Friday, January 17, 2020

Homeschool Highlights - New Schedule!

This post contains affiliate links - using affiliate links from Homeschool Coffee Break helps fuel this blog - thank you!

Welcome to Homeschool Highlights! 
This bi-weekly link-up is your opportunity to share some highlights of what is happening in your homeschool and in your world. If you write a wrap-up post at the end of each week, like I've been doing, we'd love to see what you're busy with from week to week. If you'd like to pick a favorite post from your week that spotlights a resource or activity in your homeschool that you'd like to tell others about, we're interested in those too. I'm keeping the guidelines as simple as I can, and they will appear at the bottom of each post, along with the link tool. I look forward to getting to know you, and I hope this will be a source of encouragement and good ideas for all of us.

If you would be interested in taking over this link-up, please let me know! I've loved hosting you, but because my youngest has graduated and my schedule is changing, I would love to pass the baton to someone else.

I'll be publishing an anchor post every other week, and the link-up will be open for two weeks. You may link more than one post!

Grab a cup of coffee and let's get started!



Not a cup of coffee, but a bag of Highlander Grogg coffee I received for Christmas!


This week's news  . . . Last weekend started right - and not right - at the same time. I wasn't feeling good by the time I left work on Friday so I picked up pizza to save myself from having to make dinner when I got home. So hooray for pizza! But the headache and all wasn't so good. Fortunately, I never actually got sick, just felt rather blah over the weekend. We didn't do anything notable over the weekend either - a bit of cleaning and puttering around the house on Saturday, and church and hockey on Sunday.

Nothing really out of the ordinary during the week either! We worked, we had choir rehearsal and worship team rehearsal, midweek church activities, and all the usual things. My work schedule will be changing a little bit starting next week, which I'm looking forward to. Well . .  . next week I'll be on vacation, so it won't be a "normal" week, but it will be the start of my working Mondays and Tuesdays instead of Mondays and Fridays as I have been. The weather was quite warm early in the week, which was nice, even though the resulting fog made driving a little bit of a challenge. I love fog though. Except maybe when driving.



I had to adjust my lesson plans for the co-op classes a bit, since I'll be away next week. But even with covering a little bit extra material this week, I was able to let my students in both classes go a few minutes early. I left a lesson plan with a substitute teacher for the writing class, and the Literature class will have next week off. Hopefully they will spend the extra time reading the book we're working on!

What I'm Highlighting . . . a reminder of the new link-up happening here at Homeschool Coffee Break! I started this one last week and I think it will be simple and fun. Every other week I'll share a list-style writing prompt and invite you to link up your list, and wherever the prompt takes you. Join in - Twenty-Six Lists - Goals for 2020 is still open.



I've also decided to lighten my load a little by switching Homeschool Highlights to a bi-weekly link-up. I'll post a new Highlights summary every other Friday, but the link-up will be open for two weeks and you're welcome to link up more than once!


On my blogs last week . . .

Here on Homeschool Coffee Break:

Auxiliary Kids


And on my book blog, Just A Second:

Recent Reads - Peter Pan
What I'm Reading/Connect Five - January 13, 2020
Recent Reads - She Laughs
Scripture and a Snapshot - Be Strong In The Lord

Just A Second is where I share book reviews and other book-related things, and update on what's on my bookshelf. This week I finished and reviewed She Laughs by Carolanne Miljavac, and I've been reading:

Until the Mountains Fall by Connilyn Cossette
The Friendly Persuasion by Jessamyn West
The Blizzard Bride by Susanne Dietze
Warriors Don't Cry by Melba Pattillo Beals


A parting shot . . . trying on shiny raincoats because she's "always wanted to be astronaut".



Grab the button and link up with Homeschool Highlights!
Homeschool Coffee Break

Homeschool Highlights guidelines:
  • Your blog should be family-friendly content, and your post should include something about homeschooling. If I don't see homeschooling in it, I might have to delete the link, and I feel bad when I need to do that. 
  • Please link directly to your post, not your blog's homepage.
  • Please include a link in your post to Homeschool Coffee Break - you may use the graphic above if you wish. 
  • Visit a couple of the other bloggers and comment or share.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter


Don't miss a coffee break! Subscribe to Homeschool Coffee Break by Email!

©2006-2020 Homeschool Coffee Break. All rights reserved. All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author. http://kympossibleblog.blogspot.com/

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.




Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Auxiliary Kids

This post contains affiliate links - using affiliate links from Homeschool Coffee Break helps fuel this blog - thank you!


I've known for many years that a mother's heart is designed to expand for as many children as she has, and that it should naturally expand to include in-laws and grandchildren as they are added to the family. What I've discovered over the past several years is that my mom instinct can also accommodate a large number of my kids' friends.  A lot of these young people are part of what we've decided to call our Auxiliary Family. 

It's been a running joke around here for a number of years that once someone's name appears on the IOU list that I occasionally post on the fridge - no matter how small the debt or how short a time it's outstanding - that person is a member of the family. It may be something we laugh about, but it's pretty close to the truth. The IOU list was originally a way to remind us which of our teenagers had borrowed money for a t-shirt, or owed us gas money. Then we started taking our sons' buddies with us to hockey games and the like, and since it was easier to buy a block of tickets all at once I'd jot on the IOU list which friends needed to pay for their tickets. Eventually my boys graduated and started paying "rent" and the IOU list became a permanent fixture - and still every now and again other kids' names would briefly appear on the list when we'd buy group tickets to hockey games or concerts. And it's not because they've owed me money that I think of those young people as belonging to the family. It's because we love them like family and have included them in a family activity.


Auxiliary Family and Friends 

A couple of years ago, I decided that the criteria for becoming an Auxiliary Child is at least one of the following: going with us on a family outing (usually a sporting event or concert); spending the night at our house; or having a standing invitation to dinner or something else with us on a pretty regular basis. Most of our Auxiliary Kids have done all three. (And have owed me money too!)

TSO concert 2019

twenty one pilots concert 2018

twenty one pilots concert 2019

hockey game 2019
**

More recently, with young adults in our house, it has become perfectly normal for their friends to show up for dinner or to spend an evening here. They are pretty good about letting me know that Auxiliary Kids will be joining us for dinner, but I still try to have some kind of backup plan if the number of people I expect at dinner goes from three to nine without warning. One of my boys' friends pretty much lives with us on the weekends, and we're all okay with that. Several of these young people call me Mum or Momma Thorpe, and I'm definitely okay with that. A couple of them are more likely to say, "Bye, Mom! Love you!" on the way out the door than my own kids are! And although I'm not a hugger, in general, I'm perfectly comfortable hugging the Auxiliary Kids, and often ask my kids if a particular friend is okay, just because I thought they looked like they "needed a hug". When they win achievements, I'm proud of them as if I had something to do with it. I've been delighted to receive "Happy Mother's Day" wishes from quite a few of the Auxiliary Kids!

Auxiliary Kids have been included when we go out for Mother's Day and Father's Day, and for the birthday dinners for me and for my husband! Auxiliary Kids join us for family dinners on holidays too. We had Auxiliary Kids here for Canadian (and American) Thanksgiving dinners and for Christmas dinner just recently. Honestly, the Auxiliary Kids occasionally put my kids to shame by their willingness to set the table, clear up after meals, and do dishes. Sometimes they've even helped out with other chores around the house too! (Boy, I hope my kids offer to help out when they are the guests!) It's fantastic to see evidence that they've been raised right, that they are responsible, and most of all that they feel "at home" enough to pitch in.

Dad's birthday dinner

My birthday dinner





Mother's Day dinner

A few of "my" kids have gone away to college or have joined the military, and I miss them, pray for them, and sometimes worry a little. I stay in touch when I can, even if it's just the occasional Messenger or Instagram comment interaction. I'm honored when they respond or reach out to me.  I always hope they will stop by or we'll run into each other when they are home on break, but I don't expect it since I know their time at home is usually very short and their own families are priority. When I do see them on their visits home - especially if they've made a point of coming to talk to me - it completely makes my day!

We took another bold step in parenting Auxiliary Kids recently when we agreed to have our son's girlfriend (and our daughter's best friend) move in with us. There were a lot of reasons it made sense, but the bottom line was that it was actually an easy decision. She is part of our family and we love her dearly. We added her to our phone bundle, started moving furniture, and have been making the changes needed to our home and schedules so that she has her own room and space and hopefully feels completely at home.

Why? I decided a long time ago to do my best to establish a comfortable relationship with my kids' friends as individuals. Yeah, of course I wanted to know who my kids were spending time with and about those other families because my kids were spending time there too. But also I began to realize that someday those kids were going to be adults and the ones in my church were hopefully still going to be in my church. They will be my peers in church and in the world, my co-workers in the marketplace, and probably be in authority or leadership over me at some point. After all, I'm old enough now that my pastors, leaders, supervisors, and co-workers are likely to be younger than me!

Teens and young adults need adults who care about them, and many truly need an adult who isn't obligated to care for them. Someone who isn't related, and isn't paid to check up on them. And sadly, many young people don't have parents or family members that care, or that do a good job of caring. There are times when even kids that do have a good relationship with their mom need a "mom" other than their own.




I remembered the profound impact of the adults that treated me like a social equal and genuinely cared about me when I was a teen, and I hoped in some small way to pass that blessing to others. So I tried to say "yes" to my kids requests to spend time with friends whenever I could, and especially when it involved having friends at our house or along with us on outings. I tried to get to know their friends and keep track of what was going on in their lives. Occasionally I'd ask about school or sports or music or hobbies or whatever they were into. I try to remember to follow up on things like final exams, the big game or concert, or vacation plans. Often I can do that through my own kid or by asking the auxiliary kid's mom, but I do try to check. If they were at our place for meals, I tried to pay attention to foods they liked or how they took their coffee. I enjoy talking with them about their interests, their plans for the future, and just life in general.

paint day with an auxiliary daughter

Trunk or Treat shopping with an auxiliary daughter

My house is sometimes overfull, and usually feels just a bit chaotic and messy, but it's not like I'm a fussy housekeeper anyway. I'm okay with extra noise, a bit of chaos, and additional people at the dinner table because it's worth some minor inconvenience to be more like the home I want to be. The one where everyone is loved and included, where everyone is valued and feels safe. Where we show the love of Jesus to the best of our ability.

Visit the blog "Love+Marriage and a Baby Carriage" to read an excellent and inspiring description of this kind of home: I Want To Be That House

 Don't miss a coffee break! Subscribe to Homeschool Coffee Break by Email!

 ©2006-2020 Homeschool Coffee Break. All rights reserved. All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author. http://kympossibleblog.blogspot.com/ 

 We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.


Friday, January 10, 2020

Homeschool Highights - Snow and Cold

This post contains affiliate links - using affiliate links from Homeschool Coffee Break helps fuel this blog - thank you!

Welcome to Homeschool Highlights! 
This weekly link-up is your opportunity to share some highlights of what is happening in your homeschool and in your world each week. If you write a wrap-up post at the end of each week, like I've been doing, we'd love to see what you're busy with from week to week. If you'd like to pick a favorite post from your week that spotlights a resource or activity in your homeschool that you'd like to tell others about, we're interested in those too. I'm keeping the guidelines as simple as I can, and they will appear at the bottom of each post, along with the link tool. I look forward to getting to know you, and I hope this will be a source of encouragement and good ideas for all of us.

If you would be interested in taking over this link-up, please let me know! I've loved hosting you, but because my youngest has graduated and my schedule is changing, I would love to pass the baton to someone else.

Grab a cup of coffee and let's get started!


Yeah, that's my newest mug! I changed the mugs around so all the Tim Hortons ones are on the mug rack. And I do not have too many, in case my husband asks. 


This week's news  . . . On Saturday we made a start on clearing out our upstairs hallway, which had become a storage area for all kinds of random things. Honestly, rather embarrassing how cluttered it was! We're clearing it out and planning to paint.


We also took down the tree and put away Christmas on Saturday. My usual plan is that it has to stay up until Epiphany, but since we needed room to work as we cleared the hallway and moved some furniture, I gave in and took everything down a couple days early. 

Other than that, our weekend was quiet and we were back to our routines on Monday. The girls don't start classes until February, so they had extra free time this week. Kennady registered for her ensemble and one-on-one voice and guitar lessons at the college one day - and got her updated bill. The scholarship money had covered all the tuition to this point, and we are pretty sure that the amount she's still eligible to receive will cover the updated amount too. We are praying that we have calculated right, and that the funds are disbursed quickly! Meaghan has to get her transcript from her previous college before completing her registration, so we're praying that it comes quickly and she's able to get into the classes she needs.

On Tuesday afternoon we finally got some snow - the first for this winter! A couple inches of big fluffy flakes that stuck to everything. For the most part the roads weren't too bad, just a few slick spots, but unfortunately those few slick spots did cause some accidents. Landon and Meaghan stopped to help one lady who had slid into a ditch and had her vehicle tip onto its side! The lady was fine, and they had a story to tell. And hopefully, they were reminded to drive cautiously at all times, but especially in inclement weather!




Wednesday morning there were a few leftover snow squalls before it cleared to a bright, cold winter sky.


We were very glad the roads were clear Wednesday evening, because we'd gathered a group of Landon's friends to celebrate his birthday with us at the Hershey Bears hockey game. 

 


 

Check out this crazy crowd! So fun! I was the photographer, and the hubster was holding my stuff, so we're not in the picture. My only disappointment of the evening! (Okay, also disappointed that the Bears didn't win the game.)


Despite the roads being clear, we still had an adventure when we tried to take Will home. There was enough snow on the gravel lane leading up to his place that our non-four-wheel-drive vehicle couldn't get enough traction on the hill. We took a good run at it, but it didn't seem promising, and Kennady was freaking out (I'm guessing as a result of hearing the story about the lady tipping into the ditch the night before) so we didn't push our luck. Someone drove down in a more suitable vehicle to meet us.

I was back at co-op classes on Thursday, and we also got some planning done for our upcoming Open House days and even for next school year's classes. I stopped at a friend's for a visit on my way home and enjoyed a quiet evening at home, mostly alone. I needed to warm up after a very chilly day - the heat wasn't working right in the co-op building!


What I'm Highlighting . . . something new here at Homeschool Coffee Break! I started a new link-up this week that I'm hoping will be simple and fun. Every other week I'll share a list-style writing prompt and invite you to link up your list, and wherever the prompt takes you. Join in - Twenty-Six Lists - Goals for 2020



On my blogs last week . . .

And on my book blog, Just A Second:

Wordless Wednesday - First Snowfall 2020
Recent Reads - Penny For Your Secrets
Scripture and a Snapshot - The Most Important Commandment

Just A Second is where I share book reviews and other book-related things, and update on what's on my bookshelf. This week I finished and reviewed Penny For Your Secrets by Anna Lee Huber and Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie, and I've been reading:

She Laughs by Carolanne Miljavac
Until the Mountains Fall by Connilyn Cossette


A parting shot . . . When the kids bought Play-Doh for Vee, they also bought themselves some to play with. So most evenings, my young adults are playing with Play-Doh. I noticed the colors of this burger (?) were similar to the Homeschool Highlights logo!



Grab the button and link up with Homeschool Highlights!
Homeschool Coffee Break

Homeschool Highlights guidelines:
  • Your blog should be family-friendly content, and your post should include something about homeschooling. If I don't see homeschooling in it, I might have to delete the link, and I feel bad when I need to do that. 
  • Please link directly to your post, not your blog's homepage.
  • Please include a link in your post to Homeschool Coffee Break - you may use the graphic above if you wish. 
  • Visit a couple of the other bloggers and comment or share.
You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter
Don't miss a coffee break! Subscribe to Homeschool Coffee Break by Email!

©2006-2020 Homeschool Coffee Break. All rights reserved. All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author. http://kympossibleblog.blogspot.com/

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.





Thursday, January 9, 2020

Twenty-Six Lists - Goals for 2020 #twentysixlists

This post contains affiliate links - using affiliate links from Homeschool Coffee Break helps fuel this blog - thank you!

Welcome to Twenty Six Lists! I hope you'll join me in using some fun List prompts for writing. Every other week I'll share a writing prompt and invite you to link up your list, and wherever the prompt takes you. You may want to simply make a list of five or ten items that answer the prompt, or you may elaborate on the items in your list, or even write an entire article. Be creative, and have fun!

Since my last homeschool student graduated, I've been considering what I'd like to do with Homeschool Coffee Break. It has been primarily a homeschool blog, but now I'm not actively homeschooling. I'm still involved and invested in the homeschool world, and I enjoy writing, but obviously I am doing very little writing about the daily ins and outs of homeschooling at this point. A few years ago, I participated in a 52 Lists Blog-Style link-up and that's where this link-up idea comes from. Many of the prompts I chose can be geared to homeschool families, but they certainly don't need to be limited to that. The main idea is to have fun writing, learn a little about each other, and maybe start some conversations.

We just celebrated a brand new year, and most of us do some sort of goal setting around this time. Whether you have New Year's Resolutions, a Word for the Year, or just a bucket list of things you plan to do, share your dreams and plans!

List #1 - What are your goals for 2020?

A lot of my goals are the same kinds of goals I set for myself every year, and maybe aren't much different from popular New Year's Resolutions. I do have some that are more specific to me and what's going on in my world right now. In no particular order:

  1.  Work on cleaning up my house and getting rid of the unnecessary stuff we still have. This is an ongoing thing at our place, and has been for years. With the youngest finished high school, and with someone else moving into our house, there's a lot of rearranging to do, and part of that is simply decluttering the house of things we don't need any more. I'm not sure I can go completely minimalist, but we're determined to move in that direction.
  2. As we rearrange and make room, we've got some redecorating and updating to do as well. The upstairs hallway and bathroom needs to be painted. I want to paint my bedroom, and redecorate Kennady's room. I think we need new window treatments so that's something I'm also considering. 
  3. I haven't had much time for creative things the past couple years and I'd like to change that. So this year, I plan to make time to do some painting, learn some drawing (Creating A Masterpiece - see our review: Creating A Masterpiece ~ Drawing Lessons ~), and maybe even take up knitting again. I'm starting with something simple - I got some coloring books and colored pencils for Christmas!
  4. I'm betting there will be a paint party or two involved in this goal - Girls' Nights and Retired Homeschool Moms Nights! Being intentional about doing fun things together with my "daughters" - we've talked about movie nights at home and some fun outings we could do; and staying in contact with the other moms that are in a similar place in life. Those are my Retired Homeschool Moms friends, the RHMs! When so much of our social circle has been other homeschool moms, we are a little lost when we're not homeschooling any more, and a few of us determined that we were going to plan regular evenings to get together, usually just for wine and conversation at someone's home. 
  5. I am working on my meal planning skills, mostly out of necessity at this point! But I'd also like to come up with some international menus and have some fun cooking and baking foods from around the world. This is something the hubster and I have talked about doing together, which makes it even more fun!
  6. Work on my music skills. Yes, I do a lot of singing and I do play keyboard, but my piano skills are rather rusty. I'm still figuring out when I can do it, but I do want to see if I can get back to playing some Beethoven and Chopin somewhat competently. And I want to relearn guitar. I haven't played since I was a teen, but I've got Guitar 360 Method (See our review: Guitar 360 Method) so I can learn on my own, and a very talented guitarist daughter to help me out.
  7. We enjoy having company for dinner, but didn't do as much entertaining in the past year as we would have liked. So we're setting a goal of having someone over at least once a month.
  8. As always, I need to lose weight and improve my health. 'Nuff said.
  9. I'd like to find more time for reading and aim to read fifty books this year. (Visit me at my book blog Just A Second to see how I'm doing!)
  10. Go on some local adventures on the weekends! Hubby and I call this our Super Saturday/Sunday plan. We've got a list of day trips for the weekends we started working through a couple years ago, and as our schedule allows, we'd like to keep visiting some new places.
  11. One place we really want to visit, and haven't yet is the White House. So that's a very specific thing we're going to try to schedule for sometime in 2020.
  12. I'm determined to handwrite letters and notes this year, and to do a better job of getting birthday cards sent out on time. I usually send the cards out to family members, but I have a bad habit of getting them in the mail just a little late. I've already marked my calendar with reminders so maybe I'll do better this year. (With apologies to my brother, whose birthday was yesterday, and I know his card didn't arrive on time!)

Creating A Masterpiece ~ Drawing Lessons ~ A Homeschool Coffee Break Review at kympossibleblog.blogspot.com
Field of Daisies by Kym, October 2019
(my foray into drawing, using a
Creating A Masterpiece tutorial)

What are your goals? Link up or tell me in the comments!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter
Please use the hashtag #twentysixlists if you post on Instagram!




Bonus List - All Twenty Six Lists for the year so you can think ahead!

January 9 - Goals for 2020
January 23 - Random Acts of Kindness
February 6 - Favorite Vacation Destinations
February 20 - Skills and Talents
March 5 - Favorite Books
March 19 - Best Compliments
April 2 - Things that Make You Laugh
April 16 - Inspirational Quotes
April 30 - Favorite Field Trips
May 14 - How Do You De-stress or Recharge?
May 28 - National Parks
June 11 - Favorite Photos
June 25 - Good Influences
July 9 - Summer Activities
July 23 - Summer Food
August 6 - Family Traditions
August 20 - Best Apps or Websites
September 3 - The Jobs You've Had
September 17 - Simple Pleasures
October 1 - Fall Activities
October 15 - States and Provinces You've Visited
October 29 - Best Costumes
November 12 - Museums
November 26 - Thankful For . . .
December 10 - Winter Activities
December 24 - Christmas and Holiday Traditions

 Don't miss a coffee break! Subscribe to Homeschool Coffee Break by Email!

 ©2006-2020 Homeschool Coffee Break. All rights reserved. All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author. http://kympossibleblog.blogspot.com/ 

 We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.