Make Your Own Home Organization Wall {On a Budget!}

Make Your Own Home Organization Wall {On a Budget!}

I llooooooveeeee organization. I will also quickly admit that I’m not the best at “maintaining” said organization, but I am a PRO at setting it up. I have learned, over the years, with a lot of failure, that simple works best. I’ve also learned that no organizational systems matters a lick if you don’t have the self-discipline to utilize the system. Being a self-proclaimed scatterbrain AND perfectionist, wrapped all into one, creates a very interesting dichotomy that I’m confident my family total loves (not at all).

As we approached this school year, I had a vision in mind for bringing the spreadsheet system I’ve used for years into a real life, adjustable, very visible, attractive wall system. (If you’re curious about how I use a spreadsheet and generally plan our days, check out this detailed post and free spreadsheet.) I am probably the most “out of sight, out of mind” person you’ve ever met. It frustrates me immensely, but I also just accommodate this insufficiency with various tools, like my phone alarm and calendar.

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A Review of Claritas Publishing Memory Work

A Review of Claritas Publishing Memory Work

Over the past eight years of homeschooling, we have used a variety of resources for memory work. We spent five years as part a of classical, memory work focused co-op- first as participants in Classical Conversations, then in a classical co-op, which Erin founded. During those years, my oldest two children memorized amazing amounts of information about history, science, Latin, math, geography, English grammar, and world history. Now that they are in middle school and high school, I can see how all the seeds that were planted during the grammar years are producing much fruit.

As my children got older and my younger two joined us at the homeschool table, I felt that being involved in a co-op was not the best use of our time. Dedicating a full day to a co-op made it hard to complete all their other school work in the remaining four days. Despite making the difficult decision to leave our co-op, I didn’t want to leave memory work out of our curriculum. I wanted to ensure that my two younger children would have the same foundation in memory work their older siblings received.

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Collecting Nature and Encountering Our Creator (GIANT FREEBIE)

Collecting Nature and Encountering Our Creator (GIANT FREEBIE)

My Instagram feed is filled with gorgeous nature tables, muddy rainboots, and wild and free children. This speaks to my heart in an unimaginable way. While I may often get too busy to truly spend the hours out of doors that I would like... and sometimes the complaints about the heat just wear me down (we live near Satan's armpit), I know deep in my soul that being surrounded and immersed in God's creation is as close as we can get to touching him on this earth. 

When I first began reading Charlotte Mason's own personal work (and I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THAT, start here), I was slightly put off. I almost felt as if she worshipped nature. But I knew I had to be missing something important, so I pressed further in. Through prayer, I realized that Charlotte was passionate about nature because she was passionate about the Creator of nature. She knew that being immersed in Creation was a sneak peak into eternity and into the heart of our Father in Heaven. Our task as mothers is to simply help our children become thoroughly acquainted with Creation, capable of truly SEEING it with clear observation.

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My Favorite Things: "Keeping Toddlers Busy" Edition

My Favorite Things: "Keeping Toddlers Busy" Edition

My sweet little boys keep life very interesting, especially as I try to homeschool a high school freshman and 6th grader with dyslexia. It's basically my mission in life to keep my boys engaged in fruitful activity throughout the day in order that I might have small chunks of silence to engage with my girls in as much of their schoolwork as possible.

I want to share a few ideas and several "go-to" items that I keep handy at all times, as well as my process for both planning and engaging my boys each day. It's not perfect, but it works well enough that we march through our homeschool day with some learning accomplished and with (arguably) half my sanity left!

Here are my current FAVORITE things for keeping my boys (currently 3 and 20 months) busy while I work in our home and teach their older sisters:

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How to Use a Preschool Morning Binder (PLUS all you need to get started!)

How to Use a Preschool Morning Binder (PLUS all you need to get started!)

I have a tenacious 3 year old who wants to do a LOT of school. He loves to learn and do things just like the big kids. I love to encourage his desire to learn, so I created a "morning binder" for him after being inspired by Yoga Pants and Pearls when I ran across her on Pinterest. You can check out her take on morning binder here.  

I initially downloaded her cute little printable but my OCD jumped in and reminded me that it didn't match the rest of the materials that I had created to complement The Gentle + Classical Preschool (<--- Click that for a FREE Preschool Curriculum)... So I had to make my own, while also using a few resources I'd already created to assemble a full Morning Binder for my little one. So here's what's in our Preschool Morning Binder (also, it's not a binder but I'll chat about that too).  

5 Steps to an excellent, beautiful Preschool Morning Binder:  

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The "Morning Basket" Resource for the Rest of Us (Freebie!)

The "Morning Basket" Resource for the Rest of Us (Freebie!)

As the "morning basket" trend has grown, I've seen a LOT of information abounding related to it. I've also witnessed a great deal of confusion and overwhelm by Mamas who are new to homeschool or new to the idea of morning basket. 

In an effort to help clear the muddy waters and be an encouragement,  I created a resource to reflect what I have found to work in our homeschool and what I've seen others echo as well. I love how Mystie Winckler from SimplyConvivial.com discusses their use and organization of morning time binders on her IGTV (on Instagram). She was definitely an inspiration behind this post and creating this resource for all of us to use. 

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HUGE Elementary Math Copywork Workbook (and how to get it for FREE)

HUGE Elementary Math Copywork Workbook (and how to get it for FREE)

Who doesn't love copywork... especially math copywork, right? Well, besides your kids! While we get a fair amount of pushback from our students, the struggle is worth the outcome. In what other way can you practice slow memorization while also absorbing the fundamentals of English grammar and punctuation AND practice handwriting all at once? In my mind, math should be no different. While memorization of math terms is only one small portion in math instruction, it is an important portion nonetheless.

I personally usually take to the internet, mainly Pinterest, searching high and low for copywork pages that fit what we are studying each year in each subject. Truly, the hardest to come by have been copywork pages for math. AND if I did find them, it was rare to find them for the particular term I was looking for. I wanted a workbook of the vast majority of the terms my students would run across in elementary school without having to go look high and low or create my own every single time we found a new term. 

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When Your Homeschooled Child Can't Read Yet

When Your Homeschooled Child Can't Read Yet

If you're reading this, you are probably in the midst of teaching one of your little ones to read OR you have that endeavor looming ahead of you in the near future... amiright? The singular biggest fear of every single homeschool mom I've ever spoken to is failing to teach her child to read well... and especially failing to teach them "on time".

In most of our minds, we envision that our homeschooled child would be reading well in advance of their public school counterparts (or at least at the same time). Simultaneously, in our little hearts, one reason we homeschool is to give our children the time and space to grow and develop on their own timeline. Sometimes these desires and expectations clash and can create monster homeschool mom anxiety. I know many mamas who have quit homeschooling (or never even began) because they were overwhelmed at the idea of failing in this important task. 

I want to share some actual evidence with you today that helped put me at ease when my own homeschool student just wasn't progressing like I felt she "should." 

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Encouragement in Shifting From Surviving to Thriving (VLOG)

Encouragement in Shifting From Surviving to Thriving (VLOG)

Even the best homeschool mom faces days or weeks where she questions if she should quit or not- sometimes after a year and sometimes after 5. Other times, we can also recognize that we've not taken the time to really reflect on our WHY for educating at home or cast a true vision for our homeschool. Those are both INCREDIBLY important.

In this video, I discuss why this matters, along with ending with some general "points of refreshment" that I use to encourage myself during challenging seasons. It could be called "A List of What I Have Learned." I hope you enjoy!

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FREE "Cheat Sheet" for Math + Writing {Elementary}

FREE "Cheat Sheet" for Math + Writing {Elementary}

I have a daughter with dyslexia. For my sweet girl, one of the most confounding aspects of her learning disability is a poor working memory and the amount of effort (and incredible repetition) needed in order to move information from "temporary storage" into her permanent, long-term memory. During the elementary years, it can take a dyslexic students YEARS of practicing parts of speech, place value, multiplication tables, writing dates and months before they TRULY master it and put it into their long-term memory.

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