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

Monday, November 13, 2017

A Day at the Deer Farm

We had only been in Taupo, New Zealand for 2 weeks.  But we needed some time to play with other homeschoolers and explore this beautiful town that we now called home.

I noticed a Facebook post on the Taupo Homeschoolers page about a DEER FARM!  I thought what the heck!  Little did I know, we would be in for a BIG treat!

*Side note*
I discovered this day that I need to give myself a good hour when driving anywhere!  We were completely lost looking for the Deer Farm.  Google Maps got us to the vicinity but couldn't get us to the exact mark!  #frustrating

I didn't feel so bad when I found 3 more minivan mommas driving around with the same look that I had on my face.  We all caravaned together and made it to the farm...15 minutes late.  Not too bad, right?

When we pulled into the farm, I couldn't believe my eyes!  Really!?!  Was that an airplane?  

Mr. Murray Mutuschka not only raised deer but he was a lover of airplanes, a self-taught artist, and a grandfather!  When we shook his hand during his welcome, he had that "grandfather twinkle" in his eye.  

Mr. Murray showed the group his art studio where he worked with bronze to sculpt deer and other large land animals.
He also painted a number of oil paintings...7 were hanging on the walls for his 7 grandchildren.  

We were later taken to this amazing cabin passed his farm home.  

He showed us his collection of deer antlers along with 2 ships that he had built out of "rubbish" (aka garbage)

After admiring this fantastic cabin, we headed out to see the deer, bison, miniature horses and even a zebra!  And my oldest learner found a lab pup named Maona...he was given the honor to walk her around on her leash!  What a treat for this animal lover.

We even got a chance to sit inside a few more planes!  My learners were in HEAVEN!

As if Mr. Murray hadn't done enough, we ended our field trip fun with a hayride pulled by a tractor!!  And these two guys didn't want to see us go!

Yep!  That was a sheep and Maona chancing us all the way back to the front gate.  Don't see that everyday in America!

Our first field trip, in Taupo, New Zealand, will go down in our homeschooling history books!  We are so excited to see what adventures await us and I am sure you are eager to see them too.   So be sure and stay tuned. 

Happy Learning with your Litte Ones. 

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