Catching Up



I realized today that it has been over three weeks since my last post, and I figured it was time to catch up on what we’ve been working on this last month. As I mentioned in the previous post, the election results took the wind out of our sails, but time marches on and life keeps going.

Everyone has had their own projects lately, so it feels like we’ve been operating in separate realms. I know this is only a season, but I’m looking forward to the holidays as a way to come back together to reconnect.

Because it’s been so long, I’ll use this post as a way to run through what we’ve been up to this past month.

Amberly and Lea


As I’ve hinted at in previous posts, the older girls had a special project for the month of November. They paused the rest of their studies to focus on National Novel Writer’s Month, or NaNoWriMo. This program runs the entire month of November, and the goal is to write a complete first-draft of a novel (aiming for 50,000 words) in one month. Amberly has attempted this on her own once before, but this year, they decided to collaborate on a project. They completed their novel, a children’s fantasy story, right on time. This book will become the focus of their creative writing class for the rest of the year, and they’ve already started the editing and rewriting process. They hope to be able to self publish by the end of the school year. The picture above is the cover Lea designed.

The other project they worked on during the month was studying to take a mock SAT. It’s early for Lea, but she’s going to take it as a way to gauge her preparedness and to design a study plan for the future. Amberly will be taking monthly mock exams until she takes the actual test later this year. The plan was for her to take the first exam this weekend, but I had some health issues come up, so she’ll take it this week.

My next post will cover their special project for the month of December, which will take place a week from Tuesday.

Joey and Evie


It seems like this was the month for health problems in our family. Joey has been dealing with a dental problem, and has spent the month on antibiotics. We’re still waiting for a referral to the oral surgeon, but hopefully we can get the whole thing resolved soon. Evie had a stomach bug the week of Thanksgiving. It started the day before Thanksgiving, and ended with her puking on the street as Santa passed at the very end of the Christmas parade. True story. It kind of reminded me of Mardi Gras. Thank God it was dark.

Both of the younger kids are hard at work strengthening their reading skills. Joey’s abilities have been growing by leaps and bounds, and Evie is so close to reading, she can almost taste it. They’re both pretty competitive, so they drive each other to try harder.

Joey has developed a fascination with George Washington after listening to the Hamilton! soundtrack a million and one times. We developed a unit study about Washington’s life. This includes reading several books, taking a virtual tour of Mount Vernon, and a copy-writing practice that has turned into a character development lesson, as well. Apparently, as a young man, Washington studied manners and behaviors of Society, and copied these maxims down. They have since been collected in book form, and Joey is following this practice. Each day he copies one of the rules down, and strives to implement that rule into his life.

The Grownups

Gordon has been hard at work finishing up his classes and preparing for his finals this week. He’s looking forward to almost a month off before starting up again in January.

I have been busy being mom and preparing for the holidays. Thanksgiving was so relaxing, and we completely skipped going out on Black Friday. Christmas shopping is complete (thank you, Amazon), and all that’s left is wrapping things up.

My new hobbies have been learning about essential oils (affiliate link), and playing with my new Instant Pot. I’m also seriously considering going to grad school, and have started the application process. The program I’m looking at is primarily online, so I’ll be able to work around everyone’s schedules.

So that’s it! Like everyone else, this is a busy time for us. I’ll post another blog after the girls complete their December literature project. To my readers, thanks for following us, and enjoy your holiday season!

Here I go…

img_1884Welcome to the Back of Beyond! I’m Laura Davis, and I’ll be writing a lot about my family. We’re a close, geeky (but not in a hipster kind of way), homeschooling family of six. My husband is Gordon. Our two teens are Amberly and Lea, and our two younger kids are Joey-6 and Evie-4. We like to travel, eat great food, and learn about the world. Our goal is to eventually travel the country full time, but for a multitude of reasons, are currently stationary in Illinois.

I have to be honest; until recently I didn’t really get the whole blogging thing. I felt like I had enough reality just living my life. Why would anyone want to read about and watch someone else living theirs? Then I found myself trying to keep my eyes open reading homeschool mom blogs, and watching grocery shopping vlogs at 1 am. I realized that it was comforting reading accounts of other families-some similar to mine, some different-going about their daily lives. It made me feel not so alone. Other people have lots of kids, struggle to feed their families, fight to teach their ADHD kids to read.

We really are such a voyeuristic society. We like to watch “reality” television where people work through conflicts, try to lose weight, show off their special talents, succeed in some cases, fail miserably in others. We relate to strangers we will likely never meet. We interact via these new platforms, become invested in these lives put on display, and yet so many times we feel all alone. People are more isolated than ever before, but we find ways to connect through blogs.

One of the downsides of reading blogs is feeling like you can’t measure up. It’s human nature to try to present our most polished selves to the public. We don’t want to open ourselves to criticism and rejection. I personally struggled with the idea of starting a blog because I felt insecure about my progress in life–that feeling of sucking at adulthood. Then I realized there are lots of people in that boat, and those are the readers with whom I want to connect. That said, I reserve the right to block or delete comments from people looking to criticize my life choices. If you disagree with my methods, don’t use them. I won’t judge you, please do not judge me. Beyond that, feel free to follow along on our meandering journey!