How Do You Homeschool?

When Anika started homeschooling, we were living at Red Rock Bible Camp. To get her to the closest school, we would have to drive 20 minutes to the nearest town so she could catch a school bus for a 40 minute ride to the next town.

Homeschooling just made sense. By the time we left camp, we’d been homeschooling for four years, and it had become a normal way of life for us. We loved the freedom and flexibility, the creative approach to learning, and most of all, the time with our kids. It’s the relationship aspect that makes me want to keep doing this as long as I possibly can.

When we moved to Niverville, everyone assumed we’d put our kids in school, but it was too late – we were hooked!😉

It was scary, back in the beginning, though – I didn’t have a clue what I was doing, and desperately wanted direction. I pounced on any experienced homeschooling parent I came across, to ask all my burning questions: “What does your day look like? How do you know what to teach your kids? Do they have any friends? What about high school?”

After ten and a half years, those are the same questions people are asking me, whether they’re considering homeschooling their own kids, or they’re just trying to understand why someone would make the decision to homeschool.

A friend asked me the other day why I don’t write about homeschooling on my blog, and I wasn’t completely sure how to answer that. This isn’t a homeschool blog, so I have a good excuse, but it’s more than that. I think part of it is because it’s such a deeply personal thing – we all love our kids, and want the very best for them. When someone chooses to do things very differently than we do, it can bring up strong opinions. It’s often felt easiest just to stay quiet about the whole thing.

But it was because people were so open with me many years ago, and were gracious enough to answer all of my questions that I began to get a picture of homeschooling as something that could be beautiful and life-giving, and something I wanted our family to be a part of. If I share about this journey we’re on, I could be doing the same thing for someone else.

So today I’m answering the questions about homeschooling I get asked the most. Let me know if I’ve missed anything you’re curious about!

Why do you homeschool?

If I had to pick only one reason, it would be the relationship. I know parents can have a good relationship with their kids even when they’re in school, but there is just no other way to have this amount of time with my kids. (Can you tell that quality time is my love language?!)

I also really love the way it grows curiosity, and provides so much flexibility and freedom to learn about what interests them the most. I love how my kids have so many extra hours in a day to just be kids, and pursue what brings them joy.

Another huge benefit is being able to learn in a way that fits my kids’ learning styles. Anika is an audio learner, so she needs to think out loud. She often talks to herself while she’s working, or mutters cutely and quietly under her breath as she tries to work out a problem. Kaylia is very tactile, and is always creating things. She draws while she listens to me read, or cuts and glues and creates things based on what she is learning.

It made a huge difference to figure out what they needed most to learn well, and I’m happy to have the freedom to meet their individual needs. Because I’m a hands-on learner, I remember how frustrated some of my teachers would get when they had just finished teaching the class, and I’d go up to their desk for individual help, and ask them talk me through it again while I tried to work it out. I always felt really bad for doing it, but looking back, I can see clearly how I just couldn’t learn the way I was “supposed” to. There are different ways to learn, and I love having the ability to pursue education in a way that’s specifically suited to my children’s needs.

I’m sure teachers try to address these needs, but I can only imagine how hard it would be in a class with so many kids.

Creativity is also a huge deal for me. I love watching my kids using their imagination all day long. A school guidance counselor I know once said to me, “Keep homeschooling your kids. Every day, I watch kids at my school going from class to class, listening to a bell signaling where to go and what to do, and I see them losing their creativity and individuality.”

I was listening to a podcast this week that had nothing to do with homeschooling, but I found it very interesting when CJ Casciotta, author of Get Weird: Discover the Surprising Secret Success, talked about how we spend all our years in school and college living by the rule that we must fit in to survive and succeed. The goal is to become like everyone else so we don’t stand out, but then we graduate and apply for jobs, and every employer wants to know what makes each of us different, unique, and able to offer something the other candidates can’t. He talked about how hard and confusing it is to find our individuality after spending years trying to hide it.

Seems to me it’s a better thing to keep it all along. In my experience, homeschooling is an excellent way to do that. 😉

How much time do you spend on school work each day, and what does your day look like?

Actual time spent on school work is a hard question to answer, because school work and everything else we do runs into each other a lot. Some school work becomes play, and lots of learning happens through life lessons, and not specifically during a set “school time”.

Anika keeps some school books right by her bed, so that when she wakes up first thing in the morning, she can get a bunch of reading done while she’s still cozy in bed.

Then she comes upstairs, we make breakfast and eat, and then she gets to work on subjects that require DVDs (for math), or the computer (for writing, French, or typing for answering questions for literature and science).

Kaylia takes a bit longer to get going in the morning. She would love to have hours for reading or playing when she gets up, but then it’s hard to pull her away from those things to focus on school, so we try to get her work done as early as we can so she has the rest of the day to spend as she chooses.

We get all her written work out of the way first, like math, grammar, handwriting, and spelling, and then we spend as long as we want reading social studies, history, and science. Sometimes there are activities or experiments to do, or we get distracted with looking up more information and videos on the internet about stuff we’re learning.

After she’s done, she spends time with Everett, who is very eager to play at this point, so I can spend some focused time with Anika on math.

Then we have lunch, do chores, and have “Rest Time”, which means napping for me (if Michael Hyatt naps every day, I should too!), writing fiction for Anika (I think she’s writing her 12th book), reading/playing/crafts for Kaylia, and audio stories for Everett in his room.

After that, it’s time for exercise or playing outside, and then Anika does some reading for social studies and history. I make supper while Kaylia and Everett play together, or have friends over.

Anika takes voice lessons, Kaylia takes art lessons, and I teach them both piano. They practice after supper, finish any chores that need to be done, and spend time playing, reading, or relaxing. After Everett is in bed, Ben and I take turns reading to the girls one on one. Anika is out more evenings now as she gets older, attending youth and worship team practice, or babysitting and hanging out with friends, but the majority of our evenings are pretty slow at home, just the way I like it! Staying home is the new going out.😁

Do you ever get a break?

Yes!! Everyone needs breaks! I get up early so I can start the day quietly, getting my mind and body ready for the day by doing devotions, meditating, and exercising.

We have “rest time” every afternoon, so we can all have a bit of time alone, and Ben and I enjoy quiet evenings after the kids are in bed. Our girls love books, so they enjoy having time to read and unwind in bed before going to sleep, which gives us a longer evening.

How do you have enough patience?

I don’t have enough, so I pray a lot! I also make sure to take care of myself so I am in a better place to take care of my kids – no one has patience if they’re eating junk food or not sleeping well.

But another important piece is that when my kids are very annoying, it can often be a sign that they need more attention and time with a parent. When I spend time connecting with them, they are more enjoyable to be with, and require less patience! Also, the less my kids use screens and the healthier they eat, the happier they are.

But the truth is that it can be really hard at times. There are good days, and there are very bad days, but we press on, and it is so worth it.

How do you know what to teach your kids, and are you qualified to do so?

You guys, the world of homeschool curriculum is a wild, wonderful place. There are SO MANY amazing options, and you can choose resources that do most of the work for the parent. In Manitoba, we’re provided a list of subjects we are required to cover, but we have complete freedom as to how we want to cover it and what material we use.

It’s up to me to find what curriculum is a good fit for our kids (using online reviews, recommendations from other homeschoolers, or by trial and error!), but once we choose our books, the lessons are clearly laid out and easy to follow. The curriculum is specifically written for parents to teach their kids, so it’s not hard to use. We’ve had some bumps along the way, but with all the resources available to us in the form of books, DVDs, or online programs, we’ve always found a way through.

Here’s the thing – the class doesn’t move ahead until the student is ready to move on. That means Anika WILL understand her math, for example, before we move on. Her lessons introduce concepts in small, manageable chunks, and we get each chunk under control before going on to the next thing.

I almost failed math in high school because I couldn’t keep up, and no one had time to help me. I wasn’t dumb, I just needed more time and practice. But I spent years thinking I was dumb, and couldn’t do math. I am so thankful that my kids have the time and one-on-one attention to learn, because it was what I needed.

Am I qualified? Well, I care about my kids’ education more than anyone else ever could (except Ben!), we have all the resources we could ever want or need, and all of us have the desire to make this work. I’m satisfied with those qualifications.😉

What curriculum do you use?

Anika uses Math U See, Essentials in Writing, Progeny Press literature studies, TruthQuest History for world history, Donna Ward’s historical fiction list for Canadian history, a boring textbook I wouldn’t recommend for social studies (I make up my own assignments using the textbook, or let her research topics she’s interested in), Discovering Nature Series for science, and Duolingo for French.

Kaylia uses Math U See, Growing With Grammar, Pathway Readers (Amish readers so good I have to hide them because my kids want to read them for fun but I want to save them for school!), Spelling Power, Donna Ward’s social studies series, Story of the World, Apologia science books, and Duolingo.

Is there any way in which their education is monitored?

I need to send our plan for the year to the Manitoba homeschool office each September, listing all the subjects we’ll be covering, and what curriculum we plan to use. In January and June, I have to send in progress reports to update how things are going.

There is no final homeschool exam before kids can graduate or anything, which is something lots of people ask about!

Do they have friends?

Our kids have wonderful friends, some who attend school, and some who are part of our homeschool group.

In the beginning, I was concerned about the social aspect of homeschooling, as well, but I don’t worry much about it anymore. I want them have great relationships with people, but I’ve learned this can happen in a variety of ways. As siblings, I think their relationships are much stronger than if they were in school, because of the time they spend together, especially considering the wide span in their ages. I also feel that they have opportunities for enjoying relationships with a wide range of ages – school can make us slip into thinking that “socializing” means spending time with kids the exact same age, but that only happens in school. In the real world, we spend time with people of all ages, and I like the variety our kids enjoy.

Will you homeschool your kids all the way through high school?

I hope so! Anika has decided she wants to homeschool all the way through, and Kaylia says she doesn’t ever want to go to school, either. I haven’t started any formal learning with Everett, but he picks up a lot from being around the girls all day. Because he’s a lot more active than the girls, I like the idea of him not having to sit still for most of the day in school, once he’s old enough to start. We’ll see how it goes, but we plan to continue with all of them.

Are you worried about hindering their chances of getting into college or university, or holding them back from any other opportunities in the future?

No! Colleges and universities love homeschooled kids, and I’ve been told they “roll out the red carpet” for them, because they are such great students. In general, they love to learn, and are very self motivated. Because they have such a different education experience, I’ve been told they receive a private interview when they apply for university or college, which allows their gifts and passions to shine through.

Anika is very interested in music, dance, and writing, so we’ll see where this takes her. These are interests easily explored outside of school, and we see homeschooling as an amazing way for her to have the time and freedom to focus on what interests her most.

Are you concerned your kids will be too sheltered, and not transition well to the “real world”?

Attempting to shelter our kids has never been our motivation to homeschool, and it’s a good thing, because problems come up wherever you are – that’s just kinda how life works. We haven’t locked our kids in Rapunzel’s tower, and we encourage opportunities which will be eye-opening, and expose them to different viewpoints.

But when Anika comes home after hanging out with friends who attend public school, and passes on all the stories about drinking, drugs, and sex, I must confess, we do not search out ways to expose her to stuff like that, so I guess she is a bit sheltered.

But that issue is easily solved, if we ever feel like she’s needing more drinking, drugs, and sex in her life.🤔 Innocence is hard to keep, and easy to lose, so our kids should be able to catch up quick.

But seriously now, our kids are sheltered from some things, and looking back, I wish I had been, too. There was a lot of junior high drama that I would have loved to avoid completely. Challenges make us grow, but some types of challenges can have long term negative effects. Someone once told me Anika should go to school because being bullied would do her good. I’ve never tried to find ways for her to be bullied, but she has been in some tough relationship situations that have been difficult to handle, and she came through beautifully. I think she’ll be just fine.

Life is tough in all kinds of ways, and problems don’t just happen at school. Also, homeschooled kids know they’re different, and they feel the strain of growing up in a way that’s different from everybody else. That’s not easy, but it’s a valuable lesson to learn. Raising strong kids who are willing to live counter culturally sounds good to me.

From the book Simple Parenting, I’ve learned that a lot of kids these days are very sophisticated, but that isn’t the same thing as being mature. Knowing about life is not the same thing as knowing how to handle it well. My kids may not grow up to be the coolest, most sophisticated in the crowd, but that’s not what we’re going for anyway.

Attending school does not guarantee a child’s success, but a kind heart, determination, creativity, a good attitude, and a willingness to learn will take them a long way. I believe they can learn those things very well at home.

Homeschooling is not perfect, and it also doesn’t guarantee success. Ben often reminds me there are pros and cons to either option, and it’s our job to keep reevaluating, looking for ways to bridge the gaps. So far, we have seen a lot of pros, not very many cons, and we really love the fruit that has come from homeschooling. 😊

We realize there are some things our kids miss out on because they don’t attend school, but there are other things they gain. In the end, it has to be a choice each family makes, and do what feels true to who they are and what they hope to gain from an education experience.

Like I said at the beginning, we all love our kids and want the best for them. We are so blessed and fortunate to live in a place where we have the freedom to pursue learning and creativity in the way we choose!

Starting School

This was our first week of homeschool around here, and Kaylia’s first week of Kindergarten! I love homeschooling for many, many reasons, but as I read the weepy status updates on Facebook last week from moms who were braving the first day of school, my pregnancy hormones were extra grateful not to have to be sending her off for the day – not sure my unstable emotions would have been up to that test right now!

Nope, “first day of school” for Kaylia meant that she joined Anika and me at the table with her own little stack of workbooks, and it felt very natural and right for her to be there!:)

I wasn’t sure how it would go – she is of the opinion that everything needs to be her idea, or it isn’t worth doing. But so far, she’s been great about getting her work done – I let her choose the order of subjects – math, printing, science, or reading. She often decides to do extra pages. Not sure how long that will last, but I’ll take it while I can!;)

I quickly found that math games on the iPad are a wonderful incentive for when she’s running out of steam, and we have a little more to finish.

“Recess” has taken on a whole new meaning at our house, now that there are finally two students to get excited about having a break. Our first day included some Ladder Ball, and a back to school photo session!



KayliaAnika’s photo took two tries. Kaylia’s? Countless…


KayliaGoofball. It’s almost as though Ben was disguised as a five-year-old little girl in a pink T-shirt…

Vegetables, Traveling, and a Personal Crisis, in the Best Way Possible…

Notes From a Blue BikeI bought a book last weekend – Tsh Oxenreider’s Notes From a Blue Bike was on sale for a couple of bucks, and I’ve been wanting to read it for awhile. I don’t know if it was the short, easy-reading chapters, or the rainy weather keeping us inside, or the subject matter, but I finished it in a weekend, which is rare for me.

And then I broke down and had a whole life crisis, which concerned Ben a lot. He asked very hesitantly if perhaps I should possibly consider…not reading that book anymore.

I tried to explain to him that the book is about intentional living, and the fact that I was questioning my intentions was a good thing, even if it did lead to a bit of a crisis.

The crisis past fairly quickly, and now I’m looking back to see what’s been left in it’s wake….

Tsh Oxenreider examines five areas of intentional living: food, travel, education, entertainment, and revival. I’m pretty much in agreement with most of her thoughts, but there were a few ideas that threw me for a bit of a loop.


I love what she has to say about “slow food” – cook it from scratch, use whole, natural ingredients, and make it something the whole family enjoys. Because of this book, I just signed us up for a CSA program – it stands for “Community Supported Agriculture”, and it means that for the next 17 weeks, our family will receive a box of organic vegetables grown on a nearby farm. I have been curious about such a program for a long time, but my weekend of reading was what finally gave me the final push to do something about it.

It’s like a food adventure – you never know what you’ll get in the box, so I’m looking forward to a summer of awesome, fresh ingredients, and a whole bunch of new recipes! We got our first box this week, and it contained a ton of lettuce, beets, green onions, rhubarb, and lovage. We didn’t even know what lovage was, so Ben had to google it, and now we can’t stop talking about lovage, because it’s a fun word – “Can you taste the lovage in the soup? You can never have too much lovage!!”

We were feasting on Citrus and Roasted Beet Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing, which was delicious, even though I’ve never liked beets before. And I love having fresh salad ingredients just waiting for me in the fridge, making it easy to throw lunch together. Somehow, everything tastes better when I know we picked it up right at the farm, instead of buying it at Superstore!



This was one of the uncomfortable topics for me. Tsh Oxenreider is a huge believer in doing international travel with small children. I am a huge believer in keeping young children at home and avoiding jet lag with a four-year-old. Road trips I would consider, but we’ve turned down a few awesome vacation offers from Ben’s parents, because it just seems like there will be a better time for really ambitious travel.

This book has me reconsidering….Maybe now is as good a time as any! And maybe I need to be thinking more about the story we want our family to tell, than about my total comfort and sanity.

“Traveling with children is harder than traveling without them – no argument from me there. But that doesn’t mean it’s not worth giving it a shot. I’m so grateful for our trips across oceans and our journeys down the road, navigating adventures together as a family. It’s knit us together in ways hard to replicate anywhere else….

Together, we smell smells and see sights collectively that no one else will at that exact moment – or at least no one who will also drive home to the same house and fall asleep under the same roof. When we travel, no matter how near or far, we share moments that shape our family culture. Each exploration, to the next town over or on the next flight out of the country, is one more chisel notch in our family’s sculpture. If we are each a work of art, then our life’s experiences are the tools. Traveling gives us, as parents, the chance to make those tools effective and sharp.”

With a baby on the way, we won’t be going on an exotic trip anytime very soon, but at the very least, I think we need to do some exploring close to home. And maybe start dreaming about where we’ll go as soon as Baby is old enough…


Here’s where the bulk of my crisis occurred….She tried homeschooling and quit, for reasons I’d never heard before. I had to chew them over for a bit. Once I finished chewing, I was left with the conviction that we are still called to homeschool right now, and the benefits are still outweighing the negatives.

But still – I never want to be so completely sure in what I’m doing that I won’t even stop to question and consider if it’s still the best thing. I think it’s good and right to reassess every once in a while.

And I love what she wrote about parental instincts when it comes to educating our children:

“I want to model learning for the sheer joy of exploration, provide a secure home environment for their creativity, and pray continually for wisdom about the best method to educate them. I want to remember that I will always be their most influential teacher. And I want to then take a step of faith and make choices by trusting my parental instincts – even if that means ignoring the culture that says it knows what’s best. I want to rest in confidence that we’ll make the best decisions for our children because only we know them as intimately as we do.”


While I completed an entertainment fast a few months ago, and learned a ton, I also just came through the first trimester of pregnancy, which pretty much resulted in loads of snacks, and Netflix on the couch every single night. It was all I was capable of doing. It felt disgusting, too. Now that my energy is increasing, it’s definitely time for find some balance in this area, so I appreciated what Oxenreider had to say about enjoying entertainment in small doses, to avoid the feeling of entitlement.

“If entertainment isn’t our right, does this mean our days have to be drudgery? Well, sometimes, yes. Life has never promised us nonstop parties and parades. But our everyday rituals can also become our entertainment, if we let them. When I reduce my screen time, not only is my remaining screen time  more enjoyable, but my eyes better sharpen their focus on the little things in life.”


Tsh Oxenreider wrapped up this book by talking about how their family has chosen to slow down, how she purposely chooses to take care of herself to avoid burn-out, and what benefits we reap when we live intentionally.

It’s interesting, because much of what she wrote about was learned during the time her family lived overseas, and the culture shock that greeted them when they moved back to the States. It took awhile to figure out how to take what they loved about life in a different culture, and apply it to living in the States, where it wasn’t possible to make life exactly the same, but rather, making the principles apply to the life they are currently living.

It’s how I feel about our transition from living at a Bible camp out in the bush, to living a more “normal” life, back in civilization. Life is a completely different pace, and yet over the past two years, our family has found a way to hold on to the principles we loved most about our life at camp, and fit those into this new life. Go slowly, with intention, and never do something that feels wrong for your family, just because it’s culturally normal. I had no idea that living in the forest for five years would teach me so much about disregarding what’s culturally acceptable, and doing what is truest to our hearts.

Goethe quotesource

It was a lot to take in over one weekend! But since I love a good re-evaluation of life (and a good personal crisis?!), it was a weekend well spent! So many thoughts to chew over.

And now, I wish you a lovely weekend. May you linger over delicious meals, delight in exploring the world around you, find enjoyment in simple pleasures, and be able to discern what matters most to you and those  you love!

An Answer to Prayer Knocked on Our Door Yesterday

Well, I’ve been reminded once again that my faith is too small.

I was reading the Bible to Anika before bed, and I read these verses from John:

When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, “Here is a true Israelite, in whom there is nothing false.”

“How do you know me?” Nathanael asked.

Jesus answered, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.”

Then Nathanael declared, “Rabi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel.”

Jesus said, “You believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You shall see greater things than that.” He then added, “I tell you the truth, you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”

And I thought to myself, “How often do I settle for the vision of the fig tree, when God is thinking, ‘Good grief, that was nothing! Just wait until you see what else I have planned!’

How often does He long for me to expect big things from Him?

A few months ago, while we were still living at camp, Anika and I were having a bedtime talk, and she told me how worried she was about making new friends in Niverville when we moved. I suggested we pray about it, and ask God to bring a friend into her life.

She was very excited about this idea, so we got right to work, and she started confidently, and very specifically, asking God to send her a friend, who would live on the same street as us, and be homeschooled, so she wouldn’t get lonely in the afternoons.

I experienced a moment of panic, and began silently (frantically) praying for God to keep her faith intact when this impossible request would not be filled. Seriously, what were the chances of that happening?

And God sat there listening to all this, possibly shaking His head at me??

I answered a knock at the door yesterday, and there stood the masonry man, who turned out to be from my hometown. I didn’t recognize him at first, seeing as it’s been many, many years since we were in school together, but we figured out all the connections.

As he was working on our house today, we started chatting, and he said it would be great if we could meet his family. He also has two little girls, and he was wondering if we might like some grass to play on, for a nice change from our yard of dirt.

I told him we would be all over that idea, and would love to meet a new family, as we are on the hunt for kids to play with, especially since Anika is homeschooled and all.

And then he got all excited, and said they were homeschooling their daughter, and live about three houses down from us, and I should totally call his wife, and of course become best friends, and he had already sent her a text asking her to bring him a drink or something, just so we could somehow all meet.

Everything worked out in the end, and we had such a fantastic time with his lovely family.

And you know what? When Anika starts making bold, detailed requests of God in the future, I will just go with it.

Last night, I even prayed for more little girls to move onto our street.

Homeschooled ones! 🙂

The Million Dollar Questions: Some More Details About Our Move

Alright, so here’s the grand list of the questions we get asked a lot these days:

1) When are you moving?

2) What will Ben be doing?

3) What will you be doing?

4) Will you continue to homeschool Anika?

I thought it would be good to answer as many of these as I can. We don’t know exactly how everything will look once we move, but here’s what we’ve got so far:

1) We are moving at the end of April. Yes, that means missing summer out here, which I just don’t want to think about. It’s too painful. We wish we could stay for one more summer, but because of Ben’s job, we must leave in spring.

It might be for the best, anyway. I’d probably spend my whole summer crying.

2) Ben will be working for his dad, doing property development. He will be involved with general contracting on homes and condos. Yes, that’s a huge change from what we’ve been doing. See this post for my thoughts on why that’s a good thing.

3) Since Kaylia is only two, and not very independent, I don’t see my job description changing much when we move. However, I will be helping Ben with some business stuff, when I have time.

Also, we are talking about how moving back to civilization will make it easier for me to pursue my dream to speak publicly. Don’t know what will happen with that, but if you know of any ladies’ groups or youth and college age groups looking for a speaker, I am so all over that idea. Without looking desperate, of course. 😉

4) Homeschooling. Well, last Monday, I was undecided about what to do, and on Tuesday, we were totally going to continue homeschooling. On Wednesday, it became drastically obvious that public school was the only appropriate option, and on Thursday, I could have cried at the thought of not homeschooling anymore. Friday I was back to being undecided, and on the weekend I was too busy to think about it.

Apparently, this is a decision that I will make 52,000 times before the decision is actually made.

Ben will make it once, and lose no sleep over it.

That’s just how we do things around here.

So for now, the plan is to wait, pray, and see how things go. Homeschooling is what we know. We’ve done it for four years, and there are many, many wonderful things about it. I know that public school is wonderful, too. Up until this point, we’ve had no option. Now that we have an option, we are unsure of what we want to do.

We’ll answer this question later, too!

There, did I miss anything?

Why, yes I did. I missed sharing with you how much I am just loving the purging going on at our house right now. Moving is an excellent motivator for getting rid of stuff you really don’t want or need.

It is also great for finding things you didn’t know you had.

We have an angel costume?? Apparently we do. I’d completely forgotten about that one. Now Kaylia is obsessed with wearing her “crown”.

Horray for purging and packing! (Talk to me two months from now – I might be singing a different tune!)

Random Pieces of My Life

We started homeschool today. Anika had been doing her school work for a total of maybe two minutes, when she sighed dramatically and said, “I can’t wait until spring, when I don’t have to do school anymore!”

Could be a long year?!


We spent the last three days in the city with the Pursuit students. We’ve been staying at Ben’s parents’ house while Ben and the students took a wilderness survival first aid training course. Anika was in her glory, because she loves spending any time she can with the students, and Kaylia is slowly opening up to them, too. She did some great girl bonding with them while playing doll house…

Kaylia is well on her way to developing her split-personality skills. At home, she is the happiest, bubbliest, most talkative little girl ever, but when we go to the lodge, she is very quiet and serious, and says she is “scared” of people. I don’t quite know how to deal with this. It’s completely new territory. I have a new personality type to add to my parenting repertoire.


I am having a garage sale today. Without a garage. I always said I would never have a garage sale. But I read a book this summer that changed my mind. Tell you all about it soon. It’s fantastic, other than the fact that it made me decide to have a garage sale.

Fortunately, I’m doing it with my friend (and soon-to-be camp neighbour!) Amanda, and we’ve decided that even if we sell nothing, we will still have a successful day of hanging out and eating snacks together.

Wish me luck!

And to think I was going to pack away my swimsuit….

I’ve had very many people ask me this week when I plan to start homeschooling Anika for the year.

My answer is always the same – I was going to start this week, but we decided to go to the beach instead.

There have to be some perks to planning our own school schedule, right?

We’ll start school next week.

Maybe. Depending on the temperature….

In the meantime, we will play, and have snacks, and enjoy the sunshine.

Here’s What We’ve Been Up To…

So we’ve been kind of heavy on words and light on pictures around here. It’s time to share a whole bunch, especially since camp is looking pretty spectacular since all the snow on the weekend.

Pictures can’t really do it justice. There are HUGE piles of snow everywhere. It’s very beautiful. I love the trees with heavy snow on their branches.

The girls have been having a great time outside.

Inside, we’ve been plugging away at homeschooling…

…and playing, like usual.

There’s been lots of cooking, and I often have my “meals” delivered to me. Kaylia imitates whatever Anika does, and I love seeing how hard she concentrates to balance the play food on the plate as she carries it:


As usual, the girls can fight like crazy one minute, and play so sweetly the next. (Kaylia is usually wearing Anika’s slippers, for playing or fighting.)


The big discovery of the week for Kaylia is washing dishes. She loves it, and splashes until she’s so wet that we have to strip her down. Then she keeps on splashing. Now whenever I’m doing dishes, I’ll be busy at the sink when I suddenly hear a chair scraping across the floor, and I know Kaylia is coming!

Right when I took this picture, she flung the dishcloth out of the sink. She was not expecting it to be so wet, so she was very startled and started to cry. She recovered very quickly, and went back to her splashing.

Since all of these things happened, we’ve spent a busy few days in the city, and now we are home, and happy to be here!


People often ask Anika what she’s learning in homeschool, and she doesn’t answer that question very well. I don’t know if it’s because she doesn’t like talking about school, or if it’s because she doesn’t remember anything she’s learned! With Kaylia around creating a small tornado, I sometimes wonder how good of a learning environment we’ve got going on. She gets into EVERYTHING. No, that’s not true – she has yet to climb the kitchen cupboards!

But she’s fun and cute, and I take pictures of the messes and keep the pages of her scribbles, because someday I’ll miss it!

So the things we’ve been learning? Here’s a list of my favorites, unrelated to school (You can ask Anika about school next time you see her, and see what she says!):

1) Sorting laundry! Dark, white, and pink. We have 3 baskets, and the girls think it’s a game to sort all the dirty clothes. Kaylia hands the clothes to Anika, and Anika throws them into the right basket:

2) Cooking Skills. We got out the play food today, and Anika was extremely creative in her creations. She announced that she was making “Roasted Monkey Biscuits.” I told her that no one would want to eat that, and she whispered, “Don’t tell anyone there’s monkey in them!” She informed me that “they help you get lots of protein!” She also said that they’re what everyone eats in Russia. When Ben told her that they don’t have monkeys in Russia, Anika said, “They get the monkeys from India.” And all of this is said with a straight face, and without missing a beat.

3) Sharing! We’re making progress! Some of you will remember this post. Well, things are looking up! The girls still fight over toys, but there are beautiful moments of sharing, as well! (Thank goodness.) Anika is actually letting Kaylia play with her dolls:

4) Talking! Kaylia is saying more words all the time, but her most recent thing is saying names. This weekend, she finally started saying “Anka”, and her own name has somehow become “Tay-ta”.

She’s also finally started saying “Mommy” in the last few weeks, but it works for a lot of things besides me – “jammies” are “mammies” and “yummy” is “mummy”. You have to listen carefully for the vowels…


One of the things that Anika needs to learn in Grade 2 is how to use a map. There are so many fun ways to do that, but yesterday’s map activity was my favorite!

Ben had the day off, and Anika’s been begging all summer to do the orienteering activity that school groups do when they come here, so that is what we did this morning: