Wednesday, July 23, 2014


From our earliest days of educational pursuits, I have been mindful of the "home" in homeschooling. It was important to me to take the road less traveled and feel free to stop and sniff some roses along the way if so inclined. For a period of time our family did get involved in a co-op in Ohio, but the focus for our family was social, not academic. Once again, when we moved to Florida, we participated in a lovely little co-op that was primarily focused on relationship. Our "classes" circled around building model rockets and launching them, learning how to knit, or reading Do Hard Things, and having a discussion group about it. I loved the relationships that came out of that experience, but as my boys were growing older, we were finding it difficult to attract other boys of similar age to the group so we decided to suspend it.

This past year was a year of reflection for me. No longer involved in any groups at all, our family rallied around home and hearth and spent the year delving into the mysteries of the Ancient World, the wonders of the science of physics, and the delights of Dickens and other classic literature. It was a good year. My oldest sat for his first SATs and ACTs and performed very well. We went on a few college visits, and my middle guy finished out middle school. My sweet girl continued to thrive in her custom designed curriculum, and we were all feeling pretty content. My middle guy, though, was lonely.

Now, as I should know by now, yet continually seem to need reminders of, God knew our family's needs before I knew to articulate them. While I was at the library one day, waiting for my oldest to finish volunteering and working on some knitting, a woman walked up to me and asked to join me with her knitting. This was more than a year ago. Through our conversation I learned that she also homeschooled, knitted, blogged, and had a child who volunteered at the library. She also had an academic co-op. From that perchance meeting a friendship grew, and through it all I continued to learn more about her co-op.

Michelle, Appliejuice, as she is known on her Wordpress blog and in Ravelry, loves science (I don't love teaching it). She was preparing to teach an honors biology course with Apologia (that's the text I use), and she had kids that my guy would love to get to know! It took some prayer, some guidance, and some courage, but eventually I decided that our family would join the Summit family as well! I traded in one mama tired of teaching biology and instead got one mama who is happily going to teach British Literature this upcoming fall to high school students!

Upon learning of my assigned class, I began writing the lesson plan. It's taken me a couple of months, because I have been so careful in trying to plan everything out. Here are the following texts that I'll be using for the course:

To say I'm excited is an understatement! It is such a huge privilege to me to be able to introduce such wonderful works of literature to these students. Literature is so much more than an entertaining story. It is man's wrestling with himself, with the human condition, with God, with fate. It is an attempt to make sense of the world, and of its workings. It's a conversation about the divine or with the divine, or even in spite of the divine. Sometimes the author presents a world view that is comfortable and easily identifiable, and other times he makes us squirm with unease and unfamiliarity. And when we get to the end of the book, we learn not only about the author and his world, but we learn a little more about ourselves. I count myself truly blessed to have this opportunity, and am counting down the days!

To check out the lessons, head on over to my Summit Co-Op Lessons page!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Big Boats and Big Fun!

I like big boats, and I cannot lie!

Well, I really love to watch the Suncoast Offshore Boat Races, and that's just what my family did over the Independence Day holiday! Held every year in Sarasota, Florida just off of the soft sandy shores of Lido Beach, there is plenty of fun to be had by all. This year our family traveled out with my husband's parents to enjoy all the excitement. We were especially fortunate to get hotel rooms right on the beach with balcony views so we could watch the races in style!
Our view from the beautiful Lido Beach Resort!
These races are incredibly popular. We arrived the night before race day and the beach was calm and quiet. The very next morning when we looked over the balcony, it seemed every inch of space was occupied by a tent or towel. I loved being able to view in style everything going on below. If we got hungry, the room was equipped with an efficiency kitchen that served us quite well. We were a bit stymied about how to keep our chips crisp until my hubby hit on a genius solution!
The hanger came in handy!
Most of the time you could find us sitting out on the balcony watching the event in action...

It was also the perfect place to twirl a spindle. I brought two little ones, a Snyder Mini Turkish drop spindle and a carbon fiber Microtrindle from the Trindleman. To complete the collection I had a small sampling of fiber that I picked up from A Good Yarn in Sarasota. I'm not certain of what type of fiber it is, but I suspect it's BFL with some silk added. Regardless, it spun like a dream and I managed to get almost 75 yards out of just a few grams.

I love how cheery the colors are!
Yes, I watched the boats, too. There were two heats. The first had smaller boats while the final heat had the biggest ones. They blew over the water quickly while helicopters chased them to catch the action.

I wish I had better photos, but my poor tiny Canon was doing the best it could to keep up.

The weather could not have been more agreeable. It was not too hot, and we had a nice cool breeze. While we saw it rain off in the Gulf, it never came on shore. We were even treated to a gorgeous rainbow.
Showers in the distance bring...

a beautiful rainbow!
 On our final evening, we were so thrilled to be able to sit and watch the sun sink into a soft bank of clouds and turn the most brilliant shade of tangerine orange.
Yes, fun was had by all the family!