Pushing Boulders

Most homeschool moms have had days where it seemed as if they wesisyphus-300x297.jpg (300×297)re pushing boulders up a mountain … and it was raining hard, and the ground was muddy … and there several slips, grazed knees, bruises and broken nails … am I right?

A child who cried, sulked, pouted, rolled eyes, delayed, procrastinated, yelled, threw tantrums or refused – that’s your big boulder!

The uphill, mud and rain is the teaching journey … which seems hard, even impossible.  The end is no where in sight.

And somehow, we are caught in the process of pushing, shoving, shouting, crying, throwing our own tantrums …  of wanting to give up … of burn-out, exhaustion, and self-doubt.

Moms, allow me to share some thoughts as I have faced this situation several times in my years of homeschooling ~

Put a rock under the boulder to stop it rolling down.

Step away from the ‘problem’, the child, the curriculum, tests and plans, and sit at the side and catch your breath.

Allow the Lord to come alongside and bind up your wounds and build you up with His promises.  He is faithful and gentle and ever-so-kind and loves us even when we think we have completely messed things up.  One moment with Him and His words of truth and life will show you the way.

Acknowledge that you took on a burden that you are not supposed to carry –  He is!  Repent of your best efforts and ask Him to take control.

Ask Him to show you how to proceed.

He will walk with us …  as we walk with our children.  Our role with our children is supposed to be supportive, encouraging.  When we experience personal strife and aggression, tears and fears, we have lost sight of our Saviour walking right there with us.  Call on Him and trust Him to be the ever-present help in times of trouble.

Find a new route.

Fresh starts are wonderful!

Often we all need a “do-over”.  I liken this to “wipe the whiteboard” and begin again as if the horrid moment never happened.  Moms need this just as much as the kids!

Start with a new approach, a different book, a new time schedule, even a new pen!

Give the subject that is causing so much difficulty a “time-out” and leave it for a week.  Do something relaxing, rich and rewarding together … like Fine Arts.

Look … the boulder has shrunk!l1719896595.jpg (300×196)

Most of my weeping under the tree with the Lord started in a stuttered prayer, confession,  and repentance, and the Lord wonderfully met me with simple whispered thought.

Even if nothing has changed, I find that my boulder has shrunk in size.

I think that is why mother-to-mother support is so helpful … just talking about it can be so helpful.

Find a wise, loyal mentor and share your problems and doubts with her.  Pray together with your husband, sister or best friend.

To quote my nearly 16-year-old who wisely told me recently,

“Mom, stop taking things so personally!  This is not about you.  We are going through our own stuff!”

If you have high schoolers, you may find a tutor’s or non-parent’s assistance very helpful, as they are not emotionally connected to some of the issues that get in the way of schooling.  Teens are complex, emotional, changing individuals who often are overwhelmed with their own lives.

Hoping that this post encourages you in your hard times.

With blessings,


How fun can make your child a better student

Recently I was directed to this wonderful infographic ~


They explain,

“Fun — it’s not just for, well, fun. Playing games can help boost a person’s development throughout their childhood.

Through playing games children learn a number of important skills, like turn-taking, empathy, problem solving, and being a good sport whether they win or lose. Scientific evidence supports a theory that play stimulates the cerebral cortex which is vital to learning and memory. “

Pop over to Early Childhood Education Degrees  to view the infographic “The Play’s The Thing: How Fun Can Make Your Child A Better Student“.


Timing myself!

Revisiting a post written several years ago …https://i0.wp.com/www.simplysmartliving.com/assets/images/pg-kitchen-timer.jpg

Before we started our Lucerne Tree business, before I joined Facebook … before our having to discipline our teenage daughters’ computer and cell phone times …

I  wonder just how quickly the boundaries shift or “vanish”  …  and realize, again, that my habits set the tone for the family, and set an example for my children.

Just after we started our homeschooling, I re-evaluated my schedule. I realized that things were not in balance. I went to pray.  The Lord really convicted me about my time spent on my computer.

I realized that I spent hours at my laptop every day. I love to read, and research, create and write. I love to read new posts on my favourite blogs. I love to receive emails and write and encourage others.

Isn’t this my “ministry” while I live on a farm so remote and far from everyone?

But I spend too much time here everyday.

So, I committed my time to the Lord anew. I took my handy kitchen timer and placed it on my desk. I now limit my computer time to 1 hour for the day. For everything. Emails, posts, writing, reading, creating my own pages, whatever. When that bell rings, I must stop.

Shut down.

Walk away.


My hubby is glad. My children are very glad.

This is right. And I am so grateful that the Lord stirs my conscience and urges me to hear His soft voice. May my use of my time honor Him.


Summer Art ~ Mondrian

Barb’s Summer Art plans for this week’s Sketch Tuesday covers ~



His art is so utterly ‘simple’!  Simple black vertical and horizontal lines and red, blue and yellow blocks of color.

Even very young kids can do this!  Here is a very simple YouTube video lesson.


But if you read the evolution of Mondrian’s art, you’ll understand how his abstraction developed.


The Summer Art focus art piece “Broadway Boogie Woogie” is a very interesting artwork to discuss:


  • No black lines
  • Balance of white space
  • Lines of color interspersed with color
  • Does this look like an aerial image of Broadway?
  • Do the little blocks of color remind you of the neon lights of Broadway?

So, maybe because his art is so simple, so easy to copy, it is no wonder that designers use Mondrian’s art style in countless objects, clothes and architecture!

Maybe high schoolers could paint some sneakers, or a T-shirt, or design a piece of furniture, or decorate and fire ceramics in Mondrian-style?

Here’s our Mondrian art:

Mondrian 001

Mondrian 002

I encourage you to join you child and do a Mondrian-inspired art work today!


Adapt Alter or Add

No plan is perfect.  20140318_115016

And for many new homeschool moms, a packaged curriculum or program promises some certainty to your child’s education.  The sad reality is that these products often needs to be adapted, altered, added or abandoned to “fit” your child’s learning style and stage, or your teaching style and approach.

Please don’t feel condemned if your purchase doesn’t ‘work’.


  • You can still use your books or curriculum, but rather follow your child’s time schedule and pace rather than the prescribed schedule.
  • I have o.f.t.e.n urged parents to  make time for tangents  and spread a 1-year schedule over 18 months.  I have never regretted taking longer on a curriculum in all my years of homeschooling with all my children, as I shared with my re-using our Sonlight curriculum.
  • Use lapbooks or minibooks, but allow your children to use them in their own personal way.


  • Add hands-on activities wherever possible, especially for younger children.
  • Go on outings and field trips.
  • Visit masters and real artisans, factories and manufacturing companies.
  • For teens, find a student teacher or tutor, or friend or another parent to teach difficult subjects.


Yikes!  Really?

  • When your child refuses to learn, hates the lessons or the content, please, please don’t force them to continue.
  • Put the books away and maybe try again in 6 months.
  • I have very seldom made a disaster-purchase, but I have had to abandon a year-plan and reschedule work.
  • My teenagers refused to continue Charlotte Mason subjects, much to my dismay, and I let it go, but some years later, they returned to enjoy the very lessons I had been to forceful on.  I learnt to offer these lessons in a  really informal way.
  • Sadly, many moms have bookshelves filled with unused books and curriculums.  Wasted money and lots of guilt.  If you cannot use these abandoned books, try find a co-op or group and sell your 2nd hand materials.
  • May I quietly add that even as a professional school teacher, some lessons just never worked, and I abandoned them!

With all my encouragement and blessings,

More Klimt Art

Following Charlotte Mason’s approach, we have continued to look at and enjoy a famous artist and his works for several weeks.  This week we enjoyed more of Klimt’s amazing art.

Once again, as we did with our Klimt’s Tree of Life, I printed out outline pictures of some of his works and we sat quietly painting while we listened to music.


Kate and I both did the same picture, but each of us followed a different approach.

Kate painted hers in dazzling acrylic colors and gold, 
Kilmt Art1

Kilmt Art 003

while I studied the original painting and applied similar colors with gold paint.Kilmt Art2

Kilmt Art 001

Lara chose to do a Klimt picture of mother and child, and she stunned me with her beautiful technique.coloriage-klimtKilmt Art

Kilmt Art 002

Simple and beautiful, isn’t it?

Art appreciation is really do-able!  Give these ideas a try!




Klimt’s Tree of Life

Continuing from our previous Summer Art Klimt painting,

we painted our own versions of Klimt’s

Tree of Life

Klimt Tree of Life 003

I printed out an outline picture found on Google and we both had fun painting!

Klimt Tree of Life 002

Lara painted her tree “ombre” colors.

Klimt Tree of Life 001

I painted my background in gold, typical, I felt, of Klimt’s style.

Here’s another Klimt Art project  found on Deep Space Sparkle.


Summer Art ~ Miro

Barb has created Summer Art plans for Sketch Tuesday covering several famous artists.

She explains on Harmony Fine Arts,

“Each week I will be posting a sketch idea based on a great piece of artwork from a famous artist. I will give you a link to look at the painting online, a link to a biography or video, and a simple idea for your family to complete and then send in for the art show.”

We joined this week’s artist ~


Barb suggested,

Create your own Miro inspired artwork by either copying the painting in this week’s lesson 


Figures and dog in front of the sun – Wikiart

or using the Roll a Miro activity in this pin on Pinterest: Roll a Miro

Summer Art Miro 002

We both enjoyed the Roll-a-Miro dice fun!  Our outlines were completely unplanned and spontaneous.  But, when Lara completed coloring her picture, she came to my table quite unimpressed,

“It looks a 3-year-old did this, mom.”Summer Art Miro 001

When I completed my coloring in, I must admit that also felt a disappointment in how it looked.  Well, at least the art process was fun!  And sometimes the end-product is nothing like we expect.

Well, I think sometimes surrealistic, abstract, or modern art is like that.  I remember similar thoughts when I stood looking at original Picasso drawings hanging in a famous art museum!  How childish!  How can this be real art?

“Be silent, you inner critic!”

Join us in these Summer Art Plans!


New Music and Art Timeline

I created a new Music and Art Timeline.  Music & Art Timeline Cover This is a helpful Fine Arts tool, identifying both famous musicians and their music styles, as well as famous artists and their masterpieces displayed in parallel.

How to use the timeline:

  • Print out and bind as is, or add to a Book of Centuries.
  • Cut and paste the pages side-by-side/ under each other as a visual Fine Arts timeline.
  • Add art work thumbnails to a timeline on a wall.
  • Cut the art works and paste them on cards and let children match the artists to the eras.

You will find your free download on my Free Page ~ Art Era Timeline, fresh and newly updated!

Recently Homeschool Freebies of the Day featured my Art Era Timelines to email subscribers.  Subscribers often get links to special freebies that you will not find openly on Internet, so it is worth joining their subscription list!




All New Handwriting Page With Updated Print and Cursive Pages

Some serious “interior decorating” has taken place here on Practical Pages!

I have combined my Print and Cursive Handwriting pages all together on my new Handwriting Page in order to streamline searches and downloads.

Not only that, but I have completely refreshed and updated my handwriting charts, rewrote my Handwriting Step-by-Step guides and put excellent finishing touches to my Handwriting Tips Booklet.

Please update your old downloads with these new pages!