Saturday, November 7, 2015

From Around the World, Stories from Nepal

We are five days into my Man's 10 day trip to Nepal. 

God has been awfully good to us and we are doing well. Darrin and three men from our church left at 4 am Monday morning and spent the next day and a half traveling across the world. His purpose there is to teach and encourage the Nepali people.

We are able to send texts back and forth which has been a wonderful perk but since the time difference is nearly 11 hours, there are just a few windows of time in 24 hours where both of us are awake enough to communicate.

When I wake up in the morning the training that he is participating in is just finishing and by 10 am in my morning, he is hitting the sleeping bag in his night time.  As the days are ending for the kids and I here and we are crawling into our beds, Darrin is eating breakfast and preparing to teach for the day.

So, we've taken to writing things down on our "Nepal Wall" so that we can remember to tell him  and ask him when we have the opportunity.

We are keeping to our normal schedule during these days and the time seems to be passing as quickly as we'd hoped.

I've been writing daily updates at our church's website and you can access them via the link below…

Check back in a few days for some daddy's gone tales...

Thursday, October 22, 2015

The Lunch Lady and the Lunch Loser

Every Wednesday Kate awakens with a bit of a spring in her step, a hitch in her giddy-up, a sparkle in her eye. Wednesdays are Kate's day to shine. Kate, this middle daughter of mine stands out from the pack on Wednesdays and for good reason…she's the provider of Thursday lunches for the six of us and she takes her job so seriously that she begins prep for her task first thing on Wednesday morning. With a spiral notepad in hand she bops from sibling to sibling and from parent to parent attempting to discern what we'd like in our Thursday lunches.

Her efforts are often met with one syllable grunts or even a vague brush-off and instructions to "ask me later." It is after all, way before coffee has been adequately consumed and it is also a smidgen early and therefore difficult to decide if mustard and mayo on your next day's lunch would be best, or if ham or turkey or both is preferable and should one go with cheese or without?

After being diverted to her math book and her grammar lessons and anything else we can aim her towards, Kate is no less determined to collect the data and get down to business. We have decreed that no Thursday lunch-making is permitted until after our post-church dinner on Wednesday evening.

However, all throughout Wednesday afternoon clues appear here and there about the house that Thursday lunch is weighing heavily on Kate's mind. A loaf of bread from the freezer magically appears on the countertop so that it can be thawed before it is called into action later in the day, and a laundry basket, filled with empty lunch bags, mysteriously makes it way to a forgotten corner of the dining room.

Finally, after we all roll in the door from church and eat and scatter toward homework and lesson plans and bed, Kate, with the kitchen all to herself, gets down to business. With her notepad beside her,  she fills the orders, adds some extras and a water bottle and a napkin, always a napkin, and somehow finds a way to place all six lunch bags in the fridge for the night.

When Thursday morning dawns, she eats breakfast and sets our lunches out on the counter for us to grab on our way out the door. It's a perfect system…unless, even after being reminded, you forget to grab your lunch…like I did this morning. I am the only one to have forgotten their lunch so far this year…I felt special.

I happily ate the spare sandwich Kate had packed for Cole and all was right in my world. I came home and my lunch bag was waiting for me exactly where Kate left it for me.

…which means that I'll be in good shape tomorrow when everyone else is looking for their lunch!

…unless, of course, Kate beats me to it.

All of this rushing out of bed and getting dressed as quickly as we can, throwing papers and books into our backpacks, inhaling breakfast and trying to remember to take our lunch and all four kids with us as we pile into the car makes me ask again, 

"How do regular, normal families do this day in and day out?" 

This, dear reader, is possibly the most compelling reason that we homeschool…ok, that and the thought of signing 3 dozen Valentine's Day cards times four every year.  

Deep and compelling, that's us!

Happy Weekend!!

For more adventures with Kate:
The Teacher and the Taught
In the Kitchen with Kate (and a recipe)
In Which Kate Learns About Botox
In Which I Almost Let Down UPS!
Kate the Great (and oldie)
Kate the Great (a title so nice I've used it at least twice!)

Monday, October 12, 2015

School Stuff and Such … Lots of Links I Like

In the last few months I've met many young families who are considering or who have decided to begin homeschooling their children. I'd like to say right now…in the middle of October when the novelty is getting a little less shiny and feeling a bit less like a cool new thing and is hinting like it's going to be a bit more of a challenge...

Welcome to the Adventure!

You are gonna love it, and you will also be terrified.

You are going to learn so much, and wonder if your children are learning enough.

You've probably already declared your purpose and your reasons aloud but question your every decision in the quiet of your heart.

You can't believe you GET to participate so deeply in helping your sweet kids as they learn and you can't believe you are ACTUALLY responsible for helping your sweet kids as they learn!

You get to choose what your children learn…WAIT!... you must decide what they need for life?

You will wake up each morning (in September) and eagerly call the kids to their lessons, but there will be other mornings (in say…February) when you will not want to get out of bed at all.

Eventually you realize that bad days don't equal failure, they make you a better teacher and they make your students better learners and that, dear homeschoolin' mamma is great success indeed.

Below are some resources and links that I've found helpful in the last little bit that have helped me on this homeschooling adventure…

Tsh Oxenrider interviews homeschooling "legend" Susan Wise Bauer on her podcast. Susan's wise words helped me as I approached the education of my young grade-schoolers and my high schoolers.

Lee Binz's goal with her site The Home Scholar is to help homeschooling parents successfully teach their students through high school. A friend told me about The Home Scholar earlier this summer and I've learned so much. Even if you aren't ready to even consider high school education for your little ones just yet, Lee has shared a free webinar in which she interviews Dr. Jay Wile (author of my kids' science texts) about what studies are showing about homeschooled kids. There are lots of charts and graph and statistics but I found them all very interesting and not too overwhelming. I listened to it while I prepared dinner and am going to share it with my kids and my Man as soon as we are all home together again at the same time…maybe next October? 

I've already mentioned that one of my favorite podcasts is called Read Aloud Revival and Sarah Mackenzie, the host and creator, has begun season 2. There are so many gems from season 1 that will encourage new homeschoolers including:
 Episode 1: Reading Aloud to Older Kids  (but it's not just about that…there is gold here for newbies) Sarah interviews Andrew Pudewa (author of my kids' writing curriculum and learning expert who's words on any topic are always worth leaning in to hear) 
Episode 2: How to Talk to your Kids About Books an interview with Adam Andrews 
Episode 4 and Episode 5 Jim Weiss Shares Tips for Reading Aloud and Jim Weiss on the Importance of Reading Aloud Imperfectly. (Once more, these two episodes include way more than their titles suggest. Mr. Weiss has been around the homeschooling community for many years and has many great thoughts to share.)

I think that once you've gotten these podcasts into your ears, you'll be excited to listen to all the rest as well. They are excellent.

A new podcast just dropped which is all about what we call Morning Time (I talked about Morning Time at The Wright Place HERE last school year.) Pam Barnhill of EdShapshots is the host of Your Morning Basket and in episode one she interviews the guru of Morning Time Cindy Rollins. 

Nurturing Competent Communicators is a FREE audio download from the aforementioned Andrew Pudewa. I was able to hear Mr. Pudewa give this talk live at a homeschool conference and it's worth WAY more than free. 
Here's the download link:   

When you finish getting an earful here are some handy resources for the actual teaching and such:

Free handwriting printables are found at Handwriting for Kids . Take time to look around this site, it's full of super tools.

For awesome book recommendations get beg, borrow or steal (ok, don't steal…but it'd be worth your punishment) Honey for a Child's Heart by Gladys Hunt. Book recommendations are sorted by age and the descriptions make it easy to discern if a book will be a good fit for your child or not. 

One of my favorite websites for booklists for children is Mt. Hope Chronicles which is currently in the middle of a series featuring one children's book per day for 31 days. Click over there for some inspiration…book lists abound!

Already mentioned above, Sarah Mackenzie blogs at Amongst Lovely Things and provides book recommendations and lists and general homeschooling helps and tricks.

I learned about Melissa Wiley from The Read Aloud Revival podcast and have come to enjoy her blog Here in the Bonney Glen which is also, full of books and schooling.

Finally, you may enjoy a quick hop over to , it's a sweet quiet place to ponder and gain encouragement for the journey ahead. Their tag line is "Allies in Imagination" and they are that.

Blessings on you and your students as you learn together.

We're cheering you on from over here at

The Wright Academy.

Here are a few more posts on our homeschooling adventures:

Homeschooling "Who-ha"

Homeschool Yearbook

In Which We are Joined by Aristotle

Awwwww NUTS!! It's Time for School Again!?

School Pictures

Home is where they school ya!

Writing for Rolos (Super Easy Recipe here)

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Your WHAT?!?!

She stepped out onto the porch looking at her hands quizzically.

"Which one of these is my cuss finger?"

"What?" I asked, "What do you mean?"

"The other day Kate told me not to hold up a finger all by itself because it was bad. I asked Dad if that was true and he said that when you hold up that one finger it means the same as a cuss word," she explained.

"Oh," I said, still trying to catch up with the story.

"And," said she in a huff, "Daddy wouldn't even tell me which cuss word it meant. He said I was too little."

To Molly being told she was too little was as much an insult as the witnessing the cuss finger personally.

"So," she continued getting back to her point, "which of these is my cuss finger?"

Pointing to the appropriate finger (or inappropriate finger as was the case), I smothered a grin thinking that I'd not planned to cover such things so early in second grade this year…or any year for that matter!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

In which we are joined by Aristotle…sort of.


We are still present in the universe…the real live one, not very much in this virtual one lately. Things in our world have been humming along as usual and we've finally begun our school year. Yesterday was our first official day, though last week we began a test run to stretch our school muscles.

This year I've students in high school and grade school. Next year I'll have students in high school, middle school and grade school…but I'd rather not ponder that just now!

A new feature for our learning this year is the once-a-week addition of an assistant teacher to teach science and any other subjects that may become necessary to Kate and Molly so that I can focus my anxious attention onto the high schoolers and feel more confident getting them ready for a little thing called…THE REST OF THEIR LIVES! No pressure!

The implementation of Science Tuesday worked well yesterday and am hoping that it serves us all well as the year progresses. Because of her status as Science teacher, we've begun to refer to my Mom as Aristotle…we think it works!

Our morning time line up (for now) is:

A daily devotion from New Morning Mercies by Paul David Tripp
A reading from Reformation Heroes by D.M. and Diana Kleyn
A song often written by Keith and Kristin Getty
We are working our way through retellings of Shakespeare plays in Tales From Shakespeare by Charles and Mary Lamb (currently The Tempest)
At this point we shoo the high schoolers off to begin work on THE REST OF THEIR LIVES while
Kate and Molly and I (and Aristotle if it's a Tuesday) read a chapter or two from North Or Be Eaten by Andrew Peterson

"The capacity to learn is a gift; the ability to learn is a skill; the willingness to learn is a choice." ~Brian Herbert

May we ALL choose with wisdom!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Awwwww NUTS!! It's time for school again!?

 School is just about to be in session here at The Wright Place and the teacher and the youngest pupil are ready to roll. The others simply need convincing. Classes are planned, study materials have been ordered and have arrived, pencils have been sharpened and notebooks have been labeled. 

School things are in order but as prepared as I think I am there will be gaps in our days right out of the gate. Some of the gaps will be surprising to The Academy but one gap I am already aware of ...there will be hungry students and they will be hungry at the most surprising times of our school day. Every year it happens, every year it is a surprise. 

Actually, every day it happens and every day I am surprised BUT not unprepared. As we make our lists for our biweekly trips to the grocery store we always check to be certain we are well stocked with almonds and peanuts and some sort of dried fruit, usually cranberries, and if I'm feeling particularly fond of my students I just might add some chocolate chips to the list. 

With these ingredients in my cabinets, my kids are free to get snacky anytime they want. They love this simple mix (equal parts of all ingredients) and they can make it for themselves in what ever amount is necessary to satisfy their desperate pangs. Usually they need to make approximately 4-5 servings because after years at this game I know that hunger seems to be contagious. 

Who knew? 
One student gets a gurgly stomach and before long the other three students are downright starving and the teacher is simply ravenous.

It takes less than five minutes and ... Our hunger is satisfied and we've eaten a bunch of nuts which will sustain us for a surprisingly long time and we've eaten more than our fair share of white chocolate...some more than others, if the teacher has looked away long enough for little fingers to do some quick sorting. 

There you have it, my make-it-on-your-own, get-you-through-geometry-and-grammar, grab-it-on-our-way-to-co-op, no-fuss-big-fill school time snack. If, like me, you are always on the look out for healthy, satisfying snacks for your gang, check out the great ideas that the folks at are featuring here." 

Happy beginning of school from The Wright Academy snackers!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

We're Back with A Birthday

Today is a much anticipated day on our family calendar. 

Today we celebrate a big wild personality here in our home.

This morning Kate woke Molly up and asked her, "What's for breakfast this morning?"

Molly answered, "ICE CREAM CAKE!!"


...when it was time to celebrate it was only my Man and I who had assembled around the cake.

"Well," said I, "I'm the only one who showed up for your party."

"I knew some day it would eventually come to that." Eeyore my Man answered.

Eventually, everyone gathered and we sang and we ate and we, with tears in our eyes (not really), and adoration in our hearts (absolutely), celebrated our fearless leader as he embarks on another year of life.

Molly squeezed his neck and wished him the most loving of Happy Birthday wishes saying, 

"NOW it's only 9 more days…"
(till her birthday…oh yes, really).

Happy Birthday

to our oft unsung Hero.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

The Rope Givers

I've been pondering a picture which, as I jot these words, hasn't actually been captured with a camera yet, but I pray that it will EVER remain in my heart.

Last week I wrote about my Man and I feeling at the end of our rope with house bother and stuff…I was wrong though, we were not quite at rope's end…later that same night we noticed that our air conditioner was not keeping up with the heat and humidity. The little kids slept on the couch that night because their room was too hot to handle and we, my Man and I, laid awake all night wondering what in the world we were gonna do as we listened to the AC unit outside our window churn and churn with no apparent result.

When morning dawned we were no cooler and no calmer but we decided to call on our church family's resident "conditioned air" expert who arrived at our home in short order, diagnosed the problem and just as he was telling us how to fix it, another "I'll-be-right-there-to-help-you-out" member of our church family appeared and soon provided the necessary equipment to fix us all up.

The next morning, I woke up to the coolest, crispest, conditioned air ever AND a raging case of all-over-poison-ivy which I'd picked up on Monday while digging in the yard…

…cue "end-of-rope music."

But when you, because of your precarious position at the end of the rope, are in danger of just letting go of that rope… 

God sends The Rope Givers.

People who offer to deliver emergency ice cream to your door. 

Others who invite you to come away for a while and open their pool to you.

Some who take time out from their own much bigger struggle and hand you help to make things easier.

Another who lets you shed a tear or two into their otherwise calm and happy existence and shows you sweet compassion.

People who text you with the perfect words at the perfect time to make you grin or to laugh aloud or to simply tell you that they are praying for you.

Friends who ask you how it's going even when they know your answer isn't going to be fun to endure.

Someone who brings a great big truck to haul away your mess and others who show up to help you fill it up.

There are those who bring pie...

…and some who take your kids.

{Award for Best Shirt for the Occasion}

Friends who bring dessert and stay to help with dinner.

Those who will answer their phone even when they know it's you calling and they show up with buckets full of tools and time and talents and a pressure washer.

Dear ones who can make poison ivy disappear and take its itch away…

…and there are those who show up

… with shovels

…and wheelbarrows

…and smiles?!

These are all The Rope Givers.

I've taken my picture, the one I'd only, till now had in my head…

It's more than just a picture of shovels and pickaxes…

…it's work done and more promised tomorrow.

…it's encouragers checking in…again.

…it's folks with better things to do, putting my short rope on their radar and showing up again and again and again with cookies and shovels and trucks and time and energy and effort and…


...enough to hang on to for a long time to come.


Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. 
Hebrews 10:24

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