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Friday, June 23, 2017

Ramblings toward our future...

Research is always fun! I get the opportunity to research things for work on a regular basis, but now I have the opportunity to do some research to determine the next best steps for our family. At this point we are weighing our options. Is Florida the best place for us, or are we headed to North Caolina? Only time will tell. In the mean time, we will do research to find out a few things:

Can Mackenzie still Virtual school?
Will Madison keep her IEP?
Where can we afford to live?
Where do we want to be?
What is best for us.

As we continue working through the process, we will update here, but it is going to be a long process, so I won't bore you with the details there!

On our path to making a decision, we know there is one thing we must do. We have to commit to becoming debt free. We need to adopt the principle to Live like no one else lives now, so that we can live, and give, like no one else in the future.

To do this, we will commit to the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University. Our first steps are coming in the coming days and weeks. I will post a little along the way about this path we are embarking upon. It will be an interesting ride for sure!

In the mean time, may you have a blessed weekend!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Homeschool Ponderings

Over the last few years, Mackenzie has been the victim of bullying. this past January, we had had enough. We decided to pull her out of public school with the intention to homeschool her. We were planning to use Easy Peasy All-in-One Homeschool. The reason behind this was that she could work at her own pace and be able to finish multiple grades per year. All of her lessons were all planned out and on the website. Ultimately we went with Marion Virtual because the homeschool office talked us into it.

I am still not 100% sure that we like the virtual, but that's ok. She started about 3.5 weeks after the start of the term and worked her tail off. She finished the term about 2 weeks after the end of the regular school year. We finally got all of her grades and she's good to go. She's now an 8th grader.

She's asking to be moved to Florida Virtual because that way she can still get her high school diploma and all that jazz. We have major decisions coming up and we do not know if we want to stay with the virtual program. I will be researching some other homeschool curriculum over the next few weeks and we will have a decision made by the end of the summer. Either way, she does not want to go back to the middle school here. The kids were just awful to her. We would like to have been able to made her a car rider, but we cannot because Madison is a car rider and the schools start at the same time so one of the kids would always be late to school.

Having the experience of the virtual school has taught us all not to give up. There are other options out there for students who simply do not do well in the public school sector. Right now she is still a student of the public school sector, she just does all of her coursework at home.

Our decision comes in this manner, if she does not continue with a virtual school through the state, she will need to take the GED. Mackenzie has a history of not doing so well on standardized tests. If we pull her and allow her to do the conventional homeschool method, we have to keep records and take them to a public school official and hope that they will sign off on the education so that she can be moved to the next grade.

I like that Easy Peasy is customizable to what the child's interests are, but I love that with the state virtual schools, she does not have to take another standardized test to prove that she has an adequate education to be able to find her first job and get into college. What I wonder is if there is a trade school she could get into. With her lower test scores, I am wondering if trade school would be the best option for her at this time.

So many thoughts and not much time... Until next time, God bless you and yours!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Bringing you up to speed

Everyday in our lives, we must make decisions. Some of those decisions are easy and some are hard. Some are influenced by others, and some are made just because. As we look back over the last 10 or so years, more of our decisions have been based off of someone else telling us what we should or shouldn't do. When it isn't that the decision was made because someone made a comment stating that they didn't agree with what we had done. It's a hard thing, being an adult. We have 2 lives that we have to protect and do what is best for. We have some major decisions to make in the coming weeks. Here's a glimpse into the last 10 years of our lives:

2007 we purchased the house I lived in when I was in high school. It was not an ideal situation. Our interest rate drove the monthly price up extremely high. We ended up with a home we couldn't afford.

2008 we made the decision to get out from under the above mentioned home. We moved back to  Florida. We had not seen the home we would be moving into. We trusted that we would be able to afford the place. We came back to the state with no jobs. We had hope that a job would soon come up. We both were offered a job with a new rehab facility. Ryan was let go because he had been charged, but not convicted, of child abuse when he got his DUI in 2003. He was devastated because this was still haunting him.

2009 we realized that we were drowning. We couldn't afford the rental house. We opted to move into a "condo". Well, that's what the name of the complex was. We found out later that it was more like the projects of Port Richey, Fl. We stayed there for about 3 years. We struggled at times. Ryan went through several jobs and I resigned from my job as a CNA. It was becoming too much stress. I came home and all I wanted to do was sleep.

2012 our friends stopped by on their way home to Hudson. That weekend, we found ourselves moving in with them. They lived in a huge rental house, and each of us had our own space. Ryan also was taking a job on the road. He would be gone for weeks on end. It seemed like the right thing to do. Later that summer, they moved out and the landlord forced us into a very small mobile home. It was not ideal. The place was falling apart, but it was the option we had at that time.

2013 we found, what we thought, would be the forever home for us. It was a cute 2 bedroom 1 bath home in downtown New Port Richey. We moved there and started trying to finally bring our life together. Little did we know, the "realtor" who we were purchasing rent to own from did not disclose that the house was in probate. We needed to vacate 4 months after moving in. We then moved in with friends until we could figure out what to do. Later that year, we were able to find a mobile home to move into. We did that in one day.

2014 we found another rent to own and went in with our friends on the purchase. It was decent. It was on 6 acres, and lake access to boot. The issue here was that the neighbor was really ticked that we were purchasing it. He caused some major drama. It was after we came home from our first ever summer vacation that we decided to move out of the state. We didn't think we would be returning.

2015 we moved to North Carolina. The girls and I loved it. Ryan was still working on the road. He never really was home for more than a couple of days before he was being called back out. We truly felt like we were home. Some stuff happened where we were not going to be able to afford rent for one month and we allowed another friend to talk us into moving in with him. Off we went to Merritt Island, Fl.

2016 the friend we moved into and our kids did not get along the best. We felt it would be best to find a new place. We were regretting allowing him to talk us into moving. What was done, was done. We got in touch with our friends who helped us move out of the Port Richey Projects and they were able to introduce us to their landlord. We moved into a large home with them on the property. Again, later in the summer, they moved out. We moved into another one of the properties here in the park. We have lived here ever since.

2017 we looked in South Carolina, but nothing really panned out. We looked in Largo and almost let someone talk us into a really bad idea. We ultimately decided we were not going to jump on anything until we were sure it was the right decision.

Many may disagree with the moves we have made, but in all of the moves, we have made sure that we keep our kids needs before our own. Since we have made decisions, we have had to follow through with the repercussions. Yes we are in Florida, are we staying, it is doubtful. When will we announce? When we are ready. Will we allow others to tell us what we should and shouldn't do? No. It is time that we stand on our own two feet, make the decisions and live our own lives. We do not want to live the life we are told that we should live. We have people who judge us because we live in a mobile home. We have people telling us, "do not move into another mobile home". Others tell us, you need to be in this area or that. None of these people are in our heads or our finances. We love our friends and family, but we need to do what is right for us.

When the time comes, you will know what our decision is, but until then, please just pray that the Lord brings the right forever location to us.

Much Love,
The Cox Family