Our Homeschool “Home” History Lesson

Being a baptist, I didn’t have a clue what a manse was. We’ve always called the preacher’s home a parsonage. The Presbyterian church, however, refers to their minister’s home as a “manse,” and as a matter of fact, I never thought I’d ever live in one, either.  Seven and half years ago, we became dwellers and owners of the former First Presbyterian Church’s manse. The real estate agent did tell us the home had been moved, but was not sure about when and where it was moved from.  Thus, began our research…and even better,  it could also serve as a history lesson for our daughter, Morgan. 

As I mentioned from my first post, my daughter and I have been investigating the history of our house or former manse.

Over the course of the last 7 1/2 years, we’ve visited our county courthouse and library digging in to the past. We’ve also got an archives building at the old county seat we’ve visited and met people who’ve been very helpful.

From these visits, or field trips, we’ve traced our house back to the year 1924. That was the year it was built, less than a block away from The First Presbyterian Church. Reverend Grover Cleveland Currie and his family were the first family to reside here. From my ancestry research, I discovered Reverend Currie came from North Carolina to here in little ol’ Northeast Arkansas. Anything historical or genealogy related is right up my alley!

Pictured below is a copy of the city’s plat in June 1929. A plat map is a map drawn to scale, marking the division of property. The manse and a small building on the property is drawn on the plat, running alongside to W. Gum Street. We are guessing the small building could be storage, or possibly an outhouse. We do have two bathrooms in our home. I’m not sure if they were in the original house plans.


This picture below is a copy of property taxes paid on the manse in 1927. Wow! A whopping $3.60. Our property taxes now are about 300 times that amount.


One of the men I met at the archives building happens to attend The First Presbyterian Church and was gracious enough to send this photo of our house below circa 1940’s. You probably recognize this photo from the top of my blog. I have blown the picture up to an 8×10 and framed it. It’s sitting on a table in my living room for all to see. It’s also without the garage, that would be later added after the manse was moved. If you look toward the back of the house, it looks like there is a back porch, which is now my laundry room.


The picture below was taken last year sometime during the spring or summer, when the grass was green and the flowers were in bloom with bold and bright colors.

“Grover’s Manse” as I named it, has probably been the home to several ministers in their families over the course of at least 3 decades.  I’m still researching when the church sold the home and will share that update with you.   

Does your home have a story to tell? I bet it does! Begin your house history today. It’s a great lesson for the whole family. 


Blessings to all,


Deuteronomy 28:6
You will be blessed when you come in and blessed when you go out.

Hodge Podge Homeschooling or Shall I Say Eclectic?

Hodge podge method, you ask?  I believe the technical term would be eclectic, but in my humble opinion, the words hodge podge rolls of the tongue with a zing.

We do use textbooks, but we never finish them all.  Gasp!  I certainly do not remember finishing a textbook in my public school career!  And we school year around!  Double gasp!  Have no fear, dear reader, I have a few tricks up my sleeve!  If my daughter finds a lesson exciting and wanting to learn more, we hit the internet and research.  Sometimes we may find a documentary to watch on tv or Netflix, go to a museum, or the local library to gather more information. The possibilities are indeed endless.

Our house history is a prime example of our hodge podge method.  Not only did she and I both learn about our home, but how to research through the archives.  This lesson was used as a lap book.  We made a booklet of our findings with my book binder and laminating machine.  Since learning about genealogy research, we have made a couple of genealogy books for family members.  If you do not own a book binder or laminator, check around your area, you may have a “make and take” educational co-op, where teachers go to make items for their classrooms.  We have one nearby for public use and the prices are very reasonable.

Visiting parks and museums can be such a fun and hands on way of learning.  We have several museums and state parks in our area we visit frequently. We are on a first name basis with at least 2 state parks.  (Oh, yeah, we visit very frequently) Also, check with your state parks to see if they offer classes.  We have been to a soap making class and a dutch oven cooking class.  One park even had a Trial by Jury Dinner Party.  We got to participate and act out a trial from the late 1880’s and had a wonderful time. Crochet, knitting, canning and preserving, tatting, and genealogy are just a few classes that are offered at the Powhatan State Park throughout the year.

There is no wrong way of homeschooling.  My daughter has learned to cook, do household chores, garden, maintain an A in Algebra II, and we have not ruined her yet.  Yes, she has learned more than that, and she’s still learning.  Everyday routines can be a learning experience.  Life is a learning experience.  We must embrace it to the fullest.

I think the greatest thing Morgan has learned is compassion (Bible study and devotionals do wear off on your kids!  Can I get an AMEN?).  She accepted Jesus into her life a couple of years ago, and tries hard to be an example to others of all ages. When she sees others in need, she does her best to fulfill those needs.  It may be taking trash to the curb for an elderly neighbor, or helping unload their groceries, making a goody basket to deliver to someone who is sick and praying for others, she shows kindness toward others.  Sometimes, she has to remind me of the following verses.

Matthew 25:35-40 “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,  I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?  And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’  And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

So, there you have it, our Hodge Podge Method of homeschooling, um, perhaps you prefer the word eclectic?  Whatever method you choose to homeschool, you cannot go wrong.  Yes, you will have days that are just plain old stinkers.  We certainly have had them and still do on occasion.  (Must be a full moon when that happens!)  Just pray, and if something is not working, change it up a bit.  Make it fun and creative. You, too, will learn something new.  Don’t forget to pray!

Blessing to y’all!


Where Art Thou, Modest Formal?

Next month our Christian homeschool group will be having its annual formal. This will be Morgan’s second formal to attend.  Pictures will be taken, food will be eaten, scavenger hunts and games will be plentiful.  Morgan is raring to go! The dress search has been under way for two weeks now. Heavy sigh. 

Let me explain shopping for formal wear with my daughter for you in one word, painful. You see, my lovely daughter is a camo-clothes wearing, deer slaying, tournament archer kind of girl. A tomboy if you will.  

Another problem we face with formal dress shopping is a lack of modesty in the dresses.  The dear daughter is about 6’0″ tall and finding clothing that provides length for those legs can be a daunting task.  This year we thought we would shop online, sparing us the agony and constant complaints from her.  Morgan’s idea of shopping is going to the local archery shop for hunting and archery supplies, not frilly, girly clothes shopping. 

With her measurements taken and written down, I began my lengthy search for modest formal dresses. Whoa!  Hold up a second there!  To quote my dearly departed Maw-Maw Morgan, “Land o’ Goshen!”  Yep!  Modesty is lacking in these dresses.  Big time!  Some of the lengths of the dresses are so short, they would be the equivalent of Morgan wearing a tee shirt! Oh, and the descriptions of these “little numbers” (pun intended) are not exactly my definition of modest, either.  Here are few of those descriptions:  SEXY PARTY DRESS, SEXY DEEP V NECK DRESS, and let us not forget this one, HIGH-LOW SEXY EVENING DRESS. I’m not sure what high-low means, but by looking at that particular dress my assessment was this:  the length went way upward from the knee and way lower from the neck!  And yes, these were under the search heading MODEST FORMAL DRESSES

Maybe to some we are prudes, but my a few of my goals are to teach my daughter to be a Christian lady, to honor God, to be humble and respectful, and to have self control.  Dressing or (not dressing in some cases) to distract and create a wrong impression is not on our to do list. 

For years now, fashion has seemed to push the “less is more” envelope. It’s not for us. Thankfully, it’s not for a lot of the mothers and daughters I know. Kudos to you wonderful gals!

With less than a month before the formal, the modest dress search continues for that long-legged, tomboy girl of mine! 

1 Timothy 2:9-10 ESV

9 likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, 10 but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works. 

Blessings to you all,


My Random Thoughts of Spring

I do believe Spring is here. The birds have been chirping throughout the day. The sun has shone bright and the temperature was a whopping 66° today!  The grass is beginning to turn green and soon the mornings will be warm enough to sit out on the porch with a cup of hot coffee, listening to the sweet sounds from the birds. And I’m so thankful the water in the backyard is beginning to recede!

When the warmer weather arrives, we go outside for schoolwork. Morgan and I love to sit on the porch and read aloud. We like to visit some of our state parks, too, when spring arrives. The parks are both educational and gorgeous this time of year. 

With warmer and drier weather comes spraying season.  Back to the grind. Long hours of spraying for the hubs. Following him from field to field to help him for Morgan and myself. 

Spring means flower and vegetable gardens.  Bright, bold colors. Yummy veggies to eat. I’m ready, are you? What are your thoughts on Spring?

The backyard waters are receding! Hurray!

Song of Solomon 2:11-12 (ESV)

11 for behold, the winter is past;
    the rain is over and gone.
12 The flowers appear on the earth,
    the time of singing[a] has come,
and the voice of the turtledove is 
heard in our land.

Blessings to all,


Homeschooling with Stick Shifts, Skunks, Sore Throats, Future Bifocals and Soggy Weather

This has been a whirlwind of a week. Where do I even begin? Wednesday. Yes, it was Wednesday when all of this fun stuff began.

My parents came over on Wednedsay for a visit and a driving lesson for Morgan. They are giving her their old truck, which happens to have a standard transmission in it. My dad is giving her the lessons. If you want whiplash, I’m your girl to learn from!   Apparently Morgan is too smart for that.

Anyway, while dad and Morgan were out for the driving lesson, my mother accompanied me to my annual eye exam. Two good things came out of the eye exam:  #1. a new assistant thought I was around 30 years old and was shocked when I told her I was indeed 41, and #2. Mom and I picked out some rather sweet looking frames. The bad part, I’m going from readers to bifocals. How did that happen?

Of course this Wednesday was far from over. Our beloved chocolate lab, George has a penchant for running down wildlife. From rabbits to squirrels, he’s treed a lot of them. Unfortunately, early Wednesday evening, George had a run in with a skunk and smelled rancid afterwards.  Thankfully, we found a recipe for a concoction that worked. But let me tell you, the garage aka “man cave” thoroughly stunk for several hours.

Next up, we have the soggy weather. Just last week, our yard was covered with 8 inches of snow and ice. This week our yard is covered in water, due to the warmer weather melting the snow and ice. On top of that, we are getting rain as I write this.  I though it was supposed to April showers bring May flowers.  Everything is still brown and grungy looking outside. I yearn for spring!

I guess with dramatic weather change, someone is bound to get the sniffles. And yes, you guessed it, I’m the recipient of said sniffles. I’ve got the sore throat, earaches, runny nose and cold chills. Oh, dear!

This week has been a doozy. What has my dear daughter learned?  How to drive a stick shift, make a homemade recipe for de-skunking George, help me out with household chores, and researching for next year’s curriculum. Morgan adds input for her curriculum. After all, she’s doing the work, she might as well have some say so in it.

Philippians 4:13

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

Blessings to all,


March 4, 2015 045

Our soggy , flooded back yard.

Wacky Weather and Winter Blues

I’ve had the winter blues and cabin fever.  Last week, winter revisited us without an invitation!  We got about 8 inches of snow. Needless to say, I was an unhappy camper. Morgan was excited about it, and I think our dog, George enjoyed it, too.  Here are a few pictures of the fun in the snow. 

Our daughter being pulled on the redneck sled by the neighbors kid.

George having a taste of snow.

George likes the snow. George approved this message!

Snow covered pines

Snow. In March. Where is the green grass?

Well folks, another March with snow in Northeast Arkansas. I do not approve!  Presently it’s warmer, but gloomy and rainy. Ugh. I’m ready for spring. Vegetables and flower gardens. Mowing the yard. Enjoying coffee on the front porch while listening to the birds sing. 

What do you like about spring?

Verse of the Day

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:28 ESV

Blessings to all!