I'm a wife to my "Mr. Right". A momma of five. A maker of slow food and simple living. A collector of memories, a keeper 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 monthly newsletter. Or, follow along with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google +, Youtube, or Pinterest.

Homeschool Shopping Show-n-Tell 2017

Here's a peek into my homeschool shopping bag for the 2017-2018 school year

This past weekend, I had the privilege of presenting two workshops at the Minnesota Association of Christian Home Educators annual convention that hosts parents from all over the midwest and parts of lower Canada. I met so many lovely blog readers and got to encourage and be encouraged by hundreds of homeschool momma warriors. 

We laughed a lot. We cried just a little bit. And we looped arms as we talked of scheduling and teaching with tots underfoot in sessions entitled...

Help! I'm Homeschooling and I Have a Toddler Strapped to My Leg!

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

Homeschool Shopping Show-n-Tell 2017

Of course I couldn't be surrounded by dozens of new and used homeschooling curriculum vendors and NOT buy something... or a lot of somethings. 

You'll notice that I was a good girl, though. I only came home with one bag's worth of goodies.
...and a small pile that wouldn't fit in the bag. But in my defense, this bag is teeny tiny. I mean really?! How's a girl suppose to squeeze anything into that?

I'm sure you understand. 

Homeschool Shopping Show-n-Tell 2017

I've been ogling over my treasures for days now and have to finally tuck them all away into their proper place. But before I do, wanna take a quick peek?

Of course you do.

Consider this my convention bag un-boxing. I'll not share any curriculum-y type things that I picked up. Today, I'm only gonna dish on the fun extras...all the sneaky learning items that will help to make this 2017-2018 school year a memorable one. I will strew these around the house in the coming months and cultivate passions.

Homeschool Shopping Show-n-Tell 2017

Board Games

Catan- We've played and loved Catan Jr. for a couple of years now. It's time to up our game. I've hidden this one away and will bring it out in a few weeks to celebrate the first day of summer break. The kids don't know I bought it. It's a surprise, so...mum's the word.

American Timeline- Who needs a stuffy old textbook to learn American history when you have a quick-and-easy game? I love the Timeline series of games because each round of play only takes about 10-15 minutes making them all easy games to squeeze into the day. After playing this one with the family the other day, my eleven year old sat for over an hour reading all the cards and asking me all kinds of questions about different events in American history. Game. Set. Match!

Animalogic- I bought this game because it can be played by one person. I'm always on the hunt for one-person games to occupy kiddos when all their siblings are still working. This one's a logic/sequencing style puzzle similar to Rush Hour. Although it is intended for elementary aged kids and above, even my five year old can play the first few levels. 

The Global Puzzle- We'll be learning world geography next year, so a puzzle will provide some fun hands-on review. 

Homeschool Shopping Show-n-Tell 2017


Dover Coloring Books- It's sometimes difficult to find hand work for my boys to do during our read aloud time. They just aren't interested in crafts. And I'm just not interested in shenanigans. But Dover Coloring Books are always pure bliss. I can get one for each of their passions and read for a loooooooooong time. No interruptions. No noise. Only the quiet hum of pencils on paper. I've added the following to my stash:

Happy Times with God's Creation- This is another animal coloring book with intricate pictures and information similar to the Dover coloring books. It's one in a series put out by Rod and Staff Publishers. I'm not a huge fan of Rod & Staff materials, but their coloring books are really well done. 

1-2-3 Draw Wild Animals- In addition to more advanced coloring books, I like to load up our handwork basket with drawing books and supplies.

Magnetic Silly Faces- Magnetic sets always make for quiet handwork. The tin box of this magnet set creates a work space and keeps all the little pieces and parts together. 

Homeschool Shopping Show-n-Tell 2017


Step Up "Meet" Biographies- These out-of-print early chapter books are fantastic and are among the many vintage series that have become the foundation of our history time. The print of the Meet series is large, simple, and very wholesome. Anytime I see one at a used sale, I snatch it up. This weekend, I bought the following:

Christian Heroes Then and Now- For the last couple of years, we have been reading through one YWAM missionary biography each semester during our morning time loop. I picked up these two for next year's readings.

Homeschool Shopping Show-n-Tell 2017

Music/Composer Study

I will be teaching a music/composer study class next year in our co-op. I already have a few resources, but was able to pick up the following extras:

The Game of Great Composers- This is a board game that includes a booklet with biographical info, a tape with musical samples (although I think I can find most of these easily on Spotify or youtube), a game board, various game pieces and cards, and a set of dice. 

Ah, Music!- This simple picture book introduces musical instruments, musical styles and their histories, and some of the key vocabulary. 

Famous Composers Reference Book- I know that I can easily borrow many composer biographies and reference books from the library. But since this class will last all year, I prefer to own a few spine books so that I won't always have to request and return them. 

Homeschool Shopping Show-n-Tell 2017

History Resources

Renaissance Fashions- I plan to take this coloring book completely apart so that my children can color, cut out, and glue Renaissance figures onto their notebooking pages in their history notebooks as they narrate our lessons. 

Renaissance- We just started the Renaissance era in history and will continue to work our way through it until the first half of next year. This book features the most famous art and artists of the time period. 

Landmark Books- This is another must read living history series. Since they too are out-of-print, I try to pick them up whenever I find them, especially any titles that have to do with WWII as that happens to be a household favorite. This past weekend, I was able to purchase the following:

Homeschool Shopping Show-n-Tell 2017

Science Resources

Magnets- I am planning for three main units in science next year. Magnets is one of them. This is a project book that we will work through for hands-on learning. 

Tops Learning Systems: Magnets- This is another project-based book with printables for writing down scientific observations. 

The Complete Book of the Microscope- I'm gonna be honest, I bought this one based on the illustrations. My boys will love looking at all the weird photos of magnified objects. I purchased the older edition. But, you can find the new one here>>>

Homeschool Shopping Show-n-Tell 2017

Fiction Books

I picked up a handful of fiction books to add to our home library. I know I can borrow any/all of these from the public library, but I have some pretty firm beliefs on the benefits of a home library. A few of these we have already read together as a family and have enjoyed so much that I want to be able to offer them up for my kids to read on their own whenever they get the notion. 

The Night Crossing- This is an early illustrated chapter book about little Jewish girl and her escape from Aurstia during the Nazi invasion.

Dance at Grandpa's- We have many in the Little House prequel series. They have always been a great way to introduce my littlest ones to the loveliness of Laura Ingalls Wilder. 

By the Great Horned Spoon- This is a novel that takes place during the California gold rush.

Henry Reed Inc.- This was one of our most favorite read alouds in 2015, so it's nice to finally own a copy for our family library. 

Star of Light- This was one of my own personal childhood favorites. This weekend, I found the same vintage edition that I remember reading and loving as a little girl. Even though I read it out loud to my kids a few years ago, I might have to revisit it during read aloud time so that I can experience the same pages I held when I fell in love with it the first time so many years ago. 

Homeschool Shopping Show-n-Tell 2017

Art and Notebooking Supplies

With the exception of printer paper and standard notebook paper, I typically buy all of my school paper and notebooks from Miller Pad & Paper each year. Not only do I love supporting another homeschool family, I love the quality and price of their supplies.  

Prang Colored Pencils- These are the brand of colored pencils I prefer even over the sets of Prisma Color pencils I own. The Prang pencils have a thicker core and don't break as easily. 

Bright Books- My two youngest kids love to create little books in their free time during the school day. I usually just staple some paper together for them. But, I found these small little blank booklets that have plain white paper on the inside that will be perfect for creating stories. I plan to put all of these in a little basket along with some fun gel pens or colored pencils. I'll set out the basket from time to time. In providing a "real" book for them to write in, I'll be giving their words a gravity...an importance and will hopefully be encouraging them to write more often. 

My Picture Story Books- I like to have a supply of these draw-and-write notebooks for various grade levels. Although I'm not exactly sure what we will use these particular ones for, I know we'll need them eventually. 

Homeschool Shopping Show-n-Tell 2017

Fun Extras

Do You Know What Day Tomorrow Is?- I plan on placing this fun little almanac in our morning time basket next year and reading off the short paragraph listed for each day. Each excerpt lists out one significant historical or cultural event that happened on each particular date of the year. 

Draw Write Now books 1 & 7- While I like our current handwriting program, I plan to assign one of these draw/write pages to my two youngest every now and again throughout the year to add variety to their lessons. 

My First Paint with Water- This watercolor pack is a bit too messy to add to the handwork basket. But, I think it will make for a great independent project for my youngest to do when his older siblings are too busy with school work to play. 

Still On My Wish List

While I came home with a full bag of fun jazz-hands for the upcoming school year, there were a few items on my wish list that I did not find among the new or used vendors. So, I will add them to my Amazon cart and/or keep treasure hunting for them all. 

For the handwork basket

Hello Nature- for nature doodling

Nature Anatomy- Most field guides are made of photos or paintings which are difficult for kids to reproduce in their own nature journals. This one, however, is made completely of beautiful hand drawings which really helps my kids feel confident as they recreate the pictures. We've borrowed it from the library a few times. And now I think it's time we have our own copy.

For the family library


  1. I so appreciate that you share this list each year. In preparation for my state's conference every year, you are my go-to guide for making my list of things to hunt for. Thank you!

    1. I always love these posts too! I hope you find some good things at your convention. Happy shopping!

  2. I bought the same Renaissance Fashions coloring book last weekend at our conference along with the Midevil Times coloring book, but I hadn't thought about taking it apart and using it for notebooking! Thank you for the great idea! :) I love all your posts.

  3. Awesome finds, I really enjoyed seeing what you came home with. Thanks for sharing!

  4. So sorry I missed your sessions at MACHE! I bet they were incredible. Will you go next year?

    1. At this point, no. But who knows what the Lord will bring.