Friday, January 12, 2018

We've Become Homeschooling Minimalists!

When I saw this picture post, I just couldn't help but laugh!

30 days?  Ha!  We've been playing this "minimalist game" for a good...ummmm...84 days now!

We've been wearing the same clothes that we brought over in our 5 suitcases on October 21st when we moved to New Zealand.  As I started writing this post, it's January 11.

Here's my Mase-man guarding our luggage before we head to the airport!

But when I packed those 5 suitcases for our EPIC adventure, I was packing for my family NOT for my homeschool.

I was packing knowing that it would be 10 weeks until we saw our shipping container.  We would find a rental home and homeschool and live happily ever after!

Well...that hasn't exactly happened!  While we wait for our rental home to get "cleaned up" (long story), we are living in the basement of my husband's boss.

Not only are we playing the minimalist game of life, but we've become "Homeschooling Minimalists".  And it's been really refreshing, in all honesty!

So, if you feel like your homeschool is getting too fancy and full!  Minimalize!  Play this game!  And you don't have to move across the world, like we did, to do so...I promise.

Chances are that you are fresh off the Christmas break boat and everything is fun and fancy-free!

But in "Funky February" or March Madness...
Shelve what is stressing you and your kids out and try these 3 homeschooling minamalist tips:

Use the Library

No books?  No problem!  You can really free up your HS momma load by letting go of choosing what you kids should be reading and LET THEM CHOOSE!  

That's the joy of the library.  

Getting a library card in Taupo, New Zealand was one of our firsts!  And I can proudly say that we've used it just about every week.  Not only for books but for movie rentals, computer gaming and research!  We've even accessed our online math curriculum on the library computers.    

Wanna Homeschool like a Minimalist?  Getting rid of books (some moms are cringing now) that they don't read is a great way to start!  You can always check out those titles at the library and then send them back.

It's so freeing!!! Trust me:0)


You can journal can journal there!  You can journal ANYWHERE!

You don't need much for this minimalist opportunity.  A cool journal and some fun pencils.  
That-is-it!  And it's so easy to take anywhere! 

My kiddos toss them into my purse (well it's actually a backpack) and off we go.  If we are at a restaurant, they can journal.  If we visit a cool museum, they can journal.  If we go on a hike and they see a New Zealand Tui bird, they can journal!

Journaling is so versatile and kids of all ages can "just do it!"  Because we all know that if the 9-year-old is journaling, then the 4-year-old HAS to do the same!

Explore your City 

Tired of your Math Curriculum?  Head to the grocery store or go out for some mini golf!

Need a history lesson about the local natives?  Why not walk to the local museum or even an old cemetery! 
(Creepy? Cool?)

Maybe your learners have an interest in airplanes?  Take your library books and journals down to the runway or, in our case, the seaplane docks!

As homeschoolers, we have the privilege and convenience to make "every day a field trip day" for our children.  Thinking small and simplfiying can create some of the best memories and learning moments!

And if you want to be a homeschooling minimalist, explore your city and just learn along the way.

Don't forget to slow down and observe what and how your children are learning!  It's a pretty cool thing to notice.

So until our house is ready for us to safely live in, we will continue to live and homeschool like a minimalist. 

Honestly, I have a bit of anxiety about when that day comes.  All the "stuff" that's been in that shipping container for the last 84+ it going to clog up our lives?  Will it overwhelm our choices as we are deciding what to wear or play with?  Will I step back into a more "structured schooler" or remain a "minimalist schooler"?

Stay tuned...I'm sure that I will let you know!

Happy Learning:0) 

Saturday, December 30, 2017

That's a Wrap! Another Homeschooling Year in the books

I say it every year!  But really...where did this year go?  I feel like it was just yesterday that we were hanging out in Granbury, Texas, with my family, ringing in the new year.

I also can't believe that we are about to launch another year of homeschooling in a DIFFERENT country!  Everyone will be getting older and smarter!  It's going to be EPIC!

Taking the time to reflect back on all that you did and learned can be so encouraging.  I hope you allow some time to do the same...homeschooling or not. 

January 2017

We loaded up a great bunch of our homeschooling friends and explored Glen Rose, Texas.
Our first stop was Dinosaur World followed by an epic sleepover in Granbury, Texas.

We flew at IFly!

We learned all about Albert Einstein!

February 2017

We started our Wild Explorers Club...

did LOTS of hiking in the cooler weather!
And enjoyed another fun year with our Science Co-op

March 2017

Our Lego Club built the skyline of Austin Texas
We loaded up the same bunch of homeschooling friends and explored Pedernales-falls and The Science Mill in Johnson City.  We rented an AirBnB house for the night and had another EPIC sleepover!

We celebrated Dr. Seuss' birthday with hosting a Reader's Theater event at a local park.

April 2017 - Road School 

Our first stop, on this roadschooling trip, was The Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas

We enjoyed the beach!

And stopped at the USS Alabama on our return trip home.

May 2017

We launched our very, first Poetry Tea Time

Took a trip to the Ross Perot Museum

With a stop at The Doseum in San Antonio, Texas

June, July and August 2017

We started reading Charolett's Web while using Brave Writer's A Quiver of Arrows Guide - FREE download

Enjoyed MORE reading and added snacks

And I took 2 of my homeschooling besties on a trip to Colorado.  Moms ONLY!  And we made so many great memories!  Can't wait until we do it again. 

September 2017

I hosted the very, first VIRTUAL Brave Writer conference due to Julie Bogart breaking her ankle 3 days before.
But it was a great success!

The day after the conference, we drove up to Colorado for one last roadschooling trip in the US.
Our lives were about to change in a BIG way!

October 2017

We said "Good bye" to THE BEST homeschooling tribe anyone could have EVER asked for!

We flew across the Pacific Ocean on October 19, 2017 to begin a new chapter in our life!
We moved to Taupo, New Zealand!!!  

November 2017

We needed to do some fun learning while we lived in a hotel for the first month in Taupo.
So we gathered up our supplies and wrote in so many fun ways using the
 Brave Writer 7 Day Writing Blitz - FREE download

We explored our new town... 

And celebrated our first Thanksgiving in New Zealand while living in the basement of Jer's boss.

December 2017 - Road School

We found a random beach to play during our drive back from roadschooling.
We enjoyed a trip up the cable car in Wellington.

We enjoyed learning in the NZ capital of Wellington.

We enjoyed some "sea schooling" on a boat

To celebrate Christmas in NZ (keep in mind it's summer over here!), we drove to the top of Mt. Ruapehu to hike and slide...on this volcano!

And we ended this amazing year, celebrating the birth of our Savior!
I wanted to read the boys one Christmas read aloud book over the 12 days of Christmas. 
This was our final book.  
So sweet and simple, just like our Christmas.

We are looking forward to the upcoming year!  We are so blessed and fortunant to get this unbelievable opportunity to school and live in New Zealand.  I can't wait to see all the "edventures" we take in this beautiful country.  So stay tuned...2018 is going to be amazing!

Monday, December 4, 2017

Getting over my "homesick hump"

I'm gonna admit...moving across the world has had its ups and downs.

The first 2 weeks were FULL of honeymoon moments.

Like learning to drive successfully to the grocery store.  
*Kiwis drive on the opposite side of the road than Americans!*

Cooking and eating dinner in our private courtyard of our hotel room.  
*We lived here for 1 month and I wasn't about to complain about daily housekeeping and FREE laundry services.*

Exploring and finding some of the BEST parks we've ever played at.

But after about 2 weeks, the homesick blues sat it!

We were having ZERO luck finding a rental home.  Our shipping container was SLOWLY making its way over to New Zealand.  So we were still living with what we had brought over on the plane.  And I was digging deep to find joy in our every day lives.

But I eventually caved in...It had rained for 3 solid days.  The boys were antsy and I had my first case of the homesick blues.  The kind that makes your heart hurt.  The kind that makes you just wanna...curl up and cry!

So how did I get over it?

There seemed to be 3 things that helped.

Side note:  I didn't add, to this list, that spending time curled up in bed watching endless episodes of House Hunters and Fixer Upper (oh, Waco, Texas!) probably wasn't that helpful.  Or maybe it was...  it rested my body and mind.  But most importantly, it made me come to realize that I truly was a little down and depressed.  I needed to get over it for the sack of myself and my family.


Yep!  Simple and sweet.  Good ole NATURE!  It's good for the body, soul, and mind.  Even if I needed to go for a walk, in the rain, I went.  

Our hotel, for the month, was 3 blocks from the majestic views of Lake Taupo, Mt. Ruapehu and Mt. Ngauruhoe (aka Mt. Doom).  So, it was a quick walk that helped clear my mind.  And allowed me to pray and meditate...without those sweet, little interruptions.  


Yep!  I said it.  I used to HATE running until I had my 2nd born.  And then I entered my first 5K and discovered that I was pretty good.  And even better, it makes me feel REALLY good.

I learned too that posting your work-out successes on social media pushes you.  You end up with virtual coaches and cheerleaders.  So I have no shame in the "look what I did" posting game.


After hosting the Brave Writer Conference back in May, I made a commitment to journal as often as a homeschooling mom could.  Julie Bogart made sure that we had plenty of time to practice writing during this 2-day event.  And something that I took away was... if I wanted THEM to write, they needed to SEE me actively, enjoying writing too.  I used to journal a lot at night when I could gather my thoughts.  But with this new goal, I had to write while my boys were awake!  So you can usually find me writing during or after my morning coffee.  Just something quick... a thought, maybe a scripture or sweet memory of yesterday.

And what better time to journal than when you are on the adventure of a lifetime!  My hope is that this journal is something that my boys (and their wifes) will treasure some day.   


After writing and reflecting during the post, another point evolved to help me get over this "homesick hump".  

A big piece of my heart belongs to homeschooling!  You all know that.  So now that the "vacation" was over, after our big move, we needed some structure.  We all needed some small doses of homeschooling.

So we gathered up a few supplies and started these few bits:
*Khan Academy (15 minutes a day)
*Poetry Tea Time (once a week)
*weekly library visits
*downloaded FREE copies of the 7-Day Writing Blitz from Brave Writer
*grabbed a few spiral notebooks for Nature Journaling
*Read-a-louds at our favorite parks

Everything seems to be falling into place!


And that's just how it is.

Happy Learning with your loved ones!  
Cheers from over here

We've Become Homeschooling Minimalists!

When I saw this picture post, I just couldn't help but laugh! 30 days?  Ha!  We've been playing this "minimalist game"...