A Happy Hearts Homeschool Day


This is our seventh year homeschooling and it’s bittersweet for me because it’s my last year with my beautiful daughter. She was recently accepted into the university of her choice and will be starting in the fall. I am really happy for her, but I sure am going to miss her. I’m so thankful we homeschool as I am cherishing every day of her senior year with her.


The morning view from our wee back porch.

I get up when my husband does, which is usually between 6:30 and 7:30 am. I make up his lunch and kiss him goodbye. Then I make myself a soothing cup of herbal tea and take it back to my bedroom where I cozy up with my scriptures and my journal. I love this peaceful, spiritual time. ♥  Marissa girl wakes up just in time to watch her online science class, streamed live at 8:30 am. I bring her a cup of herbal tea or hot chocolate and give her a morning hug before I shower, dress and start a load of laundry. ♥  Marcus usually wakes up between 8:30 and 9am. He begins his day the same way I do, with his scriptures. 🙂


We call this time our Morning Roundup

Sometime between 9:45 and 10:30 am, the three of us gather at the dining table for a hot breakfast. Then, we enjoy some time together. Lately we’ve been taking a morning walk. Sometimes we create art or listen to a Maestro Classic. We often read from our current read aloud. On Mondays we choose a scripture verse for the week and the kids write it out in their scripture journals.


Marcus and I watch his online classes at the dining room table.

Around 11:20 am, give or take a few minutes since it’s a live class, Marcus and I tune into his online history class. I enjoy this class as much as he does. I even take my own notes! (I am convinced Brother DeGraff is the best history teacher ever.) Marcus’ online science class follows, and Brother Lloyd really makes science fun. We usually snack during science.


Marissa’s online English class is the same time as her math. She wisely chooses to watch math live and her English recorded. That way her math teacher can help her during class. She can message him and he answers her questions on camera.

Meanwhile, Marissa watches her online math class, followed by her online history class, from the comfort of her bed. ♥ After both classes end, Marissa watches her English while Marcus and I tackle a math lesson together.

On Wednesdays this month, Marissa had an art class at a nearby art academy. She chose to focus on her sketching. She gets a lot of one-on-one attention from the instructor since it’s only her and maybe a couple of other people (it’s a drop-in sort of thing).

We end up eating lunch around 1:30 pm. Marissa sometimes eats her lunch in her room as she finishes up her assignments. After lunch, Marcus helps me tidy up the dining room and kitchen. ♥ For the remainder of the afternoon we do whatever we want. Sometimes we go swimming in the clubhouse pool. Sometimes we run errands. Sometimes we create art or make a craft. Sometimes we do a science lab. We usually read our own books.


We recently discovered some desert gardens only ten minutes away.

There are no online classes on Fridays so we often use that day to go on field trips or have a full day of science experiments or art. On Friday afternoons, Marcus is allowed to play Minecraft with a friend who lives in New York. ♥ David comes home anytime after 5 pm. We eat dinner as a family and usually watch a movie or some TV together. ♥ On Wednesday nights, the kids have youth activities at our church from 7 to 8:30 pm. ♥ We end our day with family scripture study and prayer. We try to be in bed by 10 pm.

♥  Linking up with Simple Homeschool. ♥ Thanks for reading! ♥


Happy Heart’s homeschool day in the life, in Peru


We have been (mostly) living and homeschooling in Lima, Peru, since the summer of 2013. My husband’s work is here, temporarily.

Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu (December 2014)

We have four children. Our oldest two, who are 19 and 22-years old, are living independent lives at different universities. It was a joy to spend Christmas with them here in Peru.

At this stage of motherhood, I am cherishing each and every day I have at home with my two youngest, now 17 and 12-years old. Homeschooling blesses us with more time together. My time with my children is most precious to me.


Our current morning reads- the scriptures, Percy Jackson, and Love Inspired romance (like mother, like daughter!).

Our mornings start off gradually. I wake up when my husband gets up for work, usually around 7:30am. I make him a sandwich for his lunch and see him off. Then I settle myself on a sofa with my scriptures on my Nook and a cup of my favorite peach herbal tea.

Marissa and Marcus usually wake up between 8 and 9am. They are both avid readers who love to start and end each day as bookworms.

We almost always eat a hot breakfast. It's my thing.

We almost always eat a hot breakfast. It’s my thing.

Around 9:30am, the three of us sit down to breakfast together. Afterwards we work as a team to tidy up the kitchen and hand-wash the dishes, including those from the night before. While I would love to wake up to a spotless kitchen, let’s just say Peruvians put a lot less value on hot tap water than we Americans do.


Boiling water to hand wash dishes gets old fast! We have a limited supply of hot tap water in our kitchen every day.

Just before 10:30am, Marissa retreats to her bedroom and sets up for her first class.

PicMonkey Collage

These are actual classes with amazing teachers. There are academy students, who attend these classes in person, and distance learners, like us, from all over the world who watch these classes at home.

My kids are distance-learners through a truly unique private school in Utah called, Liahona Academy. We love love love Liahona because it’s a school that fully embraces our faith and values, their distance program is extremely flexible, and through them, my kids can receive Utah high school diplomas.

Marissa may watch her classes live, which gives her the advantage of instant-messaging her teachers during class, or she may watch her classes at a later time of her choosing. She has all semester to turn in her assignments and there are no classes on Fridays.

So, it is summertime here in Peru, the local children are out of school and that means the ice cream vendors are out in full force! I recorded a sound-bite for you which also gives you an idea of the view we have from our first floor apartment. (Peruvians love tall walls and electric fencing.)


The Usborne Encyclopedia of World History; Christian Kids Explore Physics; Learn Math Fast Volume 2; A Reason For Handwriting Cursive E; Spelling Made Easy (covers 290 homonym groups); Spelling Smart!

While Marissa’s watching her first class, I give Marcus a math lesson at the dining room table. We use the Learn Math Fast system, which we both like. He’s a natural at math and we try to cover three lessons a week. On the two mornings we don’t do math, we start out with handwriting (cursive) and spelling. We also take this time to work on his weekly five-paragraph essay for his Liahona writing class (set up as a writer’s workshop).

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One way we get some exercise is by walking to and around a nearby park and then tossing a Nerf football or Frisbee to each other.

On days our maid doesn’t come in to work (Tuesdays and Thursdays), we try to take advantage of Marissa’s break between live classes (they are not all in a row) to get outside for a bit. So, around 11:45am, we walk to a nearby park.

Peruvian children play futbol, which is soccer.

Peruvian children play futbol, which is soccer.

I spy with my little eye… the ice cream bicycle guy! Actually, the sound of his kazoo gave him away.


When we get back to our apartment, Marissa grabs a snack as she heads back to her room to watch another live class that starts at 12:30pm. She watches four 45 minute classes (English, Algebra, history and science) in total.

These keep Marcus organized.

These keep Marcus organized.

Meanwhile, Marcus and I go to the family room, hook my pc up to the TV and sit down comfortably on the couch to watch his Liahona classes. It takes approximately one hour to watch all four of his pre-recorded videos in a row (reading, writing, history and science), each 7 to 20 minutes in length, taught by the same teacher.

Every week Marcus creates a work of art or makes a craft related to his history class. His science experiments relate to his studies on physics.

Every week Marcus creates a work of art or makes a craft related to his history class. His science experiments relate to his studies on physics.

Later, when we’re not utilizing my pc to watch Marcus’ classes, I’ll upload some of his work to his class Kidblog. This is a fun way to connect academy and distance students together. They can each submit pictures of their work for the whole class to see. Marcus also has a pen-pal in his class that he emails and texts on a regular basis.


We eat a late lunch, between 2 and 2:30pm. Marcus and I eat our lunch together, but I take a tray into Marissa’s room so she can keep going with her live classes. Her last class ends at 3:30pm.

We have lots of free time during our day.

We have lots of free time during our day.

We have plenty of free time, especially in the late afternoon. We use this time to read, play board games, bake cookies, Skype with a college kid if they are available, paint, do a science experiment, go on a walk, etc. On Fridays our maid brings her boys over to swim with Marcus in our pool.

A little evening visitor, perched on our electric fence.

A little evening visitor, perched on our electric fence.

My husband returns from work around 6pm. On Wednesdays, the kids have youth activities from 7 to 9pm at our church. Other than that and grocery shopping once a week, our evenings are just as relaxing as our mornings. We eat dinner and then we usually watch a movie. We have family scripture study and prayer around 9:30pm. And then I alternate nights reading to Marissa and Marcus. Currently with Marissa, she and I are reading, The Princess Bride. And with Marcus, he and I are reading, The Hobbit.

“Inconceivable!” “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

And that is a typical day with us in Lima, Peru, I’m afraid. Not very exciting, is it? However, touring Cusco and Machu Picchu in December as a family was priceless.

In 2007, Machu Picchu was deemed one of the New 7 Wonders of the World.

In 2007, Machu Picchu was deemed one of the New 7 Wonders of the World.

A Day in the Life- Happy Hearts Homeschool (ages 18, 16, & 11)


A little background first- We are currently living the expat life in Lima, Peru. It’s not very glamorous, but it is interesting (although it may not seem very interesting based on this post, but right now the kids and I are stranded at home during the day while my husband is at work, so most days we just hang at home all day and we do our grocery shopping at night together as a family, and we get out on the weekends for sight seeing and such.) It’s like a long, glorified camping trip! No, really, that’s what it’s like.


Darcie, me (the mom), Marissa and Marcus

This morning I was up and going by 7am because that is when my hubby got up for work. I spent the following hour in personal scripture study and exercising to one of my work-out dvds. Today’s choice was two 10-minute dance routines. I love this me-time. It’s the perfect way to start my day. 

Meanwhile, my 18-year old daughter, Darcie, was getting ready for her day at Westfalia orphanage. She’s been volunteering there twice a week, on Wednesdays and Fridays, and you can see her pictures and read all about her experiences at her blog.

Also meanwhile, my 16-year old daughter and my 11-year old son got up on their own and started reading. They both love to read so it’s no wonder that’s how they start (and end) their day. Marcus has been dutifully reading his scriptures first thing, before he dives into his latest book.


Our breakfast routine varies. Some mornings the four of us eat together. Other times only Marissa and Marcus eat together while I’m working out and Darcie is sleeping in. It just depends on the day. Today I found Darcie downstairs in the kitchen with two other youth from our church. They were packing up sack lunches and grabbing water bottles. Soon after, they all left in a taxi. (Marissa will join them on Friday. She wanted to focus on school work today.) I sat down with my other two at our dining table, all of us thrilled to be eating Rice Krispies. Oh the little things expats get excited about!

DSCN0308  These little beauties cost us a small fortune ($10 a box!!) and are a rare find here so this is a treat for us.

After breakfast, Marissa retreats to her bedroom where she studies and watches her online classes. Both she and Marcus are distance students with the one-of-a-kind Liahona Academy. This is Marissa’s third year with Liahona, but Marcus’ very first. He is in their youngest distance class, Liahona Junior, made up of 5th and 6th graders from all over the U.S. and at least three other countries (I know there is a student in Italy and another in Germany). They have a class blog if you’d like to check it out. 

I finally take my shower and dress for the day. Today my shower started out hot, but quickly turned a chilly cold, so it was a quick shower. Told you. Camping trip. While this was going on, Marcus was supposed to be straightening up his room, making his bed, and putting his toys and gadgets away. Today’s a day the maid comes to clean our house, and I never want her to do for my kids what they can do for themselves. So, she doesn’t make our beds or put away our laundry, and we don’t pile up dishes from the night before and leave them for her. She has enough dishes to hand wash at her own house (no one here has automatic dishwashers).  

As I run a comb through my damp hair, I start loading Marcus’ online videos from yesterday. Marissa can watch her Liahona videos either live or recorded, but Marcus only gets the recorded option. So we are always one day (or more) behind. But it all works out because Liahona doesn’t have school on Fridays, which means we have Mondays to catch up.

I start a load of laundry going. Our laundry room is outside, behind our kitchen, which is fun (not).

DSCN0274Before summer time hit Lima (in December), Marcus and I often watched his videos together on the family room couch, but it’s so hot and muggy right now that we prefer to sit on my bed in the only air-conditioned room of our house. Marcus has four online classes: Reading, English, History and Science, in that order. He has four notebooks, one for each class, and I make him take short notes on each class, giving one page to each day. He also takes his quizzes in his notebooks, and keeps test-notes in them as well. In the middle of Marcus’ History video, our maid arrives. I let her in and as we chat for a bit, I check on the laundry and keep it going.

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We squeeze math in at some point, sometimes before we start watching the videos, sometimes after. We use the Learn Math Fast System for math. I think it’s a great math program. We don’t spend a lot of time on math because Marcus picks it up fast. I do make sure he’s mastered one skill before we move onto the next.

Today we break for lunch around 12:30 or 1pm. Marissa opts to eat her lunch in her room so she can keep at it with her classes, but on other days she joins us at the table. Our maid eats with us, too and this is our down-time where we just relax for a bit. After lunch, Marcus and I usually read together. Currently we are reading Warriors Into the Wild, by Erin Hunter. It’s about warrior cats.

The cover of Into the Wild.

After our read-together time, Marcus may jump back into an assignment or tackle a science experiment, or he may get back to his personal reading or whatever catches his interest.  Throughout the day, I often end up retrieving laundry and folding it, taking Marissa a snack of apple slices, checking on the maid to make sure she’s drinking enough water and staying hydrated, and just chatting with her because she’s also my friend (she asked for this job to help her family earn more money). And when she’s ready to head home, Marcus and I sometimes walk her to her bus stop. Today she heads out around 4pm which is around the time Darcie makes it back from Westfalia.

On Fridays my maid brings her four boys over to play with Marcus and on those days we do what we can ’til they come over late morning and then we pick up after they’ve left, or just catch up on Monday. It’s summer time here so the local kids are out of school ’til March. I figure his play time with them is good Spanish practice anyway.

Between 6 and 7pm we eat dinner together as a family, and then we unwind the rest of the night, sometimes watching a movie together, and trying to end our day in family scripture study and prayer. We are all habitual night-owls, and some of us are trying to reform ourselves, but it’s a work in progress. Electronics have to be off by 9 so that only reading and journals are allowed after that. 

And, that, more or less, is a typical homeschooling day at Happy Hearts.