for four days none of that had to be done. Sure there was driving and child wrangling, but it was a break from the endless busyness that takes up so much valuable time.

The Kids Are Growing So Quickly

Like the time flying by, the kids are growing by leaps and bounds.  In high school, Hubby and I were in a production of Fiddler on the Roof (He was Tevya, I was third Jewish girl from the right.) All the parents cried during "Sunrise, Sunset."

Is this the little girl I carried?
Is this the little boy at play?
I don't remember growing older
When, did, they?
When did she get to be a beauty?
When did he grow to be so tall?
Wasn't it yesterday when they, were, small?
Sunrise, sunset, Sunrise, sunset
Swiftly flow the days
Seedlings turn overnight to sunflowers
Blossoming even as we gaze
Sunrise, sunset, Sunrise, sunset
Swiftly fly the years
One season following another
Laden with happiness and tears
At the time, it seemed ridiculous. It had taken a lifetime to become a teen and days seemed to stretch forever. Now that I am, ahem, official the same age as my mom was, I see how quickly it goes. Blink once and it's eight months later, twice and five years have passed. Get out and have an adventure before they are all grown up and fly away!

Who Needs More Stuff???
We have always valued experiences over tangible gifts. Birthdays have always been celebrated with  family time and gathering with friends, not presents from Mom and Dad. It used to be that each child picked a "birthday trip" for the family to share. However, as the kids have grown, and multiplied, planning a trip for each individual child where all the family is available is near impossible, especially with 3 fall birthdays!
Christmas is pretty simple around here, too. I always enjoy the photos of presents stacked high beneath the tree that circulate the blogosphere each December, but it just isn't our style. Instead we take adventures. Our annual road trip with mom is my big gift to all of them!

Sometimes You Just Need to Be Mom
Raising a family is a monumental task! Homeschooling only ups the ante a hundred fold. There are times the responsibility overwhelms me. It is just SO much!
When running a household and ensuring multiple children are fed, clothed, comforted, AND educated, it is hard to let loose and just be a "fun mom."  I struggle with this because I want to be the kind of mom my kids need and want, I'd love to be one who just sits and plays all day, but  there is just too much to accomplish. My days are packed every second with tasks, if I fall behind, I may never catch up--or at least that's how it feels.
Breaking routine and getting out of the house, gives homeschool moms the chance to remove a whole stack of hats, leave the checklists behind, and just focus on being mom.
There Are Too Many Places We Haven't Seen in This World 
There are so many adventures to be had! We are already planning our next road trip. Originally, the kids almost had me convinced on a 19 hour away destination! Part way through our recent trip, I came to my senses. 
So, while we want to travel across country, I think we will hit some new destinations within the five hours drive vicinity. However, I know we will get there. We started out just taking day adventure trips, and have built up from there. I hope to do a one weeker, in the future, but right now it is nice to dream!
I have always had a dream of owning an RV and taking amazing trips, since I was a kid. Now, my kids share that dream. We would love to do a "roadschooling" extravaganza, take our books and hit the open road. We even have planned out exactly which amenities our RV needs to have for this. Some day, some day!
Even if you don't travel far afield, or even for more than a few hours, there is much to explore related to history, nature, culture, and just plain fun!

Learn to Do Hard Things

It's important for children to see their parents take risks, calculated risks but risks none the less! When I set out with our vans chock full of kids, snacks, and plans, I realize what an awesome undertaking it is. There are definitely bumps along the way. None of our trips are Travel Channel material. We get lost. We sometimes have meltdowns. There are lost souvenirs and destinations that we never find. There's chocolate for lunch and cookies for dinner when the traveling gets tough.  There are mistakes, missteps, and dashed dreams. However, that's what memories are made of!

When we slosh through the traffic, missing road signs, and undoubtedly wrong Google directions, my kids get to see that even adventures have their downsides and that their mom can handle more than she thinks she can.

What adventure would you love to take with your kids?

Friday, April 6, 2018

Please Pray For Her Rescue

Dear Friends,
This is the quickest take there is! I am hopping on and linking up with Kelly to ask for some fervent prayers for a special little girl.

Lily, who is named for Our Lady, is desperately ill and in so much pain.

Her mother explains the situation here:
"Lily was just diagnosed with Macrophage Activation Syndrome. A serious complication of SJIA. Her immune system is attacking her blood cells. We are trying an aggressive treatment at home but may need hospitalization. MAS gets bad FAST and its deadly. It's also heartbreaking because only 3% of kids with SJIA get MAS the fact that she did so soon after diagnosis is not a good sign. It means her case is more complicated than we hoped. She has a more serious case. Lily is hurting." 

Lauren, her mother, says the steroids seem to be helping but this poor baby is still suffering and far from out of the woods.

Lauren and her husband, Erik, have asked for this request to be shared on as many prayer chains as possible. Please pray and share!

The photo above is Lily's twin praying for her! Thank you! 

My heart is so heavy for my friend and her baby, thank you for caring!

Dear Father in Heaven, hear our plea and delivery baby Lily from her suffering!

Do you have an intention in need of prayer? Please comment below so we can pray for each other.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Walk Through Holy Week with Jesus

Holy Week is a busy time in the Church, it is also the best time to live the faith and experience

the catechism first hand.  The eight days of Holy Week from Palm Sunday to Easter are 

packed with opportunities to follow Jesus on His journey to Jerusalem, Passion, and 

miraculous resurrection.  

This is my favorite week of the year. It can also be exhausting with so many trips to church
 to participate in the liturgy.  However, I have found that the experience of walking WITH Jesus
 through Holy Week, is exhilarating and makes the miracle of Easter that much sweeter.

Each day, walk through the gospels and grow in your relationship with Our LORD, the Christ.

[Linking up with Kelly!]

Palm Sunday--Welcome Jesus to Jerusalem and, with the crowds, celebrate our amazing 
Savior.  Take an active role in the reading of the Passion. Try to imagine what it was like 
amid the crowds of bystanders waving palms and shouting “Hosanna.” When you get home
 from Mass, place your palms in a special vase for decoration for Holy Week and have a 
special meal as a family.  This is a joyous day because the prophecies have been fulfilled, 
the new king of Israel has come to Jerusalem.

Holy Monday-- The day after Jesus arrived in Jerusalem to the sound of crowds cheering Him,
He went up to the temple. However, He did not go to teach and pray.  He came to overturn the
 money changers tables and sweep clean those who offended God.

On Monday,clear out your temple. Our diocese has Reconciliation Monday this day and every
 church is open from 4pm to 8pm for confession.  This is a great blessing for sure.

Not everyone will have that opportunity, but if you can, go to confession. Even if you can’t get
to confession, there is cleaning that can be done.  Get your home in order for the great season
of Easter.

Purge the clutter. Do away with useless distractions.  Find ways to come into Easter cleaner,
lighter, and more open so you can be filled with the grace of His Resurrection.

Holy Tuesday-- Before Jesus cleaned the Temple, he cursed the fig tree.  On Tuesday, while
 heading back into the city, Peter saw how the tree had died and marveled at the authority and
 power of Christ.  Through mere words, He could give and take life.

Jesus replies, “Have faith in God. Amen I say to you, whoever says to this mountain,
‘Arise, and hurl thyself into the sea.’ and does not waiver in his heart, but believes that
whatever he says will be done, it shall be done for him.”

Today, read Mark 11:12-14, 20-26 with your children.  Eat dried figs as a snack, too.

What are the mountains in your life?   Set aside a time for intense prayer for what seems
impossible. For nothing is impossible with God!  If you have the opportunity, attend the
Chrism Mass with your family and thank God for our priests and the sacraments.

Holy Wednesday-- Halfway through Holy Week! This is called a day of silence because there
 is nothing in scripture about what Jesus did this day.  We do know that He went to Bethany to
spend time with Mary and Martha.  The night before, Mary anointed Him with perfumed oil.  

This is a perfect day to read all the parables that Jesus preached on His last visit to the
Temple.  (You can find them in Mark 12). Then take some time to write out Easter cards for
family and friends. Or send out those emails to loved ones that you keep meaning to write.
Invite over a friend or relative for tea and a chat. Take the time to remember those important
to you in prayerful love.

Holy Thursday-- My beautiful friend, Jessica, who writes at Shower of Roses, introduced me
 to liturgical teas.  So, for several years, on Holy Thursday my children and I have read
through Mark 14. Then, we eat special foods that connect with the story. 
Below is a list of what we usually have on the table for our tea:

  • Palms on the road-- In years past, I have made heart of Palm salad, and eaten the
     whole thing myself. In an effort to economize and simplify, I now just put the palms
     from Palm Sunday in a pretty vase as a centerpiece.
  • Costly Oil--I fill a shallow bowl with olive oil and flavor it with Italian seasoning, garlic,
     and a little onion powder. As a child, this is what we put on bread, never butter,
     of course that was only if there was no tomato sauce left to sop up.
  • Unleavened bread blessed and broken-- We are use broken pieces of Matzo crackers,
     but have also used pitas cut into wedges.
  • The Blessing Cup--I make a special wine spritzer that is mostly grape juice and water
     with a very little bit of red wine. The wine and water represent the blood and water
     that flowed from Christ's side.
  • Mount of Olives--A pile of olives. Any kind will do.
  • Garden of Gethsemane-- Dried figs
  • Sleepy Apostles--Sleepytime ©  tea
  • Thirty Pieces of Silver-- A bowl with thirty dimes that will then be donated to
      Mary's Meals. We have also used rice crackers, slices of carrots, and slices of string
  • Judas' kiss--Strawberries
  • The Cock Crowed Twice--We have used rotisserie chicken, chicken salad,
     and mini chicken pot pies.
  • Peter's Tears--Salted sunflower seeds.  
  • Cloud of Heaven--Garlic mashed potatoes, and yes, I use instant potatoes.
     I simply sauteed some garlic in oil and mix it in. The key is simplicity.

Holy Thursday Mass is a beautiful celebration of the creation of not only the Mass but the
priesthood.  If you are able, attend Mass. Even better, volunteer to have your feet washed.
Then stay after Mass to pray in silence as Jesus prayed in the garden.

Good Friday-- This is the day that Jesus suffered and died.  The earth quaked and the veil of
 the Temple was torn in two.  Take the time to walk the Stations of the Cross at your parish or
 an outdoor station garden.  Physically walking from station to station changes the experience
 and takes you on the journey that redeemed the world.

This is a day of fasting and prayer.  Keep meals simple and try to avoid unnecessary activity.
 Spend time before the empty tabernacle. The emptiness and extinguished flame is striking.
 Stop and contemplate what would have happened if that were the end. 

What would life be like without Our Risen LORD?

 It is easy to take the Eucharist for granted, today is the day to remember that it is a great gift.

Holy Saturday--This is a day of waiting, expectancy, and ordinary life continuing. Just as the
 apostles kept the Sabbath as they did every Saturday, we continue with our lives.  There are
 preparations to be done, but today is not Easter. Keep Easter decorations away until AFTER
 vigil Mass.

You could also make Resurrection Rolls or Easter Story Cookies, but don’t eat them until
 Easter!  Resurrection Rolls are a favorite Easter brunch treat in my house.

Easter Sunday--Alleluia! He is Risen! Sing and rejoice.  Belt out the Alleluia at Mass or sing it
 together as a family if you assisted at Vigil Mass. Remember to  thank God for our Risen 
Savior. Amid the egg hunts and jelly beans, remember to tell everyone the Good News. He is
 risen! He is risen, indeed!

Oh, and don’t forget, Easter lasts 50 days!  While the rest of the world is packing away all
 the pink bunnies, we are just getting started celebrating.

Do you have any Holy Week traditions to share?

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

A Day in the Life: Homeschooling with a 13, 9, 4, and 1 year old

I have been following these posts and enjoying a glimpse into what it really means to homeschool. It's relieving that most don't look like the polished books and pamphlets but more life real life. When an opportunity came up to share my own, I decided to jump at the chance.

It may not be #7QT but I am linking up with Kelly anyway because I know she's cool with that!

Here is a day in our life, of course it is not according to plan but, it works anyway!

It's 4AM, Lovie Lu is up to nurse yet again. At 14 months old, her night time nursing has only decreased slightly since we was an infant. I enjoy the snuggles but I am tired and this new love for waking up to nurse at 4 AM is wearing me out. I know that by the time I get her settled again and start to drift back to sleep, my alarm will go off. Still I try to cherish the moments because she is growing so quickly and try not to think about the long day ahead.

As predicted, I am barely asleep and the 5:15 alarm goes off. I attempt to stretch a bit to wake my fuzzy head and sleepy body but this starts to disturb the little miss, so I continue on with my morning routine.

I say a decade of the rosary, almost silently, but know that God can hear. It's my little time to focus. I take a deep breath and reach over for my tablet that I stash next to my bed. I had been actually getting up at 5:15 and working in our classroom, but Lovie Lu soon caught onto me and has devised ways to keep me from getting up. If I don't start working by 6 AM, there is no hope it getting the rest of the day done, so my tablet with her cuddled in the crook of one arm is how I get the first part of my work done.

I am making progress despite only having one hand to type and copy links for my social media work, when she demands more of my attention. In a classic Lovie Lu move, she drapes herself fully across my chest and falls to sleep as I pat her back with one hand and scour the Feedly feed for more articles to share. Its about 6:20AM and the light is filtering through the windows as I hear the high school bus roll by.

I make a mental note that both World Book Day and Read Across America day are this week, have to plan something special for my preschoolers at co-op on Wednesday!

7:06 AM and I am still trapped but almost done with what I can do on my tablet. Little Man starts crying and Hubby gets up to see what the problem is. He gets him settled back down then gets himself up for the day. At 7:20, the nursing begins again. She has woken up crying, realizing that she is no long fully attached to me. I nurse her down and finally can slip out.

I quickly get dressed, fill out the kids work notebooks with today's assignments, get together a plan for breakfast and grab a handful of sunflower seeds. I pour a shot of apple cider vinegar into my water glass and top with some cayenne, ginger, and turmeric. It's my drink to get me going. Everyone is up now except for the baby. I entrust Cowgirl to making up the breakfast cookies and head downstairs to finish working.

On my way down, I start a load of cloth diapers in the washing machine. I get down to the classroom/playroom, which of course is a mess although the kids "cleaned" it last night. I sigh and move on, I can't do it all. I'll have a talk with them later.

Two minutes later, Little Man arrives to hang out. I love him but want to get my stuff done, thankfully he goes back up with Hubby who brings me some tea. I can finally work with two hands. Better getting moving before the next interruption--it's 8:15. Yikes, I still have a lot to do!

It's 8:49 and Little Man is back telling me endless stories. I don't want to miss them but have to get my work done, especially since I have 3 deadlines to meet today and I am still wrapping up social media. It's a constant balancing act.

At 8:53, I finally log out of social media and try out Little Man's "night vision goggles" (broken sunglasses). I head onto deadline number 1. There is a flurry of activity in the kitchen above me then I hear everyone walking to their various work stations for independent work--I hope.

Today is Hubby's day "off." Since we both work our own businesses that term is very relative. We had a meeting of the minds and calendars last night. He has been out of the house working his business for the past 5 days. He promised me the morning to let me catch up on my own work. I have until lunch at noon.

I keep working. Cowgirl shows up at 9:06 looking for one of her textbooks. She offers to bring me a breakfast cookie--I eagerly say yes and remember that I haven't really eaten yet. At least I know the kids are working.

It's 9:27, Buddy joins me downstairs. He tells me that Lovie Lu is up. My time is ticking--let the games begin! Little Man is not far behind. Buddy gets him set up on "school work." Buddy had taken up the challenge of being Little Man's tutor. He's doing a pretty good job. I need to make sure that Buddy doesn't get lost in teaching and forget about his own work though. I hear Lovie Lu singing in the kitchen.

By 9:52, Buddy has brought a crying Lovie Lu downstairs. She happily plays with her dollhouse and the boys keep up their school work. This may be a very good day!

I finish up my work for the morning, and then do a quick math lesson with Buddy. I leave him to do his homework and pick up the baby. Little Man is building a marble run as I leave to go upstairs to change Lovie Lu's diaper and get her dressed for the day.

I suddenly realize I have no wipes and a very poopy diaper. I can overhear Little Man having a very animated discussion with himself in the living room. I call to him to bring me a new pack of wipes, his response, "How do you know I am here?"

Cowgirl overhears my plea for help and gets me the wipes. I get the baby all dressed and then touch base with Cowgirl. Her one book is still missing (I do have systems for books and school supplies but they only work when the kids actually use them.) I head off on a frantic mission to find the lost book. I can't find it and realize that it is getting later.

Today I have the very rare treat of sneaking out for a little bit to get some work done. I've been juggling working/homeschooling/caring for the kids simultaneously for weeks. I have a deadline I have to meet and Hubby is available so I gather my laptop, notes, and jacket to head out the door.

On my way through the kitchen, I straighten up the counters and clear off the table. Hubby takes the little ones downstairs to get them interested in a few toys before he begins morning read alouds at 11. He first goes over Algebra with Cowgirl. It's 10:35, I have to be back by noon for lunch. If I don't leave soon, it just won't happen and the last time I had any time without kids was in October when I volunteered at the book sale.

I work amidst the hum of a local diner. I could have gone to the the library but the prospect of an egg over easy and gluten free toast is too appealing....until my laptop battery dies and there is no outlet to use. (Better be more prepared next time!)

I take out my trusty notebook and pen to write up my article for today's deadline.  It's almost noon, so soon, but the break has done me good and I got a lot done. When I arrive back home, the two youngest are playing in the living room while the older kids are busy working at their desks. I nurse the baby then take her for a diaper change.

We sit down for a quick lunch of leftover rice, collard greens, beans, and ham. I catch up with the kids and then get up to wash the dishes from the morning and the lunch dishes as they trickle in. At 1PM, we all get on our shoes and jackets to head up to adoration. Hubby sits down and starts his work.

Our parish has added extra hours for Lent and it is a tradition of ours to spend some time each week at adoration for Lent. I wish I could do it more often but I tell myself at least we get there a handful of times each year.

It's a 20 minute drive to church. The kids bring along a bit of their unfinished work, I also have them each narrate what they each read for the day. Little Man plays on the flash pad to keep from falling asleep and Lovie Lu takes her first nap of the day. We spend as much time as we can in church praying and the little ones are as quiet as an be expected. We get back to the car a little before 2PM.  On the way home, we drop Cowgirl for her weekly sewing lesson.

On the way back, the carschooling is over and the boys chatter in the back seat. As we wind through the wildlife refuge near our house to get home, they are entranced by the vernal ponds, waterfalls, and streams. It's a February thaw and I am trying hard not to get my heart set on spring being here because I know there is still plenty of winter to get through. We get home at 2:30.

The boys want to play basketball and I can't blame them after being cooped up so much the past few months. Buddy will go out in any weather, but my summer baby, Little Man, just can't handle the cold and it has been a cold winter. I tell them they can play for awhile but Buddy still has some work to complete. I sit down to check emails and address a few work related items. I consider calling them back in, but it really is just too nice out. I grab my bowl and scissors instead and head to the garden with Lovie Lu. I had set up low tunnels in the Fall and am dying to know what survived and if there are any fresh veggies I can use for dinner.

As Lovie Lu gets her first taste of "running' around the back yard, I discover that there is a nice stand of rainbow chard (one of my favorite vegetables). I cut a bowlful and snip off some lemon thyme, too. I'm pleased that despite the super cold winter, a few small head of lettuce survived, along with four Brussels sprout plants. My garlic is coming up...I again remind myself that it isn't spring yet!

After heading inside with my bounty, I check in with Hubby who is still working. I open the back door and keep an eye on the kids, Buddy is carrying Lovie Lu around to show her all the amazing "creature adventures" our big yard holds. I get a bit of typing done on the article I hand wrote. It's now almost 4PM, the boys show up with the mail and I tell them it is time to come in.

Little Man heads downstairs for his requisite daily dose of Wild Kratts and I put Lovie Lu in her seat for a snack. Buddy and I begin researching the Kratt brothers, ironically, for his 4H presentation. He has never done this big of a research project (a 5-7 minute presentation) and it is slow going teaching him how. We research and he writes up notes. About a half hour later, Little Man appears to practice his knife skills on a rice cake and have a snack. Lovie Lu wants down and toddles into the living room to continue playing with her Green Toys bouquet set. Buddy and I wrap up a note taking session around 5 PM.

I scour the pantry for dinner ideas, chiding myself that I didn't complete the weekly meal plan yet. I sit down to get a bit more work done and then head out the door at 5:30 to pick up Cowgirl from her sewing. She is working on a 19th century dress for her little sister for an upcoming living history day. I can't wait to see how it turns out. She finished her own dress last week and it is beautiful.

At 5:56, I pull up the drive to my friend's house who is a retired seamstress and now gives lessons. The dress is mostly done, I can't wait to see Lovie Lu in it. We chat a couple minutes then head back home. At 6:30, I walk through the door and start pulling dinner together. Cowgirl has swapped her regular chores for cooking dinner. Once I have her set on what we are making, I start to straighten up but Lovie Lu is losing it and wants to nurse for the sixth time today. I sit on the sofa and continue to talk Cowgirl through cooking. Buddy finishes his chores and gets his basketball uniform ready.

Little Man starts to melt down and Hubby picks him up. Lovie Lu is falling asleep. The quick nurse has turned into a deep nap after a day of hard playing and fresh air. Little Man collapses asleep on Hubby's shoulder. Buddy is practicing guitar in his room. We are now both sitting in the living room with sleeping little ones, it's the first time either of us has stopped all day. I tell Cowgirl she is going to have to make the chard as well, and start giving her directions.

At 7:26, dinner is finally ready. Hubby puts Little Man in his bed snoring. Cowgirl and Buddy set the table. We say Grace (with me praying from the living room) and they sit down to eat. It's only 9 minutes until the guys need to leave for basketball practice and Lovie Lu is nursing again.

She is finally done, as I get to the table, the guys leave. The girls and I continue with dinner. After dinner, the girls go to play in the living room, I put on congee in the slow cooker. I start washing the dishes and cleaning up the kitchen, but Lovie Lu is getting restless and I know my time is short. I decide to focus on putting away the food and leave the last couple of dishes for the morning, along with the soaking fry pan.

I get myself changed for bed, pick out clothes for tomorrow, change the baby into pajamas and head to the bathroom to brush my teeth, toddler on my hip. Hubby already had his wardrobe laid out in there and I add mine. It's nearly 9PM and Little Man wakes up and has a meltdown because he is all out of sorts. I am trying to figure out what his problem is but he is just whining and not really saying anything. Lovie Lu, who was settling down and nursing is now fully awake. As I cradle a writhing preschooler, she goes to play with her flowers, again.

I finally convince him to lie down in my bed until Hubby gets back--I will not miss these late night practices. Lovie Lu is not interested in bed now thanks to a very late nap and too much excitement. I remember the article I have to finish and wish I had charged my laptop so I didn't have to write it up twice. I decide to knock it out while everyone is distracted. That lasts about 2.5 seconds. Little Man realized that he didn't eat dinner and is looking for a snack. He asks for a carrot which I wash and give to him. He cuts it into bite sized pieces and starts snacking.

A few minutes later, Hubby comes home with Buddy from practice. We begin the task of getting everyone ready for bed and in their rooms. Soon, it is 9:45 and Hubby begins making the rounds to pray with each child and tuck them in. Lovie Lu is fighting between wanting to sleep and wanting to be by the other kids, she squirms and flips all over my bed.

Hubby shows up in our room about 10PM, we read through the daily readings and do our prayers together. Lovie Lu still isn't settled down and I am out of steam. We decide to watch a quick episode of a favorite show on my tablet. I set the alarm and fall asleep around 11 PM, before the show is over.

Thanks for stopping by and reading through this. It was so much fun to actually chronicle a typical, but unusual at the same time, day in our homeschool journey.

What is a day like at your homeschool?