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Wednesday, January 10, 2024

How about Homeschooling?




I’ve been a coffee gal for I don’t even know how long, but I’ve been a homeschooling momma for over 15 years. Over the course of time, I’ve collected so much information, curriculum, methods, insights and just general encouragement. So many wise friends have poured into me. I want to give back and bless this community.

 Have no fear, I’m still serving coffee here but I’m adding a cup of homeschooling every week too!

I remember 15 years ago when I looked in the eyes of my sweet little boy, we were ready for this! Felix was an eager learner. He had mastered reading by the age of 4 and already loved to read at the age of 5. I wanted to ride that wave! The problem? I had absolutely no direction. I had been privately and publicly schooled for my entire education, the same was true of my husband. I thought, you just bring the schoolhouse to your house. I was WRONG! I picked a full curriculum that was the worst fit for us! It was full of worksheets and book work and short on any coloring or projects or ANYTHING a Kindergartener would want to engage in! In a matter of 3 months, it was blatantly obvious that I had failed on my first time out. WE were miserable. I went back to the drawing board. There was another curriculum that I kept seeing information on and I jumped into that and ordered it. It was a unit study. Before long we were engaged. We were making our own book about Creation, re-creating Jacob’s stew, we were reading and doing math and just enjoying the learning process. As we came closer to the end of the book, it was time to prepare to buy the next one, everything came to a halt! My sweet little boy needed a new math book, to get the correct one, I needed to give him an evaluation. The company we were looking at had a simple test that you print, and scored and based off the score would purchase the book to teach and challenge your child at the level they were at.  The problem with this idea is that my son wanted to answer all the questions even when he didn’t even understand the questions. When he got stuck, he shut down. I scored the test, he was actually 2.5 grades ahead of his actual grade, but he didn’t want to start at 2.5 he wanted to begin at 3! FORTUNATELY for me, we had found a homeschool group and that group was offering an expo within the month. While I browsed the vendor hall, Gabriel (my husband) entertained my kids by making their own way around the hall. I came around the corner to my son and husband chatting it up with a math vendor. This math vendor was an answer to prayers! See, math really isn’t my strong suit. I openly admit that! This was one of those insecurities I personally had about my ability to teach my kids. I was worried about being inadequate. This curriculum, Teaching Textbooks was more like a game when it came to doing the math-work but when it came to teaching time, the computer program would show the work. My only job was to check the program and see where my child was struggling. We had a rule that if you missed more than 80% of the questions, we would review the work. This accounted for typos and simple mistakes. The bulk of our courses were still not completely decided on, but what I learned at that expo was that kids (even kids in the same family) can have different learning styles. Some kids need a kinetic component, while others need visual tools. Felix is absolutely a visual learner. He must see it done and can recall quite a bit of what he’s read. Next in line though, little sister is a kinetic and auditory learner. It took her a little longer to crack the reading code, she has a little bit of dyslexia, this is absolutely a gift for her art but it was a wreck for her when it came time to learn to read. Concepts wouldn’t stick. In that season, the BEST thing I found was Unit Studies! I can’t tell you how discouraged we were with her reading progress. Here’s the thing, this is where I see and hear so many parents in general getting frustrated and stuck! Kids learn at their own pace. I made the mistake of trying to compare Veronica’s learning path to Felix’s. Her superpower? This girl had numbers down really, really quickly! I would do math quizzes in the car as we were driving. I would ask Felix and she would answer while he was still working the numbers out.

Moms, let me encourage you here, learn from my struggles and spills:

As you get started on this homeschool journey, or maybe you’re on it and just need to hear it again…

1)      Find a tribe! Connect with mom’s who’ve been doing this for a bit! You’ll hear things like, it’s ok. I have a kid (or 2) that took some time to pick up those concepts too.

a.       If you can get into a co-op, do! This will give your kids that social time that everyone seems to think is missing in the homeschool world (laughing as I was the one who got in trouble for talking in class)

2)      Find your family’s learning and teaching style. Frankly, bookwork and I aren’t the greatest of friends, we love projects and cooking around here!

3)      Remember! You taught that baby to eat, read and well use the bathroom, you ARE able to teach them math, reading, science and more!

4)      I didn’t talk about this above but get outside! Teach orienteering by taking a hike. We used to pack a snack and hike to read our science book, until one rattlesnake season I heard a rattle and couldn’t see the offending noisemaker.  I was done for that season!

5)      I will share more about this later but try to try out curriculum if you can. Locally my community has a couple of homeschool libraries that we can use but I am an affiliate for a wonderful online curriculum library that has saved me a lot of heartache over the last few years.

6)      Keep your partner in the loop. Whenever we change things up, I run them past my husband as a sounding board.

When all else fails… pray. I mean, pray before it fails, pray as you go through and pray again. If your heart is overwhelmed, grab a cup of coffee (or tea, I do like both), send the kids outside to run around or make art and have a good heart to heart with God.


Homeschooling is such a wild adventure full of hijinks and shenanigans!

Mugs Up!


Friday, December 8, 2023

Hanukkah Honey Latte

 I grew up appreciating the Jewish faith and culture. I want to honor my friends of that heritage and create a recipe to honor that culture. 

To all of my friends who celebrate... Happy Hanukkah!

Hanukkah Honey Latte by Sunny Side Up Sara

Make a Statement- Like it's Your Mission

Make a Statement by Sunny Side Up Sara