Reading Eggs and Math Seeds for Your Homeschool

Disclosure: I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew.
Reading Eggs

I need to get the garden picked, and dishes done … and help with the animal chores. But first I want to tell you how much we have enjoyed Reading Eggs! This subscription includes both Reading Eggs and Math Seeds, their math program.

We have reviewed this interactive reading program before, and my children all enjoy it. This time I used it for the younger two, and they had so much fun. The program is suitable for children 3-13! Yes, you read that correctly- up to 13.
After farm chores, or school time I would let them each take a turn working through their level in the program. They enjoyed making their own little character, and working their way through the reading map.

Reading Eggs

I love that there is the option for desktop or an app for Reading Eggs and Math Seeds.

Students can (and should) take the placement test which is simple, and takes the guess work out of trying to find the just right level; the program does it for you! The placement test was right for both of my girls, with no problems. If your student is not familiar with using an online program/app (like my 5 year old) I would say help them with making the choices/moving the pieces during the placement teat, because that can obviously impact their level. But after a little practice of using the app, it becomes pretty intuitive for them.

My girls progressed well through their levels. I love that the added reading practice is fun for them; it helps on days when I may not have time to put together something fun for their practice, or we need a change up from the typical school day. My children usually get a little screen time after cleaning day is over, so Reading Eggs is great for that, too! They like having something new to try and I like that it is educational and helping with their foundational reading.

The parent’s screen for each child lets the parent know how that child is progressing, what they have read well, where there may be struggles for added practice purposes. There is even data for their growth in each area. This is great for anyone needing to give a district or state data, as well as just wanting to track progress for yourself.

Then there is Math Seeds! Math Seeds is an interactive math program for children ages 3-9 that helps them with problem solving and solidifying math skills. The structured lessons are fun and inviting for kids and easy for parents to set up. As you can see below, there are different areas to choose from in Math Seeds- after taking the placement test, students can begin lessons at their personalized level.

There are options for lots of fun games and skill building, test taking, spending points earned in the shop, and there is even a play room for children to explore. I remember doing some old school programs back in the 90s that had rooms like that- and I *loved* them. If your kids are anything like mine, they will love this! And you can rest knowing they are learning and spending time wisely.

Math Seeds

 

I think Reading Eggs and Math Seeds are great for foundation skills in both subjects; it is also a great supplement to your current schooling situation, whether at home or elsewhere.

Connect with Reading Eggs

Read more reviews from The Crew of Reading Eggs and Math Seeds by clicking the banner below:Learn to Read with Reading Eggs
Disclaimer: Some links on this blog are affiliate links; when you use those links you help support my family, at no additional cost to you.  Thank you!

Homeschool 2021/2022 School Year Choices {5th, 3rd, 1st, and K}

This homeschool year, we are starting slowly. This is the first year we have taken a full blown summer break … we have done maybe a week’s worth of school since the end of May, and filled some time with lap books and other fun schooling activities. We’ve really taken off the majority of days for pool time (because I just can’t resist!), gardening time & family trips; and we have loved every minute of it!

Homeschool Curriculum Choices 2021

Our main core as a family this year will be continuing through Sonlight Core D (Bible, History, and Read Alouds), which is American history. When we finish this core, we will move on to Core E, the second half of American history.  After doing several years of wold cultures and world history, we are very much savoring American history. I’d like to focus on President’s and state capitols this year. There are so many great read aloud, and readers for US History. Just not enough hours in the day for all the books!

I am also finishing reading through the P4/5 Core with my youngest 2. They will be K and 1st this year; they are less than 2 years a part, but one is a fall baby and one is summer, so they’re close in grade levels. We made the choice a long time ago to keep our fall babies back a grade (they don’t meet most cut offs anyway, and like many states we aren’t required to school until age 7). We are very happy with that decision; but I like them being the older in their “grade” for the purpose of Co-op, sports, and church activities. I will start Core A with them at naps and bedtime once they finish P 4/5.

Math- We will be using Christian Light Education for our math, as always. My kindergartener will be using their K2 books, and I hope this bridges the gap between K math and 1st grade math for her. I will probably add in Saxon K worksheets  for her as well. I think CLE K2 combined with some math games and a little Saxon K, will be a fine math foundation.

Science- I just haven’t made up my mind here. I really love Apologia’s science programs. We would do the Anatomy and Physiology  if we go with Apologia … we really need to complete the Sonlight Science for Core D *but* every time we go to do the science, my kids already know  everything we are discussing (thanks Wild Kratts), so I just feel blah continuing with it. I know I don’t have to finish it, but I hate to leave it incomplete; also, it isn’t only animals and biology. Core D Science covers lots of other fun topics, so I should just persevere.

We will also add in No Sweat Nature Study again. We have really enjoyed these classes, and are building some great nature journals.

Language Arts- My beginning readers (K and 1st) will be using AAR plus The Good and the Beautiful. My older 2 will continue with The Good and The Beautiful, in levels 3 and 5. This includes spelling, some phonics, grammar, some writing, and geography. The 1st grader is a great reader, so lessons with her are pretty smooth. The K wants to read so badly, and was killing all the CVC words we practiced on our Florida vacation (during snuggles in the morning). So we are looking forward to her reading this year.

We add in Explode the Code, and Wordly Wise to our language arts. My children love both of these, and it does improve their skills, along with giving extra handwriting practice. I like them because of all this, plus they provide independent work for my children; so while I work with one student on language arts or math, the others have some independent work that keeps them on task.

Handwriting- We begin with Handwriting Without Tears, and after the PreK and K books, we move on to A Reason For Handwriting book K and then A. I like giving my children lots of good handwriting practice. They usually fly through both K books, but then Book A isn’t as difficult and they’re better readers by then, making the copywork easier. My 3rd grader is in their first cursive book. My 5th grader has done so many handwriting copyworb books, and she likes them so much. This year I got her the Memoria Press cursive book … I think it is a poetry copywork.

Extras- We are doing logic this year, with some workbooks I found on Rainbow Resource. They do problems logic in their math, but this is just extra practice; my husband wanted to be sure they were hitting logic, so we are going to try it this year.

My 5th grader is doing French from Memoria Press, which she is sooo excited about. I think I couldn’t given it to her for her birthday and she’s been just as excited. We are adding in some new sets of Brain Quest for fun, Fandex Presidents and States, and Kanoodle for a little brain teaser game.

We are using the Answers For Kids boxed set for our Bible discussions, along with the Heroes of History and Christian Heroes added to our morning basket time.

We are praying over our homeschool year that each step taken is led by the Lord, and that our words glorify Him. I am truly grateful for the blessing of our homeschool journey, even during the hard days (especially) or mornings when life feels heavy, I know the relationships we are building are worth it. At the end of the day, the math and reading, and science topics don’t save my children. Jesus does. And while we love learning (just one reason we homeschool), learning to love each other and serve one another on really hard days, is maybe one of the best things I can give my children. Or at least show them day in and day out.

I hope yall found this helpful. If you have any questions about what we do, or why/how we do it, let me know and I can go more in depth for you!

Are yall ready for the school year? Or school week? Or school semester/term?  You’ve got this mamas!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Disclaimer: Some links on this blog are affiliate links; when you use those links you help support my family, at no additional cost to you.  Thank you!

Not Back to {Home}school-first day memories

August 16 was our first day “back to homeschool”, but it looked nothing like what most people would consider a school day. The joy of homeschool?- it doesn’t have to! We spent the day finishing the de-stemming process of this year’s elderberries, and then turned them into elderberry syrup.( I can share that recipe, soon!)

I’m not a super fun crafty mama that makes all the fun things, or plans events for the first day of homeschool.

Like most things we do around here- we try to keep it simple. We have a homestead, and there is a lot to get done this time of year (which is also why I usually school year round and take a short break in August for harvesting. But this year was just a bit different).

Most years we enjoy box day a week or 2 before school begins- this is the day that we open all our homeschool orders, and peruse the books, games, and curricula we will explore together for the next year.

Homeschool Box Day 2021

Then I get everything organized and put away for our first day. This includes organizing our Sonlight core books, tearing apart workbooks to be organized by weeks, and making everyone’s laminated weekly routines so they know what to cover each day.

The first day of our routine is usually just a school day. Our box day gets my kids pretty excited for the new school year, so we don’t typically have problems starting our homeschool days. But there are always small growing pains (mostly for me) as we get the routine down, especially on years we add a new student to the mix.

We have a rhythm that works well most days:

  • 530/600 Mama has coffee and Jesus time cause this gig requires a lot of Jesus 😉
  • 700 everyone out of bed- bedroom & farm chores
  • 730 breakfast and get baby up
  • Then I walk (or workout) while the kids play first thing, or do something farm related like massage a goat’s bloated rumen until she is better, or put up tomatoes for the freezer because they’re everywhere, or chase cows down because they escaped.
  • Then we all meet back for morning basket together
  • From there we move to table work
  • after that is lunch (usually about 1130/12:00)

Morning basket can take us a while, we do a lot of reading. Like. A lot. But that’s just how we roll; we love books and our core curriculum is literature based, so it just takes a while to get through it all. My kids color while we read and they could sit for hours to listen and discuss, I think.

This year our first “homeschool routine day” was on a Tuesday, so we met daddy for Taco Tuesday after work, and took our first day of school pics with nice clothes on 😆 normally it would just be pajamas…

We are all excited for the school year, learning new things, and reading all the books! The Kindergartener is especially enthusiastic for the start of her first real school year.

What is your first day of homeschool tradition(s)?




 

Disclaimer: Some links on this blog are affiliate links; when you use those links you help support my family, at no additional cost to you.  Thank you!

Homeschool Science Online- Chemistry

Homeschool Science online

Disclosure: I received this product free through the Homeschool Review Crew.

We have been using Greg Landry’s Homeschool Science, Young Scientist Chemistry, for some science fun this summer. This course is for grades 4-7, and is a self paced course. Because it is online, you can do it anytime with as many students as you’d like. Self paced makes this course as slow or fast you your family feels comfortable. I have some kids that will fly through self paced courses, and others that like to take a little longer.

For the Young Scientist Chemistry course, there are 13 classes, plus an intro that covers a little information from parents and student.  Classes cover:

  • note taking and test taking
  • the scientific method
  • creation, the atom, matter & quantum mechanics
  • the periodic table (2 lessons)
  • elements, mixtures, and compounds
  • chemical bonding
  • the mole
  • states of matter
  • Density
  • Radioactivity
  • Ph- acids and bases

The course includes easy print out study guide pdfs for each lesson, divided into parts, 1-4.

Homeschool Science online

We have really enjoyed these lessons. My almost 3rd grader tagged along with his almost 5th grade sister. They were both interested in it, but my daughter specifically requested doing chemistry, so it was of more interest to her and at her level.

Homeschool Science online

Classes are lecture style and Professor Landry is so easy to listen to, and is also easy to understand-which is so important for online learning. Lessons include some visuals on the screen, which correlate with the PDF study guide. I recommend printing the study guide before class, that way students can make notes as they go along through the class.

The PDF study guides include activities and worksheets for filling in information for class, which helps the student with note taking and completing their work, as well as comprehension. There are great charts included in the PFDs as well. My daughter loves visuals and reading over notes, so we find the printable guides super helpful.

This is a great way for parents to assess progress in the course, and show proof of learning for any requirements for their state or diplomas. We like making portfolios for our work, so Professor Landry’s guides are a great way to do this.

My children have a pretty firm foundation in the metric system, thanks to their math, so the metric system class was a great way to bring all of that information together, showing how it relates to science. We did one lesson a week, sometimes every other week, usually on Wednesdays. We loved the lesson for creation, the atom, matter & quantum mechanics. I like how Professor Landry handles creation and the topic of God’s creation, the analogies he gives for student’s to understand- we weren’t created from nothing. But instead purposefully, by our Creator.

Homeschool Science online

Classes build upon one another, so I do recommend going in order of the course. There is also review in each video we’ve come across, because students use knowledge from previous classes for the next.

We are super excited to continue on through the course, and continue our learning journey with Greg Landry’s Homeschool Science, Young Scientist Chemistry.

 

Read more reviews for this, and other science courses, by clicking the banner below:

Online College Prep Science Classes with Greg Landry

Disclaimer: Some links on this blog are affiliate links; when you use those links you help support my family, at no additional cost to you.  Thank you!

Homeschool Math-All Grades-with CTCMath

 Disclosure: I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew.

CTCMath Homeschool Online Math Parent Dashboard

Many homeschool families are looking for an easy to use, online math program for their children. CTCMath is a full online math program, covering all grades, kindergarten through 12th, including calculus. We know there will come a day when my children may need more help than their math books and I can give them, and CTCMath will be a great option at that time. (I have blurred out names and email address in the images below).

CTCMath Homeschool Online Math Parent Dashboard

After logging in, families will find pre-recorded video tutorials with directions explaining step by step each math concept. They are easily accessed any time, anywhere via your account. I found these lessons to be clear and easy to follow along, making it like sitting in class listening to a teacher.

In the parent dashboard, parents can add each student, selecting their grade level and where to begin on lessons. From there, students can login, complete their lesson, and take a quiz over what they just learned. A lesson summary can also be downloaded for each lesson. I love this because we enjoy making math notebooks with concepts my children may need to revisit. It helps make it hands on, too.

CTCMath Homeschool Online Math Parent Dashboard

CTCMath Homeschool Online Math program

Topics may have multiple lessons, which are all in order for the student to follow. The quiz questions on each lesson can be read to the student by clicking the speak button next to the questions; this is a great option for early readers, or students who better comprehend by listening. Weekly revision sets help consolidate learning and identify areas of struggle. In the CTCMath parent dashboard, you can find extensive reports making tracking easy for parents and record keeping.

Parents can set tasks, view results, and see the history of what students have been working on.

There are also some really fun games found at the bottom of the screen: speed skills, times tables, and swap pieces. I have to be honest and say these are a lot of fun, and will definitely help your kids find motivation to do some extra math learning. These are a great rewards for having completed math lessons for the day or week.

CTCMath Homeschool Online Math Parent Dashboard

CTCMath Quiz grade 5 Homeschool Online Math program

Maybe one of the best parts- CTCMath offers a 12 month guarantee- I don’t know any math curriculum that backs their program with such confidence! Overall, this program is definitely going to help improve math learning for students. If you family is looking for an online, video based learning option, CTCMath is where it’s at! Between the easy to follow lessons, simple tracking, and fun games, kids and parents will both enjoy this math.

Connect with CTCMath

 

Read more  CTC Math reviews from the Crew:

Online Homeschool Math with CTCMath

Disclaimer: Some links on this blog are affiliate links; when you use those links you help support my family, at no additional cost to you.  Thank you!

Homeschool History with Home School in the Woods

Disclosure: I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew

Home School In the Woods History

We have enjoyed using Home School in the Woods to supplement our history before, and this time we loved it as well! We’ve been enjoying their Time Travelers U.S. History Studies, and it goes along perfectly with our American History this summer. We are working through the Time Travelers: The American Revolution pack, for hands on learning in our homeschool.

Home School In the Woods History  #americanhistory #ushistory #ustimeline #timelineofamerica #timelines #historicaltimelines #timelinefigures #americanhistorycurriculum #timetravelers

This summer we have been working through fun history projects, and my kids have loved it! I have to be honest- I’m not a fan of putting together units with projects… and that’s where Home School in the Woods Time Travelers have come in. After reading our history, I usually search for a video to watch on YouTube, recapping what we just learned. Then we take to the projects in our pack, at the family table.

Our favorite has been making newspapers! The kids had so much fun with this- even though the packs are suggested ages 8+ my 6 year old loved joining in. So if you have younger kiddos, I say definitely let them tag along. We like doing these as a family because everyone can work at their own level, and do their own activity. Younger children will enjoy coloring the pictures, and pasting in a notebook. There are so many ways to adjust these history studies for all ages.

Home School In the Woods History  #americanhistory #ushistory #ustimeline #timelineofamerica #timelines #historicaltimelines #timelinefigures #americanhistorycurriculum #timetravelers

10 year old’s newspaper page

Home School In the Woods History  #americanhistory #ushistory #ustimeline #timelineofamerica #timelines #historicaltimelines #timelinefigures #americanhistorycurriculum #timetravelers

8 year old’s newspaper page

Home School In the Woods History  #americanhistory #ushistory #ustimeline #timelineofamerica #timelines #historicaltimelines #timelinefigures #americanhistorycurriculum #timetravelers

6 year old’s newspaper page

Parents will find each download has a folder with lessons, a folder with correlating, labeled projects, as well as instructions, photos, and a resource list. Everything is easy to find, print out, and simple to use. Finding each project in the photos provided in the download is very helpful, especially for kids that need to see what the finished project looks like (or this mama, who is super visual).

The pack contains 25 lessons that can be completed in 5-10 weeks, or as you choose. They cover all of the politics and conflicts that launched a new nation, including the French and Indian War, George vs George, government, taxing, the Boston Tea Party, and so much more! You can view the scope and sequence by selecting the scope/seq tab midway down on this page. I love how they cover not only the big, most well known events and people, but lesser-known events that happened and people that affected the war and revolution- like women of the war, and battles in the south.

Home School In the Woods History  #americanhistory #ushistory #ustimeline #timelineofamerica #timelines #historicaltimelines #timelinefigures #americanhistorycurriculum #timetravelers

I have found these projects to be meaningful, interesting, and helpful for my children to remember what we’ve learned together. We really love putting together lap books, and I can’t wait to do that soon. We’ve been so busy with baseball, and celebrating sumer with friends we haven’t had a chance to get everything put together, but we will!

Included in the Time Travelers: The American Revolution masters are the timeline figures! The set included for this pack can be found here,  but there are so many sets to add for all your homeschool history studies. Home School in the Woods offers several different sets of timeline figures and have added some new ones recently- check them out!

Home School In the Woods History  #americanhistory #ushistory #ustimeline #timelineofamerica #timelines #historicaltimelines #timelinefigures #americanhistorycurriculum #timetravelers

one of our timeline book pages

 

Connect with Home School in the Woods

Read more reviews from the Crew, including other Home School in the Woods project packs, by clicking the banner below

Hands On History with Homeschool in the Woods

Disclaimer: Some links on this blog are affiliate links; when you use those links you help support my family, at no additional cost to you.  Thank you!

Emergent Reader Fun with one More Story {a review}


Disclosure: I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew

You may have seen me posting about One More Story over on Instagram. This has been so much fun for our family. One More Story is an app (or website, we tried both ways, but settled on the iPad app), where children and families can enjoy being read precious picture books. There are currently over 87 books to choose from, on five different book cases, with more to come!

One More Story-the best picture books read aloud any time, anywhere

After logging in, there are different ways for children to use the program. First click on the book cover to hear the title and author/illustrator. Then:

  1. Select the book you want to read, then click the green button below it
  2. Click Bendy, the bookworm site host, to have the book read to you, and pages turned automatically
  3. Click the green arrow in the bottom right corner to have the book read to you with the pages turned manually. You will continue touching/clicking the green arrow in that spot to turn each page.
  4. Click on the I can Read badge on the left to read a book on your own, with the sound track turned off. Any word can be clicked to hear it read by the narrator. Click the E in the lower left of the text post to hear the entire text read. Children can “echo” back the words.

There are also vocabulary words for each book (woo hoo!- I see a whole creative unit to be made using books from One More Story).

In both automatic and manual modes, the words are highlighted as the narrator reads, which is a proven way to help emergent readers understand text on a page- this is similar to following the words with your finger while reading to children. Pointing to/highlighting the words in a book teaches early readers that words have meaning on a page, and that we read left to right on a page. These aren’t just valuable, they are necessary pre-reading skills for children. Thank you One More Story, for adding this into your program! Emergent readers are actively learning, while reading a book, which is just what we want as teachers.

When a book is read in the I Can Read mode (number 4 above), any word the child clicks to have read to them, is added to the My Word List. This gives a young reader the opportunity to identify, review and master words that cannot easily be sight read for them. When a word is mastered, it can be dragged on My Learned Words. The My Word List badge is displayed on the last page of a book so that children can review the words they have learned from that book! This is such a great motivator, and an easy way to see how far your children have come. (Below I’ve added the word said to the My Word List.)

One More Story-the best picture books read aloud any time, anywhere

I love that the books have background noises/music to go along with them. The stories really are brought to life in this way; it makes them more real, and reminds me a lot of watching Reading Rainbow (throw back!). Maybe that is because it is original music by Sesame Street vet Robby Merkin. These stories are books we have on our shelves, or would like to- and that’s how I know they’re high quality. No twaddle here! Plus the narrators are just delightful-so much expression and easy to understand/listen to voices.

We found a new favorite book, Rattletrap Car, by Phyllis Root. This farm family is getting ready for a trip to the beach. But on their way, first a wheel falls off, then the floor falls out, the gas tank falls off, etc. Each time there is a catastrophe, the children have a creative way of fixing the car from their packed goods. (This is the perfect chance to make a family book club/activity and enjoy some chocolate marshmallow fudge delight. Mmmm) There are so many sound words (onomatopoeia) in this book, kids are going to love it! Mine definitely did, as did I.

One More Story-the best picture books read aloud any time, anywhere

One More Story-the best picture books read aloud any time, anywhere

We have really enjoyed using the One More Story subscription in our home. It is going to be perfect for a cross country car ride to the beach this year with young children. We are also going to enjoy adding it in as part of our summer homeschool.

Connect with One More Story

Be sure to check out the Review Crew blog to read more reviews!One More Story Online Library Reviews

Disclaimer: Some links on this blog are affiliate links; when you use those links you help support my family, at no additional cost to you.  Thank you!

Easy Homeschool “Beauty” Resources

Maybe you’ve heard it before, “homeschooling isn’t school at home.”

It isn’t crisis schooling, or virtual school. Homeschooling goes beyond “school time.” Homeschool is where we can explore art, history, music, handicrafts, Shakespeare, astronomy, and creation without limits. These (and other) subjects are often what we call the “beauty” subjects.

Homeschool is about keeping the love of learning, that fire of curiosity God gave us at birth, lit. Homeschool mamas (and dads, too) want to educate our children well, but do it in such a way that encourages our children to be life long learners.

We have an abundance of resources at our fingertips to help add a little excitement and beauty to our homeschool.

Pic Source – CC0 Licence

What’s In The Mail Today?

My children are obsessed with getting mail. One set of grandparents sends postcards from all of their travel locations, and the kids send and receive letters to all their grandparents. How exciting! If you dont live near town, there are lots of places that sell stamps besides the post office . You can set up a writing station (my kids use a giant boot show box) with envelopes, stamps, pens and paper. Let them write to their little heart’s content. We still have a lot of practice to get writing friendly letters down, but the 9 year old has it down just about perfectly.

of course it is also a perfect way to connect with those we love.

 

Listen To That Music

 We know music is excellent for brain development so adding it into our days has been important to our family.  It can also be great to create a calming environment for children (and mom) to work, so this could be something to think about.
However, if you do have instruments in the house, then you may want to include these in your plans. After all, it’s always more fun to use our bodies, rather than just work with paper.

Something like a keyboard and an app is simple and fun. Piano Maestro is one of our favorites; my kids have learned so much by using it just 1-2 times a week. We subscribe to Practice Monkeys for violin and will soon start piano.

Some of our Favorites

Resources such as Read Aloud Revival Premium Membership, You Are an Artist!, and Audible can all be great additions to homeschool.

Encouraging a love for learning can be as simple or as involved as we want. How you educate your children is up to you. And it is beautiful!

 

Disclaimer: Some links on this blog are affiliate links; when you use those links you help support my family, at no additional cost to you.  Thank you!

Crisis Schooling at Home Simplified

Today parents all over the world find themselves crisis schooling their children- This is much different than homeschooling. Even homeschooling families that always homeschooled are crisis schooling, because homeschooling like normal has been brought to a halt. There are no field trips, group hikes, zoo trips, play dates, nature walks with friends, or in person homeschool co-op classes happening.

Most of the schooling new families find themselves doing is indoors, or on the back porch, with cramped spaces, with what they perceive as not enough supplies. But I promise, you can do it, and with limited resources.

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Attempting to educate multiple kids at once isn’t always easy. It’s hard to maintain one child’s focus, let alone several who aren’t used to being taught at home by their parents, or virtually by teachers.

Here are five useful hacks that will take your homeschool to the next level:

Crisis Schooling Simplified

Turn The Garage Into An Open-Air Classroom

Even as a homeschool family that homesteads and spends a lot of hours at home, we all get stir crazy if we are stuck inside. Thankfully, a homeschool classroom is flexible because it doesn’t need to be in a specified place. As you know, the kitchen or living room are fantastic alternatives. We do our “table work” at the kitchen table because it tends to be windy in Kansas for outside paper work, but we do a LOT of other learning out of doors- nature study, reading aloud, reading independently, playing, and just moving our bodies are all done outside.

Even better, you can add a summery element by turning the garage into an open-air classroom. All you have to do is set up the lessons as usual and open the garage door. With the sunshine and cool breeze flowing through, you’ll find that the kids are far more responsive. Homeschooling homeowners love this idea so much that lots of them invest in barndominiums and make the switch permanent.

We have a friend that has an entire separate “rec” building on their property that is a pole barn style. The open space, full kitchen, and lovely porch make for the perfect school house. I would *love* to do this one day! Making a school shack out of the shed, building a new small multi-purpose building, or just schooling on the garage floor all make for great switch-ups.

Anybody who doesn’t have a garage can use the backyard, trampoline, or play house out back. Laying a rug or quilt on the floor adds an extra element to the learning environment. Rather than centering the lessons around the dinner table, you can sit on the floor and mix up the activities. Get creative!

Make Individual Schedules

Each of my school aged children have a weekly schedule hanging on the school cabinet- this has a list of daily work, plus work to be done independently (or with me) on certain days. It keeps us on task, helps us clearly see what needs to be done, and simplifies life for everyone!

Use a simple piece of lined paper to make out the daily work list and hang where ever your family does the most learning.

Utilize Wall Space

Lots of studies show that many young children are visual and tactile learners. Of course, most of us don’t have an electronic whiteboard or smart board, so it’s not as if we can create PowerPoints to teach from (not to mention, this is NOT necessary for learning). More to the point, a boost in screen time isn’t healthy.

So, what’s the alternative? Well, there’s always wall space! Throwing paint on the walls isn’t always ideal, but using chalkboard paint isn’t a bad idea. We have a small chalk board wall in the kitchen.

However, there is a way to let them learn visually without changing the walls- create a writing wall. A sheet of MDF wood works perfectly, and it’s thin enough to hide behind a cabinet. Another option is to use IdealPaint and Krylon products for dry erase surfaces- you can easily paint a sheet of wood from a hardware store. Again, this sheet can be used and then slid behind a cabinet or couch against the wall, when not in use.

I enjoy using a dry erase board for writing out Bible verses we are memorizing, spelling rules we are learning, and other things we need handy and in our face (vocabulary words, phonics rules, and grammar rules are some other ideas).

Spruce It Up

I *love* decorating my house, organizing, and making small changes. Simply adding an art piece (think an original from Etsy), a family photo collage, or new curtains always make me feel fresh and renewed in my home.

When it comes to home or crisis schooling, organizing and creating an inviting space is important. The easier it is to do the work, and the more inviting it is, the more likely we are to stick with it. Adding old maps, wooden frames, or vintage light switch plates to a space can make it fun and enchanting.Check out Etsy for inspiration!


Making homeschooling less complicated for everybody shouldn’t be a grind. Hopefully, these tips will make the process a lot smoother!

Going Green at Home and Homestead is Easy

Whether your home is a farm, a homeschool for your children, or a typical family dwelling, you can save money and energy by going green at home. Adopting eco-friendly habits at home is sure to improve the life of our families and did I mention save money? 😉

Aside from enhancing physical and mental wellbeing, as well as the environment, it feels good to save money, prevent waste (of resources and $$) and live simply. What can we do to go greener without breaking the bank?

Going Green at Home and Homestead is Easy

Upgrade Building Features

Building energy-efficiency ratings have a huge impact on our carbon footprint and thus utility bills. Thicker/new windows and improved roofing insulation will reduce energy waste through lost heating. Choosing the right materials should be high on the agenda when building a new home, or improving an existing building- features such as shake siding, updating insulation in windows, attics, and garages, and using recycled items can upgrade the home in every sense.

(We plan to update windows in our home, insulation, paint the exterior brick, and add shake shingle siding eventually.) We enclosed our garage and made sure the new addition space was filled with insulation.

Making improvement can include everything from identifying water leaks and possible mold growth, to stopping drafts. The longer it is left, the more costly the repairs for damage and our health becomes anyway. So fixing those drafty windows, doors, and water leaks offers a big pay out!

Using The Garden

Gardens and other outside spaces are naturally great places to invest in eco-friendly upgrades. Whether it’s growing fruits and veggies, farming, composting, or worm farming, it saves resources and money for your family! Plus, all those things are fun and great ways to spend time as a family.

Simply spending more time outdoors is likely to improve our overall well being, too! It can be  a lifestyle change for some families, but it is 100% worth it. Set some goals for getting outside if your family isn’t used to it- an hour a day, 2- 20 minute walks, looking for bugs in the spring, nature journaling as a family, etc. 

\You can find so many different nature activity calendars out there- do a quick duckduckgo.com search for a free printable. A patio area, BBQ or fire pit, small container vegetable garden, or simple hanging baskets of flowers are a great start to a greener outside space.

Using Efficient Appliances

Inside the home, selecting updated appliances will bring significant benefits. Whether it’s a water filter like the Berkey (we have this one),  water-efficient toilets and dishwashers, the infamous HE washing machines, or a new refrigerator, you can see savings and improved health pretty quickly.

Our Berkey filters out chemicals, bacteria, and has antimicrobial properties in the filters. We have well water so my doctor recommended we get a Berkey to filter out all the cancer-causing and endocrine disrupting chemicals/pesticides in the ground water. It tastes so much better than before and we have definitely seen improvement in my hormone levels and how we feel.

The technologies used in appliances today have evolved at a rapid rate. While making products last longer is usually a good thing, persisting with outdated tech is not. Something I noticed when we moved to our last home- we went from an older (1990s?), perfectly fine fridge, to a brand new fridge- and we immediately started saving money! All of our produce and dairy products started lasting longer in the new refrigerator! So not only was it more efficient for our utility bill, but it saved money in the grocery department.

 

Change Simple Habits

One of the biggest principles in homesteading is reusing what you can- It can mean reviving wooden spoons and kitchenware or turning old toys and furniture into child bedroom decorations. (We’ve all seen the baby cribs or box springs turned into reading nooks and planters.) Embracing the habit of reusing can produce changes that last a long time and keep “stuff and thangs” out of landfills, thus taking a small step towards helping the environment.

Disclaimer: Some links on this blog are affiliate links; when you use those links you help support my family, at no additional cost to you.  Thank you!

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