Taking A Look


It’s 2015!

I am still processing how quickly 2014 seemed to pass by.  What a year it was.  We began the year visiting with our precious friends in Louisville.  What a way to ring in the New Year.  We missed their party this year but they were in my heart!

I decided to take a look back at the 2014 calendar to remind myself of how the year was spent.   It went something like this:

our kids hit ages 10 & 15…..we celebrated with good friends as their son was married…..my hubby and I went on a marriage retreat…..snow in our little SC town….our niece got married…..stanford testing and the PSAT on the homeschool front….teach them diligently home school conference…..both kids participated in TeenPact for the      first time and loved it…..ladies prayer retreat at church…..ballet recital…..annual family beach trip…..camp for      my daughter…..vbs…..youth mission trip to NY for my son…..trip to charleston….mother/daughter trip to NY/NJ with my mom and sister…..long weekend at the beach…..both nephews got engaged…..extended family medical        issues….drama camp with our home school co-op…..first voice and piano recital…..met new friends…..spent time with long time friends…..trusted the Lord to direct our steps and sought to honor Him in all

As I look ahead, our kids are about to be 11 & 16.  This happens in the next 10 days.  It seems like yesterday that we were beginning our journey as parents.  It’s really overwhelming.   I will continue to home school my kids and will soak in every moment that I am blessed to have with them.   My hubby and I will celebrate 20 years of marriage.  We will celebrate weddings and births with friends and family.  Some of the events of 2014 are traditions that will happen in 2015 and more years to come.  I am thankful for those.

God’s Word tells me that He has plans for me.  I am glad and I look forward to following Him into this year.  I pray that your 2015 is full of joy and peace.  And that you trust the Lord in all He has for you!

Happy New Year!



I Shouldn’t Be Surprised!! (A Think on These Things post)



We are a month into school now and maybe it’s my age but I’m having a harder time getting into routine this year.
The past three years of homeschooling started with excitement for the kids and for me.
But not this year.
The past three years I have had lesson plans done early in the summer.
But not this year.
I’m not really sure why it’s this way.  We had a really good, but really busy summer.  (I still want to blog about our summer…….maybe someday).  I am excited about the curriculum changes, and choices, that I made this year.  AND I was ready for the year to get off to a rolling start.  We started, we just weren’t rolling.  We made it through the first week.  Slowly.
The 2nd week, co-op started.  We were all excited to be back in the routine of co-op.  And we were glad to see our friends and all the perks that come with the co-op.
But with the next few weeks also came attitudes and words that just made my heart hurt.  After a deep breath and a short prayer, I realized that I shouldn’t be surprised when things get hard. We had just studied 1 Peter in Sunday school where Scripture reminded me that the enemy prowls around waiting to devour.  He wants our families, our marriages, our children.  He wants our homeschool classrooms.  Why?  Because in my homeschool classroom, first and foremost, I want my children to see the hand of God in every subject.  God is all in math, science, history, art, music, and even grammar.  I mean think about it.  He spoke the world into existence.  That covers all the subjects in one fail swoop!  Our curriculum speaks of God.  And well, the enemy doesn’t want my kids to think about God.
So the pull and temptation for the things of the world are prevalent and those things can be appealing to all of us.  And unfortunately that pull and temptation is often stronger to our kids that we have encouraged to love the Lord with all their heart, soul, and mind.  Our kids are young and curious.  They were created by God to learn and grow.  And I have to face the fact that things that are different from our everyday routine will rouse curiosity and could be tempting.  Facing that fact doesn’t mean I have to give in to the things that cause a rift here and there in our homeschool day.
Today I read Proverbs 3:5-6.  What a blessing to see the promises of God when my heart is heavy.  To be reminded that when I trust in Him with all my heart and lean not to my understanding; and IF I acknowledge Him in all my ways, He will make my path straight.
So when temptation comes.  When I feel the enemy prowling, I will trust in Him.  I will acknowledge Him.
I pray that your school year – whether homeschool, private school, or public school – is full of the blessings of the Lord!
Joy to You!




think on these things

History through Music…A Review

A few days ago, I mentioned that the release of  Diana and Friends Experience History through Music was coming soon.  It’s here and I am so excited to be part of the review team for these incredible books.  The difficulty is condensing what I want to share. It’s all just so good!!

I also mentioned that around our house, we love – and I do mean LOVE – music.   This automatically gave me a connection to Diana Waring, contributor to the series both in writing and performance of the music on the CD’s that are included with the books. When asked what her life was like musically growing up, Diana says, “I ALWAYS loved music. . . I was always singing”.  That’s how it is around our house too.  My kids are ALWAYS singing!!

Diana began playing instruments in the 4th grade and hasn’t stopped.  She plays clarinet, oboe, guitar, mountain dulcimer, recorder, and banjo but says that her “real instrument” is her voice.  This is evident when you hear her sing on the CD’s that go along with all three books.  She also loves history.  She says that her “favorite period of history is the one that I am currently studying”.  As the author of homeschool curriculum, she has always made history come alive through music.  The Experiencing History through Music set is not exception.

The 3 Book/CD set includes:

  • America 1750-1890:The Heart of a New Nation
  • Westward Ho!: The Heart of the Old West
  • Musical Memories of Laura Ingalls Wilder

I admit History was not my favorite subject growing up.  I tried to learn the facts.  I tried to learn the dates.  And I do have memories of the events that formed our great nation, but oh to have had a resource like Experiencing History through Music to help in making connections to these great happenings.


America 1750-1890:The Heart of a New Nation just might be my favorite of the three books.  With songs like “Yankee Doodle”, the “Star-Spangled Banner”, “Oh! Susanna”, “When Johnny Comes Marching Home”, and “She’ll Be Coming Around The Mountain” I found myself singing along and feeling rather nostalgic.  What I loved most about this book in the series is learning the history of the songs and music styles.  How cool to learn that the British originally wrote “Yankee Doodle” to poke fun at the American soldiers and that Francis Scott Key wrote the “Star-Spangled Banner” after witnessing the British attack on Baltimore.  I especially like that this book goes in chronological order.  It begins with the French and Indian War and goes all the way to the transcontinental railroad.   Maybe it’s because I seem to remember the lessons from this time period more than others that this book is already a favorite.

westward ho

The musical journey in Westward Ho! takes us on quite a ride.  It’s full of firsts for our nation too.  The first apple seeds brought to the West, the first missionaries to the Native Americas of the Oregon Territory, the first man to find gold in California, and much more. We learn about the fur trading business, the boll weevil that reeked havoc on the Texas cotton crop, the invention of barbed wire and it’s effect on the range, the expansion of the railroad, and geoducks (this was a lesson for me)!!  In every story, and through the song that goes with it, you get a feel for what life must have been like for the people who pioneered the West.  It must have been quite a journey.

laura ingalls wilder

I, like many little girls, grew up wishing I could run down that hill with the Ingalls girls.  I thought it would be so cool to live on the prairie.  I remember when I realized that the Ingalls were real — that theirs was not just a made up story for TV!!!  The things on the show, and in the books, really happened.  It was quite a revelation for me!!  Laura, Mary, Nellie, Almanzo, Ma and Pa really had those joys and sorrows.  Musical Memories of Laura Ingalls Wilder is a treasure.  To read about the life of the Ingalls family and to learn just how much music meant to them.   I enjoyed the music in this book as much as the photos that show their homes through the years.   I also loved reading about their faith, the things that were important to them.  After reading through this book, and listening to the songs that were important to them, I feel like I have visited with an old friend.

While these books are not meant to be a stand alone curriculum, they are certainly an addition to American History that can not be matched.  I highly recommend the set to supplement in your homeschool classroom.   I love how Diana describes the set.  She says, “You might describe it as a sort of “stealth academics,” meaning that your kids will be having so much fun singing the songs, they won’t even realize they are learning”.  And of course, you will learn right along with them.  One of the GREAT benefits and blessings of homeschooling, right?!  My only regret in this post is that  I couldn’t have the music playing in the background for you so you could “experience” this great resource too.  Unfortunately, I’m just not that tech savvy.

These books are regularly priced at $18.99.  Each book includes a CD and has sheet music for all the songs.  Isn’t that a treat!   For the month of July, the 3 book/CD set is on sale for $50.  You can purchase that at DianaWaring.com.

now available

You can learn more about Diana Waring here. I invite you to hop over and take a look. Get to know her.  You will love her passion for history and for learning!

Joy to You!









Diana and Friends Experience History Through Music Giveaway — $700+ Value!

Around our house, we love – and I do mean LOVE – music.  And we think history is pretty cool too.  I will admit that I wish I had paid more attention in history class.  Now I have the chance and I just love our history lessons.  My favorite way to study history with my kids is to have resources that will bring history to life.  This gives us all something to hold onto….a remembrance of sorts.   That is why I am so excited to be part of the launch team for the soon to be released Experience History Through Music by Diana Waring.  I can think of no better way to remember history than through music. A full review will be coming the week of June 30th.
To celebrate the release of Experience History Through Music, I am joining members of the Diana Waring Launch Team for an amazing giveaway. Friends of Diana have joined in and as you can see, someone’s homeschool is going to be greatly blessed!
Here’s what you could win!

Diana and Friends Giveaway


From Diana Waring Presents

american history -- never this funExperience History Through Music – set of 3 books with CDs ($50/set) Diana Waring Presents is about to bring back into print the BEST folk music you have ever heard, combined with the fascinating stories they represent in American history!   The Experience Music Through Historyseries includes: America – Heart of a New Nation, Westward Ho! – Heart of the Old West  and Musical Memories of Laura Ingalls Wilder. The musicians are amazing, every instrument is real, lots of great vocalists, and more toe-tapping music than you can imagine! The books tell the stories behind the songs.  Together, they bring American history to life through it’s music!!With fascinating history books and toe-tapping folk music CDs, American history has NEVER been this fun!


EncouragementCollage2Encouragement for Homeschool Moms Collection ($25) Every mom needs that word of encouragement from someone who has been there, who has grownup children and can speak with assurance about the journey. Homeschool moms have an extra portion of the journey to navigate, and often wish for an extra voice that will offer direction but without nagging or prodding. Diana Waring has that voice.


From A Journey Through Learning

Logo New 300 trans$50 Gift Certificate $50 to spend in the A Journey Through Learning store, applicable toward any digital download purchase.

     From Homeschool Legacy

westward ho I 300x400Westward Ho! Part I ($19.95) Load up your wagon! Discover the extraordinary times of adventurous frontiersmen and brave pioneers as you travel cross-country along the Erie Canal,  Oregon Trail, and even “remember the Alamo” in Westward Ho Part I.

Westward Ho! Part II ($19.95) Continue the exciting saga begun in Westward Ho! Part I as you journey with the forty-niners, ride the rails of the Transcontinental Railroad, experience life on the prairie, and discover the exciting era of cowboys and cattle drives in Westward Ho! Part II.


      From Knowledge Quest Maps

HardcoverCD_ecover_croppedMap Trek: Atlas and Outline Maps of World History ($55) Map Trek is a historical atlas plus outline maps that allow you to teach geography alongside history. This is a resource that any homeschool parent can use with brilliant success, even if you don’t remember a thing from your history or geography classes in public school.

From Home School Adventure Co.

PAPS-R-96dpi shadowPhilosophy Adventure™ Digital Download ($39.95) Philosophy Adventure™ is designed to help students 6th-12th grade cultivate and defend a biblical worldview by teaching them how to write skillfully, think critically, and speak articulately as they explore the history of ideas.


   From Heidi St. John (The Busy Mom and Real Life Press)

fpf3-bundle-covers-180x180Firmly Planted Family Devotional Digital Volume 3 ($39) The Firmly Planted Family Series is divided into ten-week studies and is your key to making sense of the Bible—even if you’re learning right along with your children. Each lesson provides a core idea, a simple narrative, memory verses and discussion questions for children of all ages. And the companion student workbook is filled with age-appropriate, full-color, reproducible activities for children of any age!


From Raising Real Men

RRM-Mom-Dad-300x295Free Registration to Boyhood Boot Camp or Boot Camp 9-12 LIVE webinar series (winner’s choice) plus Mom & Dad Special Raising Real Men (Book for Mom to read in the bathroom + AudioBook for Dad to listen to on the commute) ($62-69)

My-Beloved-and-My-Friend-Cover-Border-201x300Free Registration for Marriage Retreat Online plus His & Hers Special of My Beloved and My Friend: How To Be Married To Your Best Friend Without Changing Spouses (book + audiobook), ($65)


From Institute for Excellence in Writing

logo$50 Gift Certificate $50 to spend in the IEW store, applicable toward any purchase.


From The Old Schoolhouse Magazine

ST-Affiliate-300x300_zpsb38aa8aeSchoolhouseTeachers.com ($139) A one year membership to the curriculum arm of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. Nearly 100 classes for Pre-K to High School, taught by expert teachers, and lots of extras including the Schoolhouse Planners, Schoolhouse Expos, monthly free ebook downloads and more.

Big-Book-14-Cover-113013-e1392516063206The Old Schoolhouse Magazine 2014 Print Book ($15) Be encouraged, enlightened, and educated with the all new 2014 Annual Print Book published by The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine.You’ll get a year’s worth of homeschool support in almost 300 pages in this full color one-of-a-kind print magazine for homeschoolers, by homeschoolers. This is a magazine you’ll refer to again and again.


From Writing with Sharon Watson

the-power-in-your-hands-front-coverThe Power in Your Hands ($53.96) With The Power in Your Hands: Writing Nonfiction in High School, they’ll learn what they need to know for high school and will be prepared for college writing.

69276_1454187188126914_157492202_nWriting Fiction [in High School] ($35) Are you raising the next C. S. Lewis or Jane Austen? Help your students develop their fiction-writing talents with Writing Fiction [In High School]: Bringing Your Stories to Life.



To enter the giveaway, use the Rafflecopter link below. Residents of the U.S., age 18 and older only. Other Terms and Conditions can be found in the Rafflecopter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 Joy to You!


It’s a Wrap!!

Our 3rd year of homeschooling has come to a close .

It’s bittersweet.

On the one hand, the kids and I are both ready for a break.  On the other hand, I really like our school days.

I have been reviewing the year as I work on records and paperwork that are required by our state for me to keep.  Thinking back on the projects…..the field trips….Teen Pact….. all that they learned.  The struggles.  The victories.  The laughter.  And, yes, the tears.

year in review

(Just a peek from our year)

I still marvel at the fact that homeschooling was the cry of my heart for many years but not the plan that the Lord had for our family. I remember driving to work — a job that I really liked — crying because I wanted to be home.  I wanted to teach them.

And so, 3 years after moving back to SC, I have been teaching them.  And I am blessed.

As my kids have gotten older, I am finding that they teach me as much as I teach them.  And sometimes, those lessons are hard!

The other evening, my daughter was a little nervous about something.  She couldn’t sleep.  She admitted being worried.  I pulled my favorite “do not worry” verse out.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  ~ Philippians 4:6-7

As we prayed together, I said the words of these verses.  She finally drifted off to sleep.  Then, as I drifted off to sleep, it was if I heard the Lord tell me to “practice what I preach”.  You see, I had been working on school paperwork when she came to talk to me. Reviewing the year had me worried that I didn’t do enough with them.  Or teach them the right things.  Did I spend too much time on this subject and not enough time on that subject?  The Lord knew I needed the reminder and He knew that having it come through experiencing her worries would make more of an impact on me.

What a blessing to be able to share and apply God’s Word to my life and the lives of my kids.  What a privilege to teach them and to walk through each day with them.

Yes, I am blessed.

Happy Summer & Joy to You!





X and Y

We’re getting close to the end of the alphabet.  These letters get harder to write about.  I completely missed X because I just couldn’t come up with the right word.  I decided that it might be easier to combine with Y…but that was really difficult too.

Then, as I prepared to attend the Teach Them Diligently Homeschool Convention, I knew that what X should be!


This is how I felt going into the convention.  I had, literally, burned the midnight oil the night before we left.  Homeschool conventions are wonderful but when you go into it feeling like you’ve been hit by a bus, it’s hard to wrap your mind around all that is available……..or at least that was the case last week.

eXhausted is defined on Dictionary.com as: “to drain of strength or energy, wear out, or fatigue greatly”.

Even though that is exactly how I felt, I was really looking forward to the convention.  Not only was I about to be exposed to a great selection of speakers to gain insight from but I was preparing to spend 3-1/2 days with precious friends from KY.  That alone put some spring in my step. {smile}

The convention was all I expected.  I think a recap of favorite sessions is in order but I’ll save that for another post.  Seeing our friends — laughing, learning, and even crying with them was such a treat.    I had no idea when we headed home on Sunday that my eXhaustion was really just beginning.

2 am Monday morning, our daughter woke us up.  She was sick.  She vomited from 2 to 7 am.  She and I got little sleep.  There’s a virus going around our town and I am sure that there were germs everywhere we went over the weekend.  Long story short, she became dehydrated and we ended up in the ER.  Then we were admitted so that she could receive fluids and this resulted in just over 24 hours in the hospital.  NOW I felt eXhausted!!

As I laid beside her on the couch Sunday night and sat beside her hospital bed, I was reminded of a few sessions that I attended over the weekend at the convention.  They were both on relying on the Lord.  Something I know in my head but often, I admit, don’t carry out.  Little did I know that they Lord, in those sessions, was giving me ammunition for the days ahead that I did not yet know I needed.

This verse came to mind:

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Matthew 11: 28-30

I heard it in one of the sessions. And so, that’s my Y word.  YOKE

Do you know what a yoke is?  What they look like?

It is a a device for joining together a pair of draft animals.   A yoke typically looks a lot like this:


Doesn’t look comfortable does it?  Even for an animal.

Do you ever feel like you have one of these around your neck?  That the weight of all that you have going on resembles such a device?  I think this depicts eXhaustion!

The good news is that the Lord doesn’t want us to take this stuff on all by ourselves.  He wants us to lay it at His feet.  To learn from Him.

Isn’t that cool?  That He cares about us enough to have our weights, our concerns on his shoulders?

I think so.

As I write this, it is late in the evening.  I am still pretty tired but I rejoice that my Jesus carries my burdens.  And that I can “come to Him”.  His YOKE is my solution for eXhaustion.

Won’t you find rest in Him tonight?

Joy to You!




Join me and others as we are finishing up this round of Blogging through the Alphabet over at Ben and Me.


A Run Down of Last Week

I REALLY enjoy writing about our homeschooling journey and linking up with the Homeschool Mother’s Journal.  This link up is really what ignited my desire to start this blog.  Please take some time and read what other homeschooling mama’s are sharing about their home-schools, their lives, their walk with the Lord.  You will be encouraged, I guarantee it.  
 The typical format of the Homeschool Mother’s Journal is changing and I am very excited about it, however, this week I am sticking to the old way and using the writing prompts one more time.  
 So here goes……..A run down of last week.
 In my life last week…..
I realize that it’s Tuesday evening and I am just getting around to posting a review of last week, but it was a good week and so, I share. 
 It was good but also an unusual week.  We got snow!  It may seem crazy to point it out but we live in the lower part of SC and snow just doesn’t come around very often.  It was 70 degrees the first of last week, and then…on Tuesday night….we got approximately 6” of snow.  It was really beautiful.  Made me think of our days of living in KY.
The whole family worked on some deep cleaning around the house.  We have more to do but it feels good to have accomplished something.
 Because of the snow, everything else was shut down.  Church was cancelled Wednesday night.  Upward practices were cancelled.  Swim team practice was cancelled…..
 In our homeschool…..
Despite the snow, we had school.  Public schools were out 3-1/2 days last week but not us.  I did agree to lighter days so that they could play in the snow but we are really wanting to stay on task.  I have to applaud my kids because they had a really great attitude and kept plugging away at their work.
 Leah is gearing up for a presentation of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in her co-op literature class.  She is teaming up with a friend and they will be acting out a scene from the book.  She also worked very hard on a project for her co-op Biology class about the “Lady Jane” Tulip.
tulip poster
Wyatt is reading, reading, reading.  Much to do as a high school freshman. 
 Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share…
Sometimes taking time off to play OR to get some much needed cleaning around the house is okay.  Lessons can be learned in EVERYTHING we do!!
 Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…
Nana came to visit over the weekend.  She hung out with the kids while my hubby and I went on a marriage retreat with our church.  He planned the retreat, as that kind of thing falls under his responsibility as Associate Pastor.   Such a treat to get away with other couples for fellowship and encouragement.  (Keep an eye out…I will likely be blogging about the retreat later this week.)  AND I got to eat at my favorite burger place at Myrtle Beach – River City Café.  So yummy!
It’s true.  It really is all about the burger!!  If you’re ever in Myrtle Beach, give them a try.
 My favorite things…..
The weekend with my hubby.
 My kiddos favorite thing this week…
Snow!!! And time with Nana.
 What’s working/not working for us…
Staying on a cleaning schedule. I REALLY need to figure out a way to be more diligent in this area.  I so want to pass on good habits to my kids.  I’d love some tips if anyone wants to share!
 Things I’m working on…
My goal to be more organized.  Last week, while cleaning, I took on several drawers and cabinets in the kitchen and a shelf in the laundry closet.  Baby steps but I am getting there.
 I’m reading …
Still finishing up Lit! A Christian’s Guide to Reading Literature.  I’ll finish it eventually.
 I’m cooking…
I cooked ahead for the weekend for my mom and the kids to have while we were gone.  
 I’m grateful for…
A husband who loves me and wants our marriage to be centered on Christ.
 I’m praying for…
Friends and family who have heavy burdens.
 photo, video, link, or a quote to share…
Wyatt and two of his good friends have started a blog.  If you would like to be encouraged by young men who have a heart and passion for the Lord, hop over and take a peek at their site.  You can follow them on Facebook and Twitter too!


 Thanks again for joining me on my homeschool journey.  I’m linked up with The Homeschool Mother’s Journal.
 Joy to You!