Welcome!
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 second-generation homeschooling. 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, September 28, 2016

Filling Plates and Pages: Meet Beth Hautala

Filling Plates and Pages: Meet Beth Hautala

Written by Beth Hautala of Eat Write Repeat

“So, what do you want to be when you grow up?”

I remember that ubiquitous question being tossed in my direction when I was six or seven. Clearly not old enough to articulate a response with any kind of certainty. It’s something adults say to kids when we are trying to make conversation and want to be amused by their responses.

“I’m going to tell stories.” I said. Which, of course, elicited the appropriate amount of amusement from whatever unassuming adult had asked.
But, amusing or not—then and now—here I am telling stories. Written and otherwise. . .

I grew up under a roof where the idea of nurturing was tied heavily to held hearts, educated minds, and full bellies. And I’ve done my best to integrate that ideology into my own home. I spend my days wearing all the hats, er—aprons, (if we’re going to carry analogies all the way through here), but especially those of home cook and writer. And most recently, teacher.

Homeschooling has always been on my radar. I grew up homeschooled and loved it! But as my own little tribe grew and my writing career grew along with it, I balked at the idea of having to rearrange life too much. “One year at a time,” My husband and I have always said. And as self-employed artistic-types, that was truly the best we could do. And it has, ultimately been the best for our family. *Wipes brow* But God is calling us to new things. And so here we are, marching into a brave new world, educating our four children at home. —And me, telling stories and making food.

Cooking was part of my education at home. It was a skill my two sisters and I knew we would not be able to survive without. I entered college with a full recipe book of family standbys and quick meals that made enough to feed my entire dorm, should the need arise. But I didn’t fall in love with the art of cooking—of nourishing—until much later when it became apparent that a couple of my children had some severe physical issues with food, and texture sensitivities. I was forced to get creative. Innovative. I learned to experiment. To cook without measuring tools and without recipes. I figured out what worked and what didn’t, and along the way, I discovered that making food partners neatly with writing stories.

Both require courage and a willingness to make mistakes. Both begin with a knowledge of the rules and then grow until breaking them becomes part of the process. Both begin with need—one with physical hunger, the other with intellectual and emotional hunger. And both cooking and storytelling have the same goal: To leave those you seek to nourish, satisfied.

Homeschooling brings a third and unexpected ingredient to the mix.
My aprons: Storyteller. Cook. Teacher.
But unexpected ingredients make the best dishes. And the best stories.  Wish me luck! I’m off to come up with something satisfying to feed my tribe as we start another school day.

Nut Butter Snack Bars


Nut Butter Snack Bars Recipe


Because I’m a perfectionist, I have a hard time letting my kids get involved in my cooking process. Oh—the mess. But none of us learn without spilling flour and cracking eggs on the floor once in a while. This snack is a great solution to mid-morning grumbly bellies, and a nice way to get little cooks in the kitchen. The more the merrier! Gather your tribe and pull up your collective sleeves.

*Note: you can use any nut butter for these bars. Cashew butter is my favorite. And if you care to make your own, go here for that. If, on the other hand, nut allergies are an issue for you or some of your tribe, sunflower-seed butter is a great substitute.

½ cup butter (melted)
½ cup nut butter of your choice (melted)
½ cup rolled oats
1 cup cheerios
1 cup raisins
½ cup chocolate chips (these can be omitted if you’d rather avoid the sugar)
1 brick/package graham crackers, crushed

In a large mixing bowl melt the butter and nut butter together and stir to combine.
Add the other ingredients, one at a time, stirring to incorporate.
In a well-greased 9x9 baking dish, press the mixture tightly, packing it down. I find it’s easier to do this if your fingers are also greased a bit.
Slide it into the refrigerator and chill for one hour.
Cut into squares and serve.



Looking for other snack ideas? 


Here’s a couple of my favorites.
Blueberry-Banana Yogurt Muffins

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Why I Like Homeschooling: 100+ Kids Weigh In


I remember like it was yesterday. It was my very first introduction to homeschooling. It was April 1987. I was eight; sitting in Mrs. Hurst's fourth grade classroom awaiting the dreaded state achievement tests. The door opened and in walked a rather shy boy with sandy brown hair; his mother in tow. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Small Space Homeschooling

Small Space Homeschooling-ideas for organizing learning spaces when space is limited

Written by Jessica.

Small house, big purpose

When my husband and I first bought our small house twelve years ago, it was only going to be our starter home. It was a fixer-upper extraordinaire, and we bought it intentionally because it was one of the cheapest houses we could find. We dreamed of children someday and knew that we had to purchase something that we could afford later, on just one income. With help from family and lots of sweat equity in the early years, our fixer-upper was transformed into a very livable, if still small, house. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Back-to-Homeschool Party, Moms Only

Back-to-Homeschool Party Moms Only (with free printable get-to-know-you mixer)

We, homeschool moms, are quick to celebrate the accomplishments of our kids. We start the school year with special back-to-homeschool traditions, we invest a considerable amount of time and money in preparation for that first day, and we launch with all the excitement of a Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade.

For the rest of the year, we plant ourselves on the sidelines and cheer loud. louder. loudest for our kids. We wave our proud-momma banner wildly and praise each of their tiny educational steps forward.

Friday, September 16, 2016

3 Hands-On Ways to Practice Math Skills

3 Hands-on Ways to Practice Math Skills

This post is written by Danielle of Blessedly Busy.

There’s no way around it, kids need to practice math skills. Some more than others. If the thought of yet another math lesson is sending your child into tears, all you need is a worksheet and a little imagination. You provide the worksheet, these three quick hands-on review games will provide the rest.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Protecting the White Space



Written by Gretchen of Gretchen Ronnevik

The first days of homeschooling feel empty. I remember feeling like a failure when my daughter went through our daily curriculum in less than 2 hours. I often said, “That can’t be all.” Most homeschoolers will tell you that those early elementary years have very short days, but once they get to the upper grades, they will spend more of the day on schoolwork. We ended up filling our days by taking walks, playing outside, reading lots of stories, and having tea parties. We followed our curiosities and worked on projects that sounded fun.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

The Quick-Start Guide to Talking About Books with Kids {with a free printable}

Quick-Start Guide to talking about ANY book with a child {even if you haven't read it yourself}. Great printable of discussion questions.

My daughter's first choice in books is any in the fantasy area.
It's my last choice.
In fact, other than Narnia and a handful of Narnia-esque titles, I kind of can't stand most books in that genre. (I like to keep my feet firmly planted in reality, thank you very much!) But, I don't let that stop me from having great discussions with her about a book even if I haven't read it myself.

The truth of the matter is, with five kids, four of whom are independent readers, I can't possibly read all of the books they are currently reading. Too many books. Not enough hours. So, how can I create a lovely literary culture in my home when everyone is reading books that I've not read myself?

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Myths of the Homeschooling Mom

Myths of the Homeschool Mom


Written by Amy from Pieces of Amy

In our line of work I regularly have to socialize and meet new people. My husband is a minister, so as a minister’s wife I am generally expected to be “on” quite a bit more than my personality likes. 

As a 35ish woman, most of my conversations with other women fall to my offspring. As soon as the conversation leads that way, I dread the question that I know is inevitably coming…

“Where do your kids go to school?”

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

3 Hospitality Hacks for a Life-Giving Home

3 Hospitality Hacks for a Life-Giving Home

7 women and 12 tween and teen girls joined my daughter and I for a mother/daughter tea party a few weeks ago. I pushed aside furniture, wrote out some name tags, and somehow crowbared them all into my teeny-tiny dining room. We played parlor games, ate food, laughed hard, and learned about being ladies who take the Truth of God's Word with us wherever we go. 

In one quiet moment, one of the moms causally tossed out the question that was perhaps on everyone's mind, "Why did you do all this? What made you want to host a night like tonight?"

And my answer?

Well, it was quite simple. "Investment."

Friday, September 2, 2016

What We're Reading in September 2016

A look at the September book selections of a homeschooling family of five


One full week of school down, thirty five more to go.
We've launched well and look forward to many exciting days to come. Currently, the weather still hints of summer, but it won't be long before the crisp fall winds drive us indoors for hibernation. We'll unpack our favorite sweat shirts, slip into warm socks, and cozy up with great books. Because...September.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

A Simplified Morning Time {with a video}

Simplified-morning-basket-time-with-a-video-peek-and-a-look-at-FAQs-of-morning-time

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

Morning Time is definitely a current buzzword in homeschooling circles. With the popularity of the Your Morning Basket podcast, it seems that everyone has caught the fever. And why not? A purposeful time together each morning pouring over Truth, beauty, and all that is good should be an anchor in the homeschool day.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

The Lazy Mom's Guide to Delight-Directed Education

The-Lazy-Mom's-Guide-To-Delight-Directed-Learning

Some might call it strewing.
Others, sneaky learning.
Still others prefer "childhood enchantment."

Whatever the moniker, the outcome is still the same. All of these methods lead to one thing, a delight-directed education. It's the no-fuss, fast-track way to encourage REAL learning...the kind in which a child personally invests and one which inspires (not requires) him to want to learn more.

But what exactly is "strewing?" you ask.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Beginner's Guide to Copywork

Beginner's-Guide-to-Copywork


You want your child to become a good writer? Then you have to start with good writing. 

You have to start with copywork.

Up until the 20th century, copying the masters was the primary way all children learned to write. Students learned through imitation. They saw GOOD, copied GOOD daily, and eventually created their own versions of GOOD all by themselves.

Great men through the ages learned writing through copying...perhaps we'd call it hacking today. Literary greats such as Benjamin Franklin, Jack London, and Robert Lewis Stephenson were word hackers long before they were ever word writers.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Why I'm Wasting My Master's in Education to Homeschool: Meet Jessica

Why I'm Wasting My Master's in Education to Homeschool

Written by Jessica

I am a former elementary school teacher.
Turned stay-at-home.
Mama to three children under eight.
And I'm "wasting" my master's degree to homeschool.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Medieval Unit: Historic Feast

Medieval-Unit-Historic-Feast-With-Recipes-and-book-titles

A glimpse at the daily-life-and-times of the middle ages is a study of societal extremes. For the most part, people were either wealthy or impoverished. There wasn't a middle class. 

After reading about the lifestyle differences of the lavished and the lowly, we decided to live it out...for at least one meal. We invited one of our favorite homeschooling families, who just also happened to be learning about the medieval period, to join us for a historic feast.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Big Fat List of Back-to-Homeschool Traditions

Big-Fat-List-of-Back-to-Homeschool-Traditions

Just because you don't shove your homeschooled kids onto the big yellow bus on the first-day-of-school, doesn't mean that you can't mark their Day 1 with fan fair. 

I, for one, am all for celebrating milestones. So much so, that I don't just commemorate ONE first day of homeschool around here. I honor FIVE!

That's right. I don't start all of my kids together on the first day of school. I let them each have their own FIRST DAY.

Because, doesn't every child deserve to be celebrated?

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Confessions of a Homeschool Convert: Meet Gretchen Ronnevik

Confessions of a Homeschool Convert: Meet Gretchen Ronnevik

Written by Gretchen of Gretchen Ronnevik


Confession

Walking hand in hand on our way to meet our pastor for premarital counseling, my guy and I each carried a little marriage workbook. We had each written under the question: “If you plan on having children, where do you intend to send them to school? Public, private, or homeschool?” the answer:

1st choice: Public school, because we want our kids to not live in a bubble, but help them learn how to live their faith in the real world. 2nd choice: Private Christian school, but only if necessary and if our child wasn’t thriving in the public schools. 3rd choice: We are against homeschooling.

3 years earlier, I was in a freshman speech class at Moody Bible Institute, where I gave my first speech: “Why Christians Shouldn’t Homeschool.”

Monday, August 8, 2016

Back-to-Homeschool Shopping List

Back-to-Homeschool Shopping List. MUST HAVE items for a delight-directed homeschool


I'll admit, mid-summer when the stores begin to roll out their school supply displays, I get a little giddy. It's no secret that I've had a long-time crush on the stationery aisles of Target and Walmart. It's a sickness really. The smell of the paper. The bright colors of the gel pens. The crispness of the brand new journal pages just waiting for words. I'm lured in by all the shiny new goodies like a giant sea bass floppin' around at the end of the line. It ain't pretty. 

Friday, August 5, 2016

Preschool Homeschool Curriculum Choices

Preschool Homeschool Curriculum Choices after homeschooling preschool with five different kids over ten years.


I'm launching into my fifth and final round of preschool. After this year, I'll have no PRE...just school. And that sad reality, like all of life's lasts, makes me pause and reflect.

The first time around the preschool block found me ordering all the stuff and checking all the boxes. Like most first-time homeschool moms, I wanted preschool to feel REAL. I wanted it to mirror the "school" that I was used to. I found validation in "formal."

But with each preschooler, I slowly tossed all the fluff and started gathering the things that really mattered. You'll find no printable worksheets here because I'm not after a cut-and-paste education. On my fifth time around, my list of great resources has grown. And yet, QUALITY always rules out over QUANTITY.

Monday, August 1, 2016

What We're Reading in August 2016

A look at the books a homeschooling family of 7 is reading in the month of August


Confession time, y'all. July came and went and with it a whole lot of Jamie-spoiling. I mean A LOT.

Let me back up a titch and explain. Summer is garage sale season. It's kind of like Santa's workshop for a picker. Since The Hubs moonlights as a picker, he's been a bit starry eyed these last few months.

He's a picker who loves giving gifts. I'm a vintage book addict who loves receiving gifts. So, one quick peek at my Instagram account shows my vintage collection growing...and growing...and growing.

He'll be painting more bookshelves for the library this week. Because, as I said, I'm just a wee bit spoiled. I guess it's fair to say, we're surrounded by good books. And so we're reading.

Here's what has captured our attention this month.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Morning Basket Resources for Protestant Homeschoolers

Morning Basket Resources for Protestant Homeschoolers


Truth, beauty, and faith building.

That's our morning aim. We gather together at the start of our school day for purposeful group learning. Honestly, if we can spend a small bit of time each morning reading good books together...books that breed character, books that foster faith, books that point our hearts towards God and each other...I will consider the day a success. Even if the rest of the day gets derailed.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

2nd Grade Homeschool Curriculum Choices

2nd Grade Homeschool Curriculum Choices


My fourth born is a "certified bird nerd." An artist. A gardener. An advocate for all creatures great and small. He's everything I imagined John J. Audubon to have been as a child. He's rarely without a field guide, can usually be found sketching animals, and is always on the hunt for some little critter to add to his window well habitat.

He's my second grader this year. And here's what he'll be learning.

Monday, July 18, 2016

CALLING ALL WRITERS! Wanna Join My Community?

Calling All Writers! The Unlikely Homeschool is expanding and is looking for guest posters and contributing writers.


The Unlikely Homeschool is expanding! I am looking for guest posters and contributing writers.

I get questions from moms from all over the world with very unique circumstances. Because I can only discuss homeschooling from my own perspective and share the tips that have worked for me and my family, I feel that I can't always meet the needs of those in this community. But, maybe you and your story can!

Friday, July 15, 2016

4th Grade Homeschool Curriculum Choices

4th Grade Homeschool Curriculum Choices


I'm definitely not a hand-me-down kind of homeschooler. I know that what works for one child isn't necessarily going to work for the next. That being said, having two kids in back-to-back grade levels definitely has its advantages. As the older one moves out of one grade, I can tweak here and there to make plans fit for the younger one without feeling like I have to reinvent the ENTIRE wheel.

At barely eight-years-old, my son is a bit of a poppy...advanced for his age in most things. But, he also has his own set of struggles.

That's the bonus of homeschooling. It can be made-to-order. He's never really ahead or behind because the finish line is not determined by someone else's scope-and-sequence. It's determined by me.

Here's a look at what he'll be learning this year. 

Monday, July 11, 2016

Top 12 Podcasts for Christian Homeschooling Moms

Top 12 Podcasts for Christian Homeschooling Moms


Mothering is not necessarily a profession. Neither is homeschooling, for that matter. But, they are both full-time jobs which can be lived out professionally.

I hold both of these callings in my life to a high standard. Just as I found ways to continue my education back in my classroom days, I'm constantly on the look out for ways to further my growth as a homeschooling mother. I've found numerous parenting books, blogs, and real-life mentors that point me straight, keep my feet moving, and bolster my quiet resolve to do all this well.

But, time is no respecter of persons. I've been allotted the same 24 hours as every mom. It's not always easy to squeeze personal growth into the already full day of a work-at-home-homeschooling mother

Friday, July 8, 2016

5th Grade Homeschool Curriculum Choices

5th Grade Homeschool Curriculum Choices from an eclectic, a la carte homeschool

Back in my classroom days, the fifth graders down the hall kinda scared me. They had reached the age when school just wasn't cool anymore. They'd roll their eyes and sigh great heaves of exasperation at any and all authority figures.

But my fifth grader? He's naturally curious and passionate about learning. His eyes still light up when he discovers something new. Which is great, because there's lots of NEW on his horizon.

Here's what he'll be learning this year.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

What We're Reading in July 2016

What We're Reading in July 2016-Big list of books for all ages


This past week, we did something that we have never done in the history of reading aloud together. We made it all the way to the last chapter of The Jungle Book and then stopped. We never read to the final page. The previous four or five chapters had really lagged and never really compelled any of us to linger over the words. For nearly two weeks, we found ourselves making all kinds of excuses NOT to read aloud in an attempt to avoid picking up the book. We spent days without reading and my heart grew heavy. We were all getting a strange homesick feeling during the two week book drought. We missed our afternoon time together. And it was beginning to show on our faces and in our attitudes.

After sloughing through the first three pages of the very last chapter, we took a vote and decided to quit.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

8th Grade Homeschool Curriculum Choices

8th grade homeschool curriculum choices


It's no secret that I wave my eclectic banner proudly. I'm a firm believer that learning should never be defined by a number or an age. It's personal and should reflect the struggles and strengths of an individual, not the pre-scribed grade level on the side of a text book. 

That being said, should you ever run into my daughter around town and ask, "What grade are you in," she'll politely reply, "I'm in 8th."

However, the truth is a bit more muddled than that.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Homeschool Curriculum 2016-2017

Homeschool Curriculum 2016-2017

Our homeschool has always been defined by learning-a-la-carte. We are eclectic and refuse to be boxed in by any one method or mantra. Naturally, my curriculum choices for 2016-2017 reflect my pieced-together style.

In the upcoming school year, I'll have one child in junior high, three in elementary, and one in Pre-K. No doubt, it will be a full year.

Monday, June 20, 2016

101 Reasons Why I #HEART Homeschooling

101 Reasons Why I #HEARThomeschooling

I remember the conversation like it was yesterday. My sweet mother-in-love asked me if I would ever consider homeschooling. She had homeschooled both my husband and his younger brother and had fond memories of their days together.

I giggled a little...or maybe a lot...and shouted, "Absolutely not!" with a bit too much emphasis. (Clearly, I hadn't yet learned how to dial back my internal monologue. To be truthful, that's still a work in progress. Sigh!)

I don't even think I had children at the time. But, I was certain that if I ever had any I would NEVER homeschool them! I was an elementary school teacher, after all. I knew that children belong in school. With REAL teachers! (I'll just step over here and eat a generous helping of crow. Carry on...)

Friday, June 17, 2016

The Year of Hygge for Homeschooling

The Year of Hygge for Homeschooling-how to add peaceful rest and fellowship to your year.

It had been eight years...eight filled years of homeschool co-op. 
They were wonderful years. 
Enriching years.

But they were filled years. 

And by the spring of the eighth year, my shoulders slumped. They were no longer wide enough to carry the load of co-operative learning.

I had fizzled out and needed some rest...some sabbath-type rest that would nourish my soul. I had been so busy doing. planning. scheming. filling. for all of my children that I had somehow forgotten about what I needed for homeschool.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Dear Me-From-Ten-Years-Ago, Here's What I Know Today

Dear Me-from-ten-years-ago, Here's what I know today (OR a look at what I would do differently in my homeschool if I could begin at the beginning again.)

I got a message in my in-box a few days ago. It was from a sweet friend of mine who reminds me so much of myself (only about ten years younger and more than a few pounds lighter.) She's at the beginning of the homeschooling journey, feels like she has a million-and-one little people clamoring for her attention every waking moment, and is just desperate to do this homeschooling thing well.
Her message was simple. She had recently encountered my oldest son and was impressed with his kindness and respectfulness. She wrote, "He answered the door with such courtesy and friendliness the other day. I was somewhat taken aback by how mature he seems." She went on to say that she sometimes wonders if that will be her son one day.

Friday, June 10, 2016

10 Minute-to-Win It Games for Kids

10 Minute-to-Win It Games for Kids

For my daughter's twelfth birthday party, we gathered a bunch of her besties, some odds-and-ends from around the house, and as much verve as we could muster for an epic Minute-to-Win It style showdown.

It was a battle-it-out morning with each contestant competing for the chance to be declared champion (With gentleness and grace, of course.)

Monday, June 6, 2016

What We're Reading in June 2016


School's out for summer! 
I'm not sure who's more excited about that...the kids or me. To be honest, as a born-and-raised-in-the-southern-sun girl transplanted to the cold tundra-like weather of the upper midwest, I have a bit of a school girl crush on summer. I wait for it with bated breath. The arrival of sun puts a perma-grin on my face that doesn't fade until around mid-September. 

Friday, May 27, 2016

Gentle Schooling for Summer 2016

Gentle Schooling Ideas for Summer homeschool


We're hitting "pause" on school for three whole months. But don't you worry. There will be no summer slide around here. Our brains will not turn to mush like last summer's abandoned ice cream cones.

Nope.

We'll still be learning even when all the school books have been boxed up. Learning is a lifestyle. It's not something that ONLY happens on certain dates of the calendar between certain hours of the clock.

To us, summertime welcomes learning through leisure. The warmer days and light evening breezes usher in a chance to school more gently. More organically.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Come Take a Peek in My Homeschool Planner



The mailman delivered a box today. It looked like a regular, ordinary package. Rather nondescript. He tossed it on the front stoop and hastily sped away never knowing the valuable contents that lay just under the brown packing tape.

Like a crazy woman, I ran to the entry, flung open the door, and began to tear open that simple brown parcel.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

How to Make a Boy HATE Reading in 7 Easy Steps

How to Make a Boy HATE Reading in 7 Easy Steps- a list of what NOT to do

It's no secret that there is a definite gender gap in reading. It's not just a national problem, it is a world wide epidemic and has been since the 1970s. Statistically, boys tend to score several points lower on standardized tests in all language arts categories including reading and reading comprehension. And although the 2015 Brown Center Report on American Education does indicate that the gap has narrowed a bit in more recent years, the staggering truth is that when surveyed, 2 out of 3 adults who claim, "I don't read," were men. In other words, while the reading assessment scores of boys might be increasing, their desire to read is not.

As a mother of four boys, I find this disheartening, at best. 

Monday, May 2, 2016

What We're Reading in May 2016

What We're Reading in May 2016- Come take a peek and see all the many books we are reading together-from historical classics to modern fantasy!

We're in the final home stretch of the school year. Our days are winding down. We are rallying and giving it our last push.

But, there's just one little snag in our "rally plan"...

The sun is shining and calling us outdoors.

The sun is calling us out. Our books are whispering us in. It's a tug-of-war during nice weather. Which beckoning call will win? Well, it's anybody's guess, at this point.

Here's what will occupy our time in the last moments of the 2015-2016 school year.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

5 Simple Ways to Ruin Your Homeschool {and what to do instead}

5 Simple Ways to Ruin Your Homeschool {and what to do instead}


It happened again.
I ran into another lovely homeschool momma recently who bore the scars of a bad year.

The slumped shoulders.
The downcast eyes.
The sigh that exhales months of frustration and exasperation.

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

This had been a bad year for her. Just one of a string of bad homeschool years. She was tired. She was disappointed. She was ready to quit.

I listened as she slowly unpacked the struggles and wrapped my arms around her in solidarity. I knew her pain. I had heard it from so many other mothers before. I had felt it myself in years past. In that moment, I couldn't tell her the truth. She didn't need it then. She just needed a sympathetic ear.

But, someday soon, I hope to revisit the conversation.

Mommas, can I be really honest with y'all? The kind of honest that my friend might need from me someday? The kind of honest that might sting a little? 

While it's easy to point the finger of failure at our kids, or our curriculum, or our lack of budget. Sometimes, the problem isn't any of these. 

Monday, April 25, 2016

Homeschool Shopping Show-n-Tell 2016

Homeschool Shopping Show-n-Tell 2016-come take a peek into my shopping bag


This past weekend was filled with two of my most favorite things...conversations about homeschooling and books...lots and lots of books. I had the privilege of speaking and shopping at the annual Minnesota Association of Christian Home Educators Conference. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

50+ Items to add to a Nature Notebook

 After leafing through the lovely pages of The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady several years ago, my children and I were inspired to begin nature journaling. The beautiful water color renderings invited us to venture out...to explore...to wander through the woods. But, once we got there, we were a little overwhelmed. What were we suppose to see? What were we suppose to draw? There was so much nature. Here's a list of 50 items to look for in nature and to document in a notebook.

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

After leafing through the lovely pages of The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady several years ago, my children and I were inspired to begin nature journaling. The beautiful water color renderings invited us to venture out...to explore...to wander through the woods. But, once we got there, we were a little overwhelmed. What were we suppose to see? What were we suppose to draw? There was so much nature.

Friday, April 15, 2016

MUST HAVE Bible Study Resources for HOMESCHOOLED Tween & Teen Girls

MUST HAVE Bible Study Resources for HOMESCHOOLED Tween & Teen Girls- This is a no twaddle list specifically chosen for homeschooled girls


"Mom, I like it fine. But, it's just kind of...well...fluffy," she said one day when we were discussing her personal devotions. And it was true. The devotional book my daughter was currently working through lacked depth. Finding meaty resources for her had been difficult, to say the least. 

So many of the devotional books that line the shelves of the local Christian bookstore are, as she said, full of fluff. On top of that, most are written for girls facing the public school struggles of catty girlfriends, negative peer pressure, and boy trouble...none of which apply to her. 

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

While popular tween/teen devotional books such the One Year Book of Devotionals for Girls and the One Year Be-tween You and God are certainly much-needed resources for the average tween/teen girl. They don't necessarily make for the best Bible studies for my daughter or other homeschooled girls.

Monday, April 11, 2016

The Ultimate Guide to Creating a Unit Study

The Ultimate Guide to Creating a Unit Study-lots of links and videos and HOW TOs


I have no doubt that when the final page of their homeschool is turned and they launch out into adulthood, my children will have wonderful memories of our time together. Most likely, they'll not remember the math drills or language exercises, the spelling lists or vocab words. Even though those things will be cemented in their brains and used often in their "everyday," those will probably not be the memories they will cherish.

Nope.

They will remember the unit studies.
The enchantment.
All the DOING that we did.

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

While I recognize there are many wonderful ready-made unit study curriculums like Five In A Row, KONOS, or Galloping the Globe, I have learned over the years that I'm more of a DIY kinda homeschool mom. I much-prefer to cull resources myself in order to create a tailor-made education for my kids.

That being said, I'm just one momma with a finite amount of time and energy in my day. I can't be inventing the wheel for every subject and for every topic. So, I've developed a quick, just-add-water-and-stir system for developing units and here it is in five easy steps. Feel free to copy my pattern to create unique units for your homeschool.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Medieval Unit: The Vikings

Medieval Unit: The Vikings (lots of links, books, and activities for the Vikings)

My kids have Viking blood in them...or so the story goes. The Hubs is a mix of Norwegian and Danish with some Irish and German thrown in for good measure. He's got the freckled skin and ruddy beard that marks Scandinavian ancestry and has passed his look down to all five of our children. 

So, I've got six modern-day Vikings roaming my house. In fact, one of them actually has a Viking name. (We don't call him Blonde Warrior for nothin'. That's actually the English translation of his real-life Norse name.) Fortunately for me, he doesn't ever go around wielding a bloody ax and such (at least not that I know of!)

Not surprising, when we came to the Viking era in our Medieval History study, we camped there for several weeks.

Here's a list of books, activities, and field trips that helped give us a peek into the life of the ancient Norsemen.

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