Friday, September 13, 2019 Last Chance Sale!

*affiliate links are used in this post*

Ok peeps, it's like this - if you still don't know what to do for your children for school this year, it's time to make a choice. You can get some help, or keep floundering. It's after Labor Day, so it's time to stop thinking about their education and time to do something.

May I make a recommendation? 

Try out for three months. It's only $29.95 when you use the code: LASTCHANCE through October 11th. Why SchoolhouseTeachers? Because there are over 400 course to choose from and you don't have to spend a lot of money to get a lot of good from it. 

I know, you could do it all yourself. Just get your library card and spend 40 hours a week planning and organizing and you're there. But you know what? If you use SchoolhouseTeachers as your home base, then those trips to the library can go back to being fun for everyone. You could even pick up a book to read for yourself. ;) You could learn about the history of American holidays or inspire your teens with the photography challenge course on SchoolhouseTeachers. I'm all about having fun while learning!

Why else might you decide to use SchoolhouseTeachers? Because if you're an eclectic type like I was, you'd like at least one or two easy to put on the high school transcript courses. I know your type. 

Do you know what the other end of the spectrum is? The ones who are so tied to using all of the curriculum that they purchased that they need a fun break. So reward those diligent kids with a chance to pick their own elective for next month. Maybe they want to take a brain break and go play sports - look into the fitness and health courses. Are they itching to get out the art supply box? Why not let them try the lessons from Art Achieve?

Still wondering if it is worth it to try out for three months? Go watch one of Dave Stott's Drive Thru History videos and you'll learn something interesting while laughing at the same time. These were some of Arlene's favorite courses as a high schooler.

Wherever you are in that journey - is bound to have something fun and educational for you to enjoy - go check it out!

Thursday, September 12, 2019

The End of Homeschooling ~ Part 4

Were you beginning to wonder if I would ever get back to the next post in this series? Me too! So after a too-long break - here is the next installment in my thoughts about the end of homeschooling.

What about mom?

Whenever there is a change in the education of your children, there is a change in mom's routine and how she manages her days. Be it the very first time your child colors a picture for school, or the very last day when you hand them their homeschool diploma, there will be changes ahead. (FYI- this is true of public schooling moms too!)

Often I have seen friends who started the transition to mom's new normal before their last one graduated. This works well for many moms who are down to the last one or two high schoolers who are pretty self-sufficient. Maybe mom takes on a part-time job outside the home, or she expands her at-home repertoire of book editing, teaching piano lessons, or what have you.

But, for many moms, they need to wait until the last child has graduated and is safely started on the next leg of their journey before they feel released to move to something new. It might be because you had a child with a learning challenge, or because you've been so busy doing things, planning lessons, and chauffeuring that you just need a few weeks to decompress.

For the last 11 years of our homeschooling adventure I was a 4-H leader. It was freeing, but weird, to go through this past year of not being a 4-H leader. I saw the club flourish under the leadership that stepped up (my previous assistant leader) and I got to be a blessing by volunteering during judging week at our county fair. Seeing the results of their kids' efforts without the stress of being a part of it. :)

This was just one small part of the ongoing changes that have happened in my life (our lives) since we finished homeschooling last December. My work outside the home shifted as well, and I am really happy at my current workplace. And no - I do not miss frozen resets at the grocery store - at all! LOL.

Moms, you are going to run the gamut of emotions when you come to the end of homeschooling. Some of my friends continue to teach co-op classes after their last ones graduate. Others head back to their pre-kid career fields and teach or go back into the business world. The end of homeschooling can feel both like a death and a freedom won on the same day. 

It is okay to not know what comes next! Take your time in finding your new normal. I've done quite a lot of purging of the house, but it still seems like I have just begun. There are still books to give away of sell, and a lot more organizing to be done. I'm learning what it's like to be home by myself once in a while (hooray for days off!) and it's actually pretty nice. :)

Our girls are both taking college classes, so some nights it's everyone on their laptops working one various assignments. Other nights it's let's watch a movie - just because we can.

To the dads and kids out there - mom should not be rushed to decide what comes next. Whether it's been a year, a decade, or more since you began homeschooling, when it ends there are adjustments to be made. Rushing through the changes might leave her temperamental and unsure. Let her go at her own pace. Go make your own dinner once in a while - she's probably SO OVER menu planning by now. Better yet, go make dinner for everyone tonight - event it's just grilled cheese sandwiches.

Hang in there mamas - your life is not over when you reach the end of homeschooling - it is the beginning of a new season. Enjoy the changing season, and be willing to try something new. Who knows - it might just be your new favorite thing!

Remember this- the same God who led you while homeschooling is still leading you today. You are loved!

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

What if?

What if
your life
was just a smudged up blackboard?

What if there was
no way
to begin 

But wait...

What if you remembered
that there are
second chances
that there is forgiveness?

Would you live differently
the second time around?


Would you make the same mistakes
all over again?

Our lives are built
one decision
at a time

Will you decide to
accept the forgiveness
that Jesus offers?

Will you decide to
begin again?


Are you comfortable
being stuck
with no hope?

Choose hope
choose life
choose Jesus.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Back to School Time

cattle barn, Indiana State Fair, newspaper writing, summer fun

As the world around us settles in for Back-to-School time, Arlene and I are still squeezing in as many summers as possible. She starts college next week, so we've got a few days left and we are filling them all with fun, sunshine, and friends.

You might be thinking, where have they been?

I warned you it was going to be a crazy month. I hope you've been following along on Instagram.

We spent a lot of time at a the Indiana State Fair. We've also been working (at Conner Prairie.) Arlene bought a car to drive back and forth for her college classes. Last week we spent time at Lake Michigan, climbing the sand dunes, watching butterflies, and enjoying the beach.

In case you're wondering what I write when I'm not here...
I'll include links to some of my newspaper feature articles from the state fair below.

Soon, very soon I'll get back in the writing for the blog groove.

Until then, enjoy these last few precious days of summer!

Carol :)

Anderson native plays key role at state fair

Family theme resonates for local participants in state fair beef show

Smith Family Farms gets state fair recognition

Thursday, August 1, 2019 Back-to-homeschool sale

*affiliate links are used in this post*

Do your children like sharks? Mine do. They also like goldfish, arapaima, and manta rays. Fish, seahorses, jelly fish and other sea creatures also fill their list whenever we visit an aquarium. It is a u-pick of favorite sea-worthy and river-dwelling animals. is a U-pick of favorites too. With one annual price covering the entire family, and over 400 courses to choose from, it can be a homeschooling family's best friend.

If one child wants to study knights and castles while the other one wants to learn about Ancient Egypt for history, SchoolhouseTeachers has you covered.

Does your daughter want to get right into creating art with lessons from Art Achieve, but your son wants to learn more of the history of art and study the Italian Renaissance? Both of those options can be found on SchoolhouseTeachers!

As the mom and dad are you looking for some encouragement or help with record keeping? Then check out the Just for Parents section. You can find Bible studies for parents, schedule building help, record keeping forms, encouragement and help for planning dinners, cleaning your home, or organizing your small farm. There is also a private members-only forum where parents can chat, ask questions, ask for help, and be reminded that they are not alone in their home education journey.

We used SchoolhouseTeachers for a lot of electives when our girls were homeschooling high school. We also used it for a few core classes. During the month of August, you can pay for one year and get the second year free. That's $169 for two years of fantastic resources for your family. Use the code SHARK when you visit and save!

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Indiana State Fair begins Friday!

In just two more days, Governor Eric Holcomb will kick off the 2019 Indiana State Fair. It will be 17 days of the best of the best of the state, with animals, plants, midway rides, fair food, tractor contests, bands, a daily parade and more adventures and exhibits than you can shake a stick at! LOL!

Once again I'll be spending extra time at the fair covering stories about local 4-H members and their families at the fair.  I've enjoyed going to the fair each and every year, but this chance to see the fair from a new perspective of two has given me a better appreciation for the vast diversity of adventures waiting to happen.

I'll be real honest here, you probably won't find much here on the blog during the next two or three weeks, but you can see some of the sights of The Great Indiana State Fair by following along on Instagram. Check out the state fair's webpage for details about discount days and the schedule of events. I hope to see many of you at the fair.