I'm a wife to my "Mr. Right". A momma of five. An advocate of slow food and simple living. A keeper of memories, a collector of books, and a champion for books that make memories. An addict who likes my half-and-half with a splash of coffee. A fractured pot transformed by the One Who makes broken things beautiful. I heart homeschooling, brake for libraries, and am glad you're here with me on the journey! Be sure to subscribe to my daily digest via email or RSS feed. Or, follow along with Facebook, Twitter, Google +, Youtube, or Pinterest.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

2 Holiday Hacks for a Stress-free Christmas Season

2 Holiday Hacks for a Stress-free Christmas Season
Photo Credit

Christmas is suppose to be a time of peace and pondering, a time of togetherness, a time of kneeling in quiet before the cradle of a King. It is suppose to be a time of joy and wonder; a time of memories and merry-making.

And while it usually is all that for the kids (and, dare I say, husband) of a home, for Mom, the FESTIVE of the season is often coupled with FRENZY. 

The inevitable list of extra TO DOs and additional scheduling demands have a way of draining every ounce of our time, energy, and attention...leaving very little to devote to God With Us.

But, it doesn't have to be this way.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Top CONstructive Gift Ideas for Tot School

Top CONstructive Gift Ideas for Tot School {When you just need a little sanity in your day}

With all the hand-me-down toys that come with having four older siblings, the last thing my youngest son needs for Christmas is another Fisher-Price fad. Besides, the IT items lining the shelves of Walmart and Target typically only occupy him for a few moments. During the school day, what he really craves more than playing with another plastic toy is a chance to BE and DO like the big kids.

He wants to get in on the school day action...to do the projects...to make the messes...to learn and discover at the school table with his brothers and sister.

If I don't offer him some CONstructive activities, he, like most curious tots, will find his own DEstructive kind.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Poetry & Pie Party {igniting a passion for verse}

Host a simple morning of poetry and pie to ignite a passion for verse in your homeschool...here's lots of ideas and links.

The thought of poetry use to make my boys cringe. Verse seemed too fluffy...too girly...too fancy for their liking.

But besides being a wonderful way to improve verbal and cognitive skills, memorizing and reciting poetry is a natural way to learn proper syntax and grammar patterns. It expands vocabulary and improves writing skills. And, what's more, it is a central presence in every culture all over the world and throughout history.

All very good reasons why THIS momma was determined to steer the opinions of her boys and ignite a passion for poetry in each of her kids! 

As it turns out, cultivating that love is as easy as pie!

Monday, November 9, 2015

Dear Homeschool Mom with Lots of Littles

An open letter to homeschool mom with lots of littles {from a mom who's been there}

Dear Homeschool Momma with lots of Littles, 

I see you.

I see you rushing into the co-op meeting carrying two babies and a diaper bag in your arms while dragging a crying toddler behind you.

I see the look of embarrassment and exasperation that you try to hide behind a well-rehearsed smile. 

I see you heave a sigh as you sit on the bench nursing your baby during a field trip while silently praying your other children won't wander out of reach.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Fall Blown Trees Art Tutorial

Fall Blown Trees (Art Tutorial)

"I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers." ~L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

This past October, we found ourselves surrounded by the flaming colors of fall. We took a day hike through the woods and got to see God's creativity among the greens, and reds, and yellows, and oranges. We came home and used those vibrant colors as inspiration for a fall art project. 

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

What We're Reading in November 2015

What We're Reading in November-lots of great book suggestions for Christian Homeschool families

It's true what they say, "If you build it, they will come." 

Since the "opening" of our home children's library last month, my children have been busy reading lots of great books. Although I know that the novelty will eventually wear off, I'm enjoying the burst of enthusiasm. 

My children have all spent many hours sprawled about on pillows and cuddled up under blankets with their noses in the following books...

Friday, October 30, 2015

Building a Children's Library at Home {with a video tour}

Building a Children's Library at Home- a video tour of how I organized it and get my kids to keep it organized

This past September, I turned the big 3-6. For weeks, The Hubs asked me what I wanted for my birthday. I, honestly, just could not think of anything. For real. 

My special day came and went and still my mind was blank. 

About a month later, it hit me...the answer to the birthday gift dilemma. It was nothing really. A teensy-tiny request. A simple project. (It was totally not simple!)

"I want a home library...a place for all our children's books," I casually tossed out to The Hubs one day.

"K." came his reply.

Monday, October 26, 2015

The Truth about TruthQuest History

The Truth about TruthQuest History {a favorite homeschooling curriculum from Rainbowresource.com

When my homeschool days are boxed up and beautifully archived in family scrapbooks and digital iMovies, I know there will be certain bits and pieces of these years that stand out more than others…moments that are permanently etched in my mind…memories of learning and laughing together that not only molded the minds of my kids but also shaped the content of their character and helped to forge our relationship. 

Friday, October 23, 2015

Why I Don't Teach History Chronologically

I don't think history should be taught chronologically and here's why.

I know what you're thinking. 

You don't teach history chronologically? Surely you're not playing with a full deck, Lady. History is NOTHING if not chronological!

Well, yes. And no. 

I think history is chronological. But, I don't feel compelled to teach it EXACTLY in order. At least not to very young kids. If I was going to teach it to students in upper elementary and above, then sure. I would make it chronological. I would begin at the beginning...I'd start with the Ancients. 

Monday, October 19, 2015

Confessions of an Organized Mess

Confessions of an Organized Mess. "I can't play your note and you can't play mine. Because if we were all playing the same thing, the music would sound rather flat.   So, thanks for joining me for my "highlight reel," but please remember it is just THAT. The rest of my life is just an organized mess."

This social media thing is a bit of an allusion. Isn't it? Facebook, Instagram, and (Dare I say it?) mommy blogs are all curators of "awesome." They parade the highlight reels of a person's life for all to see...whether the rest of us like it or not. 

(This post contains affiliate links. Please see my disclosure policy for full details.)

When I look at the collective "awesome" of everyone on-line, it's easy to believe that EVERYONE is awesome at ALL of those things. And that because I'm not, I somehow fall short. But the truth is, most of us are just awesome at one or two things and pretty mediocre at all the rest.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Mind Mapping: Creative Writing HACK {every homeschooler should know}

Mind Mapping: a creative writing HACK every homeschooler should know

She was stumped.
It was a writer's slump, ya' might say.
While working on a creating writing project, my daughter's word-well had run dry. She needed some inspiration. Some direction. Some focus.

So, I sat her down (along with a few of her besties) and taught her how to make a mind map.

If you're not familiar with this simple writer's hack, a mind map is tool used for brainstorming and organizing your ideas about a particular topic or story line. It works great for both creative and expository writing styles.

Here's the quick version of how it works.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Resources for the Art Challenged Homeschool Mom

The other day, I had "art time" penciled into the schedule, but due to some last-minute, unforeseen changes to the day, we had to skip it. There was much "weeping and gnashing of teeth" around here. And the kids were pretty upset also.

The truth is, I love art time.
I love the silence that comes when everyone is hunched over a project. 
I love the individual expression that creativity evokes.
I love the splashes of color that grace my dining room table every Thursday afternoon.
I love the mess. (Well, I could probably do without that part.)

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Kandinsky Abstract Art Unit {with living literature}

Kandinsky Abstract Art Unit {with living literature}

"An empty canvas is a living wonder... far lovelier than certain pictures." ~Wassily Kandinsky 

This little abstract art lesson came about by a little abstract homeschooling...the organic, unplanned kind...the kind that takes you down a rabbit trail and leads you to an unplanned adventure.

The other day, I had big orange-and-yellow themed plans for art. It's fall, after all. But while at the library, we just happened to come upon an eye-catching book that made my art plans take an abrupt detour.

We read the book together and wanted more.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Small Tweaks to Our Homeschool Curriculum 2015-2016

We're a full month into the school year and all is well. For realsies.

But, like all PLAN As, my curriculum choices and schedule plans have had to be whittled and widened to make them doable in real life and not just on paper.

I've made a few simple additions to our day that have helped to fill in the gaps. Nothing too dramatic. Just teensy-tiny changes.

And here they are.

Friday, October 2, 2015

What We're Reading in October 2015

October means pumpkins.

Around here, pumpkins mean a batch of pumpkin-and-butterscotch muffins fresh from the oven.

Pumpkin-butterscotch muffins mean hot cocoa.

And hot cocoa?

Well, who can drink hot cocoa without also wanting to curl up with a good book? And that's just what we're doing.

Here's what we're reading.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Items on Loan FREE Printable {Perfect for a homeschool lending library!}

Items on Loan FREE Printable {Perfect for a homeschool lending library!}

For the past three years, one of my dearest friends and I have swapped out English and math curriculums. Our kids are one grade level ahead and below each other, and we've both chosen to use the same materials making her my perfect curriculum "buddy."

(This post contains affiliate links. Please see my disclosure policy for full details.)

I bought the English 6, used it, and then passed it onto her the following year. She bought the Teaching Textbooks 4, used it, and passed it onto me.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Bible Study Tips & Tools for a Busy Momma: Top Bible Studies Resources

Bible Study Tips & Tools for a Busy Momma: Top Bible Studies and Digging Deeper Resources

You've somehow ninja-stepped your way to the living room at too-early o'clock in the morning without waking any of the sleeping babes. You've poured yourself a hot cup of creamer with a splash of coffee. You've got pen and paper in hand ready to take copious study notes and press hard into Jesus.

I know. I know. This is a motherhood anomaly that you've heard about from friends and read about in books but have never actually experienced yourself. But, for the sake of this post, just play along.

You sit yourself down in your favorite comfy chair...the one with all the fluffy girlie pillows...you exhale a long sigh, and you open your Bible.

Monday, September 21, 2015

5 MUST READ Articles for Charlotte Mason Homeschooling

A Charlotte Mason Primer: 5 MUST READ Article for Charlotte Mason Homeschooling

She was a pioneer, an educator who blazed a trail of learning that is still being traveled today. Her ideas were shaped in 19th century England during a time when children were to be seen and not heard. She longed for more. She longed to develop the WHOLE CHILD; to curate all of their gifts not just the intellectual ones.

While I proudly embrace an eclectic, a la carte style of homeschooling, the methodologies of Charlotte Mason are woven into each piece of our day.

(This post contains affiliate links. Please see my disclosure policy for full details.)

And THAT, truly, is what makes a Charlotte Mason education so worthwhile. It is NOT a curriculum. It is NOT a one-size-fits-all endeavor. It is a WAY of teaching. It is a framework; an ideology that ANY homeschool family, no matter their educational philosophies and curriculum choices, can embrace. 

For those who are new to homeschooling or who would like to venture into a more WHOLE CHILD approach to learning, here are five MUST READ articles that will help steer your course. 

Friday, September 18, 2015

Preschool Art Class: Milk Painting

Preschool art projects should always be three things: 


The process of actually DOING the art should be the motive, not the end project. Preschoolers should be encouraged to use many different art mediums in many different ways.


A child should be able to use his/her own creative expression to create a unique work of art. The opposite of this would be an art project that has specific step-by-step directions leading to a specific, one-size-fits-all end result.

large motor-skill driven 

Expecting a preschooler to glue tiny pieces and parts onto something or to use small motor skills to create an intricate design will only cultivate frustration and feelings of failure...in you and them. The larger the canvas, tools, and space to create, the better. 

Here is a simple afternoon art project that definitely meets those goals and one that can easily be squeezed into the harried homeschool day.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Online Resources for Project-Based Learning

Authentic learning...REAL learning...the kind that lasts, the kind that sticks...only comes when a child is completely engaged in the learning process. 

Can this type of learning happen with a worksheet or a flashcard? You bet. But, it happens more easily and most often with a hands-on approach to learning. It happens when all five senses are put to work; when the child can see relevance in the presented material. It happens when the black and white facts of a page are applied to real life.

It's easy to see that a project-based learning approach to education swings the learning door wide open. And with the help of many online resources designed to encourage hands-on learning by providing challenging projects and knowledgable mentors, the opportunities for authentic learning are limitless!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

FREE Museum Tickets for all: National Museum Day

FREE Museum Tickets for all: National Museum Day: Find out how you can snag free tickets to participating museums in your area

It's time once again for the Smithsonian's annual museum day. On Saturday, September 26th, participating museums all across the country will be offering free general admission to anyone who has printed off a Museum Day pass from Smithsonian.com. Head on over to snag your two FREE tickets. To find out which museums in your area qualify for this annual celebration, just enter your state or zip code onto the Search for a Museum page. From there, you'll be directed to the participating museums in or around your community. 

**PLEASE NOTE** Each group is limited to TWO FREE tickets.  All FREE tickets MUST be printed in advance from Smithsonian.com and presented at the museum's ticket counter.

Looking for more field trip ideas on a shoe string budget? Be sure to check out my list of field trips for FREE or Cheap and download a free copy of my field trip log printable.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

What We're Reading in September 2015

First week of school successfully completed?....Check!
Big stack of books borrowed from the library to keep us company this month?...Check!

Laundry pile folded and properly put away?...Well, that's just the elusive, spotted unicorn that we've all heard about but have never actually seen. Back to books...

Here's what we'll be reading as we launch deep into 2015-2016.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Bible Study Tips & Tools for a Busy Momma: Online Studies and Resources

Bible Study Tips & Tools for a Busy Momma: Online Studies

Frankly the idea of studying the Scriptures with an app or a tablet or a mobile device of any kind used to make me balk. Sacred Words plastered all over a rigid piece of plastic with a shockingly white screen seemed too sterile...too impersonal...too detached. How could I be expected to hear the Still Small Voice on a device designed to project noise into my life? What if I wanted to highlight and take personal notes? And the feel? How could hard plastic foster the same soul-stirring memories of my faith walk as the supple leather of my favorite Bible?

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Rainy Day Wax Resist Art Tutorial

Rainy Day Wax Resist-Easy peasy art tutorial {The Unlikely Homeschool}

Not a lot of time for art today? That's OK. This simple project can be completed in moments and makes for a perfect painting activity for multi-age art time! 

Monday, August 24, 2015

Top Tips for Whole Foods Living for the Large Family

Top Tips for Whole Foods Living for the Large Family-tips and tricks to make it more affordable on one income.

This is the story of my food evolution...my motion from fast-and-easy to slow-and-nutritious. To tell you the truth, it's been a gradual progression. But, a steady one. 

At one time, in the not-so-distant past, I was an extreme couponer. You know the type...the kind that would hoard an obscene number of barbecue sauce bottles in her basement like an apocalyptic prepper...the kind that would buy not one, but twelve subscriptions to the newspaper in hopes of clippin' twelve times the amount of savings...the kind that could walk out of the grocery store with a receipt total in the negative numbers. 

Yep. I was THAT girl.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

{Clean} Slow Cooker Scalloped Potatoes with Ham

{Clean} Slow Cooker Scalloped Potatoes with Ham (with NO cream-of-MSG soup)

True story: A slow cooker is a busy homeschooling momma's best friend. 

Like in the famed children's classic stone soup, you can pretty much toss a whole bunch of your-entire-pantry into a slow cooker, turn it on low, and serve up a delicious meal by dinner time. What other best friend can claim those kind of props, I ask ya'?!

Sadly though, so many slow cooker recipes contain so much cream-of-MSG soup that my best friend and I often have to limit our time together. Which is just sad because my slow cooker and me go together like peas and carrots. Like peanut butter and jelly. Like homeschool moms and jean jumpers. (Ahem...you get the idea!)

Monday, August 17, 2015

Bible Study Tips & Tools for a Busy Momma: Introduction

Bible Study Tips & Tools for a Busy Momma- a five day series with lots of great resources.

Bible study?
I barely have time to brush my teeth in the morning and yet I'm suppose to somehow squeeze in a personal Bible study to my day?!

Sweet Momma of lots of Littles, if this is your cry, take heart. You are not alone. Each year, I hear from countless women from all over the globe that echo this same plea. 
Mommas from all walks of life.
From all stages on the journey of faith.

And while their circumstances are all remarkably different, their desires are always the same-to carve out time each day to press hard into Jesus. 
To take hold of truth.
To cling to the comfort that comes only from His Word.

But like yours, their days are long. They are filled. They are full.
It is sometimes hard to even imagine cramming one.more.thing. into the day, let alone something that often requires solitude and dare I say it?...QUIET.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Middle School Reading List for Homeschool

50 Must Read Books for Middle School- a selection of quality books from multiple genres, themes, and eras.

She's a reader. There's no denying that.
She's also quite driven. At only 11, she has already chosen her desired college, major, and minor.

And while I recognize that at eleven her opinions and plans might ebb and flow in the coming years, I also know HER and know that when she gets her sights set on a goal, there's no stopping her determination.

That being said, the plan she has penciled in for herself after much prayer and self-evaluation requires a strong literary background. With that in mind, I have spent many months putting together a middle school reading list that will set her on that path.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Gentle Pre-K Homeschool Curriculum

Gentle Pre-K Homeschool Curriculum Choices {The Unlikely Homeschool}

To call my selection of books for my three-year-old a "curriculum" would be laughable at best. The "C" word makes it sound all formal and structured...rigid.

Nothing could be further from the truth.
He's three.

At three, he doesn't need worksheets and lesson plans. He doesn't need time in a desk with a pre-packaged box of learning. 

Friday, August 7, 2015

What We're Reading in August 2015

What We're Reading in August 2015 {The Unlikely Homeschool}

Summer is fleeting-slipping quickly through my hands. I can't seem to hold onto it. All too soon the sun will fade, the frost will come and with it the dreaded winter hibernation. I'll be trapped. Inside. With no escape. Like a cornered squirrel, I'll grow crazed and irrational. 

I'm actually starting to shiver just thinkin' about it. 

But, I shan't think about that right now.
Instead, I'll think about sun and warmth and lazy days filled with good books. 
That's what I'll set my mind towards. 
Summer sun and good books. 
No shivers. No hibernation.
Just books.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

1st Grade Homeschool Curriculum

1st Grade Homeschool Curriculum {The Unlikely Homeschool}

All summer, my son has been announcing to anyone and everyone that he is now in first grade. It's kind of a big deal, apparently. Most of his conversations have ended with his hands on his hips and his voice belting out strong declarations of, "It's true. I should know, 'cuz I'm in FIRST GRADE!" 

I'm not exactly sure what has propelled this much enthusiasm for entering grade one, but no matter the cause, I'll take it! Now, if he could just spread a little of that passion into chore time, we'll have the makings of a near perfect school year. But, I digress...

Friday, July 31, 2015

25+ Board Games for Preschoolers {You've Probably Never Heard Of}

25+ Board Games for Preschoolers {You've Probably Never Heard Of}

When baby #1 began to toddle and needed some CONstructive play, I plunked down some money and purchased some preschool games that our little family of three could enjoy together. Those were the days of Candyland and Hi Ho Cherry-O, of Memory and Hungry, Hungry Hippos. We played them on sunny days. We played them on snowy days. We played them when she woke up. We played them just before she went to bed. We played them in the house. We played them with a mouse. We played them here and there. We played them everywhere! (Sorry. I didn't mean to go all Green Eggs and Ham on you...)

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

3rd Grade Homeschool Curriculum

3rd Grade Homeschool Curriculum Choices {The Unlikely Homeschool}

For the third time, I'm prepping for third grade. There's some kind of "third time's the charm" quip hidden between the lines of this post, but I'll spare you the lengthy monologue and just say that third grade feels like an old sweater. It's been worn in. It feels pretty comfy. It fits like a trusty OLD RELIABLE. 

Here's what my suppose-to-be-in-second-grade boy will be up to in third grade.

Friday, July 24, 2015

30+ Books for Christian {Tween & Teen} Narnia Fans

(This post contains affiliate links. Please see my disclosure policy for full details.)

Since her very first introduction to fantasy adventures through the award-winning trilogy My Father's Dragon, my daughter has been enamored with all-things-fantastical. She was only in kindergarten at the time. But even then, she knew that this imaginative genre could instantly transport a reader to another world and another time all from the safe comfort of the couch. 

A few years later, she dove headlong into one of THE GREATS...the benchmark fantasy series for which all others are measured. The Chronicles of Narnia. 

Monday, July 20, 2015

4th Grade Homeschool Curriculum

4th Grade Homeschool Curriculum {The Unlikely Homeschool}

I've always loved 4th grade. It kinda stands as a launching pad in my mind...the grade where children begin to learn with great independence. Their much-improved reading ability runs parallel with their curiosity and natural passions providing a wide-open-door to learn anything and everything! 

Friday, July 17, 2015

The Glorious Flight: A Unit Study

Ideas for a unit study using the FIAR book The Glorious Flight

A morning of paper airplanes plus a small herd of eager LITTLES equals a few hours of fantastical adventure...and maybe an accidental poke in the eye or two with the aforementioned airplanes, but we won't get into that!

For our final homeschool co-op book club meeting of the year, the kids and I flew all the way to France and back, through the pages of Alice Provensen's award winning classic, The Glorious Flight.

This simple tale recounts the historic achievements of Frenchman and aviator Louis Bleriot who made the first-ever flight across the English Channel in 1909. 

Monday, July 13, 2015

7th Grade Homeschool Curriculum

7th Grade Homeschool Curriculum {The Unlikely Homeschool}

So, what do you call a 7th grader who is doing high school level math, reading, and vocabulary, 7th grade level grammar and 6th grade level spelling?

A homeschooler.

Since the very beginning, I have determined to toss out the pre-scripted plans of the traditional scope and sequence and just write the story of our homeschool based on my children. This year will be no different.

While the number that I've slapped onto her state-required school district letter says SEVEN, any number I assign to my daughter is really just a loose suggestion...something to tell the cashier at the checkout counter or the nurse at the doctor's office when they ask, "What grade are you in?"

Friday, July 10, 2015

50+ Living Books for an Ancient Rome Unit

Photo Credit

When we started our Ancient Roman unit using Tapestry of Grace, Year 1 Unit 4, I had high hopes of a wonderful year filled with historical adventures centered upon great living books. And although Tapestry of Grace quickly became lackluster, the Roman unit did not. A few weeks into our studies, I tossed PLAN A out the window and carved a new path. I decided to create my own living-literature based unit by piecing together books we currently owned, titles I came across at the library, and older-and-harder-to-find gems that I found inventoried on other Ancient Rome reading lists.

I divided the unit into six main time periods and then listed the books, to the best of my ability, in chronological order within each period.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

What We're Reading in July 2015

What We're Reading in July 2015 {The Unlikely Homeschool}

We reached a wonderful reading milestone in our home this month. For the first time, my five-year-old was able to read a devotional Bible all by himself. Up until this point, the older kids and I have had to each take turns reading him a Bible story every morning. But not anymore! Slowly, but surely, he is crossing the great divide between those who can read for pleasure and those who can not.

It gives my book-lovin'-heart warm tinglies. (That's a thing...trust me.)

He's reading.
I'm reading.
We're all reading 'round here.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Homeschool Curriculum 2015-2016

Homeschool Curriculum 2015-2016 {The Unlikely Homeschool}

In true eclectic style, I've put together an a' la carte curriculum for the 2015-2016 school year. I hope it will be nine months marked by passion-directed learning and lots of rabbit trails.

I'll have four learners and one little guy doing some very gentle Pre-K, so it's sure to be a busy year.

Here's what I have pulled together for our group learning. Since we adhere to a four-day-schedule, you can assume that each of these items will be completed four days a week unless otherwise indicated. 

Thursday, June 25, 2015

A Video Peek Inside Our Annual Portfolios

A Video Peek Inside Our Annual Portfolios {The Unlikely Homeschool}

I just put the finishing touches on the 2014-2015 annual portfolio and I thought you might like to take a quick peek at it before I file it away. 

Monday, June 22, 2015

A Well-Planned Homeschool

With summer in full swing, the countdown to the 2015-2016 school year has begun. I have prepared an annual portfolio of last year's work. I have packed up the old books and have brought out the new. I have made a few last minute curriculum decisions.

And now, I've come to the fun part...
the part I always look forward to.

Now it's time to begin sketching out the upcoming school year.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

20 Must-Read Chapter Books for Young Girls

20 MUST READ Chapter Books for Young Girls {The Unlikely Homeschool}

She's a voracious reader, my girl. Ever since she turned the first page all by herself, she just can't seem to get enough of words...beautifully woven words.

The stories and plots have crafted her.
Shaped her.
Molded her.

Each wonderfully painted character has left an indelible mark on who she is and who she will become. 

Monday, June 15, 2015

My List of the TOP Book Lists {and other tips for developing a reading culture}

Developing a reading culture in your home seems like a simple enough plan...just immerse your family in literature, right?!

Well, yes...and no.

While surrounding your children with books IS the first step to cultivating a love of reading and a story-formed home, there really is more to it than merely scattering a random stash of books around a house.

Creating a literary home...a home where books are a part of the family rhythm and culture...takes intentionality. It requires purposeful selection of reading material and a schedule that gives priority to reading.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Top Nature Study Series and Field Guides for all Ages

Top Nature Series and Field Guides for All Ages {The Unlikely Homeschool}

We just purchased an annual membership to our local arboretum. It's a wonderful oasis of nature smack-dab in the middle of our town. Thursday nights often find us hiking or biking together as a family, and the woodsy trails of the arb provide not only a lovely backdrop for our evening strolls, but plenty of opportunity for nature study.

Since one of our "gentle schooling" activities is to complete a summer-long nature study each year, hiking trails often become our outdoor classroom. I'm not naturally a nature-girl, but, I've grown to love learning about God's creation right alongside each of my kids.

We have an embarrassingly large number of field guides and nature books and almost always have one packed for our family hikes. Although we have several shelves jam-packed with nature-themed books, there are a few that we seem to come back to again and again. If we don't currently own them, we borrow them from the library often.

Monday, June 8, 2015

10 Verses of RHEMA for the Homeschooling Momma

10 Verses of RHEMA for the Homeschooling Momma

Every summer, as I pack away all-things-last-year and bring out the shiny and new of next fall, I begin to pray. I ask God to give me a specific verse to claim for the coming school year. In His providence, He always seems to direct me to verses that He knows I will need in the coming days. 

2 Timothy 3:16-17 declares that, "All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work." ESV

In the Greek language, the words that God gives are RHEMA words...words that speak directly to a specific situation at a specific time. 

A passage of Scripture might speak to you in a completely different way than it speaks to me, because it is RHEMA...it has deep personal meaning and comes alive to each individual reader in a unique way.

Although I don't necessarily think that every Christian should homeschool, I know, without a doubt, that I should. 

God called me to that particular "good work" and equips me to do it by providing RHEMA each year.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Dandelion Art Tutorial

Dandelion Art Tutorial {The Unlikely Homeschool}

Currently, one patch of my yard is riddled with the fluffy white bulbs of dandelions...just tempting my kids to come and BLOW! And while they may not make for the best landscaping plan, dandelions can be nice inspiration for an afternoon of easy art.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

What We're Reading in June 2015

What We're Reading in June 2015 {The Unlikely Homeschool}

The summer library reading program has officially commenced and a couple of the kiddos have already earned their first prizes. Granted, I don't believe a "carrot" will ever produce lifetime readers...only good books can do that. But, since they're reading anyway, my kids might as well get a free ice cream cone or a new gel pen out of the deal, right?!

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Here's what we're reading this month...

Monday, June 1, 2015

50+ Summer Nature Study Themes

50+ Summer Nature Themes {The Unlikely Homeschool}

Most of our school year is buried deep under a blanket of snow. We spend our time in doors looking longingly out the window. While we continue to do science during that time, our study of GOD-made themes is limited to what can survive freezing temperatures. 

But, that's OK. 
Who ever said learning has to be boxed up with all the workbooks and curriculum guides at the end of May?

Friday, May 29, 2015

Lunchtime Soft Pretzels

Lunchtime Soft Pretzels {The Unlikely Homeschool}

With a family of seven, it is difficult to find a recipe that we all RAVE about. Sure, there are plenty that we all like and will all eat. But inevitably, someone would prefer more tomatoes on their salad and others would prefer less. Some like their chicken topped with gravy and some do not. The more people that are sitting at the table, the more taste buds and preferences I have to consider.

But THIS recipe?
This is one of those rare everyone-begs-for lunchtime treats. It was a recipe that the Radio Announcer's wife stumbled upon when planning for a Germany unit for our Geography club a couple of years ago. 

Truth be told, if my jiggly thighs weren't an issue, I think I could eat these babies all-the-live-long-day!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Summer Gentle Schooling 2015

Summer Gentle Schooling 2015 {The Unlikely Homeschool}

While the notion of Sabbath schooling with its Biblical balance of work and rest compels me to tweak our school year schedule each-and-every year, I continue to stand firm with tradition. I continue to cling to the normal nine-months-of-school-and-three-months-of-summer-break pattern that most homeschoolers embrace. 

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I'll be honest, every year as Saduary...I mean, the bleak month of January...approaches, I really begin to second guess my decision NOT to schedule in a Sabbath-rest week. The winters are long here in the tundra and school can sometimes feel long too. But, in May, as summer slowly peaks around the corner, I am so very glad for the welcome break. I am reminded of why the nine month school year is a MUST for us.

The sun calls us out-of-doors and the warm June breeze whispers of great possibilities.

For three months, the school books are abandoned and the school table is deserted. But don't be fooled by the uncluttered schedule; the learning is still happening.

It just comes at a slower pace--an unhurried, unrushed pace.

Our summer schooling is gentle.
Purposefully gentle, and intentionally long.


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