Headed to the Zoo anytime soon? (FREEBIE!)

Headed to the Zoo anytime soon? (FREEBIE!)

We are annual zoo members and have been for years. Our kids have always treasured days at the zoo, and when the weather isn’t sweltering, I always have too. I feel like it’s an excellent opportunity to get out of the house and do a little roamschooling.

I wanted to create a tool for us (and for you!) that would serve our whole family. I have babies from 2 up to high school freshman, so it’s not often we do anything or learn anythign that EVERYONE can enjoy and benefit from. However, the zoo is definitely an excpetion to that. Furthermore, with this zoo explorers pack, that’s even more true than ever.

Read More

Review of Foundational Phonics Program

Review of Foundational Phonics Program

You may have noticed, if you've browsed this blog much, that I'm an enthusiastic supporter of All About Reading. So, it may come as a surprise that I'm sharing a review for a different phonics curriculum.

When the author of Foundational Phonics, Ariel Gunther, reached out to me with her gentle phonics program, I was more than intrigued. As we worked for years to get my dyslexic daughter reading on grade level, we tried more than a handful of programs. That process, along with the success my friend Hayley has also had with AAR, left me looking through Foundational Phonics with a discerning eye. So it's only natural that as I share all I love, or might not, about Foundational Phonics, I'll be making a few references to All About Reading as well. 

What is Foundational Phonics?

Read More

Dear Scared, Worried (Overwhelmed) New Homeschool Mom

Dear Scared, Worried (Overwhelmed) New Homeschool Mom

I received a text from a sweet friend last night, one who is in the thick of her first year or two of homeschooling. As she'd spent many sleepless nights cradling and nursing her newborn infant recently, thoughts and concerns flooded her mind over the progress of her 6-year old daughter's reading. 

Anyone who has been in the thick of homeschooling for one year or 10 remembers those days well. Not one of us is impervious to fears, second-guessing, unmet expectations, and the torture of comparison. What follows is a version of my response to her concerns, that she and I agreed, should be shared with you as well.

Read More

All About Reading: Level 4 Color Edition Review

All About Reading: Level 4 Color Edition Review

I was so excited when Erin told me that All About Learning Press was releasing a NEW COLOR EDITION of their All About Reading program! I have used AAR with three of my children, and it has been such a blessing to our family. This program has helped me gain confidence and skills in teaching my children to read. I’ve written before about how we use AAR in our home. Today I want to share a little more about the new color editions, and why I have changed my mind about Level 4.

Read More

Cultivating the "Perfect" Homeschool

Cultivating the "Perfect" Homeschool

If you saw that title and clicked to read, it’s likely that one of two things brought you here: You thought, “What in the world? This girl thinks she’s got it all figured out. I have to see who this chick thinks she is.” OR, you thought, “Sheeesh, I’m struggling. I need a dose of whatever she’s got going on.”

Those are extremes, obviously, but for most homeschool mamas, we tend to vacillate between these throughout days and seasons. We either think we have "it" finally figured out (only to have “it” blow up in our face the next day) OR we think we are never going to get “it” figured out, and our kids would probably be better off spending their days in school.

Since long days, learning challenges, chaotic toddlers, willful attitudes, and mismatched learning and teaching styles can leave any of us questioning our sanity (and looking for a better way), I thought I’d share how I have “it” together (FINALLY!) and how you can too! It turns out you CAN have an amazing homeschool experience and choose the perfect curriculum.

Read More

Beautiful Feet Books Geography Through Literature Review

Beautiful Feet Books Geography Through Literature Review

As my blog has grown, I’ve had the opportunity to do a few reviews. I’ve learned that it’s important to me that I really LOVE anything that I review. I don’t want to hand out a negative review, but I’m also going to be 100% honest. I’m thankful my caution has paid off, and I’ve received a product for my honest review that I can say I HONESTLY love.

Beautiful Feet Books is known for it’s simple, easy-to-implement, open-and-go curriculum guides combined with exceptional literature. When the books are this perfect, you don’t have to add much to it, especially in the grammar stage.

I chose to use Beautiful Feet Books Geography Through Literature program with both my 6th and 9th grader girls. My oldest daughter already has much geography included in her Tapestry of Grace core curriculum, but I thought it would be wonderful to have an additional “fun” thing to do with her as well. So, aside from our “Lunch Basket” (what we call morning basket), this is the only thing we do all together.

Read More

All About Reading: How it Works for Our Family {a detailed review}

All About Reading: How it Works for Our Family {a detailed review}

When I first began homeschooling, the responsibility that intimidated me more than any other was teaching my own children to read. I have always been an avid reader, and I desperately wanted to instill a love of reading in my kids. I realized very quickly, however, that my love of reading did not automatically qualify me to teach someone else HOW to read. Because I had no background in teaching reading, I knew I needed to find a program that could walk ME through the process as well as my child. We tried several different programs in the beginning, but they either bored my child to tears or proceeding so quickly that she felt overwhelmed, and I felt lost without a map. 

Read More

I am Using a Living Books Science Curriculum with my Dyslexic Daughter

I am Using a Living Books Science Curriculum with my Dyslexic Daughter

I am so excited to get to share about the Beautiful Feet Books' HISTORY OF SCIENCE program! If you're like me, you never really entertained the notion of a science program from the perspective of history. When I first ran across it, I thought that it might not be very hands-on (meaning all books, no experiments) or that it wouldn't be "thorough enough" since it's not specific to one area of science--like biology, chemistry, botany. 

Oh my, how I was wrong! I received this curriculum to use with my 6th grader for my honest review. She is a very hands-on kinesthetic learner, who- despite being dyslexic- learns best through real, living stories. When she is involved in a story line, she will remember every single detail of that person's life. Living books are hands-down the best way to get lasting knowledge and true education into her heart and mind forever. You do NOT have to avoid living books for a dyslexic student! 

Read More

The Beauty of Tapestry of Grace in the Rhetoric Years (a very detailed review)

The Beauty of Tapestry of Grace in the Rhetoric Years (a very detailed review)

Homeschooling high school was always something that I looked ahead to with both excitement and fear. When my children were in elementary grades, I felt confident teaching according to a classical model, but as they grew into the middle and high school years, I felt intimidated by the challenging literature and history and by my own lack of knowledge in these areas.

I was excited to learn alongside my kids, but also afraid that I would not be qualified to teach upper level courses. I knew I would need a curriculum that could guide me as I redeemed my own education.

A dear friend had been telling me for a few years how much her family loved Tapestry of Grace, and I could see the results in her son. He was able to carry on deep discussions about topics in history, literature, philosophy, and government with such thoughtfulness and a depth of understanding that I wanted for my children and myself. I had looked at so many other classical courses for high school, but I kept feeling called back to Tapestry of Grace.

Read More

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.

Read More