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Collage Friday - I Wouldn't Trade This For The World

This is one of those weeks where I want to yell "Uncle!" and waive my white flag.    

Some weeks are just like that.  

I write a lot about our great weeks and seem to downplay the not so great weeks.   

Secretly I think I want to present a front to the blogosphere that homeschooling is wonderful all the time, but we all know that isn't true.

Sometimes it's just a HARD lifestyle that requires sacrifice, determination, and patience.   

So, in a week where the laundry is piled up, a husband is out of commission with debilitating back pain, and mom has a million (and one) things to do, I'm going to tell you that I would still choose to homeschool my children.

We're in this because we're living life together.

And that means all the time.

Good AND bad.

I felt inspired (at 11 p.m. Monday evening, mind you) to write Stop Telling Me Why You Can't Homeschool.

Friends:  this post struck such a chord with so many of you.    I'm mulling over a part two in my head. 

The post was me venting my frustrations, but also I want non homeschooling families who are trying to decide whether or not to homeschool to know that they CAN DO THIS!!

Let's talk about the week: 

I told the kids this would be a "back to business" week.  We resumed normal studies of math, spelling, history, writing, and grammar (after a largely interest led week last week).  

This style of learning works well for us.  I know some people have trouble with interest led tangents, but we are inspired by them and it seems that the kids can transition between "traditional" schoolwork and a bit of unschooling fairly well.

Reading Aloud


We had some COLD temperatures (for Georgia) this week.

A lot of time was spent in front of the fire, with me reading aloud.  (Wednesday was World Read Aloud Day!)

We finished Pocahontas and the Strangers - what an awesome little book this is.

We also read three of the "Who Was?" books this week:



While I read the kids were hard at work creating magazines for their friends.  I was so proud of them for their creativity and determination.   

I love my children so very much.  

Today in the grocery store I just looked at them both and realized how enormously blessed I am to have such a close bond with them during this time.

You couldn't pay me enough money to send them away to school each day.


LEGO Learning

You know much we love LEGO learning!   

This week Grant accepted his Sunday School teacher's challenge and depicted the story of Lazarus with LEGO bricks.  

He also made some type of disc shooter that really worked.  

Of course, one evening I pretty much lost my cool with the total MESS of LEGOS in my son's room.


A happy house full of learning children is often very messy.  

And the clean house patrol isn't showing up at my door any time soon, right?


Spelling Practice 

I have written before about how much I love our spelling curriculum.

Spelling Workout is just a good old traditional workbook curriculum. 

It combines phonics rules and interesting activites to make for some wonderful retention.

Recently we've been testing on the iPad with My Spelling Test app.   I reviewed it at The Curriculum Choice this week, so you can read my review there.   


Healthy 2013

Yes, we're still eating healthy and maintaining our new lifestyle.

Using Plan to Eat has really helped me to stay organized and prepared with a weekly menu plan and shopping list. 

Simple Meal Planning - Plan to Eat

Two of our favorites this week were Chicken Noodle Soup, which I made with rice noodles, and Slow Cooker Sloppy Joes.  I'm learning to omit a lot of salt when cooking, and also by simply omitting bread from my diet I feel better and am losing weight.   The kids still love a big whole wheat bun for their Sloppy Joe's, but I might just have half or just the meat.  

I also made the kids some yummy granola bars (using our Udi's Granola from Beech Retreat).  The recipe is from my friend Jenn at Daze of Adventure.

I've been addicted to a yummy Edamame Salad from Publix - I buy it from the deli and it's my treat each day at lunch time!  


Music, Music, Music

This weekend my piano students are in a festival called Federation.   They play two memorized pieces and are judged for a rating.

Anna is also in the festival.   She has practiced long and hard for this.    If she gets a superior rating this year it will be four years in a row of superiors for her.   I love listening to her practice.  She loves it so much and plays from her heart.  

I will be working all day Saturday at the festival.    While it can be a bit hard on a student's nerves, the experience is invaluable!

Grant and I are also going to see the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra perform. The concert is entitled:  The Roots of American Music.  Anna has a volunteer job she attends each Friday morning, so she won't be going with us.   Grant and I are going with friends, riding the commuter train into the city, and making a grand adventure out of it.

*You can download the student guide and streaming audio for the entire concert.  It would be a perfect music lesson -- and it's all FREE!  


That's it for our week... next week we will be preparing to attend The Great Homeschool Convention in Greenville, SC.  Please pray my husband's back allows him to travel with us.  We are planning a small family vacation around this convention and have been so looking forward to the many great speakers and children's sessions, too. 


Please join me for Collage Friday!

The rules are simple.   Link your post (that incudes photo collages) about your homeschool week.   Be sure to grab a Collage Friday button or text link back to this post in some way.   Then, be sure to visit the other blogs on the list to offer support and gain ideas.    This is a wonderful community and I love reading through your blogs each weekend and seeing how you all encourage each other.  

*I will delete any links that don't comply with these guidelines.  {not trying to be crabby, just trying to respect the hard work of those who do follow the rules}




Reader Comments (24)

I loved your post this week on homeschooling. Yes, some weeks are hard, but they would be hard anyway. This is our life and life has difficult patches. I will have to find "Who is JK Rowling for my Harry Potter obsessed child. I love all of your music ideas and will be using on of your squilt lessons later today.
Blessings, Dawn

March 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDawn

Oh sakes yes! It is not an easy road, this homeschooling one. But sakes yes, as you said, it is so very rewarding and absolutely worth it! Thanks for sharing all the wonderful things you do - so very practical (gotta try that My Spelling Test app) - and for hosting us each week :)

March 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTricia

I was half way through leaving a message this morning when three of my five children started throwing up! Yup, this homeschool life isn't always easy, isn't always neat and tidy, and is sometimes a little inconvenient (!), yet once experienced, I think the vast majority of homeschooling mums would call themselves blessed beyond measure. Thanks for hosting so faithfully each week, and have a great weekend!

March 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterClaire

I really think that after 3 years of homeschooling, we don't have to define how we do it. Like you, one week or two may be spent entirely on projects. Then the next week we catch up on history and math. In the end the work gets done in a way that satisfies everyone's needs. It is important that you all feel balanced, no matter what that balance looks like because for you it will be different than it is for me and mine will look different than someone else's.

Perhaps I should email you but we are constantly learning how to manage Greg's back. He had a scary flare up that almost sent him back to the surgeon. Our naturopath suggested Turmeric Tincture. He also takes a high dose of Fish Oil. There are also many herbs he can take but require a natural doctor to order them. If you are interested I can tell you what he uses if there is a doctor near you that can help you with the regimen. His body responds beautifully to herbal treatments. In one week he went from reconsidering surgery to being almost back to 100%.

March 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJess

A happy house full of learning children is often very messy.

I love that!! Thank you for putting such a nice spin on it. Although I know that, there are many days I make my way around Legos, Webkinz, lightsabers, books and the like and *sigh.* I know it is supposed to be like that because we are living and learning together each day, but, sometimes it feels like it's a never ending cycle of pick up and put away, lol!

Fantastic post and if this is what your bad week looks like, then it is not bad at all :-)
I hope your husband is feeling better. Back pain is not fun!

We used to live near Greenville, SC. Loved it there SO much and miss it especially this time of year! I was telling my husband that I would absolutely LOVE to go there to the convention this year. I hope you have a great time and thanks for keeping it real, Mary.

March 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAnn-Marie

We have the Who Was? books at the library. They are great. We read the Steve Jobs one and I can't remember some of the others we read.

Sorry to hear it was a tough week!

Best of luck to Anna!

March 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTheresa

Ditto on everything Mary. It isn't always easy but it sure is worth it! I have those moments,too, where I freak over the mess or some other aspect of our life but luckily they are overshadowed by the moments like you had in the grocery store.
We like transitioning between interest led and the basics, too--I couldn't do all of either one.
Our prayers for your husband's back!

Hoping your husband's back is better soon :-(

I smiled just a little bit when I read about you losing your cool over Legos. It's work to allow things to be "Creative" and messy in your house. Sounds like it wasn't a bad week at all!

March 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRebecca

I am impressed so much by the depth and variety of your family's studies! I especially love the Lego learning! Can I feature it this week on my Lego Challenge post?

"Pocahontas and the Strangers", is my daughters all time favorite book.
I too will have to look for the "Who is JK Rowling" book. My daughter is another faithful Happy Potter fan.

It's true! Even in the hard weeks I sit back and think, I still do not want to send my kids off to public school. I love having living our life, good and bad days, together. I just can't see it any other way!

March 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAmber

prayer for hal ya

March 8, 2013 | Unregistered Commentermelissa newell

I hope your husband gets better soon... As for salt, don't OMIT the salt, eat REAL SALT instead. Real Salt is full of minerals that we need and refined salt is just bad, junk food... Check out these videos on how important gray salt is for you....

My husband was having problems with high blood pressure and leg cramps... then we began using real salt on everything we eat for over 4 months now... his blood pressure is normal and no more leg cramps. Salt is important and there is no scientific evidence that it causes high blood pressure. Check it out... you will be surprised!!


We will also be attending the convention in Greenville for the first time. Normally I just go to GHEA in Georgia, but this year I will be vollunteering at the convention. Thought it would be nice to go to Greenville and just be an attendee.

March 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDiane

It's not all fun and games, is it. Homeschooling is life and life isn't always rosy. But, you certainly make homeschooling look easy - and real! I hope your husband's back is on the mend. I look forward to hearing about your adventures into the big city on Marta and the symphony. I had no idea we could've listened to it live. That is really, really cool! I am also thankful that you wrote the "Don't Tell Me..." post. Love it and I love your heart for others.
See you tomorrow at Federation. I'm biting my nails and C is cool as a cucumber ;-)

March 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHope

Your "not so great" week was fantastic in my opinion. You got a LOT done and looks like you had a lot of variety in your week which is often a challenge for me. All in all, as a homeschooling mom...I think your week was wonderful. But yes we know all to well how challenging it can be. You know what though, I'd rather have those challenges and for my kids to go off somewhere having challenges with people who don't know them, what they need or how they "tick". Just one of the reasons why I home school. They'd deal with it, but I feel that would be so unfair to them. I am their mom, I want to teach them and help them through life's set for them, the blueprint life.

March 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterStephanie

I love the freedom that comes with homeschooling. Even the hardest week homeschooling is better than the best week of public school would be. I wouldn't trade this time for anything! I love hearing about Grant's Lego creations!

March 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMary

Sorry it was a tough week, but I am with you...even in the worst of times, I wouldn't trade the homeschool life for all the world! I hope you can find some time to rest this weekend and that next week is better.

March 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSusan

You know what? I decided something today as I read over this post. Everybody says, "I love my children." But when you say it I know it's true. It's just so genuine. Maybe it's genuine because it is also simple and not over-the-top when you say it.

I just wanted to say you've got a pretty lucky pair of kids, Mary. I hope you never stop telling your children you love them (even when they do things to make you shake your head and smile... or, well, at least I smile!)

March 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJohn Fraser

Those temps. are cold!! I really enjoyed reading your post this week. I love your enthusiasm about homeschooling and being with our children.

March 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLaurie

I loved your "Stop telling me why..." post this week! I also love all the Lego Learning that you share here. I'm using a portion of your co-op lesson in my own co-op this coming quarter. We only do 4 classes a quarter so we are combining some of your ideas! Thanks so very much!!!

Just two of the things I love about you, Mary...
You keep it real and refreshing
You also host Collage Friday for us:)

Thank you!
Have a great weekend

March 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJenn

Mary, the picture of your family room looks so cozy!!

I love you for originally posting about Plan to Eat. I've been using it for a while and I love, love, love it!!

March 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterStefanie

You are right, some weeks are hard but like you I wouldn't trade this life for anything! And I am sure it would be hard, maybe a different hard, but still hard at times in PS. I always love your weeks Mary. Your love for your children shine through so much. They are always full of yummy learning and fun! It was COLD here last week too but 72° yesterday. Of course it is pouring rain today. Congrats to Anna and all of your students! I saw on FB and IG how wonderfully they did. Thank you so much for hosting this link. It is my favorite! :)

March 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKaren

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