The Weekly Digs #38

by Becky
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We have been feeling the need for a big change with family’s path for some time now. As I’ve mentioned before, we are hunting for another homestead with more land. We have been praying for guidance because we are all over the place with our ideas for what we need.

However, over the last few months we’ve become more and more certain of one thing- We definitely need to move to the country and we need to simplify our lives! This year has been the breaking point for Cameron and I.

I’m not the kind of person that enjoys being a “soccer Mom” (if that’s you, more power to ya!) and taking my kids everywhere all day long. And yet that is what my life has become! Two of my boys played soccer this year. We’ve been doing three days a week of soccer (8 hours total!), in addition one day of church activities, twice a week archery practice, once a week running club, and swimming lessons. The kicker is that every activity happens after the kids get home from a 7 hour day at school. Even though they are all good things, putting too many of them together at once has drained us all.

We’ve had too many nights of grouchy kids (and I’ll admit it, a grouchy Becky too!) and we are tired. Ok, it’s mostly me who is tired. And I hope it doesn’t sound like I’m complaining. I’ve definitely been struggling with it, but It’s been a good learning lesson and reaffirmed our decision to move to the country and slow the pace of life down a bit.

We are big fans of Joel Salatin and I’ve read a few of his books. A month ago, I bought another book by Joel, “Family Friendly Farming” on a whim. Well, I don’t think it was by chance that we ended up reading that book right as we found ourselves completely overwhelmed with life right now.

Never in a million years did I think I would ever homeschool my kids but after reading that book, I am seriously considering it. The kids go to a great school district now but I see the potential benefits of the hands on learning and condensing school to just a few hours a day. Plus, if I homeschool the kids it opens up many more areas we could potentially find a home and land- and for much cheaper. I probably wouldn’t do homeschool unless we moved out of our current school district, which at this point is very likely. But yeah, I’m still in the research phase of deciding whether or not to homeschool the kids. Time will tell!

And by the way, I don’t suggest reading Family Friendly Farming unless you’re ready to uproot your family, start homeschooling, and start a farm. Joel will totally convince you the family farm is the best thing ever. Cameron has been reading the book out loud to me while I’ve done some late night canning. Cam is on board just as much as I am. We may or may not do the farm for income but we do have so many goals and dreams for being more self sufficient.

The kids have already made lists of what farm animals they will have and how many. Even Noelle who can’t write yet sat down and drew a bunny on her farm list! The kids are so excited they are more than willing to help finish up some of the house projects we need to accomplish before we move. The goal is to have our home ready by mid summer. It will take every free hour we have to get this house sellable but our farm goal is worth it.

So we still have a few months to continue to wait and watch for the right property. I’m trying really hard to trust that the right place will come at the right time.

In the garden:

  • Harvesting arugula, kale, lettuce, chinese pink radishes, mizuna, sorrel, mint, sage, lemon balm, and green beans.

  • The hairy vetch cover crop  is sprouting now and starting to cover garden beds.

In the kitchen:

  • Canned 12 quarts applesauce.

  • 3 pints and one half pint Salsa verde. I used green tomatoes from the harvest. This recipe is in the Ball Book of Home Preserving.

  • Made a gallon worth of apple chips

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Amy Taye October 31, 2019 - 10:05 pm

I just spent about an hour writing a summary of my thoughts on homeschooling. It was erased when I tried to change windows! Uggh. Will try again later.
Most important part was: #1) try it for half a school year before you make a housing decision based on your plan to homeschool and #2) check out the differences between Arkansas and Missouri homeschool laws before you choose one state or the other. Some states have strict rules and others and really friendly to homeschoolers (let you use school materials a la carte).

Becky Porter November 1, 2019 - 5:06 am

Oh bummer it all got erased!! I need guidance! I know from talking to other homeschooling Moms in Arkansas the laws are very relaxed. No standardized testing and you can choose the curriculum. I’ll have to check Missouri’s laws but that is good to think about.

I’m nervous to start homeschooling where we are now because the kids already are in a rhythm. I almost feel like we need to cut ties with the location in order for it to work out so the kids don’t feel like they are missing out on something at school with friends, sports, and all the programs they are already signed up for. I do think it would be smart to try beforehand, I just need to figure out how now that we are already in the school year.

I always do some schooling over the summer but nowhere near how much it would need to be for homeschooling. Even with the really good school district we are in, the kids started out way ahead of other kids (learning wise) and now I feel like they are all leveling off because teachers can only do so much when they teach 25 kids at a time. So I do summer school at home to keep them challenged.

I think I’m most nervous about jumping in with the kids being in older grades now. If I started next year Cruz would be in 7th grade. I have no idea where to even begin.

Amy Taye November 4, 2019 - 2:22 am

Next year our oldest will be starting 7th grade course work as well. It is the level that I am least familiar with curriculum wise. BYU independent study offers middle school and high school courses. I am planning to have her take courses online with that program ( They are pretty expensive and from what I hear, very challenging. But it is an easy gateway into acceptance to BYU. Most people I know just do 1-2 BYU MS or HS courses per semester and fill in with other curricula for the other subjects.
Our favorite curriculums are: The Good and the Beautiful [] for sciences and handwriting, all the well trained mind materials [] for writing skills/grammar/and world history, teaching textbooks for the older kids math [], and the Notgrass books for American History []. For an overwhelming amount of other fun curriculum ideas you can go to They sell almost all the homeschool curriculum materials available.
That brings me to the number one drawback about homeschooling – COST! It can be done inexpensively. Especially if you are in a state that allows you to use the school’s materials. Maryland is not a state where they share materials or offer a la carte classes for homeschoolers. We have tried a lot of different curricula and spent a fair amount of money on them to find the ones that we like best. We did also find some things at thrift stores, but usually we stick with the tried and true ones that I mentioned above.
I operate our homeschool like a one room school house. The kids each have their own levels and materials for reading and math (A&M are doing grammar together at this point). We do history, science, PE, health, and art all together. It saves time and money (only 1 book needed for each of those subjects) and each child gets something different out of it at their level. We also listen to as much good literature as we can on cds or playaways from the library. The Well Trained Mind’s Story of the World books are available as a series of cds that you can listen to and talk about in the car.
Our state requires an annual homeschool review. We meet with a teacher from the school and I have to show that our studies have been regular and consistent through-out the school year on the 7 topic areas (Reading, Math, History, Science, Health, PE, and Art/music). I have a running spread sheet and when it is time for the review I go through the books and figure out what pages they did this year in each topic area. If you end up having the same format I can send you an example.
My kids love homeschooling. I have 2 friends in the ward that tried homeschooling this year and have loved it too. It is great to have more time with your kids and fun to learn with them (usually ;). They have so much time for creative play and being outdoors. The kids still have their church buddies and friends from their club activities, but they are really a little posse of best buddies since they get to spend so much time together. It helps transmit our values during learning and we try to read scriptures together as we start out our school day.

Becky Porter November 5, 2019 - 5:42 pm

Thanks Amy!!! Such good information! I’m going to research some of the things you mentioned. My thought is to start homeschooling next school year. I think that will give me enough time to research and prepare. I may call you with questions as it gets closer.


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