Monday, October 5, 2015

So You Think You Want To Homeschool perhaps this post title has a little dramatic flair!  Forgive me and read right past it for some practical help.  Many friends and acquaintances have contacted me over time with the same types of questions. To make it easier to reference, share, and pass along, I've created this post full of reasonable, matter-of-fact, solid advice that I hope will help someone along their way! 
So many of us homeschool. 
For many different reasons. 
In so many different ways.
That alone probably sums up most of the following information.  But since you're probably expecting more details, I'll start at the beginning....


Let's go ahead and get this detail out of the way.  Although it may seem intimidating, with a little planning and record keeping, it's actually the easiest part of the job for me. 
First Year:  It's as simple as submitting an initial application with the state, basically notifying them that you will be homeschooling your child/children.  This is done through the Department of Education and is as simple as providing your family's information and the birth certificates of your children.  This can all be done online HERE.  Then you wait for your notice of approval.  Easy-peasy!
Second Year:  It gets a little more detailed.  Once again, you submit an application, this time for renewal.  More information and documentation is required.  Please don't let that intimidate you-it's really an easy process.  If you are educating your children with acceptable resources and keeping record of their work (including the work itself), these requirements will be nothing more than providing requested information.  HERE you will find expected responsibilities (and freedoms) as your child's educator....right from the DOE itself.   
Disclaimer: We reside in the state of Louisiana and the information shared here is for fellow residents.  As homeschool laws and requirements vary from state to state, be sure to research your home state for the legalities.


You DO NOT have to have a college degree or be certified to teach your own children.  Common sense is that if you yourself struggle with learning, it's probably a good idea to look further into your decision to homeschool.  I'm not saying it can't be done if that's your situation, just that I'm not familiar with your options or resources available.  I am personally a student at heart and learning has always come easily and joyfully for me.  You will know if you're equipped to teach your child.  You will know if God is calling you into the ministry of leading your children in this huge area of their lives.  It was a journey for me to get to the starting point, as it has been for so many other homeschool Mom's.  So often it starts with a quiet whisper to your heart and a strong desire to learn more about this way of family life.  I love seeing the journey begin and come to fruition in others.  Then begins the journey of Homeschool itself.
With that being said, I will be the first to tell you....homeschool is NOT an easy road to travel.  It is so very worth it, a beautifully messy journey, and full of good and not so good days.  It is truly a gift, a ministry, and full of a lot of easy AND hard work.  It IS a full time job.  I wouldn't have it any other way!  I do however, always want inquiring minds to understand this.  I would never want one to believe that this is an easy way out or that anyone can do it.  I'm no better than the Public School Parent, the Veteran Homeschooler, or the Mom that wants to homeschool her children but can't.  I'm simply, imperfectly obedient to God's call on my life and so very thankful for His grace where I fall short.  


This is really the question of all questions.  You will easily discover that you can spend hour upon hour researching this subject and not even begin to discover what resources are out there.  Combine that with the fact that every child is different and you'll find an answer that I simply cannot provide for you.  What I can do is share some of the basics that I've learned along the way.  I've found that a good starting place in the curriculum hunt is to look first into different homeschool methods.  The beauty of homeschool is that you decide the approach, curriculum, and schedule that best fits your family and  meets the needs of your learners.  The list below is only a starting point, as there are really no set rules in how and what avenues you choose.


DVD/Online Classes


Charlotte Mason


Unit Studies

If anything, the above list eliminated many curriculum options from my personal search.  Still, that was a valuable step.  The choices of curriculum seem endless and there are so many good options out there. Many, if not most, families choose to piece their curriculum together.  We do use a set curriculum for the most part.  For those interested, we order our books and resources primarily HERE.  What I love about this site is I'm able to use it as a sound guideline while still incorporating more than one publisher. 


I guess I must address that dreaded catch phrase 'Socialization'.  I'll save us all some time here and refer you to the many online articles, blog posts, and resources regarding our children's growth outside of books and learning.  Is this important?  Of course.  Another value of homeschool is guiding the growth and development of the whole child, not just their education.  In our home, we are busier now than we ever were before homeschool.  I just don't believe it takes a formal school classroom environment to prepare my children for real life.  I do however think there are important things that need to be learned outside of the home.  And trust me when I tell you there are so many ways to fill in those 'gaps'.   Some of many options include....

Church Activities

Extracurricular Activities


Homeschool Groups

Homeschool Co-Ops (This is our first year in a co-op and it's absolutely amazing)

Family & Friend Get Togethers



We're presently in our 3rd year of homeschool.  It took us about a year to 'decompress' from the conventional school atmosphere.  If there's anything I've learned, it's that no year will be the same.  Each child, each season of life, and each grade level brings new joys and adventures.  I grow and learn right alongside these ways far beyond books and teaching.  Homeschool brings out the best and the 'not so best' in myself and my small people.  The gift is that each shortcoming or challenge we confront is recognizable, dealt with, and worked out.  As a parent and the teacher of my children, I can't think of a better pro-active approach.  I am grateful and so very blessed to have the opportunity to live this homeschool life with the people I love the most.
 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.  These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.  Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.  Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.  Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
Deuteronomy 6:5-9

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Truth about House Bill 288

There is currently a bill pending the Natural Resource Committee here in the Louisiana House of Representatives.  House Bill No. 288 seeks to make it illegal to transport live, feral hogs in the state of Louisiana.  You can find the proposed bill HERE.

There have been good discussions between Representatives and people like myself who strive to protect our rights as hog hunters.  These discussion include frequent mention of the growing 'feral hog population' in the state and the destruction they bring to farmlands and such.  It seems that lawmakers are seeking a solution to this problem.  Understandable. 

A recent online article authored by the Outreach Coordinator for the Louisiana Wildlife Federation was published in what seems to be an attempt to rally the people of our state in support of this bill.  In my opinion, it was missing a lot of really big details.  In an attempt to paint the whole picture, I commented on this article-only to see that my comment is 'awaiting moderation'.  I'm curious as to if the administrator will allow my statements to be published-I guess we shall see. 

So...let me paint the rest of the picture here.  Below you will find the reasons we should be AGAINST Louisiana HB 288 and ways you can make a difference.


1. There is already a law in place making it illegal to release feral hogs.  The law (RS 56:20) can be found in its full text HERE.  This bill is overkill.

2.  This bill would seriously hinder those of us who hunt feral hogs.  Less hog hunting means less hogs killed.  Less hogs killed mean a larger feral hog population.

3.  Making it illegal to transport feral hogs means hunters can no longer bring a hog to a pen in order to train hunting dogs.  Hunting hogs with dogs has proven very effective.  Untrained dogs means less hogs hunted and killed out of the population.

4.  This bill would shut down many benefits and fundraisers with hog hunts and bay competitions being the main event.

5.   The bill would have an adverse impact on many businesses whose livelihood and income revolve around hog hunting.

6. Stopping the transport of hogs or requiring a person to purchase a permit will not stop the spread of these animals.  There have been no studies from other states showing the effectiveness of such a measure, that I am aware of.

7. This bill has so much 'grey area' on classification, process, and enforcement. This leaves it wide open for manipulation, misunderstanding, and abuse. 

8.  Many people castrate boar hogs in order to feed until they can be slaughtered and consumable.  This bill would result in less safe, consumable, natural meat in many people's freezers.

9.  This is Louisiana.  100 degree summertime weather makes it unsuitable to kill a hog on-site and it remain good to eat before it makes it into the freezer.  Live transport solves that problem.

10.  This is NOT an effective 'hog population management tool'.  What is an effective measure is to encourage, not hinder, the hog hunter.  Taking blind steps because of a lack of other solutions is NOT the answer.

11.  BIG GOVERNMENT.  As laid out above, there is NO benefit towards reducing the population through such a law.  There is also a law already in place that makes the liberation of hogs into the wild illegal.  So why pass a law that's reasoning seems duplicate to an existing law?  Why more taxpayer money spent on an ineffective means to an end?

12.  Heritage and tradition are a big deal.  Such a law would stop and/or discourage many families from keeping their kids in the woods, harvesting their own meat, and helping curb the population problem.  That's a no-win for everybody involved and would eliminate one more good, wholesome activity for the family and children.

None of these points were made in the article mentioned above.  Perhaps now you can see the whole picture.  If you want to make a difference, here's how....

**PLEASE be respectful and educated on the issues above when contacting Representatives.  If not, you will only hurt our cause, not help it.**

1.  HERE you can find the contact information for the author of the bill if you feel you have more to offer to the conversation.  Be prepared by knowing he is open to ideas that will curb the population and not hinder the hunter.

2.  HERE you can find a list of the committee members of where HB288 currently sits.  By clicking on each member's name you will find individual contact information.

3.  HERE you can find an online petition to sign in opposition to this bill. 

It's clear that people are pushing measures to stop our heritage of hog hunting.  All the opinions in the world don't matter unless they're heard where they need to be heard. 


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Grace by Grace

I started my day giving thanks.
Thanks long overlooked.
Clinging to His grace for that needed lifeline.
I served.
And then.....
Odds that only an all powerful, all knowing, and all loving GOD can pull off.
Get YOUR specific, personal attention kind of circumstances.
Way too big and individual to be simple coincidence.
Sit on the front porch and cry tears that HE holds.
Hot tears that release memories of being loved by my creator.
A love so pure and real and so undeserved.
That kind of God moment.
That kind of reminder.
Oh Jesus how I love you, from that same front porch.
And a decision to be made.

Today I poured advice, guidance from my heart.  I've been her and I don't believe her.  To not need help because you ONLY have the Lord doesn't make sense.  He IS the help.  He IS the provision.  He IS the grace.  He IS the saving.  It didn't make sense.  So I shared the story a wise preacher man once shared with me....

There was a flood and a man sat on the rooftop of his house praying, pleading with the Lord to help him, to save him.  A lifeboat came by and offered this man a ride to dry land.  He declined, and continued to wait on the Lord he knew would save him.  Then a rescue chopper lowered a ladder, another way to dry land.  Again, this faithful man declined.  He decided to wait for his God, to hold out for God to save Him.  The man drowned as the flood waters rose.  He drowned not knowing that the chopper and the lifeboat had been sent from God.  The help he refused was the direct lifeline from the God he pleaded to. 

The answers to our prayers aren't always the things we expect.  They aren't always packaged how we expect them to be.  Sometimes we miss God while we wait for Him.  We don't see His hand because we're looking for His face.  Little did I know that council given today was God's pre-given advice to a question I myself would be asked later this day.

And the answer?  God is God.  Grace is a gift and it's given the way He chooses to give it.  I too was reminded today that sometimes it's easy to overlook an answer to prayer.  It's our nature to stay stuck on what we had in mind for our future.  Today, I choose GOD and I fully accept HIS ways.  His plans far exceed mine in what's best.  Again, I soak in a scripture I shared with another person, advice that I gave to yet another child of our King today.  I gratefully take it as my own and give thanks to the God that loves me beyond my wildest dreams.  The second bit of truth I shared today that was indeed also handed down for my own answer.....

Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us  Ephesians 3:20

Thank you Jesus for your all-powerful, breathtaking, tear bringing reminder that I belong to YOU.  Am loved by YOU.  Am protected and guided by YOU... moment by moment.  Grace by grace. 

So yes God, I will take your grace today.  In whatever fashion you give, with all satisfaction.  For I know that whether it be your hand or your face, your personal presence or your lifeline.....that it is far above anything I could ever ask or dream of.  OH I love YOU.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Tomatoe Grace

It's that time of year again.  The vegetables....not coming in like I want, but still the harvest is enough and there's hope for more.  But these girls....
They steal my heart.
Every time.
They make it skip a beat.
And make it explode with laughter.
They're the perfect part of our crazy.
Yep, these two sisters have a huge part of me.


Memories and tomatoes, all wrapped up in one.
Pretty good if you ask me!
Yummy and goofy too!

Always entertaining.
Always loved, so very loved.
By eachother,by me, by any and every one who knows them.

And randomly crazy, oh so random!

This food sieve....generations old.  The perfect birthday gift from my Grandma a few years back.  If I'm right, it was her Grandmother's before it was hers.  And now her Great Granddaughters share the kitchen with it once again.

And the boys, those crazy boys.  Yep, they're the other piece of the puzzle!  I never, ever would have guessed my heart could have this much room for this much love.  With each day, each year, each crazy kitchen moment, and every wild parenting continues to grow.  A limitless grace.  Thanks you Jesus for the four greatest kids ever.
They're pretty amazing.
Alaina:  Gracie thinks North America is all of it.
Gracie:  I love my sister.
Cass: Uhhhh....I don't know what to say....HELLO.
Aiden:  Ummm whatever.
True story, that's just kinda how we roll!
I'm now inspired to actually capture their randomness while theyr'e steal their perfect words when they least expect it.  That will be fun.
We can do ALL things through Christ who gives us strength.  And it is ONLY through Christ that I am anything, anyone, with any sort of plan and purpose.  May all I do this week be in love!  And may the little (and big) eyes and ears around me continue to be the grace, the blessing, the motivation, and inspiration that they are.  And they don't even know it!  I guess that's how amazing works.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Summer's In FULL SWING in our neck of the woods!
Join me this week over at HOMESCHOOL SURVIVAL for some summer survival tips!
Love in Christ,

Sunday, June 1, 2014

School Year 2013-2014

Homeschool Year #1 Complete!!!!
That's HUGE for us!
I look forward to printing these pictures for each kid to put in their school album!
Most importantly....GOD HAS BEEN FAITHFUL!
So thankful for these memories!

Here's a video to watch and enjoy!
Please forgive the mistake or two or three.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

A Reminder of Grace

Several weeks ago we had a pretty fierce storm. 
We know the drill.....
Watch the radar
Keep Tuned into local weather alerts
Pay attention and Listen
The lights flickered and suddenly it sounded like the house was being pounded inward from every direction by the rain.
That's when I gave the word and we rushed into the main bathroom of our house.  We live in a mobile home and I believe this is the safest room-if there is one.  It has no windows and seems to be in the best location if any of the big trees come down.  In the middle of this, we hurried into Cass' bedroom and drug his double size mattress into the bathroom floor, along with the weather radio.  It was here that we stayed and listened to the storm and the weather updates, on a now battery operated radio.
Let me explain that this isn't exactly a rare occurrence around here.  We live in a land of frequent severe thunderstorms, tornado watches, and the occasional tornado itself.  Most of the time, the worst that happens is we lose power for a day or more and/or spend the night in the bathroom floor.
I didn't go to sleep during this storm, and later in the night when it calmed down, I moved me and the kids back into our bedroom for the night.  I did peek out the front door and see a big limb off of a tree.  But I had no idea until morning what had happened outside.
To give you an idea, this shed is located behind the house.  There is usually only grass on the ground.  You can see a line of trees down behind Gracie, extending past both sides of the picture.

Here is a closer picture of what was happening outside of the house.  Where the skirting is 'ruffled' is  where we went to get the mattress and only steps away from the bathroom we ended up in.

Use your imagination here.  This specific line of damage started past the edge of the first picture of the post.  It began far from the house and did a whole lot of damage before making its way here.  It went through the trees as I've tried to show in the pictures above.  It messed with the skirting on the edge of the house....and then it literally STOPPED.  Right there, right before the area where the kids and I were sheltered.  Just.  In.  Time.
Let that soak in.
The next morning, the kids yelled that there were trees down in the back, big trees.  I stepped outside and my heart literally stopped and sank into my belly.  We ventured outside and with every step, I saw something that I'll never forget. 
I saw the exact measure of grace we were given that night.  The weeks since have held discoveries of many more places effected by that night's storms.  And a whole lot of cleanup with eventual results.  
Since that morning I've been unable to help it.....I keep comparing this storm to God's protection in our lives.  We go through times in life knowing things are rough and knowing God is with us.  But it's not always then that we realize just how much grace we've been given.  It's often not until the storm has passed that we are able to see.  To look and feel of the damage, to sense the hurt from which we've been spared.  Often Grace is best measured in hind-sight.  Looking back and being able to see just how much our Savior has protected us from.  I believe that feeling will be endlessly multiplied in the time we will walk and talk with Jesus.  Until then, I'll remember to trust HIM in the storms.  My hope is that you will too.
Life carries on in the days since.  Springtime filled with all things spring.  Baseball.  Soccer.  Softball.  End of school work.  Little friendships growing.  Family together.  Gardens planted.  Yards mowed.  Flowers planted.  Hearts healing.  And most of all.....lives lived.  The tragedies coming from storms in other states remind us that the same God that gives....He also takes away.  Still HE is mighty and He knows what He's protecting each of us from....even those whose lives were lost to a storm's fury.  Pray for those families.  Thank God that He isn't done with you yet.  Be inspired by the stories of faith pouring in from survivors. 

Today I give things to HIM in all we have.  For my husband, my best friend.  For our four beautiful and healthy children.  For little friendships and lives growing.  For lessons learned and storms survived.  For protections unknown and Grace we often don't see.
The Lord is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works.  Psalm 145:17