Category Archives: Back to School

Back to Homeschool

Well, we are slowly getting into the groove of the school year. It has been slow-going as we started a week later than usual this year. You see, here, in British Columbia, Canada, our teachers in the public school system are on strike. That normally would not affect us homeschooling folks however, it does this year. The district decided that because there was no school in session, that our outdoor pool may as well stay open an extra week. Both my kids, Carlee and Jonah are lifeguards so they ended up working an extra week.

After homeschooling for 14 years, I am now looked upon as one of the older, more seasoned homeschool moms. I often get asked advice on curriculum or scheduling or creative ways to get your child to love math. (I have come to believe that there really is no such way…no lasting way anyway!) When I give advice, I often wistfully reflect on all the wonderful years that we had when the kids were smaller. Here is a list of things I miss about the younger homeschool days:

  • Starting our day off slowly with a devotional reading and group prayer
  • Schooling half days until grade 6 or so….maybe it was grade 7 or 8?
  • Getting up late and ending early
  • A four-day school week
  • Making food out of every subject: sugar cookie alphabets, cooking and baking our way through countries, cooking and baking our way through history
  • Watching DVD’s about everything and anything educational, in our pj’s drinking hot chocolate
  • Centering school around Christmas for the entire month of December
  • Creating unit studies about subjects that interest us and then taking off on a rabbit trail about another topic that we find along the way
  • Having a visiting day with friends and counting it as PE, or something like that
  • Doing car school
  • Taking extra-long holidays
  • Traveling with dad , finding a museum and counting it as school
  • Taking a snow day whenever we want
  • Taking a beach day whenever we want
  • Couch school
  • Trampoline school
  • Under the trampoline school
  • Nature walks and calling it science
  • Bike rides and calling it PE
  • Horseback rides and calling it PE
  • All of us starting off school in mom’s bed reading

Here is a list of good things about homeschooling high school:

  • Starting off our morning with devotional reading and group prayer
  • Still homeschooling half days now and then
  • Getting up late but having to adjust the schedule…you start late/you end late
  • More independence for mom–they work on school; I work on my writing  projects (or sometimes laundry, or bills or cleaning, but the point is that there is a bit less instructional time)
  • Having another homeschooled friend for the day or one from out-of-town stay and do school with us for a couple of weeks
  • ATVing, dirtbiking or horse-backriding and calling it PE
  • Doing car school
  • Taking extra long holidays
  • Traveling with dad but bringing the laptops and doing school in Tim Horton’s or Starbucks
  • Taking a snow day whenever we want
  • Taking a beach day whenever we want, but truthfully the last two points on the list happening less frequently than the younger days J

Hmnnnn….the lists seem a bit uneven. I admit, I miss homeschooling in the younger years. However, the ironic thing is that some days those years seemed SOOO challenging .  I remember questioning myself and wondering if giving up my prime career years and living off of one income was worth it. Was our family better for our choice to homeschool? When I  look back at all the amazing  topics that we explored together and all the wonderful memories we made, I do not have any regrets. When I look at all the opportunities that my children have had because of it, I feel very grateful. I would not trade those years for anything. Without a doubt, the best thing about homeschooling for me is that we can put God first in our day, in an unhurried fashion and include Him in all we do. Homeschooling is not for everyone, but the choice has been right for us.



Back to School Thoughts by Katie (age 19)

Loretta here: Yes, I know it was a bit of a long shot… asking the kids if they would like to write their thoughts on going back to school OR writing about someone you love leaving you for post-secondary OR leaving yourself for university/college. So, Katie thanks so much for taking the time to share your thoughts only one week after your new university life has begun! Love you!


When Loretta first asked me to write the back to school post I tried, I really did. I wrote a paragraph and deleted it, wrote two more and deleted those. University, it seemed,  was about growing up, something I’ve been fighting not to do. I didn’t want to fall under society’s views of growing up, becoming a responsible conforming adult, not that I believe all adults are conforming, but it seems like people are willing fall into the hum drums  and mundaneness (is that a word?) of everyday life.

We go to school, get a job, meet someone, get married, have kids, balance work and family life, pay bills, and get a medical plan, and eventually die, but for what? what are we living for? who am I?… and there’s nothing wrong with that, maybe I’m just afraid. I know I want more out of life than that for myself, whatever happened to adventure, stories, the romance of life?… And then that familiar voice in the back of my head would ask “Where’s God Katie?” Oh right Him “smiles sheepishly.” I think you could say I’m in the very slow process of a wake up call. The first day of university was less chaotic then expected but I still felt like a small fish in a big pond, complete with that glassy wide eyed stare most fish seem to posses.

I am so blessed to have so many people I know here with me, and a good few of them I really care about. My classes so far have been amazing and exactly what I needed, I’ve got to experience the weird joy in buying my first microwave, YAH, household appliances! Although I only own a third of it but still. Today was my first weekend so some friends and I had a small adventure figuring out how the buses work, finding out where exactly the church is for tomorrow, and just quietly enjoying each others company, at least that’s what I was doing as my other friend found our silence awkward, To each their own I suppose, I even liked doing my homework and I hope the feeling continues.

I still miss home, my pets, family, and friends (though most of my friends qualify as family) and the outdoors. I miss just going for a walk in the bush behind my house, and painting on the deck, I even miss my bass, my books especially, and my room. Especially all the small adventures I’ve shared with my sisters (you guys know who you are) but I feel more open to the idea of growing up without changing myself but accepting the change around me. I know everything will be ok and I pray for the people around me, that their worries too will fall off, and that the lost will find themselves warm and safe in God’s presence.

“We live in him

We walk in him

We are him

Some of your own poets have said:

 ‘For we are HIS children.’ “

Acts 17:28

Back to School Thoughts (by Kieran – age 14)

 Loretta here: Kieran is a very special young woman wise beyond her years! She is a good friend to Carlee and Jonah and Maxx and yes…like another daughter! I love how she ended her post with scripture. Here are her back to school thoughts …

Kieran photo

My sweet Kieran


Wow, school’s here already. And fall is in the air. I’m not used to waking up to frost on the ground and yellow leaves on the trees yet. It’s weird and I don’t like it.

I’m starting grade 10, and I’ll be doing a semester system this year for the first time. So I’m looking forward to doing that, not overly excited about the provincials though. 2014 is definitely a year full of changes; I’m a kind of person that doesn’t like change. Maxx, Joel, Katie, and Kersten have left for college (which is still very weird to me, and doesn’t seem real). I know they are going to be amazing and a light to everyone in school and It’s going to be an awesome experience for them but I am going to miss them all sooo  much!!!

My summer has flown by, it has been great, but I haven’t had a lot of down time. I’ve been super busy.  I got a job this summer so I was working lots, I have been horseback riding and training for Gymkhana, and I just finished a three-day Bronze Cross course (10 hours each day!) for swimming so I can be a junior lifeguard at our pool next summer. BTW I passed the course! Yay me!

There are many things to look forward to in this upcoming school year, but there are also things that are going to be hard and a struggle. In the midst of the good and the bad I tend to lean on the Lord for my strength and my joy. The following scriptures I will hold close to my heart and let the Almighty comfort and guide me.  Blessings to all, whatever this year holds for you, look to the Lord.

Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all ways acknowledge him, and he will make your path straight.

Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.”

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under Heaven: a time to be born and a time to die,  a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.”


Back to School Thoughts (by Carlee age 17)



I kind of always imagined university to be a thing when I became an adult, which I guess I assumed would just happen one day. You know, like one morning, on my eighteenth birthday or something, I’d just wake up knowing how to take out student loans and pay income tax and drive in the city and cook.
So needless to say, I think I just had the experience of getting a wake-up call/reality check when we left my older brother at university in Prince George this afternoon, who really doesn’t know how to do much adult-ish stuff at all except maybe the driving part (no offense Maxx).
Like what, though? Is there ever some sort or drastic transition, or do we just kinda stay our clueless little selves forever and learn the living-on-our-own stuff through time?
If that’s true, and there’s no switcheroo  (woah, Microsoft word totally just autocorrected my spelling of ‘switcheroo’… I didn’t even know that was a real word!)… then that would mean that grown up stuff is going to start happening before I feel officially ‘grown up’. (Though I’m not entirely sure I’ll ever feel completely that way!)

Anyways, not to stray too far from the original school/university/people leaving/life getting fourteen times more difficult in the fall/looking forward to picking up the pencil again/etc. subject theme that’s supposed to be going on in this post:

Katie, Kersten, Maxx, and Joel, I’m going to miss you guys a lot! Not that I have any experience, but that’s never stopped me from giving advice before, so: Find a church together, keep connected and let each other know you’ll always have their back… and don’t get so tunnel-visioned on the whole University experience that you forget to make time for worship sessions and tea parties and all the stuff that we do best 🙂 Keep in touch with me too and send me your addresses, and I’ll send you letters and cards and care packages complete with your superhero toothbrush of choice! Seriously, I will send you so many letters that you’ll want to change your address and you’ll start to feel like celebrities with that one psycho fan (but come on, who wouldn’t want their own personal snail-mail spammer?) Study really really hard, and when you’re out there getting where you’re getting to… don’t forget me, ok?

About my last year of school… I’m excited, of course, for the cool stuff like English literature and recess (just kidding, but I do wish recess was still a thing), and I’m nervous for doing math at the public school and for doing some hard stuff like law at home. It’s a very mixed feeling, a love/hate relationship of sorts.
I think highschool will only seem hard until I’m finished, though, and then I’ll look back and be all like “well that was easy”. Just like grade nine seemed hard until I started grade ten and grade ten seemed hard until I started grade eleven and so on. I can’t wait to be graduated and when someone asks me what grade I’m in I’ll get to say ‘pfft… education was so last year!”
So yeah I think that’s what I looking forward to most.

Back to School Thoughts (by Grace age-17)

Loretta here: This post is done by our lovely Grace. She is a friend of my kids, Maxx, Carlee and Jonah’s, from Vanderhoof. Maxx originally met Grace  homeschooling through Heritage Christian Online School when Maxx was in grade 9. They met through a forum (basically a chat room through the school) and then became Skype pals. After about a year of that I decided to load the kids up in the car for a road trip and go meet this girl in person. When we got to her house, Carlee and Grace became instant friends. Then awhile later Grace began coming up to Hudson’s Hope to visit by bus. I have lost track of how many times she has been here but when she visits, she usually stays for a few weeks. Grace has become friends with all three of my kids, an extension of our family and of our church. We love her. I am very grateful that her family trusts us enough to borrow her from time to time. It is our privilege! Here’s Grace…..


Back To School

 I am in grade 11. Well, I was supposed to be in grade 12 last year and then I fell behind…and long story short I am now going into grade 12. I really wanted to be done high school last year.
Mrs. Bouillons asked a couple of us back-to-schoolers what our thoughts are about hitting the books again. My thoughts are somewhere along the lines of: “NopenopenopenopenopenopenopenopenopenopenopenopenopenopeWHYGODnopenopenopenopenope, etc.” Sometimes just for the sake of varying my response I bang my head against the nearest wall. So yeah, not super excited. But while focusing on the negative side of it is really easy thing to do, hearing people complain is possibly the most annoying thing on earth besides hearing people breathe, so let me share with you the few things that I’ll enjoy about getting back to school in a few days:
-More time on the computer. Who doesn’t just love getting radiation consistently for 10 hours?
-I get to spend time in my pajamas more. This is also a health hazard though because when school starts the old PJ’s don’t get washed for months and a small rat colony starts to form in the hem of my pant legs. I’m not saying this has happened before but it’s definitely happened before.
-I get to hang out with my friends whenever I want to. Which is never, because when they end school I’m usually just starting.
-I get to sleep in. Every day. This, according to health care professionals is actually a bad thing for your mood, your living habits, and your bone structure.
-I get to be home with my three incredibly hyperactive and almost definitely all ADHD positive younger siblings all day, every day.
-I get to go on Tumblr all the time, which would be great except for the fact that it reminds me of all the awesome TV shows that I can’t catch up on until I’ve finished my English assignment, Math test, Biology exam, History book, five thousand essays, quiz about the first 500 Harvard graduates, join a monastery, transcend my corporal being, become immortal, turn into the soul of a supernova, wait for thousands of years to blow apart and spread across the universe for the foreseeable infinity, lose all track of the whole of reality and in the meantime completely forget about the most recent Doctor Who episode that was super important because PETER CAPALDI IS IN A NIGHTGOWN CHASING A DINOSAUR AND I’M SORRY BUT IF THAT ISN’T THE FUNNIEST THING ON EARTH THEN YOU NEED TO GET YOURSELF CHECKED BY A SPECIALIST AS SOON AS POSSIBLE FOR A MISSING SENSE OF HUMOR.
-I get to visit Hudson’s Hope whenever I want to. Not going to lie, that part is awesome!

Now that I go that out of my system, I’m going to answer the second, much more serious question that Mrs. Bouillon asked us to answer: What are your thoughts about your siblings or friends going off to university?

We were supposed to find a Bible verse to go along with our response, but I couldn’t find a verse that said anything along the lines of: “it’s the worst feeling on earth and my world is slowly falling apart.” So I’m going to have to stick with sentimental quotes.
I have two good friends that are leaving this town, probably forever, and are planning on doing great things with their lives. And I’m really, really happy that they get the chance to follow their dreams and get new experiences, but I also know that I’m losing two friends. I know everyone says that they’ll come back for the holidays and they’ll phone you, or message you on facebook, or write you letters…and they might. But after a few years they get new friends and leave the old ones, life moves on for everyone and time doesn’t stop for anybody. The one quote that I think sums it up well is from Peter Pan, it goes: “Never say goodbye because goodbye means going away, and going away means forgetting.” But I’ve also learned that there is a season for everyone to be in our lives, and sometimes that season ends sooner than you’d like it to. I certainly hope I can keep in touch with my friends when they leave to university, but somehow I feel that these goodbyes are the real kind of goodbyes, and that makes me really sad.
As for my friends (and kind of siblings) moving closer to me from Hudson’s Hope and Tumbler Ridge to do your post secondary, I’m really excited that I might get to see you more. But even then there’s a chance that you will all get too busy and even though we’re an hour away, we’ll just forget to connect and get busy with our new normal lives. But I’m not too worried about that, you are all kind of stuck with me because there is no way I’m ever going to leave you guys alone. What makes me sad for you all though, is the people you’re leaving behind. I read Mrs. Bouillon’s blog post about Maxx leaving and it may have made my eyes strangely moist for a few moments. I’m sad that Maxx is leaving his family and his car, and I’m sad that his family has to say goodbye to him for a while. It’s going to be weird, going to the Bouillon’s without Maxx there. The upside is that there will be no rude awakenings with camera phones in my face, or a dog being thrown at me. Or being pulled out the door on my mattress. Yep, that happened.
But I’m sad that Kersten and Joel and Katie are all leaving behind their families and in Joel’s case, a significant other. It’s all really hard, but I think that the adventures that you’re going to have and the things you’re going to learn are absolutely going to be worth saying goodbye for a while. If you want to grow you have to make it happen, and I’m so happy that you guys are getting the chance to leave your roots and make your own paths in life. It’s inspiring for me, still at home for another year. I’m excited to get out and try new things and leave old friends and make new ones and learn more about life in the meantime. And as for the goodbyes, they are always more bearable when you know they’re just a prelude to hello.

Grace I found a verse for you! :”To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:” (Ecclesiastes 3: 1KJV) – love Mrs. B

Back to School

As a follow-up to my last post, I am inviting some young people to share their thoughts on going back to school, going off to college or university and/or their thoughts on their friends or siblings leaving for post-secondary education. Much change is happening, here in our little community. Four of our youth are leaving for university/college. Not being a large church, it will affect us all. It will, of course, affect the parents (see my previous post 🙂  ) however, it affects the kids around them as well. Change is inevitable. It can be scary, sad and exciting, all at the same time. The amazing thing, however, is that we are not alone during change. God is always there with us, and He wants to be our rock during the changes.

Back to School and those left behind….


I love the summer. It can be busy—or should I say just different busy? With our family vacation, all three kid’s working at the pool, aquafit , friends and family visiting – the summer has just flown by. I will add that this year we have also been preparing for my oldest son, Maxx, to go off to university. A few of our other close friends in our social circle are also preparing to head off to post-secondary venue as well. Many changes: exciting for those leaving, but harder for those left behind.

Our family will be taking Maxx and well as our friend, Katie, to University of Northern British Columbia at the end of August. I have been mentally preparing myself for Maxx to leave for about a year. I had a bit of a trial run last year when we left him behind on a vacation in Ontario for a couple of months  to stay with some dear friends. After that two months, I knew I would be okay when he actually left for university a year later. Well, it is a year later and I am not feeling as confident. I know that it is inevitable that all my children will leave, but the day has arrived where the first is actually leaving the nest. As hard as it is, these are a few of the things I am certain of:

I will miss Maxx terribly. The sound of his guitar through the walls, his steadfast quiet spirit, his voice of reason when I feel a little bit crazy, and his willingness to pray for me when I need it.

He will be ok. He is a capable, responsible, amazing young man who loves God and will seek his guidance continually. He is on the meal plan in residence…he will eat.

I will be ok. I will go into withdrawl at first, maybe cry in his room for a bit, but then come to appreciate his room as MY extra space where I can retreat to do writing, reading or watch a movie that no one else wants to watch. He also has a pretty awesome ensuite off his room which will also become MINE!

We will adjust. God will see us through the changes. We will all miss Maxx terribly, dinner for 4 just doesn’t sound right but we will look forward to when he comes home…Thanksgiving, Christmas and reading week.

Life will go on! I am still homeschooling two other wonderful kids that bring me great joy…56 days until thanksgiving.