Music Appreciation in our Homeschool

Check out my Pericope about Music in our homeschool:


GYPO Style Challenge

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When I was first introduced to the Get Your Pretty On Style Challenge I was intrigued.

Let’s just say I’m fashion challenged, and that’s putting it nicely.  I tend to shop clearance racks looking for good deals, and buy only neutral (read denim) bottoms so I can wear any top with them.  This results in me never really feeling like I look “put together” and struggling regularly with what to wear on days I’m leaving the house.

I purchased an “old” challenge to start because I was unsure about how this would work for me.  It was less expensive and after talking with a few friends who were using the challenges I felt it was at least worth a try!

I am so glad that I took this risk!  Though it started out a little stressful because I only had 1 item in my closet that I could use for the challenge I purchased,  I started slowly and added some inexpensive pieces to my wardrobe.  I found several things at Target and used a 40% off all Merona items Cartwheel coupon to make it affordable.  I picked up a couple of things at Old Navy, as well.

Most importantly, I have been so pleased with the results.  I now have some put together outfits that I can confidently put on without spending too much time agonizing over what to wear.  I can purge things from my closet that don’t really fit right or that I don’t love because I finally have some clothes that I do love!

GYPO Summer Style Challenge

I’m so glad that I splurged on the GYPO Style Challenge and I think you will be, too!  The Summer 2016 Challenge is open now!  Go, check it out!


If you are like me and want a smaller upfront investment, I can highly recommend the Summer 2015 Style Challenge, which is $20 less than the current one.  Go to the GYPO site and click on “Other Challenges” to learn more.

Classical Conversations Challenge 1

Noah completed the CC Challenge 1 program this year.

He read 19 literature books, writing persuasive essays on 9 of those.

He learned about the American government by reading, studying, memorizing and discussing original documents.

He learned about economics by reading several books and personal finance by participating in a budgeting challenge put on by H&R Block.

He read and discussed Shakespeare’s “Taming of the Shrew.”

He studied music theory and continued playing guitar.

He continued his studies of Latin.

He studied geometry.

He studied Physical Science and wrote an 8 page persuasive science research paper on the uses and benefits of plasma.

He learned about and practiced formal debate with his class.

He completed all of these school activities while spending free time learning computer coding and building his own computer.

We are so very proud of this boy and all of his hard work.  We know the Lord has great plans for him!

Jonah – 11 months old

Poor baby has been fighting allergies or a cold so his little cheeks and nose are red, but he’s still so cute!



And of course, little Mr. Walk Everywhere doesn’t stay sitting for long!



This little fella is fearless!  Besides walking and running everywhere he goes, he climbs on top of boxes, in to cabinets and between furniture where he shouldn’t be.  He loves to eat – scrambled eggs with onions, peppers and tomatoes are a breakfast favorite and if you make them without the onions, he probably won’t eat them!  He eats ham, pork chops, chicken, hamburgers!  He loves black beans, sweet peas, black eyed peas, apples and peaches.  He devours tomatoes. The only thing I’ve tried to give him that he doesn’t want is a banana!

I just can’t put into words how much love I have for this little booger!  Even though he doesn’t let me sleep for more than 3 hours at a time he is so fun and adorable and I’m so glad God gave me this gift!

Why Brave Writer is PERFECT for Adopted Children!

Over the last year I’ve been introduced to Julie Bogart of Brave Writer.  To say that Julie has influenced our homeschool would be an understatement!  Listening to the perspective of a veteran homeschool mom of 5 has affected me deeply.  While she has successfully finished homeschooling her kids she continues to share her wisdom with homeschool moms who are in the trenches through encouragement, laughter and tears!

In her professional life she has always been a writer.  She has taken this unique position of writer and homeschool mom and created a guide, The Writer’s Jungle, to help parents learn how to teach their children the often dreaded subject of “writing”.  Her ideas are unlike any other writing curriculum that I have ever looked at and I’ve looked at quite a few.

What makes Brave Writer different?

Well, Julie says you must focus on your relationship to your student and the student’s “writer’s voice.”  Relationship comes first because your student needs to feel safe sharing their thoughts or writer’s voice with you.  Writing is about expressing your original thoughts – this might be done on paper with a pencil, or it might be done with using words. By developing a strong, trusting and fun relationship your child will have more confidence to share with you.

Julie reminds us that homeschooling is not “school at home.”  We can and should focus on relationship to build confidence.  She encourages practices like Poetry Tea Time, nature walks, read alouds, and party school to help students thrive in their home environment. Children will always learn better when they are not stressed or tired and find the learning enjoyable!  Should homeschool look like public or private school?  No!  It should be a reflection of you and your family, happily learning at home.

St. Patrick's Day Poetry Tea Time

Also, Julie reminds parents over and over that you have until a child is 18 years old to help them develop their writing abilities.  You do not have to master a paragraph by 3rd grade or a 5 paragraph paper by 5th, etc.  You meet your child where they are (back to relationship) and walk with them through the natural progression of writing stages until they no longer need you to.

This means when your six year old wants to write a story he or she will need you to be the scribe. Six year olds can not spell and write fast enough to get all their lovely, creative thoughts down on paper. To prevent the child from getting frustrated with the physical act of trying to write all those lovely thoughts you become their scribe, writing it down exactly as they say it. Of course, you still need to work on their handwriting and spelling but that should not be done in the creative process of writing.  (Julie encourages copywork and dictation, much like the teaching of Charlotte Mason.) When your 8 year old writes a story and brings it to you, you read it and praise his efforts, creativity, etc.  – you do not correct his spelling and grammar because that can and should be taught separately from writing. When your middle school student becomes exasperated with their writing process you ask them how you can help. Perhaps you could take over the physical act of writing for them? Give them space to think. Make brownies or suggestions, if they ask for them! Rub their shoulders and encourage them! When your high school student needs editing help, you help them by SUGGESTING edits because all professional writers have editors! And you don’t take it personally if they choose not to take your editing advice.

These things are just a small taste of what Julie teaches and how she encourages parents.

Julie’s encouragement and motivation is applicable to all parents whether you are homeschooling or not.  But it is particularly helpful to parents of adopted children for a few reasons.

First of all, relationship is key.  Most adopted children do not have the same security in their relationships that biological children have.  The loss of their biological family and grief from it will always be present therefore building a strong relationship is very important.  BraveWriter encourages relationship first!

Secondly, Bravewriter encourages parents to meet kids where they are and work from there. This is so important for adopted kids who may have some learning challenges or delays or may just need time to catch up to their peers. It’s ok! Celebrate progress without comparing them to other kids! The stress of feeling “behind” is never going to help them so just keep learning and having fun together.

Thirdly, Bravewriter encourages parents to help their children find their own writing voice. All kids are going to have a unique perspective and that is even more true for our adopted children. Let them write from their heart. Let them find their style and personality.  Encourage it and be proud of it!

If you are a homeschooling parent and especially if you have an adopted child, you owe it to yourself and your children to check out Brave Writer!