Amazing Summer

We started back to school in early August.

This summer was an incredible reset for me. We usually do light school through the summer (literature, math, and unit studies), but this year I decided we all needed a full break. While I’m sad to see this fun summer end, I’m excited as we are walking into fall.

Here is a little peek at some of our summer fun. I’ll do my traditional back-to-school post next week! Yes, we’ve started already, but I wait until the girls’ classes have begun to take their “first day” photos.

While things seem like they are falling apart all around the world, I’ve taken comfort in Psalm 142 this week, particularly this verse…

I cried out to you, O Lord,
I said, “You are my refuge,
My portion in the land of the living.”
Psalm 142:5

There are not any quick fixes to the problems of this world and as our family strives to walk in the Lord we continue to cling to Him for our hope and stay.

Summer Camp: Adventures in Odyssey Club

Last week our entire family went to summer camp! Our district in the Christian and Missionary Alliance hosts camp for all ages the same week. It was really great for us all to be able to be away together even though we didn’t see much of each other! 

These were my “kids” for the week! You see Grace in the middle and 8 other sweet little girls. It’s been a looooooong time since I was a camp counselor. I played this role off and on from when I was in 8th grade thru just before we had the girls. It’s a role I know well, but honestly not one of my favorite parts of ministry. I love the kids, but it is not easy for me in the way many of my other ministry roles are.
The Lord taught me so very much about serving outside of my comfort zone. I’m grateful for the time I had with these precious kids and look forward to seeing many of them again! 
 My co-counselor was a pro and has been doing this for the last several years. She is also a homeschool mom and we connected making a lasting friendship! She thought of bringing everything. What a blessing she was to us all! Two of my favorite things she brought were a portable Bluetooth speaker and a faux fire. The girls adored the fire that she turned on each night and one evening we surprised the girls with listening to the very first episode of Adventures in Odyssey, Whit’s Flop.  
Our faux fire was a sweet little nightlight!
 I chose this particular episode because about half of the girls were unfamiliar with the show and it is of course a great introduction to Whit’s End! Some of these kids came from some difficult situations back home and it was so nice to give them a safe and peaceful space for the week. They loved listening to the story, even though quite a few fell asleep before it was over! The next day they begged for more.
Having the Adventures in Odyssey Club app on my phone made it ideal for camp because I didn’t have to lug our CD collection or a CD player with us! Whether you are just hanging out around the house or are traveling this summer, it’s a great time to join the Adventures in Odyssey Club! Your kids will be listening to quality entertainment without eyes glued to the screen!
Disclaimer: In exchange for promoting The Adventures in Odyssey Club I receive a membership to The Adventures in Odyssey Club. I am not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.

Summer Challenge!

This summer, you can join Adventures in Odyssey’s Clubhouse Magazine and help children in the Middle East go to school and learn English. It’s Adventures in Odyssey’s Clubhouse Magazine Exercise to Educate summer challenge!

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The Problem

Nearly 7,000 miles away from the United States, there’s a war going on in the country of Syria. Many families have been forced from their homes. Parents have had to leave their jobs, and children have had to leave behind toys and friends.

Many of these families now live in refugee camps in nearby countries. They have tents instead of houses. Clean water is hard to come by. This war has put 2.6 million children out of school – some for more than four years already.

The Solution

Our friends at Focus on the Family Middle East know many families who don’t have the money to buy a school uniform and pay for their children to go to school. They also know people who would love to teach children English in local churches.

You may not have a lot of money to help, but you probably have time, energy and excitement. Here’s what you can do:

1. Go to to
2. Print a sponsor sheet and exercise to earn points. You can do it for a week or the whole summer – just remember, the more you exercise, the more points you’ll earn!
3. Ask your family and friends to sponsor your efforts.
4. Beginning in July, tell us how you did and receive a digital bundle from your friends at Adventures in Odyssey and Focus on the Family. The deadline to submit your information is August 31, 2016. 

For participating and submitting your information, you will get a free Adventures in Odyssey episode from Album 51. You will also get 101 Surefire Ways to Strengthen Your Child’s Faith – eBook and the audio book of Imagination Station #1, “Voyage with the Vikings.” Make the most of your summer—exercise for your health and help other kids in need while you do!

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Don’t Be Bored This Summer!

Now is the time to make sure your kids have the greatest adventure this summer with over 800 Adventures in Odyssey episodes and non-stop listening fun! Sign up for the Odyssey Adventure Club today for just $9.99 per month at

Join Odyssey Adventure Club for a Summer Challenge and Movie Ticket Giveaway

Are you looking for something more meaningful to occupy your kids’ time this summer beyond screens and video games? Are you hoping to bring your family closer with the time you have together? Take the 2015 Summer Challenge with me!

Take the plungebanner banner 

Summer . . . a time that kids pine for during the school year and parents may anticipate with something akin to dread. Fearing refrains of “I’m bored” or hours spent on the couch playing video games can make moms and dads nervous about the long, hot months stretching before their family. Focus on the Family’s Odyssey Adventure Club offers an answer, encouraging parents and kids to embrace faith and fun with the Take the Plunge Adventures in Odyssey Clubhouse magazine’s Summer Challenge.

Take the Plunge

The Take the Plunge challenge features:

  • Master Mind Monday — commit God’s Word to memory
  • Ways to Play Wednesday — spend active time with your family
  • Faith Sharing Friday — share God’s love with others

The Take the Plunge challenge helps families memorize at least five verses, engage in five activities together and share their faith with five people before the school doors swing open again. Those who sign up will receive an 11-week plan with suggested verses to memorize, activity ideas (such as visiting a war memorial) and ways to witness (such as passing out popsicles at the park with an invitation to your church), making this challenge the perfect tool for parents who want summer to be a time of spiritual and social stimulation for their kids.

“Research tells us that the more senses we involve when teaching children a principle, the more likely it is to stick,” Plugged In editor and Adventures in Odyssey podcast host Bob Smithouser says. “Bible memorization by itself is great, but it becomes even more powerful when put into action. Know it. Share it. Live it.”

Families who sign up to take part in the challenge at will have access to weekly verses to memorize, ideas for family fun and suggestions for service projects that allow a family to share their faith. Additionally, anyone who signs up to participate in the Take the Plunge challenge will receive a free scene from the latest Adventures in Odyssey album, as well as a free story from the book Strange Journey Back.

A Bonus Contest

From June 1–5, tell us in 30 words or less how you are going to take the plunge to deepen your faith this summer for a chance to win a family four-pack of tickets to the theatrical release of Beyond The Mask June 5th weekend and free access to the Odyssey Adventure Club all summer long (June, July, August—total $85 prize value)!

Send your entry to Two winners will be chosen to win each day June 1-5 and announced on the Adventures in Odyssey Facebook Page.

Entries will be chosen based on creativity and writing skill. Rules are available at

Week in Review: June 16-20

Summer is so wonderful and free of restrictions…and sometimes summer drives me absolutely loopy! I do well with structure and so do my girls, but we all like the freedom of summer. As we move forward through our third year of summer vacation while homeschooling I’m trying to figure this entire thing out and here is what I’ve come up with:

1. Keep a plan, but keep it loose. I want to have time to say, “Yes!!!!” when a good friend invites me to the museum or invite them to the pool. I want to say, “Yes!” to playing Dutch Blitz for the thousandth time. So far this is working.
2. Remember morning is best for outside time.  It gets crazy hot sometimes here in the south in the afternoon, not to mention our rather predictable mid-summer thunderstorms! I’m still working on this, although I forget sometimes. 
3. It’s the time to try new things! I get some great ideas during the school-year, but can’t always figure out if they will work practically. Summer is the perfect time to try them out. This is going really well!
So we’re doing some math…

Reading some literature…
Learning from God’s Word…
And trying out some new pastimes…

And we’ve been learning some Greek! The dollies are joining us too. You can read my full review here!

So far this summer…

I may or may not get around to documenting our summer field trips. We’ve had so many already! Here is a little peek into some of the fun we’ve had in just a few short weeks…

Great Wolf Lodge Mini-Vacation

Home Depot Project #2
Florida Aquarium

Glazer Children’s Museum

Lowery Park Zoo

We’ve also had a lot of fun around the house indoors and out…

New Pets

Craft Projects

Outdoor Fun

Summer Learning

Summer has officially begun in our home! No more part-time work for a couple of months for me and a more relaxed school schedule for the girls. Instead of completely spacing out my insatiably curious girls have summer lessons which deviate from our typical curriculum. For now Heart of Dakota sits on the shelf with next year’s books waiting in the wings for use.

So far we’ve been learning Latin, Sign Language, art, multiplication (Please can I learn multiplication, Mommy? Please, please, please?) and literature. When they are bored I hear, “Can we do some lessons?” When we’re outside it’s mostly, “Ooooh! Look at this cool bug! Let’s go look it up in the encyclopedia!” When I give them each 6 strawberries for snack I hear, “That means 3 x 6 is 18!” from the seven-year-old quickly contradicted by the five-year-old with, “No, no, it’s 6 + 6 + 6 is 18!”

No, I don’t have abnormal children. Children are very smart and curious by nature. All we have done is encourage their natural curiosity. I will admit to you that sometimes the continuous, “Mommy, why does…” can get to be a little much, but then I see children younger than 10 shopping with their mothers with a hand-held game or ear-buds hooked to an mp3 player and I think, It’s worth it. My kids love their time with the computer, kindle, tv, wii, and anything else electronic, but they are limited in the time they have with those things. As a result their whys and what fors dominate our conversation. Conversation…my girls converse with us and we with them.

No, I’m not trying to push them harder than I should. My girls beg, literally beg, to do school when we have too much time off. I love to learn and my husband likes doing math problems for fun. While that probably makes us a family of nerds, they come by it naturally. I’m not forcing them to go faster than they are able, but I am allowing them to move forward at their own pace. I’m okay if they are ahead of where they should be if they were in traditional school. What a blessing I don’t have to hold them back! What a blessing they can work on something longer if they need to!

No, it’s not just because we homeschool. I think homeschooling helps because our home is now a learning environment. I think the biggest difference is my mindset. I’m always looking for ways to engage the girls in learning even if it isn’t “school time”.

No, I’m not super-organized Mom-of-the-year. I have been making some intentional changes about how I manage our household since the summer began. This is has definitely changed some things for the better in our home, but I wouldn’t dare claim that I have it all together. I’m working towards that, but I’m not there yet.

No, it’s not because we’re weird. Okay…maybe we are a little weird. Here are some definitions of weird from Merriam-Webster…

1. of, relating to, or caused by the supernatural
2. of extraordinary character

So yes, I guess we are weird. If you recognize the supernatural power of God then we fit the first definition and I certainly don’t mind my children being labeled as having extraordinary character! We live outside the societal norm. My kids are a blessing, not a burden. My husband is the leader of our home. I am his suitable helpmeet,  I submit to him…and I don’t secretly resent him or God for it. We make decisions based on our understanding of Scripture. We have a DVD player which filters out inappropriate content and we use it for ourselves more than the kids.

Here are some of the things we’ve been learning about…

We homeschool after all…what do you expect?

Summer Plans 2013

I’ve mentioned before that we school year-round. I strongly urge homeschoolers to consider this option if they aren’t already doing so. The benefits are endless and I have not yet seen a downside. I do have the blessing of kids who love to learn so school-work is not a chore. We complete our Heart of Dakota Curriculum during the traditional school-year calendar, but the learning doesn’t stop when the guides take their place in storage.

I’m not going to go into detail about everything, but here are a few benefits you may want to consider.

1. Less pressure
2. Consistent scheduliing
3. More freedom during the school-year
4. Opportunity to explore own interestes
5. Time to Cover missed sections of curriculum
6. Ability to work on difficult areas

I’m sure there are more, but because I have made sure we have weekly learning happening from the time the girls were very young, this is just part of their life and they expect it.

Our summer plans are much less structured. I do continue daily math and language arts since I want those skills to stay with them during the summer break. For our summer studies here is what the girls will be doing:

All About Spelling
Prima Latin – she’s so excited to learn Latin!
Multiplication with Math Mammoth
Starting 3rd grade Math from

We’ll be continuing with 1 lesson a week, but not always do this every week and also be continuing with 2-3 dictation passages a week. Rose is so excited to learn Latin and move on to multiplication! We may do some in her 3rd grade math book simply because she wants to start. We’re currently reading about Helen Keller for a product review and she’s thrilled with it.

All About Spelling
Time with Math Mamoth
Continuing with 1st grade math, speed drills

Beth loves math so that won’t be a problem with her. She also loves to read, but typically still defers to picture books. I’m hoping to engage her with higher level reading.

Heart of Dakota: Little Hands to Heaven
Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons

Grace is the only one of my girls continuing with our Heart of Dakota Curriculum. I’m planning to finish up this curriculum with her over the summer, but also go through it again starting in the fall. I also will be starting to teach her to read. She’s so eager to begin!

I’m so blessed that my girls want to keep learning. They crave knowledge and I want to give it to them! There will be wonderful and natural opportunities to learn just like the other day when we found this leaf bug in our backyard and there will be many field trips. Of course there will be lots of swimming, bike riding, and general outdoor living. We’ll also be reviewing a lot of other great products over the summer so keep a lookout!