Teaching From Rest Book Review

Right before school started this year, I discovered this little gem of a book called Teaching From Rest:  A Homeschooler’s Guide to UNSHAKEABLE PEACE by Sarah Mackenzie.  It was a quick read, but wonderful!  I also used the Companion Guide to go along with it.


I LOVE Homeschooling!  I do!  Even though I’ve been at it for 12 years, I still occasionally feel like I need a renewed spirit, a renewed focus, a change-up of some kind.  I am very confident in my curriculum choices, my methods, and in the way I like to teach and the way my children learn.  But, sometimes I feel like there’s still something more that I’m missing; things have become dull, or I am no longer looking forward to the year.  So, often times, I do more research.  I think maybe I need to change up curriculum, or make a different kind of schedule.  Those things may be needed, but I think deep down, what I’ve really been looking for is REST.  A state of rest.  Over this past summer, I was feeling those feelings again….that need for something different, a renewed focus or goal, a change-up of some sort, when I came across this little book called Teaching From Rest.  It peaked my interest, so I picked it up.  I didn’t read it for some time, though….that happens sometimes when I get a new book.  Finally, at the end of the summer, I decided to take some time and read this little gem.  On the first few pages, I realized that there was also an optional study guide that I could purchase and download.  So, I did that, and printed it out.  I love being able to take a book and make it more into a book study, with notes, and truly feel like I’m growing and changing, so this option seemed like a great plan!

The book is written in three parts.  Part One is: Whose “Well Done” Are You Working For?  Part Two is: Curriculum Is Not Something You Buy.  And, Part Three is: Be Who You Are!  Each of the parts are broken down even further so that you can read in sections, which is nice (especially if you are frequently interrupted).  If you get the Companion Guide, it has a place for you to take notes throughout the chapters, then some application questions following that with ample space to record answers and notes.

Part 2 was very applicable.  Sarah gave clear steps on how to teach from rest and obtain unshakeable peace.  Also in Part 2, she shows you how to break down your busy schedules to see how much time you have, and how much time you need, to homeschool.  We often plan our time around our homeschooling, but she suggests we plan our homeschooling around our lives, around the time we have left.  Sounds like a strange concept, huh?  It makes complete sense to me now, and I am grateful to have read her tips on this!  I did follow her advice, and did simplify our days somewhat, but I think this type of schedule will be a work in process for a while.  In fact, now that we are mid-year, I am going to go back to this book and re-evaluate our schedule, and this time I’m hoping to add in a tea time and a time for rest and reading mid-day (she explains this further in part 2).

The book goes right along with my Charlotte Mason style of homeschooling, too!  But, I do believe that whether you use Charlotte Mason’s methods or not, you will still glean a lot of great information from this little book.

After we had been in our school year for a good chunk of time, I realized things weren’t going as smoothly as I’d hoped. So, partway through our year, I had to make some changes to curriculum and our schedule.  With just a few tweaks, things did improve, and now that we are at the beginning of a new semester I’m changing a few more things, and I believe things will improve immensely!

One of the things that I haven’t implemented that was suggested in this book was a Quiet Reading Hour.  (I briefly mentioned this above).  I really want to include a time for this beginning with the New Year!  I wish I had added it at the beginning of our school year.  We do read, we read a lot.  However, I don’t get that time to read for me.  And, implementing a Quiet Reading Hour would be great because then we’d all get to enjoy some free reading.  Just a time of reading for fun!  I think we could all use that!  I do have one that is not yet reading, so this could prove a bit difficult, but maybe I could give her some audio books to look through.  And, as long as each of us are in separate spaces and being quiet, it should work out just fine.

This book is truly a little gem that I will have to pick up each year, possibly several times a year, to reevaluate, to get inspired, to refocus.  It brings me back to my goals in homeschooling, a simpler way, a restful and joyful way, full of peace.  I would highly recommend it!  And, I would also recommend the Companion Journal.  Check them out here.

Wishing you a blessed and happy New Year!



Mid Year Homeschool Planning


Sometimes, mid-year, I feel like it’s time to start planning again.  Sometimes for next semester change ups, sometimes for the future of our homeschooling.  That’s exactly what I’ve been up to.  You see, this past summer I graduated my oldest.  I have three more behind him.  One who is only 3.  So, I have many more years of school to do.  And, I’m hoping with each one, school only gets better!  I feel like #1 was a guinea pig.  I tried so many things with him, switching things often, and changing things up.  Poor guy!  He really probably had it rough, as I had NO IDEA what I was doing!  On the upside, I learned to research, study many curricula choices, and I’ve tried many, so I feel like my knowledge on a TON of curriculum has grown and I could probably give a pretty good review on most anything.  And, if it’s something I don’t know about, I can find out pretty quickly!  I feel it has benefitted me a ton to be able to gain as much knowledge as I have.  My next one is a sophomore in high school this year (just a few years behind him).  She has been a bit of a guinea pig as well.  Not as bad, but she was such a different learner, I had to do things so differently.  I feel like she has it better than he did, but I still have changed a lot with her.  With #3, so many NEW things have come out that I’ve wanted to explore and check out!  We are finding some great things, but also struggling to find a fit in other areas.  I have a great plan, though, and I think things are about to improve greatly!  Then, for #4, I hope to have EVERYTHING figured out, and to use only the best all the way through for her!  I’m excited because I feel I’m getting so much closer to what I feel the BEST is.  (I do realize that the BEST is different for each family, but it is nice to know that I am getting closer to our family’s best!)  I plan to update my Scope & Sequence soon to show what I’ve chosen for all grades and subjects.  My biggest goal is making learning fun and natural; a Charlotte Mason style education, and, a focus on Biblical Worldview.  These things are most important to me:  good habits, lifelong learners, and hearts that love and serve the Lord.  I know I can’t ‘make’ my children do any of these things, but I can do my best to lead them in the right direction.  That is my prayer and hope.  I’ve failed a lot along the way, but I hope I’m improving with each kiddo.  Parenting is hard enough!  Add in homeschooling, and it’s almost too much!  But, I know the Lord helps me.  I couldn’t do any of it without His guidance and leading.

Some things I’m planning on changing up for the 2nd half of the school year are:

I have not used any of the Five in a Row products, the Homeschool in the Woods Time Travelers, or Brave Writer before.  I would love to hear some reviews of any or all of them if any of my readers have used them!  And, if you have any tips on HOW to use them, I’m all for those, also!

I am enjoying using Simply Charlotte Mason’s American History (we are ONLY using the American History and the Geography portions as we already have a good Bible program and I’m not doing World History yet with the 4th grader).  But, it’s not enough hands on for my 4th grader.  I’ve come to realize that she learns best by doing.  So, having that component is super important to her.  I’m hoping that adding in Beyond Five in a Row and Time Travelers will give her what she needs in that area.  And, that it will bring back more ‘fun’ into her school days.

Well, that’s what I’ve been working through for our mid-year homeschool review!  Do you do anything to change things up around mid-year?  I’d love to hear!

In Christ,


Time Well Spent


WOW!  It’s been awhile since I’ve posted!  Summer came and went quickly.  My summer projects went somewhat how I’d planned, but not all of them were completed.  However, I did make time to have fun with the kiddos this summer.  We visited the pool frequently, and I even got a little tan!  We had a nice vacation in Branson with our family, and also went through a major remodeling job on our main bathroom.  It was CRAZY!  Now, we are settling back into some normal homeschooling, chore doing, routines.  I have also added lots to my plate.  Why?  Because I have felt the Lord leading me to do so.  Now, He must provide the time I need to make it happen!  Here is a look at our current weekly schedule:

SUNDAY – Sunday School and Worship Service in the mornings.  Then, evening services later.  I teach the 5th & 6th grade Sunday School class at my church.  Up until September I was co-teaching just every other week.  But, my co-teacher resigned and now I teach every week.  Thankfully, I just had someone step up to help fill in, especially when I’m not going to be there because of sick kids, or time away.  She will be a great help with crowd control and outside activities, as well!  I’m thrilled to have extra help! I am using Answers in Genesis’ Answers for Kids Bible Curriculum and I think it’s going to be a great year!  In the evening, I lead a kid’s class called M&M Kids which stands for Mission Minded Kids.  We study a country and culture each week, locate it on maps, and do a craft to remind us to pray for that country throughout the week.  We also spend time praying for that country and their needs, especially their need for Jesus.  The main resources I’m using for this are:  Window on the World, You Can Change the World V. 1, and You Can Change the World V. 2.  I also use Pinterest to help me find crafts that will work with each country (and honestly, that is what takes most of the prep time…lol). 

MONDAY – Regular Homeschooling Day….one of the only days of the week that I don’t have some kind of running to do. This is also the day we try to get the house back in order after a busy weekend.

TUESDAY – Co-op plus a full regular day of school, then gymnastics for my high schooler in the evening.  I teach a class for Co-op.  I use The Young Peacemaker Curriculum and the student booklets.  This is the second co-op I’ve taught this class at.  It’s all about conflict resolution and how to approach it and deal with it Biblically.  I LOVE it!  It’s the busiest day of the week!

WEDNESDAY – Library Story Time for the little ones in the morning at our local library, then a full regular day of school.  Church in the evening.  This is my weekly Bible Study group with other women that fuels me for the week, and keeps me going.  I’m so thankful for this group of women.

THURSDAY – Piano Lessons in the morning, then a full regular day of school.  And I just changed the younger girls gymnastics to Thursday afternoons instead of Saturday, in hopes that I’d have a more free Saturday.

FRIDAY – Field Trip Day!  And, this is also errand running day in the city.  We always go to the library there (Mid-Continent has much more when it comes to school) to pick up ordered books or dvd’s, or to return books or dvd’s we are finished with.  We also may go to a bigger city grocery store, Mardel, or whatever else needs to be accomplished in the city.  It’s usually a pretty full day!

SATURDAY – I just switched the girls from morning gymnastics this day, to afternoons on Thursday.  I was feeling like I wasn’t getting any day free for rest and recuperation.  I will probably still do grocery shopping in the afternoons on this day, though. 

Our weeks are crazy!  I never thought that I’d ever be teaching 3 classes at one time, but I’ve felt the Lord’s leading on all of them.  I love doing it!  I plan outside activities every once in a while for my Sunday School class, also.  What better way to get to know them than spending time together outside of class?  So far, we’ve had a fun park day and ice cream at a local ice cream shop, a service project at a Ronald McDonald House, where we were able to get a tour and prepare and serve the guest snacks.  Just yesterday, we did a prayer walk around the schools, and an ice cream sundae fellowship.  In a couple weeks I plan to take them to a Pumpkin Patch for a fall day of fun, then comes a Mother/Daughter retreat for the girls in my Sunday School class and their moms.  I’m super excited about that!  I feel building relationships is the key to helping others draw nearer to God, or find a relationship with Him.  If they know you care, they’ll believe what you teach them.  My husband is also in Youth Ministry, so we are busy with youth activities as well.  Then, once in a while I will go to his Computer Repair Shop and do the accounting, as well as decorate the shop window with new seasons.  I have a full and busy life!  Sometimes I get so tired, and I feel like I need a break from it all.  I even re-evaluate all the activities the girls are in, and try to decide if it’s worth it.  

I am tired a lot.  I think it’s just a season of Motherhood.  I think new parents of babies go through this, I think the running that happens as kids become teens is another season of busyness and being tired, and I think the more kids you have the more tired you might possibly be.  I have kids ranging in ages from 3-18.  So toddler, elementary, high school, and adult (though still living at home).  It’s a busy time with lots going on.  But, someday I will look back on this time in my life and I’ll miss these moments, because it’s moments like these that bring about memories.  And, memories are priceless.

We are falling into a much better routine now that we’ve been schooling for about 4 weeks.  I’m grateful for that.  Our first couple of weeks were rough, mostly because we had a bathroom remodel going on at the same time we started school!  That is finished, so things are feeling a bit more normal when it comes to a school routine.  I am still adjusting the schedule a bit (like moving gymnastics for the younger girls around).  We will see if this helps ease the schedule a bit, or if it makes it feel even more crazy! 

What ministries are you involved in, and how do you make your schedule work around them?  I’d love to know.  My first priority is ministry in my own family.  I am beginning a new Bible study soon with my Wednesday night ladies group called Missional Motherhood.  I’m very much looking forward to it.  It’s not just about ministering to your own children, though, it’s about ministering to all children.  So, I think it will be perfect for all of the ministry I’m currently involved with!

Soon, I will be sharing some recommended Bible Studies I’ve been doing, and giving them reviews.  Stay in touch for that!  And, this time I won’t take so long to post!

Nature Journal Entries

My Nature Journal is a simple spiral bound sketch book that I added paper and then magazine pictures to to make it pretty.

Summer Fun 059

Nature Drawing and Journaling is something that I’ve been interested in for a while.  I don’t take the time often to work on my Nature Journal, but I do enjoy really looking at God’s beauty in creation and trying to recreate it in my drawings.  This past school year, we began going through Barry Stebbings Nature Drawing and Journaling in book and DVD form.  The DVD is probably my favorite as I am a visual learner, and he actually shows you exactly how to draw borders, and gives examples of his many Nature Journals.  It’s been fun creating the borders and then later filling in the pages with more drawings taken from nature and then adding poems, Scriptures, or some kind of writing to compliment the artwork.  Unfortunately, my children aren’t as interested in this kind of art and journaling, so though they do some Nature Study, they don’t normally make a Nature Journal.  This past year, for Nature Study we used NaturExplorers from Shining Dawn Books for studying nature.  They have some great ideas on how to study nature in some creative ways, and also some great living book options on the topics covered.  This fall, we will be using the Creation Illustrated magazine.  It has phenominal photos of nature, with nature stories from a Creation viewpoint.  And, it also has some lesson plan ideas to cover the nature topics covered in the magazine.  I’m looking forward to it!  Below are some of the drawings and journaling I’ve done in my Nature Journal.  Maybe it will inspire you to try it for yourself!

I enjoy adding poems to my drawings.  I use Favorite Poems Old and New as a resource when I do add them.  I also will add quotes I find that I like, as well as Scriptures.

Summer Fun 063

Summer Fun 066

I actually drew the picture below while visiting the Anita B. Gorman Nature Center.  Then, later (a couple years later…lol) I added the mixed colored leaves border around the side and bottom using Barry Stebbing’s Nature Journaling and Drawing.

Summer Fun 067

This is one of my favorites!!  I LOVE Powell Gardens.  It is a beautiful place to visit.  There is always plenty of beautiful things to draw.  I began experimenting more with shading in this drawing, and I think it makes a world of difference.  I never said I was good at drawing, but I sure do enjoy it!

Summer Fun 072

This was done from one of Barry Stebbing’s recommendations.  It’s done in marker, and then at the end, I used blue marker on paper, dipped a paintbrush in water, and lightly “painted” around the tree.

Summer Fun 075

Summer Fun 074

This is how I typically start my pages now…with some sort of border.  This comes from Barry Stebbing’s courses, also.  He does nice borders in his journals and then fills in with other drawings, and journaling.  I like to do that now, also.  This is unfinished, because I’ve not yet filled in the rest of the page.

Summer Fun 076

I hope this gives some of you some inspiration so that you will try Nature Journaling and Drawing for yourself.  It’s relaxing and fun!

I have been super busy getting ready for the upcoming school year.  Lots of Lesson Planning has been taking place, a partial basement purge occurred, and I hope to get more done soon, and then lots of summer fun is happening, too!  I hope to be finishing up the majority of my school planning soon, and then I’ll share what all we are doing.  It is going to be a fun and exciting year, I think!


This Year’s Art Projects


Major homeschool planning is underway, so in the mean time, I thought I’d share some of our art projects from this past school year.  We had fun working on them, and most turned out really great.  In fact, I didn’t realize how much I enjoy drawing and painting and using different mediums until I started doing it with my children during our school days.  But, when I did, I felt relaxed and thoroughly enjoyed myself.  I am still learning a lot, and have a long way to go, but it’s been fun, and hopefully we all will continue to improve.  For art, we used Creating a Masterpiece.  And, this summer, the kids are taking some fun art classes from a local high school teacher who has just put together some art days for free.  They are having a blast with it.  This same art teacher won 1st prize at our Country Fair last year, and I loved what she did.  I’m trying to convince her to teach me how she did it!  (If you’re reading this….hint!  hint!  Hahaha!)  Below are some of the projects that we did!

PhonepicsJuly2016 012.jpg

This is called The Lighthouse and was done in acrylics.

These were done in pastels.  The one on the right is called Baby Blue Bird.

PhonepicsJuly2016 016

This was done in colored pencil.  It’s called Clown Fish.  The above pictures were done by me.  Below will be my two daughters…oldest (15) to youngest (9).

PhonepicsJuly2016 017PhonepicsJuly2016 019PhonepicsJuly2016 021

PhonepicsJuly2016 020PhonepicsJuly2016 022TPhonepicsJuly2016 018

The 15 year old claims she’s no good at art, but I think she did pretty well.  And, she definitely has an artistic knack for painting nails, and doing hair!  My 9 year old loves art, but gets frustrated when she doesn’t think her work is turning out well.  She stopped working on the clownfish for that reason.  However, I think she’s definitely a budding artist, and she’s definitely the crafty one in our house.

What keeps you busy in the summer months?

Have a wonderful and safe 4th of July weekend!


Birth to 18 in 30 Seconds

It is amazing how quickly time goes!  It seems like yesterday that I was holding my precious baby boy in my arms, and tomorrow he graduates!


I am very much looking forward to the ceremony.  A homeschool graduation ceremony is so much more personal, and we, as the parents, get to hand our son his diploma.  It’s exciting!

The most nerve wracking thing right now is the preparations for his grad party.  I have no idea what I’m doing…this is my first child to graduate.  But, I’ve been to lots of parties since my husband is a youth pastor, so I’ve gotten lots of ideas.  I think it will be fun!  One more stress is making sure our house is company ready!  As you’ve probably read before from this post, I struggle with keeping the house clean.  Things have been going well, and are being fairly maintained, but I want it to look extra special since lots of people will be coming.  But, I am going to pray that I’m more Mary and less Martha for my son’s sake.  When I’m Martha, I’m no fun, and get cranky rather quickly….not the way I want to celebrate my son’s graduation.

We will be displaying lots of past photographs in three open spaces in our walls, along with a buffet table that will have his senior pictures, a few scrap books of his young life, and extra wallet photos for guests to take.  We will be serving bbq brisket and bbq pork sandwich rolls, a veggie tray, a fruit tray, a sausage, cheese and cracker tray, a cheese ball, lots of cake and nuts, and lemonade and tea. Outside at our fire pit we are providing s’mores for the making. We plan to have outdoor games for anyone interested, also.  I think it will be lots of fun!

The color theme is blue and silver, so the napkins will be both blue and silver, and the balloons and tablecloths are also in those colors.   Most of the serving trays I borrowed or purchased and they are galvanized steal, which adds to the silver theme color.  My husband, the tech of the family, made a video of lots of pictures that will also be playing on our t.v.

The post is short this week because of all the preparations!  If you have graduates, congratulations!  It’s a big deal!  Enjoy this time.



2016-2017 Curriculum Picks


Here are my curriculum picks for next year!  I’ll start with my oldest still in school and go down to my youngest.

Sophomore (10th Grader):

Memory Verses: Simply Charlotte Mason’s Memory Verse Pack #4 https://simplycharlottemason.com/planning/curriculum-guide/scripture-memory/

Bible: TruthQuest Beginnings Guide                     http://www.truthquesthistory.com/store/products.php?categoryParentName=Books&categoryName=Creation%2FAncient&itemId=42

Character:  Ourselves Book 1 by Charlotte Mason and Character First:  Attentiveness, Obedience, Honesty, Respect, Diligence, Thankfulness with Write Upon My Heart Character Curriculum (each for 6 weeks) http://www.amblesideonline.org/CM/vol_4_all.html and http://characterfirsteducation.com/c/shop-detail/1998143 with http://www.keepersofthefaith.com/category/WriteUponMyHeartCharacterCurriculum 

Worldview:  Cat & Dog Theology Year 2                       http://www.unveilinglory.com/homeschool/high-school-year-2.php 

History:  TruthQuest Middle Ages Guide and TruthQuest Renaissance Guide alongside Beautiful Feet’s Medieval Senior High Study Guide (only using portions)  http://www.truthquesthistory.com/store/products.php?categoryParentName=Books&categoryName=Middle+Ages&itemId=40 and http://www.truthquesthistory.com/store/products.php?categoryParentName=Books&categoryName=Renaissance%2FReformation&itemId=41 with portions of http://bfbooks.com/Medieval-History-Senior-High-Pack 

Since TruthQuest also uses living books, these are the books I’ve chosen along with dvd’s:

Middle Ages and Renaissance, Reformation & Exploration Book & DVD List

(Plus order of use)

Middle Ages

Beowulf with Invitation to the Classics (Literature)

King Arthur and His Knights (audio by Jim Weiss)

Son of Charlemagne

The Arabian Nights with the Audio by Jim Weiss (Literature)

Leif the Lucky

El Cid (Movie)

How Should We Then Live? (DVD) Episode #2

Castle by David Macaulay with the online Video version from the library

Greenleaf’s Famous Men of the Middle Ages

Ivanhoe (Movie)

The Magna Charta

The Story of Robin Hood (Movie)

Cathedral by David Macaulay with the online Video version from the library

Stepping Stone Kit (Craft)

Whatever Happened to Penny Candy

Inspector General (Movie)

Morning Star of the Reformation

The Chaucer Story Book (Literature)

Joan of Arc

Renaissance, Reformation & Exploration

How Should We Then Live? (DVD) Episode #3

The Black Arrow

Annotated Mona Lisa by Carol Strickland (library)

Sister Wendy’s 1000 Masterpieces (library)

Sister Wendy’s Story of Painting (library)

The Agony and the Ecstasy (Movie)

How Should We Then Live? (DVD) Episode #4

Martin Luther

Luther (Movie)

Martin Luther’s 95 Theses

Martin Luther’s Defense before the Diet of Worms

Mosque by David Macaulay

Pilgrim’s Progress (Literature)

Greenleaf’s Famous Men of the Reformation

A Man for All Seasons (Movie)


God’s Outlaw (Movie)

The Radicals (Movie)

The Virgin Queen (Movie)

Under Drake’s Flag

SCM’s Shakespeare in 3 Steps

How Should We Then Live? (DVD 2) Episode #6

Johannes Kepler

Fierce Wars and Faithful Loves (Literature)

Optional Spine:  Trial & Triumph

You may have noticed that I also included the Literature books for the year in the above list.  I will also be using Beautiful Feet’s An Anthology of Medieval Literature  http://bfbooks.com/An-Anthology-of-Medieval-Literature 

Geography:  Beautiful Feet’s Medieval Senior High Guide and The Medieval World:  An Illustrated Atlas  http://bfbooks.com/The-Medieval-World-An-Illustrated-Atlas 

Writing:  Written Narrations and Essays from TruthQuest’s Think Write Assignments and Beautiful Feet’s Guide as well as Written Narrations on each of the literature selections.  Notebooking from A Journey Through Learning for Middle Ages and Renaissance is also availabe through TruthQuest and I will be using it.

Math:  Life of Fred  http://lifeoffredmath.com/

Science:  ACE Paces Biology DVD Course  http://www.heartofdakota.com/world-history-hearts-for-him-through-high-school-descriptions2.php#biology 

Rotation Subjects:

Picture Study (Valesquez, Turner, and Rembrandt – 12 weeks for each) https://simplycharlottemason.com/store/picture-study-portfolios/

Poetry (Robert Browning and Carl Sandburg – 1 semester each) https://simplycharlottemason.com/store/enjoy-the-poems/

Hymn Study (1 hymn per month)  http://www.amazon.com/Hymns-Kids-Heart-Vol-2/dp/1581345828 and http://www.rainbowresource.com/proddtl.php?id=021294 and www.songsandhymns.org

Composer Study   http://bfbooks.com/History-of-Classical-Music-Study-Guide?sc=21&category=-121

Nature Study  http://www.rainbowresource.com/product/sku/033908 and http://shiningdawnbooks.com/available-units/

Art  http://www.creatingamasterpiece.com/

and Shakespeare (As You Like It)                                                                      https://simplycharlottemason.com/store/shakespeare-three-steps/ 

Electives:  Logic, Speech (through co-op), Piano Lessons, and Gymnastics http://www.rainbowresource.com/searchspring.php?q=Falacy+Detective#/?_=1&q=fallacy detective&page=1 

4th Grader:

Memory Verses:  Simply Charlotte Mason’s Memory Verse Pack #4 – same as 10th grader – see link above

Bible:  Long Story Short  http://www.graceandtruthbooks.com/product/long-story-short-ten-minute-devotions

Character:  The Young Peacemaker (Co-op) and Character First http://www.graceandtruthbooks.com/product/young-peacemaker-teaching-students-to-respond-to-conflict-gods-way and http://characterfirsteducation.com/c/shop-detail/1998143 

Worldview:  Apologia’s Who Is God?                                             http://www.apologia.com/who-is-god/216-who-is-god.html 

History:  Heart of Dakota Bigger Hearts for His Glory http://www.heartofdakota.com/bigger-hearts-packages.php 

Geography:  Beautiful Feet’s Geography Through Literature http://bfbooks.com/Geography-Through-Literature-Pack-PB?sc=17&category=14 

English:  My Father’s World’s Language Lessons for Today Grade 4 http://www.mfwbooks.com/item/30018/ 

Spelling:  Simply Charlotte Mason’s Spelling Wisdom 1 https://simplycharlottemason.com/store/spelling-wisdom/ 

Reading:  Heart of Dakota’s Bigger Hearts for His Glory Classic Literature Pack http://www.heartofdakota.com/BHFHG-classic.php 

Writing:  Draw and Write Through History http://www.graceandtruthbooks.com/category/draw-and-write-through-history 

Math:  Life of Fred  http://www.educents.com/life-of-fred-elementary-math-series-9291.html 

Science:  HOD’s Bigger Hearts Science and Apologia Astronomy http://www.heartofdakota.com/bigger-hearts-packages.php and http://www.apologia.com/astronomy/466-homeschool-curriculum.html

Rotations:  Same as 10th Grader – See above

Electives:  Piano Lessons, Youth Theatre Academy, Children’s Choir

Preschool 3:

The Homegrown Preschooler  http://www.thehomegrownpreschooler.com/?product=a-year-of-playing-skillfully-printed-version

Heart of Dakota’s Little Hands to Heaven                       http://www.heartofdakota.com/little-hands-packages.php 

I usually save throughout the year to purchase curriculum for the following year, and I sell the curriculum we are finished with.  It really makes no sense to me to save curriculum for the next child when each of the rest of my kiddos are 6 years apart.  I don’t like to use outdated material, and prefer newest editions in most cases.  I’d love to hear about some of your favorite curriculum choices!  Please chime in!

Our Homeschool Scope & Sequence


This next school year I will have a Sophomore (10th grade), a Fourth Grader, and a Pre-Schooler!  And, I am graduating my first in a few weeks!  So, I’ve done a lot of homeschooling, and a lot of curriculum!  I love to research and review all the different options out there, and then make the best decisions for my family.  I choose according to my teaching style, my kids’ learning styles, and our method of homeschooling, which happens to be Charlotte Mason Inspired.  I recently revamped my Homeschool Scope & Sequence which gives my picks for all of the homeschool years beginning in pre-school and going through 12th grade.  This is a guide I use, and can change depending on the child and our current life situations.  But, I do like to use it as a guide for planning for the future.

Take a look:

Homeschool Scope & Sequence




Use Simply Charlotte Mason’s Memory Verse Packs and Memory Verse System

New Bible in Pictures for Little Eyes MFW K MFW 1st Grade


HOD Little Hearts for His Glory HOD Beyond Little Hearts for His Glory


Bigger Hearts for His Glory

Character First along with Character Booklets from Keeper’s of the Faith

Big Thoughts for Little People

My ABC Bible Verses

The Singing Bible

Leading Little Ones to God

Hide ‘em In Your Heart CD

A Child’s Book of Character Building Book 1


A Child’s Book of Character Building Book 2 Character First

Wisdom and the Millers

WORLDVIEW Adventures in Obedience

(Cat & Dog Theology)

Cat & Dog Theology Elementary 1 Cat & Dog Theology Elementary 2
HISTORY American American American
GEOGRAPHY BF Geography through Literature
ENGLISH R&S ABC Books? English for the Thoughtful Child 1 English for the Thoughtful Child 2 MFW Primary Language Lessons MFW Primary Language Lessons
SPELLING All About Spelling Level 1 All About Spelling Level 2 All About Spelling Level 3 All About Spelling Level 4
READING/LITERATURE Lots of Reading Aloud!


Lots of Reading Aloud!


Pathway Readers Emerging Readers

Pathway Readers

Emerging Readers and/OR

Pathway Readers

Pathway Readers
WRITING A Reason for Handwriting K A Reason for Handwriting A A Reason for Handwriting Transition A Reason for Handwriting C
MATH Numbers 1-10 Horizons OR LOF Horizons OR LOF Horizons OR LOF Horizons OR LOF
SCIENCE Shining Dawn Books – Nature By the Season 106 Days of Creation

OR More Shining Dawn Book Units

Living Learning Books Science HOD Science

AND Apologia Flying Creatures


Simply Charlotte Mason Picture Studies, Shakespeare in Three Steps, Beautiful Feet Composer Study then SCM’s Music Study with the Masters, Hymns from a Kid’s Heart and Then Sings My Soul, SCM’s Enjoy the Poems and Favorite Poems Old and New and Poems for Memorization, Shining Dawn Books for Nature Study, Art – Creating a Masterpiece, Missionary Biographies

Poet:  Rudyard Kipling


Poet:  Lewis Carroll Poet:  Christina Rosetti

Picture Study:  John Singer Sargent and Mary Cassatt



Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Picture Study:  Norman Rockwell and Grandma Moses

Poet: Ralph Waldo Emerson

Picture Study:  John James Audubon and Pablo Picasso

CORE CURRICULUM A Year of Playing Skillfully ages 3 & 4

Little Hands to Heaven

MFW Kindergarten MFW 1st Grade HOD LHFHG HOD Beyond LHFHG HOD Bigger HFHG



BIBLE HOD Preparing TQ Beginnings TQ Beginnings Continue with Beginnings until finished

Then allow student to own their own study time

Continue with Beginnings until finished

Then allow student to own their own study time

CHARACTER Prudence and the Millers

Character First

The Young Peacemaker

Character First

Making Brothers and Sisters Best Friends Beautiful Girlhood and Raising Maidens of Virtue Before You Meet Prince Charming
WORLDVIEW Apologia Who Is God? Apologia Who Am I? Apologia Who is My Neighbor? Apologia What on Earth Should I Do? A Young Historians Introduction to Worldview
HISTORY PHFHG with Draw Write Now Pilgrims, Pirates and Patriots and Draw Write Now Napoleum to Lady Liberty – World of the 1800’s and Draw Write Now Invention, Exploration & War – 20th Century TQ Beginnings with Draw Write Now Creation through Jonah TQ Greece with Draw Write Now Greece & Rome TQ Rome with Draw Write Now Vikings, Middle Ages & Renaissance TQ Middle Ages
GEOGRAPHY A Child’s Geography of the World by Hillyer OR Galloping the Globe Trail Guide to Bible Geography OR MapTrek Trail Guide to Bible Geography OR MapTrek Trail Guide to World Geography OR MapTrek Trail Guide to World Geography OR MapTrek
ENGLISH Intermediate LL 1 Intermediate LL 2 Intermediate LL 3 Winston Grammar Winston Grammar
SPELLING Spelling Wisdom 1 Spelling Wisdom 2 Spelling Wisdom 3 Spelling Wisdom 4 Spelling Wisdom 5
READING/LITERATURE HOD Book List HOD Book List HOD Book List HOD Book List HOD Book List
WRITING Begin Typing Continue Typing IEW Student Writing Intensive IEW Ancient

History Based Writing Lessons

IEW Continue Ancient and Begin Renaissance
SCIENCE Apologia Astronomy OR

Science in the Ancient World

Apologia Swimming Creatures OR

The Scientific Revolution

Apologia Land Animals OR

Science in the Age of Reason

Apologia Botony OR

Science in the Industrial Revolution

Apologia Human Anatomy and Physiology
ROTATIONS Poet:  Robert Louis Stephenson

Picture Study:  Cezanne and Pierre Auguste Renoir

Poet:  Robert Frost

Picture Study:  Giotto and Raphael

Poet:  Emily Dickenson

Picture Study:  Van Eyck and Fra Angelico

Poet:  Alfred Lord Tennyson

Picture Study:  Botticelli and daVinci

Poet:  Sir Walter Scott

Picture Study:  Durer and Michelangelo

Shakespeare:  A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream

ELECTIVES Art:  Creating a Masterpiece OR Artistic Pursuits AND

Barry Stebbing’s Nature Drawing and Journaling


BIBLE Continue with Beginnings until finished

Then allow student to own their own study time

Continue with Beginnings until finished

Then allow student to own their own study time

Continue with Beginnings until finished

Then allow student to own their own study time

Continue with Beginnings until finished

Then allow student to own their own study time

CHARACTER A Young Woman After God’s Own Heart Ourselves Book 1 Ourselves Book 2 Of Knights and Fair Maidens
WORLDVIEW How to be Your Own Selfish Pig

AND, Cat & Dog Theology Year 1

Cat & Dog Theology Year 2 Cat & Dog Theology Year 3 AND

I don’t Have Enough Faith to Be An Athiest

Understanding the Times AND

Cat & Dog Theology Year 4


HISTORY TQ Renaissance, Reformation, Exploration TQ Age of Revolution 1 TQ Age of Revolution 2 TQ Age of Revolution 3
GEOGRAPHY Trail Guide to World Geography OR MapTrek Trail Guide to US Geography OR MapTrek Trail Guide to US Geography OR MapTrek Trail Guide to US Geography OR MapTrek
READING/LITERATURE Progeny Press Literature Guides OR The Reader’s Odyssey with Honey for a Teen’s Heart Progeny Press Literature Guides OR The Reader’s Odyssey with Honey for a Teen’s Heart Progeny Press Literature Guides OR The Reader’s Odyssey with Honey for a Teen’s Heart Progeny Press Literature Guides OR The Reader’s Odyssey with Honey for a Teen’s Heart
WRITING IEW Continue Renaissance IEW US History Based Writing Lessons IEW US History Based Writing Lessons IEW US History Based Writing Lessons
MATH LOF LOF Financial Peace
SCIENCE Exploration Education Physical Science Biology 101 OR ACE Biology Chemistry 101 OR ACE Chemistry
ROTATIONS Poet:  Robert Browning

Picture Study:  Titian and Velazquez

Poet:  Carl Sandburg

Picture Study:  Turner and Rembrandt

Shakespeare:  As You Like It

Poet:  William Wordsworth

Picture Study:  Millet and Constable

Poet:  John Greenleaf Whittier

Picture Study:  Monet and Van Gogh

Shakespeare:  Taming of the Shrew


Creative Writing

Foreign Language

Foreign Language





Some of the typing transferred from Microsoft Word to blog world came out a bit strange, but hopefully you can make most of it out.  I will stop here this time….as this is A LOT to take in.  Next time, I’ll tell you what each of my curriculum choices for the 2016-2017 year are!  (Not all details of the curriculum types are listed in the Scope & Sequence, and as I said before, the Scope & Sequence is just a guide).

Do you make a Scope & Sequence for your homeschool?  What are some of the “Don’t Miss” subjects for your kiddos?

Until next time, Happy Planning!

2016-2017 Homeschool Planning Underway


So, it’s that time of year again!  My favorite time!  When I start evaluating how our current year of school has gone, and start looking ahead to planning the next year.  I am naturally a planner, so I love, love, love this time of year.  Choosing curriculum is like choosing Christmas gifts, and getting the boxes in is like opening the gifts on Christmas day!  It’s so much fun!  I think anyone who loves homeschooling would agree.

I am an eclectic homeschooler, but my method has grown more fully Charlotte Mason as the years have gone by.  I knew I loved the method and wanted to incorporate it as soon as I began reading about it, but it took YEARS of studying about it before I was able to finally make a schedule that truly is what I imagined a Charlotte Mason Education would be.  Yet, just like growth in anything, there’s always more to learn and changes to be made that can improve on what was already good.  That’s where I am now.

The 2015-2016 school year has been my 11th year of homeschooling.  This year I will graduate one of my kiddos.  I can hardly believe it!  And, next year, I will have a sophomore, a 4th grader, and a preschooler.  Each of the rest of my children are 6 years apart in age, so though early in my homeschooling days I was able to combine some subjects for my oldest two (only 3 years apart), I can no longer do this except for what I call “Together Time”.  This is first thing in the morning where we study memory verses together and do our “rotation subjects”.  (Rotation subjects are usually only done once or twice a week on different days and include:  Poetry, Hymn Study, Composer Study, Picture Study, Nature Study, Art, Character, and Shakespeare – if we are studying a play that year).  So, now that we only do these things together, it has become increasingly important for me to schedule our day so that I can devote one on one time with each student where they need it, allow independent work where they are capable, and breaks where they interact with the preschooler and/or go outside.

I have several other decisions that I have to make at this time of year, also.  Choosing curriculum is the most fun!  I’ve already chosen the curriculum I will be using next year and will talk about that in a future post.  I also have to decide what activities we will be participating in, whether it be a co-op, music lessons, drama, sports, etc, and what field trips we want to take.  I like to plan field trips that somehow relate to what we are learning.  I will admit, these decisions are the most difficult to decide, because if I include too much, it thwarts the learning and cuts into our regular school days.

I pray a lot during the process of this planning season.  I pray about what curriculum to choose; that my children will not only learn and connect with it, but that it will cause a love for learning deep within them.  And, I pray about what activities we should be a part of that will add just the right amount of enjoyment to their year.  And, then, I pray that I will be able to write lesson plans that will challenge, but not frustrate.  There’s a lot of praying going on for sure!  And, right now, I’m in the midst of much of that prayer, seeking His face and His guidance for our year.  I know that my time in prayer is the most important, because it’s in the waiting that I listen and go forward with what I feel He is leading.  However, I have to admit, sometimes I’m not the most patient in the process of the waiting, and that, in the past, has caused me to make decisions that ended up not being the best choices.

The Homeschool Conference season is just around the corner, and I’m so excited!  It’s such a blessing to go and sit through the classes and be reinspired, refreshed, and ready to face the upcoming year.  And, then to have the added benefit of browsing all the curriculum at the Curriculum Fair.  It is often true that I will have chosen two different types of curriculum for the same subject, and then after being able to see and hold each one in my hands at a fair, I am able to make the best decision.  Seeing and touching firsthand is the best!  So much fun!  And, now that one of my daughters is old enough to volunteer at the Conference and Curriculum Fair, we make an entire weekend of it by renting a hotel and really enjoying a mini get away!  It’s such a blast!  And, to be able to share it with my daughters is an even bigger bonus!

So, how do you go about planning your homeschool year?