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 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.

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.
T-H-R-E-E.

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.
Nope. 
Instead, I'll think about sun and warmth and lazy days filled with good books. 
Yep. 
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?!

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

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. 

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

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.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Core Values: Giving Your Family Meaning and Motive

Core Values: Giving Your Family Meaning and Motive {The Unlikely Homeschool}


21st century living is messy.
It's busy.
And with the never-ending barrage of media, it's also very noisy.

The world shouts more. More. MORE! and attempts to pull a family in a million different directions.

The constant stream of pressure poured out on social media has us, all, convinced that we're not doing enough, we're not buying enough, we're not fill-in-the-blank enough.

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

And so, we put our kids into multiple extra curricular activities to keep up with the Harvard-bound kids up the street.

And we bake homemade bread with wheat that we've grown and ground ourselves in hopes of getting the approval of all the have-it-all-together mommas.

And we invest in a pricey new boat that we can't afford because we've convinced ourselves that we deserve it.

And we clamor for more. More. MORE.

The 21st century, with its fish-bowl Facebook living, has put an entirely new spin on "keeping up with the Joneses."

The world seeks our attention. But, while we continue to ADD more to our plates, we DIVIDE our time, energy, resources, and talent. We end up with lives defined by average because we haven't carved out room for the things that really matter.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

10 Last-Day-of-School Ideas for Homeschool

10 Last Day of School Ideas for Homeschool {The Unlikely Homeschool}


Can you keep a secret? I've got some fun plans up my sleeve. But, the kiddos don't know about them. So, mum's the word!

Our school year ends in T minus 15 days, 4 hours, 32 minutes, and 22 seconds...but, who's counting?! (Scratch that last part. It kind of sounds like a momma desperate to reach the finish line in one piece. And while that MAY or may not be the case {ahem!}, I probably don't need to tell you that, right?!)

Anywho...back to the big plans...

I've made a reservation for the kids and me (along with our co-op families) at a living history museum located about two hours away. We will spend the afternoon helping to run a REAL working 1860s farm. We'll feed the pigs, milk the cows, and help "Ma" make supper on the wood stove all while gleaning lots of historical tidbits from our tour guide.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

How I Use goodreads In My Homeschool

How I Use goodreads In My Homeschool {The Unlikely Homeschool}

Can I confess something to you?

If we are going to be friends, there is something you MUST know about me...a dirty little secret, if you will, that I must get off my chest if we're going to continue this relationship with honesty and forthrightness.

I am a book-a-holic.
There. I've said it.

"Hello. My name is Jamie and I am a book-a-holic."

It's a sickness. Really.

Friday, May 8, 2015

How We Teach: A Peek into the Lives of 25 Homeschool Veterans

How We Teach: A Peek into the Lives of 25 Homeschool Veterans


Recently, a homeschool momma friend of mine was sharing with me a few of her fears for the upcoming school year. She confessed that she has always held to the traditional approach of education, but has been compelled to branch out...to try something new...to shed the worksheets and test packets for a more gentle approach.

The only problem is, she's just not sure how.

She's overwhelmed by choices and can't decided which style would best fit her family. And once she finally picks a method of education, she's afraid she'll lack the confidence in knowing how to implement it all.

The Charlotte Mason method sounds nice because who doesn't love great books and nature walks? But narration and dictation? Those sound like two unruly twins from the Elizabethan age. 

The Classical approach with its deep roots of foundational learning is also appealing. Studying The Greats is certainly a noble goal. But all the memorization! Who has the time to drill the Preamble of the Constitution when the toddler is currently pouring Cheerios into the toilet bowl?

And then there's the Montessori method.
Montessori? Is that some kind of dinosaur?

She's paralyzed...temporarily stuck in place because of all the unknowns.

Friday, May 1, 2015

What We're Reading in May 2015


Oh you, Sunshine and Gentle Breeze...
You are our reading nemesis. You invite us to leave the books behind and venture out-of-doors. To wield stick-swords and dig holes. To feel the grass between our toes and remember what it's like to be warm again. Like two faithful friends, you always return bringing with you the hope of better things.

Thanks for coming back. We've missed you. 

Truthfully, the warm weather has made reading time hit-or-miss around here. You'll notice that many of this month's books are roll-overs from last month. But, while the sunshine has scattered our books, it has gathered our days. And for that, we can only be grateful.

Here's what we're reading...

Monday, April 27, 2015

The UNEDITED Truth About Homeschooling {The Pros & Cons}

The UNEDITED Truth About Homeschool {The Pros & Cons}

Confession: I LOVE homeschooling. But, I don't always LIKE homeschooling.

As with most lovely things, there are always unloveable pieces and parts. That's the nature of living in a fallen world where "perfect" gets tarnished or cracked.

Don't get me wrong. Homeschooling is definitely my calling.

I was called by God to homeschool my children.
That doesn't mean that homeschooling is always easy. On the contrary, like ALL educational choices, homeschooling comes with its own mixed bag of strengths and struggles.

But, these unavoidable pros and cons of homeschooling are the very ones that God, in His providence, has planned for me...and my kids. They are what mold us and shape us and refine us DAILY...for our good and His glory.

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

While my list of homeschooling struggles and strengths might look quite different from someone else's due to the individuality of my individual home, I do think there are several universal pros and cons that characterize every homeschool.

Here are just a few...

Friday, April 24, 2015

Homeschool Convention Show-n-Tell

Homeschool Convention Show-n-Tell {The Unlikely Homeschool}


Well, once again, it appears that I bought my weight in books at the used vendor fair of my state convention. I've learned over the years that I must shop the book fair with a "buddy" who can help talk me off the ledge. I just simply can not be trusted to maintain my composure or my budget when surrounded by so many great treasures. Seriously...I morph into a crazy woman waving muppet arms and throwing cash at people while demanding that they relinquish all their books right.this.minute. 

Luckily for me, my trusty side-kick for the weekend was a man-of-my-dreams type with unwavering sensibility and big muscles...big enough to lug a heaping load of books on his back for two days straight.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

A Podcast Interview of Little ol' Me: A Peek Into My Gloriously-Filled Days


One of my most favorite things to do as a homeschool momma is sit down with other homeschool mommas and unpack this crazy adventure called homeschooling...all while sipping a brimming mug of coffee, of course!

I love the camaraderie.
I love the inside jokes.
I love the mutual understanding.

Recently, I had a chance to chat with fellow homeschooling mom and host of The Homeschool Snapshots Podcast, Pam Barnhill, about the wonderful fulness of my days. I shared with her my love of doing-things-my-own-way and my passion for raising kids who follow God with abandon.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Ultimate Guide to Creative Writing for Elementary Kids

The Ultimate Guide to Creative Writing for Elementary Kids {The Unlikely Homeschool}

Although I recognize that perhaps none of my five children will grow up to be the next C.S. Lewis or Beatrix Potter, I know that they all have a story to tell. And if given the proper direction…if that story is cultivated and nurtured…each of them can develop a delight for words and learn to creativity piece them together with purpose. 

Here are a few of my GO TO resources (and others that I'd highly recommend) for igniting a passion for creative writing.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Lunchtime Quesadillas

Easy Lunchtime Chicken Quesadillas {The Unlikely Homeschool}

Got a little bit of leftover chicken from last night's dinner that you're not sure what to do with? Toss it into this easy-peasy chicken quesadilla recipe for a hot homeschool lunch. Or if you are feeling especially organized, pre-cook a big batch of chicken, shred it, and freeze into meal-sized portions to have these little bad boys whenever you get the hankerin'.

Move over plain PB&J! There's a new lunch in town. It's hot. It's easy. And it's full of flavor, thank you very much!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Winner of the Home Art Studio Video Collection



Congratulations, Sarah S!
(This post contains affiliate links. Please see my disclosure policy for full details.)
You are the winner of the entire Home Art Studio DVD curriculum...a six volumes! You will be contacted via email and will have 72 hours to respond or your prize will be forfeited and another winner will be randomly selected.

Monday, April 13, 2015

20 Must-Read Chapter Books for Young Boys

20 Must-Read Chapter Books for Young Boys {2nd-4th graders}

I cringed when I overheard the eager mother ask the librarian for book suggestions for her young son. He had just begun to read fluently, she mentioned, and was in need of something to hold his literary attention.

"Well, we have a wonderful selection of graphic novels that I'm sure he'll enjoy," came the reply.

Graphic novels?

Really? Must we always default to graphic novels for boys assuming that they can't or won't read actual books?

Monday, April 6, 2015

Home Art Studio: Review and Big-ol'-giveaway!

Home Art Studio: Review and Big-ol'-giveaway! {The Unlikely Homeschool}


It's no secret that I love art time. I mean r-e-a-l-l-y love art time.

I love the mess.
I love the creative expression.
I love the colorful whimsy that it adds to our otherwise black-and-white days. 
I love art.

Each week, we all scramble for a fresh white sheet of possibility...for lines, and textures, and color just waiting to be splashed across the page. 

Thursday, April 2, 2015

What We're Reading in April 2015

What We're Reading in April {The Unlikely Homeschool}

April...April...April...how you tease me.
The end of the school year is so close and yet, so far.

For the next two months, we'll put our hands to the plow and keep on going.
Two more months.

We can do this.

And in between those crazy, hectic, end-of-the-year moments, we shall read. 
Yep. We'll read books. Lots and lots of glorious books!

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

Here's what we'll be reading.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Pricey Field Trips for FREE or Cheap

Pricey Field Trips for FREE of Cheap! {The Unlikely Homeschool}

When you are homeschooling at the speed of life, learning...most REAL learning...happens away from a worksheet or textbook. 

Some of the most memorable and meaningful life-schooling is done when you take the show on the road...when you venture out to meet real people and see real stuff...when you experience real life the way it WAS lived or IS lived...when you take a field trip.

But, let's face it.
A large homeschool family is a herd that moves rather slowly and comes with a pretty hefty entrance fee.
Field trips aren't cheap!

Or are they?

Friday, March 27, 2015

Ancient Rome Unit: DIY Roman Road

Ancient Rome Unit: DIY Roman Road {The Unlikely Homeschool}

As the old saying goes, at one time, all roads really DID lead to Rome. One of the largest was the Via Egnatia that the apostle Paul and his friends Timothy and Silas traveled on to spread the Gospel to the uttermost parts of the world. It was in large part due to this and other "modern" roads that we have Paul's letters.

Roman roads were impressive 4-layer highways complete with water-drainage plans. They were built by Roman soldiers during the empire expansion and used for military travel and eventually trade. Covering over 85,000 kilometers, the road system first began around 500 BC with the Via Appia and can still be seen meandering across Europe today.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Working At Home and Homeschooling: What My Schedule REALLY Looks Like

Working At Home and Homeschooling: What My Schedule REALLY Looks Like {WAHM and homeschooling mom of 5}

Three years ago, when I sat down to plunk out a chronicle of our homeschool days, I never dreamed of the kind of community that would build, the kind of catharsis I would gain, and the kind of personal and professional growth I would experience.

God took my little corner of the Web and my desire to minister to mommas on the journey and crafted a ministry and side-income like only He could.

I have gotten to meet and walk real-life with a few of my readers.
I have shared God's love and His story to women all around the globe.
I have helped to write a book and launch a much-needed ministry.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Eclectic Homeschooling: Learning a la carte

Eclectic Homeschooling (Learning a la Carte) with a helpful video explaining it all.

Every summer, when I release my curriculum choices for the upcoming school year, I receive a number of comments regarding the rather random-looking compilation of books. But, although it might look like a hodge-podge collection, there is definite method to my madness. 

I am an eclectic homeschooler. Craziness, pure craziness!

But what does that mean exactly? And why would someone choose such an a la carte style of learning? 

Monday, March 16, 2015

Why I'm No Longer Behind in Homeschool

Why I'm No Longer Behind in Homeschool {The Unlikely Homeschool}

A Little behind


My sweet mother-in-love used to have this little ceramic doll that sat on a shelf in her living room. I remember seeing it long before I ever made the decision to homeschool. If memory serves, it was a gift given to her back in her homeschooling days...back when The Hubs sat at her dining room table pouring over books about World War II and sloughing through algebra worksheets. 

The doll stood bent over with its fanny pointed to the sky and on its bloomer bottoms were etched the words, "A little behind in school."

It sat there on her neatly-organized shelf as a reminder of that ever-vexing feeling that all homeschool mommas fall prey to...that nagging notion that we are behind...that we are racing against the school year calendar in a desperate attempt to get caught up...to fit it all in.

Friday, March 13, 2015

The Hatmaker's Sign: A Colonial Mini-Unit

The Hatmaker's Sign: A Colonial Mini-Unit {Made for the perfect book for our co-op book club}

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

Our homeschool co-op book club stepped back in time through the pages of The Hatmaker's Sign by Candace Fleming. This living-literature book is a parable as told by "Benjamin Franklin" who attempts to encourage a downhearted Thomas Jefferson during the drafting of the Declaration of Independence. 

Since our book club consists of the six and under crowd, this story made for a great, gentle introduction to colonial life and history. 

Thursday, March 12, 2015

DIY Lemon Body Scrub

DIY Lemon Body Scrub {The Unlikely Homeschool}

Slough off the winter skin with this refreshing body scrub. Its soothing oil and invigorating springtime smell makes for an inexpensive and oh-so-easy at home spa treatment. Because of the detoxifying and antiseptic nature of lemon oil, this scrub will give your dull post-winter skin a glow. Its my GO TO body scrub and my GO TO hostess gift for friends. Because it is completely natural and can be made for cheap, I can slather it on or give it away guilt free!

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