Taking a Break from Homeschooling

Stopping to enjoy the summer, relaxing and becoming rejuvenated will do worlds of good for you and your homeschool. I know the temptation is to dive right into looking at catalogs and begin to think about the next year. But, what about taking a mental vacation for a while?  How about doing something you enjoy or doing something that will encourage you? If you like to read, this book comes highly recommended and I just ordered it for myself!

Teaching from Rest: A Homeschooler’s Guide to Unshakable Peace by Sarah Mackenzie is a great encouragement to us. This short book has words of wisdom to help in the homeschool journey.


Do you like to cook or bake? What about trying out a new recipe or baking a batch of your favorite cookies? I got an Instant Pot and have been trying out some recipes this summer. Since I am not teaching and have a little more free time right now, I have been looking at recipes to make. I am not so harried in trying to get something on the table between school and trying to spend quality time with my hubby in the evenings. Can you relate? ūüôā

If you are not sure where to look for ideas,  All Recipes has a bazillion recipes to try. You can also do a google search if you have particular foods or diets to consider and you will find more food blogs that you can possibly go through in one day. How about treating yourself to an hour a day of reading food blogs? You are bound to find at least one or two that are just the kind of cook you are for you to follow. I like to check out Smitten Kitchen for vegetarian dishes.

Maybe you would like to concentrate on getting in shape. There are free apps to help you with that. Here are the ones I have on my phone currently:

  • My Fitness Pal- This can be used to be a daily food and water journal, record your workouts and the calories burned. It can also set up a plan to help you lose weight and measure your progress.
  • Cylemeter or Map My Ride- these measures how far you bike, the elevation, how many calories you burned (yay!), etc.
  • Daily Workout Apps- This free app has routines for abs, arms, butt, cardio, legs, and full workout.

What about your personal relationships with friends and hubby? Just getting to talk to another adult is a vacation in itself when you have been with your children every day. I know you love them beyond measure, but I always appreciate my children more when I have a break from them.

You don’t have to spend a lot of money to get together. Does your city have free summer concerts? What about grabbing a frozen yogurt or a cup of coffee? How about reading a book and then discussing the parts you enjoyed? You can always rent a movie and pop some popcorn. If you are looking for movie reviews for you or your family, Plugged In is produced by Focus on the Family and I appreciate their help in making informed decisions with movies and other media.

Have a great, relaxing week! ~Lisa ~

Terrific Teacher Award



Screen Shot 2018-06-11 at 7.25.14 AMAnd the award for Teacher of the Year goes to… Y-O-U! Yes, you deserve a terrific teacher award. You may not feel like that, but I can assure you that you are a great homeschool teacher. My criteria for selecting you are as follows:

Dedication¬†You have spent countless hours perusing, pondering, and purchasing the curriculum and programs that you think are best for your child(ren). What is at the heart of each item you have chosen is the love you have for your son/daughter. “Is this a good fit? Will this best help my child learn?” are questions that are asked repeatedly as you go through this process or curricula selection. You are the champion of your daughter and her education. She could have no one better than you for her teacher.

Preparation¬†Lesson plans are made or have been purchased, studied, and executed each week. You have been the overseer of your family’s academic studies, which includes keeping track of all of the extracurricular activities (church, play dates, doctor appointments, co-ops,¬†sports, plays, performances, etc.).

Hard working You make sure the family arrives at the breakfast table, eats, takes care of hygiene needs, gets dressed, do their beds, and starts school. I could stop right there, but I know you also go grocery shopping, make meals, do the laundry, clean the house, referee disputes, negotiate peaceful solutions, are a nurse practitioner, dietician, and cheerleader. (Go Team!!)

Excellence I know you don’t settle for second best. You expect and encourage your son to do his best, facing difficulties and supporting him when things are tough. Whether that is handwriting, writing a story, tackling those tough math problems, or navigating the ups and downs of relationships, you have done it all with love and care. You have been chosen to be his mother and there is no one better suited for the job and responsibility!

I want to thank you for serving your family, for teaching subjects you love (or hate lol) and being a terrific teacher. You deserve this award! Can you hear me clapping , cheering, and shouting “Hurray!”? I am!

Love, Lisa

Japan Insights

Last week I wrote about our time in Japan and some things I learned. I wanted to continue with that thought and some additional insights I gained.

Different is good. There were so many new sights and tastes that I was overwhelmed for the first two days. With pictures, miming, and a little bit of English sprinkled throughout the country, you learn to communicate. There were many food items I could not even fashion a guess, but I did try some pretty yummy dishes (while navigating chopsticks!) including Japanese beef, vegetarian Raman, and soba noodles.

The Japanese drive and walk on the opposite side of what we do, so this took some getting used to at first. After a while, you become a pro and walk on the left-hand side of the escalator to allow others to pass. Take away: Appreciate the differences of others; I am glad God didn’t create us all the¬†same.¬† Life would be boring.


Be patient.¬†While walking the busy and crowded streets of¬†Tokyo I only heard one car honk its horn. Pedestrians cross the streets without fear of being run over and people wait at corners for the lights to turn green.¬† People wait in long lines for food, but I never sensed anyone to be grumpy or complaining. Take away:¬†In this “instant society”, may I take the time to let others¬†go before me, may I wait in line patiently and dwell on all the good things of life. Who cares if I have to wait for a minute or longer than I thought I should?

Be respectful. My daughter-in-law has told me that the Japanese culture treats their teachers with great respect and elders¬†are given preferential treatment. I like that on both accounts since I am a teacher, and well, I am getting older. lol Take away:”Do unto as others as you would have them do unto you.”¬† May I always¬†treat others better than I want to be treated.

Remember my past.  While in Toko, I saw several older women walking to the market who were bent at 90-degree angles. They had worked in the rice fields all their lives and were now living in the city, being taken care of by their children and grandchildren. Japanese families make sure the elderly are cared for during their golden years. Take away: May I take care to tell my grandchildren stories of their great-grandparents and great-great-grandparents. I want to leave a legacy for them to remember and uphold.


Diet and exercise. I ate a lot of rice while in Japan, but the biggest thing I did was walk 100 miles in 12 days! It’s a good thing I enjoy walking. Most of the time you come home from vacation and wish you had eaten less because now you have gained a few pounds, right? This was quite the opposite! I lost weight and now have to maintain that weight, or lose even more. lol¬†It is a rare sight to see in Japan is an overweight person.¬† Small quantities are eaten and you don’t see super-size portions. People walk everywhere too! I didn’t see any Fit Bits because they don’t need them.¬†Take away:¬†I will continue to eat small portions and exercise more. However, I probably won’t be able to maintain that¬†walking pace. ūüė¶¬† Picture below: Kyoto where we walked over 10 miles that day!


I have made a word find for you to download for your children. Happy searching!

Japan Word Find

Have a great week!

~ Lisa ~



Japan: The Land of the Rising Sun

This week’s post was delayed because I have been in Japan for two weeks visiting my oldest son. I have some takeaways and lessons that I have learned while being there that I would like to share today. (There are more to follow next week.)

It is crowded in the cities! Our daughter-in-law had us take the subway car during rush hour down to the busiest part of Tokyo. There is NO personal space and all you can hope for is that you arrive at your destination quickly and safely. If you can imagine a train car that is so packed that they have attendants whose job is to push people into the subway cars. I am thankful that I am tall because no one was in my face.  The top two pictures that are below are Shibuya crossing close to where my son works. This intersection is the busiest in the world and is known as the Scramble Crossing. During rush hour, this pedestrian crossing could fill a football stadium with all of the people that cross. The Shibuya Crossing in Tokyo has as many as 2,500 pedestrians crossing every time the signal changes. Lesson learned: I will not complain about things being too crowded here anymore!





Don’t pollute! I have told my sons for years, “The world is not your trash can.” The Japanse people believe that. There are very few public¬†trash cans out on the¬†streets. You carry your garbage with you and throw it away at a convenience store where there are designated recycling bins or take it home! People do not litter as a rule and the streets are clean and swept¬†daily by those who live in the neighborhoods. Lesson¬†learned: Even if I didn’t¬†make the¬†mess I will stop and pick up the trash I see.


People are helpful and polite. I don’t know about you, but I rarely stop and ask someone if they need help. When we arrived in Tokyo we had to navigate the subway and also the bullet train (picture below). I know we looked like deer in the headlights as we gaped at the Japanese¬†names of cities and tried to figure out where we needed to go.¬† No less than four men at different times helped us while we were there.¬†One gentleman even walked us to a different part of the building and delivered¬†us right to the place we needed. Lesson learned: Help others when you can. Kindness and politeness go a long way!




Create beauty. Living in a large city such as Tokyo doesn’t afford for you to have a yard so people put pots of plants out near their apartment buildings and houses. I love pansies and this is one of the most common plants I saw while we were there. Lesson learned: Making things pretty not only brings enjoyment to those who live there, but also to others. I am going to plant pansies every year to¬†remind me of my¬†time in Tokyo and my¬†family living there.


Kit Kats are a favorite candy with over 200 varieties to¬†choose from throughout the year! Since we were there in the¬†spring, matcha is a popular flavor right now along with strawberry. Our daughter-in-law took us to a candy store that was 6 floors! It had other snacks, but candy was the main item sold in this store.¬†¬†„Āē„āą„ĀÜ„Ā™„āČ approximates to “kitto katsu” – a¬†Japanese¬†expression meaning good luck. (Literally: “surely win.”)¬† Lesson learned: Try different flavors of candy and enjoy the sweetness of life.


That’s it for now! Have a great week.




My Intrepid Son

Ian and AllisonI always had a feeling that my oldest son, Ian, would live in another country. I breathed I sigh of relief when he married Allison, a wonderful local young lady, five years ago. I thought that feeling was unfounded as they both had jobs and were enjoying city life here.

All of that changed last spring when they announced they were seriously considering moving to Japan. I can tell you that while I was smiling and telling them I would support their decision, my heart was heavy and sad because I just wanted them to stay close.¬†Isn’t that what every mama wants? But, I didn’t feel that I could be selfish and pout and carry on because either way they were going for it.

Allison ended up getting a job first as an elementary teacher in an international school in Tokyo and they left in early August. That first day was awful as I was thinking about how far away they were going to be from us. The clincher¬†was when my husband¬†said, “I see that their plane is over Russia now. ”

“Russia? Really?That’s so far and they aren’t even there yet!” I burst into tears and ran out of the room after Dale made that announcement. It really helped that I had made plans for us to go see a fabulous homeschool drama production to pass the time away. But, as things would happen that day, I sat next to a woman with whom I struck up a conversation and I shared with her what had happened that day.

“They are living in Japan? Oh, I lived there for six years and loved it. I didn’t want to come back home.” I wanted to jump up right then and run away from her as it was not what I wanted to hear. But, that also brought¬†comfort knowing that she enjoyed it that much.

So, fast forward a couple of months and you can see by the picture taken at the Imperial Palace that they are enjoying themselves and adjusting to life in the Far East. Ian has a job teaching English to adults and shares funny and interesting stories with me as he navigates the culture and language. By the way, neither of them speak Japanese! I know this is the best way to learn the language, but I am not sure I could have gone somewhere so totally different from where I had lived. I think that is the advantage to being young, you just do it. lol

So, as you homeschool, prepare your child to take risks, make mistakes, and give lots of encouragement to¬†your¬†sweet student. Our world is shrinking and you never know that perhaps your child will be like Ian and live abroad. I am glad he and Allison are intrepid,¬†taking chances, and are living their lives as they feel called to do. I guess Dale and I will stay here at the homefront so they feel secure in knowing they can always come home. (And for me, that can never be too soon!) I am working and saving money so we can make the trek over to see them in the future. ūüôā

Have a great week!