Homeschool Fun and End of the Year Stuff

I have only had one post on homeschool. Since we are wrapping up our year I thought I would take some time and discuss what has worked for our family for curriculum and what has been a challenge. I will also share some fun things we have done and a recap of the year as we draw to a close.

Curriculum: We started a new history and geography curriculum this year and my kids and I have been intrigued by all we have learned. Story of the World is a curriculum that goes over history with giving little snip-its of information that were important for the time period we are studying. We have studied the Middle Ages this year. From Aztecs to Mayans to Samari warriors in Japan to Vikings, black plague, to Martin Luther and reformation to Henry the VIII and Queen Elizabeth. This is just a little of what we have learned. Next week we get to study William Shakespeare! I am so excited…hopefully my kids will be too. I also have enjoyed the suggested extra reading material to the activity booklet which goes along with what you are currently studying. It is filled with all kinds of activities to making dishes of the country we are studying. It is also filled with reproducible maps and color pages which my kids have liked doing. It has been easy to pull out a color page as I read the history text to them. I will be doing the next one in the series for next year curriculum. I have been able to get the material from a local homeschool consignment store. Amazon is great too for buying curriculum. I like a deal though!

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Math: We use Teaching Textbooks. This is a computer based fun interactive math program. It starts at 3rd grade math which is great because my 7 year old son is at a 3rd grade math level. This program has worked great for our family for independent work. It also grades everything for them and logs it in a gradebook including quizzes. I encourage them to do their best and I step in when they need me or I ask how they did on their current lesson. You can buy TTextbooks online or at a homeschool consignment store. I have had friends use the same curriculum and I can usually buy it off of them to save on costs. A friend recently gave me 5th grade! I only have to buy math for my kindergarten daughter this next school year. We do occasionally use apps on tablet and fact math cards to brush up on their math facts. Teaching Textbooks is a lifesaver because Math is not a strong area of mine.

Grammar: We have used Growing with Grammar. I have my likes and dislikes, but for the most part the grammar has been pretty self explanatory. If you are looking for a straightforward approach to Grammar this is a great curriculum. I found for my 4th grader there was a lot for one lesson for a day. I go ahead and put down on her planner what ones she has to do on her assignment for the day. This has helped and she completes her grammar no problem now. There is a test at the end of each section. There is also a review before the test. I will continue to use Growing with Grammar.

Reading: I have my 1st grader read outloud to me. We started with Bob books and now have moved to Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Suess. Hudson chose to check this book out at the library. Letting him choose sparked his interest in reading the book. Green Eggs and Ham is a fun one! My 4th grader reads silently and outloud. Classics are a favorite. My 4th grader is currently reading Little House in the Big Woods. Laura Ingalls Wilder. Costco has this one in hardback for $9.99. We do extra reading from Story of the World. Found this collection at Costco because this week we are studying William Shakespeare. A friend suggested it and bought it for her kids. My 1st grader is even enjoying these quick reads, that I read outloud.

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We have already read Romeo and Juliet and now we are on to Richard III. We finished Hamlet.

My kids love the library. We are always reading. We go to many different local libraries.

Science- We have begun

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My kids and I have studied birds, they have built a bird house, learned about migration, instincts, different nests…we studied birds for a long time. They have learned about bats and Pterasaurs. This study is based on creation. The science curriculum also has a journal with activities you can print off. We have done a few but keep things simple with the Try This in the narrative part of the book reading. We also use Youtube to watch things on what animals we are studying. We are currently studying insects. We are at our friends beach house so I changed things up and have been studying the beach and the tide. My little two girls got involved with painting rocks and shells. This is the part I love about homeschooling we can change things up at a moments notice.

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My two older kids were catching shrimp on the beach! They found 4 shrimp!

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I have enjoyed this curriculum. Sometimes it is a lot of reading so I do skip information if I lose my kids interests!

Extra Curricular Activities– My 10 year old and 4 year old girls dance once a week. My oldest is in musical theatre dance and my 4 year old is in a creative movements class. They dance at the same time which works out so well.Dance recital is in 2 weeks. My 7 year old son plays flag football on Saturdays. He practices and then plays his game all in one day. He plays soccer in the Fall. My 10 year old also takes piano lessons from our youth worship leader. We skype lessons when we are too far away. I love the advancement of technology in this case! With Summer approaching we have many campouts scheduled with friends and family going to different Thousand Trail parks for the Summer. Once we become mobile a lot of the extra curricular will probably not come as easy, but we will continue to always get outdoors.

We have done many different museum field trips. My kids love hands on stuff! There are many great museums around the Seattle area to go and explore. My Aunt just got us a zoo pass so we will be using that a lot this Summer. My 10 year old has got to see 2 plays. Brooklyn Bridge and The Sound of Music.

As I wrap up this school year in a nutshell being full-time for a year….I love that my kids enjoy learning and we can do that anywhere instead of my kids being in a classroom 7-8 hours a day and having homework on top of those hours which takes away from our family time. We usually homeschool for about 3 hours a day. Sometimes my kids get their work done quicker if they have friends waiting outside to play. A huge motivator to get their work done is friends! My kids are socialized more than ever! They enjoy playing with all ages of kids. Homeschool has not really changed so much from living in a house to an RV full-time except, I have more time with them because our 432 square feet does not take long to clean or keep up with which means more time for each other. Staying Organized with School is a Must for our family. I pass on other homeschool curriculum or books to other families or consign them at a local homeschool store.

Realizing if the day gets hard or something happens to throw us off schedule…. knowing tomorrow is a new day makes things better!

“Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old enough he will not part from it.”Proverbs 22:6 Constant teaching…not just on subjects, but on life skills and daily chores and how to communicate with each other is my most important job as a Mom and teacher. Happy Almost Summer!!!

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What is a Nomadversary?

So over the past year and a half we have learned a lot about ourselves and what it takes to be a nomad or otherwise known as not living in a “traditional house” made out of sticks and bricks (S&B). We have also learned a lot about the lifestyle and what it takes to pack up your home and cut a better portion of clutter out of our lives. Things like don’t leave the tank valves when you’re flushing out the black tanks and always check your site twice before you leave because you will probably leave something behind.

We’ve gotten really good at keeping our lives de-cluttered and try to weed out un-needed things on a regular basis. This is not only out of a new want in our lives but mainly out of necessity. That and we either don’t want to pack it each time we move or we just do not have room for multiple bins of toys and gadgets that we do not use on a regular basis. This is a really good motto to live by even if you are in a house but even more so in an RV.

A big thing we learned during this first year are the sayings “life happens” and “all roads are paved with good intentions”. I say these in response to our first year financially. There have been quite a few items we have purchased to make this lifestyle a little more pleasurable like an outdoor carpet, a new grill, a heated hose for winter, a dehumidifier for the Pacific NW’s wet winters, an upgrade in our camping membership, a washer and several other miscellaneous items now used to help us along in our moving & living process. Then there have been the unexpected items that Mr. Murphy brought with him: new brakes on one car, then a very sick lab, an awning gone in the wind, new brakes/calipers and a rotor on our towing vehicle followed by a dirty EGR valve that stranded our truck and trailer. But the kicker that Murphy brought was the bulletproofing of our F-350″s 6.0 diesel engine along with 2 injectors. Needless to say, the first year had a learning curve and some curve balls thrown at us but to put it bluntly, God provided all we needed and saw us through each issue to completion. What didn’t kill us, only makes us stronger for the next adventure with Him.

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Before we started out we weighed all of the pros and cons for our change and we started seeing how much we could save on our rent/mortgage payments and what we would be able to do with a lot of extra time that we would not have to put into yard or house maintenance issues. It seemed like a no brainer to us, so we jumped on in… feet first though. Some of the biggest similarities and differences from house living to RV living that we have noticed are probably what you would think they are.

Similarities:

  • You may still have a payment of some kind unless you’ve gone all H.D. Thoreau and boondock full time: I’ll explain more below
  • You still have to do maintenance from time to time: such as roof/gutter cleaning and changing light bulbs
  • You still have to clean on a regular basis: keeping 4 kids out of their home is not allowed. BUT it’s 430 SF and not 1,400 or more and only takes 45 minutes instead of a full day.
  • Laundry does not do itself: I’ll explain more below
  • Everyone has their own bed of some kind
  • We still have a full kitchen complete with residential fridge and a kitchen aid: darn Costco gets to keep our business for a while longer. Heck we even have an outdoor kitchen that has a sink, stove, mini-fridge and microwave.
  • We still have 2 gaming consoles and 2 TVs
  • You will usually have good phone service but there are times when you’ll get disconnected.Differences:
  • The size of the monthy payments you make per month are a lot smaller
  • Your toilet does not have a direct connection so you’ll at least have to watch your stuff go down a 4″ pipe that you connect and disconnect every time you move. You may also have to drag your stuff to the dump station if you’re in one place for a long time just so you do not have to move your RV.
  • No yard maintenance: we stay where others do that work for us
  • If you want, you can use the shower house to bath 6 people within 1/2 an hour.
  • Unless you live in a gated community you probably don’t have a pool, tennis, horseshoes, club houses, wi-fi and monthly activities without a hefty “association” price tag. We get those with our membership.
  • We usually switch neighbors and the view out our front door every 2-3 weeks
  • The four kids (1 boy 3 girls) share one room and have not killed each other yet. Evidently having your own room is not a necessity.
  • Your commuter car could be a 1-ton dually truck Continue reading
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Oh….Transition.

My husband Jon wrote on our blog back awhile ago a short segment on moving to Georgia. We moved from Washington State to Atlanta, Georgia to help start a mid-week kids discipleship. We had a church planted here from our church in Washington. More on that story later. We drove our F-350 Ford diesel dually…named Skittles which pulled our 5th wheel…named Howard over the river and through the woods. We stopped along the way and saw many friends and family. We also had some hiccups along the way. Skittles decided to break down in Grand Island, Nebraska. We were thankful it happened there, because that is where Jon’s family lives. Our truck was in the shop a little longer than what expected, but when we picked it up it was paid for!!!! God’s provision! We did finally make it to our destination.

The end of October we pulled into our friends driveway and parked Howard for the next few months. It snowed twice in Georgia our first winter! They say here it was not a normal winter. We had a tree branch go through our roof. We now have an amazing new roof on Howard. Three Way Campers fixed Howard’s roof! If you are in the Atlanta area and need repairs, look them up!

The weather was great in October. We had a family camp at Camp Grace. We camped in family bunk houses with full running bathrooms and showers without having to dump any tanks of any kind! We had a great time as family and getting to know our family at our new church… The Square.

We started looking for houses in our new surroundings. We would continue to full-time, but there are no Thousand Trail campgrounds in Atlanta, Georgia. We were excited to start looking for houses. We put in an offer on a house a cute yellow house in Mableton, Georgia. My husband did the inspection on the home, because you can in Georgia and that is what he does for his career and reviews building plans for houses, buildings, etc. It did not inspect well. So the search was on again! Our realtor was great and found a house in close proximity to the church, to work for Jon, and to our friends. We closed on our home January 5th of 2018. We unloaded Howard which did not take long because we did not have a lot. We did not want a big home. We wanted a rambler style home and at least 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. We went from 432 square feet of mobile happiness to 1500 stationary…not knowing what we just did! We went from a whole new state we had never been in before, living in our 5th wheel for almost 3 years, to a sticks and bricks. Oh… and why not add in having my 9 yr old and 6 yr old start public school a month after moving into the house. I spoke to the principal at the school and everything seemed to fit really well and my kids were excited, especially my son. My 6 yr old had a harder time with the transition from going from homeschool to public. Our neighborhood and school are also amazing reasons we are where we are. This will be a year of trying new things and transition to new things and things that seem very foreign to us.

November of 2017 while living at our friends house in our rig a snow storm hit and a tree branch came through our master bedroom. My husband made the decision thank goodness to sleep that night in our friends house. When we moved into our Sticks and bricks we took our 5th wheel in to get the roof fixed. We had an amazing job done through Three Way Campers in the Atlanta area. We had an insurance claim that needed to be filed since it was the weather that created the roof damage. We got our rig back a month after moving into our home and we have a single gal from church who rents it from us. I am glad it sits outside our home, but I go over so many memories of living in it in my head and heart. If you choose to live in a sticks and bricks or a home on wheels or a complete different way of living….they all of their ups and downs. Living in our 5th wheel brought our family closer together. We lived in tight quarters, but we lived simple and adventurous lives. We loved meeting new people, it was easy to do in the campgrounds we were at then living in a home. I will have to say though one of our neighbors in our new neighborhood came over and met us the first day we moved in.

This Spring and Summer my favorite place to hang out is on our back deck in an Adirondack chair with my cup of coffee and spending time with God and nature out my back door. We were given a lot of furniture and we only bought what we needed when we moved into our house. My husband made us an amazing farm style table which seats 12 people. We love having people over to eat and to fellowship with. I also celebrated my 40th birthday! My missional community of friends took me to Ponce City Market.

Friends if you are traveling through Atlanta stop and say Hi and/or visit the aquarium. It is amazing! The Battery at the Braves stadium, Coca cola factory…check out parks and walking trails, we still get out and seek adventure…it just looks a little different now.

April of 2018 my husband found out his company that contracts with the City of Atlanta was not going to renew their contract which means my husband still has a job, thank the Lord, but had no idea what office in the surrounding area he would be placed at. My husband travels between two offices in the area, but much more of a commute then what we would have thought and did not plan! If you have not heard about Atlanta traffic….it is a REAL thing!

Going through all this change and transition we have been in prayer asking and waiting on the Lord for the next thing, next step, the next!!!! While all this is going on… financially we have struggled probably more than ever. We are very transparent people because it may help someone else who is walking through some of the same situations to not give up, even when the storm keeps going. I felt very much like the Israelites as they wandered in the desert. I also have felt like when Jesus asks Peter to step out of the boat and to trust him. The unknown is scary, I have dealt with bouts of anxiety again which I never thought I would face again. Giving it all up to God. I am not in control of where He wants us or what we are to do. This life in Atlanta, Georgia looks way different then I ever saw it looking. We have had provision happen when least expecting it…..amazing provision!!!! I have faith that will see through all the “cray cray.”

The week before Mother’s day my husband ended up being hospitalized for high blood pressure and they kept him, because 3 years ago we found out he had a heart condition which eventually could lead to heart surgery. Well…we had a doctor’s appointment last week that confirmed surgery, but was a different outcome then what we thought it would be. A better outcome! My husband will have heart surgery on July 25th.

We have had truck problems and now Lucille our Chevy Lumina is having issues too. God is still faithful in all of this.

Does it feel like a whirlwind? Absolutely!!!! I wish sometimes I could make stuff up, but it is totally real life living! Today, I took the kids to the library and then to a consignment store and Lucille would not start when we returned to it. My kids and I prayed for her to start….no start….I called my husband and he said he would leave work and come and get us.

We had not eaten lunch….I had no snacks, water, nothing at all….my essential oil stash is all I had (doTerra.) If you want to know more about these comment below!!! I looked up places to eat nearby in walking distance. We were thankful no rain, yes some humidity, but it was bearable to walk in. We found a good BBQ joint not far from where the car was broken down. I then got a message on my phone 15 minutes into our eating that my husband just got the truck clipped by another car and he was talking with the police. Like I said…sometimes I wish I could make this stuff up….nope!

My husband and the car who side swiped him were ok. I called our roommate to come get the kids. Went back to Lucille to see if maybe she would start one more time. She did not right away, but as my kids and roommate were leaving….Lucy started!!!! Thank you Jesus! I had my roommate follow us home. A few minutes later my hubby got home.

What an afternoon!!!!! Did not plan that happening. We have had so many random things happen to our RV breaking down, to truck issues, to toilets overflowing….you name it! Life happens and we can have a pity party or we can be thankful for the day and move on!

I share all of this transition,because life has transition. We move from one thing to the next….growing through change and hard things too. We have been in Georgia for 7 months and have overcome and gone through many things during our transition of moving here that were not seen. During our full-time living in the RV we also went through so much transition. Transition can be a good thing if we embrace what we are given even in hard circumstances. Do I like to always do this? Ummm….No! I know transition prepares me for the next calling God has for our family. Adventure is everywhere….you have to maybe look for it in different places. We will press on!!!!

On a side note… our rig is for sale. We would love for Howard to go to a full-time family. Comment if you are interested.

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A Move in His Will

Well today is the day we pack HOWARD up and head to Atlanta.

Peter stepped out of the boat and one of my favorite movie characters did this leap of faith to save a loved one. Our clip, if you will, is to drive out of the current state we are in and that “state” is not just physical and mental but also spiritual.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xFntFdEGgws

This entire journey has been a huge leap of faith stretching over the past couple of years, we just didn’t see how God was putting all of the pieces in place until recently. Here are a couple of similarities with the video clip:

– We have been called to go help a church start a midweek program and as Pastor Phillip mentioned, he “needs us like yesterday”. A regional manager also made a similar comment when talking about my relocation. Both of these are like when Brody calls to Indiana in the clip that “He needs to hurry”

-this next step is a huge leap of faith for us in to many ways to deeply discuss but include these top three: moving our home across the country and over the great divide, new program at a new church, new job for less pay (cost-of-living).

But yet there has been a sense of calm around all of the fast paced craziness of our recent days. I can only thang God for this as I know it is Him who has shined a light on this path and it is Him who has and will guide our footsteps along it. Indiana had his dad’s journal to guide him, we have our Fathers Journal (The Bible) that has guided us each step.

So off we go. We will miss our friends and family in WA like we miss them NE and AZ but Heather and I know that God has a much bigger plan for us now in GA that will only add to our list of loved ones.

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