Skip to main content

homeschooling across the country, and how my niche comes easier, now

view from Peace Arch park

On Monday, we will be entering our 6th week of our move, outside of Lincoln and settling in Blaine, Washington, directly south of the Canadian border. Stefan and I can still hardly believe this, since it has gone so fast, and have said on more than one occasion, to more than one person who asks how we're doing, "It feels like we're still on vacation, with our kids here and stuff in the closets." This, in my opinion, is a pretty great way to feel about a new town that is 1,600 miles away from one's hometown. 

When we first started to look outside our apartment, to find things to do in the area, I knew I needed to be connected to a homeschool group like I was back in Lincoln. In fact, before we even moved I had emailed the head of the Whatcom County Homeschooler's Association, just to find out if I could be sent a newsletter to check it out from afar. I'm so glad I decided to (wo)man up and go to the local homeschooling conference that took place on March 16, less than a month after our move date. 

Within this conference not only was I granted a full 8-4 day away from the children (something I, and they, really needed), but I got to listen to 5 wonderful presentations on all things homeschooling, from storing children's art (hello iphone app, more on that in another post), boyscouts, scientific data presented on how our culture praises children (and what we should be doing), book lists, and even a spot on unschooling. I had a great day meeting some of the members of the WHA, and took it to heart that even far away, I can find my niche with a little guts and a strong wifi connection. 

It has come easy to me to find things to do here that are free, because we're so interested in our surroundings, and we have to do it sooner or later. Our family runs a tight financial ship, and we save for years for big-ticket items (i.e. sport goods like a canoe coming this summer!) and it is my job to make sure the rest of the time we are living life in fun and healthy ways with very small price tags. Some call this 'living simply' or 'frugality' but it's just a discipline we've had to do, and that now comes second nature. I find many homeschoolers, who often are only one-income families, do this also. 

view of "0 Ave" behind us, or 'hop the fence and we're in Canada!'

I was a little nervous, while still in Lincoln, that homeschooling might be a harder thing to do up in Washington state, as red states (majority Republican) are usually more lenient to homeschooling than blue (majority Democrat) . This, however, has not been the case, and I have been pleasantly surprised just how homeschooling friendly this area is. There are multiple homeschoolers even in Blaine, which has a population under 5,000. While at a women's bible study I've started attending, I got a great tip from a previous teacher in the Blaine school district, who told me that there is even a homeschooling co-op that meets twice a week for fun classes such as music, etc. and that they give you a monthly stipend for homeschooling here and what luck--it meets at the church we've been attending right around the corner! Please re-read that. They are going to pay us (art supplies, books, etc.) to homeschool our children. I've just died and gone to heaven.

A few years ago, I wouldn't have known where to start completely displaced from familiarity in a new town. I would have probably said things like, "there's nothing to do here!' when I got bored, multiple times a day. Being a homeschool parent has really helped me to think outside the box in this regard, and look at every simple, small, and outdoor recreational activity as an opportunity to learn and enjoy my family, while getting some good old fashioned fresh air in my lungs. With my participation in my past homeschooling group, and putting myself 'out there' to learn, I have found the confidence and ability to do the same in my current surroundings. If I am not able to enjoy the city I'm in, how can I possibly grow as a person, learn more about my own interests, and help my children try to do the same? I think this all goes back to the lesson of learning to live contentedly.

 Stefan and I, for the last number of years, really focused on being content where we were in Lincoln, even though we had always wanted to move up to the Pacific Northwest. This included the jobs that we both had, the neighborhood we lived in, the church we attended, and the geography that surrounded us. When you learn contentment, your life will burst with gratitude and joy, you appreciate small, daily gifts (I'm talking so simple here: birds chirping in the morning, a nice spontaneous walk with a neighbor and her kids, and making a good meal), and your life feels full. We will look for that, whether we're in Blaine for a few years, or just under one. We will make that our attitude, we will choose and work at it, wherever we end up. 


Rebecca T said…
I love your attitude and am inspired by it, Sarah. Choosing content! Wonderful.
kylee said…
Such an inspiring post! I'm always striving for this attitude, and you make it seem so easy. :)
Sarah M said…
ah, Kylee, SO not what I meant--just trying to write out my thoughts really is a daily thing and it ISN'T always easy, so I don't want to be the guru on this, but I will say that making this a discipline/daily practice it DOES come easier with time.

Popular posts from this blog

How To: DIY Sand/Water Table

How To: Build A Sand/Water Table for Under $30!
Sorry this took me so long to blog, but I had to have a tool list and full instructions before I could do so.
A little history on my love for the sand/water table. I love the idea behind tools for tiny hands, i.e. the Montessori Method, and like to have Lukka 'figure things out for himself', even when he is playing. I try to have the most simple and basic toys available for 3 reasons: a) simple toys generally have less parts, which means less of a hassle for me
b) simple toys inspire way more creativity and imagination than do 'exact replica' toys
c) they are much more aesthetically pleasing to look at, therefore, not making every nook and cranny of our house an eyesore!
I know the last reason is just for me, but it's true. Plastic things don't generally last 1/2 as long as wooden or fabric toys, and they are unattractive. For this reason, I started to look for a wooden sand/water table as opposed to a plastic one …

The Rule of Threes

Costco aftermath
This is what my kitchen looks like for at least an hour after a Costco trip. I haul in everything after an exhausting journey through the busiest store (seemingly) in this country and I just can't do a dang thing more. For an hour. While I get a breather. And eat some obligatory reward chocolate. Eventually I'll get to those piles and everything will be put in it's proper place, but usually it stays like this for that necessary hour. 
                                                                          *** I don't think I'm alone in sensing that our culture has gone hog-wild with unrealistic expectations in just about every department, and I want to tell my friends, and anyone else who will listen, that we can only do so much in a day.  My husband once told me a friend of his pondered the busy-ness of our modern lives and said something to the effect of, "God gives us just enough time in the day to do only the things we need to do." …

17 in 2017 // What Happened? What Didn't?

one of Ani's goals: learning to bake!
This year was a great one--we did SO much as a family and I really think by setting up some 'Things to Do' with the kids in my goal list for 2017, we made them happen rather than thinking we could do them 'someday'. We traveled a lot in 2017; we hit every state on the West Coast including Alaska! We started our 6th year of homeschooling and went a bit rogue in a few subjects like Math. I started and finished a beloved book series with the kids. There were a few things that didn't happen because of circumstances, but almost everything else DID happen, and I'm proud of that! Intentions + action for the win! 

What Happened

*Learn to make pakora and butter chicken (crock pot): This might be cheating but a friend of mine sells Epicure spice blends and they just came out this past year with a pakora packet. It's healthy, fast, gluten-free, and delicious and I'm counting it! I also made the most delicious butter chicken…