Category Archives: Organization

What We’re Using for School This Year – Kindergarten, (2nd) and 4th grade

I know I’m not blogging much these days (really enjoying the time with our sweet little Clara, who is almost 4 months old already), but I wanted to at least share what we’re using for school this year. (We’ve been back to school for almost seven weeks now).  As my kids get older I feel like I’m “fine-tuning” our curricular choices to fit them better, so I wanted to share a little about why we’ve ended up with various items this year in hopes it might be helpful to others.  (I’ve read through tons of reviews and blogs to help me come up with things to fit our needs, so I’m guessing others do that too!)


Let me start with Arianna, who is beginning Kindergarten.  Being the third child, she has it a lot easier than poor Ian did back when I planned (and revised) his Kindergarten year.  She does daily computer lessons on Reading Eggs and Math Seeds, goes through a page in A Reason For Handwriting – A, and then is working through Outdoors and In, the second book in the old Harper & Row Basic Reading Program. (Seriously old school–from the ’60s. I learned to read on these and my mom used them in her Kindergarten classroom for 30 years!)  She also tags along for some parts of Bible, literature, and art with the older boys, but other than that, she just plays and learns as she goes about normal life.

4th (and 2nd) Grade

As far as the boys, they are doing almost all their schoolwork together, mostly at the 4th grade level.  Ian is “officially” 4th grade this year, and since Elijah (technically in 2nd age-wise) can keep up with him academically on pretty much everything, it’s easiest to just teach them together.  Here’s what we are doing:


Bible Road Trip – Year Three and complementary videos

We are reading through the entire New Testament, following the schedule from Bible Road Trip, as well as some of its suggestions for additional study.  I printed out all the notebooking pages and had them spiral-bound, but I wouldn’t do that again because we’re not using every page, and we can’t add in maps and such.  Still, I really like what notebooking is doing for the boys as far as helping them process and absorb what we have read. Ian is also reading the Upper Grammar literature suggestions, all set during the time of Jesus and the early church.


The curriculum suggests using the videos from the What’s in the Bible? With Buck Denver series, which we love. Additionally, because we have all the Animated Stories from the New Testament videos from Nest Entertainment, I went through and jotted down which weeks they correspond with, and we are watching those during lunch time so our younger kids can enjoy them as well.


Veritas Press Self-Paced Online Courses

The boys are finishing up the Veritas Press Self-Paced Online Course on the Explorers through 1815, which they wanted to do as a supplement to our family study last year.  Then in September they will start the final course from 1815 to Modern Times.  History is one of my favorite subjects, but since I am trying to be more hands-off this year, I am doing my best to let go and just let these courses be enough.  (Well, kind of.  See Literature below.)


Teaching Textbooks – Math 5

This will be Ian’s third year and Elijah’s second using Teaching Textbooks.  I can’t say enough about this program.  The boys enjoy their lessons, they learn well and get lots of review, and all the grading is done for me.  I’d say they are about 95% independent in completing their math, just needing me occasionally to help explain something they don’t understand.  This was one subject I didn’t have to think about at all when choosing what to do this year.


Student Writing Intensive from the Institute for Excellence in Writing

Two years ago, my boys were a part of a class that went through IEW’s Fable, Myths, and Fairy Tales writing lessons.  Then last year at home we went through All Things Fun & Fascinating, and I saw them continue to grow as writers.  I hated to see them lose ground this year, but I wasn’t really up to leading them through another book on my own while adjusting to another baby at home.  Then I realized I had the materials for the Student Writing Intensive – Level A, which is essentially a writing class on DVD.  We are really enjoying watching the lessons taught by Andrew Pudewa, and it is great review of the concepts the boys of already learned in their previous IEW lessons.  I am having them write the papers that are outlined or discussed on the DVD, but we are not doing any of the extra writing assignments (at least not at this point) because so far the boys are doing a great job of applying the concepts and my goal is to keep this year as light as possible.


Fix-it! Grammar Book 2 (Robin Hood) from IEW

I really was trying to plan a minimal workload for school this year, but the boys learned so much from their Fix-it! book last year with just a short amount of time each day (done almost completely independently) that I decided to continue with the second book in the series.  We don’t do the grammar cards or the vocabulary list, which maybe I’ll regret at some point, but I mainly want them to keep the grammar concepts they learned last year fresh in their minds, so this is an easy way to accomplish that (while adding to it, of course).


Little House series, Chronicles of Narnia, and historical fiction selections


We are about halfway through the second book in the Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder, and I hope to get through as much of the series as we can complete by Christmas.  When we come back after New Years I want to start going through the Chronicles of Narnia.

I also have several of the suggested literature suggestions for their Veritas Press history course (and a few historical selections of my own), which I may have the boys read independently, or else we’ll use them to break up our read-alouds when we need some variety.


Geology Study

I wasn’t really planning to do much with science this year until we planned a trip to the Grand Canyon for this fall.  There is so much to learn about the Flood and how it impacted the earth, and the canyon is a fabulous place to observe some of those effects.  I have planned our year around various geology videos, particularly the Awesome Science DVD series that takes a look at several National Parks, hosted by a teenager, Noah Justice. The first six episodes have study guides which I have printed out (available as downloads from Answers in Genesis–I got them free on sale), though I’m not sure how much of them I will end up using.

We are also working through some of the Classical Conversations Cycle 1 science sentences (since we’ve never done Cycle 1 and they apply to what we’re studying) and will probably do most of Cycle 3 as well, since that’s what CC communities around the world are working through this year.


Art Class DVDs

Arianna LOVES art, and I had all three older kids take free trial lesson at a local art school to see if lessons might be a good idea.  However, the lessons were really expensive, and Arianna didn’t quite have the attention span to sit through a 90-minute lesson.  Still, I wanted to give her some sort of instruction to help her develop her gifts, so I looked into a few options.  When I came across the Art Class lessons from See the Light, I knew I had found what I was looking for.  All the instruction is on DVD. (Do you see a theme this year? I am so thankful for all the video resources out there!) The kids are REALLY enjoying the lessons.  We do art once a week, and they look forward to it and beg to do the next lesson out the week in between.  (Sometimes we even do two in one session because they want to keep going.)


Phonetic Zoo

Ian started making some progress last year using Sequential Spelling, but he was still behind in spelling and I felt he really needed a little bit more instruction than that program offered.  He is extremely auditory, and I wanted to find something specifically geared toward auditory learners.  After watching Andrew Pudewa’s seminar on Spelling and the Brain for the second time (I watched it last year when I first started getting concerned about Ian’s spelling struggle), I decided to take a break from Sequential Spelling and try IEW’s Phonetic Zoo.  We’ve only been using it for three weeks, so I can’t say much about it yet, but I am hopeful about how it might help Ian.


Elijah is blessed with a natural gift for spelling, so I am not having him do any structured program at all. Instead, I am working with him on reading with expression (something Ian does very naturally but Elijah does not).  We are going through Shel Silverstein’s poetry in Where the Sidewalk Ends, taking turns reading the poems as expressively as possible.  He is also having fun getting back into Spanish on Duolingo.

So that’s what our year looks like!  Hope it gives you some ideas if you’re still trying to figure out what to do for your family this year.  Blessings.


My Plans for the 2016-17 School Year

Believe it or not, we’re getting ready to go back to school!  When I was pregnant with Nico we started up after 4th of July to make sure we got in a good chunk of school before he arrived, and I liked the way that year worked out so much we’ve copied the schedule ever since.  That means we’ve got a week for VBS, a holiday weekend, and then we’re back to school!

This year is going to look rather different for our family, the main change being that we are joining a Classical Conversations (CC) community on Monday mornings.  We’ll also continue all our Friday music classes, which means only three full days at home to cover everything else (slightly scary).

Ian (8) is starting 3rd grade, and even though Elijah (6) is officially going into 1st, he works above grade level in most subjects, so I’m going to have him work with Ian on almost everything, though things like writing assignments may differ a bit.  Arianna’s still not quite old enough to enter Kindergarten, so while I’ll encourage her to join us for read alouds and keep working on Reading Eggs and Math Seeds, I’m not requiring much from her yet.

Here’s what I’m planning to use this year:


This is the one subject where the boys will be doing something different from one another.  Ian will be going through The God Puzzle by Valerie Ackermann, a workbook focused on how the Bible all fits together as one seamless story.  Elijah will continue going through his Veritas Press Self-Paced Course on Genesis – Joshua, and when he finishes that I already have him signed up for Judges – Kings.

Elementary Bible


In addition to the history that’s part of CC, we’ll be continuing the history cycle I started when Ian entered 1st grade, moving into American history this year.  (I don’t want to disrupt what we’ve been doing just in case we find that CC is not a good fit for our family.  We’ll see how it goes, trying to do both!)  I’ve scheduled 1-2 chapters a week from The Light and the Glory for Children: Discovering God’s Plan for America from Christopher Columbus to George Washington and its sequel, From Sea to Shining Sea: Discovering God’s Plan for America in Her First Half-Century of Independence, 1787-1837, by Peter Marshall and David Manual.  (I have these older editions.  They have been republished in newer editions (L&G, FStoS) that come with study questions for each chapter.)  We’ll also be watching Liberty’s Kids episodes as they correspond with our reading.

American Providential History for Children


I want to devote this year to reading inspirational biographies.  Some I’ve scheduled to go along with our history or some of our CC memory work; others are just people with whom I want my children to be familiar.  My plan is to focus on three people each month, mostly using books from YWAM Publishing’s “Heroes for Young Readers” series and Catherine Mackenzie’s “Little Lights” series, and supplementing with videos from the Torchlighters series. (Many of the animated stories are available streaming on Amazon Prime, but the DVDs include quality documentaries as well.)

Christian biographies for children


I’d like the boys to continue practicing what they learned in their writing class this year, so we’ll be using sources connected to our other studies (especially our biographies) to write outlines and papers following the Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW)’s “Structure and Style.”

I also want to start teaching them English grammar, so we’ll be going through Fix It! Grammar: The Nose Tree (Book 1) from IEW, which has students hunt for errors in daily passages that cumulatively tell a story over the course of the year.

Fix-It! Grammar


My plan right now to to have both boys go through Teaching Textbooks 4, possibly supplementing with CTCMath just because we were given a subscription to review it again.  (TT4 has 119 Lessons, plus 17 Quizzes, which I’ve scheduled across the whole school year, which means we’ll have some time to fill.)  Elijah dabbled in Teaching Textbooks 3 last year (Ian completed it), along with materials from other curricula, but I’m trying to simplify and foster more independence this year, so I’m going to see how he does just moving on this year.  I’m open to doing something different with him if this isn’t a good fit.

Teaching Textbooks 4
Those subjects are going to be our core, and it already seems pretty overwhelming to squeeze into three and a half days!  Everything else (science, foreign language, fine arts, etc.) will be done through our Monday/Friday classes or products we end up reviewing.

History Cycle Year 2 Resources (Middle Ages – Reformation)

When Ian started 1st grade, I began a 4-year history cycle.  At the end of the year I posted a list of Cycle 1 Resources that worked well for us at the lower elementary level.  Now that we’ve finished our second year of the cycle, I thought I’d share what we used to learn about the period from the fall of the Roman Empire through the Reformation.  (Includes affiliate links.)

History Cycle 2 Resources
Ian went through the Veritas Press Self-Paced Course on the Middle Ages, Renaissance, and Reformation online, so that was the main source of our history lessons this year.  However, as we went along I tried to supplement with lots of living books (some were assigned as part of the VP program, others I chose myself) and fun videos.  I’ve also added a few things I found after we had covered certain topics that I wish we’d had and want to remember for the next time we go through the history cycle.

 (Note: This list reflects the VP course’s focus on European history.)

Year-Long Resources We Drew From Selectively:

Early Church


  • Athanasius by Simonetta Carr (from the Christian Biographies for Young Readers series)
  • Augustine of Hippo by Simonetta Carr (from the Christian Biographies for Young Readers series)


Vikings/Northern Europe



Middle Ages (including Castles/Kings/Knights)

(For preschool suggestions, see my post “Knights, Castles, and the Armor of God“)




Medieval Church




The Silk Road/Marco Polo








If I come across other resources that are good for this age, I’ll add them to the list.  If you have some favorites that eluded us, please tell us about them in the comments!

Spring goodies–FREE gifts from The Old Schoolhouse!

Spring is here!  Time for gardens, spring cleaning, and a little soul refreshment, don’t you think?

I have been so blessed by The Old Schoolhouse over the last few years.  When I first started exploring homeschooling, they were my go-to source for product reviews, and I devoured every issue of the magazine on which I could get my hands.  I joined The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew a little over two years ago, and that has been a huge blessing to our family as we get to try out different products and share with you what we think of them.

Now it’s YOUR turn to be blessed!  Members of the Review Crew got to choose three digital products to share with our readers for FREE!  I chose 3 products I either love already or want to check out myself this spring:

KeepingtheGardenKeeping the Garden

“For the garden-lover or wannabe … You’ll be inspired by over 100 pages of articles on organizing your garden, saving seeds, growing herbs, keeping pests at bay, recipes for your own produce, and so much more!”

I would definitely fall in the “wannabe” category, having never successfully grown ANYTHING.  I’m looking for inspiration and tips to help me take baby steps toward growing some of our own food.

NaturalCleaningPlannerThe Molly Green Naturally Clean Planner

Growing up,there was a brief season when my family’s financial situation meant my brother and I had a few housecleaning duties, but for most of my childhood all that was expected of me around the house was making sure my room was picked up in preparation for the cleaning lady’s visit.  My mom was a teacher, and having help with housecleaning was one way she kept herself sane.

That was great for me at the time, but now that I have my own home I feel woefully unprepared for taking care of it.  I have been looking for help getting organized, and I’m hoping this planner will help me take a step in the right direction.  I’m also looking forward to trying out some of the recipes for natural cleaners.

HeymamadevosHey Mama! 31 Day Devotional

Last year I used the Hey Mama! Planner, and by far my favorite thing about it was the encouraging notes from TOS publisher, Gena Suarez, that went with each month.  I really looked forward to the supportive, uplifting messages she shared.

Now Gena has put together a devotional to bless you each day for an entire month.  The Hey Mama! 31 Day Devotional will remind you each day to take a moment to rest in God’s truth about who you are and who He has called you to be.

Any of those items pique your interest?  Just click on the links and put any or all of these items in your cart, entering code DJCREW16 at check out to get them FREE!  This code will be good for the whole month of April.  While you’re there, check out the other encouraging and helpful resources that are available!

History Cycle Year 1 Resources (Creation – Roman Empire)

This year as Ian went through 1st grade we began our four year history cycle, covering the time from Creation through the Roman Empire.  At first I tried to settle on a “spine” to provide structure for our year, but eventually I decided that for this first time through it was more important to me to give Ian a general feel for each time period and people group we studied.  I ended up turning more to “living books” and videos that helped him get a sense of what was going on in each time and place. We also kept a notebook of the things we learned about (though I must admit we slacked on that as the months went by).

I’ve come across a lot of great resource lists for older students, but at times I found it challenging to find age-appropriate books and videos for a 1st grader, so I thought I’d look back over our year and put together a list of some of the things I discovered that work well for younger students.  (Includes affiliate links.)

History Cycle 1

Year-Long Resources We Drew From Selectively:

Primeval History (Including Creation, the Flood, Dinosaurs, and Early Civilizations)




Notebooking Resources

Ancient Egypt




God’s People/Ancient Israel



  • Joseph: King of Dreams
  • Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat While the cover of the DVD touts it as the “classic family musical,” THIS IS ONE TO KEEP THE REMOTE HANDY ON!  We completely skipped the scene with Potiphar’s wife because the costumes were so inappropriate.  There were a few other scenes that had some questionable costuming as well but I let them pass because it wasn’t as obvious and Ian didn’t seem to notice.  It’s really too bad, because the music itself is very family friendly (with the exception of Potiphar’s wife saying, “Come and lie with me, love,” but since that’s pretty much what the Bible records, I’m not going to complain).
  • Wars of Humanity combo pack and Jericho: The Promise Fulfilled from Shatterpoint Entertainment

Ancient Greece



Notebooking Resources

Greece Lapbook 1

Roman Empire



  • Friends and Heroes (animated series; 3 seasons, covering early Christians in Alexandria, Jerusalem, and finally Rome, A.D. 69-71, including the siege and fall of Jerusalem;includes Bible stories in each episode)
  • The Perpetua Story (from the Torchlighters series, about an early Christian martyr)
  • Polycarp and Perpetua, (documentary about two early Christian martyrs, not necessarily written for children, but contained many dramatizations and kept Ian’s attention)

If I come across other resources that are good for this age, I’ll add them to the list.  If you have some favorites that eluded us, please tell us about them in the comments!

Plans for Our 2014-15 School Year

Keyword: “Plans” (Every thing in this post is subject to change!)

Recently I was part of on online conversation with some other homeschool moms and someone brought up the topic of “planning.”  It’s amazing what a wide range of planning goes into different families’ school years depending on how many kids they have, what style of education they lean toward, personalities, etc.  Some of them literally just go day to day, following a “delight directed” learning approach.  Others want the support of a curriculum that lays out what they’re going to do each day over the 36 weeks of the school year.

Plans Collage

For myself, I find it incredibly helpful to have at least a rough outline that shows me where I want to be in each subject each week if I plan to complete something by the end of the year.  I usually allow a lot of flexibility with weeks scheduled in for catching up, and I’m not a slave to the schedule.  I just find that it really helps me to see everything laid out.  (I’m a visual learner and have a hard time functioning without some sort of plan that I can see.)  Plus I find that we accomplish a lot more when I have things written down.

I have found the easiest way for me to plan is to use a blank calendar.  There are many available online, but this year I printed mine up from  I ignore the days of the week and instead use those columns for different subjects.  (In the Sunday column I number the week of school that we’re on.)

The only subjects I’ve scheduled for the whole year are history and science.  We’re currently reviewing a program that uses children’s literature so I’ve written in those books for this month as well as where we’ll be in our Bible study, just so I can see what we’ll be learning about at the same time.  Sometimes when I see a holiday or break is coming up I’ll try to finish an extra lesson or break from a subject early just so we don’t stop right in the middle of something.  (For example, in August Ian has a week of baseball camp and then a week of music camp, and we’re hoping to get away for a week in September.  So I tried to make sure our science units got squeezed around those weeks.)

I didn’t write on the calendar any of the reading assignments from Ambleside Online Year 1 because those are already so nicely laid out for me it seemed like a waste of time to try to write them out again.

Here’s what we’re planning to use for 1st grade with Ian:

IMG_20140707_150943 Bible/Character

  • For morning devotions we’ll continue going through Proverbs and the Miller family books.
  • For study, we plan to finish Bible Road Trip – Year 1 (review coming soon!), which will correspond somewhat with our family Bible time as we go through Old Story New by Marty Machowski
  • I’m sure there will be quite a few We Choose Virtues discussions as well.


  • Right now I’m reviewing Lightening Literature for 1st Grade, but I don’t plan to continue it past this month.  (We’re revisiting a few of our Five in a Row favorites with it, so it’s a fun way to start the year.)
  •  Ambleside Online Year 1 – I don’t plan on using everything from AO as written, but I would like to try to get through all their literature and poetry selections this year.


  • Spelling You See – We did the first half of Level B- Jack and Jill last year, and I think we’ll go back and finish at least that level once we finish the Lightening Literature program.  (I tend to lean toward a Charlotte Mason approach when it comes to writing, so we won’t be doing much composition unless Ian expresses a desire.)


  • I’ll be loosely starting our 4-year history cycle, covering Creation through Christ.  I’m not going to be using any particular program, but I’ll be covering various stories from Mystery of History and Story of the World and incorporating several other resources to help Ian become familiar with some of the important people and events from that time period.
  • For various reasons we won’t spend as much time on our history cycle as I plan to in the future, so I think we’ll also do some of the history and geography selections from Ambleside Online Year 1.


  • I’ve had my eye on the God’s Design for Science series from Answers in Genesis for a while, and I decided to give it a try this year.  We’ll be doing God’s Design for Life which has 3 books:
    1. The World of Animals
    2. The Human Body
    3. The World of Plants


  • We’re finishing up the last week of Year 1 in the Mathematics Enhancement Programme (since we took a break mid-year when Ian started getting frustrated).  Then we’ll start right in with Year 2.
  • I’m currently reviewing two supplemental math programs, one online and one software program, and I’m sure we’ll continue using at least one of them until Ian has mastered his addition/subtraction facts.

Foreign Language

  • Ian has been looking forward to getting back into our Salsa Spanish lessons using the Salsa materials from the Wyoming Department of Education.  Luckily there are still plenty to take us through this coming year.


  • Hymns: Ian is learning about 1/month on the piano, so we’ll focus on those.
  • Composers: AO selections
  • Music: piano, choir, hand chimes
  • Art: ARTistic Pursuits (finish K-3 Vol. 2; possibly start Vol. 1)

I’m considering this a “Jr. Kindergarten” year for Elijah (who won’t be 5 until well into the fall) simply because he’s already doing so much Kindergarten work on his own and reading really well.  I don’t insist that he join us for any part of school (sometimes it’s more helpful if he’s off playing with Arianna), but he manages to pick up quite a bit and I have no interest in pushing him beyond that.









Curriculum vs. Framework

Keep CalmMy husband has often marveled at my inability to follow a recipe.  I tend to view recipes as a starting place, and 99% of the time I make at least one adjustment based on what ingredients I have, our family’s likes/dislikes, something I think sounds good, etc.  Usually I’m pleased with the results, but occasionally I learn a lesson about what doesn’t work.  Still, I love the freedom of using my kitchen as a place for creating something just for our family.

It must be a personality thing, because I have a very similar approach to homeschooling.  Just like with recipes, I rarely follow any curriculum exactly the way it is intended.  Consequently, I am reluctant to spend money on an all-inclusive curriculum, knowing that I’ll probably just tweak it anyway.  Thankfully, there are some wonderful free resources available online, and even though I will probably never follow one to a tee, they help me build a sort of “framework” that provides structure to our homeschool year while allowing me plenty of flexibility as far as what I will include to complete our educational experiences.

Originally my plan had been to follow Ambleside Online (one of the best free resources out there, in my opinion), and we’ll still be looking there for a lot of guidance.  I love the richness of their literature suggestions, and reading through their information about the Charlotte Mason method over the last few years has really shaped my educational philosophy.  Our plans for school will primarily consist of booklists for each subject (using various forms of narration to ensure that the material in those books is absorbed).  Still, there are things about AO that I want to adjust for our family.  If I only had one or two children, I think I would feel fairly comfortable following most of the AO curriculum as written (as well as I follow anything), but I think for our larger family I would prefer to keep everyone together for as many subjects as possible.

Building Around 4-Year Cycles

In my search to find the best way for our family to learn together, I was most drawn to 4-year cycles.  They’re popular with “classical” homeschoolers, but I wouldn’t necessarily put myself in that category because there are many elements of classical education that don’t excite me at all.  The idea of cycles, however, has intrigued me since I first read about it.  I know I have trouble grasping the big picture until I’ve seen everything laid out at least once and then can start making connections and putting together the pieces of the puzzle in my mind.  Being able to go deeper with the same material as the children get older makes a lot of sense.

With four children (and possibly more someday?), there are other benefits as well.  Rather than trying to help each child through an individual history track based upon their grade level, they can just join in our family history lessons as soon as they are ready, and I don’t have to worry about them missing something because within 4 years they’ll have been exposed to all the major events of history and will get to go through it again to pick up on things they might not have caught at a younger age.

I plan to use cycles not just for history but for other subjects as well.  If we can touch on all the major areas of science in 4 years and then repeat that cycle, by the time they finish 8th grade they should have a pretty good foundation.  (I imagine as they reach high school they’ll step away from what the family is doing in order to spend more time on particular classes.)

With Bible, I’m planning a 3-year cycle, allowing us to not just read through the Bible but have time for more in depth study as well.  (I’m very excited about the main resource I’ve found for our school Bible study… more on that coming soon!)

Ditching the Recipe

There are plenty of curricular options that follow 4-year cycles, but as I said before, I’m not very good at sticking with someone else’s plan.  For some subjects I may use a “spine” (either a book or a curriculum that can serve as a backbone for an entire year or more), but I’d prefer to just loosely work our way through various books, videos, and other resources that fall into our flexible framework so that we don’t end up getting too tied down to the idea of completing a curriculum at the expense of spending a little extra time on the things that pique my children’s interest.

Thinking this way especially helps me with long-term planning.  When I come across resources I think would be a good fit for our family, I don’t have to worry about trying to piece them all into a cohesive plan.  Instead, I just figure out where they fit into our cycle and look forward to getting to use them.

I’ll be sharing a little more about my plans in these individual subjects and what that will look like as we head into 1st grade over the next few months.  There’s a whole world to learn about with my children, and I’m so excited about taking the next step of this journey with them.