Showing posts from April, 2019

Homeschooling the Difficult Child

I have discovered that, to the best of my knowledge, the website where I had quite a bit published is now defunct. Since I was never paid for the articles I wrote there, I'm going to repost a few of them here over the next few weeks. I would like to be able to link to them every so often.

This particular article was written back in February of 2015, so quite a bit ago. I am still glad today that I made the decisions I did back then.

Homeschooling is a wonderful thing when your children are generally cooperative and life is relatively calm. If only it were this way always. Here’s the reality: some seasons of life are harder than others and some children are harder than others. It’s just how it is and I have found that it is a far more productive use of my time to learn to accept the season or the child rather than to struggle to change one thing or the other.
While each child has their own strengths, quirks, and challenges, a few of mine have more than their fair share. Due to less …

Pretending it really is spring

Though that pretending can be somewhat difficult when this is what you see out of your bedroom window.

Yes, that's snow. So, because that is more than a little depressing, let's back up a few days when it really did look like spring out the window, and the lawn was full of violets.

Like with the mulberries last summer, I'm trying to find uses for things that are growing here and not just see them as unwanted plants that need to be eradicated. This is easier to do out here when not on a block where everyone has a pretty nice looking yard and you do not.

But back to the violets. I had found some recipes for making use of violets, and when L. was at loose ends the other day, I suggested she go collect some and then I could show her how to candy them. She was all for it, and ended up with quite a few candied violets, even though it is a fairly fiddly process.

They are so pretty, I kind of want to make a cake just to use them to decorate it.

That activity being a success, I men…

New games

We are having a bit of a game week here. For Easter, it worked out that we were able to give family gifts of some new games, and we have been enjoying figuring them out. Since they all seem to be winners, I thought I'd tell you about them.

The first is Azul. I admit to buying this one because I just liked the way it looked. Normally, I go to board game sites and read reviews, but I took a chance and picked this up because it was pretty. I've learned the hard way that this is not always the best way to choose a game, but this time it worked out. D. and I figured it out on Easter afternoon. It wasn't too difficult to learn and was a fairly quick game. The goal is to be the first to lay your decorative tiles in a five in a row pattern. It seems simple enough at first, but as you begin to play you quickly realize there is a bit more strategy to it than it seemed. We liked it. Plus, the tiles are fun to play with and they look nice.

The second game is a stand alone version of T…

Happy, happy, happy

The latches and the gates went up today, so I can officially say the barn and fencing are done! Of course, now the ball is in our court and we need to build some stalls, but that seems rather negligible at this point. I think it looks pretty darn good.

Auto pilot

It's no secret that the Currys can be a wee bit time challenged. We usually manage to dash in the door just as things (anything) are beginning. While not often actually late, we cut it pretty short often, and are pretty much never early. This is all a necessary prelude to my Easter morning story.

We all got up on Easter morning, I did the animal chores, and B., D., and I hid all the eggs for the egg hunt which would happen after church. We were finished in time for everyone to have a nice breakfast together before we left for church. We were doing just fine time wise, and getting a row with enough seats for all of us should be easy.

J. drops us all at church and goes to park to van in the remote parking; we go inside the church. It is also at this point that my brain flips to auto pilot.

We walk in, and I happen to glance at the screen in the lobby which has a feed to inside the sanctuary. I notice that the worship leader is standing there, and to my eyes, looks all the world as i…

Happy Easter

He is Risen!
Egg dying
Brown eggs turn prettier colors than white eggs it turns out.

He is risen, indeed!

He is Risen!

I got the Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and cabbages planted.
G. did a lot of reading
He is risen indeed!

The Easter morning table

He is risen!

Everyone at breakfast saying hi to P., who spent the holiday in Poland.
Game playing happened.
He is risen indeed!
There was also an outdoor egg hunt, more food, and dinner with aunts, uncles, and cousins. I very good day was had celebrating our risen savior.

It is finished

Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world.
(The Sacrificial Lamb by Josefa de Ayala [1630-1684])

Learning is messy

When I was a young mother, I wasn't really good at mess. Mess, particularly messy children, made me unhappy and anxious. I was amazed at other mothers who didn't seem to mind messy children doing messy things in their houses. I did things with my children, but it was heavily supervised so the chaos didn't get too out of control.

While I still don't enjoy mess, I am happiest and most content when things are neat and orderly, I'm afraid it is a pretty constant in my life. Neat and orderly doesn't happen very often or last very long around here. Having twelve children does take off ones rough edges. When people tell me I am so relaxed and that is why I am able to parent all these children, I have to laugh, because the progression was very much the other way 'round. With all these children I have no choice but to do some significant relaxing or else we would all go mad. I feel as though I have moved from Fanny at Chez Panisse to Warthogs in the Kitchen. (Both o…

Wise words

I got to message back with forth with P. today because they had a surprise port in Kiel, Germany. The ship had just gone through the Kiel Canal which links the North Sea with the Baltic Sea. (I had to look it up. I had never heard of it nor was I entirely sure where it was. Following P.'s voyage has been good for my geography.) It's always nice to be able to chat with P., and more and more we talk about horses together. She really misses horses and riding and there aren't really any horse types on the ship.

Since I am currently taking her riding lessons spot, she is familiar with the barn and horses and people. It makes it easy to discuss things since no explanation is needed. Yesterday, the trainer I'm working with right now strongly suggested I enter the next schooling show, doing both over (low) fences and on the flat. I was non-committal, both because of my own trepidation and because the show is the day before we leave for London.

If I haven't mentioned it, I …

The cross has the final word

I don't know about you, but looking at the photos of Notre Dame in flames today made me feel physically ill. It is one of those things that you cannot wrap your head around actually happening, even as you look at the photographic evidence. I've been there, inside the cathedral. When I was in Paris going to school one summer, I walked right across the front of it every day as I headed to class. I never got the chance to take my children there.

Once something lasts nearly 1000 years, you just kind of assume that it will be there always. Yet, in a matter of hours, it is forever changed, nearly completely ruined, though not quite. It shouldn't surprise us. We're told that nothing on this earth will last forever.

In some ways, it is more than appropriate that this devastation happened during Holy Week. We think our lives will last forever, or if not forever, a lot longer than where we are in this present moment. We also think that these lives are built on solid foundations,…

All the little seedlings

M. seems to think that my past posts and pictures about how the many seedlings have taken over my life don't really do justice to the current state of small plantlings in the house. Today I spent much of the day separating out the next batch of seedlings. I finished with the sweet and hot peppers, and am about half way through the tomatoes. There's a lot of plants.

These are the six trays out in the living room. There are also three trays in the utility room. Some of seeds that I'm waiting on to germinate, but most are little plants.

Here are a bunch of sweet peppers.
Some of the tomatoes that have been separated. (The grow light turns everything oddly purple.)
These are the tomatoes I have yet to separate. My guess is that there is another forty little plants here.
In the utility room I have some seedlings that are ready to start heading outside to harden off. Well, after this last gasp of winter we are supposed to have tomorrow, that is. I'll wait until the weather g…

Just the three of us

The Midwest Horse Fair is this weekend, starting today. I hadn't planned on going to it, but thought it looked interesting, and filed it away so it would get put on the calendar early next year. As J. and I were talking about it, he decided I should go for the day. (He's great like that.) On a whim, I thought it would be fun to take G. and L. (my most horse-loving children who are in the country) with me. When I asked them about it, they were extremely excited by the idea.

We are back home now after four hours of driving (round trip) and nine hours at the fair. We had a wonderful time together and though it would have been far less expensive if I had gone by myself, it was worth every penny to have them with me. I don't get to do things very often with just my two youngest, whom I realize aren't quite so terribly young anymore.

They were troopers. We were up at five and out of the house by five-thirty. They sat through a couple of jumping clinics which they weren't…

Heroes and stories

I'm slowly reading through the every growing stack of books I have piled in the bathroom. (I'm sure I'm not the only one to do this. Sometimes you just need a quiet place to read and the bathroom door has a lock.) I tend to put non-fiction books on the bathroom stack because they lend themselves to being read in smaller bits. Fiction is too dangerous; I might never come out. The trouble with non-fiction, though, is that I find it far too easy to put one book down and pick another one up as the whim strikes. This is what leads to a pile of seven books teetering on the back of the toilet. I've made myself promise that no new books would be added until I whittle down the stack some.

This is all a prelude to why I was reading a book I started over a year ago earlier today. I picked it up initially because for many years I would compulsively read homemaking type books. I just couldn't get enough of them. Now, I'm finding that they don't speak to me quite as loud…

Assumptions and unexpected blessings

I've been a little horse crazy from the time I was a girl. I read about horses; I played with toy horses; I drew horses; I put pictures of horses all over my walls; and eventually my parents gave me horseback riding lessons. All of this was great, but it didn't give me the one thing I desperately wanted: my own horse. (My dream horse was a grey Arabian. I don't think it's a coincidence that my first horse is a grey Arabian. God is good.) I was convinced as a child that if I didn't get a horse then, when I was still a child, it wasn't going to count somehow. That being an adult and having a horse wasn't even close to the same thing. It might be good, but it wouldn't be as great.

I'm sure this came from an assumption that adults just didn't have as much fun as children. That they were such different beings that it wasn't the same experience as being a child. I'm also sure that it's because I knew very few adults who actually rode. Ther…


I'm not really a patient person. With other people I can pass for patient sometimes, but it's a learned skill and not my natural state. I'm also not terribly patient with myself ever. It is somewhat ironic that my non-patient self is drawn to homes that are in need of more than a little TLC. (Okay, maybe it would be more ironic if I had buckets of money and didn't have to pick the house that needed a lot of TLC because I had a budget that allowed for otherwise. Still, I find something rather appealing and romantic about turning a house that needs some attention into something that doesn't.) In my head I can see what that house could become, but am often hindered by time and resources.

While there are plenty of projects that we would like to do requiring resources, there are an equal number of projects that we can tackle ourselves and are within our budget if we only had the free time in which to do them. It means that we have to accept projects taking time before t…