how to create a homeschool curriculum map
How to create a curriculum map for your homeschool

A curriculum map is perfect for organizing your thoughts around all the things you’d like to teach in your homeschool for the year. They work for any age / grade by creating a structure that will help you look ahead and make a plan for how to reach the goals you’ve set in your homeschool. To get started, you’ll want to determine the number of days you’ll be homeschooling in a year. Then divide the year into smaller groups. For example, if you’re homeschool requirement is 180 days of learning per year, then that would be 36 weeks of school. When you divide that number by the number of weeks in a month (four), it comes to nine months total. You could create a map with nine “semesters” (or whatever you’d like to call them). Or, you could divide it out even further to have shorter learning markers. It’s up to you! Once you determine the number of semesters or units in your homeschool year, you can move on to the content and set some goals. The name of the curriculum map game is to simply work backwards. You’ll want to start with the end in mind. What big goals do you want your child to reach this year? Are there any specific learning objectives you need to conquer? Then, you’ll make a list of all major topics you’d like to teach! Consider bringing your kids into this part of the planning process! Ask them what they’d like to learn about. Determine if there are any areas they’re struggling in or lack confidence in. Write all of these things down… It’s the beginning of your curriculum map! From this point, you can assign each topic to a month or week that makes the most sense (learning about things that happen in the spring in September, probably won’t be that much fun). But keep in mind that some topics will build on each other. So you’ll want to plan them accordingly with enough room to add on. Once you’ve completed an overview for the year, you can then break down each unit even further. Simply repeat this same process on a smaller scale. Rather than writing “BIRDS” for the month of March, you’ll break it down by week and even by day. Example: North American Birds – Types, diet, habitat, etc. Here’s another example of how you can work backward to create a Curriculum Map. | Related: Summer Sensory Bin Ideas In pre-k phonics, a low-hanging fruit to teach would simply be to work your way through every letter of the alphabet! Learn each letter’s name, the sound it makes, and how to create it. So, It would be fairly easy to simply spend a full week on each letter. Then, add a few “review” weeks built in. EXAMPLE: Week 1- Letter A Create a lesson plan that would provide a lot of opportunities with the letter A. Eat foods that begin with the letter A (applesauce, avocado, asparagus, bake something with all-purpose flour, etc.) Create the letter out of different materials (pom-poms and glue, play-doh, sticks, etc.) Read books that had main ideas or main characters with the letter (The Lady With The Alligator Purse, Amazing Airplanes, Hey Little Ant, etc.), Work on sight words for the letter A (and, add, any, etc.). You may realize that you do not need a full week for each letter, and that’s okay! If so, simply adjust the map as you go along. Nothing is set in stone in homeschooling, mama. To make curriculum mapping a little bit easier for you, I’ve created a free curriculum map template that you can download and get started with asap! Download the FREE curriculum map template for your homeschool! Let me know where to send our printable OR editable homeschool curriculum map template to help you plan your year and stay on track! SEND IT TO ME!  > > You know we’re not going to spam you! Just help you create a homeschool you love — But, you can unsubscribe at any time! Here’s a few things to keep in mind when you’re creating a curriculum map for your homeschool: Check your homeschool laws (if your location requires any). You’ll always want to make sure that whatever you are planning will be aligned with what’s required from you as a homeschool teacher each year. Does the curriculum you’ve purchased for the year have a set timeline in place for completing it? If so, consider using it to help guide your mapping! Personally, I do not bind myself to the exact days they have listed to complete each page in a curriculum we have. But I do like to use it as a guide when planning. If there’s a subject or topic you think your kids would like to spend more time on (like a really cool unit study!) then don’t be afraid to allow extra time in your curriculum map for that! The goal is to create a passion inside of our kids to keep learning… If they can have fun while doing it, even better! Don’t forget to include time for holidays and scheduled breaks in your curriculum map! Using these tips, and grabbing the curriculum map template, will help you get started with setting goals for your homeschool and stay organized! I’d love to hear more about your plans to use a curriculum map for your homeschool! Leave your thoughts in the comments below or over on Instagram! And if you loved this post and found it helpful for you, I’d love for you to share it with a friend!  Pin these!... [read more]

homeschool morning basket ideas
Morning Basket Ideas

If you’re looking for morning basket ideas… Well, there’s only a million 🙂 But having a morning basket or morning time in your homeschool is so beneficial for everyone, especially you, as a mama! So I highly recommend adding a morning time or morning basket routine to your homeschool! What is a morning basket? A morning basket is basically everything you can do together, as a homeschooling family, in one space. Many mamas choose to put their morning time items in a basket in the living room or their homeschool area, which is where the term “morning basket” came from! What do you put in a morning basket? There are so many things you can put in a morning basket! I’m sharing a few morning basket ideas with you here on the blog, but the possibilities are endless! However, there are specific categories or subjects that work really well in morning baskets for your homeschool, so consider these ideas when you’re looking for things to put in yours! Art Music Poetry Read-Alouds Unit Studies Bible / Devotionals Morning Menus Journaling | Related: Grab the printable weather chart for your morning menu here + the traceable calendar set for 2021 here. How do you use a morning basket? There’s no right or wrong way to use a morning basket! It’s YOUR homeschool, after all 🙂 You don’t even have to use it in the morning! It’s just a really neat way to bring all ages together to learn something new, hear a story, or create something fun. Depending on how many things you have in your morning basket, you could divide the subjects up by day – or “loop” them. For example, on Monday you could do the essentials (read-aloud, devotional, journaling, whatever is important for your kids to do daily…) and then only do art related things in your basket! Tuesday, the essentials and music. Wednesday, the essentials and math or geography. You get the idea! There are so many great resources and ideas for morning baskets in your homeschool! My friend, Pam, is well-known for her morning time ideas and goodies. Check out her website here and grab her book here. To get you started with some great ideas to fill your basket (or shelf), here’s a list of morning basket ideas for your homeschool! Everything links to Amazon through my affiliate links. Thank you for shopping my links and supporting our family in that way! It’s no extra cost for you and helps me continue to run this blog and share all of the idea and goodies for your homeschool with you! Enjoy! The Action Bible | The Random House Book of Poetry | Where the Sidewalk Ends |One Question A Day for Kids | Poetry for Kids by Emily Dickinson | The Adventure Bible | Dry Erase Markers | Dry Erase Pockets | The Chronicles of Narnia Set | 65 Short Mysteries You Solve With Science | My Kid’s Prayer Journal | Our Read-Aloud Family Journal | The Beginner’s Bible | The Art Book | The Classical Music Book | The Drawing Book | Maestro Classics CD Collection | Morning Menu Covers | Laminated World Map | Introduction to the Orchestra | BrainBox Nature Edition | BrainBox World History Edition | World Country Flag Flash Cards | 34 Mini Mysteries to Untangle | Indescribable Devotional... [read more]

guest post devotional by Nicole boyd
“Mama and Me” Bible Reading Plan: Week 4

Mama and me Bible reading plan: Week 4 A few weeks ago I purchased a hands-on Bible for my kids. Kallie, who is 2, loves reading and has been very interested in their new Bible. We were reading a story in the New Testament a few days ago and I pointed at a picture of Jesus and said, “Who’s this?” She immediately said, “Daddy!” I of course told her that that was Jesus, and she would repeat it after me. But every time we turned the page, Jesus was “Daddy”. Now, it was definitely cute, and she doesn’t know any better. But isn’t that the point? When people see us, they should see Jesus. Especially our children. Day 22: Jesus at the temple – Luke 2:41-52 Why do you think Jesus stayed at the Temple even though his parents left?What did he say to his mother when she essentially asked why he had scared them to death? Day 23: Jesus’ first miracle – John 2: 1-12 Why do you think Jesus decided to change the water into wine, when he had already told his mother that it wasn’t time for him to do his first miracle yet?What does this miracle tell you about faith? Day 24: Jesus sends the disciples out and at Mary and Martha’s house – Luke 10 Who do you think you are like the most, Martha or Mary?According to Jesus, what is the most important thing? (10:42) Day 25: Crucifixion – John 18 & 19 What is the garden called where Jesus went to pray?What did Jesus say right before he died? What does this tell you about forgiveness? Day 26: Resurrection and Ascension – John 20 & 21, Acts 1 Who was the first person to see Jesus after he rose from the dead?What did the angels say after Jesus ascended into heaven? Day 27: Holy Spirit in the upper room – Acts 2 What is the significance of flames of fire do you think?Why was it so important for the disciples to wait for the gift of the Holy Spirit before they started spreading the Gospel? Day 28: Steven stoned – Acts 7 Why was Steven killed?What is something that stands out about his testimony?... [read more]

guest post devotional by Nicole boyd
“Mama and Me” Bible Reading Plan: Week 3

Mama and me Bible reading plan: Week 3 This week we are moving into studying the two major kings, Saul and David, and the writings of David and Solomon, as well as major prophets. I’ve chosen a few of my favorites Psalms and Proverbs and touched on a few of the prophet’s writings. Feel free to read a few of your favorite Psalms and Proverbs with your children, if they are different from the ones I’ve included in the reading plan! Day 15: King David – 1 Samuel 16 & 17, 2 Samuel 1 & 2 What does God say about what He looks at in people? What does that tell us about how we should view people and treat them?David refused to lift a hand against Saul because he was God’s anointed king. What does this tell you about honor? Day 16: Psalms – Psalm 1, 8, 9, 15, & 139 Psalm 1:1 says “Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers.” What do you notice about the verbs (action words) in this verse? What message do you think King David was trying to convey?What does Psalm 15 say about who may live on God’s holy mountain? Day 17: Proverbs – Proverbs 1, 3, 12, 25, 31 In Proverbs 1:7, what does Solomon say is the beginning of wisdom?What do Proverbs 3:5 & 6 say? How does that apply to the world we are living in today? Day 18: Isaiah – Isaiah 1 & 61 Does Isaiah 61:1 sound familiar to you? Can you find where else this verse is quoted in the New testament? Day 19: Jeremiah – Jeremiah 1 & 23 We’ve read two stories of men who had similar responses to the call of God, Moses, and Gideon. What excuses did they give as to why they were not appropriate choices to lead God’s people? What was Jeremiah’s response when God called him in verse 5. (verse 6) What does God say about someone’s age in relation to serving him? (Hint: look in 1 Timothy 4)Who is the Righteous Branch Jeremiah is talking about in 23:5? Day 20: Daniel – Daniel 1 & 6 Why do you think the royal food would have defiled Daniel and his friends?What stood out to you about the story of Daniel and the Lion’s Den? Day 21: Jesus’ birth – Luke 1 & 2:1-40 Why was Zechariah not able to speak until after John was born?Why was Joseph afraid to take Mary as his wife?... [read more]

guest post devotional by Nicole boyd
“Mama and Me” Bible Reading Plan: Week 2

Mama and me bible reading plan – Week 2 I don’t know about you, but I love history. And reading the history of how Israel became a nation fascinates me! While I know the first few books of the Septuagint can be a bit mind-numbing, it’s all a piece of our heritage. After all, we have been grafted into the family of God, which is so humbling and miraculous in itself. Even if history is not your thing, I hope you and your family enjoy this weeks’ study as we dive into Exodus and the judges, ending with Saul as he is set up as Israel’s first king. Day 8: Joseph and the famine – Genesis 37, 41, 42:1-3, 45 Why did Joseph’s brothers throw him in the pit? Do you think Joseph’s story turns out alright in the end? What does the Bible say about when bad things happen to us? Day 9: Exodus from Egypt – Exodus 1 & 2, 8:1-4 Why do you think God told the Hebrews not to eat leavened bread during the passover? What is the significance of that? Which of the plagues would have been the worst, in your opinion? Why were the magicians able to do the same miracles as Moses was at the beginning? Further reading: The Plagues A. Frogs – Exodus 8:5 – 7B. Gnats – Exodus 8:16-18C. Flies – Exodus 8: 20-21D. Plague on Livestock – Exodus 9: 1-4E. Boils – Exodus 9: 8-12F. Hail – Exodus 9: 13-19G. Locusts – Exodus 10: 1&2H. Darkness – Exodus 10: 21-23I. Plague on the Firstborn – Exodus 11 Day 10: 40 years of wandering – Numbers 14; Deuteronomy 34 Why did God make the Israelites wander in the desert for 40 years? What does this tell you about trusting and obeying the voice of God? Day 11: Into the Promised Land – Joshua 1 & 2; Joshua 24 What did God tell Joshua in Chapter 1, verse 9? How does that apply to us today? Day 12: Gideon – Judges 6 & 7 What do you notice about where Gideon was when God met with him? How many men did Gideon take with him to fight the Midianites? What is your favorite part about how God saved the Israelites during the “battle”? Day 13: Ruth and Naomi – Ruth 1- 4 What stands out to you most about the story of Ruth? What can we learn about her life and apply it to our lives today? Day 14: Samuel and Saul – 1 Samuel 1, 3, 8, 10 God decided to use Samuel from a very young age. Do you think God wants to use you in the same way? Explain. If Saul was called by God to be king, why did he hide?... [read more]

guest post devotional by Nicole boyd
“I am…” Bible Reading Plan: Week 4

Mothers in the bible verses is a four-part study written by Nicole Boyd. Nicole is the owner of Wonderfully Fashioned, a handmade jewelry brand featuring tattered lace and wire-wrapped gems. She wants to be a voice for women all over the world, stating that her pieces are simply physical reminders of the treasure God created you to be. Nicole gives a portion of each sale to Exodus Cry, an organization working hard to fight human trafficking all over the world. Take a few minutes to get to know her over on Instagram and let her know how much you loved this study! I am a perfectionist. I like to make people happy, and it was always something I struggled with growing up. I started singing on our worship team when I was eleven and I’ve served there ever since. I love worship, but when I first got started, I used it to make myself feel good about my relationship with God. There was a time that I was on worship almost every week, and I felt burnt out. But I also felt like I couldn’t say no, afraid that I would let people down or they wouldn’t love me as much.  When I graduated high school and went to Bethel School of Ministry, I felt like God told me not to try out for the worship team. My friends and family were pretty shocked by this. Being a good worship leader had become a part of my identity, and during my year at ministry school, He showed me that I don’t have to do anything to gain His approval, or try to gain it from the people around me.  I turned twenty about a month after starting school at Bethel. My roommates all wrote prophetic and encouraging words for me as a birthday gift. One of my friends wrote something very simple, but it was exactly what I needed to hear. She said, “The world has many expectations for you, but God has only one: to be His daughter.” I realized that if I never did anything else for God during my life, He would still love me. His love is not conditional, it doesn’t hinge on whether I do good works or not. He simply loves me because He loves me. It is Who He is! Now, I worship from the overflow of Jesus’ love instead of trying to earn His love by doing good works. He loves you because He loves you! That’s it, plain and simple. Have there been times in your life that you have tried to earn God’s love by doing good things?  Bible Reading Plan: Day 1: “I am Kind” – 1 Corinthians 13:5 Day 2: “I am Selfless” – 1 John 3:18; John 15:13 Day 3: “I am Anointed” – Hebrews 13:20-21 Day 4: “I am Wise” – Matthew 7:24 Day 5: “I am Just” – Psalm 1:1-3... [read more]

guest post devotional by Nicole boyd
“I am…” Bible Reading Plan: Week 3

Mothers in the bible verses is a four-part study written by Nicole Boyd. Nicole is the owner of Wonderfully Fashioned, a handmade jewelry brand featuring tattered lace and wire-wrapped gems. She wants to be a voice for women all over the world, stating that her pieces are simply physical reminders of the treasure God created you to be. Nicole gives a portion of each sale to Exodus Cry, an organization working hard to fight human trafficking all over the world. Take a few minutes to get to know her over on Instagram and let her know how much you loved this study! I grew up in a Christian home with my parents involved in ministry since before I can remember. They served as deacons, elders, youth pastors, and janitors until I was 14 and then my dad took over as senior pastor. I gave my heart to Jesus when I was four years old and was baptized in water at eight. I was also filled with the Holy Spirit at eight and started speaking in tongues. I knew all the right answers in kid’s church, but my walk with Jesus didn’t really start until I was eleven.  Every night before we went to bed, my parents would gather my three younger siblings and I and we would pray before bed. On one particular night, I felt Holy Spirit so strong on my heart and I began to cry. That was the first time I had felt Him like this, and I said, “I will serve you for the rest of my life, no matter what happens.”  Shortly after that night, I felt like God called me into ministry. At that point, I was terrified of talking in front of people, but I had several people tell me that He was calling me to be a shepherd of His people. I never wanted to be a pastor and preach in front of people every Sunday.  Now I realize that pastors don’t just preach at the pulpit. Sometimes they hold ordinary jobs and minister in the workplace. Or they are stay-at-home moms and raise up their children in the way they should go. You don’t have to be a ‘pastor’ to be effective in ministry. We are all called to spread God’s love! Bible Reading Plan: Day 1: “I am Redeemed” – Isaiah 43: 1-4 Day 2: “I am Joyful” – James 1:2-4 Day 3: “I am Alive” – Ephesians 2: 1-10 Day 4: “I am Full of Grace” – Ephesians 2:8 Day 5: “I am Powerful” – Ephesians 6:10... [read more]

guest post devotional by Nicole boyd
“I am…” Bible Reading Plan: Week 2

This bible study was written by Nicole Boyd. Nicole is the owner of Wonderfully Fashioned, a handmade jewelry brand featuring tattered lace and wire-wrapped gems. She wants to be a voice for women all over the world, stating that her pieces are simply physical reminders of the treasure God created you to be. Nicole gives a portion of each sale to Exodus Cry, an organization working hard to fight human trafficking all over the world. Take a few minutes to get to know her over on Instagram and let her know how much you loved this study! After my son, Kaleb, was born, I walked through a few months of really hard stuff. I didn’t realize it at first, but I struggled with some postpartum depression in the form of anxiety. I was so afraid that Kaleb would go to sleep and in the morning he would be dead. I barely slept during those first few months, waking up constantly to check that he was breathing. I would randomly burst into tears, especially when my husband was gone. I felt so overwhelmed and like I was doing a terrible job as a mom.  You  see, sometimes even when God has revealed our identity to us, we have to be reminded. I knew that God loved me, but I felt like a complete failure when it came to caring for my baby.  Now, I see that Satan was again trying to derail my identity. I thought that every time my son cried, I was doing something wrong. I think a lot, if not all, new moms feel that way. Thankfully, I have a really strong support system. Both sides of my family live in the same town as my husband and I, so that helped a ton. But I also had to go to Father God and ask Him to remind me who I am.  It’s so easy to get caught up in the “Mom Hat” and forget that you have needs, too. Part of self-care is allowing Father God to minister to your heart and spirit. Allow Him to refresh and renew your strength this week! Bible Reading Plan: Day 1: “I am Whole” – 1 Peter 2:24 Day 2: “I am Beautiful” – Song of Song 4:7 Day 3: “I am Full of Faith” – Hebrews 11:6 Day 4: “I am Free” – Galatians 5:1 Day 5: “I am Blessed” – Ephesians 1:3... [read more]

year round homeschooling spring break ideas
Year Round Homeschoool? Here’s how we do Spring Break

Now, I won’t say we stick to a year round homeschool schedule by any means. But, in our homeschool, I like to keep things flexible. Sometimes that means we get to have a “summer break” – other times, that means we work a little more throughout the summer. The beauty in homeschool is that you can create it how you want – because it’s yours. If you do not want to follow the traditional school schedule of 9-week semesters with things like spring and fall break scattered throughout – Then don’t. For us, we find joy in the holiday season. That’s our biggest break of the year. Typically, we will stop our regular curriculum after Thanksgiving and start a Christmas-focused curriculum or study. Then we will take the week of Christmas and a week or two after Christmas as well. One year, we took FOUR weeks off for Christmas break — and I wasn’t even mad about it. The thing I’ve learned about taking “breaks” in homeschool though, is that there’s always going to be a “first day back”. And if you know anything about first days… You know they aren’t always fun and games. Listen, over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing spring-specific blog posts with you to help get you through the spring slump. I’ll be sharing spring projects, nature study ideas, read-aloud, bucket lists, freebies, and more! Click here to read the previous spring post: 3 things to teach in your homeschool this spring This year, I’m toying around with the idea of a year round homeschool — Except, my way. Let me tell you a little bit about it. Free Editable Homeschool Schedule Template Before I jump into the way I set up our year round homeschool, I wanted to share this free editable homeschool schedule template with you! Now, I created this template to help you create a homeschool you love. My goal is to provide as many resources like this that I can so that you can do just that! This schedule can be edited in two different formats – Canva, an online graphic design space or Google Docs. Canva will allow you to customize the look and feel of the homeschool schedule template, while Google Docs will simply give you the basics. I have also included a blank PDF in case you happen to have our digital homeschool planner and want to track your schedule there! Just let me know where to send the files – Sign up here: Download the FREE Homeschool Schedule Template! Let me know where to send our editable homeschool schedule template to help you schedule your days and stay on track! SEND IT TO ME!  > > You know we’re not going to spam you! Just help you create a homeschool you love — But, you can unsubscribe at any time! Our Year Round Homeschool Schedule We begin our new homeschool year on Labor Day. Our first year, we were so excited to begin that we started as soon as our curriculum arrived — August 5th. You wouldn’t think that a month would make that much of a difference – but when it still feels like summer outside, the last thing you want to be doing is school. So, the last couple of years, we’ve waited until Labor Day – and it’s extra special! It feels like we’re being little rebels 😅 because the public school kids are already back in school! It’s truly a breath of fresh air for us and by waiting a week or two longer than everyone else, the kids are actually excited for the first day back. #winwinwin Now, in our state, we are required to homeschool at least 180 days out of the year. So, with the “usual” breaks, this would put us somewhere around the end of June first of July finishing up the year. And no one wants that either. We’ve found that our kids somewhat “turn-off” around Memorial Day – So I will plan our curriculum choices on a Labor to Memorial Day schedule. But if you ask our kids, it feels like we still get a lot of breaks – even though we’re technically homeschooling year-round. Here’s why: We take curriculum breaks. For example, when we take our three or four week “Christmas Break” – We’re actually only take one or two on the “homeschool record”. Because instead of dropping all school for those weeks, we simply switch to another type of learning style – typically unit studies that are more hands-on. This feels like fun for the kids, but they’re still learning something new as we work through experiments and recipes. And we will do this all throughout the year! Even last summer, we had science days and I added those days to our homeschool record, because we were learning! I’ve found that this method not only helps us keep a shorter “school year” – but it also keeps us from feeling burnt out. It keeps things fresh and exciting! And we’re not repeating the same book work over and over again. If you’re feeling burnt out, restless, or possibly ready to give up – STOP. I would encourage you to try this method of switching things up and see what happens to your homeschool. I have this free 5-day challenge where I teach you how to create your own unit study – Use this as an opportunity to switch things up for Spring Break and count those “days off” as school days in your homeschool records! Ideas to help you keep homeschooling through spring break Choose a different curriculum or let the kids pick something they want to learn about for the week Have “elective” days – Pick something new to study each day: life skills, cooking, creative writing, etc. Find another group of homeschool friends who want to homeschool through spring break and form a mini-spring-break co-op! Introduce Science Week and new experiments all week long! Let the kids sleep in – Forget the...... [read more]

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3 things to teach in your homeschool this spring
3 things to teach in your homeschool this spring

Today, I want to share three things to teach your kids this spring in your homeschool. Now, if you’re anything like me, you’re starting to feel the spring slump. The homeschool blahs are no joke – and they often have you questioning if you’ve made the right decision to homeschool in the first place, especially if you are a new homeschool mama. But rest assured, my friend, every mama feels this way this time of year. We’re coming out of a cold, damp, dark season – and while I personally LOVE fall and winter – in spring, everything’s waking up! The birds are back, the sun is back, that warm-is breeze is back. The kids are aching to get outside and splash in mud puddles. We’re all just anxiously awaiting summer break – however, there’s still work to be done in our homeschool! Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing spring-specific blog posts with you to help get you through this slump. I’ll be sharing spring projects, nature study ideas, read-aloud, bucket lists, freebies, and more! Oh! And my favorite blog post will be live this week too – What to do INSTEAD of taking a homeschool spring break. Yep. You guessed it! Regardless of how “blah” we feel.. We do not take a spring break – and I’m going to show you what we do instead! Let’s dive into these three things to teach in your homeschool this spring, shall we! | Related: The ultimate spring sensory bin round up Plant Life-Cycle Studies We did a container garden last year right on our back deck! All you need are some containers (we used 5-gallon buckets – and got them super cheap and free from local sandwich shops!), seeds, and a little patience! We used this plant life-cycle observation study and turned our tiny home garden into unique learning opportunities all throughout the season! It was so much fun! Nature Studies We had SO much fun last year doing nature studies! There are a lot of studies available on Etsy and some for free on Pinterest – but mostly, we just took our nature journal and went on a hike. It made it feel less like school and a little more exciting! I’m sharing a copy of the nature journal I created and used with our kids – All you have to do is tell me where to send it! Just enter your info below and it will be on its way 😃 SEND IT TO ME > Outdoor STEAM STEAM, in case you didn’t know, stands for Science Technology Engineering Art and Mathematics. There are a TON of ideas for this on Pinterest. But the idea would be to take advantage of natural Vitamin D and do these projects outside! Let the kids get as messy as they want and then hose the workstation down after you’re finished! Simple learning that’s FUN. Here are a few of our favorite outdoor STEAM ideas: Nature art – Collect bits of nature and turn them into something extraordinary! Things like sticks, pebbles, leaves, and flowers make great artwork! Dissect flowers Sidewalk chalk Study the water cycle and make your own rain gauge Create an observation journal for bird watching + write reports on any nests you happen to see Do you enjoy spring learning as much as we do? I imagine you will love it a lot more after diving into one or all of these spring-time learning favorites! I’d love to hear more about your spring plans in the comments below! And if you loved this post and found it helpful for you, I’d love for you to share it with a friend! PIN THESE! Thanks for reading and I hope you found some great things to teach in your homeschool this spring! ♥️... [read more]


guest post devotional by Nicole boyd
“I am…” Bible Reading Plan: Week 1

This bible study was written by Nicole Boyd. Nicole is the owner of Wonderfully Fashioned, a handmade jewelry brand featuring tattered lace and wire-wrapped gems. She wants to be a voice for women all over the world, stating that her pieces are simply physical reminders of the treasure God created you to be. Nicole gives a portion of each sale to Exodus Cry, an organization working hard to fight human trafficking all over the world. Take a few minutes to get to know her over on Instagram and let her know how much you loved this study! When I was nineteen, I went to Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry in Redding, California. I had walked through a lot of insecurity during my junior high and high school years. Because of the stand I had made for Jesus, I never really fit in– and I was okay with that. However, I had allowed Satan to lie to me for years, telling me that I would never be good enough.  My biggest insecurity growing up had been my shyness. I was terrified of talking to people, afraid that I would make a fool of myself and say the wrong thing. I was consumed by what other people thought about me. When I got to Bethel, God really started to change my heart and my mindset.  I lived in a house with ten other girls and while that sounds like a nightmare to most of us, it was actually one of the most amazing times in my life. I had never really had close girl friends growing up. I was a tomboy and hated drama, so I found I spent most of my time with guys. Anyway, my roommates at Bethel were so amazing and I was able to build lifelong friendships.  One day when I came home from school, my friends and I started praying together and prophesying over each other. One of my roommates was playing the piano and we just started to worship. I laid down on the floor and I heard God say, “I am loosing your tongue.” My eyes popped open and I looked around the room. It had shocked me to hear those words, I hadn’t even been thinking about my insecurity. But God had plans for me to speak and teach, and He needed that insecurity gone for good! I won’t say that I never get nervous when I get on stage to speak, or even lead worship, but I remember the words He spoke to me that day and I go for it despite my nervousness. It gets easier the more you step out.  Throughout this month-long study, I felt like God wanted to show us who He created us to be. The reading portions are short but sweet. I encourage you to let God speak to you, and reveal how He sees you and who He created you to be! Reading Plan: Day 1: “I am Loved” – Jeremiah 31:3 Day 2: “I am Chosen” – 1 Peter 2:9 Day 3: “I am Enough” – Romans 8:31-38 Day 4: “I am Strong” – Ephesians 6:10 Day 5: “I am Courageous” – Joshua 1:9... [read more]

the ultimate im bored list for your homeschool
Kids Boredom: The Ultimate “I’m Bored!” list for kids

Why are you spending YOUR hours trying to fight kids’ boredom, mama? When I was a kid, my parents didn’t try to fill every second of my life with ideas and things to do. They allowed us to get bored. And do you know what happened? We made mud pies. We caught fireflies. We played tag. We found things to do to get ourselves un-bored. I get it. I feel like I should plan every second of my kids’ lives too. But I remember how fun those days of “being bored” were. And I don’t want my kids to miss out on that. Last year, I created a fun calendar for the summer FULL of boredom busting ideas (you can click here to download) – and it came in handy, considering how everyone’s 2020 went down 😅 While we definitely used those ideas and a slew of others we found floating on the internet last year, there were still plenty of pockets in our day that the kids came up with their own entertainment. In case your family is needing a few ideas, I’ve created this list to help fight kids’ boredom for good! And most of these are FREE things to do that are super fun and entertaining! | Related: The ultimate spring sensory bin round up Just go through the list and add your own creative spin to each thing. You don’t need a blog to dictate how you entertain your kids with bubbles. Buy some at the dollar tree and go to town or make DIY giant bubble wands — YOU DECIDE! Ideas to fight kids boredom Sidewalk Chalk Bubbles Trampoline Bikes + Scooters Drawing Tutorials on YouTube Legos Play in a Creek Basketball Games (like, H-O-R-S-E) Play-Doh Four Leaf Clover Search Collect Pinecones + Make Birdfeeders Make a Kite Hop Scotch Upcycle Something Mud Pie Kitchens Outside Metal Detecting Scavenger Hunt Write a Letter to Someone Create a Bucketlist Make up a Play to Act Out Design an Obstacle Course Outside Create a Weather Journal Click here to follow me on Instagram for more homeschooling mom hacks + ideas ♥️ If you’re looking for another fun way to fight kids’ boredom, consider taking my FREE 5-day email challenge! We will work together to build a full unit study that you can do with your kids for fun or for homeschool! Everything you need to know can be found on the info page – just click here to check it out!... [read more]

gather round homeschool review
Gather Round Homeschool: Our experience + ideas

I was there when the first Gather Round Homeschool unit was launched. It was a mama with a dream and a passion and a lot of hustle. In ways, it pushed me to go after my own dreams with this space on the internet! Nevertheless, as Gather Round Homeschool has grown over the last couple of years, our family has enjoyed adding a unit study perspective into our homeschool day! And Rebecca makes her unit studies come to life – there’s no doubt about that! Before I get into our thoughts and experiences with Gather Round Homeschool, let me answer a few questions you might have. What is a homeschool unit study? Simply put, a homeschool unit study is not a curriculum, rather it’s an outline of similar things you want your children to learn. For example, a unit study about space would cover any and all information + data pertaining to space. You could go down rabbit trails about astronaut suits, rockets, the moon. Anything and everything you would want to know about space would be your outline for learning in a set amount of time in your homeschool year. How do you plan a unit study? Planning is the FUN part! You simply brainstorm a topic, research information, and gather activities to make it STICK! 💕📝 I’ve created a five-day challenge to help you build a unit study from the ground up. It’s FREE to join and I send you all of the steps I take to create our own unit studies – straight to your inbox! Click here to learn more + sign up! How long should a unit study last? I share this in the unit study building challenge as well, but a unit study can be as long or as short as you want! For our family, we’re ready to move on to the next topic around weeks three or four. But you could create a mini study (1-3 weeks) or a full study (I recommend no more than 7 weeks) for your family, it just depends on the amount of information you can gather to keep the kids engaged and learning! Our Gather Round Homeschool Experience Our Gather Round Homeschool experience looks a little different than the “Gather Round Lifers”. We’re definitely an eclectic homeschooling family – Just to give you an idea… We’re currently using Gather Round, Masterbooks, and Classical Conversations in our homeschool 😅 So, we do not live and breathe Gather Round Homeschool the same way other Gather Round mamas do. However, I’m a firm believer in creating a homeschool you love, not trying to fit someone else’s homeschool into your space. So, I will simply share some of our likes + dislikes and then a few ideas for how you can use Gather Round Homeschool in your homeschool, the way you want to use it. Here’s what we love about Gather Round Homeschool The layout, artwork, and style is beautiful There are a lot of great topics to choose from The worksheets + note booking pages are included in the student books You can purchase digitally You can basically purchase the teacher’s guide (and make your own worksheets!) There are lists for activities, what to read, what to watch, and some even have recipes Here’s what we do not like as much There’s a LOT to read – Our oldest usually just takes the teacher’s guide and reads it for herself because I will skim through the fluff and share high-level things to keep our Kindergartener engaged Doing a month-long unit study is hard for us because the lessons can feel repetitive even though they have a different topic each time The worksheets aren’t as challenging for older kids, in our opinion You have to purchase a lot of “extras” to make it a full curriculum – including a completely separate math curriculum as that subject is not currently taught in the studies Overall, we love Gather Round Homeschool! And we will continue to use it when I see a topic we really want to dive into, like inventions + oceans! But mostly, we will stick to creating a homeschool we love and not just a cookie cutter experience for our family. With that being said, here are a few ways you can use Gather Round Homeschool as a catalyst for creating a homeschool YOU love: | Related: 25 Quotes about homeschooling I mentioned before that you can basically just purchase the teacher’s guide and create your own worksheets. I said “basically” because you can’t purchase JUST the guide, however, when you purchase a single student notebook in digital format, you get the teacher’s guide included. The little bundle is less than $20. Absolutely worth it – even if you choose not to use the student book. However, you could use the student book for yourself, by grabbing the high school level – which will give you more ideas to share and talk through with your younger kids as you go through each lesson. Or you could simply allow the student book to be used by your kids by grabbing a level that could fit all of them, print as many copies as you need, and then take it further with extra activities for older ones. I have new video tutorials coming out soon on our YouTube channel to teach you how to create your own homeschool resources – click here to subscribe so that you don’t miss those and will be ready to truly create a homeschool you love! We have been using the pre-reader units for our boys (pre-k + kindergarten / first) – but I do not use the full unit for each lesson. Because we are including other things to make our homeschool ours, I feel that the full unit is too much for them to work through. So, instead of getting frustrated that my boys won’t sit still for an entire lesson and feeling like a failure because other moms are making it look simple,...... [read more]

homeschool science experiments: how to make elephant toothpaste
How to Make Elephant Toothpaste – Homeschool Chemistry Experiment

How to Make Elephant Toothpaste was written by Roberta at Biology with Berta. She has a passion to help students gain a passion for learning through a guided nature hike, a science or dissection class, or tutoring sessions – you can visit her website here. Today, she’s a featured guest contributor to the Create Your Homeschool Blog! Enjoy this experiment! By now, you have most likely heard about the chemistry experiment that is catching the attention of kids and adults everywhere… Elephant Toothpaste. Besides a cool video to watch on youtube, this could be the perfect way to bring chemistry to your homeschool in a fun way! By doing this experiment at home you can teach your child about chemistry, biology, reactions, catalysts, and more! Here is the science behind the Elephant Toothpaste experiment Hydrogen peroxide is a great antiseptic for killing bacteria in cuts and scrapes. But have you ever wondered what it is made of?  Its chemical formula is H2O2, which means it is made of two hydrogen atoms and two oxygen atoms. When hydrogen peroxide breaks down, it turns into oxygen and water. Normally this breakdown happens very slowly. But we can speed this reaction up by adding a catalyst (a substance that increases the rate of a chemical reaction). In this experiment, yeast will act as our catalyst.  Yeast quickly breaks apart the oxygen from the hydrogen peroxide. Because it does this very fast, it creates lots and lots of bubbles. The oxygen forms bubbles, that would usually escape from the liquid and pop. But by adding the little dish soap we provide additional surface tension. This causes the bubbles to get trapped and make foam! | Related: Our Favorite Educational Podcasts for Kids Here’s what you’ll need to do to make Elephant Toothpaste: 1. Gather the needed supplies Hydrogen Peroxide  Dry yeast  Warm water Liquid dish soap Measuring cups and spoons Safety glasses (swimming goggles work great!) Large tub or tray to catch the foam  Plastic bottle or cylinder  Food coloring (optional but fun) 2. Find the right location for the experiment This experiment can get messy, so I recommend doing it outside or in the kitchen if you don’t currently have an outdoor space available.  3. Time to measure Measure 1/2 cup of hydrogen peroxide and add it to the empty cylinder. (Make sure everyone is wearing glasses from this point on! Hydrogen peroxide doesn’t feel good if you get it in your eyes.) 4. Start to mix Add two large squirts of dish soap into the bottle and gently mix. **Add some food coloring at this point if you want to!  5. Mix the yeast In one of your measuring cups mix together one tablespoon of yeast and three tablespoons of the warm water.  6. See what happens! Add the yeast mixture to the cylinder and step back! Here are a few questions to ask about your Elephant Toothpaste Experiment What happened? Does the size of the bottle affect the amount of foam produced? (Try a different sized bottle with different size openings) Why is it called elephant toothpaste? What happens if you add more or less yeast? How did your experiment go? Send us a photo of your students’ experiment and we might feature their work on our Social Media pages! If you need help, email us at biologywithberta@gmail.com and be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram @biologywithberta!... [read more]

why we stopping masterbooks
Why we stopped using Masterbooks for Kindergarten

I thought I would share with you why we stopped using Masterbooks for kindergarten and walk you through the curriculum in case you’re trying to decide if it’s right for your family. If you didn’t already know, Masterbooks is a full curriculum that takes a “mastery” approach to learning. Meaning, your child doesn’t move on to the next concept until the current concept has been mastered, not memorized. It’s genius. And for that reason, our 7th grader is currently using ONLY Masterbooks – Which she loves! So, we’re not AGAINST Masterbooks, we simply have chosen to stop using it for Kindergarten THIS year. Watch the video: Build your own unit study with me in just 5 days! CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE Our Kindergarten Curriculum Choices from Masterbooks The Kindergarten level curriculum choices really are amazing. And I love that there’s not a ton of different books to purchase. Literally, everything you need from Masterbooks for Kindergarten can be found inside ONE book – Simply K. But I also grabbed the Foundations Phonics and the devotional, More Than Words, from Rebecca Spooner. Some families will grab the Math Lessons book for Kindergarten as well, but we like to try to include math in our day-to-day activities for Kindergarten level, instead of worksheets. To each their own 🙂 The Simply K book is open and go for the most part. Before each lesson there’s a lesson prep page that walks you through objectives, supplies lists, activities, etc. Once you begin the lesson, Masterbooks has everything scripted out for you to literally open and read. Each lesson also has activity pages to complete, a memory verse for the week, and other things to work on together. This is NOT an independent workbook. You WILL need to sit with your kindergartner and read through each lesson with them. Our frustrations with Masterbooks for kindergarten I actually love the curriculum. The thing that frustrated our five-year-old the most was the amount of time we spent sitting still to read each lesson. He’s five, y’all. He’s ready to go go go all the time – Sitting still long enough to not only read the lesson but for him to actually comprehend what he was hearing, was a struggle. At first, I was frustrated because, “other kids do this, why can’t mine…” — and that’s the black hole no one tells you about when you follow other “like” mamas on social media. But I got over that real quick. It 👏 doesn’t 👏 matter 👏 what 👏 any 👏 other 👏 mamas 👏 are 👏 doing 👏 👏 👏 God gave YOU a specific calling for your homeschool, listen to HIM and He will direct your path. And that’s exactly what I did with Masterbooks for Kindergarten. I, personally, didn’t feel at peace working through this level with our son, THIS YEAR. I still highly recommend Masterbooks for Kindergarten and other grades, because it’s beautifully written and the mastery approach is amazing. But my homeschool is mine and your homeschool is yours and IT’S OKAY if they look different, mama. With that being said, we will probably pull this level out again next year and see where he’s at as far as being able to comprehend and complete the assignments. Heck, I will still pull some of the activities out of this book every once in a while to complete with him and he does great! Our homeschool ebbs and flows and I love it! Moving on to Foundations Phonics. This is not a requirement for the Simply K curriculum, but it IS mentioned throughout the curriculum about halfway through. However, I’ve had more success teaching our son to read by reading from a Bob Book, than I’ve had teaching from the Foundations Phonics curriculum. Inside Foundations Phonics, it is very open and go. They script everything out for you, similarly to the Simply K lessons, and you work through the sounds our letters make and blending words together. There are some worksheets as well, but it is, again, so reading-heavy. I’ve found that something simple like a Bob Book is more effective. And the best way I’ve found to teach reading with a Bob Book is not only sitting down to read one together, but to truly work through the WORDS in the book as if they were a curriculum themselves. | Related: Our kindergarten homeschool plan for March For example, instead of opening a Bob Book and reading through each page – and / or GUESSING the words on each page based on the picture it shows, I will write one word at a time on our chalkboard and point to each letter. Our son will mimic the sound it makes and we will blend JUST THE WORD ON THE CHALKBOARD together. I do not show him the Bob Book. After he’s read every word from one page on the chalk board, I will then show him the page he read and we will read it together once again from the book. This is fun for him because we’re using the chalkboard and less distracting! The last thing we grabbed from Masterbooks for Kindergarten was the devotional from Rebecca Spooner, More Than Words. And we have yet to do one devotional in it 😅 The ONLY reason why I grabbed it is because Rebecca wrote it and we’ve done a lot with Gather Round Homeschool (her homeschool curriculum), so I wanted to check it out. But you guessed it, it’s really heavy in reading. However, it’s beautiful! You should grab it if you’re looking for a new devotional. I can’t wait to try to start it again soon! Masterbooks for Kindergarten I hope this gives you an insight into how Masterbooks might work, or not work, for your homeschool. Just remember that it’s YOUR homeschool and you get to create it however you want! ♥️... [read more]

family meetings grow closer together
Family Meetings: Growing Your Family Closer Together

With every year that passes, the family dynamic gets more complex. Our schedules get busier, and it seems we need something to help reconnect our family again. One thing that people do in a business to keep everyone on the same page is have weekly meetings. This was when I realized there is a type of meeting that families can have that would be similar and just as effective! So, today, I’m sharing all the details about how to create successful family meetings and why they are essential to your family. Begin with the Mission in Mind The first thing I recommend doing before beginning your family meetings is to create a mission statement as a family. Having a mission statement is important because all the members of the family need to know what you’re striving to do. “Why do we have to keep the house clean?” Because part of our family mission statement is to be welcoming to others, and having a clean home helps us feel ready to welcome others in it.”  The mission is a reminder of what we, as a family, are working toward daily and will give your meetings clarity. Keep it Simple Meetings can be 15-20 minutes once per week. They can be done before or after a meal. If you have little ones, then it may be best to schedule the meeting after eating. This is better so you don’t have to listen to how hungry they are the whole meeting! I love having family meetings after dinner because the family is already together, and no one is rushing out the door.  The general outline of the meeting can be: Upcoming week plans and who is doing what Special projects/events Past issues and improvements since the last meeting Fun wrap up that ends on a positive note Did you notice I didn’t add vent session, lecturing, or fighting? Really be mindful of the tone you and your family sets for these meetings. This is a time to build together in a positive way and to teach positive communication, even when feedback needs to be given. Set Guidelines It’s important to set some guidelines to keep the meetings productive and timely. Here are some of my recommended guidelines: No cell phones or screens on during meetings Get a “talking stick” to make sure there are no interruptions when people are talking Set a timer with a reasonable set time as each person speaks to keep the meeting from running over These guidelines will help keep you on track and focused. Family meetings are not business meetings, so make sure you add some fun elements into your guidelines too. One idea is that you all hug at the end or make up a fun song or chant to do together at the end.  Family Meetings for the Win When the family comes together and has weekly meetings, you create the space not only to set the tone for the week ahead, but you’re holding each member of the family accountable for taking an active part in the family. It’s no longer on one person to be preparing for the upcoming events (i.e. birthday parties, appointments, etc.) It’s about looking at what resources we have in our family to work together and accomplish tasks that need to get done: Looking at the strengths of each person Who likes to do what Assigning and delegating Creating the feeling of “I’m a part of a team” and “I’m responsible for something in this home” In addition, you can air your grievances in a controlled environment with a desire for an outcome. It’s not a vent fest. This is an excellent opportunity to teach your kids how to resolve arguments – agree to disagree, compromise. Many times we feel these types of skills should be taught at school, but we need to take it upon ourselves to teach these skills to our own kids. As you can see, family meetings are not about telling people what to do or complaining about what is not being done. Who wants to be a part of that team anyway? Family meetings, done the right way, make for a stronger teamwork dynamic, accountability, better trust, and healthier communication. We make our family a priority by setting aside time for each other. So, a family meeting is one of the greatest tools to help create a stronger unity. If being stronger together is a part of your family vision, then family meetings need to be a part of your schedule too!  Ready to start having family meetings in your home? Grab The Successful Family Meeting Guide and get started today! Originally written for my blog.... [read more]

homeschool kindergarten
Our kindergarten homeschool plan for March

Our kindergarten homeschool plan changes a lot, but only because I believe in teaching for the kids, not for test scores. Our plan for March is similar to other months of homeschooling, but I’ve added a few things that I think you will love to check out 🙂 Looking for a kindergarten homeschool plan? Ours is a relaxed approach with different learning styles mixed in – Let’s check it out! Link to things I’ve mentioned in the video: Address Printable March Lesson Plans Human Body Unit Study + Free Expansion Pack Well Planned Day Homeschool Planner Morning Menu Covers Weather Chart Classical Conversations at Home – Facebook Group Classical Conversations without a community – Facebook Group Hey, y’all, and Happy March! I had a couple of people ask us what our plan is for March, so let’s dive into it! In our Etsy shop, I have a March printable lesson plan that gives you ideas and activities for every single day in March. This is a great resource as we’re heading into spring! It will give you a chance to slow down and create a more low-key Kindergarten homeschool plan for your homeschool. Our March Homeschool Plan Our kindergartener’s homeschool plan pretty much stays the same all year, but it is very relaxed. We are not strict on times for things that we’re doing or when school should start and stop. As far as planning goes, I do not pre-plan anything, but I do have an outline of what we’re learning that week / month. The planner I use is the Well Planned Day homeschool planner. I love it because it’s a book inside of a planner – full of tips and ideas to help you make your homeschool everything you want it to be. Plus she has spaces for other homeschool things like field trips, activities, reading lists, etc. | Related: Find your homeschool rhythm I like to back-plan this planner – Instead of writing everything down and then hoping we get to it, only to have to erase what we didn’t get to and have to re-write it down next week… I will wait until the end of the day / week and I will write down all the things we finished. This takes the stress of planning off of me, but also helps me keep a record of the things we’re doing in our homeschool each day and keeps me accountable. One of the things we do every day is our morning menu. This doesn’t get done every morning, but it’s done throughout the day as we sit down to learn. If you want to see the inside of our morning menu, scroll up and watch the video. But basically, we put some independent work inside of it, as well as visual aids for different things we’re learning. Plus, we love the ability to use wet or dry erase markers to complete worksheets inside the menu! Super handy! We decided back in November that I would add in some classical learning elements. We love the memory work, accountability, and the way Classical Conversations pushes the kids to learn so much. But we did not love the community element and didn’t want it to be the main curriculum for our family. So, we are doing CC at home, without a community, and contrary to popular belief, that can totally be done! There are Facebook Groups (linked above!) and tons of resources on YouTube to help you do CC at home. We purchased the Fifth Edition “Foundations” program from Classical Conversations. I’m not trying to get everything for the week memorized in one week. But we DO go over each subject every day – and when we’ve mastered a subject, we will move just that portion over to the next week’s memory work. Considering how long our kindergartener will actually sit to go through everything, we will move on to additional work or educational games / shows. We are using the Gather Round Homeschool Ready to Read packet for additional reading work. I am NOT doing the unit study that comes with the packet. Instead, I am pulling the student worksheets from the packet and doing those. We like to do unit studies as a family. I do not want to introduce a ton of different topics just because it’s “part of the curriculum” — That’s the beauty of your homeschool, your choice 🙂 Speaking of unit studies, I created a Human Body Unit Study that we will complete this month! It’s available in our Etsy shop – and you will get the expansion pack for FREE when you purchase! Our favorite shows Wild Kratts SciShow Kids The Magic School Bus If you have other ideas of things you’d like to see here, let me know. I will do my best to share them with you! Connect with me on Instagram, @createyourhomeschool — and Don’t forget.. It’s your homeschool, create it how you want to!... [read more]