9th year of learning at home

Scenes from our first day of homeschool today. I can’t believe this is our 9th year of learning at home! It was a decision we initially felt forced to make. Taryn’s school and teacher kept exposing her to foods she is allergic to. She was constantly sick as a result. She had a 504 everyone ignored and we were told by the principal it’d be easier for them if homeschooled her. You can imagine that comment (and many others) didn’t go over real well. We had an advocate and fought. In the end, we could put our energy in to advocating, year after year, and still deal with constant allergic reactions, or we could put our energy in to educating our daughter and keeping her healthy. At the time we brought her home we had a teenager in public school plus a toddler in private school. We were all over the place. Eventually Jude asked to come home, then to our shock so do our oldest. And as much as the decision to homeschool terrified us in the beginning, it has been the biggest blessing in our family. We’ve done numerous programs, college lead, co-ops, hands on, online, parent taught, teacher taught virtual, unschooling, road schooling, etc. We’ve done fun theme weeks and we’ve done months of absolutely nothing because that’s what life threw us (trauma and covid come to mind). I had so many people message during quarantine, friends thrown in to suddenly learning from home, asking how do we do this. My answer wasn’t helpful, during quarantine, we stopped. We didn’t learn at all with any structure. It was a totally unrealistic expectation for anyone to take that on. Staying in all the time, that’s not what homeschoolers usually do, it was hard on the most seasoned of home learners. So, we just didn’t. And my kids are fine. We caught up eventually this past year and they are right where they should be. We don’t spend 8 hours a day doing school, it just doesn’t work for us. We are 2-3 hours max, 4 days a week, March-October. That’s changed through the years too. We’ve definitely learned to be flexible, we let our kids guide us toward their interests and I’ll share the best advice I ever received when we started: let them get bored, that’s where the magic happens. ❤️

2021-04-03T12:21:01-05:00March 2nd, 2021|My Family, Homeschool, Jonah, Roadschool, Taryn, Zachary|

Night Viewing of Space X Falcon 9 launch

Tonight we drove over to Titusville to view the Space X Falcon 9 launch and it was AMAZING! The launch didn’t start until almost 11 pm but the kids did so great after a rough day today. It took a ton of research to figure out where to catch a night launch since most of the parks and best viewing spots are closed this time of night. But some locals sent us to the perfect spot!

We tried going to Space View Park in Titusville. It was easy parking and a short walk to the viewing seats but the view was blocked by fencing, flag poles and a huge crane. There was one good spot to set up a tripod for a photo and it was at taken. Locals directed us to the best viewing area for the Space X rocket launch and I’ll post those gps coordinates below. It was perfect. Benches to sit on, easy parking and a pier to walk out on that was safe for kids. It’s directly across from the launch pad with a perfect view. Thankful we found it since Playalinda and Jetty were closed for the night launches.

This was such a cool experience and ranks pretty high on our bucket list. I can’t wait to share the video on this one!

2021-04-03T16:14:36-05:00February 16th, 2021|RV Life, Roadschool|

DIY Star Wars Mandalorian costume

We homeschool on an alternative schedule and have been on break the last few months. Taryn spent a chunk of that time creating this DIY Star Wars Mandalorian costume. The entire thing, even the helmet, is created with cardboard! I’m so impressed with her, the detail is really amazing right down to the intentional dents – it was so much work! She even made the blaster and carved the knife herself. Her costume is based on a character named Vhipir.

2021-04-03T21:25:34-05:00February 9th, 2021|My Family, Craft Projects, Roadschool, Taryn|

Clearwater Marine Aquarium

We are in Clearwater, Florida to see Winter at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium! My kids LOVE the Dolphin Tale movies and have been so excited about this stop! Not only did we get to see Winter and the other dolphins, it was super fun to step in to a movie set at the same time! Swipe to see Winter – we got to witness her playing with 3 little girls and their stuffed dolphins through the glass. It was such a cool moment! Clearwater Marine Aquarium recently opened their new facility and it’s beautiful. We loved how they integrated it with their old facilities because that’s what we really wanted to see.

I won’t lie, the timing of landing near Tampa this week wasn’t an accident. We were so hopeful that our Saints would be playing tonight and decided to be here just in case that happened. It’s ok, even without a Saints superbowl we are still excited about our time here. And our day with the dolphins was magical.

Also, I am such a sucker for touristy green screen photos. I buy them every single time!

2021-04-03T21:47:02-05:00February 7th, 2021|My Family, Jason, Jonah, Jude, Lyndsay, Roadschool, Taryn, Zachary|

The Florida Keys

I watched this kid swim like a fish yesterday! And he was so happy! Those swimming lessons were worth every single penny! This photo of him snorkeling with his little air bubble butt made me laugh.

It’s been a week where all 4 have been bickering and fighting. It’s been pretty exhausting and we’ve even had to cut down on some outings as a result. It’s not all gorgeous locations and happy kids over here people, this is still real life with toddlers and teenagers and sometimes it’s NOT fun. But going to the beach last night was good for all of us and it was nice to spot a few sweet moments with Taryn and Z. When the sun starts to go down she always comes looking for Z. She takes him on a kayak ride or swimming out further than he’d usually be allowed to go alone. It’s the sweetest. I think it’s because he defaults to her when he’s cold. If he starts shivering he automatically runs to sissy. The end of a water adventure is always their time together. 🥰 Bahia State Park is our new favorite!  It’s 2 min from our campground and you have access to beaches on both the Atlantic and gulf sides. If one is super windy you can switch sides. The water is shallow and easy for kids and toddlers. Watching the pelicans fish is a bonus. We’ve spent so much time here already. I know we really should check out other beaches but this is such a gem, it’s hard to pull ourselves away.

A birds eye view of our little island in the Florida keys. This RV park fills the key and it’s a little piece of paradise. Somehow we messed up taking photos while flying our drone so here’s a few video screen grabs. I still can’t believe we get to live here for the next few days!

The palm tree across from our site is home to a huge iguana. It looks like it lost most of its tail. These things are super fast. I’m kinda hoping Pepper spots it while we are here. She’s so funny when she spots wildlife she’s never seen before. Her eyes get super wide, her hair stands on end and her whole body starts shaking. 🤣  We also traveled down to the Southernmost Point in Key West and Fort Zachary, or as Zachary calls it:  Fort Me!  Ha!

The Florida keys aren’t just a destination. They are a way of life. One we are very quickly getting used to.

Somehow we managed to find a reservation in another campground so we can extend our stay in the Keys. We love it here and I have a feeling that no matter how long we stay, it won’t be long enough.

Today was pretty cool. I had a rough start at the Turtle Hospital but rallied and had fun during the second half. Getting up close to the turtles and feeding them was really cool. We learned a lot, this was a big road school win! There are turtles bigger than I’ve ever imagined in the ocean! Thanks to my mom for sending us on this adventure!

Another day in paradise, another beautiful sunset. We are all a little tired from going constantly but also happy to be making the absolute most of our time here in the Keys. Today while Jason was working I took the kids to a bird sanctuary. It’s was an easy walk, the kids had fun and it didn’t create a ton of laundry like all our beach days do! Tomorrow we are planning to go feed the tarpons at Robbies. And of course, catch another sunset.

Feeding the tarpons at Robbies. We wanted to love this but y’all, the pelicans were so aggressive! 😣 One stole a fish straight out of Zacharys hand and another lunged at me close range. Not my thing. But we did get to see a huge manatee! We head out tomorrow and none of us want to leave.

2021-04-03T22:29:06-05:00January 21st, 2021|My Family, Jason, Jonah, Jude, Lyndsay, Roadschool, RV Life, Taryn, Zachary|
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