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guest post devotional by Nicole boyd
Mother’s of the Bible: Week 4

Mary, the mother of Jesus Day 1: God likes to do the impossible Matthew 1: 18 – 25; Isaiah 7:14; Luke 1:5-80 Today we get to read about two amazing mothers from the Bible: Mary, the mother of Jesus, and Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist. I absolutely love the story of Elizabeth and Zechariah, how God showed up at the temple to tell John’s father that his wife was going to have a son, even though she was old. It seems that God likes to bring babies into the world by miraculous means- Sarah and Elizabeth were advanced in years, had given up hope of ever becoming mothers, and Mary the virgin.  The part I really wanted to focus on today is Luke 1:35-38 The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God. What’s more, your relative Elizabeth has become pregnant in her old age! People used to say she was barren, but she has conceived a son and is now in her sixth month. For the word of God will never fail.” Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” And then the angel left her.  Mary’s response is so beautiful. She didn’t question with a heart of doubt, she questioned (in verse 34) out of curiosity, I believe. And the angel told her what would happen. She humbled herself in obedience, essentially saying, “Okay, God. I don’t know how this is going to work, but here I am!”  Have you ever heard the quote from Walt Disney: “It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.”? Well, I think God likes to do the impossible! He uses weak, fallible humanity to accomplish His purpose. You may feel stuck in the place God has you right now. I know I have! I think we have these grand ideas of what it looks like to walk out our calling, to be effective in the kingdom. We make it so complicated.  God isn’t looking for people who have it all together. He’s looking for people who are willing to trust Him, even if they don’t have all the answers of how it’s going to work. He needs people who will say “Yes!”  Day 2: The craziest birth story… EVER Luke 2:1-40 When I was getting ready to have my first baby, I was so nervous. I did my best to get prepared before Kaleb’s arrival, but literally nothing went as planned! My last day of work was on May 31st of 2017 and I was looking forward to some “nesting” time before our son was born. We had just moved into a new house and I was supposed to have a couple weeks before Kaleb was due. But no, he decided to come two and a half weeks early, just two days after we’d moved all our boxes into the house. We went to the hospital at 1:30 in the morning after my water suddenly broke. I hadn’t even had a chance to pack a bag to take with us to the hospital!  I can’t imagine being Mary and having to travel all the way to Bethlehem, all while she was heavily pregnant. And I really can’t imagine having to give birth in a dirty, old stable, with only my husband to deliver the baby. I mean, come on! Thank you Jesus for hospitals and midwives.  But in all the crazy surrounding Jesus’ birth, Mary surrendered to the will of God. I love verse 19 in this section of scripture. Starting in verse 18 it says: “All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished, but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often.”  I bet it’s safe to say she did a heap of praying, too. She remembered the words that had been spoken over Jesus, and she pondered them in her heart. She meditated on them. And when it was time for those words to be fulfilled, I bet she rejoiced to see them come true! Are there prophetic words that have been spoken over your children? What has God spoken to you about who He created them to be? I think it’s so important to ponder those things in our hearts and to pray them out! And then we get to look back and thank God for what he has done in and through our children. How amazing is that?! Day 3: “We lost the Son of God!…”  Luke 2:41 – 52 This portion of scription makes me laugh a little bit. Can you imagine losing the Son of God?! My father-in-law tells a story about losing my sister-in-law in Disney Land when she was four and it is hilarious. (He didn’t even tell my mother-in-law until Cassie was 20 years old!) I haven’t ‘lost’ my kids in a theme park yet, but I can only imagine the level of sheer panic my heart would be in.  Mary and Joseph seemed to be in that same amount of panic as they searched for Jesus. And it took them THREE DAYS to find him! When Mary confronted him, he said “But why did you need to search?” he asked. “Didn’t you know that I must be in my Father’s house?”  We don’t know what the rest of the conversation looked like, but here again we see that Mary “stored all these things in her heart.” I see the words and the things that happened as Jesus was growing up as little treasures that Mary was storing up in her heart. I can imagine her taking them out every once in a while, looking at them and thanking God for what he would do through Jesus’ life as he grew.  What are some things you can thank God for in each of your children today?  Day 4: Jesus...... [read more]

25 quotes about homeschooling
25 Quotes about homeschooling

Here are 25 quotes about homeschooling. But before we dive in, I think it’s important to share my thoughts on finding quotes for your homeschool. Every now and then, we need a little motivation in the homeschool department. As a mama, the worst feeling in the world is not feeling like you’re doing well enough or being good enough for your kids. When you add the weight of their education onto your shoulders, that feeling is (in my opinion) quadrupled. I read a book in our second year of homeschooling that completely rocked my world. The Call of the Wild + Free is one of the books I will forever remember and share with others throughout our homeschooling journey. I have a note FULL of photos and quotes about homeschooling from this book, that I love to go back and read from time to time. One thing Ansley wrote in the book is the perfect “bonus” quote for this blog post, and it’s one I come back to often. If all else fails, you still know how to be a parent. You still know how to read books to your children and spend time with them and share the wisdom of your years. Ansley Arment, The Call of the Wild + Free This book has shaped the way I look at our homeschool. We are far from “school at home”… Rather, we are learning to love to learn. We’re building an education on support, experience, and love. Everything we soak up can never be taken from us, so we’re soaking up some of the most meaningful things in life – Kindness, genuine curiosity, and Jesus! These quotes about homeschooling do not have to define you and they are certainly not here to make you feel less-than or as if you’re not “doing homeschool” correctly. Rather, allow these quotes about homeschooling to motivate you to be your best, to show up for your kids, to love without ceasing, and to learn together through life. And if you haven’t already… Grab The Call of the Wild + Free. You can read it on a weekend. It will be a great addition to your homeschooling philosophy. 1. Let children have tales of the imagination, scenes laid in other lands and other times; heroic adventures, hairbreadth escapes, delicious fairy tales, even where it is all impossible, and they know it, and yet they believe. -Charlotte Mason 2. What matters is not what we teach; it’s what they learn, and the probability of real learning is far higher when the students have a lot to say about both content and the process. -Alfie Kohn 3. All the world is my school. -George Whitman 4. It’s not that I feel that school is a good idea gone wrong, but a wrong idea from the word go. It’s a nutty notion that we can have a place where nothing but learning happens, cut off from the rest of life. -John Holt 5. I can’t imagine a man really enjoying a book and only reading it once. -CS Lewis 6. Don’t question your ability to teach your child. Question putting your child into the same system that left you feeling incapable of teaching your child. -Anon 7. You can teach a student a lesson for a day; but if you can teach him to learn by curiosity, he will continue the learning process as long as he lives. -Clay P. Bedford 8. The function of true education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education. – Martin Luther King Jr. 9. The more slowly trees grow at first, the sounder they are at the core. And I think the same is true of human beings. -Henry David Thoreau 10. Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all. -Aristotle 11. If a child can’t learn the way we teach, maybe we should teach the way they learn. – Ignacio Estrada 12. The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you. -BB King 13. I think it’s necessary to let kids get bored once in a while, that’s how they learn to be creative. -Kim Raver 14. Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn. -Benjamin Franklin 15. If the purpose of learning is to score well on a test, we’ve lost sight of the real reason for learning. – Jeannie Fulbright 16. Anything, everything, can be learned if you can just get yourself in a little patch of real ground, real nature, real wood, real anything… and just sit still and watch. -Lauren Hutton 17. Education must not simply teach work – it must teach life. -Du Bois | Related: Things to do in the morning to have a better day 18. Formal education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune. – Jim Rohn 19. Curiosity about life in all of its aspects, I think, is still the secret of great creative people. – Leo Burnett 20. When we feel like we aren’t being force-fed an education… that’s when real, passionate, fiery learning takes place. -Jessica Pilton 21. When the atmosphere encourages learning, the learning is inevitable. -Elizabeth Foss 22. Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself. -John Dewey 23. What is more important and valuable about the home as a base for Children’s growth into the world is not that it is a better school than the schools, but that it isn’t a school at all. -John Holt 24. Education is a better safeguard of liberty than a standing army. – Edward Everett 25. One of the luckiest things that can happen to you in life is, I think, to have a happy childhood. -Agatha Christie... [read more]

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guest post devotional by Nicole boyd
Mother’s of the Bible: Week 3

‭‭Day 1: Ruth‬ ‭1 There is so much packed into this short book of the Bible. But for today, I’d like to focus on just a couple of scriptures from Chapter 1. Let’s jump down to verse 16 & 17. I love Ruth’s heart in this. Even though she was a Moabite woman, which historically the Israelites were forbidden from communing with, she felt her heart drawn to Israel. She states in verse 16 that “Your people will be my people and your God my God.”  The other part that jumped out to me was the fact that Naomi and Ruth returned at the beginning of the barley harvest. Here they are, two widows, returning to Naomi’s homeland with nothing. They would have no protection and no way of providing for themselves. Basically, they were destitute. But God had a plan to provide for them and use them in his plan. Ruth didn’t know that! We get the luxury of hindsight when we read this story. But Ruth had to trust God, she had to step out in faith that God would meet them when they needed it most. God was setting the stage to bless them, bringing them home at the beginning of a time of blessing and abundance. How amazing is that?! In what area of your life do you need to set your face like flint before the Lord and say essentially what Ruth promised to Naomi. “Your God will be my God.” In my own paraphrase I can hear her saying, “I don’t care what hardships come, I am sticking with you.” What area of your life needs that kind of faith?  Day 2: Ruth 2 Ruth was a courageous woman, for sure! Verse 10-12 really jumped out at me. The fact that Ruth was a foreigner or a Moabite is mentioned seven times throughout the book of Ruth. As I mentioned yesterday, it was a huge deal that Ruth was a Moabitess. Back when the Israelites were coming out of Egypt, Moab tried to curse them. At this, she bowed down with her face to the ground. She asked him, “Why have I found such favor in your eyes that you notice me—a foreigner?” Boaz replied, “I’ve been told all about what you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband—how you left your father and mother and your homeland and came to live with a people you did not know before. May the Lord repay you for what you have done. May you be richly rewarded by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge.” Check out Deuteronomy 23:  Deuteronomy 23:3-4 “No Ammonite or Moabite may enter the assembly of the LORD. Even to the tenth generation, none of them may enter the assembly of the Lord forever, because they did not meet you with bread and with water on the way, when you came out of Egypt, and because they hired against you Balaam the son of Beor from Pethor of Mesopotamia, to curse you.  Technically, Ruth was not even allowed into Israel. (Not to mention, Elimelek and his family should never have even gone to Moab, but that’s a subject for another time.) Ruth could have let her label stop her from stepping out. Sometimes, we do the same. We allow labels or lies to attach to us and stop us from doing what God has called us to do.  Ruth had to step past her label and choose to take a risk of faith. She didn’t know how people would react to her. Is there a label or lie you need to step past today? Take a moment to pray and journal what the Lord speaks to you.  Day 3: Ruth 3 I love this section because it is such a beautiful picture of the kinsman redeemer and how Jesus is our Redeemer. The scripture that came to mind while I was reading this was Isaiah 43:1:  But now, this is what the Lord says—     he who created you, Jacob,     he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;     I have summoned you by name; you are mine. I get goosebumps every time I read that! You belong to Jesus. You are HIS! It’s so easy to forget that in the midst of being mom and wife, sometimes. Am I right? My mother-in-law said something to me about this will stick with me for the rest of my life. We were talking about how she had such a hard time when my hubby went off to college. She said that she had always stuck to the adage that “she was a mom first.” But when Colton left, God really started to speak to her that she was actually His daughter first.  Jesus wants us to be good moms and wives, but sometimes our identity can get so wrapped up in being those things for our family that we forget we are His first.  Have you ever felt like this? What do you feel God saying about this in your own life?  Day 4: Ruth 4:1-12 I just love this last section of our scripture for the day. The blessing that the elders proclaimed over Ruth is so interesting. Rachel and Leah had anything but easy lives, with Leah fighting for the affection of her husband and Rachel dealing with barrenness for so long. What was really interesting was that they brought Tamar into the mix. Her story is so gut wrenching, having to deal with not one, but two wicked husbands, being sent back to her father in disgrace, and then having to stoop to sleeping with her father-in-law in order to get pregnant. (You can read that story in Genesis 38.) What’s the moral of the story? God uses imperfect people to bring about his plan. He loves using the most unlikely candidate, like a Moabite woman in a foreign land, to be counted in line that...... [read more]

guest post devotional by Nicole boyd
mothers in the bible verses: part 2

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! Hannah, Samuel’s Mother Let Desperation Lead You to God1 Samuel 1:1-8 “Hannah” name meaning: “favor” or “grace” I have always been fascinated by First and Second Samuel. A couple of years ago I started really digging into the story of Hannah, and the birth of Samuel, and found some pretty amazing things. There were a few things that jumped out to me as I studied these first few verses of chapter one. First of all, this story seems to have some similarities to Leah and Rachel. There were two wives who were the favorites of their husband, Rachel and Hannah, but neither of them could have children. Then there were the other wives, Leah and Peninnah, both of them were either unloved but each of them were able to have children. It makes me wonder if Hannah was Elkanah’s first wife, but after years of not being able to conceive, did her husband take a second wife so he could have children?  If that was the case, it must have been a huge blow. And on top of it, Peninnah made her life a living hell. She constantly mocked the fact that Hannah was not able to have children. Peninnah’s mocking pushed Hannah into desperation. But instead of lashing out at her adversary, she hit her knees and ran to God in prayer.  In verse six it says that the Lord had closed her womb. I thought that was interesting. Why would God do that? Couldn’t He see that Hannah was miserable? Sometimes we don’t understand why God allows things to happen that seem cruel or unjust. But as we will see later, God had a plan to move Hannah to the place he needed her to be in order to accomplish His purpose.  Is there a situation or circumstance that you are walking through that seems unfair? What if God is positioning you to receive a blessing? How does that perspective change how you react to the situation you are in? Your Response is EVERYTHING1 Samuel 1:9-18 I love how Hannah responded to Eli. If it were me, I probably would have stalked off madder than a hornet. “How dare he accuse me of being drunk when I am praying in desperation to God!” But instead of getting offended, Hannah responded in humility. I have to think that, because of her righteous response, God’s heart was moved.  Then Eli blessed her and sent her on her way and she was no longer sad. She chose to trust God’s word and wait for her promise with hope.  Is there something you’ve been asking God for that you have been discouraged about? Maybe it’s something to do with your children and family or a dream that God has placed in your heart. Take a few minutes to pray and ask God what He says about it.  Are you enjoying Mothers in the Bible Verses by Nicole? Click here to follow her on Instagram and let her know! Dedicating Our Children to the Lord1 Samuel 1:19-28 “Samuel” name meaning: “God heard”  In the commentaries I have read, it said that women nursed for about three years. I can’t imagine taking my son, who is three right now, and giving him to a church to be raised there. But Hannah was true to her vow and gave Samuel to Eli so he could serve the Lord in the temple. That’s pretty amazing to me!  I believe that we are called to give our children to the Lord. Perhaps you dedicated your children after they were born in a ceremony at church. It’s a common practice among Christians and is a beautiful way to say, “Thank you, God, for my baby. I’m committing to raise them up in the way they should go and pray that they will serve you all the days of their lives.”  Did you dedicate your kids when they were young? What are some things that you prayed over your kids that day?  My Weapon is a MelodySamuel 2: 1-11 In places, it seems that Hannah is almost talking to Peninnah, telling her not to be so proud and boastful. Even though it took a long time, Hannah eventually had five children! The Lord heard her cry, and brought Peninnah’s words to naught.  The enemy tries to do the same thing to us: he uses lies to discourage us, to steal our identity, and keep us from doing what God has called us to do. How do we respond? We praise! Did you know that the musicians used to go in front of the army when Israel marched into battle? They were preparing the way for victory. In the same way, our praise is a powerful weapon!  | Related: Read more blogs from Nicole! I love the popular worship song, “Raise a Hallelujah” by Jonathan David Hesler. I encourage you to listen to the song today, I know it will bless you! What can you praise God for today? Here I am…Samuel 3 I love this picture of how God revealed Himself to Samuel for the first time. Teaching our children to hear God’s voice is so paramount to help them develop their own relationship with God.  I grew up in a Christian home and gave my heart to God when I was four years old. I was baptized in water when I was eight and also started speaking in...... [read more]

guest post devotional by Nicole boyd
mothers in the bible verses: part 1

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! Jochebed, Moses’ Mother When the World Turns Against YouExodus 1:1-10 Have you ever had to deal with an overwhelming situation? Silly question, right? As a mom, it can sometimes feel like you are all alone in your struggles. I find myself often wondering how I’m supposed to get everything done and still carry myself with grace.  I can only imagine what it must have been like to be a Hebrew mother in Egypt during this time period. For a while, everything was good when Jacob and his family sought refuge in Egypt. After all, their homeland was in the middle of the worst drought the world had seen– maybe in its entire history. Can you imagine going through seven years of drought?  2020 certainly felt like a type of drought. If not physically, then spiritually, emotionally, and mentally. Something my pastor shared this last Sunday really caught my attention. He was speaking about where we place our anchors in life, and of course, they must always be placed in Jesus. During his message, he said something so simple, yet it reverberated through my heart with such a resounding echo. “In this season, we must dig deep into God’s word. His presence is the only thing that will sustain us.”  I’ve anchored myself in things other than God these last few months, I’m sorry to say. Distraction has a way of sneaking up on you sometimes. But this year, I am purposing to dig deep into God’s word and rest in His presence. It truly is the only thing that will sustain us in this dark and dying world. And not only ourselves, but our families and the people around us! Have you anchored your heart in something other than God? What is God speaking to you about possibly shifting some priorities?  Oppression Leads to MultiplicationExodus 1:11-22 The first thing that jumped out to me in these passages is verse 12: The more they oppressed the people of God, the more they multiplied! [my paraphrase] This verse reminds me of stories of the oppressed Church from all over the world. Not everyone has the religious freedom we do here in America. You would think that oppression would lead to the Gospel message dying out, but it actually has the reverse effect. The Chinese church is thriving, even though they are underground. The more we face oppression because of our beliefs, the more it spreads like wildfire!  We may not always have the freedom to worship God in the open as we do now. I’m not a doomsday kind of gal, but I have seen how quickly our liberties can be taken in the last year. Perhaps we will also have to face persecution and oppression in the not-so-near future.  Will we be a people who follow Him no matter what kind of persecution we face? Joshua 24:15 says: “But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”  My family and I have made the decision that “come hell or high water”, we will serve the Lord. Have you? Take a moment to journal your thoughts about this today. Are you enjoying Mothers in the Bible Verses by Nicole? Click here to follow her on Instagram and let her know! Entrust Your Children to GodExodus 2:1-10 Now, bare with me today, ‘cause today’s thoughts a little longer. I have always been fascinated by name meanings and thought I’d share what Jochebed’s name means.  Jochebed means: “God’s glory”Moses means: “To pull out / draw out [of water]” I can’t even imagine what Jochebed must have been feeling when she heard about the Pharaoh’s edict. She already had two children, Aaron and Miriam. Now her youngest baby was in danger of being thrown into the Nile. So she made a basket and sent him down the Nile, telling Miriam to watch over her brother. Can you imagine her surprise when Miriam came back and told her that Pharaoh’s sister wanted her to nurse her own son? And she would pay her to do it!  I’m sure Jochebed grieved over the fact that she was not able to raise her son. Jochebed had to entrust her son to a stranger to save his life. But it turned out that God had a plan. God needed Moses to be raised in a palace, so he would have the mindset and skills needed to lead over a million people out of slavery.  As moms, we can’t always spare our children from the harsh realities of this world. It can be difficult to entrust them to anyone’s care but our own. But God is a good Father, and sometimes we have to let go of them, to trust that God knows what He is doing. It’s our responsibility to train them up in the way that they should go. Proverbs 22:6 says: “Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.” Moses grew up in a culture and religion very different from his family. Jochebed had to trust that in God’s timing, Moses would come back to his heritage and his people.  We...... [read more]

ocean life unity study printable artwork and flashcards
Ocean Life Printable Art + Flashcard Set

We are loving this ocean life printable art + flashcard set! I have this space in our home that we call the “front room”. When we were looking at this house, I imagined putting a desk there and creating a cute little sitting nook (I watch too much HGTV 😅) – Then we made the decision to homeschool and I want, so badly, to make it a functioning homeschool space for us. Nothing extravagant, but something that’s organized and gives us room to do school together. Now, that it’s starting to look that way, I wanted some decor for the walls, so I grabbed these super cute, budget-friendly, black frames from Amazon and got to work! I’m in the process of making generic educational wall art for that space (which I will, of course, share here!) but, we just started the Oceans Unit Study from Gather ‘Round Homeschool and I wanted to create something to make our space a little more on-theme. Enter – The Ocean Life printable art and flashcard set! Y’all, I could not be more proud of how this set turned out! The artwork is stunning, and each page / card reminds us of the fun animals we’re learning about! However, there are SO many things you could do with this set, without doing a unit study. Here are three ways you can use it as soon as you download it! | Related: Shop the 2021 Traceable Calendar Set in print + cursive Use the flashcards to learn a new animal’s name each week! Print the cards and find a new fun fact about the animal each time you go through the deck – write it on the back! Hang the artwork up just for fun or to create an on-theme bedroom or bathroom! I really could keep going – they’re so versatile! But to really see how great they are.. you have to download them! So, stop waiting around. These are absolutely FREE to download! You can click here to instantly download this free ocean life printable art + flashcard set or click the photo below! And don’t forget to tag us on Instagram [ @createyourhomeschool ] so that we can see how you use this set! Enjoy!... [read more]

how to have a better day
Things to do in the morning to have a better day

There’s nothing worse than the alarm going off when we’re not ready. We wake up already overwhelmed with the day ahead, and once we’re in that mood, it can be difficult to shake and can influence the rest of the day. Whether you had a good night’s sleep (or not), I want to share a few simple things to do in the morning to have a better day. Things to do before we even get out of bed. Here’s the simple three-step process of Centre, Gratitude, Set. It’s best to do it within a few minutes of waking. It goes like this: Centre This is a quick process to get into your body through breathing or meditation. You can do mindful breathing, a quick Mindfulness meditation, or some easy breathwork like box breath. As you centre yourself, allow the mind to get quiet, the heart to open, and notice the rhythm of breath and life flow through your body. This integrates all parts of you before the mind takes over and decides to run the show. *Note: if this is ALL you do and you don’t move on to the next step, you will still have the best day ahead of you. Everyone benefits from this practice. Gratitude Gratitude has loads of research on how it rewires our brain for happiness and optimism, and it takes less than a minute to do. Instead of reciting the same old general things, such as, “I’m grateful for my family, my health, my house…” or whatever you typically say, researchers suggest scanning the last 24 hours for positive moments in your day. | Related: 7 daily homeschool rhythm ideas for your family Then take a moment to relive them again as though they are happening right now while feeling a sense of gratitude for that moment. This approach not only gives you a double dose of feel-good hormones because you got to feel them a second time, but it’s also one of the most impactful things to do in the morning to have a better day. It also wires your brain to scan and look for positive moments in your day so that you notice more positive moments in real-time. Ultimately increasing your happiness. It’s a powerful way to start your day with happiness and a positive mindset. Set Lastly, set your intention for the day through your subconscious mind. The subconscious is most easily accessed first thing in the morning, so one of the best things to do in the morning to have a better day is to set your intention. The subconscious is our greatest processing powerhouse and scientists say its power is perhaps a million times stronger than the conscious mind so it’s totally worth doing. Start by asking yourself these questions: How do you want to show up? Who do you want to be? What is the impact you want to make today? Once you’ve answered these questions, imagine you could see this version of yourself on a screen in front of you. Observe how you move, how you interact with others and how they interact with you, notice the look on your face, and how others respond to you. Notice how it feels to be here like this. Take a few moments to savour this vision of you as your highest self today. Then, when you’re ready, open your eyes and notice how good you feel before your feet even hit the floor. You will feel aglow with inspiration and optimism for the day ahead! If you’d like to be led through these 3 steps in under 7 minutes, Click here to get my free meditation to guide you through the process. Even if you don’t do these three things to do in the morning to have a better day, it’s a great tool for days you know you need to be “on” or you have a big day ahead of you, or just because you feel like making your morning a little bit brighter!... [read more]

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Nicole Boyd personal story of mom self care
Be kind to yourself: 2021’s mantra for all mamas

If you’re wondering how to be kind to yourself in 2021 – Nicole’s story is beautiful! Be inspired by her words and embrace your season this year, mama. Enjoy! In May of 2017, my husband and I welcomed one of the most precious gifts one can receive. Our son, Kaleb, was born on May 30th, the day before what was supposed to be my last day of work. Then in November of 2018, we had our beautiful daughter, Kallie. Her birth was a whirlwind, taking only an hour and a half from the beginning of labor to delivery. (Whew! I mean, I said I wanted her to come quickly, but geez…) My kids are an amazing blessing from God, and I would not change anything about them. However, I was not prepared for just how much my life would change when I became a mom.  All through this stage of becoming a mom, I was also trying to build my business. My business journey began in 2015, going through a couple of name changes and rebrandings along the way. In 2017, things started to shift for me. I knew I wanted to build a business that would allow me to stay home with my kiddos, and it finally looked like it could happen.  Have you ever tried to juggle a toddler, a newborn, a laundry basket, and a cup of coffee? Yeah. That’s how running a business with two babies feels. There are just not enough hands or hours in the day. Amidst my new stretched-out body, postpartum depression, nursing, and tiredness, I was still fostering this dream of making a living doing what I loved. | Related: Essential oil blends + recipes for your homeschool Designing and making jewelry had been a fun outlet for a couple of years before I had kids. I was tired of trying to get things to ‘take off.’ I wanted to become an overnight success and just get on with my life. I had a plan to make it all happen, including scheduling my day down to the minute. Of course, when you’ve got kids, no one sticks to a schedule. (Unless it’s a 2am feeding.)  By February of 2019, I was a hot mess. I was still fostering my dream of creating a jewelry brand that would help women see their God-given identity. But how was I ever going to make it happen?  I was comparing myself on the daily with other boss-moms who were killing it in the marketplace. Thoughts like, “I should be where they are in their business right now.”, “You’re never going to be good enough.” and “You just have to work harder!” had eventually driven me to a pretty low point. I was ready to throw my hands up and call it quits. Unfortunately, the comparison snuck into my spiritual life as well. I would look at other moms posting scriptures or pictures of what they had read in the Bible that day and feel awful. I don’t have time to spend an hour in the Bible every day! A few months later, I heard Dan Mohler say that if you’re using the time you spend in the Bible to be okay with God, you’re doing it for the wrong reason. After that, I started taking snippets of time with the Lord throughout my whole day. You cannot contain God in a one-hour Bible reading session! I worship while I do the dishes. I pray while I fold the laundry.  You see, comparison destroys creativity. I spent so much time comparing myself to others– other moms, other business owners, and other pastor’s wives. And I always came up lacking. I spent many tear-filled mornings with my husband, so desperate to see my dream come true, all the while feeling doubtful that it would ever happen.  Thankfully, God had placed a friend in my life that could speak some truth exactly when I needed it. April Nicole Scipio and I have never actually met in person, but she is an amazing friend nonetheless. She’s also a pastor’s wife and owns a Christian coaching business. She helps women in faith, leadership, and business. To make a long story short, April hit me with some much-needed truth, right between the eyes. I poured out my heart over an hour-long coaching session, and she delivered some wisdom and counsel straight from the Lord. “Stop comparing yourself, Nicole. You are exactly where you need to be,” she told me. “It’s okay to build your dream slowly. But the greatest disservice you would do to yourself is giving up now.”  And she was right.  We are always told to be kind to others as we’re growing up. Rarely do we hear that we need to be kind to ourselves. We as women especially have this skewed idea that if we give ourselves grace, we are failing in some way. Resting equals procrastination. Why do we hold ourselves to such high standards and then wonder why we’re discontent?  Through that very tough season, I had to learn to slow down and be okay with where I was in my life and business. That’s just it. It was a season. Now, I’m in a different season. My kids are a bit older. My three-year-old son goes to preschool for half days, and my two-year-old daughter hangs out at home with me. They are a bit more independent now, which is somehow more difficult than the baby stage at times. However, I do have more time and flexibility to work on my business. I’ve learned that no matter what season I’m in, there will be challenges.I’ve learned how to persevere.  My husband and I still lead a crazy-busy life. As full-time youth pastors, there’s a whole other dynamic added into our schedules. I’ve learned to always come back to my friends’ advice: to be okay with slowing down my vision. “A little progress is still progress!” — Be kind to yourself. Let me tell you, as a...... [read more]

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how to transition from public school to homeschool in six easy steps
Transition from public school to homeschool in 6 easy steps

Until 2020, a transition from public school to homeschool might not have ever been on your radar. But due to the pandemic, virtual learning, pods, hybrid, and homeschooling are common topics of discussion. Many parents are finding remote schooling is not a good fit for their children.  The recent Gallop poll, conducted July 30 – August 12, 2020, reveals, “While parents’ satisfaction with their child’s education has fallen, there has been a five-point uptick (to 10%) in the percentage of parents who say their child will be home-schooled this year.” So, if you are considering a transition from public school to homeschool, you are not alone. If your family chooses to transition from public school to homeschool, here are six steps parents should take to make the smoothest transition. Step 1: Consult Your States’ Laws The Federal government makes educational policy, but the states are responsible for the standards, curriculum, and other primary regulations when it comes to education. By going to your states’ website first, or HSLDA.org, you will find the answers for how to notify your school board of your intent to homeschool, what you’re expected to teach, what reporting or testing is required for your state, and other fundamental questions you may have. So, start by consulting your state laws and filing the necessary paperwork.  Step 2: Choose Your Curriculum Once you know your state requirements, you get the option of choosing what and how to teach your student. There are many philosophies and methods to choose from. But, for first-time families, it is wise to choose something simple and straightforward like a boxed curriculum that includes all subjects and is both teacher and student friendly. Consider publishers such as Abeka, Bob Jones, Timberdoodle, and Sonlight. By choosing a curriculum that includes all the components you need to know, you will have all of your basics covered. Then you can always add creative lessons and projects on top while having a solid foundation to work from.  Step 3: Start Slowly It is okay to begin with only one or two subjects for the first few days and slowly build as you find your family’s rhythm and flow. Where will you teach? What will be your schedule? Expect homeschooling to be an adjustment for both you and your children. Most families adjust more quickly now, especially because they have been home due to COVID. But if your family takes a little longer, that is perfectly fine. The number one advantage of homeschooling is that you create your own schedule and pace. This is especially important for working parents. You can alter your teaching/learning times to fit around your schedule. Step 4: Include Your Children Homeschooling is a family affair. Ask your children if there is a certain topic or subject they would like to study or if they have expectations about homeschooling. Of course, you are the teacher and need to take the lead, but this is a great opportunity for you and your children to explore some different areas that public school didn’t offer. Allow your student to choose a novel to read or a topic for a project. Your student will be more motivated, which only makes your job easier and the process more enjoyable. Also, since homeschooling allows for more individualization, consider if your child struggles with a skill, like reading, writing, or math. If so, you can tailor your lessons to go slower and give them lots of extra practice to focus and strengthen those skills.  Step 5: Find Other Homeschooling Families There are literally millions of homeschooling families currently in the United States and more resources than you can imagine! Search online for blogs, Facebook groups, and YouTube channels. Find co-ops, hybrid schools, pods, and other families in your area to network with virtually and in person. Even connecting with one or two other families will allow you and your children to build relationships, process the adjustment, ask and answer questions, and make the transition to homeschooling an enjoyable experience.  Step 6: What If We Don’t Like Homeschooling? Students can typically re-enter the public school system fairly easily if they are below eighth grade. If your student is in high school, because of credits, it can be a bit more complicated. For a successful re-entry to public school, keep open communication with your school board, teachers, and administrators. This will assure you are meeting their credit requirements.  It can feel daunting to step out from the security of public school, but with these six steps, you can confidently transition from public school to homeschool. After you have a little experience under your belt and you witness your children learning and growing under your leadership, you may find that homeschooling is a great fit for your family. Even if your desire is to re-enter the public-school system once the health threats are passed, the time homeschooling your family won’t be wasted.... [read more]

stocking stuffer ideas for homeschoolers
Stocking stuffer ideas for kids: last-minute shoppers guide

Let’s chat about last-minute stocking stuffer ideas for kids… Thank you, Amazon Prime! 😅 No, but really. It never fails, there is always something we forget to grab or think about at the last minute and instead of scrambling, I’m so grateful we have Amazon Prime! Most things we order are one-day deliveries and since one-day products are delivered by an Amazon employee, not USPS… 🙄 We get what we order ON TIME! 🙌 Maybe you’re like us and need a little last-minute virtual shopping trip to get in the Christmas spirit! If so, you are my people and you are so welcome here. 😃 So! Just for you, I’m sharing some of our best stocking stuffer ideas for kids, that aren’t just candy, random toys that break, and chapsticks that will get lost. These ideas are awesome staples in your family time AND incredible resources for you to use in homeschool too! Wins… All the way around!! 🥳 Hey! Did you know… You can save SO much money all year round by simply signing up to use Honey for FREE?! I’ve been using it for a couple of years now and I’m still so shocked at how easy it is to use! When I’m shopping online, it will check comparable prices on Amazon and AUTOMATICALLY try multiple coupon codes to take even more off the price at checkout! Y’all. If you don’t have it… Get it. I promise it will make your online shopping life AMAZING! Click here to join Honey! Okay! Let’s dive into this list of stocking stuffer ideas for kids, shall we?! |Related: Download the 2021 Traceable Calendar for your homeschool morning time in print and cursive! Stocking Stuffer Ideas for Kids Check out this list of stocking stuffer ideas for kids – I’ve separated them by subject… You’re welcome! 😉 If you have an idea for a stocking stuffer that isn’t on this list, comment below and I’ll update it! We’re all in this together! Kids Nature Journal | The Backyard Bug Book | Go Find It! Family Scavenger Hunt | Binoculars | Create Your Own Window Bird Feeder Kit | Bird Call | The Lost Art of Reading Nature’s Signs | Nature Activity Book | The Tree Book | Colored Pencil Sticks | The Night Sky – Star Finder | Crayon Rocks Stamp Making Kit for Beginners | Scratch Art Paper Kit | How to Draw All The Things Book | Sketch Book | Origami for Kids | Paint Brushes | Illustory Book Making Kit | Clay Start Kit | Knitting for Beginners Sign Language for Kids Activity Book | Brain Quest Q + A Sets | 3-Minute Gratitude Journal | Story Maker Magnetic Poetry Set | Wordical | Scented Pencils | Big Letter Bananagrams | Create A Story Cards | Story Cubes | Rechargeable Book Light Free Printable Christmas Coupon Book from mom + dad to kids! SEND IT TO ME! Carmen Sandiego Game | Borderline Card Game | Countries of the World Game | Illuminated World Globe | Scrambled States of America Game | 50 States Fact Maps | Flag Frenzy | World Map Geography Game | Quick Pix Game | World Atlas Sticker Activity Book Digital Pocket Microscope | Geode Discovery Kit | Rock Science Kit | Lab Experiments Kit | Pocket Volcano | The Everything Kids’ Science Book | Lego Chain Reactions Set | Pocket Telescope | Earth Science Kit | Light Up Terrarium kit | Glow In The Dark Space-Themed Wall Decor | Beginner Snap Circuits Kit Professor Noggin Ancient Civilization | Timelines of Everything | Weird But True US Presidents | History Year By Year | Ticket to Ride Game | History of the US Card Game | Complete DVD Series of Liberty Kids | BrainBox World History | The Oregon Trail Card Game | Timeline Card Game Complete Set Pizza Fractions Game | Shut The Box Game | Tenzi Game | The Everything Kids’ Math Puzzle Book | Ozmo Math Wizard | Math Whiz Electronical Math Game | Math Riddles for Smart Kids | I Sea 10 Game | Proof! Fast-Paced Math Game | Math Trekker | Zingo! 123 | Geoboards Logic Links Critical Thinking Puzzle Box | Extreme Dot-To-Dot World Bundle | Ultimate Paper Airplanes for Kids | Original Slinky | Rubik’s Cube Set | Adjustable Jump Ropes | Fidget Toy Sensory Set | Wiki Stix | Sensory Snake Cubes | Try Not To Laugh Challenge: EWW! Edition | Jacks Set | Crazy Aaron’s Thinking Putty | Melissa + Doug Floor Puzzle Set | Knock Knock Jokes for Kids | Extreme Dot-To-Dot Animals Bundle And a few non-Amazon ideas… SUBSCRIPTION BOXES Green Kid Crafts Creation Crate Universal Yums Think Outside The Preschool Box Candy Club The Yesteryear Gazette MAGAZINES Use code SAVE10 on any of these Magazines to take 10% OFF at checkout! National Geographic Kids Ask Magazine Jack + Jill COUPONS Download this FREE printable coupon book from mom + dad to the kids (or create your own!) and give the gift that keeps on giving, Clark! 🙂 SEND IT TO ME!... [read more]

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stress-free christmas tapping scripts for moms
A stress-free Christmas: Tapping Script

A Stress-Free Christmas: Tapping Script was written by Tamara Donn. Tamara helps stressed, overwhelmed, and exhausted mums regain their calm, enjoy their kids, and get more done! She’s a featured guest contributor to the Homeschool Bundle + the Create Your Homeschool Blog! Enjoy! The festive season is a time for coming together and celebrating. For many in today’s commercial world, it’s a time of stress, anxiety, exhaustion, and overwhelm. If you can relate, read on! Here are some of the top reasons why mums find the festive season stressful: Money No time for yourself Preparing festive food Present buying  Putting on weight Spending time with family (although this might not be possible this year which could add more stress, isolation or loneliness or be a relief! And this year we have the added covid stress on top of everything else! Here is a little exercise for you to help pave your way to a stress-free Christmas:  Rate the level of stress in relation to each of the above reasons on a scale from zero to ten. Zero means no stress, ten most stress. There may be other reasons you can add to the list that relate more to your own situation. When stress levels are high it is harder to be present with your children and create a calm and relaxed space for your festivities. In this article I am going to introduce a powerful technique that is easy to learn and apply to release stress so that you can regain your calm, get things done more efficiently and enjoy your family during this festive season. This technique is called EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) or Tapping. It is based on the acupuncture system and involves tapping on acupoints while focusing on the stress. In studies, it has been shown to reduce cortisol (stress hormone) levels! Click here to check out the research that has been done so far. I work with a lot of stressed and overwhelmed mums, I know that you are probably thinking that you don’t have time for anything extra, as you are already doing too much. However, most mums find that even taking 5 minutes for themselves to tap can make a difference. In fact, I challenged a few hundred mums to tap every day for 30 days and the results were astounding. They reported some unexpected side effects including: Not needing a glass of wine or bar of chocolate at the end of the day Not spending money on themselves to make them feel better because they felt so good Husbands asking them what they have been doing because they seem so happy Aches and pains disappearing Feeling happy to get up in the morning again | Related: Grab a copy of the Christmas Tapping Script inside the December Homeschool Bundle! So as an experiment, I invite you to set aside just 5 minutes from the 1440 minutes available to you today to have a go at a Tapping Script! There is a Christmas Tapping Script available to print and save in the December Homeschool Bundle. It’s a great place to start to help you pave your way to a stress-free Christmas and simple to follow along (I know you might be thinking this feels silly but what have you got to lose?) If you want to watch a video, I suggest downloading my free stress-relief video available here. After completing the Christmas Tapping Script, look at the top reasons for stress and rate them again. It is possible that some will have gone down. Repeating this as often as possible or as often as you have time for, will help you to regain your calm and rebalance. After tapping, mums often feel lighter, calmer, more energized, sometimes more tired, tingly, a sense of peace, more clarity. If you didn’t feel any of this, please do check out my troubleshooting page, here. Wishing you and your family a wonderful festive season filled with calm and ease!... [read more]

how to talk to your kids about death or grief
How to talk to kids about grief

How to talk to kids about grief was written by Katie Rössler, a licensed counselor and grief healer. She’s a featured guest contributor to the Homeschool Bundle + the Create Your Homeschool Blog! Enjoy! I have learned so much about grief over the last two years, especially from my kids. See, I am a licensed therapist and though I was familiar with grief in my own life and in my clients’ lives, it wasn’t until I went on a grief journey with my daughters that I started to see grief differently. My oldest daughter came into the bathroom crying when she was five years old. She told me she missed her grandmother. I was so shocked inside. She was four when my mom died, and though my daughter asked a lot of questions after she died, I had totally disregarded that she had her own grief journey which would take time. I was caught up in my own loss and never thought to check-in more with her about what she was experiencing. As she cried and I held her, I realized that her grief process was so pure and exactly how it should be: feel, express, ask, process, breathe, and then move forward. She never said, “Oh, I don’t want to feel this way. I don’t like crying. I’m going to go do something else so I don’t think about it.” She didn’t apologize for crying in front of me. She sat with it. Here we are now in 2020, and people all over the world are grieving. They are discovering grief isn’t just about death and loss. It shows up when we have adjustments to new situations, anticipation of what will be next, and changes in roles in life. Grief is actually a normal part of our lives, but we tend to avoid it so much that we have stopped recognizing what we are experiencing as grief. Well, again, it’s 2020, and so many people are realizing they can no longer run from grief. It’s time to look at it differently. With this, comes the question: How do we talk to our kids about grief? If we as adults tend to struggle with grief, how do we help our kids handle it better so they can learn healthy ways to handle all the emotions that come with grief? | Related: 3 simple ways to teach gratitude all year Here are a few key tips that I want to share with you so that you feel a little more prepared to talk with your kids about grief: Kid’s grief shows up as tantrums, extreme anger, random crying, regression, and reactiveness. Kids don’t always have words for grief, so it’s important that you notice these reactions and connect the dots to what changes or struggles they may be going through. I have noticed kids as early as three years old grieving, so don’t be surprised if you notice your young child grieving. Creating art and building things (think legos) together are great ways to get your kids talking about it all. It’s a bit of a secret weapon therapists use to get our younger clients talking. Color for about five minutes and you’ll notice they start talking much easier because their defensive wall comes down. (Hint: This works for adults too!) Remember that it’s ok to not have all the answers to the “why” questions. You are allowed to say “I don’t know” or “Let’s learn together.” Especially with what is going on in the world right now, most parents don’t have answers. We have not failed at our jobs by telling them we are unsure. Questions like “Will I die one day too?” or “Why do people die?” can leave us speechless. Start thinking about how you would like to answer these questions now so you are ready when they come (if they haven’t already). Be mindful of your actions when their questions trigger an uncomfortable emotion. Do you notice when your kids ask tough questions, you get uncomfortable and maybe even more impatient with them? I find this happens to me when they ask questions in public spaces or they strike a chord with an emotion I don’t want to feel at that time. That’s about our issues, not there’s, so be mindful if you feel triggered. It’s ok to say “Can we talk about this later when we are in the car/at home/or a different time today?” You are allowed to put up a boundary when you don’t feel emotionally prepared to talk. If they don’t understand, you can remind them there are times when they don’t want to talk about something. Make sure you tell them when you will talk about it and stick with that time to help with consistency and trust. Grief isn’t something we have to be so uncomfortable with, but it means going on our own grief journey. It also means that as parents we honor and respect our child’s process of grieving, and we teach and model for them positive ways to express emotions and thoughts during challenging times. Whether grief has hit you because of a loss, a move, big changes in your family, or anticipating what is next in such uncertain times, you can work as a family to grieve together creating a stronger bond. If you are interested in more information on how to talk to your kids about grief, I wrote an eBook with support videos for kids and parents that can be found here. The eBook covers the phases of grief for kids, typical questions they ask about death, moving, family changes, and major events happening in our world, and appropriate ways to answer based on age group (preschoolers, grade-schoolers, and teens). The videos teach the kids, based on their age group, coping skills they can use on a daily basis and provide support to parents and caregivers who may need more ideas and support. Lastly, it provides a list of books and videos to talk with your...... [read more]

random acts of kindness ideas for teens
5 Unique random acts of kindness ideas for teens

5 Unique random acts of kindness ideas for teens was written by Jen Dodrill from History At Home, a guest contributor to the Homeschool Bundle + the Create Your Homeschool Blog! Enjoy! We’ve all heard of volunteering at the homeless shelter or donating to the food pantry, and while those are wonderful ways to give back, I’ve come up with five unique random acts of kindness ideas for teens! Because, here’s my theory – almost everyone loves to show kindness! And teenagers do too, even if they grumble a bit. Get them started, or better yet, let them choose the way they will do it! I think you’ll see an engaged teen showing kindness in his or her way this season. To help you and your teen out, here are five unique random acts of kindness ideas for teens: Volunteer to wrap presents for an elderly friend, neighbor, or grandparent Wrapping is tough for older hands. Plus, a teen spending time with an elderly person and wrapping their gifts is a win-win! Jingle or Elf a neighbor At Halloween, it’s popular to “BOO” people by leaving a bag of seasonal goodies with a note. Let your teen head to the dollar store and also bake some goodies so that they can “JINGLE” or “ELF” a neighbor! Stuffed animal drive Another way teens can get involved in giving back to their community is to collect new stuffed animals to drop off at the police or fire station. These are used when first responders have young kids to deal with and can provide a lot of comfort to the children. | Related: 50+ Free Christmas Printables Blessing bags for the homeless Ask your teen to get some friends together to gather items for bags for the homeless or to take to shelters. You can include small packages of tissues, toothpaste, and a toothbrush. Also consider travel-size shampoo, soap, razors, deodorant, socks, hairbrush/combs, ponytail holders, paper and pen, small blankets, washcloths, and hand towels. Teens can raise money to buy the items, or they can do a neighborhood drive for them. Using neighborhood Facebook groups or the NextDoor app, they can let neighbors know what they’re doing and what they need. Make blankets Teens can make no-sew fleece blankets and give them to local shelters. This might take a little more time, but they’re fun and relatively easy to make! Show your teens these ideas and encourage them to brainstorm some of their own! Then, let them go to work spreading kindness and holiday cheer!... [read more]

essential oil blends for homeschool
Essential Oil Blends for Homeschool

Today, I’m sharing some of our favorite essential oil blends for homeschool. Our family went through a season of really taking care of ourselves. We cut out all processed foods, limited sugar, switched to organic foods, cut out harmful toxins… etc., etc., etc. Then life happened, stress tripled, and we slowly started falling off the wagon. There are still things we appreciate, like organic foods and natural products, especially for the kids, but I’m ready for the shift back to really putting our family’s health first. So, I thought I’d share some of the ways we’re doing that, particularly as it relates to our homeschool journey, here on the blog! Some would say this is a series of sorts, but I’d rather not put it into a box. Natural family health and living is something I’m passionate about, because I KNOW the life-changing effects that a few small, meaningful changes can make in your home. So I don’t want to limit myself to a four or six-part “series”, rather, I’d like to share what changes we’re making and why as we make them so that you can follow along and get ideas for your family as well. Especially for homeschooling! We used essential oils before and still diffuse them every now and then, but I never dug into the world of essential oils and how they could be used, particularly in our homeschool, but also on a deeper level than just adding a few drops of peppermint to coconut oil for a headache. However, I’ve been researching the heck out of essential oils, not only types and recipes, but brands as well! Mostly, I wanted to make sure I didn’t hop on a “brand”-wagon because a friend had a code or “starter kit”, but I wanted to understand the who, what, why… behind every essential oil brand before I started purchasing more oils. | Related: Ideas for Fidgety Homeschool Kids Now, I was introduced to essential oils through a popular oil brand that starts with the letter D. Yup.. That’s the one! And I learned the high-level instructions for diffusing oils. From there, I started purchasing “pure” oils from Vitamin Shoppe because I heard that as long as the oils are pure, they’re great! Eventually, I just started adding oils to our Grove orders and that’s what I’ve been using for about a year now. Here’s the thing… You have to research what’s best for YOUR family. I’m not here to tell you one brand is bad or good, I’m just sharing what I’ve done and why I’ve done it so that you can see that researching before jumping on a trend or whatever is super important. As of right now, Plant Therapy is hands down in the running for our essential oil purchases. In fact, I just placed an order this morning! Plant Therapy uses pure oils and offers organic options as well, but the biggest PRO I added to the list (and was ultimately the deciding factor) is that they third-party test every oil and share the results on their website! It’s not a members-only club of information, nor is it a “proprietary” inside-test that could really be anything. The “cherries-on-top” are they are a cruelty-free company, they pass savings down to the customer since there’s not a middle-man, and they have an incredible program for giving back to communities all over the world! I encourage you… Do your research 🙂 Here are 3 essential oil blends for homeschool that you can diffuse over and over again! Plant Therapy is not an MLM. There’s not a quota or minimum order amount or anything. They offer subscriptions for your convenience (and give you 5% OFF!) but you can also purchase one-time and a lot of their items are on Amazon (which is how I’ve linked them below!) However, they do have a sweet referral program where you can give $10 and get $10 when you share your referral link with a friend! So, if you’d like to purchase and want $10 to spend, consider using my link to shop: click here. Homeschool Love 5 Drops of Cedarwood Atlas 5 Drops of Sweet Orange 3 Drops of Peppermint Memory Booster 4 Drops of Lavender 3 Drops of Peppermint 3 Drops of Rosemary 2 Drops of Grapefruit Critical Thinking 2 Drops of Vetiver 1 Drop of Peppermint 1 Drop of Sweet Orange 1 Drop of Rosemary In addition to these Essential Oil Blends for Homeschool… We also got all of the kid’s roll-ons! It’s so convenient to be able to roll it onto their spine or bottoms of their feet. Especially when they need an extra boost of mental clarity, relaxation, or focus! Here’s a kit of their best roll ons for kids: Click here. I hope these diffuser recipes of essential oil blends for your homeschool help you experience peace, clarity, and joy this year! Drop more blend ideas and recipes in the comments and tell me how you’re using essential oils in your home!... [read more]

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holidays on a budget
Holidays on a budget: spend less, play more

Holidays on a budget: spend less, play more was written by Amber Doughty at Rose Garden Hub, a guest contributor to the Homeschool Bundle + the Create Your Homeschool Blog! Enjoy! ‘Tis the season for very clever marketing! It’s the time of year when so many mass-produced toys and play resources are almost essential if you want your child to thrive and develop. These toys offer limited uses, reducing the imagination required to play. It happens every year. We are so excited to gift our child such a toy, only to find that actually more time is spent playing with the box it came in. I’m going to share some ideas and inspiration to help you resource some enriching play opportunities for your child this festive season! Opportunities that are not only free or low cost, but are environmentally conscious too. Einstein describes “Play as the highest form of research”. Children are ‘THE’ experts when it comes to play. With it being so important to their development and well-being, it is indeed one of the United nations rights of a child. Having taught, studied, parented, observed, and engaged with children in the Early Years and beyond for more years than I care to mention, I have learned that play is not only innate to children, but it is essential in their processes of learning, developing, and growing. Yet, we are still seeing so many marketed products and services that really inhibit the ‘play’ experience. The focus of this article is to delve head first into the concept of ‘Play’, and share with you a couple of low budget options to enable our children to engage in meaningful and nurturing play, in its highest form. Also, I want to give you permission to stress less about financing the high-cost resources and get back to the basics of enjoying your children, watching them grow, and have fun. | Related: Free Christmas Challenge for your homeschool There’s enough guilt involved with parenthood, without the financial impact of wanting the best things for your children too. Here are two key ideas to launch your own version of the best play opportunities for your family. First, one of my happiest childhood memories was at my Gran’s house. The cupboard under the stairs was transformed into a playhouse for me using household items but mainly structured from cardboard boxes. I had an oven, sink, cupboards. I loved that house so much. Throughout my career I have been known as a ‘box hoarder’. My classroom always had a box project on-the-go. And my partner has now developed a twitch every time he sees a parcel being delivered. I can almost hear the groan as another box enters our home and my eyes light up! Empty boxes. Different sizes, types, and shapes. They can easily be a brilliant starting point to launch an amazing play experience, or more often, an ongoing activity that develops in time. The processes that the children go through to create from a blank canvas (or in this case box) are extensive. The planning, the teamwork, the communicating, the resourcing, and the problem solving. The physical motor skills, the mathematical skills, it could tie in with a celebration and enable the child to process and reenact situations to make sense of such. Every age group can engage in meaningful play using a box. From cutting a door for a baby to play peek-a-boo, to older children designing and modeling a structure of their interest. Perhaps a sleigh to ride in, a house to build, a car or train to drive. You can really let their imaginations run wild with a box and some other basic crafts materials. Especially around this festive season, keep hold of those boxes, cardboard tubes, etc. They can all contribute to a wonderful learning experience, and they cost absolutely nothing. You will be amazed what ideas they come up with themselves! Lastly, I remember my Gran having a big jar of buttons and a sewing box with ribbons that I absolutely loved. My daughter now loves exploring my own ribbon box! You may have heard of ‘loose parts play’, which is something that is quite the thing in educational circles these days. It is pretty much a term that depicts enabling children to design and create their own play through the use of a variety of age-appropriate loose parts! These can include buttons and ribbons. Or you could take a family walk to collect nature treasures such as leaves and acorns, shells and twigs. The options are endless, which is the magical thing about loose parts! You are only bound by your imagination. You can support your child to collect these in a basket or tray so as to revisit! You can also add them to homemade playdough or clay, or the younger children may like to explore filling and emptying a variety of your pots and pans with the items. Almost every area of development can be nurtured through these processes of exploring! Describing the items as well as the process of implementing them into their play is so great! A fantastic resource we have here locally in the UK is ‘scrap stores’. At a really low cost, my daughter loves to go and fill a bag with materials of her choice to incorporate in her play. This cost supports a community resource, is less than it would cost for a magazine with a plastic toy that usually comes with them, and we can donate materials back when we are finished with them. Perhaps you might find a similar resource in your area! I hope these suggestions have inspired some exciting play opportunities for you and your family this festive season. If you wish to learn more about ‘Play Opportunities’ check out my Facebook page or drop me an email to share your success stories! I am launching a Facebook-based workshop and community group called ‘Spend less PLAY more’. So keep an eye on my page, ‘Rose Garden Hub’, for further...... [read more]

take the family christmas challenge for family fun at christmas
Free Christmas Challenge for your homeschool

I am so excited about this Christmas Challenge! I simply can’t believe how quickly December 2020 has gotten here. What has seemed like the longest hours of our whole year have really flown right by. We’re grateful for good health, toilet paper, and of course the opportunity to celebrate the most wonderful time of the year yet again! December is the month a lot of mamas drag through. I think there’s just so much going on, in general, this time of year, that homeschooling is the icing on top that mentally drains you. So that’s why we started taking FIVE weeks off for winter break. Yup. Five. My mind and even our kids’ minds just need that refresher, ya know? But here’s the kicker… We aren’t just dropping everything and becoming couch potatoes for a month. We’re just shifting HOW we “do school” so that the kids think we’re on a break and I’m not as stressed out trying to check all the boxes!​ This year, we’re repeating the Gather Round Christmas unit study (because it was SO good last year) and adding in A Connected Christmas from Lyndsey at Treehouse Schoolhouse, and it’s absolutely stunning! We’re also completing the Christmas Challenge I’ve created for the December Bundle! When I told the kids we were memorizing 20 verses in the Bible about Jesus’ birth, they looked at me crazy! It sounds like a lot, but the way I’ve laid it out will make it super easy for your family to do the same! SO – My gift to you, and perhaps one of many more throughout this month — wink, wink! — I’d like for you and your family to have a copy of the Christmas Challenge for FREE! You can find it in the Resource Library! Now, of course, if you’d like to download the challenge PLUS 80+ pages of homeschool goodies, the bundle is just $10 this month! You can grab it here. But the Christmas Challenge is something I think we will all enjoy going through together – so I wanted you to have it, regardless of if you purchased the bundle or not!  Follow me on Instagram and tag me as you finish each day! Make the last 31 days count, mama.So grateful for you!... [read more]

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small business Saturday shop small where can I shop small for small business Saturday homeschool
The Ultimate Small Business Saturday List

I had not planned on creating another post for Small Business Saturday, because I’ve already put so much time into the Cyber Week post in general. However… When I started thinking about how Small Business Saturday is a day where we should support small businesses, I thought that it might make more of an impact on our community if there was a list of awesome women-owned / mama-owned businesses you could shop from this season, regardless of if they sell homeschool resources or not – Because, not everyone we’re buying for is a homeschooler, right?! So, I have attempted to organize this list as best I can so that you can easily navigate it! Please support these amazing businesses this weekend, even if it’s just by sharing their shop for someone else to see! Don’t forget to grab the FREE 2020 Gift Guide full of incredible women-owned shops that you’re sure to fall in love with, a fun Christmas Challenge, freebies, exclusive flash sales, and MORE! Happy Small Business Saturday! Jump to: Courses MLM’s Small Business Products + Services Etsy Shops For Mama For the Kids Subscriptions Everything Else COURSES Minimalism Your Way Revive Your Relationships Postpartum Prep Feel Good For The Holidays Stress-Relief Course + Journal Become a Tech Virtual Assistant Finally Launch Your Course Well Rested By Christmas from Sleep Baby Love Stress Relief Survival Guide Get Un-stuck Self-Paced Beginner Yoga Roots of Behavior – 3-Day Course Empowered Eating MLM’S Color Street Nails by Heather Reiki Sessions with Angela Herbalife with Lakeen Arbonne with DeAri DoTerra with DeAri MIG Living with Beth Legging Girl with Tina Mary Kay with Jessica Thrive by Larissa Zyia Active by Nikki Origami Owl by Maria Rodan + Fields by Windy PRODUCTS + SERVICES FOR SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS Branding Strategy Post-C0v1d Marketing Strategy Workshop Entrepreneur Templates 90-Day Achiever’s Planner Enneagram Tees + Mugs Power Hats – Support the fight against human trafficking Voiceovers Canva Templates Basic Business Box Branding Party Web Design 2021 Planner Podcast Hosts + Guest Collaboration Membership Custom Logo Design + Brand Board Pinterest Course Captivate Your Audience Program Email Marketing Systems Passive Income Blogging Bundle DIY Brand Photography Branded Christmas Gifts with your logo Virtual Assistant Services from Your Virtual Angel ETSY SHOPS Baby gifts, nursery decor, and more Wood flower ornaments + reindeer Gemstone Jewelry Name Crayons Scarves, tote bags, and more Hand-Crafted Unicorns + Books Original Printable Artwork Boho Decor + Accessories Earrings by mom + daughter team Hand-Painted Wooden Signs + Home Decor Boho Style Jewelry Handmade Personalized Gifts + Engraving Self-Care Gift Box Sets and more Wooden Home Decor Windproof, Waterproof, Breathable Jackets Wire + Fiber Crocheted Jewelry Stationery, Party Decor, and more Drink Mixes, Rubs, and more Wooden Toys All the fun things for Christmas Jars, Home Decor, Vintage Decor, and more Handcrafted Jewelry Beaded Bookmarks + Book Charms FOR MAMA Bath soaks, body butter, sugar scrubs, and more from The Roan Cow Holistic and functional medicine practice + house-formulated herbal remedies from Tao Holistics Luxury non-toxic candles, perfumes, and more $15 Christmas Tees Matcha Tea from Epic Matcha Connection Call with Nicole for help with separation or chaotic homes Custom Oil Blends (non-mlm), pure essential oils, diffusers, and aromatherapy consultations Eco-Friendly, natural cleaning products Gemstone Diffuser Bracelets Digital Family Meal Planner Purses, Clutches, Backpacks, and more Apparel, accessories, and more Natural therapy packs, heat packs, and more Self-Care tips, tricks, yoga, and crystals Crystal-Infused Lip Gloss Elderberry Syrup Handmade Statement Jewelry The Honeybee Rose T-Shirt Shop (Free Coupon with Every Order!) Handmade Candles + Wax Melts FOR THE KIDS The Jessi K Adventures books Genevieve’s Boutique Yoga Classes Ben’s Adventure Books Pre-School Curriculum Packets Art Kits Hand-Crafted Swings – Veteran Owned + Made in the USA Screen-Free Organic Toys High-quality, handmade baby essentials Snowflake Macrame Kits Adorable Clothing J + S Handcrafted Toys (Free custom ornament with every purchase of $25 or more!) Handmade baby bonnets + plushies Genuine leather, handmade moccasins SUBSCRIPTIONS Book + Activity Boxes for Kids by Kidspire Crate The Intuition Gym – Train your mind The Boxy Momma Co. Momxiety Club Crusin’ + Campfires Activity Boxes Monster Box Magna-Tiles Structures + Photo Sets You Were Made To Bloom – Bloom Boxes Family Time + Self-Care Boxes EVERYTHING ELSE Headlight Harness Sebastian Roberts Pop-Up Gift Wrap Custom Teaching Solutions Jomo Coffee Co. Ashlee + Rhubi Collar Me Charming – Handmade Dog Collars Kai’s Ruff Wear Digital Prints by Alissa Morabito Educational / Homeschooling Services Elegant Jewelry by Delevo How Far I’ve Risen Unique gifts for teachers by Creating Joy in Art Wooden Flower Decor by Pine + Petal Market Aged Maple Syrup by Watsons Barrel – $5 OFF with code FF5OFF Creative Creations Boutique Sweet Sassafras Boutique Wildman Arts Bobbi Jean K Baubles + Designs Goat Milk Soaps, Bath Bombs, Lip Balms, and Lotion Bars from Straw In My Bra Homestead Latin American Boutique Inspired Soul Boutique Butterfly Boutique Herbal Products from Mountain Mels Tinzis Co. Joy Love Paper Soap N More Gift Baskets Craft Therapy Gifts Midds Creations Bee Free Babies Sweet Timber Maple Beehive Soap + Body Care – 15% OFF with code JOLLY15 Little Wander Shop – 20% OFF of $20 or more with code SHOPSMALL20... [read more]

free christmas printables
50+ Free Christmas Homeschool Printables

I am so excited to share 51 FREE Christmas Homeschool Printables with you! These printables look like so much fun! There are activity sheets, worksheets, games, time-fillers, crafts, and more – listed here to help you homeschool through the Holidays, stress-free! It’s the most wonderful time… For Free Christmas Homeschool Printables! Our three Christmas trees have been proudly shining through our windows since November 7th… We’ve even overheard neighbors commenting on them — I won’t share the comments. Haha 🙂 But I have no shame… I am one of “those” Christmas people. I absolutely LOVE this time of year! I don’t really understand why people wait so long to embrace it! Nevertheless, each year in our homeschool, we get restless. Waiting patiently for Christmas is no small feat in this house. So I do whatever I can to incorporate Christmas fun into our homeschool- Because, why not! |Related: 5 Quotes Inspired by Gratitude to Stimulate Essay Writing Skills Actually, this will be our second year doing the Christmas Unit Study from Gather Round Homeschool! We love it so much! And Rebecca just updated the study for 2020 and it is so beautiful! Click here to check it out. In addition to the unit study, we like to add in more FUN! That’s where my search for Free Homeschool Christmas Printables came into play! Then, after seeing how many amazing printables there are… I KNEW I needed to share what I found with you here on the blog! So, without further ado… Here’s, what I consider, the ULTIMATE list of Free Christmas Printables for your homeschool! Enjoy! Christmas Play-Doh Mats Christmas Science Experiments Christmas Scavenger Hunts Christmas Sight-Word Coloring Sheets Christmas Dot-To-Dot Sheets Christmas Pictionary Game Christmas Math Activities Pre-K Christmas Worksheet Bundle Christmas Word Wall Activity Pre-K Christmas Counting Sheets Christmas Alphabet Game Pre-K Christmas Math Printables Pre-K Christmas Literacy Printables Christmas Word Search Christmas Alphabet Flash Cards Christmas Incentive Charts Polar Express Unit Study The Birth of Jesus Writing Prompts The Night Before Christmas Unit Study Christmas “I Spy” Game Christmas Matching Game Christmas Do-A-Dot Printables Writing Stories to Christmas Music Prompts Christmas Spelling Game Elf Printables Christmas Cutting Practice Christmas Treasure Hunt Snowman Coloring + Doodle Pages Christmas Shapes Activity Christmas Roll + Graph Activity 12 Days of Christmas Number Puzzles Christmas Counting Busy Book Christmas Pattern Strips 12 Days of Christmas Sing-Along Printables Christmas Activity Bundle Gross-Motor Skills Christmas Activity Christmas Shapes + Patterns Pack Christmas Color-By-Letter Sheets Christmas Math Printables Christmas Language Arts Printables Christmas-Themed Name Puzzle Christmas Old Maid Card Game Christmas Alphabet Scavenger Hunt Spirit of Giving Printable Pack Christmas Alphabet Train Printable Christmas Word Scramble How the Grinch Stole Christmas Unit Study Christmas Family Feud Game Christmas Mazes Nativity Lapbook Christmas Scripture Copywork... [read more]

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how to teach kids to be grateful
3 Simple ways to teach gratitude to kids all year

3 Simple Ways to Teach Gratitude to Kids All Year Long was written by Keyana Martinez at The StoryTime Box, a guest contributor to the Homeschool Bundle + the Create Your Homeschool Blog! Enjoy! Here’s a quick list of ways to teach gratitude to kids all year long! “What are you thankful for?” This is a common question for kids to explore during the Thanksgiving season. They may write a list, make a wreath, or share heart-warming stories about the things and people they love as a way to share what they are thankful for. While this is a great holiday tradition, it’s also important to encourage gratitude in a more general, everyday sense. Here are three simple ways that you can teach your kids about gratitude all year long- without the turkey and stuffing! Give thank-you notes/cards for any occasion.Let’s face it. Sometimes, it’s easy to take the “little things” for granted. We may not thank our mail carrier or local grocery clerk as much as we should. Help your child make blank thank-you cards (or pick up some fancy ones from the store) and discuss who you could give them to. It could be a friend who shared their bike the other day or a granny who gives the best warm hugs! This helps children to be mindful about small acts of kindness that deserve a little “thank you.” Make fun crafts about gratitude. Don’t just save that “thankful tree” craft for Thanksgiving! Incorporate the idea of being grateful into other arts and crafts projects throughout the year.Make a picture collage, a mosaic gratitude jar, or a scrapbooking project. Encourage your child to add photos and notes, whenever they are feeling thankful. Read books about giving thanks.Literacy is a fantastic way to teach social-emotional skills (the understanding and expression of emotions). Reading stories about gratitude can promote open discussions and real-life application.Kids can relate to the feelings and actions of the characters in order to gain an understanding of what gratitude can look and feel like.  While most books about giving thanks may focus on Thanksgiving Day, you can also find non-seasonal titles to share with your child at any time. Here are a few to get you started:... [read more]

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educational podcasts for homeschool
Educational Podcasts for Kids

Looking for Educational Podcasts for Kids? This list of podcasts is great to include in your homeschool day, while driving in the car, or simply in the background while the kids are playing! Educational Podcasts for Kids Each podcast makes it so fun and engaging for kids to listen to, they really know how to hold a child’s attention! What is an educational podcast? Educational Podcasts for kids are audio-only broadcasts that share stories, interesting facts, trivia, and more with their younger audience! They work so well for extra learning, reinforcement, and educational fun! How an educational podcast can be used in your homeschool Including an educational podcast in your homeschool is super easy and extremely effective! Rainy Day Learning You can choose to cut the science curriculum for the day and throw on a science podcast instead while the kids craft with dough, color, or build with blocks. On-the-go Learning We love to listen to audio books in the car, and podcasts are another great option for filling that time riding through town with engaging educational content! Here are some benefits to including educational podcasts in your homeschool They introduce another way to learn or reinforce what you’ve already discussed Educational Podcasts can allow kids to process and remember what they’re learning through storytelling They make learning seem fun because it’s not another book to write in | Related: 102 Things to do instead of worksheets Here’s a list of some of our favorite educational podcasts! Learn more about the Eleanor Amplified Podcast here! Check out this gameshow-style podcast here! Read more about Storynory here. Learn more about this history podcast here! Learn more about the Book Club for Kids here! Read more about Finn Caspian here! Check out the Sugarcrash Kids podcast here! Dr. Floyd also has YouTube! Click here to watch! So many fun things about the Story Pirates here! Check out The Adventures in Odyssey podcast here!... [read more]

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essay writing prompts for homeschool
5 Quotes inspired by gratitude to stimulate essay writing skills

5 Quotes Inspired by Gratitude to Stimulate Your Child’s Essay Writing Skills was written by Claudia Hotea, a guest contributor to the Homeschool Bundle + the Create Your Homeschool Blog! Enjoy! Essay Writing?! Huh? If you have just inhaled and exhaled deeply and closed your eyes for a couple of seconds, I know that you are dealing with the same issues that many homeschooling parents do. You get the importance of your child writing good essays, especially if your goal is to see them through college. However, there is no shame or fear in admitting that sometimes it is difficult to nudge them in the right direction. This is why you need to take advantage of every possible opportunity to foster this skill and to encourage them to write essays. | Related: Autumn Journal Prompts For Your Homeschool Probably, autumn and winter are the best seasons to offer them renewed opportunities for practicing. With so many positive holidays in sight, it would be a shame not to take advantage of it all! Especially with expository essay writing! A favorite holiday to do that is Thanksgiving. This is a season full of grace and gratitude. By instilling these values early on, you would guarantee that your children will become adults with a full-rounded grateful personality. Giving thanks for everything that God has provided is an excellent way to fill hearts and challenge minds. Inspire your children with the words of great men and women! Give them quotes that act like essay prompts to expose them to a wealth of wisdom! Essay writing will also stimulate their desire for self-expression! There is nothing more empowering than giving one’s opinion over the words of a famous person. So here are some great quotes, inspired by gratitude, that you can use today in your home school! “No one who achieves success does so without the help of others. The wise and confident acknowledge this help with gratitude.” – Alfred North Whitehead This quote is excellent for your child to reflect upon the importance of the people that help him in life. Have your child take time to appreciate every effort made by his parents and peers. “In ordinary life, we hardly realize that we receive a great deal more than we give and that it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer It is amazing how much richness is in this quote. Your child will have to reevaluate the things that he considers riches in life. Then, take a moment to dwell on the fact that generosity is the best quality a person could have. “You cannot do a kindness too soon because you never know how soon it will be too late.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson Your child will think about being kind and identify the right moments to be so. It is sad to see how postponing an act of kindness could be a source of regret because it may be too late in some cases. “When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around.” – Willie Nelson This quote is excellent for a person that feels discontent most of the time. The simple act of counting your blessings could give you and your child a whole new perspective on life. Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.” ― Melody Beattie The above quote is proof of the power of gratitude. Talk to your child about the common things. Things like meals, other things they may take for granted, like their home, and the importance of building strong and meaningful relationships. You can start today and use these quotes to challenge your child into writing a meaningful expository essay in which they will develop and express their sound vision of the world. And because it is the season of giving, I would like to offer you a gift! A free, useful resource that would help you get started on this road of essay writing.  The FREE SAMPLE – Expository Essay Writing Unit – Inspired By Gratitude Prompts has an Essay Checklist! It includes all the parts that a proper expository essay needs to have in its introduction, body, and conclusion. It also has an Essay Template you can use for your child to write an essay, TEN additional quotes to use in your home school, and two other surprises for you!... [read more]

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how to teach kids gratitude
6 Tips for teaching kids about gratitude

6 Tips for Teaching Kids About Gratitude was written by Ana Scaramella, a guest contributor to the Homeschool Bundle + the Create Your Homeschool Blog! Enjoy! As parents, we all teach our children to say please and thank you from a very early age. We even go as far as gently nudging them to remind them when they forget. But how many of us practice the art of gratitude deeply enough to instill in our kids a true sense of gratitude? It is easy to say thank you for a pair of socks. But true gratitude lies in beinggenuinely happy about getting a pair of socks for Christmas instead of a long-awaited toy. Yes, good manners are important – we know that! – but teaching children to feel gratitude is a tall task that we as parents must take on. Here are 6 tips for teaching kids about gratitude Model gratitude The very best way to teach children to be grateful – or to teach them anything really – is by practicing what you preach: BE GRATEFUL. Children are always watching our actions and very often modeling our behaviors. Have you ever observed a little girl playing with her dolls? She usually “parents” her dollies the same way she sees mommy doing it. So, thank kids often, thank them for helping with the dishes, thank them for giving you a hug, or for being nice to their siblings. Allow them to see you practicing acts of kindness, giving your time to help others, or showing love and appreciation to people in your life. They will mirror your behaviors, whether you like it or not. So make sure you give them something good to imitate. Chat about the Peak and Pit of the day One thing that I started with my girls a little while back is a “peak and pit of the day” conversation at the end of each night, before bedtime after we read a story. I start by asking them “What was the peak and pit of your day?” (the peak being the best part and the pit being the not so great part of the day), then we each take turns talking about the high and low points of our day. This helps them (and me) put things in perspective and realize how truly blessed they are for everything and everyone in their lives. This practice has truly helped my girls to practice gratitude for the good things that happen during their day and know that despite the fact that sometimes things don’t go as planned, they still have a lot to be grateful for. Resist the urge to give kids everything they want You know what they say: “all things in moderation.” Now, that’s not to say that you should only give your kids the bare minimum of everything. However, buying children everything that they want, whenever they want, disables them from appreciating what they have. If everything is so easy to get, how will they learn to value and respect their possessions? Have you ever seen a child be so excited about a toy, play with it for a few days, and then forget about it? Sometimes kids have so much stuff, so many toys, that it is impossible for them to appreciate each one of them. Having them save up for something they really want is great for teaching kids about gratitude If your children are old enough to get an allowance or have a job, have them save up their own money to buy something that they want. My daughter recently started making and selling lanyards. Each time she sells one, she puts part of that money towards buying a pair of headphones that she’s been wanting for a while now. When kids take it upon themselves to save money for something they want, they learn how much hard work goes into making that money. This gives them an understanding of the value of each dollar and encourages them to appreciate what they have and what you and others do for them. | Related: Best Family Read-Alouds When teaching kids about gratitude, give them chores I know sometimes it is easier to just do it ourselves, but resist that urge to take over the chores that were assigned to your children because they are taking too long or whatever other reason. Giving your kids age-appropriate chores helps them to learn and appreciate all the work that is done to keep the household going. It teaches them that every family member must help because we are a part of the family. It teaches them to appreciate all of the things that are done for them. Additionally, when you assign specific chores to your children, you are also teaching them the great skill of responsibility. Get the free printable family task chart now! DOWNLOAD Create a gratitude journal together For children that are already able to read and write, creating a gratitudejournal is a wonderful way to generate a gratitude habit. Children that are not yet able to write can draw about what they are grateful for. Have a conversation with your children about what they are grateful for and ask them to record their feelings in their journal. Choose a later day to revisit the journal as a family or simply instruct the children to read their gratitude journal when they are having a bad day. Doing this helps children realize how much they have to appreciate in their lives. Teaching kids about gratitude is a continuous job that we, as parents, must take on and stick with. Let’s teach our children to be grateful and appreciative of all the blessings in their lives. Have you tried any of these ideas to teach kids about gratitude? Share your experience in the comments!... [read more]

weekly homeschool planner printable
weekly homeschool planner printable

Let’s talk about a weekly homeschool planner. Did you know that one of the biggest hang-ups for homeschool mamas is planning? Not just the idea of planning out lessons, but also what they’re going to use to make the plan. Download your weekly homeschool planner below. When we first started homeschooling, I knew I needed a planner. I had specific things in mind that I needed to plan and track and I started looking for a planner to do that! I found the mother of all homeschool planners and immediately became obsessed with filling it out each month. But I quickly realized that I was doing a LOT of erasing every week because I was trying to keep my planner current with what we were actually accomplishing every day. It was borderline exhausting. I began to research methods of homeschool planning and came across “back-planning”. I share more about it below, but basically it sounded like the way to go for our homeschool. Over time I’ve developed a system to make planning even more efficient in our homeschool and now I’ve created a weekly homeschool planner printable to help you do the same! The printable will help you map out the must-do’s in your day and actually help you get more done in the long run! But before we dive into that, I know there are a ton of questions about homeschool planners and not every method of planning is right for every homeschool mama. So, here’s a little more info 🙂 What should be included in a weekly homeschool planner? Big picture vision If you do not have a big picture vision for your homeschool, this is crucial to keep you on track and passionate about teaching your babies. Without a “why” we often fall off the wagon because it seems unimportant or much like a hassle to us (kind of like dieting…) However, a lot of mamas make the mistake of picking a vision for the year – Like I did. A vision for the year is really great! Don’t get me wrong. But throughout the year, our homeschool needs and focus might need to shift a little. So now, I like to create a vision for the year as well as a vision for each week we homeschool. To create a big picture vision, simply ask yourself what’s important to your homeschool this week, month, or year. Not specific tasks, but overall feelings, inspiration, and ways to grow for your homeschool. Goals for the week / month / year This is kind of like setting your big picture vision. Goals keep us motivated to move forward. And unless you’re just really super passionate about homeschooling every single day, you need a little something to keep you going when you’re tired, burned out, or plain ol’ over it. Goals are specific, measurable, achievable, and relevant tasks that your can do within your homeschool week. And when you hit your goals, you freaking celebrate them like the rockstar homeschool mama you are! Attendance tracker Even if your government does not require attendance tracking, keep up with it for yourself. It’s rewarding to look back over it at the end of the year and see-on-paper that you accomplished a year of homeschooling. Amy at Rock Your Homeschool has a fun attendance tracker that lets the kids interact with keeping attendance as well! It also gives them a visual of how many days are left of schooling 🙂 It’s free, we love it, and you can get it here. What is the best weekly homeschool planner? I’m not going to pretend that one homeschool planner does it all for me. The truth is, I use a lot of different planning resources each week to make our homeschool run smoothly. However, what works for me may not work for you. So here’s a breakdown of the different homeschool planning options so that you can choose the best one for yourself! Digital Weekly Homeschool Planner Digital planning is becoming the next best thing, probably because you can reuse stickers and planners over and over again! | Related: How to get started with digital planning for your homeschool I use my digital planner because it’s fun and a creative outlet for me! However, our daughter uses a digital planner exclusively to keep up with her homeschool tasks. It really is something you need to try to see if you’ll like it! Paper Homeschool Planner Obviously paper planning has been a go-to for most mamas and still to this day is the number one way to track your homeschooling efforts! But there are A TON of different homeschool paper planners and even more PRINTABLE homeschool planners! You’ll have to figure out what’s most important for you to track and start the process of elimination until you find the one you love most! I will say that out of all the homeschool planners I’ve tried, I keep coming back to Well Planned Day year after year. I do not use EVERY page in this planner, but it is my favorite BY FAR. Weekly Homeschool Planner Sheets Then, of course, you can skip the big planner and use weekly planning sheets (like the one I have created for you below!) to track and plan for your homeschool! Weekly sheets keep things simple! And when you’re done, simply add them to your file folder for the year (if you need to track that) or toss it and print another! You could also grab these dry erase covers and use these markers to plan each week and never print another planning sheet again! How do I create a daily schedule for our homeschool? Again, you really need to do what’s best for your family and your method of planning and preparation. But here are a few ideas to get you going! Skip the schedule I know a ton of homeschool mamas who have ditched a schedule and simply homeschool throughout the day. We actually homeschool similarly to this! Our...... [read more]

autumn journal writing prompts
Autumn Journal Prompts for any age

Looking for autumn journal prompts? Check these out! Writing was always my favorite subject as a kid! I would write short stories, poetry, even plays haha.. Journal prompts weren’t a thing in our homeschool when I was growing up, but I am loving incorporating them into our homeschool now with my kids! The list I’m sharing with you today is from the October Homeschool Bundle. Although the October Bundle has been archived, you can still get some of the goodies featured inside it in the Create Your Homeschool shop! Using Autumn Journal Prompts in your homeschool One of the things that make journal prompts so much fun is how versatile they are! While the prompt could sound “kid-ish” at first glance, it can be used at any age! You can use these in whatever way your creative mind can imagine. For example, in the free printable you’ll get today, we’ve included a printable writing sheet for younger kids as well as older kids. However, if you have an artist in your homeschool, you might want to let them use the younger kids version to illustrate their answer to the prompt. You can also take each prompt to deeper levels of writing to help older kids be more engaged! You can do this by expanding thoughts, going down rabbit trails, and making comparison lists. Here’s what’s included: In the free download, you’ll get 22 autumn-themed journal prompts to use for your homeschool. You’ll also get three different versions of printable writing pages to use for each prompt. If you’d like to grab other printables that were included in the October 2020 Homeschool Bundle, click here to shop! Don’t forget to download your Autumn Journal Prompts! DOWNLOAD... [read more]

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daily homeschool rhythm ideas
7 daily homeschool rhythm ideas to help you manage your day

Newsflash: You do not need a perfect daily homeschool rhythm to create an environment where your kids can learn everything you want to teach them. In fact, while kids thrive on consistency, I’ve found that their desire for routine or rhythm is based more on knowing what’s coming next, versus having a chart with specific things to do during certain time frames. Listen, public school mamas everywhere have this misconception that homeschooling is hard. And part of the reason why they think that is because homeschool mamas share perfectly printing and structured schedules of their homeschool day. Sometimes, those schedules list out more hours of “doing something” than their kids are even in public school for. So, they look at that photo and die a little inside because they know they will never be able to stick to that kind of routine. I will admit, when we first started homeschooling, I fell into the same trap. It’s the main reason why I began researching all I could about a daily homeschool rhythm. But, no matter how beautiful some mamas can make their schedules look, or how full they are, there is no comparison to having a daily homeschool rhythm versus a homeschool schedule. A schedule keeps you on time, a rhythm keeps you focused. When you’re first making the switch from schedule to rhythm, it can feel overwhelming. So, a few mamas shared their homeschool rhythms with me and I thought I’d share them with you today! Take a look at these, pick one, and try it! Some are more detailed than others, but that’s the beauty of a good daily homeschool rhythm! It highlights things that matter to your family! If it doesn’t work for you, don’t give up. Keep looking for ways to make it better and perfect for your family. Here are 7 daily homeschool rhythm ideas to help you manage your day: Breakfast > chores > morning basket > core lessons > afternoon basket + lunch > extra curricular lessons > afternoon chores > free time. Assigned morning chore > independent reading > breakfast > clean-up + unfinished tasks > independent work > free time > lunch + read-aloud > group work > chores > free time. Breakfast > Bible study > group work > free time > unit study > foreign language > free time. Breakfast > music practice > Bible study > language arts > group work > lunch> independent work. Breakfast > chores > exercise > Bible study > group work > lunch > free time > group work > chores > screen time. Chores > breakfast > podcasts > character building > morning work > lunch > quiet time > free time. Breakfast > journal > chores > independent work > free time. So, now that you have a few rhythm ideas to choose from, it’s time to pick one and run with it! Switch things out if you need to, but stick to it. Consistency is everything when it comes to incorporating a daily homeschool rhythm into your family! Now, if you need help with sticking to your rhythm, I created a free tracker so that you can visualize your efforts and make it a little easier to follow-through! Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram so that we can keep each other going through this homeschool journey! Enjoy!... [read more]

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