Signs {On Mathaus’ senior year}

I remember when 2018 seemed so far away. Mathaus was still a young boy with a mop of strawberry blonde hair and a mouth full of baby teeth when I charted out a progression of Sonlight cores, year by year, for my family. His side of the chart stopped at 2017/2018, and I marveled at how many years sat between my present and my future.

And here we are: that future is now.

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The #1 Tool in Your Homeschool Toolbox

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Like every homeschool parent I’ve ever met, I’ve invested hours and hours in cultivating my educational philosophy. Though I was drawn to literature-based learning from the very beginning of our homeschooling journey, I still vetted it thoroughly, weighing the pros and cons against all the other methods out there. After a pretty exhaustive survey of everything from textbook-based school-at-home programs to the Thomas Jefferson Education model, I landed here, in a comfortable (for us) zone of relying on a rich selection of living books to form the foundation of our homeschool.

But you know what I’ve learned? It’s not just the books that make the homeschool. It’s the conversations those books bring to life.

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Back At It

After a fabulous break, we are back at most of the normal things that frame our days— namely, homeschooling for six of the kids and me, teaching for Christopher and Mary Hannah, a Dual Enrollment class for Mathaus, and the various and sundry other outside activities that have found their way onto our calendar, from speech therapy to youth orchestra, by way of Civil Air Patrol and other stops along the way. Mary Hannah’s classes haven’t yet resumed, but otherwise, it’s full steam ahead here. It’s only been a handful of days since our rhythm has returned, but I’ve been surprised at how good it has felt. The truth is, I enjoy the hours spent showing my children how to use a grid to be sure your ones stay above your ones and your tens stay above your tens when you’re adding them up, and I find a sense of joy and purpose in running a cup of tea to my husband while he’s explaining Charles Dickens to high schoolers online.

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How Blessed We Are

On Christmas Eve, the unthinkable happened. Dad had just left on a last minute trip, while Mom and I began a quick tidy of the house before my grandma and great-aunt arrived for a holiday meal. All was well. We had the soup in the roaster, desserts in the fridge and the kids were playing quietly in their room with Legos. It was a snapshot of Christmas cheer fit for Currier and Ives, modern edition. Until…disaster struck.

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Just littles

Since moving to Tennessee, our oldest three children at home have found a tidy little side income in in-house pet sitting. On top of helping folks out, it’s given our kids a few days at a time to do something very important—make memories together, independent of Mom and Dad, that they will carry with them their whole lives. They pack up board games, instruments, and books, and cocoon, feasting on the goodies their clients always leave behind, and playing with a rotating cast of cats and dogs. I’m hopeful that it’s a tradition they’ll keep into adulthood; maybe not the animals, but definitely the ability to continue building their relationships with one another, and enjoying the bond God intended when he made them siblings.

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Simply five

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People have asked (often) how we celebrate birthdays. I’m not sure exactly what the fascination is, myself. Sometimes I feel a little bit like June Carter Cash apparently did when Johnny Cash told her, “I like to watch you talk,” and she snapped back, somewhat bemused, “I’m talking with my mouth!” We do what we do, just like everyone else. Is it odd? I don’t really think so. I suspect it’s less what we do and more the sheer number of times per year we do it that garners attention.

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