A homeschool update, the pain of bedtime read-alouds and my summer garden.

It’s been quiet around here lately, around this part of the


Quiet means that homeschooling is taking place…as well as birthdays, and family dinners, and all the other routine happenings that accompany going back to school.

I’ve been schooling the girls since the day after Labor Day – since Tuesday, September 8th – with out interruption (excluding our “welcome back to school picnic” day), that’s 19 days of (almost) consecutive homeschooling!  {Insert riotous applause and confetti here.}

And I feel like I deserve a medal right now!  Or at least a pat on the back.  Or a milk bone. Or an online certificate printed on cheap copy paper.

I’m getting stronger at doing this homeschool thing.  I’m able to sit with the girls for (at least two) hours straight (yippie!) before taking a break, and then return to do more schooling before we break for lunch – something that I struggled to do last year.

And we have a daily schedule and all that jazz.  (Don’t laugh.  I can hear you!)  I know we are only in the 5th week of school, but we are all feeling pretty jazzed and accomplished around these here parts. Autumn is starting to feel like she’s getting a good edumecation. :o)

I’ve got some pretty lofty goals for our school year, too; at least “lofty” by my standards, which means I’m doing a daily read-a-loud with the girls over lunch.

Most people would read-a-loud at night, but I’m dead-tired at night, to the point where I pass out while reading and won’t know it until the book falls on the floor.

Yes, I’ve proven that it’s not only possible to sleep with our eyes open, but to read with your eyes open.  I’ve read whole paragraphs and was completely unaware that I even read them. The girls will be all, “Mom, turn the page!”

Make no mistake: this is painful.  Downright PAINFUL!  I believe that making someone read while they are close to drop-dead sleepy would be a very effective means of torture and could be classified as a war crime.  OK, I’ve gone to far. but you get my drift: I’m just no good at reading at night!

Anyway, I fell off of the “read to your kids at bedtime” seesaw so many times that I had to switch to lunch time reading; and so far, so good!

Christian HeroesOne of those lofty goals of mine is to read aloud through six books in the Christian Heroes: Then and Now series by YWAM Publishing.  First up is Amy Carmichael, who is proving to be quite an interesting read.  So far, this series does not disappoint.

Something else I did for the first time this year was to chart out how many lessons we would be able to complete in our 180 days of schooling given all breaks we intend to take for holidays, homeschool co-op, field trips, etc.

homeschool calendarThis is completely empowering, invigorating and gives me goosebumps because I already know that (in a perfect world with no days off for sickness or for an occasional, but albeit necessary “mental health break” or coffee at Starbucks or time to deck my halls and decorate my Christmas tree) we will only have 160 days to work on lessons. Anything above that ain’t happening! So, I needn’t feel bad when I reach the end of the year and realize that all 180 “lessons” from a workbook were not completed.

Of course, counting the number of lessons completed in a workbook is a very mechanical and dry way to measure how much “work” or learning was actually achieved because it doesn’t take into account all the learning happening in co-op or on our educational field trips (which are still school days).  However, living in NY state does come with specific rules and guidelines in order to be in compliance with the law, so some of this day/lesson/number of hours schooling, record keeping is essential.

Good bye summer. Hello fall.

And somewhere in between all the bouquets of freshly sharpened pencils, excel spreadsheets and spelling tests, it appears that summer has left us and fall has officially begun.

I love the fall season!  It’s my favorite time of the year.

Any day now I’ll be uprooting my annuals and perennials and replacing them with beautiful and hearty, fall colored mums, and heading to my basement to retrieve all of our fall harvest decorations. It will take hours to plant flowers and decorate my garden, my front window and the inside of my home, but it’s a labor of love which makes everyone happy.  (Well, it makes this momma happy, but I certainly hope my family appreciates it.)

Here are some pictures from my summer garden that I’ll have to uproot and say goodbye to…


Little creatures that remind us that we have to have faith.


A cheery little bird watching over a nest: a reminder that God gives us new life.


A garden stone to remind us to keep dreaming…


And to love . . . never stop loving.


And to keep the faith!

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).”


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  1. As children grow, I think mixing up reading time is helpful. Now my daughter is a teen and loves to read books by herself. I miss the read aloud times. Enjoy them while they last. Thanks for sharing on Literacy Musing Mondays. 😉

    • Hi Mary!

      So glad to hear that your daughter loves reading. I hope that spark for the love of books is ignited in my girls. It would do this mamma’s heart good. Thanks for stopping by and sharing. :o)

  2. Mom used to read to us during lunch. We went through a lot of books. One of my favorite times of the day. It’s so sweet to know you are doing that with your girls!
    I love that book series! They are where I first discovered Gladys Aylward and Eric Liddell (some of my heroes!) They are excellent!

    • Hi Long Ladies!

      I hope my girls remember our family read-alouds as fondly as you do. Yes, Gladys is one of my favorites!

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

  3. We also do read alouds during lunch (some days we may add in an extra chapter at breakfast or in the later afternoon too) but we totally stopped reading at bedtime. It was painful. All three boys wanted their own one on one time with their own reading time; they would fight over who got to read with me first and then distract whomever I read to next. Betimes were getting later and it was stressful. Now they can read on their own for a half hour after we send them to bed if they are not tired but I get time along with my husband to relax a bit before I fall asleep.

  4. I love it when people share about their homeschool “failures” (like not being able to stay awake for a bedtime read-aloud) then share what works for them instead. As homeschoolers, sometimes we feel far too trapped in a box about what we should be doing even if it’s not what works for our families. I recently wrote a post called “Why I Don’t Read To My Baby” and what I do to nurture his literacy instead. Learning how other people take their “failures” and turn them into victories certainly inspires me. We would love for you to link up this post with us at the Literacy Musing Mondays Linkup #LMMLinkup http://www.foreverjoyful.net/?p=830

    • Hey Leslie!

      I am soooo pulled in by your “Why I Don’t Read To My Baby” post. I’ve got to stop by your blog and read it! (Another blog to visit!?) :o) Thanks so much for the invitation to come by and link up with you guys. I’m looking forward to it!

      Thanks so much for stopping by!

  5. Hi, I enjoyed reading your post. Read-aloud time is a highlight here in our home. We’ve been trying to do it consistently for thirty days, but we keep messing up. Actually we started out trying to do a 365 day challenge, but quickly decided to cut it back a little. We keep having things scheduled in the evening and we get back too late to read. I guess I need to plan ahead and read at lunchtime then, like you suggested.

    We really like the Christian Heroes set, but I don’t think we’ve done any of them as read-alouds. I’ve been trying to do more non-fiction books lately, though, including some missionary biographies.

    We’re from NY, too, so I know all about the paperwork. My second quarter reports are due soon. No matter how late I set the date for them, they come around. 🙂

    • Hi Suzanna!

      I think the Lord set me up reading the Christian Heroes series to my girls because it’s really changing my spiritual life. I have been so profoundly impacted by it. I’m so glad I read it along with them. If I had to do it at night, I don’t know if we would have made it through one book. :o)

      Thanks for stopping by!

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