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HOW TO GET STARTED WITH DIGITAL PLANNING FOR YOUR HOMESCHOOL

Want to learn how to get started with digital planning for your homeschool? Stick around! Digital planning is such a trendy topic, but it’s still something a lot of people just do not understand. I get it, it’s a learning curve. But what if this digital planning craze isn’t just a fad… What if it’s a gamechanger – especially for your homeschool?! Think about it… A DREAM planner for your homeschool that you only need to buy ONCE and use FOREVER!? Sign me up!! ​I’ve tried multiple digital planners on the market and they’ve been beautiful and fun to use – but it’s been so hard trying to use them to plan our homeschool, which is what I really need it for. So, I have been working really hard to design a CUSTOM digital homeschool planner that makes my homeschool planning so much more simple and organized… And it’s FINALLY here! 🥳​ Introducing the Digital Homeschool Planner by Create Your Homeschool: ​​​​CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE VIDEO WALK-THROUGH​​ This digital planner is a PDF file with hyperlinks embedded inside so that you can import the planner into your favorite note-taking application on your device and get started with digital planning for your homeschool. Popular note-taking apps, like GoodNotes and Noteshelf (the two note-taking apps I recommend), make your planning FREE of paper – super cost-effective and much more fun!​ WAIT… THERE’S MORE TO HELP YOU GET STARTED WITH DIGITAL PLANNING FOR YOUR HOMESCHOOL! ​In the video, I explain my process for using and storing digital stickers for my planner. SO – I’ve included the hyperlinked digital sticker book you’ll see in the video for FREE as a bonus when you purchase the planner!  ​This planner is UNDATED so you can start using it immediately to get started with digital planning for your homeschool after you purchase it! SO stinking excited to hear what you think about this planner!​Watch the video now, then click here to purchase!... [read more]

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fidgety homeschool kids
Ideas for fidgety homeschool kids

I love looking for new ideas for fidgety homeschool kids because I was a fidgety homeschool kid. I didn’t like to sit still for long amounts of time, I would doodle all over my school work, I would get up and down frequently (I was homeschooled in the time when homeschooling was only done at the table haha). I’m sure it was frustrating to my mom. But I can’t help but think that if there had been other ideas for helping fidgety kids not be so fidgety that maybe we would have gotten more work done with less frustration. I like to use my experience as a homeschooler in our homeschool now because… I believe I can learn a lot from the way I was homeschooled in comparison to the way I want to homeschool our family. Regardless of if you are a second generation homeschooler or not, you can glean good ideas from other homeschoolers, and learn to watch for the things that aren’t so good too – so that you’re not falling into the same trap. The main idea to remember is that two homeschools should never look the same. They are made up of different families and learning styles and kids! When you compare your homeschool to another’s and try to do the same things they do, that’s when frustration happens as a homeschool mama and the fear of failure or not being good enough starts creeping in. Stay in your lane and your homeschool will thrive! | Related: 10 things I didn’t know about homeschooling (from a second-gen homeschooler!) Okay, let’s dive into this list of ideas to try when you’ve got a fidgety homeschool kid 🙂 Let them get up. Homeschool does not have to be strict. Use the freedom and flexibility of homeschool for frequent brain breaks and the option to get up as needed. Slime. Don’t underestimate the power of slime when you need someone to sit still and listen. Take a walk. Do something to let them get their energy out and come back to homeschool later. Create a sensory basket. Fill a basket with things like fidget cubes, silly putty, dice, rubber bands, and Koosh balls. Leave it on the homeschool table or a shelf and bring it out when you need it! Ditch the desk. Again, homeschool is flexible! Let them lay on the floor, sit on the couch, lay on the bed. Or let them work outside! As long as they’re learning and doing their best, that’s all that matters! What ideas have you tried and work well with your fidgety homeschool kids? Share them in the comment section 🙂... [read more]

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7 things to let go of as a homeschool mama
7 Things you need to let go of as a homeschool mama

There is nothing worse than feeling like you are failing as a homeschool mama. The weight of your kids’ education is literally in your hands and sometimes homeschool just feels so overwhelming that you’re ready to give up. But let me tell you, mama. You are not alone. Every homeschool mama I’ve ever spoken to has said the exact same thing. It’s a lot of pressure, and it can be overwhelming at times, but you were called to this homeschool mama life or you wouldn’t be here. And because you are called, you have what it takes to do it. However, there are some things that keep us in that season of overwhelm and feeling like a failure. Regardless of how many times we tell ourselves that we can do this, these few things I’ve listed below keep us from fully experiencing the freedom and beauty of homeschooling our kids! So, I want you to read through this list and make a commitment to let some of these things go. Because, at the end of the day, we have an opportunity most mamas only dream about – and we should embrace it. Here are the seven things you should let go of – TODAY: 1. A strict schedule. Homeschooling is more than sitting down for a certain number of hours per day and checking off the grade book. Live a little. Fall in love with the flexibility that comes with homeschooling! 2. Cleaning. Teach your kiddos to do “their part” in keeping your home organized. Make it part of your homeschool to-do! But also, embrace the chaos. You don’t need a perfectly clean home to be a good homeschool mama. 3. Extra projects. Some projects are fun – like, we will still incorporate fun book reviews, big art projects, and research papers. But make it meaningful. Don’t just do a project to be doing one. Make it worthwhile, something that really interests your kids! And do NOT think they’re missing out if you skip out on projects altogether. They’ll learn all they need to regardless, I promise. 4. School at home. Homeschooling is not and will never be school at home. You do not need a desk, a designated lunchtime, or lots of paperwork. You just need kiddos who are ready and eager to learn! 5. Routines. Some work really well with routines and others do not. If you’re one of the latter, don’t stress about not having a routine. Maybe you’re more of a rhythm kinda mama (read more about that here) – or maybe your kiddos work better in the late afternoon or evening. Don’t try to do something the same way it seems everyone else does. It’s gotta work for YOUR family! 6. All the subjects. Make homeschooling YOURS. Don’t feel like you need to do every subject every day. Pick core subjects and rotate the rest. You can spend more time on each subject and make sure your kids are really getting it, rather than rushing through to get it done in time. 7. Your Planner. Our planner is always done in pencil because I am always moving things over. It’s too stressful to try to plan ahead and then never hitting the mark and feeling frustrated with your homeschool. Instead, try to back-plan or use your planner as a guideline instead! If you take a step back and look at your homeschool from a higher level, you’ll probably see that your kids are thriving. You can totally do this. Just learn to make it your own.... [read more]

how to have fun in homeschool
A guide to homeschool fun!

We are always looking for more ways to incorporate homeschooling fun into our school day! I thought it would be exciting to share a few ideas for homeschool fun with you today here on the blog! First, it’s important to know that homeschooling can be overwhelming at times. It doesn’t mean that you are not a good homeschool mom or that your family isn’t made to homeschool. It simply means that good days and not-so-good days are a part of life and we have to learn to navigate them in healthy ways. I wrote another blog post about feeling unmotivated in homeschool and how to snap out of it quickly, maybe it will also help you in your homeschool journey! Click here to read. Next, homeschool fun can look different for different families. If you’re used to gameschooling or unschooling, homeschool fun might just be a slow movie day or a nature walk. You have to do what feels right for your kids when they need a change of scenery! Now, here’s some unique ways to incorporate homeschool fun into your week! Bake something for math class! Write a play and act it out for Language Arts! Have a dance-off! Sidewalk Chalk for art! Go on a penny adventure (flip a penny at every intersection – heads, turn left – tails, turn right!) Have a joke-telling contest! Create a library scavenger hunt! Make sculptures with Play-Doh! See? It’s not too difficult to incorporate homeschool fun throughout your homeschooling journey. Just think outside of the box a little!... [read more]

Feeling unmotivated in homeschool? Here's a list of 7 things you can do when you're headed down that path. Click through to read!
7 Things to do when you’re feeling unmotivated in homeschool

Feeling unmotivated in homeschool is a terrible feeling. You’re exhausted, overwhelmed, or simply burnt out and you can’t figure out how to get yourself going again. I think every homeschool mama goes through the same thing every once in a while. And unfortunately, you will experience this feeling multiple times throughout your homeschool journey. However, there are ways to get out of the funk of feeling unmotivated in homeschool and I’m going to share those with you today! Now, before we dive in, I think it’s important to note the signs of jumping on the unmotivated train. When we know what to look for, we can get off the train a little quicker, and the ride might not be as discouraging. During our first year of homeschool, we jumped in head first and rocked out the first half of the year. Christmas came, our most favorite season, and we took a long break from homeschool. Getting started again was so much harder than I imagined it would be. The kids and I were all unmotivated and found ourselves just going through the motions to “just get it done” each day. Now, I don’t know about you, but one of the things that we love about homeschool is that we get the freedom to make it exciting and fun! So when you’re in a season of feeling unmotivated in homeschool, it’s takes all of the joy that comes from homeschooling almost instantly. Suddenly, homeschooling becomes a chore or something that we take for granted. That’s not the kind of homeschool I want for our family. And I’m sure that’s not what you desire either. So, I began tracking the signs that would highlight the path to our lack of motivation and when I see the signs, I know it’s time to put one of the methods I’ve listed below into practice! A major sign for us is going too long without a break. We need brain breaks during the day, for sure! But more importantly, we need regular breaks throughout the school year too! We like to put our breaks on a schedule (for example, on six weeks, off one) that way we know where our stopping point is and it gives us something to look forward to! Some days are just hard though, too. When you see the kids (or YOU!) are starting to get frustrated or tired, you need a day off. It’s okay to take a day off! Don’t fall into the myth that homeschooling has to look like public school at home for it to count. It doesn’t. Learning at a pace your kids respond to is all that matters. So, let’s dive in to some of my favorite ways to tackle feeling unmotivated in homeschool! Keep these in your back pocket for when you need them! 🙂 1. Take a break! I’m telling you. Taking a break is okay and a much-needed thing in homeschooling. Try to switch up your schedule to four days a week or taking a full week off every fifth or sixth week and watch how your home atmosphere changes! 2. Go back to the basics.On the days when no one is excited about homeschooling, go back to the basics for the day. What are your “must-do” tasks? For us, it’s reading and math. So we will just commit to finish those and call it a day. 3. Try out unschooling!Unschooling is intimidating for me to commit to the long-term. However, throwing in an unschooling day here and there is fun for us! There are so many great unschooling ideas on Pinterest too! 4. Movie Day!Stay in your pajamas, eat comfort food, snuggle on the couch, and watch a movie. You can find SOMETHING to talk about that’s educational in almost every kids movie. Or just let it be and get back to the learning tomorrow. 5. Bake something! Baking something together is not only a learning opportunity in itself, but you also get to eat something delicious afterward, and that almost always tackles feeling unmotivated in homeschool for us! 6. Start on the easier things first. When you’re “over it” trying to complete something hard for homeschool only makes it worse. Start with the easier tasks and watch it snowball into feeling motivated enough to work on the hard stuff. 7. Game Day! Games are such a great way to get motivated! I made a list of a ton of great educational games to play, that won’t actually feel like school work! Click here to read it 🙂 I hope these ideas are helpful for when you’re feeling unmotivated in homeschool. It’s tough, mama. But we can do this together! And when all else fails… You can always add more coffee to this mug and keep on truckin’!... [read more]

Best Educational Games - Over 50 ideas for your next homeschool game day! Take a look at our favorite games, classics, and some newly added to our wishlist!
Best Educational Games for K-6

We’ve been looking for the best educational games to add to our homeschool collection this year. I know this is something that get’s asked about a lot, so I thought it would be fun to list our some of our finds and a few on our wishlist so that you can shop for new games to add to your homeschool space too! Now, games are my favorite way to incorporate learning without the workbooks – cause, y’all know how I feel about them workbooks… And I think my kids really enjoy the break from “learning” when we play. Even though I sneak super fun learning games in there and they do not even realize they’re learning when they are! So, I’ve mixed a few classics into this list, a few of our absolute favorites, and some new game options that are on our wishlist for this year! I hope this list inspires you to put some fun games into your homeschool day or heck, maybe even “cancel” homeschool for a full game day! Can you imagine what level of cool you’d be at with your kids, mama? For real. Ok, let’s get into this list of best educational games for your homeschool! Uno Card Game – A classic card game that can be used for counting, color matching, number matching, and strategy! Zingo Bingo – A family favorite for us! This game helps with reading, matching, and it’s super fun, even for older siblings! Boggle – Another classic that helps with letter and word recognition, speed, fluency, and friendly competition! Scattergories – Definitely a family favorite around here! We love the rush to think of something in each category and list it quickly. It’s a great way to test your thinking skills! Scrabble – I’ve linked the junior version of this game, depending on ages the classic version might be a good fit for you as well! Scrabble is just super fun and keeps your mind sharp! Memory Matching – A classic game that reinforces memory skills, picture or letter recognition, and keeps the little ones entertained for a while! Dominoes – So many options! These Dominoes have colored dots, so you can teach color recognition with the littles, as well as strategy, matching, simple math, and so much more with just one little set of Dominoes! Jenga – Another family favorite! Jenga teaches engineering, strategy, competitive play, counting – and it’s so much fun to yell JENGA! 🙂 Scrambled States of America – A geography-based game that reinforces thinking skills, observation, and matching! Brain Games – One of the best educational games! This kids edition is great to help you play and discover and challenge your brain! Apples to Apples – A fun game of comparisons that improves vocabulary and thinking skills along the way! Mastermind – We’re so excited to get this game! It’s a STEM game that focuses on setting secret codes and solving them! Monopoly Junior – Our family LOVES Monopoly! The Junior edition makes it easier to get the littles involved as well 🙂 Counting, strategy, fun – this game has it all! Grocery Cart – This game is FULL of math reinforcement. Mental math, money management – this is a great game! OSMO Games – These games are on our wishlist! There are different levels that reinforce age-appropriate problem-solving. They work alongside an iPad to make learning fun! Brainiac – A fun game that focuses on a lot of different subjects and grades! It’s perfect for larger families to incorporate every learning level! Alphabet Bingo – Another wishlist item that we will be incorporating into learning this year! GeoBingo – This is an awesome game that focuses on Geography! There are two options, World Geography and US Geography. Candy Land AND Chutes + Ladders Bundle – This bundle of two classic board games are awesome for when you need a brain break (or a mama break). They’re easy to setup and play and they reinforce taking turns, following directions, and good sportsmanship! Totally Gross – A unique science-based game that will be so much fun for everyone! Adding this one to our wishlist! Race Across the USA – Another fun game to incorporate US Geography in a fun way! Hoot Owl Hoot – This is an awesome matching game that reinforces following directions, taking turns, and matching! Sum Swamp – Perfect for littles who are working on early math skills! Bananagrams – One of our favorites! I’ve linked the big letter edition because we love to play with those better than the traditional version. You can do so many things with this game! Shut the Box – This game has recently been added to our wishlist! I had never heard of it, but it looks like so much fun and it will reinforce strategic thinking! Hi Ho Cherry-O – This is our five year old’s favorite game! You definitely need this one if you have littles – it’s great for counting 🙂 Story Cubes – We can’t wait to get this game! We love creative writing around here and this game makes it so easy to spark your imagination and create an awesome story! Ticket to Ride – This is a highly talked about game in the homeschooling community! We’re adding this one to our wishlist this year! Scabs and Guts – Grossly exciting and definitely on our wishlist! If you have a medical-obsessed kiddo, grab this game! Chomp – This is a card game that looks like so much fun! It encourages science and reinforces hand-eye coordination. This one is on the wishlist! Sight Word Swat – Definitely belongs on the list of best educational games! The most fun game you will ever play for school! We love this game so much! Buy It Right – Another fun shopping game that reinforces money management! Yahtzee – A classic game that we love! This is a great game for any age that reinforces competitive gameplay, good sportsmanship, counting, and thinking skills! Sequence Dice –...... [read more]

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how to use trello for your homeschool
How to use Trello for homeschool

Trello for homeschool is quickly becoming a hot topic around most mamas. It honestly caught me off guard because I’ve been using Trello in some way or another for different business projects throughout the last five years. I thought everyone knew what Trello was! Nevertheless, I see that among most mamas, Trello seems to be a little overwhelming and they can’t see how it can be used in their homeschool. If that’s you, grab the Trello training in my shop! It comes with a Homeschool Management Board template so that you can learn the basics of Trello and then jump right into managing your homeschool with little-to-no setup 🙂 Click here to download! Ok! If you’re wondering HOW you could use Trello for homeschool, I’m sharing some of my favorite ways in the list below! These are simple, yet practical ways Trello can make your homeschooling so much more organized! Let’s jump into it 🙂 1. Assignments Trello has this awesome feature that allows you to create “teams” within each board. When a board is shared with a certain team (whether that’s you and your kids, you and your husband, or whoever) you can assign certain cards or tasks to different members of the team. You can even add due dates, too! This is a feature we’ve been playing around with for assigning homeschool work. Our daughter would rather work independently to get her school completed for the day on her own time. So, for the next school year, I will be only assigning her projects and work through Trello! 2. Memory Keeping Trello has the option to save photos and files right to a list or card! We like to use this feature to keep memories from the month / year in our portfolio board. Our state doesn’t require that we keep a portfolio, but I just like to keep things digitally for my own sanity and assurance 🙂 You can use an app like Scannable to take a photo for worksheets or artwork and it will turn it into a PDF that you can keep on a portfolio board on Trello! Or simply upload your favorite photos from a field trip or activity and keep those there as well! | Related: Why your homeschool needs a blog 3. Reading Logs We use our reading logs to track books that we loved and want to read again, books we want to get for our read-aloud library, our public library wishlist, and even keeping up with what books we’ve borrowed on our library card (remember, there’s due dates!) I’ve got two more ideas to help you use Trello for homeschool! 4. Chores Use the teams feature to assign chores for the week! Within our Homeschool Management Board, we have lists for daily tasks (including checklists for each thing that needs to happen for that chore to be complete – or is it just my kids who like to take shortcuts? Ha!) We also keep up with projects that need to be done throughout the house, rotating chores, seasonal tasks, etc. 5. Calendars We have boards for our weekly homeschool calendar, monthly field trips, attendance, family calendar… all. the. things. Within Trello, you can use Power-Ups. With the free plan, you get one free power-up per board, which is amazing! I have Trello Gold and get three per board, but before I decided to shuck out $5 a month (yes, that’s it!) I almost always chose the calendar power-up for my boards! It’s so easy to use and convenient! Okay! There’s five different ways you can use Trello for homeschool! If you’d like a big, huge list of board ideas to not only manage your homeschool but manage your life too, simply enter your info below and I’ll send it your way! It’s free 🙂 SEND IT TO ME! Ps. Trello has an app, which just makes all of this planning and managing even more awesome! So check it out -> Click here.... [read more]

how to organize your homeschool
How to organize your homeschool: My top 3 tips + free printable!

Looking to organize your homeschool? Well, that wasn’t even on my mind when we were making the decision to homeschool. However, a few months in, I realized that we needed to do something – and quick. Look, I don’t think it’s possible to prepare for the amount of homeschool STUFF you’ll bring in as a homeschooling mama. I mean, I used to walk through the Target Dollar Spot as I made my way to the cart area… But now, I spend at least 20 minutes there, every single time, because they have the BEST homeschool stuff! Who knew?! I’ve never been the best at keeping things organized, to be honest. I can create a system and a process for organizing something super quick – but the everyday mundane is what gets me, and keeps me from staying organized. So, when I set out to try to organize our homeschool, I knew I needed something that would set me up for success and not make me feel like a failure. I needed simple and to-the-point. I LOVE our homeschool system now and it makes me feel like I’m in control, even on the days I know I’m not – haha 🙂 I’ve never promised to have it all together – but I have promised to share my experiences and the things I’m learning with you! SEND ME THE EBOOK! > > Thank you! You have successfully joined our subscriber list. Our homeschool system is always changing, as it should. Change is the only way to grow – didn’t you know that? 😉 So I am constantly looking for better ways to homeschool – Especially in the homeschool management department! So, if you’re into all the system and process stuff, like I am, comment on this post and let me know you want to see more content like this on the blog! And to remind me that I’m not alone – ha! | Related: The Ultimate Homeschool Supplies List So, let’s dive into my top 3 tips to organize your homeschool: 1. Have a designated mama space Listen, life with kiddos gets crazy. It’s nice to have a space that is just yours. A space that you can keep organized and know where everything is. Trust me. Your sanity will thank you for doing this! 2. Create spaces for everything Our favorite thing is this 15-drawer cart. I use the large drawers to separate things for each kiddo and the small drawers are used to separate supplies and books by subject. The top acts like an extra shelf and we use magazine holders and bins to organize our supplies there. The whole cart is flipping amazing + a must-have for your homeschool space! 3. Go digital! Paper clutter is the WORST. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love a pretty planner and writing with a pencil and #allthethings. But when I found that I could use this app (GoodNotes) to download digital worksheets and notebooks for our oldest to complete and use during homeschool – I was SO excited! Not only do digital resources cut down on paper clutter – but most digital resources are CHEAPER than buying the physical book or printing them off! We just download the PDF and import it to the app. Everything gets saved just like it was written on permanently! It’s so cool! PLUS – I learned how to create our own digital homeschool planner and I incorporated all the things I love about the many different planners I’ve had over the years to create the perfect planner for us! And now I no longer spend money every year on a new planner! It’s so awesome! If you’d like to check out the planner for yourself, it’s available in our shop 🙂 Click here. And there you have it! My top three tips for organizing your homeschool! I can’t wait to hear how it helps you! Before you go, don’t forget to download the FREE ebook I created full of tips, an awesome organization checklist, + our favorite resources for the homeschool mama who wants to get organized! (Hint: That’s you!) Just tell me where to send it and it’ll be on its way! 🙂 SEND ME THE EBOOK! > > Thank you! You have successfully joined our subscriber list.... [read more]

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what do I need for homeschool
HOMESCHOOL SUPPLIES LIST | What do I need to homeschool?

Everybody needs a great homeschool supplies list to get them through the year and that’s exactly what I’ve got for you today! The not-so-obvious guide to homeschool supplies is here – Leave your favorite homeschool supplies in the comments! I’m always looking to add to my cart! 🙂 Homeschooling can be overwhelming – I get it. That’s why I am working hard to bring you the very best resources and tips to help make homeschooling a little more simple for your family, so that you can actually ENJOY all that homeschooling brings! Check out the resource at the bottom of this page to learn how I manage and plan our homeschool – almost effortlessly 😉 If you need help or have questions about making your own homeschool supplies list, reach out to me on Instagram! I reply to everything and will help you figure out what else you need to homeschool! Ready to dive into our homeschool supplies list? Let’s go! There’s more where that came from! Hit subscribe! Here’s the list of links I mentioned in the video: *Note: I did not link everything, so make sure you watch! Dry erase board: https://amzn.to/2MxGUjr Printer: https://amzn.to/3gWkZ3k  Rolling cart: https://amzn.to/2Y5g0F6 Additional cart we’re getting this year: https://amzn.to/2UarCFp Call of the Wild + Free: https://amzn.to/3gYM9GL  | Related: Ultimate List of Summer Boredom Busters Looking for a BETTER way to manage your homeschool? My new homeschool BFF is Trello! I love how simple it is to integrate with our homeschool, my kids use it too! But I know how overwhelming it can be to create the perfect Trello space for your homeschool – SO – I sat down, created a mini-training, showed you how I use Trell for our homeschool, AND provided our homeschool board as a template for you to use as well! Click here to download it now 🙂 Ps. Have you ever wanted to lock arms with another mama who just flipping gets it? Well… Now you can! Come hang out with the INSIDERS group on Facebook!... [read more]

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how to start homeschooling ebook with guide and five steps
HOW TO START HOMESCHOOLING | 5 steps + workbook!

Want to start homeschooling, but feeling overwhelmed? I totally get it! There is so much info out there for starting your homeschool. In this video, I’m sharing my top five tips for getting started with homeschooling! These tips are NOT overwhelming, they’re super-practical… PLUS! There’s a workbook to help you too! Homeschooling can be overwhelming – I get it. That’s why I am working hard to bring you the very best resources and tips to help make homeschooling a little more simple for your family so that you can actually ENJOY all that homeschooling brings! Check out the resource at the bottom of this page to learn how I manage and plan our homeschool – almost effortlessly 😉 If you need help or have more questions about starting your homeschool, reach out to me on Instagram! I reply to everything and will help you figure out specific details to start homeschooling in your state! Ready to dive into the video? Let’s go! There’s more where that came from! Hit subscribe! Here’s the list of links I mentioned in the How to Start Homeschooling video: *Note: I did not link everything, so make sure you watch! Homeschool 101 – Digital Workbook | Related: Ultimate List of Summer Boredom Busters Looking for a BETTER way to manage your homeschool? My new homeschool BFF is Trello! I love how simple it is to integrate with our homeschool, my kids use it too! But I know how overwhelming it can be to create the perfect Trello space for your homeschool – SO – I sat down, created a mini-training, showed you how I use Trell for our homeschool, AND provided our homeschool board as a template for you to use as well! Click here to download it now 🙂 Ps. Have you ever wanted to lock arms with another mama who just flipping gets it? Well… Now you can! Come hang out with the INSIDERS group on Facebook!... [read more]

homeschooling pros and cons
Homeschooling Pros + Cons | The advantages + disadvantages of homeschool from a 2nd-gen homeschooler

Have you noticed that homeschooling is a hot topic these days? Regardless of the current state of our world, you need to make the best decision possible for educating your kids. Whether you choose to homeschool during quarantine or for the long-haul, this list of homeschool pros and cons will help you make that decision for your family. There’s more where that came from! Hit subscribe! Here’s a quick view of the advantages of homeschooling: More quality time with our family Kids have time to be a kid No homework Less stress at bedtime Weather advantages No bullying More time for creativity Customizable learning You get to influence your kids PJ day… every day 🙂 Here’s my opinion on the disadvantages for homeschooling: A lot more time spent together Your grocery bill increases You have to learn how to field stupid questions Mom-time is hard to find The mom guilt is real (Spoiler Alert: You will not mess up your kids!) Homeschooling can be expensive As you can see, the pros outweigh the cons and honestly… the cons aren’t even that bad 🙂 Until next time! I sat down with a few other homeschooling mamas and we chatted about being frugal in your homeschool. So I created a list of the best ways we’re frugal in our homeschool and included a few of their ideas as well! Ps. Have you ever wanted to lock arms with another mama who just flipping gets it? Well… Now you can! Come hang out with the INSIDERS group on Facebook!... [read more]

summer boredom busters homeschool boredom make homeschool more fun
Summer Boredom Busters [Free Printable Calendar]

Summer Boredom Busters – This free homeschool printable is going to transform your summer! We’ve put together the ultimate list of boredom-busting activities for your family in a convenient printable calendar! Simply download the calendar and print it to get started planning your summer fun! Feel free to repeat activities throughout the summer! Especially the activities you REALLY loved! And double-up as often as you want! There are no rules for how many activities you can do in a day 😉 We’ve done our best to list activities that inspire creativity, learning, and fun! Most of the summer boredom busters we’ve listed are FREE (or super frugal) too! | Related: 102 Activities to do (no worksheets!) WHAT’S INCLUDED: 90+ Free or frugal activities to keep your family entertained this summer! Convenient, printable calendar for easy planning! Un-dated calendar to give you freedom to choose the activity you want, when you want it! ALL FREE + READY FOR YOU TO USE THIS SUMMER! 🥳 Looking for more fun this summer? This free homeschool printable has 31 different “challenges” that encourage STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, + Mathematics) learning. All of the challenges can be done at any age and will be SO much fun to do as a family too! I also included a bonus printable I’ve been working on for our homeschool!  We’re growing a garden this year, so this has been fun to learn for us! I hope your family enjoys it just as much! ... [read more]

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Summer Sensory Bin Ideas

Summer sensory bin ideas are here and they are so much fun! You can use sensory bins to keep the littles busy during lessons with the bigger kids or as an extra activity to reinforce what you’re learning. You can check out the list of spring sensory bins here. Sometimes the bins can get messy, so I’ve separated the list of summer sensory bin ideas below into indoor and outdoor categories, instead of by age like the spring list! As with anything homeschool-related, don’t feel like you need to follow the directions to a T. Switch out ingredients (but keep them kid-friendly), add toys you already have, or figure out how to make a bin you love more difficult or easy. Don’t forget to post pics with the summer sensory bin idea you’ve chosen to do! Tag me on Instagram and I’ll share too! #createyourhomeschool Ok, let’s dive in! INDOOR SUMMER SENSORY BINS Flower Garden – Plain Vanilla Mom Rainbow Jello – Must Have Mom Ocean Sorting – A Dab Of Glue Will Do Ice Cream Toppings – Modern Preschool Sink or Float – Stay At Home Educator Bug Fun – What Can We Do With Paper + Glue Dinosaur Rescue – Busy Toddler Ice Cream Fun – Happy Toddler Playtime OUTDOOR SUMMER SENSORY BINS Decorate A Cake – Days With Grey Flower Soup – Simple Fun For Kids Frozen Lego – Happy Toddler Playtime Letter Matching Seashells – Natural Beach Living Scoop + Pour – Stay At Home Educator Washing Dishes – Twin Mom Refreshed Ice Painting – Days With Grey Bubble Fun – Twin Mom Refreshed We hope to see your bins over on Instagram! And if you think of new ideas for your bins, share those too! Have fun! If you’re looking for a free homeschool printable to end your homeschool year with a bang, this is for you! I am SO excited about finishing up our homeschool year with STEM challenges! I mean… why wouldn’t you want to close out the year with STEM activities, right?! So much FUN! This free homeschool printable has 31 different “challenges” that encourage STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, + Mathematics) learning. All of the challenges can be done at any age and will be SO much fun to do as a family too! I’ve also included a bonus printable I’ve been working on for our homeschool! We’re growing a garden this year, so this has been fun to learn for us! I hope your family enjoys it just as much!  Click here to download!... [read more]

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The top 5 homeschool apps we use every single day

If you’re worried about screen-time, this is not the post for you… I’m sharing the top five homeschool apps we use every. single. day. Listen, before we dive in, I need you to know that screen-time is something I take notice of too. I can absolutely tell when my kids have had too much screen-time or when it’s okay to give them a little more. I’ll probably never discuss a “best practices of screen-time” subject here on the blog because I truly believe that varies for each family and each kid. And only you know what works for your household. With that being said, I allow the kids to download more educational games and apps than random, ridiculous ones. And sometimes, we count what we’re doing on those apps as school. Because, even though it’s on a screen, it’s still learning! | Related: 102 homeschool activities to do without worksheets So, I made a list of apps for kids, and for us mamas, you can find that here. But I thought I would share the top five with you here on the blog today! 1. Teach Your Monster to Read This app is the cutest app. You literally teach the monster on the game how to read, but through that process your little one is learning sounds and blends and it’s so awesome to watch them play and learn through it! 2. Audible Especially these days, #rona, we randomly take drives around the city just for the fun of it. I love Audible for myself, because who has time to read a physical book anymore, but it’s also really handy for read-alouds in the car! We are loving the book, “The Last Kids on Earth!” 3. iXL This is an educational app that has a free plan, but we actually pay for the two subject plan – Math and Language Arts. It’s a great app to reinforce learning in those areas! I use it for both our sixth-grader and kindergartner. 4. GoodNotes I don’t know what I would do without this app. It’s come in handy so many times! Not only for taking notes, but we can also upload digital workbooks and textbooks to it to make notes on and answer questions. I also use this digital homeschool planner to manage our homeschool through it! Love, love, love this app! 5. Trello You guys know how much I love Trello – I use it to manage, literally, everything! This blog, chores, homeschool, social media… everything I can or want to manage is on Trello. I’ve got this free template you can use to see if you like managing your life there as well! There you go! Our top five favorite homeschool apps! I’d love to hear what your favorite apps are and which app you’re going to try next! Oh! And before you go, if you’d like to grab the ENTIRE list of apps for kids and mamas that I created, you can click here (or click the photo). Have fun learning with screen-time! 🙂... [read more]

10 things I didn't know about homeschooling, even as a second-generation homeschooler. The last one is beautifully surprising. Click through to read :)
10 things I didn’t know about homeschooling (from a second-gen homeschooler!)

That’s right – there are things I didn’t know about homeschooling, even as a second-generation homeschooler. I’ve had to learn a lot about homeschooling on my own. As I am sure you have! And guess what, we’re not alone. There are many mamas out there struggling to stay a-float in homeschool. Just trying to find the motivation to get it done, the will to keep going. Some say homeschoolers take the easy, lazy way out. When, in all honesty, homeschooling is often harder than sending my kid to public school. And I know that, because we sent our daughter to public school for her first five years of schooling. I thought becoming a homeschooling family would be a simple move. And for the most part, it was. But I continue to be surprised at the thing I don’t know about homeschooling. So that’s what I’m sharing with you today, in hopes to encourage you if you’re struggling with the same. | Related: Our transition to becoming a homeschool family 1. It’s a lot of work. Here’s the thing, I don’t take my kids’ education lightly. It’s a promise I made to my husband, and myself, before I took this on. But I had no idea how much of my time and brain-power would go into homeschooling. Thankfully, I’ve created systems along the way, to make it a little less overwhelming. But it’s still a job I have to make an effort to show up for every. single. day. 2. Homeschooling is not schooling at home. I knew going into homeschooling that I didn’t want my kids sitting at a desk for six hours straight. I wanted them to have fun and actually love learning. But I realized real quick that trying to bring the public school into our home was not only a challenge but a battle I would never win. Your home is a safe place. Your kids should feel loved, supported, and SAFE there. They can feel all of these things while doing school, but when you try to bring a place that isn’t known for love, support, and safety into your home. It just makes it even more difficult to homeschool. Don’t fall into the trap that makes you believe your kids aren’t learning enough if you don’t test them everyday, put grades on their papers, or let them do school outside. Homeschooling is not school at home. 3. I’m not enough. If you hear nothing else, hear this: YOU HAVE WHAT IT TAKES. I know, I know – I didn’t believe it at first either. But you chose to homeschool for a reason and you have been given everything you need to create the homeschool you desire. If a college degree was needed to teach your kids, the nation would make that a requirement. But they didn’t. Public school teachers are great – this is not meant to bash them. But you have everything you need to teach your kid, because you. know. them. best. You are more than enough. And you can totally do this. 4. My kids are behind. The only question that I ask myself when this thought creeps up now is, “How do you know?” Who am I comparing my kids to that are making think they’re behind? And why am I comparing them in the first place? Every kiddo learns differently and at a different pace. This even happens in public school! I know from experience. The difference is, with homeschool, you have time to hang out on a particular subject until the skill is mastered before moving on. Your kid isn’t behind if she’s doing fifth grade math in “seventh grade,” she’s actually ahead because all of the publicly schooled seventh graders are struggling right now because they never got the chance to master their fifth grade math. 5. Adding in a second homeschooler isn’t a piece of cake. Our second kiddo is starting to jump into kindergarten activities this year and of all the things I didn’t know about homeschooling, I thought this one would be so easy! But it’s been anything but easy. I have to remember that homeschooling isn’t school at home. Five-year-olds do not need to learn how to write correctly, or neatly. They just need to recognize letters and sounds. Maybe “write” the letters with Play-Doh or draw them in sand. But trying to put too much on my kiddo, in an effort to “do what the public schools do”, doesn’t help anyone. Especially him. It’s not a piece of cake to add another homeschooler into the mix. But it can be simple if you let it. 6. Homeschooling with a baby is nothing like I imagined. I imagined our baby (now toddler) hanging out with us while we do school. Playing quietly with toys while we read, coloring with us while we learn. But man was I wrong about that! For the most part, the baby does well. But I can only imagine how things are going to look when we really dig into early elementary curriculum with our kindergartener. Right now, our oldest does school independently, so the baby isn’t too much of a distraction. However, we really feel the struggle when we’re doing group activities or read-alouds. And I did not see it happening that way! 7. Pinterest + Instagram aren’t the enemy. I’m like any other homeschool mama – I followed #allthehomeschoolthings and dreamt of having the perfect homeschool one day. But the moment I realized our homeschool was already perfectly mine, it changed everything for me. I no longer look at Pinterest and Instagram with a jealous heart, I look at it with pride and optimism. I don’t compare our homeschool and what we’ve created to those on social media, but I look to see what we could incorporate from others into our homeschool – if it’s a good choice for us. Social media is not the enemy. As long as you do not let it control your every thought....... [read more]

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Homeschool art class does not have to be overwhelming! Click through to see what we're using to teach homeschool art at home :)
Homeschool Art Class made easy with Two Sticks Shadow Painting Kits [Review]

Incorporating a homeschool art class into your week can be overwhelming for most mamas. It was overwhelming for me and I even grew up painting canvases as a teenager and into my early adult life! Sometimes, we just do not feel confident enough in our own skills to pass that knowledge down to our kiddos. And that’s okay! So you can imagine how excited I was to try the Two Sticks Shadow Paint Kit from Timberdoodle! I am so happy we get to incorporate painting into our homeschool now! With these kits, you can teach basic painting skills like blending, highlighting, and thinning with acrylic paints. They provide you with written and video instructions to help you get the most out of your new homeschool art class. We received a large, 13×19″ canvas, three 8×10″ canvases, and two 5×7″ detail practice canvases. We also received a frame (the two sticks!), high quality, acrylic paint and two different paintbrushes. What is the Two Sticks Shadow Painting Kit? The kit is perfect for beginner painters because it comes with a color guide to help you paint the shadow canvas. Our daughter was able to look at the guide and start painting immediately! I’m impressed with how simple and user friendly the kit is! Our daughter has painted on canvas before because she loves doing what mama does 🙂 But this was her first time using quality supplies and painting a fully detailed picture. She loved it! What makes this painting kit unique? The obvious unique feature about this kit is the Two Stick frame. It displays the finished artwork in a way that is complementary to the painting, yet intriguing enough to grab your attention. However, I truly feel that the “open and go” feel this kit gives makes it perfect for homeschooling teens. They make this kit so easy to understand and get started that it truly feels like the student is an artist! Who should use these kits? Our daughter will be 13 this year and she was able to really grasp the concept of basic painting skills and the techniques they share in the guide for this kit. I say if you’re pre-teen or teen wants to dive into a homeschool art class for painting, grab this kit! It’s so easy to understand and perfect for independent learning or as a group! | Related: FREE Unit Study for Earth Day! What do I love about Two Sticks Shadow Painting Kit? I love that this kit has brought art back into our home. It’s overwhelming enough to try to plan basic studies, without adding extra electives on top of it. This kit has been our saving grace for homeschool art class! There’s nothing about this kit I would change and we can’t wait to grab the other themes! Where can you find your own Two Sticks Shadow Painting Kit? If you’re still reading and haven’t clicked to grab your own painting kit, I really don’t know what you’re waiting for! CLICK HERE and purchase through my favorite homeschool resource site, Timberdoodle 🙂 Oh! And if you need some help planning your homeschool day and including a homeschool art class, don’t forget to grab your FREE Trello board! Digitally planning our homeschool has been a lifesaver for our family! Planning with Trello keeps everything in one place, organized, and ready to check everything off your list! PIN THESE FOR LATER 🙂 Hey y’all! I am so excited to share this review with you! One of the awesome things about being a homeschool blogger is that companies send us free resources to review and use in our own homeschool, in exchange for an honest review shared here on the blog! Sometimes, companies will even pay for a sponsored post here. This is a big part of how I support this blog and keep fresh curriculum options rotating throughout our homeschool. I value my kids’ education and will only partner with companies that promote stellar homeschool resources that align with my values. So you can read this review with absolute certainty that it’s an awesome product that your family will love! Want to start sharing your opinions on a homeschool blog and possibly earn free curriculum or even an additional income? Follow me on Instagram and let’s chat! Love, Shela 🙂... [read more]

Teach homeschool literacy with Create a Story Cards [Review]

Teaching homeschool literacy was one of the subjects that stressed me out the most when I began planning our homeschool kindergarten for my son. I was worried about teaching the right things, teaching on his level, and teaching in a way that was fun and simple for him to comprehend. Then I was introduced to teaching homeschool literacy through Create a Story Cards! With these cards, you can create a story by using the graphics on the card to set the scene. We’ve used the cards in many ways already by letting the kids pick the cards and I make up the story, letting the kids tell the story, making the story as goofy as possible, and as serious as possible. Everyone can also take turns drawing a card to add another part of the story we’re telling. It’s so much fun! What are Create a Story Cards? These cards are similar to flash cards. They are thicker in weight, which I love for my two boys, and the graphics are awesome quality. The set we received are themed, “Volcano Island“. There are 40 cards, each with different characters and scenes on them. And the possibilities for play are literally endless. What makes this resource unique? I love that the Create a Story Cards are so versatile! I don’t think we will ever tell the same story twice. Who can learn with these cards? My kids are ages two, five (next week!), and twelve. We all enjoyed these cards! While, literacy isn’t something my oldest needs to work on, she really enjoyed making up the stories for her younger brothers. She even enjoyed listening to the stories I made up using the cards! The suggested ages are three and up, but my two year old loved to look at the cards and listen as I told a story. I believe the perfect age for these cards, if you’re going to use them for teaching purposes and not just creativity, is the four, five, six, and even seven year old age range. | Related: FREE Unit Study for Earth Day! What do I love about Create a Story Cards? I love that these cards brought us together for some creative fun! We laughed together and really enjoyed making up stories! I love the seeing how my kids think about and process the pictures. What would I change about Create a Story Cards? The only thing I would change about these cards is only having one set. Ha! There are other themes available in addition to Volcano Island. So make sure you check those out too! Where can you find your own Create a Story Cards? If you’re still reading and haven’t clicked to grab your own set of cards, I really don’t know what you’re waiting for! CLICK HERE and purchase through my favorite homeschool resource site, Timberdoodle 🙂 Oh! And if you need some help planning your homeschool day and including these cards, don’t forget to grab your FREE Trello board! Digitally planning our homeschool has been a lifesaver for our family! Planning with Trello keeps everything in one place, organized, and ready to check everything off your list! PIN THESE FOR LATER 🙂 Hey y’all! I am so excited to share this review with you! One of the awesome things about being a homeschool blogger is that companies send us free resources to review and use in our own homeschool, in exchange for an honest review shared here on the blog! Sometimes, companies will even pay for a sponsored post here. This is a big part of how I support this blog and keep fresh curriculum options rotating throughout our homeschool. I value my kids’ education and will only partner with companies that promote stellar homeschool resources that align with my values. So you can read this review with absolute certainty that it’s an awesome product that your family will love! Want to start sharing your opinions on a homeschool blog and possibly earn free curriculum or even an additional income? Follow me on Instagram and let’s chat! Love, Shela 🙂... [read more]

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The ultimate spring sensory bin round up

It’s getting warmer, so we can take some of our learning outside and have some sensory bin fun! And since we are officially entering spring territory, I thought it would be helpful to have a place for all of the spring-themed sensory bins that I could find! These sensory bins look amazing and you can consider each one on my to-do list for spring! I’ve organized each bin idea into sections by age. But honestly, a lot of these would be fun, even for me! Ha! Plus, don’t feel like you need to follow the directions to a T. Switch out ingredients (but keep them kid-friendly), add toys you already have, or figure out how to make a bin you love more difficult or easy. Don’t forget to post pics with the sensory bin you’ve chosen to do! Tag me on Instagram and I’ll share too! #createyourhomeschool Ok, let’s dive in! TODDLER BINS Eggs + Grass – Entertain Your Toddler ABC Monsters – Views from a Step Stool Duck Pond – Fantastic Fun and Learning Hide the Animals – Busy Toddler Jumbo Pasta – My Bored Toddler Egg Scoop – Toddler Approved Button Excavating – Busy Toddler PRE-SCHOOL BINS Alphabet Hunt – Play to Learn Natural ABC’s – Views from a Step Stool Pretend Cooking – Inspiration Laboratories Weather Fun – Mrs Plemons Kindergarten Clean Cars – Busy Toddler Fruits + Veggies – Life Over C’s Feed the Birds – Modern Preschool KINDERGARTEN BINS Frog Life Cycle – Views from a Step Stool Unicorn Straw Beading – Views from a Step Stool Ocean Soap Foam – Views from a Step Stool Beans + Bugs – Our Kid Things Ice Cream Fun – Learning Resources Bug Discovery – Little Worlds Big Adventures Birds Nest – Fantastic Fun and Learning SENSORY BINS FOR ALL AGES Spring Garden – Mess for Less Farm Animal Washing – Coffee Cups and Crayons Oats + Easter Eggs – Happy Toddler Playtime Spring Rainbow – Play to Learn Sand + Rocks – Frogs Snails and Puppy Dog Tails Magnetic Egg Hunt – Happy Toddler Playtime Pom Pom Scoop – Happy Toddler Club | Keep reading: Free Earth Day Unit Study Happy Spring, mama!... [read more]

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Earth Day | Free Unit Study

This is a free unit study all about Earth day! We get to learn all about the planet we get to call home. This free five-week study, that includes exciting books, fun activities, and yummy recipes to try, helps you and your kids grasp why we celebrate Earth! In the unit study, you’ll find five weeks worth of ideas. These ideas are all planned out for you to keep things as simple as possible! There’s a suggested book, activity, and recipe for each day, as well! But you are welcome to change up any part of the unit according to what books and materials you have on hand. Unit Study Overview The flow of the unit study walks you through a big picture overview of our planet. During week one, we will learn about our land, the ins and outs of the planet, the elements of our world that make it unique, and touch on how to keep our planet healthy! In week two, we get to dive into the science of our planet. Things like energy, saving water, and keeping our planet clean! These topics are the main focus points for this section in the unit study! Weeks three and four are heavily focused on the importance of recycling. As well as, the meaning of Earth Day and why we celebrate it. Plus, a little about how to take care of it! | Related: 102 homeschool activities to do INSTEAD of worksheets And lastly, week five of the helps us learn exactly what we can do individually to help keep our planet a beautiful place to live! Unit study ideas + experiments There are ideas and experiments and extra resources packed into every bit of this study! Including a dedicated Pinterest Board organized into weekly sections! Whether you are completing this study in April or just want to learn a little more about our planet, it’s a great addition to your homeschool! You can find this unit study, as well as other lesson plans and resources, in the Create Your Homeschool Resource Library completely free! If you’d just like to see some activities for Earth Day to include in your current homeschool curriculum, click here to check out the Pinterest Board. Enjoy! And Happy Earth Day!... [read more]

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A note of encouragement in the midst of this chaotic world

“Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life. Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.”Philippians 4:6-9 MSG Luke (our youngest, 2) didn’t sleep well the other night. We were up from around 1:30AM until 6AM when I finally just took him back to bed with me and got a few hours of sleep before it was time to be a mama again.  During our hours awake, while Luke was watching Paw Patrol, I was mindlessly scrolling Facebook after I finished a blog post about the list of 102 things to do instead of worksheets freebie I shared this past week.  It really got to me.  Post after post was nothing but “Coronavirus this” and “Coronavirus that” and “what to do in quarantine” and blah blah blah.  So, I went through my “Liked” Facebook pages and unliked every negative, non-encouraging, Facebook page I’ve ever liked – Including every news resource! The main theme I kept seeing was F E A R – F E A R – and more F E A R . Without getting too deep into theories and opinions, because I know you are here for homeschooling resources… at the end of 2019, I began researching more about chemicals and living a clean lifestyle.  During that time, I began to notice trends in how information is shared – whether by the media or healthcare professionals. The trend was that of fear.  Think about it… when someone wants you to react a certain way, they make you believe you have something to fear in order to get you to say yes.  “You have six months to live, but if you spendthousands on ‘this‘ medicine you MIGHT live longer.” Well. Maybe so. I DO believe God has absolutely helped scientists create remedies and cures for things, but the day you are meant to leave this world is already planned. Whether you spend thousands or not.  I can’t say I would or would not react in a certain way if I were ever personally faced with this situation. But, I did give my dad (who was told this exact thing over two years ago) the same opinion. Some medical treatments are necessary and GOOD – and some just prey on the sick to see how much money they can get out of it. But one thing is for sure… Just like doctors can’t keep you alive for any certain time, the media’s tactics can’t keep you from getting Coronavirus or the Flu or anything else.  What they CAN do is use fear as a means to get you to react a certain way. Like staying home for weeks at a time, pulling your money from investments you’ve made, spending money on Pharmaceuticals in HOPES of a chance to survive this epidemic, etc.  But friend, if I can be so bold to share… You have NOTHING to fear.  That passage at the top, Philippians 4:6-9, is one I often remember in times like these. When fear is at an all-time high in my life.   And I’m a pretty paranoid person, mind you. Fear literally cripples me on most days.  But I’ve found peace in the midst of this Coronavirus thing.  Perhaps it’s because I can see through the fear tactics from the media or the potential money that can be made from this “outbreak”.  Or perhaps it’s because I’m choosing to trust God’s plan and cling to the truth that is Philippians 4:6-9. Whatever the reason, I’m grateful. So I wanted to encourage you today with that verse and give you a couple of tips on how to add some peace into your home as well: Find a Bible verse or passage that inspires you. Print it off or write it down (or simply download the free printable I created of Philippians 4:6-9 here – no email required). Hang up that verse everywhere, or at least in an area you can remind yourself of it throughout the day (like on the fridge!) Fill your home with some hope-filled music. Whether that’s on a Christian radio station, from your favorite CD, or a playlist you love. Invite God to be in your space through music and watch the atmosphere in your home start to shift to good.  Sidenote: I am LOVING this song right now -> Another in the Fire Pray. Pray for those who are making decisions in our country and the world. Pray for those who don’t have a hope to believe in. Pray for those who need to work to survive. Pray for those who are hungry and sick and quarantined. Most importantly, pray for yourself.Turn your worries into prayers. I can’t promise when this will be over or that it will be an easy few weeks for your family. I still find myself worrying instead of praying sometimes. But the peace you’ll allow to enter your heart every time you choose to pray will be just enough to carry you through the day.  Count the JOY from every battle,because you know that’s where He’ll be.   – Hillsong Worship Praying for you, friend. If you need to chat or have a specific request, prayer, or question, don’t hesitate to comment or email me: info@shelayount.com We’re in this together!Love, Shela... [read more]

Nature study printables + ideas for the mom who’s not outdoorsy

Have you ever completed a nature study in your homeschool? We did about a month ago and it was the most fun we’ve had so far! As a mama who’s never really been an “outdoorsy” kind girl, the concept of Wild + Free homeschooling makes me nervous. I feel safe indoors, nothing will sting you there. Or bite you. Or make you sweat. But ever since we went on a nature scavenger hunt with a couple of other homeschool families, I am obsessed. I feel like I’m 10 years old again, in my backyard after dark, making mud pies. Being outside just brings something out in you that you had no idea was there. Nature makes you curious and full of joy. If you haven’t done a nature study, like a REAL nature study… Where you actually go outside. Do it! You will not regret that time exploring creation, big and small, with your kids! | Related: Why you should create a blog for your homeschool If you do not consider yourself outdoorsy, as I did, don’t be afraid to start small. Head to a park with a walking trail (or even your own backyard) and complete a nature scavenger hunt! Pinterest is FULL of scavenger hunt options, but there’s also some fun, strategy-based hunt ideas in our Free Nature Journal. This journal was specifically designed for kids with pre-writing skills, however, anyone can use the ideas in this journal to document their next wild + free adventure!  You can print it to create your own nature journal or pick and choose single pages to complete on certain days. And it’s included for FREE in our homeschool resource library! Now, you’re probably wondering what the heck you’re going to do with all the nature you find on your hunt… Well – let me show you a fun idea! Something you may or may not know about me is that I struggle with letting my kids complete things on their own. Before homeschooling, any time we did a craft I would make sure the stickers were in the right place, the colors were painted correctly, it was bad. I’m an 8 on the Enneagram though… So it’s expected. But I didn’t want to be like that during anymore, especially during homeschool. So I’ve been working really, really hard not to take over craft time and this project was the first one I let the kids complete 100% on their own. And can I just tell you… My kids have an incredible imagination?! I helped Luke (our youngest) with his, because he’s one. And I love to craft. haha. The problem is, I had seen all of the nature study art on Pinterest and thought it needed to just be a collage of nature on a sheet of paper. My older two really showed me up in the nature study art department. Look at the designs they came up with all by themselves! I was blown away! This was a simple craft idea, that literally only cost a sheet of paper and some glue, that solidified all the things we learned about in our nature study. I even learned something new! Did you know that pinecones open and close depending on the weather?! I did not! Until the very closed pinecones, we glued to the paper looked completely different after being inside our warm home all night. Something else we got to learn about, observe, and document on our nature study adventure! Don’t let your fears or uncomfortableness drive the learning opportunities for your kids. Always listen to your gut feeling about any situation, and take another family with you on hikes and to secluded state parks, but if it’s safe and your kids are ready for an adventure, go for it, mama! I’d love to see pictures of your nature study in action, especially if you’re using the nature journal from the free resource library! Consider following me on Instagram so that we can connect and tag your photos with #createyourhomeschool That’s right! I’ve been approved to blog content for the incredible homeschool curriculum company, Timberdoodle (that’s where we purchased all of Lily’s curriculum this year!) And I’m joining in with them this week for the Timberdoodle Blog Hop! Check out what other families are doing to give you some ideas on how to bring some creativity to your homeschool this week! You are invited to the Inlinkz link party! Click here to enter... [read more]

Why you should create a blog for your homeschool

Blogging isn’t new, nor is it dead – But I want to share why you should create a blog for your homeschool and how I believe it could be the best thing you have ever done. Remember back in the day when people would add polaroids to sticky photo pages and carefully cover them with sheets of plastic to create photo books to place on the coffee table? And eventually, that turned into printing images at CVS and sliding them into a ready-to-go photo album to place on a bookshelf, only to be brought down when family (or new boyfriends) came to visit? Those efforts became super creative when people started using craft supplies and gluing their photos into a book again to make a scrapbook! Then digital photo albums became a thing… Facebook… Instagram… Each of those seasons for documenting your life has come and go. Some lasting longer than others. But the beautiful story that backs up every one of these seasons is that people love to document and share their journey. Blogging turns photo albums into photo journals that tell your story. The reason why creating a blog for your homeschool is such a great idea is because other homeschool moms could be inspired by your journey. Don’t let it intimidate you. You do not have to be a profound writer, IT master, or an educated educator. You simply need a passion to share. The rest is easy! Now, a lot of people claim that blogs are great money-makers and simply start one to get rich quick. If that’s you, I strongly ask you to reconsider. Blogging for profit takes a lot of work and a lot of time. You must be consistent and know what your audience wants. There are a lot of different moving parts to hosting a blog strictly for profit. It’s not impossible, but it’s definitely not a way to make money fast. However, you can absolutely create a blog for your homeschool that will bring in additional side-income for your family, but your passion and reason for sharing HAVE to come first. I began creating a blog for our homeschool because I wanted a way to digitally document all the things we were doing. Our state is pretty lenient on homeschool documentation, but it made me feel more at ease to know that I was keeping up with how we were learning just in case. The thing to remember about creating a blog for your homeschool is that not everyone’s situation is the same, but someone can always learn something from the story you choose to share. If you know you’re ready to start sharing your journey, or simply documenting your day, here are a few steps to take to create a blog for your homeschool and get it up and running. Domain Your domain is the website address that will showcase your blog! Pick something fun and creative, but easy to comprehend (and say). You can use your name, as I have, or create something unique to your readers (Like – Create Your Homeschool). Totally up to you! My favorite way to check the availability of domain names is by using GoDaddy Who Is. You can type something into the search bar and it will tell you if it’s available. If it’s not, it will suggest other variations! When you’ve figured out what you want, you can also purchase your domain from GoDaddy! Hosting Hosting, in layman’s terms, is the service that works behind the scenes of your blog to make it show up on the internet. It’s a necessity if you want to start a blog, there’s really no way around it. I personally love BlueHost They have super affordable options for hosting and is a great hosting service for bloggers! You can click this affiliate link to learn more about them and check out their plans. CLICK HERE. WordPress Next, you’ll need a platform to create your blog on. Personally, I use, and will only ever use, WordPress. It’s professional, simple, and easy to navigate. It has everything I need to create a blog for our homeschool and I think you’ll be quite satisfied, too! There are other platforms out there, but you’ll need to research those. Basically, I’ve just listed the best one for you. You’re welcome! Theme There are SO many themes to choose from. You can use free themes, paid themes, make your own theme (if you know someone techy), the options are endless. The thing to remember about themes is, when you’re looking for one, look past the colors and photos. Those are customizable and will not download with the theme anyway. When looking at themes, you’re looking at the layout of it, what features it offers, whether it’s responsive or not. You’ll get to design it later! Plugins Plugins are miniature “add-ons” to enhance the theme you’ve chosen for your website. My favorite plugins are JetPack and Yoast SEO. JetPack simplifies your website analytics, which is super important for you to learn to navigate and know if you want to build a successful blog. Yoast helps you learn how to optimize your blog so that it will show up higher in Google’s search results. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and is crucial to the success of your blog. Pages You’ll want to create a list of pages that you’d like to showcase on your blog, then start creating them! To start out, I would create an awesome “About Me” page, a “Connect With Me” page, and a “Freebies” page. The first two are pretty self-explanatory, but the freebies page may need a little explanation. Basically, you’ll want a page that has nothing on it but a sign-up form for your email list. This way, when someone clicks the “Freebies” link (or whatever you want to call it) at the top of your website, in the MENU section, they’ll have no other option but to hand over their email for the super valuable freebie...... [read more]

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Tips for a homeschool rhythm you’ll love!

A homeschool schedule for multiple kids that doesn’t make you crazy?! Does that even exist?! Well… Yes, friend. It does. I’m still getting in the swing of our daily rhythm, but I will share what I’ve learned so far and hopefully help you get your sanity back! When we began our first homeschool year, I felt like I was all over the place. And I was only homeschooling ONE kid at the time! | Related: Our shift into becoming a homeschool family Now that I am homeschooling two, I’ve had to become a lot more organized with my homeschool schedule. Especially since we have the baby as well! I’ve been reading and researching a lot about the idea of having a rhythm in your homeschool day, instead of a schedule. And I am in love! I am not a Type A, always need a planner, gotta have order kinda mama. I love the flexibility of homeschooling too much to plan every single second of our day. However, because I’m an 8 on the Enneagram (heyyy!) I love systems and processes and efficiency. That’s why I have fallen in love with establishing a rhythm instead of a homeschool schedule for our family! A rhythm is essentially the heartbeat of your home. As you go about your day it isn’t wasted away by doing little things here and there. The rhythm keeps you on track, a clear focus for what’s next. Instead of the time running your day, you are in charge of working diligently on the next task at hand. Often, this creates even more space in your day than you realized you ever had! By choosing to simply work on “the next thing”, your sense of time and how long you’ve spent doing something isn’t a factor in your day. Instead, you work diligently to do the next task and before you know it, everything is done! For example, let’s say I have a homeschool schedule that looks like this: 9AM – English 10AM – Math 11AM – Science I don’t know about your children, but if mine had a homeschool schedule like that we’d literally do school the entire day. Even if they finished English in 20-40 minutes, they wouldn’t move on to the next thing. They’d see the leftover time as free play. Then it’s even harder to get going again. But if we establish a rhythm to our day, they know that after English, they move to math, and so on. No questions asked. Just working diligently to finish the next task. See how freeing that is?! But can you also see how much of an organized system it is too? Here’s a quick overview of how to set up your own homeschool rhythm: First, you need to determine how and what you want to learn. For us, we focus on math and language arts every single day. Whether that’s in a textbook, read alouds, a fun math app, math and language arts keep our family grounded. Additionally, we complete a weekly loop schedule of science, history, and art. Essentially, looping just means that we do the next thing in our loop the following day (science on day 1, art on day 2, etc.). This helps us not to be overwhelmed with fitting in ALL of the subjects every single day, plus it gives the kids something to look forward to! Next, you’ll want to figure out what goals or habits you’d like each of your children to master in a certain time frame. This could be independent reading for 20 minutes a day, writing poetry, whatever you’d like for your family. Use these goals and habits to help you mold your day! Include activities and chores that will benefit the direction you want your children to head into. Last, determine the non-negotiables for your week. These are items on the to-do list that can NOT be put off for another day. Things like appointments, co-op meetings, field trips, etc. These things create the framework for your rhythm. When / if possible, try to schedule things during the “free” portion of your day. While you can’t necessarily “know” what time your schedule will open on any given day, you can determine if afternoons or mornings work better for you and the kids, depending on their focus and readiness to learn. I schedule out all of our field trips and other non-negotiables FIRST before I plan anything else for the month. Then I go back in on “normal” days and insert our rhythm (our rhythm pretty much stays the same, unless subjects or chores move around). On days I KNOW we will be out of commission, I typically keep our morning rhythm the same (breakfast + bible and maybe a story if we have time), then utilize audiobooks in the car as we go throughout our day. We look for things to talk about as we’re driving or walking or shopping that day too! Always learning 🙂 And then there are some days we simply schedule in a much-needed break. However you decide to create your rhythm is entirely up to you. There is no “right or wrong” way to do something like this for your family. That’s the beauty of it! I’d love to connect with you on Instagram, it’s my favorite place to hang out! Share a bit of your homeschool rhythm and tag me in it 🙂 @createyourhomeschool... [read more]

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