Tag Archives: life

Goals for 2017

Sometimes, I find that I struggle with setting goals. I don’t want to fall short. I have found myself several times lately thinking something like “I won’t even try because I can’t do it.” This often happens when I see something that requires a lot of activity over an extended period of time.

I have found, though, that if I create a much smaller goal with a larger end point in mind, I don’t struggle as much. An example? Walk for 20-30 minutes per day. No distance required so for those days when I am hurting or exhausted, all I have to do is make the time. I don’t have to push super hard. But for those days when I am energetic and feeling good? Then I can do some running and go further and longer.

I have also found that if I write things down, I am more likely to hold myself accountable. If I tell someone I trust about a goal, they are also more likely to hold me accountable because, well, they can since they know. (Something about that knowing – if they don’t know, how can they help?!?) At Home Dad has changed his morning routine to help me meet my daily goal of walking. He did that because he knew about my goal and wanted to help me meet it.

So, with all that rambling in mind, I decided to show you my goals. I wrote them down on the printable that I had created and shared with you in my post on The End or The Beginning? Here are my 2017 Goals.goals-2017At Home.

Linking up with the Homeschool Review Crew’s discussion about goals in 2017.

Homeschool Review Crew Goals for the Year Ahead {Link Up}

The End or the Beginning?


An end and a beginning. Which do you see?

As the end of 2016 very quickly approaches, I see just that. An end. Finality. The finish line. But is it really? No. So, I find myself wondering.

– what did we do right?
– what did we succeed in?
– what did we make better?
– where did we grow?
– where do we need to do better?
– where do changes need to be made?
– where did we fall down?
– where did we fail?

The end of the year is a natural time for reflection and re-evaluation. But, did you notice that all of these statements have a “we” in them? There is a reason for that. I think of our family as a unit. We are a family and we look to help each other.

Still, what I do well affects others. What I fail at also affects them. So we are moving through this journey together. And when I evaluate and do better at my part in these things, I make our family stronger.

The end is clearly marked by the calendar but what if we took a new approach and looked at it solely as the beginning? This is my beginning. I am beginning a new set of goals. I am beginning a new year. A new outlook. An ending is often a sad time but beginnings are seen as opportunity. So take this new beginning as an opportunity for whatever it is you desire. And write those goals, or desires, down.

I tend to be very visual so I created these two little worksheets to help me think through the good, the bad, the ugly and to plan for where I can do better. I am going to post these in my notebook that I am beginning for Bible time/prayer time so that I see them often through the year and hopefully, it will help me. Remind me. Get me back on track when I wander. And help keep me accountable.

2016 In Review

2017 Goals

I am also tying the 2017 goals into my “one word” for the year – CRAVE. I will share more on that word next week, as I am still trying to work through all the ways I want to apply this in the next year.

Please print these and use them as you can see them benefitting you and your students or family. Please share, as well. All I ask is for you to link back to this page if you share them. Thank you!

At Home.


Linking this post up with the Homeschool Review Crew bloggers’ Reflecting on 2016 linkup.


Dear Postal Worker


Dear Postal Worker,

I am sorry you had a bad day. I am sorry I wasn’t able to answer the door when you rang the bell several times. I am sorry I flagged you down to ask if I could help with whatever you needed. I am sorry I caused you inconvenience. But mostly, I am sorry you did not see the joy that the package you needed a signature for brought.

It was an unexpected package full of beautiful and amazing learning journals for my girls. When we opened it, I wish you could have heard the “oohs” and “aahs” that accompanied each of the journals we brought out.

I wish you could have heard the exclamations of “Can I use that one?!?”

“Will you color in this one with me?!?”

“Poetry? A journal on poetry? Can I do this right now?!?”

“Look Mom. One just for you. A homeschooling mom journal. Now you can do funschooling, too.”

“This one is all about different places. What are the places we will learn about?”

This went on for a good fifteen minutes, dear postal worker, and all because you did choose to stop for me on the side of the road and allow me to go ahead a sign for that unexpected package. Even though you may not realize it, you bring joy like this to our family quite often. Those annoying packages you leave in the oversized box with the key for us? They are full of opportunities. They are full of unrealized joy just waiting to be discovered. And you? You bring that to us. You doing your job is so much appreciated. So, thank you.


Just one of many homeschooling families that you bring joy to through the mail

At Home.

5 Days of Homeschool Tips: Change is Good?

change is good

I don’t like change. I like to know what’s coming and how to maneuver through it. I like to have a schedule. I like to know what is expected of me.

BUT . . .

I like to have the flexibility to go with the flow and to do what is best at the moment. I like to make last minute plans. I like to change the order of things. I like to be able to walk away from something that is just not working.

So, maybe I am more of an outline person?

Really, though, change is a good thing. Most people don’t seem to think so. They seem to think that staying the course is what should happen and that “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” While that is good advice for a machine or a motor, it isn’t really such good advice for a child.

Every child is different. The approach you take to reading for one child might not be the right avenue to understanding for the next child. Math online might be perfect for child number three but for child number six, you need to be right there working it with them on pencil and paper and restating it a million and a half different ways before the child understands it.

So, while it is fantastic to have a “tried-and-true” method, you really need to be up for change. You just might have to change your teaching style, your curriculum, your time of day, or your setting. You might need to change every single thing for that one child. Or you might not.

That is one of the beautiful things about home education. We can change what we need to for that one child.

One of our children loves math. I mean L O V E S it! She would do only math all day long if she could. She loves pencil and paper and seeing those pages turn with completion. However, what works for her is an absolute no-go for another child. That child needs someone sitting right there with her, checking understanding on most steps that she does until she is entirely – and I do mean entirely – confident that she can do it with no mistakes. So, we have searched and searched until we have found something that works for teaching her. (A combination of a fun book and using printable worksheets that I can pick and choose from. See the book we are using by reading this post. For the worksheets, see the review on Super Teacher Worksheets.)

For learning to read, sight words and just reading books worked well for two of the girls. For the third, she had to grow into it. She could do her sight words with no problem but reading a book was a struggle for her until she was ready. When she was ready, she took off and her reading is very good now. But she didn’t really start reading until she was a good year older than her sisters. And that is okay.

I have to be ready for change because change comes in educating our own children. That is part of why we home educate, is it not? So we can tailor their education to them? So, get ready. Change is coming. And it is good.

At Home.

Previous Posts in this series:
Make Time
Structure vs Flexibility

5 Days of Tips for Homeschool Parents
Looking for more great ideas and tips? Check out other Review Crew members who are sharing tips all week long. Today, I encourage you to go visit these friends:
Melissa @ Grace Christian School
Michele @ Family, Faith and Fridays
Missica @ Through the Open Window
Monique @ Mountain of Grace Homeschooling
Rebekah @ There Will Be A $5 Charge For Whining
Renita @ Krazy Kuehner Days
Sarah @ Renaissance Mama
Sasha @ Such a Time as This
Tawnee @ Adventures in Homeschooling
Tiffany @ The Crafty Home
Tina @ Desperate Homeschoolers

5 Days of Homeschool Tips: Make Time

This tip can go a lot of different ways. But it all relates to the same idea.

 We make time for the important things.

So we need to prioritize.

Prioritize who is important.
Prioritize what is important.
Prioritize what needs to be learned.
Prioritize where to focus.

Make Time

While I was sitting in Ladies’ Bible Class this morning, I had this thought come to me. We make time for the things we want to.

I know. That thought is not profound. It is nothing new under the sun. However, it kind of hit me hard after we had this amazing weekend.

We made time to focus on God on a weekend when so many people typically spend time with family and have egg hunts and take lots of pictures. Instead of “having Easter” we had a weekend filled with God.

So, my question to you is: what do you make time for?

Do you make time daily to read God’s word?

Do you make time daily to do something with your children other than formal schooling?

Do you make time daily to connect with someone who is important to you?

Do you make time for activities that will enrich your life?

Do you make time for those things that will take you where God wants you to go?

I want to encourage you to know what your priorities are and where you need to be headed. Know your goals and who you need beside you. Then, make time every day to be sure you are headed in the right direction.

Our most important goal is to have children that know and love God, who serve Him, and who have followed the Bible to salvation (hear, repent, believe, confess, be baptized, and live according to His word). We make time daily for that to happen, whether it is through a family devotional, Bible study time, or having Bible be a part of their school day. We make time for that by going to church and Bible classes and spending time with others from our church.

Do you know your priorities? Do you make time for them? If not, what are you making time for? Do you need to redirect?

This, more than anything else, will direct your life and, if you are a home educator, your homeschooling. So what do you make time for?

At Home.

5 Days of Tips for Homeschool Parents

Looking for more great ideas and tips? Check out other Review Crew members who are sharing tips all week long. Today, I encourage you to go visit these friends:

Dawn @ Double O Farms
Dawn @ Guiding Light Homeschool
Debbie @ Debbie’s Homeschool Corner
Desiree @ Our Homeschool Notebook
Diana @ Busy Homeschool Days
Diana @ Homeschool Review
Elyse @ Oiralinde: Eternal Song
Emilee @ Pea of Sweetness
Erin @ For Him and My Family
Jen @ Chestnut Grove Academy

5 Days of Homeschool Tips: Structure vs Flexibility

structure vs flexibility

I am sure you all have thought about this a lot. I know I have. Am I structured enough? Do I allow too much flexibility? Do I need to ______(fill in the blank)________?

Today is a great example for me of what I wanted to write about flexibility. Here is how our day went.

  • We started out exhausted from having a busy weekend at the Lads to Leaders 2016 National Convention in Grapevine, TX. Late nights + early mornings = really tired, irritable people in our family. (However, it was an amazing weekend. You will be hearing more from me about the awesome convention and all the joy and growth we experienced this year.)
  • I had to wake the girls up to take them to the dentist this morning. We had to be there at 9. I obviously scheduled this without realizing it was the morning after L2L Convention.
  • Frantically, we tried to get breakfast, brush teeth, and get out the door with their appliances for the dentist.
  • Got to the dentist only to realize that we had forgotten one of the aforementioned appliances. (Both Miss E and Miss L are in Perfect Start appliances, a wonderful alternative to traditional braces.) Luckily, At Home Dad was able to bring the appliance to the dentist for us. (We live just a couple of minutes away.)
  • Dentist appointments went well! No cavities. Miss E’s progress in her appliance is great and she’s moving on to the next. Miss L is going back to the habit breaker and will recheck in 6 months. Not the progress we had hoped for but no big deal. Everyone did great and everyone got their teeth fully taken care of!
  • Went back to the house and frantically threw lunches together and headed into town for lunch with the youth minister and other homeschoolers from our church. Got the call halfway there that it had to be rescheduled.
  • Called up the kiddos grandmother and headed to her house to see her.
  • Passing the church we realized one other family hadn’t gotten the reschedule call so we made quick plans to head over to a park and had lunch together.
  • Rescheduled with grandma to let her know we would come back by to visit with her (after we checked out the progress on their kitchen re-do).
  • Sat at the park and had lunch. The kids played and the other mom and I chatted for a couple of hours.
  • Went back to grandma’s and chatted with her for a couple of hours.
  • Then, as we were leaving, I realized I had less than two week until the banquet I am helping with. We had already used most of the day and the kids were still tired from the weekend so not many lessons would take place so we went shopping for supplies for decorating instead.
  • While out, we realized that Miss E needed tennis shoes so we found some of those.
  • Came home and found that we needed to go to the grocery store. Since we were gone all weekend, I had managed to forget that.
  • Pulled out hot dogs for dinner for the kids and made some rice for me. Simple and not too unhealthy.
  • Read the biography from YWAM that we are working on – Clara Barton – while the kids ate.
  • Listened to Heirloom Audio’s The Dragon and the Raven after dinner.
  • As we were getting ready for bed, we topped off the day by realizing that Miss J’s strep rash appears to be coming back. So, we may be making more doctor visits tomorrow. Again. Sigh.

Want to know our original plan for the day? School lessons in the morning, lunch at the church, and a couple hours at the park with the family we went with today.

When you look at this, what do you see?

structure or flexibility

Do you see the mess of two colors mixing together? Do you see some structure to the way the two colors are interacting? Do you see something done on purpose or do you see something accidental? All of those are correct! Life, like this work of art by Miss J, depends on how you view it.

Don’t worry! The kiddos are learning every day and in every setting. Whether we are guiding that learning or they are using their senses, something is being given to that brain because you are training them to observe and gain insight from what they see and hear. Tomorrow is a new day. And more structured lessons can happen then. Today, well, it was one adjustment after another and that is okay. We’ll jump back on the bandwagon tomorrow.

But today wasn’t a total washout. Not only did we read some on the biography we are working on and listen to a history lesson, there was time encouraging another family and fellowshipping with them and being encouraged ourselves. Every day contains some learning whether we are guiding it or not. Teaching the children to recognize that and learning to recognize that ourselves is really important.

So embrace the flexibility that is needed when days come that just don’t go as planned. Your structure is just fine and is good for your family in whatever way you have set it up. But don’t beat yourself up about a day that doesn’t go as planned. Life happens and it teaches us lessons about love and consideration that are more important than anything in a textbook.

At Home.


5 Days of Tips for Homeschool ParentsAs with other Review Crew blog hops I have participated in, I encourage you to go check out my friends who are participating. There are about 50 of us and I’m sharing 10 of my friends’ links with you each day. So please go read about the tips these others have to share with you. Click on the image to be taken to a list of all participants or click below to go to the blogs of each of these friends.
Kym @ Homeschool Coffee Break
Latonya @ Joy in the Ordinary
Laura @ Day by Day in Our World
Leah @ As We Walk Along the Road
Lisa @ Farm Fresh Adventures
Meg @ Adventures with Jude
Megan @ My Full Heart
Melanie (Wren) @ finchnwren
Melissa @ Mom’s Plans

Crazy Days

I am writing this little post to just encourage you the next time you have a series of crazy days.

This week, we decided to make it Spring Break. At Home Dad has vacation this week and we had a couple of projects around the house we wanted to get done. So, we took time off from school. Sort of.

Now, that is kind of said with a bit of sarcasm since we live a life of learning. And this week, the girls have been learning about cleaning and prepping a room for painting, how to do the painting, and how long it actually takes to paint. (Can I just say I still get annoyed at Trading Spaces whenever I think about painting? They always said it only took $40 worth of paint and a few hours to completely change the look of a room. I have NEVER been able to paint a room in a few hours, let alone only spend $40 to do it!)

We had the awesome privilege of having Mr. Mike show us how they get paint tinted. He showed the girls the machine that matches color and then how the computer system works to get the dye correctly into the can. He opened up the machine to show them the dye and then talked them through the whole process. It was a fun learning experience for the girls. (See? We find field trips everywhere!)

paint field trip

With our state being a part of Super Tuesday, they also went with us to vote. That was an interesting process and even though we have been discussing the elections for a while (remember our Home School In The Woods review on elections?), there was still a continuing discussion about why we vote. The girls got to see most of the process – they wouldn’t let them go with us to the actual voting booth. They did an amazing job, especially considering we had a wait. It helped emphasize the importance of voting, though.

Between trying to keep up with a couple of reviews we are working on (Rainforest Journey, Memoria Press literature, Times Tales, and Writers In Residence), painting, regular stuff like dance classes and church – it has been a bit crazy around here.

Welcome to life! Right? How is your crazy life going?

At Home.

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