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Schoolroom DIY Map

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Once we started homeschooling, we realized the many benefits to it. One of those benefits is the freedom to travel. While we haven’t done a lot of it, we have definitely taken off during what would be school days in the public school system to enjoy places like DisneyWorld, Galveston, Idaho, and Pensacola.

With this in mind, I thought it would be fun to make a cork-backed map of the U.S. for our daughter to map the places that she has traveled to. For every town we’ve visited, she pushes into the map, a pin with a strip of paper attached that states the town name.

Our 10 year old loves it, as does any visitor who peruses our schoolroom ( which actually happens a lot- people seem intrigued by homeschooling for the most part).

To make this map, I got very thrifty and found a map at a local teacher supply store for about $3. I reused cork tiles that had been in my daughter’s room at our old house to back it.

After measuring the map, I laid the cork tiles out on a piece of cardboard and cut them just a bit bigger than the map to form a frame of sorts around the map. If I’d had spray glue I would have used that but I didn’t so I used just hot glue to attach the cardboard to the cork. I then glued the map to the cork.

I used several nails to attach it to the wall. Then came the fun part! Together, my daughter and I taped the names of the various towns she’s been to some sewing pins. Hali located all the towns visited herself and really enjoyed marking them with the pins as we remembered together our trips.

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Pensacola, FL Weekend Getaway

This weekend we took a rare mini vacay! Best. Weekend. Ever!

After driving through Pensacola on our way to Disney in February, I fell in love and have been itching to go back this summer. When we went back to school I put it out of my mind and figured we would wait until next year to go.

Then! Two weekends ago Hali asked her dad to please take her to Galveston once more this summer and I cringed. The last couple times we’ve been the beaches where COVERED in seaweed and frankly, smelt terrible.

But! Jeremy quickly chimed in with a casual “why don’t we go to Florida?”. I may have squealed like a little girl. A weekend at a (clean) beach sounded like HEAVEN! The beginning of the school year always gets to me, and a little weekend at the beach would be the perfect way to force me to relax and recharge.

Late Thursday after Houston traffic died down we headed out with plans to make it to Louisiana before stopping. And we did! We made it to Baton Rouge and stayed at a gorgeous hotel/casino there- L’Auberge. Jeremy was a happy man. While he got in a few hands of blackjack (and won enough to pay for the hotel room that night! Whoot!) Hali and I found a little coffee place that was open 24 hours and got hot chocolate and dessert.

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By mid-afternoon on Friday we were in Pensacola, hunting for seashells and working on our tans.

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Fifteen years ago, my husband lived in Florida for a while and has great memories of fresh Krispy Kreme doughnuts. When we passed by one as we were cruising around town, Jeremy actually screamed (in a very manly way, of course, that didn’t sound one bit like Spongebob). Then turned the car into Krispy Kreme and lined us up inside to watch the doughnuts being glazed. We went back the next day as well. These doughnuts were AMAZING! They were so fresh they were almost too hot to eat. But we persevered. It’s a tough job, but someone’s gotta eat all those delicious morsels of heaven. See the look of pure ecstasy on his face?

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Yum!

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Lunch was here:

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A cute hipster-esque place called Red Fish Blue Fish. It looked like the whole place was pieced together using reclaimed materials. It’s all outdoor seating, which was fine by me- the view is great and there were games! Hali and I played giant jenga and giant connect four while we waiting for our food. The food was fresh and delicious. Highly recommend. Especially for the littles.

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Saturday night we had some scattered thunderstorms and it cooled things off nicely. In between storms, I decided an evening walk on the beach and a swim sounded like the perfect way to end our visit. So we walked down to the beach and ended up really enjoying ourselves.

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A couple circuits around the lazy river and a rainbow finished our evening off.

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That night we sat out on the balcony and watched the storm moving out over the Gulf of Mexico. It’s a very cool experience to see all that lightening over the water. The perfect ending to our weekend away.

Excuse the iPhone photos- I didn’t bring my camera. Leaving Thursday night instead of Friday morning was a last minute decision so loading up the car was done very quickly and some things were forgotten.

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6th Year of Homeschooling

The day after Labor Day marks the beginning of our SIXTH (!!!) year of homeschooling. Hali is starting the 6th grade ( we combined two years into one year a few years back, so she is a year ahead).

My big little girl, who spends all school years complaining and procrastinating her school work- especially math- has already been digging into her Life of Fred books. It makes me inwardly smirk every time I see that girl devouring math books when she doesn’t even have to. Of course I hurriedly look away, else she realize that she has fallen prey to part of my evil master plan, in which she is actually is learning ALL the time, not just during “school hours”. 

This really and truly is the last year I will be able to homeschool Hali without help of some sort. By the end of last year, I was frequently googling answers for math, because I honestly could NOT remember how to do many of the problems. Smarter than a 5th grader I am not. I’m going to rely on my BFF Google quite a bit this year I am sure, but next year? I don’t think I’ll be able to fake it even a little. So a co-op or one of the local homeschool “schools” is happening next year. 

Any spare time I have lately has been spent working on a small schoolroom redo. I reconfigured the desks, took things off the walls, repainted, added things to the walls, bought a couple of comfy reading chairs, etc. It has kept me busy, but the finish line is near! The desks need another coat of paint. I’m on the hunt for the perfect rug, then I’m going to DIY a small ottoman and I should be done with the schoolroom! For now. Because tweaking things just a little is the norm around here and if I find the perfect item to conceal (don’t feel!) the ugly computer components I will definitely snatch it up.

Here’s a sneak peak:

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