CFE Class of 2017

I guess I am still in denial, but my oldest is a senior in high school now. I have almost successfully homeschooled her since she was in kindergarten. It has been quite a ride. We have been a part a wonderful homeschool community for over 10 years and yesterday we did a photoshoot with her “classmates”. Many she has known since they were wee ones.

The CFE class of 2017 will be the largest one in our homeschool group’s history. Because of this, we decided to do a group photoshoot.  We decided to have a little fun and have a theme – hipster Disney. The girls really enjoyed it with the guys playing along.  We had a wonderful time. It did prove a little hard to get a date – but we finally did it yesterday.  We were missing a couple of their friends, but we worked with who could be there. I had fun shooting these kids, and I let them take charge and do what they wanted.  I laughed so hard at them creating what they wanted. What a fun memory that I will share with my daughter and her friends. I will have editing these pictures. I am also thankful for all of them and the bond they share.


A huge thanks to Orchard House for allowing us run of your property for pictures.


First Day of Homeschool 2015-16

Wednesday was the first day of Dear’s Homeschool for Girls.  We were going to start the day before, but an expected medical issue came up and we had to delay the start.  One of the perks of homeschooling is that you don’t have to worry about what you are going to wear or rushing out the door or buying all the school supplies.  It is almost like any normal day – get up breakfast but instead of goofing around – we started school.  It was a little slow going, but we started back into the groove.  I had been working on getting rid of clutter and cleaning up the schoolroom for us to start this week.

I had not finished everyone’s lesson plans, but we were going to start – ready or not.  Not every subject was starting, but we had a nice start. I am excited about this new year.  I will have 2 in high school and 1 in elementary.  Hannah is somewhat self-motivated and get her stuff done and we just have to double check and keep her motivated.  With Emily, we have to keep her focused on task which we have had to do since she was little. Rae just wonders why she has to do all of this and why she is not doing the same thing her sisters did when they were her age.  She is a different kind of learner, and so many things have changed since they were in 4th grade.

I asked them all the same question about the new year. What subject are they looking forward to? Favorite school activity? Least favorite?

Hannah – She is looking forward to her AP English 12 class. She loves reading and writing and this was easy for her.  Favorite activity that she currently is enjoying is tennis. She is not looking to some of her college classes where she has to drive to multiple places.

Emily – Now being in high school (YIKES!!) she is looking forward to her Spanish and Writing class. As far as activities it is drama because she moves up to the high school homeschool drama group. Her least favorite, which has been the same every year, math (Algebra 1)

Rae – She is excited about learning Astronomy and starting tennis back up. She is not looking forward to history. While taking this pic she also informed me she doesn’t like school at all.


Keeping it real for what it is like to take pictures with these 3. Life in our school.


My prayer for our new year is that we do everything for His Glory. We strive to always do our best even when it is hard. I also pray we will not get caught up in the busyness of the world around us, and we focus on what is important and do what God has called us to do.

Hears to a new year – may it be the best one yet!!


Weekends – How I love you!

After my baking was over on Friday, it was time for the weekend to get going. Friday afternoon the Dear Sisters had a tennis match at home against Worthington Christian. Hubby and I decided that it would be fun to ride our bikes to the match. We have not been bike riding all summer, and we thought it would be a perfect day for it. After a little stop and start by the little one, we finally made it to the courts.  I was truly a beautiful afternoon for tennis and a bike ride. The little one was happy knowing there was going to be Whit’s in the end.

Hannah and Emily got their second chance at playing doubles since they were rained out earlier in the week.  It is funny to hear them announce them as the Dear Sisters. They played great together and won their match 6-1, 6-0.  They both had great shots, and Emily got an Ace. It was a great win for them.  It was great for the team as well since they won too.

"Venus and Serena"

“Venus and Serena”

After their match, the big girls went to teen night.  They were so happy to see their friends, since they had not seen many of them since the end of the school year.  I am so thankful we have a wonderful homeschool group with families who are investing in our children’s lives.

You would think, the weekend could not get any better, but wait – we cleaned the playroom and “tunnel” (what we call our storage area). The girls were not too excited, but it had to be done. I know it was not what everyone wanted to do, but we had clothes to be put away, things to be cleaned and organized, and another got step forward to be ready to start school.  I’m not sure we are ready for school, but the room is getting there.

My favorite part of the weekend is always Sunday. I get to come together with my family and my faith family to worship.  It was a wonderful day of worship and preaching. OK, I may be biased about the preacher, but he is my favorite.

This weekend has gotten me ready to face the week, but weekends I do love when you come around. What was your favorite part of your weekend?


Our Homeschool Curriculum

Our family is entering its 10th year of homeschooling.  I can’t believe we are still doing this.  I never thought I would be a homeschool mom, but here I am and so thankful for this journey.  There are days I almost wanted to put them on the bus, but we have stayed the path God laid before us. Do we have the perfect homeschool? NO!  Are there days I want to throw in the towel? YES!  You know what – with God’s help and grace – we keep going! I have asked the girls if they wished we had put them in school, and the older two are glad they are homeschooled. The little one is happy to be learning at home too since she has to go to school for her ELL class. The school seemed to overwhelming for her.  Homeschooling is also great for families who adopt older children to allow them to work at their own speed.

Every year different moms ask what curriculum do I use? We are traditional homeschoolers meaning I am the primary teacher and choose my own curriculum. We have used so many different kinds over the years, and after trial and error we have zoned in to what works for us. Currently, I homeschool one girl in elementary, one in middle school, and one in high school. I try not to think too hard on that, or I may go a little crazy.  In the early years we used primarily Abeka. Abeka is what I actually used in elementary school, so I was familiar with it. I also liked that the language arts was phonics heavy. As the girls got older I started to branch out and see what was out there. Through the years I started pulling in Math-u-See, Bob Jones, Apologia, IEW, unit studies, and what ever worked. The girls have been in different co-ops that contributed to their learning.  I also found that being in a great homeschool group and going to homeschool conventions also helped me learn more of what was out there. I got more comfortable with my role as mom and teacher.

Several years ago we added to our family thru adoption. WOW! Did that upset the homeschooling apple cart? I was just going to use what worked for the other girls. Boy was I wrong. My new daughter was not like the other two and learned differently. I had to go out and learn about new curriculum and methods. I had to figure out how to fill in the holes that were missing from her early life. I also had to get some outside help.  We still struggle, but homeschooling has been the best option for the little one.

So, what do I use? Here is what we are currently using for each child:

  • Rae – Math-u-See, Spelling-u-See, Explode the Code, Unit Studies(she is a visual learning so we are working through different units to learn. A great resource for these –
  • Emily – Bob Jones World Studies(history), Math-U-See Pre-Algebra, Apologia Gen. Science(this is a great one to do with a co-op), Bob Jones Writing and Grammar, Bob Jones Literature, Shorter Catechism (hand writing), Wordly Wise (vocabulary). I am also sprinkling in reading books and using the Total Language Plus directed reading guides. I also hope to add in Grammar of Poetry by Roman Roads Media.
  • Hannah – AP English (thru local high school), Math-U-See Algebra 2, Apologia Biology (with co-op), History/Government is done with her dad. They usually read biographies of historical significance, but currently they are doing the Constitution 101 class from Hillsdale College online. Mandarin (online class thru BYU)

So, it is hard to pick one curriculum for us and just go with it. Early on it is trial and error, but I look at the scope and sequence of each one and how they approach learning the subject.  I do look for a more conservative curriculum that doesn’t seek to change history or ignore creation. You may see in my list that I do have favorites. Why did I choose them?

  • Math-U-See– It is sequential. My husband(the math man) approved it, and it explains math more than just memorizing facts.
  • Bob Jones History – It goes sequentially through history, and it also contains Biblical history, and it is also challenging with each year.
  • Spelling-U-See – It is the sister to MUS, and was recommended for the little by the Dr. Karen Holinga the reading doctor.
  • Apologia Science – It is based on creationism, and in the younger years we were able to do science together. I also finding it more challenging for the middle school and high school ages.
  • Wordly Wise – This is a great vocabulary builder. It has help my girls when it comes to hard words and doing well on achievement tests, and now the PSAT and ACT.

One funny thing about our school is that we have named it. Many families name their schools for different reasons. Our school is The Dear School for Girls. The girls have fun with it when telling their non-homeschool friends.


Blog Article

This past summer I was able to connect with the Rebecca Keliher the founder of HEDUA at the Virginia homeschool convention. My girls used their planners, and they are designed by homeschoolers for homeschoolers. I also started using their wall calendar and the family planner this year. I really enjoying using their items and they are laid out perfectly for homeschoolers.

Rebecca and I started talking about blogging, adoption, and our family’s ministry. She was very interested what our family does and asked me to send the links to our ministry.  She forwarded my info to her blog people, and they asked me to write an article on how to help teens have a quiet time.  I was very excited to write for them, and with the help with my hubby to edit my article – we sent it off.  I was not sure when it would be posted.

Yesterday, I received notification from twitter that it had been posted here. I was excited to have my first article in a more public forum. It has been viewed many times, and I do hope it is an encouragement to parents and teens.

School Time Again

It’s that time of year when school is starting and all of us homeschool moms are trying to stretch summer just a little longer.  While Hannah has started her one class, our official school has not.  Hannah is taking one class – AP English – at Granville High School this year under her tennis coach.  We felt this class would be great college prep at this time for her and something we could not teach her to the best of our abilities. I get to participate in the morning carpool line at the school, something I didn’t know if I would ever get to do.  We are thankful that our school district is very welcoming and accommodating.

Tennis is also in full swing. Multiple matches and practices have been held. Many trips to the school and courts each day. Both girls are having a good season, and I hope they continue to improve throughout the season.

We are hoping to get our new school year started after Labor Day. I will finish getting everything organized and find my desk. I need to get old books put away and get the new all out and organized.  The girls are somewhat excited to start back. They are mostly excited about drama, art, and band starting back.  I am looking forward to seeing all the moms again.

Here’s to a new school year. I am trying to come up with an inventive first day of school pic.

hannah's first day of high school

Changes are a coming….

Things are busy in the Dear Family. Changes moving around in AbideWithHim world. I am working on changing up my blog and moving to another blog platform. I have secured a new website It is up, but not much going on there yet. I am wanting to focus on a few things such at homeschooling, adoption and living with special needs child, and life in the ministry.

I hope to up and completely running soon. So hang in there with me.

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