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The Lifegiving Table

I am a part of Sally Clarkson's new book launch team for The Lifegiving Table.  This book is out on my birthday, October 3rd.
Sally has long been a kindred spirit even though we don't know each other.  We have shared interests in mentoring, discipleship, training and teaching our children, opening our homes and lives to others.

This book, which I've read a preview of, is my heart too.  We've used our 'table' to build relationships with our children, our families, friends, fellow workers, young people, old people and every age in between.  To share our faith, spread encouragement, help carry burdens.

Sometimes, it has been a full blown Thanksgiving meal with three tables set up.  Other times it has been coffee and dessert.  But all of it has been with the heart of welcome and care and "I want to know you better," or "come celebrate with us!"  


I had a friend say to me, "My heart is to do this but we don't have a nice big table, that I…
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Thoughts On Living An Ordinary Life

Today I'm sharing a post that I wrote for my blog Creekside Cottage.


We live an ordinary life.  We work, we cook meals, we wash dishes, do laundry, clean our houses, care for our children, and grandchildren.  For those of us who home educate, we are busy with guiding our children's learning, too!

Sometimes we can feel as if we are not 'doing' anything of value.

Often we feel as if our work and our lives are unseen.  There is a desire in all of us to be seen and to be known.  So much of social media is about this.

There are so many things out there that make us feel as if we must be doing something that is noticed.

 Living an ordinary life is seen as boring. 

 But look at what Paul said in 1 Thessalonians 4: 9-12
9 But concerning brotherly love you have no need that I should write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another; 10 and indeed you do so toward all the brethren who are in all Macedonia. But we urge you, brethren, that you increase more and more;…

Here Is What We Are Doing For School This Year

We've been on summer break since May 11th.  Monday we will start a new year of learning.  Kyle will be in 7th, Sarah in 10th, and Kamryn, my granddaughter will do some days with us and some days at her home.  She is in 1st grade.
We've had a good summer, did some swimming, the kids played Ultimate every Wednesday, and some of us took a trip to California for a family wedding.  Summer flew by, didn't it?
We've continued to learn this summer, mostly reading, with a bit of math.  We are ready to get back to a schedule.  I always look forward to a new year.
This year we are doing American History.  We use a lot of historical fiction, biographies, extra books like 'A is for Abigail,' by Lynn Cheney.  I have a big gap in ages with having my granddaughter doing history with us, so those books suited to her age will be read with just her, but otherwise we will be altogether for history.  

I like to do a bit of 'morning time.'  This for us means that we pray to star…

Be Intentional

One of the lessons that I learned over my 28 years of parenting was about being intentional. By this I mean that I deliberately made choices in how I would parent the kids God gave to us. 

I came to realize that my kids would not learn manners, or math without me having a plan and doing it.  Having a plan may sound like more than you want to think about this summer, but it can be very simple.




As I may have mentioned a time or two, I don't like things that require prep work.  I want to open a book and get to the science, I don't want to have to pre-read a lesson.

The same is true in my being intentional - I want it to be purposeful but easy.  So I chose a book, a movie, an activity, or just time together with my kids where we could focus on a character trait, or other kind of subject, and then talk about it afterward.

If you want your kids to be kind, then you have to model that and talk to them about being kind, and how to handle it when other people aren't kind to them.  This…

Three Ways To Learn Over The Summer

We are officially in summer mode!  

Our state requires end of the year evaluations.  Both Kyle and Sarah did great and we're looking forward to 7th grade and 10th grade respectively!  

Just because we are done with 'book' learning, doesn't mean that learning gets put on hold over the summer!  This is a great time of year to do things that are educational and yet the kids are just having fun, so they don't think they are 'doing school,' if you know what I mean.


Here are three ways to learn over the summer.

1.  Get Outdoors!  Find a local park with a hiking trail, visit a National Seashore, hang out in your back yard.  All these places provide cool opportunities to find bugs, birds, and other creatures.  They also provide plants, trees and rocks.  All of these things will teach your kids simple classification of animals and plants, what kinds of birds are native to your area, what dew looks like on a garden spiders' web.  

We like the Pocket Naturalist Guides.…

An Encouraging Post, As We End Our School Year

I'm sorry that I've disappeared!  I caught quite a cold.

As we end our school year I want to encourage you to see just how much your children have learned, the progress they've made as individual people.

Its easy to compare our homeschools with our friends homeschools.  Its easy to see so many outside activities that one family does, and compare with the few that you do.

Can I encourage you to look to the Lord for His direction for your family?  He knows just what each child needs.  Maybe one year it is a co-op, but another year it is time to be home together, and let them play a team sport.  Don't get caught in the trap that each child has to do every activity or sport or lesson that they want!




This is especially difficult when you have many small children.  We allowed our kids to do one thing.  They tried team sports and didn't really enjoy them.  A few did riding lessons for a few years.  Most have taken music lessons for several years.  We've tried to be sensi…

Day 180

By law in Pennsylvania we have to do 180 days of school each year.  We could count hours, but that would be harder to track for us, so we count days.

Today is day 180 of our 22 year of homeschooling!

We have four science lessons to finish up, and the kids will keep reading and doing math, but we've finished the required days for this school year.

Its been an interesting year.

We studied the Medieval time period, learned European geography, read a lot of books, Sarah has enjoyed pre-algebra (she does not normally like math), she took an online course through Hillsdale College.  Kyle has improved in his note taking, is doing well in math, loves science (we are finishing up Anatomy and Physiology).

We all enjoyed being back at our co-op this year.

I have a long term perspective on my children's learning.  I know that if they are struggling with a subject, that by the end of the year, they will have made progress.  The tears of earlier months will be long gone. 

The gift of home educatio…