Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Enjoying the Journey

It's a family road-trip. The car is loaded and stocked. The kids are buckled in. And so... you start off. You're barely on the highway when the first kid asks:

"Are we there yet?" 

Patiently you explain how much further there is to go. It doesn't make much difference because a few minutes later:

"Are we there yet?"

And so it goes throughout the day, until you are ready to pull your hair out in frustration.

While I've seen this scenario in comedy movies, I'm happy to report that my children actually never did that much, though we have had our share of family road-trips. We cultivated the attitude that "getting there is half the fun."

If you've read my blog for very long you know that my family loves road-trips. We can easily spend 15 hours or more a day driving, and have very few complaints. We enjoy conversation, audio books, travel games, looking at the scenery, and stopping at points of interest. And yes, we do look forward to arriving at our destination.
Today's topic for the Sonlight Blog Party is to share the best homeschool advice I've been given, and it's very similar to "getting there is half the fun."

Rather than focusing on the daily ups and downs, 
enjoy the journey.

I remember the daily ups and downs. How excruciating it was to sit beside an emerging reader listening to her laboriously sound out the words in her first grade reader. Days when it seemed like we didn’t accomplish anything we meant to. Days when I wondered if the kids were really learning, or if they would be better served going off to public school.
"Are we there yet?"

Mixed in with regularity were the delightful days reading piles of wonderful stories… and laughing and learning together.

The years went by way faster than it seemed like they should, and before we knew it we had arrived at our destination. It was a wonderful journey!

Sonlight Blog Party

Monday, March 23, 2015

Instagram Update

I find I'm chronicling some of the tiny moments of my life with the Instagram app. Like I mentioned before, I'm not one for selfies, but it is kinda fun to snap a quick shot of some little thing that caught my eye. Later, I enjoy looking back through the moments I captured. From the last few weeks...
A photo posted by @karlacinid on
January 21. Light snow caught on the bark of a tree outside the office... I thought the textured filter added a neat effect, too.

January 22. A quick supper with co-workers before the Inspire25 event that evening. All four of us had lettuce-wrapped hamburgers... and milk-shakes!

January 23. I met a friend in downtown Denver for lunch and didn't want to try to find a parking spot, so I took the train.

A photo posted by @karlacinid on
January 24. For our breakfast date that Saturday we drove to Golden and ate at an old-timey diner. I like taking pictures of a cup of coffee, apparently.

A photo posted by @karlacinid on
February 21. My daily snapshots didn't last long. A few weeks later our breakfast date was at Chick-fil-A. We were trying to work through some details for our family budget that morning.

A photo posted by @karlacinid on
March 2. And another coffee picture with a new mug from my Secret Sis.

A photo posted by @karlacinid on
March 9. I actually didn't know about this picture until I started getting comments on it. Turns out I had left my phone at home one afternoon, and "someone" decided it would be fun to post a picture for me. Could be worse!

A photo posted by @karlacinid on
March 15. I noticed tulips coming up in the backyard. I hope they bloom this year. Last year a spring snowstorm ruined them.

A photo posted by @karlacinid on
16 March. Mountain sunsets are spectacular, even in city traffic.

A photo posted by @karlacinid on
20 March. I was delighted to discover crocuses emerging on the first day of spring. Not my yard, but close enough.

Happy spring!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Homeschool Convention Season 2015

This weekend started my 16th season as a Sonlight Convention Representative. I was at the Home Instruction Ministries Spring Curriculum Fair in Loveland, Colorado. This is my 6th year to be at this event, and I always love starting off the season here, because it's small and friendly... and now that we live in Colorado, close to home.

Sonlight is celebrating their 25th anniversary this year, so our booths have a new look with a blue and silver color scheme. Actually, we are trying several new things this year so it was interesting to see how they worked out... some better than others.

I have a break of a few weeks between conventions before my travel starts in late April. Here's my convention schedule for the rest of the season:
I'll be flying to most of these events, but Lyle and I plan to drive to the one in Indiana. Yay! Road trip! Flying in and out doesn't allow for much sight-seeing, but I'll try to post something interesting from each trip. After all, life is an adventure regardless of how you travel.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Their Golden Anniversary

So grateful for parents who love God...
...each other...
...their children...
...and the rest of you...
in that order!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Winter Day Trip

After a particularly snowy week we were happy to see sunshine when we got up yesterday morning. Lyle suggested going for a drive in the mountains to see the fresh snow. Rebecca and Cookie accepted our invitation to ride along. 
We started out early because I was afraid the sunshine might not last. Sure enough, it was only partly sunny during our drive. Still, the scenery was breathtakingly beautiful.
 Do tell!

Our route took us through the ski resort towns of Breckenridge and Keystone.
 I thought the name of this coffee shop in Breckenridge was clever. I love a good play on words.
 We were especially interested in watching the skiiers. Needless to say, the ski runs were quite busy after all the "fresh powder" this past week.
We pulled into a scenic overlook above the chair lift at Arapahoe Basin. It was neat to have a bird's eye view. Lyle and Rebecca would have liked to go skiing themselves. Maybe another time.

It sure is fun to have beautiful scenery so close to home when we are in the mood to go for a drive.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Our Homeschooling Decision

Okay, I'll confess... before I had children I honestly thought I would never homeschool. After all, I had survived public school just fine, and as long as I was involved in my children's education I was sure everything would be just fine. The year my oldest child turned 4, a friend who also only had preschoolers invited me to attend a homeschool curriculum fair in Wichita with her. (We lived in Kansas at the time.) My friend did intend to homeschool, and I was interested to see what was out there for preschool... because I knew I wouldn't be sending my child to school till kindergarten.

What an overwhelming and eye-opening experience that was! I took the tote box they gave us at the door and proceeded around the hall, gathering as much information as I could. And that's exactly what I recommend to folks who are considering homeschooling for the first time. Attend a conference. Explore your options.

Up until that time I only knew about a typical textbook curriculum, or a not-so-typical but still very cut-and-dried workbook approach. While I have always loved to teach, I wasn't sure that either of those approaches really appealed to me. I would really just rather read to my children. Imagine my delight when I discovered the literature-based approach to home education! I have always been a voracious reader... and I love to read aloud. To get to do that, and call it school? Umm... yeah, I b'lieve maybe I will homeschool! No, I really didn't make up my mind that day, but it sure gave me food for thought.

I had a part-time job in the evenings as assistant children's librarian at the public library. Working there I began to get to know the homeschoolers who regularly visited the library. Later that summer some of them came in with book lists because UPS was on strike, and their curriculum was delayed in coming. As they asked me to help them locate the books on their lists, I was delighted to find many of my childhood favorites included. Turns out, the book lists were from a company called Sonlight Curriculum.

What really clinched the decision for us was an opportunity to move out-of-state the next year, just before our daughter was due to start kindergarten. We moved to Idaho after school was out for the summer, so I didn't have a chance to check out the public school. My husband and I decided that I would try homeschooling for the kindergarten year and see how it went. After poring over dozens of catalogs, I finally settled on Sonlight  for that first year. By the end of the year, I couldn't imagine not continuing with Sonlight for the next year. And we never looked back.

I started representing Sonlight at conventions in 2000, when the children were still very young. Every year at the conventions I went to, I still explored my options. Yes, I loved Sonlight, but first and foremost, I wanted what was best for my kids. If there was a better curriculum for us out there, I wanted to know about it. Always, I came to the conclusion Sonlight was what our family needed. It is flexible enough that I could adapt it for my kids' individual needs and we could still enjoy and learn from all the great stories.

Looking back, I can't imagine what our life would have been like if we hadn't chosen to homeschool. It has been such a rewarding experience that I wouldn't trade for the world.

This post is part of Sonlight's 25th Anniversary Blog Party (February edition): Sonlight Blog Party
I hope you'll join the party.
I'd love to read your story...
plus you have a chance to win a great prize package!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Marshmallow World

On Friday the weather forecast for the weekend was 8-16 inches of snow by Sunday evening.
Since the weather has been mostly sunny and snowless this winter, I thought it would be interesting to do a series of "time lapse" photos of our back yard over the course of the weekend. Obviously, the weekend isn't over yet, but the results are dramatic enough that I decided to go ahead and post while I have time. (Otherwise I might not get around to it. Iz bad, I know.)
The little dab of snow lurking in the shady areas on Friday afternoon was left over from a few days earlier. The clouds were beginning to gather, but the flurries didn't start until after dark that day.
 Saturday morning the ground was lightly covered with a very wet snow. It had already melted off the stone walkway and mostly just stuck to the grass. But more was still in the forecast.
Midday Saturday it started snowing lightly... 
 just kinda spitting snow off and on...
 By early evening the snow finally decided to start getting serious.
 The "snow" setting on the camera shows it coming down better than the "auto" setting above, though I have to say the "auto" setting makes a prettier picture. I love the warm lights shining from the back fence neighbors' houses.
 And so finally, this morning, we did wake up to a Marshmallow World.

Church was cancelled due to the bad roads, so we are enjoying a quiet morning sitting by the fire, watching the snow. We love that our family room has both a fireplace and French doors overlooking the backyard.

We will enjoy the snow while it lasts because it could very well be all gone by midweek. Denver weather is funny that way.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

A Sonlighting Family

The assignment today for the Sonlight 25th Anniversary Blog Party is to introduce my family, and share where we are on our homeschooling journey.
My students are these beautiful young ladies, ages 19 and 22. Our formal homeschooling days have recently ended. However, the girls do still currently live at home, so the learning continues. After all, thanks to Sonlight, we raised them to be "lifelong learners."
They say homeschooling actually starts at birth... and it does. When I hear a parent say they could never homeschool it makes me wonder what they think they were doing during those early years. However, our formal, curriculum-based homeschooling actually started in 1998 when Laura was ready for kindergarten. That's the year we started with Sonlight... but that's a story for another post.
Fast-forward to 2011... (and the years went by about that fast...) we were pleased to present Laura with her high school diploma at a group ceremony we had put together with a few other homeschooling friends in our area. Laura graduated in Idaho where we had lived since she was in kindergarten. It meant a lot to her to get to graduate with her friends.
Rebecca graduated this past spring (2014) after we had moved to Colorado. Since she only had one semester of school left after we moved, we hadn't connected with a homeschool group here. Instead we planned a special backyard ceremony just for her with her grandparents and church friends.
Over the years as I've shared our homeschooling story at conventions around the country, I tell how learning is a lifestyle in our family, not just something we do during school hours. And though the girls have graduated and are pursuing their adult lives now... the learning goes on.

This post is part of Sonlight's 25th Anniversary Blog Party (January edition):
  Sonlight Blog Party 
I'd love to hear your story as well!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Do you Instagram?

I've had an Instagram account for awhile but have never done much with it. However, Laura uses it all the time. Now... I'm not into taking selfies, but I started playing around with it a bit this past weekend and I have to admit I've enjoyed taking scenery and still-life pictures. I love the effect of using filters and frames. Here are some fun shots I've taken the last few days.
A photo posted by @karlacinid on

A photo posted by @karlacinid on

A photo posted by @karlacinid on

A photo posted by @karlacinid on

A photo posted by @karlacinid on
The building above is the print shop where Lyle works. I had just dropped some of the Sonlight reps off at the airport and my work responsibilities were done for the week, so I was running errands with him. It felt good to think about something besides work for a little while.

Let me know if you have an Instagram account, so I can follow you! I don't have very many connections on there yet.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Sonlight Fun

This past week at work was a lot of fun... as well as pretty intense... with our annual Sonlight Training Conference with the convention rep team for the upcoming homeschool convention season. Our reps come from all over the country. I've worked with a lot of the same ladies over the years and have made some good friends, so it was great to see them again, as well as meet our new reps. We laughed, enjoyed good food.. and learned a lot.
I used to fly in for this event, but this year I got to help organize it. Even with all the extra work this time, I came away excited about the upcoming convention season, as I always do. My first convention will be in Loveland, Colorado on March 13 and 14. Lots to do between now and then!
Something else fun is going on at work as well. Sonlight is celebrating their 25th anniversary this year, and they have several exciting events lined up throughout the year. The celebration will be kicking off with a free online event this coming Thursday evening featuring Sonlight's founder and owner, Sarita Holzmann, as well as guest speakers, Heidi St. John and Crystal Paine. This event is called Inspire 25 and will include some great PRIZES as well as inspiring sessions. I'll be there. I hope you'll join me!
Sonlight Blog Party
And then, the other thing I'm involved in is Sonlight's year-long blog party. On the 25th of each month I'll be joining up with other homeschool bloggers to share my stories with a different topic each month. If you blog I encourage you to join the party. Again, there will be PRIZES! Plus, it's a great way to gain new readers.

Looking forward to a great year!