Listen to God's voice at the foot of the crucifix." ~St. Gaspar del Bufaro~

Saturday, May 24, 2014

10 Surprises to Celebrate 10 Years of Homeschooling!

~10 years is reason to celebrate!~
 It's been a decade since we started our homeschooling journey and my goodness,
how we've changed over these past 10 years! (In more ways than one:)
It was really fun to dig up a few old photos...Especially one that was taken the 1st year of our homeschooling journey, and compare it to a fairly recent one.

 Though none of our children have been strictly homeschooled K-12 thus far, we are still a family who has devoted the past 10 years to this secondary vocation in one way, shape, form or another.  It's a full-time dedication to something we feel called to do but we certainly don't fit into any particular mold or label. I can finally be ok with that. No, we are far from fitting into any kind of perfect box. In fact, being perfectly imperfect always gives us something to work on as we forge ahead. 
It seems cliché to say that I can hardly believe 1o years has gone by!  But it's simply true in so many ways.  Like anything else, there have been terrific days and tough days but we have come this far...Woo hoo!
(And I wouldn't change a thing, by the way!)

(Aquarium Field Trip 2007~ I'm 42 and 6 months prego here...Best pregnancy of all:)

How fast has it flown?  Well, it really is true...Time does fly by so incredibly fast...Homeschooling or not!  This is not to say that there haven't been some very slow moments.  There certainly have been many days when I thought I'd never make it through another minute of homeshooling, let alone 10 years.  This is all just to say that each day is precious and the tough ones make it all worth it.  My husband and I have always said "One year at a time, God willing..."
From this day forward, we march on with the same sentiments.
Now, let's get to the celebrating! 
(After a short walk down memory lane;)

(Our oldest went to public high school this year)

It's so important for home educating families to celebrate success...Seriously.  No one else is going to do it for us, that's for sure!  Especially when many of us don't even have family and friends to encourage us. 

That being said, if I could single out one thing I've learned in the past 10 years, it's that joy is contagious...and in the home, it begins with me.  I have to constantly remind myself of this when I get discouraged or get caught up in the daily tasks at hand and the work to be done. I set the tone.

I have found that it's absolutely necessary to bring joy into the picture and there are so many ways to do this...Prayer, Sacraments, thankfulness, and stopping to share the simple things...Even simple celebrations!
It's truly up to us to be surprised by joy...And it's waiting to be discovered every day, right along with our children, even amidst the math books and spelling words!
Wracking my brain for ways to celebrate a whole decade without being too expensive, I came up with a celebration with these 10 things!
10 surprises for each of our last
10 days of school to celebrate our
10 years of homeschooling!
(I made a list and didn't tell the kids what the surprise was until the morning of each day;)

We counted down our last 10 days of school with 10 surprises...

1.  Breakfast and Board Games!
What better way to hone math and reading skills!
We love this game (Catholic version of Monopoly...There are interesting tidbits on each card that we read aloud.  Our 6th grade "banker" practiced the lost art of counting change!  It was a fun way to start the day:)
 "The parents exist to teach the child, but they must also learn what the child has to teach them; and the child has a very great deal to teach them."~Arnold Bennett~

2. Library and Slurpees!
3. Morning Break at The Yogurt Station!
4.  Recess At An (air conditioned) Indoor Play Place!
(It was a HOT 100 degrees outside that day)
5.  Breakfast Picnic In The Park!
6. Bookstore Visit!
7. Strawberry & Blueberry Picking!
8.  Everyone got to go to the airport to pick up college brother! (Surprise at 6 AM:)
With spontaneous trip to the ocean for an hour!
9.  Lunchtime movie!
10. Breakfast with the Principal!
*10 surprises for 10 years was a fun success*
Happy Summer from our house to yours!

~May Crowning 2014~
Perfect "last day of school!"

More: 10 Least Expected Lessons to Celebrate 10 Years

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Homeschool is Momschool~ 10 Least Expected Lessons to Celebrate 10 Years!

This year we are celebrating 10 years of homeschooling...And we have literally been celebrating! (More on that coming soon).  Needless to say, I've been doing a lot of reflecting on the last decade spent doing something I never dreamed I'd be doing...

These are the 10 least expected lessons from the place I found myself least likely to be...And celebrating 10 years doing it! 
(P.S.) I think these might be applicable to being a Mom in general;)

1.  Homeschool is Momschool.  Without a doubt, I'm the one who has learned the most around here...About myself, my faith and spiritual life, even in history and science! I'm still a math-fail.

2.  Homeschooling is misunderstood by many people, including myself.  It's not what I thought it would be and a beautiful discovery continues to unfold.

3.  Educating at home does not make me a saint but it sure makes me talk to them a lot. Ok, I'll admit, begging them for help a lot...I've gotten to know a whole lot of dead guys and gals!

4.  Each year of homeschooling changes just like the students and the teacher.  It looks different from year to year and my flexibility muscles are stronger for it, both in mind and soul. 

5.  My homeschool will never look like anyone else's because it never was mine, it's His. 
"Comparison is the thief of Joy".~Theodore Roosevelt

6.  God does not call the qualified, He qualifies the called.

7.  Things hardly ever go my way and I think that's the point.

8.  Obstacles always lead to opportunity.

9.  There are no guarantees from the things I do...Surrender can mean success. 

10. We are most likely to learn in the most unlikely places.

More coming soon on our 10 year celebration!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Miracle Morning Feast for Our Lady of Fatima

+Happy Feast of Our Lady of Fatima+
May 13th
How  about a Miracle (of the Sun) Morning Breakfast and Rosary prayers to celebrate a beautiful feast day?
  This colorful fruit and egg plate is supposed to look like the vibrant, miraculous, solar phenomena...Or at least that was the idea in mind:)

 Even though the Miracle of the Sun didn't occur until October 13th, 6 apparitions later, we can still commemorate this amazing gift...OR you can always save it for October, of course;-)
I posted more about this over at Catholic Cuisine...Be sure to pop over there for a visit:)  I continue to feel honored to be a contributor there!
 Read more about Our Lady of Fatima on EWTN and American Catholic.

Another post from a previous year:
Miracle of the Sun Edible Feast 2010 

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Lent and Easter Photo Journal~(2nd Half) +2014+

 Palm Sunday...Holy Week begins here!
Found these cute (and free) little guys on Pinterest and printed them on cardstock. (The site is in Spanish but it's not difficult to figure out;) They were a good "hands on" for the little one, helping her move Jesus on His journey through Jerusalem to Calvary.
Here is a link to my Holy Week Pinterest Board
Palms make a beautiful centerpiece:)
 Older kids were blessed to serve Palm Sunday Mass with our new Deacon, soon-to-be Priest
Rod and I made it to the Chrism Mass this year at the Cathedral...Put on our Lenten purple for the occasion:)
All of the Holy Oils were blessed and the priests of our diocese renewed their vows...Soul stirring!

 One of my favorite Holy Week projects this year was this...Super easy and printable crucifix to watercolor. I framed them and still have them up! Be sure to visit Do Small Things With Love:)

  Our church got a new altar, just in time for Easter!  It's hand carved and gorgeous!
 One of our favorite Lenten traditions is pretzel making to remind us of the importance of prayer during Lent.  The pretzel forms arms crossed in prayer.  We usually save it for Holy Week.  Read more about this ancient tradition here!

Look who else is ready for Easter...Our very own Easter "Benny"!
Holy Thursday...
Loved this Triduum printable!
(I printed on cardstock so it would stand up)
Also used it for or CCD class...Perfect.

This year we tried our hand at making unleavened bread for a Holy Thursday lunch.  Thanks to Lacy at Catholic Icing, it was a breeze!  The kids really enjoyed making it.


I'm cherishing the moments that my children still like to color...It's not very often that anyone but the 6 yo still likes to do it.  Yikes, the "younger" children are now getting "older!"  Three of them seemed to enjoy coloring The Last Supper this year.  I framed these too for keepsake purposes, knowing these days are fading fast!

Good Friday
(This cardstock printable is from the same site I first linked to for Palm Sunday at the beginning of this post)
We do our best to participate in our local Walk for Life on Good Friday each year...It always seems to set the right tone for the day...

AHG Girls represented at the Walk for Life!
Kids served Mass again on Good Friday...It was an honor that our family was able to serve so many times during Holy Week:)  The older boy is one of our dear family friends.

Our oldest son at home (far left) served Easter Vigil with his friends...They are here with Father getting ready. (Not expecting my candid camera!)  I enjoyed watching these older boys serve with such reverence!  What a good example they are up there.

The Easter altar always looks so fresh and clean with the Paschal Candle waiting to illuminate the lives of the newly baptized!  It was a beautiful Mass ringing in the JOY of Easter Sunday...

Alleluia, He is Risen and we are Easter people!

Sacrifice beans became jelly beans and the colors of new life burst forth!  Easter celebrations were in order:)

I had fun with Easter food this year, thanks to fun ideas being shared on Pinterest.  This was my Easter Food Board.

+Wishing everyone who might pass this way a beautiful and blessed Easter season...It's not over yet!+

Thank goodness I've posted many photos to my blog over the years...With our recent computer problems, finding old photos has been a heart ache!  Photo journals on the blog are good for my soul:)

Hence, for my personal records, First Half of Lenten Photo Journal 2014 linked here:)

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