Heart of Dakota - HOD CtC - Unit 19

Friday, January 20, 2017

We have been happily studying the land and people of Ancient Greece over the past few weeks. I asked Silas what his favorite culture we have studied so far has been. He said that Greece seemed to be where so many interesting things and people lived and that the Greeks are his favorite so far. It's been fun reading the myths and Aesop's fables with him. There is so much wisdom in those tales from long ago. Silas didn't realize how many sayings come from those stories that we use in our everyday speech.

I really love our Robert Frost poetry study each week. We usually take the time to find out more about the poem. This week our poem was "The Birthplace." I thought this painting turned out beautifully. He's getting better every week!
 

Heart of Dakota - HOD MtMM - Unit 19

We are moving right along through our year. For the past few weeks we have focused on WWII. We have really enjoyed all of the books that have told the story from many different perspectives. So much was going on in the world during this time, so it's been really enlightening to hear how this war was experienced throughout the world.


Raddish Cooking Kits - Food for Snowy Days

Monday, January 16, 2017

We have had our share of cold days here in the midwest this year. These are my favorite days to get in the kitchen and make things to warm us up. Fortunately, our Raddish kit came with lots of great ideas on where to start. I knew these recipes were bound to please my picky eater, but I also loved that they included a salad. Each kit has given my little "Mikey" a chance to like something new.


Dear Just a Mom...

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Before I had kids I had many plans. In fact my plans didn't even include kids, not for a really long time anyway. However, suddenly my life changed forever the day I found out I was pregnant. Surprise! By my choice I chose to postpone some of those plans. Even so, my dream job turned out to be the very one I have, and the plans I made have been incorporated into this quiet life. Those plans just happened on a smaller scale, and they happened with the people I love the most. I don't regret this choice for one single moment. 

Let's face it. Deciding to live a simple life as a homeschool or stay at home mom will meet (if it already hasn't) a whole lot of resistance. It won't necessarily come in the form of people telling you that you shouldn't follow that leading of your heart. Instead it will come from the never-enoughs. They would have you believe that being just a mom simply isn't enough. You know the ones. They serve on boards, run programs, have titles, write books, are at every service opportunity, and (cough) have way cleaner houses than you (I mean me.) Their well meaning messages will sound like this: Dream big. Change the world. Have it all. Make a name. Do your part. Save the planet, the country, the you-name-it. You simply just aren't doing enough, or so they say. The problem with this message isn't the message itself. All of those causes are good and noble things, and if that is the season you are in by all means tackle the thing. The problem with that message is that it speaks out against another kind of choice to live a simple and more slow paced life that is true to your season.

 You don't have to have a title, or to see your name in print, or to be a speaker in the next big thing to impact your world. You really don't have to have it all right now. You do have to grow in love, kindness, patience, forgiveness, and gentleness in order to change the lives of those who fall under your care or who are in your sphere of influence. Sometimes that is far more difficult than doing the big things anyway. Joy and peace can only overflow when you have left enough margin in your life to experience and appreciate the little faces before you or the ones you sit across the table from each day.

There's a children's book on our shelf called The Very Last First Time. It's about the first time a girl got to do an important task on her own without her mother's help. It was the very last first time the mother would see her daughter have that experience. I don't know about you, but my very last first times are running pretty short. They are more like a count down to the very last time of just about everything. My oldest will be entering high school next year. I have 4 more birthday cakes, 4 more Christmas mornings, 4 more first days of school and 5 more last days of school. Time that felt so slow when my boys were little is flying by as they say. 

So for what it's worth, it's ok to be happy with this simple life. Thankfulness is the antecedent to contentment if you didn't already know it. Don't buy the message that says you are just a mom if you choose this simple life. If you're like me you know your time will come. In the meantime you will fine tune your skills in the quiet of mornings, naptimes or evenings. I promise you there is a whole world to get to know while you tackle this great task of motherhood and educating your children. If you are a person of wonder you will never be bored. There is always something new to learn, a skill to hone, a gift to practice. Write if you're a writer. Cook if you're a cook. Study if you're a teacher. Keep your foot in the door of your dreams. They don't have to die just because you have chosen another path for now. This time will pass, and there will be many days to come to enjoy your new season when the house is quiet again.

 My husband is a hospice chaplain. Every week he sees how life's choices play out in the end for people from all walks of life. Guess what those folks never, ever, say? They never say they wish they had done more. They never say they wish they had gotten more degrees, or had traveled the world or had a bigger house. Without fail they say they wish they had spent more time with their family. In the end none of the greatest accomplishments will stand at your bedside anyway. No one will stand by the bed and call you doctor, pastor, professor, author, speaker, or any of that. If you have lived your life well the people that will stand at the foot of your bed when you breathe your last will be your family. And guess what? They won't call you by your title or accomplishments. They won't wish you had done more. They will call you mom. Just, mom.

Hear me friend.  Keep doing what you love.  It's more than enough for now.  I promise.

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My Homeschool Journal - January 2017

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

When I started this blog 5 years ago my intention was to keep a yearbook of sorts. It was also meant to be an accountability to myself. My thinking was if I have to blog about it I will actually do it. My husband was a little afraid (if I'm being honest) that homeschool would be like one of my many hobbies that grew like a forest fire and died a slow death while taking up space in the storage room where all my other old hobbies live. If you ever want to know why I do weekly updates, that's the real story. What happened though was that homeschool became a part of all of our lives. It wasn't just a hobby it was how our family lives and learns together. It hasn't gotten old yet, and I pray I can make it to the end of it all.


So, in an effort to let you in on a little that goes on with me, I decided to take part in the monthly Homeschool Mother's Journal. I saw a friend post hers the other day and thought it was such a great idea. I'm not super awesome at weekly or daily commitments, but I can handle one a month. It will give me an opportunity to reflect on how things are going around here at Monarch Room, but also to share how things are going with us as a family. I would love to hear from you too if ever you are so inclined. Sometimes this homeschool journey can feel a little lonely. It's so nice to have friends that are on the same path, so we can each give each other courage for the next leg of the journey.

SchoolhouseTeachers.com {Review}

Tuesday, January 10, 2017


This past month I had the opportunity to review a yearly membership with SchoolhouseTeachers.com. When the cold settles in I love to hunker down and enjoy a few fun extras while we are cozy in our warm house. This is my favorite time of the school year because it’s when we have the chance to slow down and enjoy enrichment activities that we might not have as much time to do when we are running around during the warmer months.

Our school days are already pretty full, so I'm not normally looking to add too much to our days. However, sometimes interest strikes, and it's fun to take a rabbit trail every now and again. I love enrichment activities that add fun and spice to our normal everyday lessons. I am often searching Pinterest or blogs for inspiration. I was pleased to see that the SchoolhouseTeachers.com website was far more than I expected it to be. It was great to find an all-in-one place to search for inspiration rather than hopping from place to place. I was pleasantly surprised at how many useful and fun courses I found.

Heart of Dakota - HOD MtMM - Unit 18

Friday, January 6, 2017

As I said in Silas's review post, this was our first week back. I kind of wonder if it was me having a harder time than the boys going back to school. Routine has always been best for us all, but those slow and lazy days get into your blood after a while. Getting back to work always makes you feel a little like the Tin Man without enough oil.


Heart of Dakota - HOD CtC - Unit 18

Thursday, January 5, 2017

This was our first week back after winter break. It's amazing how rusty your mind can get after just a little time off. The beginning of the week started out rough, but by day 3 we were up and running again. This week doesn't have as many pictures, art, or activities. Such is life. I was so thankful it was one of those weeks that felt lighter than others.


Heart of Dakota - HOD MtMM - Unit 17

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Here's where we finally took a winter break! Instead of taking the week before Christmas off, we are taking the week after. That week is usually anything less than restful. I thought the boys would enjoy some time to enjoy their gifts. I know some folks take 2 weeks off at Christmas. Instead we will take another break coming up in February. I'm trying to take more regular breaks instead of ending so soon like we did last year.

This is my mom's idea of Christmas chocolate. Ha! She was more excited to see my reaction than to see the kids' faces. I have never been able to stop her from being generous. I just let her now. Someday I'm sure I'll be the same kind of Grandma.

Heart of Dakota - HOD CtC - Unit 17

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Happy winter! This month has been slow and full all at the same time. It's been nice having a break from afternoon classes, but at the same time we have also spent more time with family and friends. I would rather the latter any day. We made it through Christmas, and we are thoroughly enjoying some time off. Phew.

Last week we learned about the Persian empire through the eyes of Queen Esther. We have been reading the Book of Esther for storytime. Every year at Purim many Jewish people celebrate the salvation of the Jews during Esther's time. Hamantashen cookies or Haman's Ears are a traditional Jewish treat eaten during Purim. We love these kinds of history projects!

Heart of Dakota - HOD MtMM - Unit 16

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

After WWI America enjoyed a time of prosperity and peace. This week we learned about what was to come after the roaring twenties. After The Stock Market Crash of 1929, The Great Depression followed. We spent some time this week hearing first hand accounts of that period from those who lived in the dust bowl. This was such a sad time in American history.

The Golden Gate Bridge was built in San Francisco during the Great Depression. San Francisco is my home town, so it was fun for me to see this picture. Aedan followed the instructions in Draw and Write Through History to complete the drawing.

Heart of Dakota - HOD CtC - Unit 16

Monday, December 19, 2016

We got our first snow this week. It's been nice having a really long fall. I can handle the snow if it won't last for months on end. The boys enjoyed being outside all bundled up. There were plenty of hot drinks and even a few snow angels.


Heart of Dakota - HOD MtMM - Unit 15

Saturday, December 17, 2016

We are nearing the halfway mark here at Monarch Room. We have made a few changes lately that have made our days more enjoyable. I think this has been one of the most enjoyable history periods we have done. Maybe that's just me talking though. I'm fascinated by all we are learning this year, and hopefully Aedan catches a little of that enthusiasm.


Heart of Dakota - HOD CtC - Unit 15

Friday, December 16, 2016

Brrr....It's getting cold here in the Midwest! This is always my favorite time of the school year. I feel less guilty staying home when the fireplace is lit and the day is too cold to venture out. We have a few more weeks before we will take some time off, but until then we are doing our best to make the best of our days.

One of the things I love so much about Heart of Dakota is how it is so centered around Christ. There is always so much Biblical insight. It's been so sweet seeing Silas learn Bible history this year. We have had so many great conversations. 

Every day Silas reads a portion of scripture. The guide gives some direction on how to pray. For some this feels forced, but I remember what it feels like to be a new Christian. I had no idea how to pray. Having a model really helped me as a new believer. Each day our HOD guide will direct the kids to pray in the A.C.T.S. way. This week's project was to make a prayer box to store his prayers.

Another Raddish Cooking Adventure - Apple Pie

Monday, December 12, 2016

Ok you guys...Raddish is just too fun! We still had one recipe from last month's box that we needed to make. We had a quiet Saturday which was the perfect opportunity for pie making. We got an invitation to eat at our family's house that night, so we wanted to surprise them with a special treat. A pie in the hand is an open door to the heart and an open door to any home in my opinion. 

Truth be told I'm not really awesome at making pies. My mom is a fantastic pie maker. I once tried to make a lemon meringue pie for my dad and he thought it was really weird. To my credit it was completely from scratch. He didn't like the lemon zest, but my pie self esteem still suffers. I can make a mean birthday cake, tiramisu and cheesecake, but pies have never been in my wheelhouse - at least not until now.


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