Salvage, Stitches, Storage, and Sadness

Salvage, Stitches, Storage, and Sadness

April 22, while driving in Michigan at 11pm (about to call it a night), we came to an intersection with a blinking yellow light. We had the right of way. A car on the intersecting road decided to go. I slammed on the SUV brakes, Caleb slammed on the truck brakes, and the RV brakes didn’t work right (and they worked fine up until this point). The RV kept going, ripped the hitch in the truck bed almost completely out, slammed into the cab and back tail light area, and the truck slammed into our SUV.

We were able to coast into a local grocery store in White Lake, about an hour east of Lansing. Everyone was fine. The truck and RV were totalled by the insurance companies. The SUV probably would have been but we only had liability on it. It is still drivable. We also ended up getting another truck already (although now it needs an EGR delete). We couldn’t finance another RV until the insurance paid for the other one. They wouldn’t pay until we moved out. I had took pictures and videos on my smart phone but then the screen broke and I am back to a flip phone.

We visited the local Baptist Church the day after the wreck and have fell in love with the people. Everyone has been so helpful and welcoming. A loving family has welcomed us into their home while we wait on the bank to finance us. All our stuff was in a 5×10 ft storage unit until a few days ago when we moved it to the pastor’s garage. We have enjoyed helping out at the church when we can and now call it home.

Caleb has had a job since April 25th but got injured on the job after two weeks of working​ there. While cutting down a tree with a chainsaw, the tree fell quicker than planned (his boss didn’t have the trunk held tight), branches hit the chainsaw which swung back and hit Caleb’s knee. He got 12 stitches. He was still working but was overdoing it a lot so missed about 10 days of work (spread out, not all in a row). It was at a bad spot and kept splitting open. It looks way better now.

When he first got the stitches

Also at the end of May, my family had another gut wrenching blow. My younger brother overdosed (not Herion) and was in the hospital for four days before he passed. He was my step dad’s only child. My stepdad had passed in January from esophagal cancer. My family is all deeply grieved and will never​ be the same. We are still very much in shock because no one expected my always-smiling, 22 year old brother to die. The day before he spent making future plans with his girlfriend. It still just feels like a dream that we wish we could wake up from!

We miss you two so much!

As far as my family (the four of us) goes, we plan to get a new RV soon, Lord willing. Also my husband is probably switching jobs soon to something more permanent. I will update more as the Lord reveals His plans for our lives. He has done tons of pruning on us and we keep our faith and hope on His future plans for us. We are loving where He is leading us and just need to give things time to fall into place!
Rest in Peace 

Dakota (Cody)

December 30, 1994 -May 30, 2017

Always smiling!
My little brother will be missed so much!
I could always depend on him to be a great Uncle “Cookie” to m boys. Lucas gave him the nick name when he was younger.

Our Roadschooling: Math and Thoughts on Homeschool Conventions 

Our Roadschooling: Math and Thoughts on Homeschool Conventions 

Last year when I was looking for curriculum for our 8 year old son, I wanted to find a homeschool convention to help me out. I found one and was able to browse all the different types of homeschooling curriculum you can possibly think of! Anything for Preschool through Seniors, any subject, any learning form, any approach, and even learning games. 

Homeschool conventions are great to go to at least once towards the beginning of your homeschooling journey. Homeschooling conventions offer you a chance to figure out what is available out there but it can also be extremely overwhelming. When you visit, have a general idea of what you are looking for.

Lucas had started last school year out in second grade but the Christian school principle suggested he repeat 1st grade since his reading was behind their advanced A Beka reading program. Seeing him struggle on reading homework every night, we agreed. That made a dilemma for figuring out what curriculum I should use for this current school year though. I was torn between 2nd and 3rd grade. After going to the homeschooling convention, I was able to make these decisions.

One major subject I was indecisive on was Math. Did he need to do second grade math or was he advanced enough for third? I ended up searching out different companies that offered 2nd grade math curriculum. Most the ones I looked at seemed a bit too simple or written in a style that would confuse my son. I revisited a booth called Teaching Textbooks that only offered 3rd grade and on. 

You can do all the lessons on the computer, in just the book, or use both. We use both.

The Teaching Textbooks booth offered books to review and even offered samples of the CDs. I was impressed! The first 20 lessons were all things he already was doing at the time. The curriculum is broken down and explained in blocks of 7 lessons and then reviewed with a quiz. Every lecture is explained and gives sample problems to be answered by the student to make sure they understand. Every five lessons has a Bonus Round where the student has about 3 minutes to basically do a digital version of flash cards to earn bonus points. The program keeps track of grades but also allows the parent to delete lessons, quizzes, or bonus rounds that need to be repeated.

Here is his lesson from today.

I will definitely be using Teaching Textbooks from now on in our homeschooling. The book and/or CD form makes it easy to do with or without electricity. I would suggest this program to any family not currently satisfied with their Math curriculum. 

To learn more about Teaching Textbooks, click here.

If looking for other math curriculum, click here.

What Math curriculum do your children use? Don’t forget to follow my blog to keep up with our journey.

Our Roadschooling: Phonics, Spelling, and Vocabulary

Our Roadschooling: Phonics, Spelling, and Vocabulary

At the beginning of the year, I used A Beka’s A Handbook for Reading for Phonics for Lucas. I did not have a solid plan for Spelling or Vocabulary. We tried on-line lists and two books but nothing seemed to work for us. I decided to take a break from Spelling this year until I saw this book:

This book is copyright 1879 and I am very impressed with it! Some words are very dated but I actually respect the older English words this book contains.

My son struggles with using modern day phonics (like A Beka) because phonics books teach that “a” has two different sounds. When in actuality, the dictionary shows “a” has 6 different sounds. Words like ate, care, arm, last, all, and am all have different “a” sounds. There are other differences between modern phonics and this spelling book besides the “a” sounds though. We still use the A Beka book to practice enunciation and consonant blends.

We refer back to these pages often to understand the symbols.

I have recently switched Lucas over to verbal spelling tests since he scores significantly higher on them. He has dyslexia and written tests trip him up a lot. Until we can overcome this struggle, we will stick with verbal spelling tests. It is more important to me that he can spell words than write them down during tests.

He just finished Lesson 5 and only missed 5 words. His biggest mistakes were he spelled the 3 “dr” blend sound words with a “j” or “g”. 

We just went over Lesson 6 today so he can test later in the week. Lesson 5 through Lesson 35 in this book are second grade lessons. The “Sp._.” at the bottom of the page (shown above) is used throughout the book. This book is laid out to be used through 9th grade. I think this $13 purchase was well worth it!

As far as vocabulary goes, we look up spelling words he doesn’t understand. I don’t test him at this age but we do discuss the meanings in detail. I believe learning dictionary skills, basic spelling, and enuciation are more important right now. As long as there is noticable growth in his vocabulary, I see no reason to use tests.

If you are looking for curriculum, click here.

 What curriculum do you use for Phonics, Spelling, and Vocabulary? Do you have any recommendations to help with his dyslexia? Don’t forget to follow my blog to keep up with our journey!

Dothan Area Botanical Gardens 

Dothan Area Botanical Gardens 

My boys and I visited the local botanical gardens today. We walked for 1.5 miles and enjoyed the beautiful sights. Even though it is not the right season to see all the flowers in bloom, there were still quite a few in bloom, mostly the roses. If you are in Dothan, I would recommend checking this place out. Here are some of my favorite pictures I took today:

Do you enjoy botanical gardens? Don’t forget to follow my blog to keep up with my journey.

Lowes, Westgate Park, Walmart

Lowes, Westgate Park, Walmart

Today was a busy walking day since I miss my walking yesterday.My boys and I started out on a Lowes Scavenger Hunt for a homeschooling project for Lucas.

I created this list by picking one or two things from Lowes’ different departments. Yes, I know I spelled chandelier wrong.

Lucas only had trouble finding the lazy Suzan and the triangle. He did great and we walked 1.25 miles while doing it!

Then we went back to Westgate Park to hike the 3.6 dirt trail. We did also check out the Westgate Branch Library while there. Lucas likes Boxcar Children books and I wanted to show him that they had some. 

This library is nice and newer looking.
Family Riding Bikes sculture is pretty! Not sure if it is actually named.
Boy Reading sculpture is quite detailed.

We finished off our walking by getting another .5 miles in while shopping at Walmart. So today’s total miles was almost 5.5 miles

Do you walk to stay in shape? Don’t forget to follow my blog to keep up with my family’s journey.

Land of Cotton Antique Mall

Land of Cotton Antique Mall

Today my boys and I went walking at Land of Cotton Antique Mall in Dothan, AL. It was raining all day today and we needed to get some miles in. 🙂 We walked 1.2 miles there. Then we met up with my husband. We next walked .8 miles at Eagle Wear Outfitters and Hobby Lobby. 1.5 miles were walked at the Northside Mall. I got a total of 3.5 miles in today. Here are pictures  and a video Lucas and I took at the Antique Mall:

Lucas is trying to look like the knight.
I think this might be an antique “skate board”.

Minimalism in an RV: Managing Your Personal Library

Minimalism in an RV: Managing Your Personal Library

This is part of the Minimalism series you can read here.

Today I want to talk about minimizing and managing your personal library. When we first were downsizing to fit into an rv, I put ALL the books on the living room floor. I could not believe how many books we owned!

This was when we first started purging. You can read about this season of my life here.

At that time, we donated trunks and boxes of books to the local library. We did have a few magazines or workbooks that just had to be pitched. We put in the rv the books we wanted to read and shoved the rest in a storage tote to go through at a later date. 

Yesterday I finally felt I was ready to go through the books. Time and distance gives us perspective on what is important to us. I was able to to let go of 1 1/2 Walmart size bags of books and pitch 3 coloring books that were finished up. I had went through my magazines last week and threw out 8 and gave away 3 good ones.

I was excited today to have extra room in my reading cabinet to store small boxes of pictures. 

Since we homeschool while living on the road (roadschooling), I like keeping books for my son to read. To keep reading exciting, we sometimes buy books at thrift stores and phase out old ones when we are done reading them. We also have traded books with fellow homeschooling RVers. This helps keep our bookshelves from overflowing like they use to. Some people like switching over to digital books but my family still prefers curling up with a good book.

This is the games and my oldest son’s book cabinet. Some of my husband’s books are in the hard to reach middle section. Tall books are in the open middle cabinet.

When downsizing your library, try to be honest with yourself about what you will actually read or use for refernce. You might only reference a book now and again but if it is a hard to find book and/or expensive, it is worth keeping. Some minimalist struggle with what to keep in their library. Only you can answer that question. What topics do you love and what stories are favorites that you want to return to? Keep those. 

My husband went to Bible College for two years and likes to use these books and binders for reference. These books are stored in an extra cabinet in our bedroom.

Keep up the hard work minimizing until you feel all the books on your shelves are favorites and great reference books. Try to analyze what’s in your library a couple times of year and replace if you feel the need to. There is no set rules on how big or small your library has to be. The point of minimalism is filling your life with what you love and use. So go on, enjoy those books!

Now that we are downsized, I can’t wait to start reading some of these books! The section to the left is all Bible Studies. My family now has easy assess to these booklets for devotion time.