Posted in The Home Life

Homeschool Manifesto

Mission Statement. It’s imperative.

Or so I’ve been told by almost every major homeschool blogger I’ve ever come across. But I’ve always found it difficult to put this Vision, this Mission, into words.

I mean, I homeschool. That’s it. ‘Nuff Said.

However, if you keep skimming those homeschool blogs and keep reading homeschool material, you’ll learn that there are many, many approaches to homeschooling.

So what sets our homeschool apart from every other homeschool?

This weekend, I finished reading The Unhurried Homeschooler by Durenda Wilson. It’s a simple, short book but one that is full of encouragement for the Christian homeschool family. The book covers many topics, and I found each chapter encouraging and honest. Once I set the book down, I found myself inspired to put together my vision for homeschooling. My plan. My Manifesto.


a written statement declaring publicly the intentions, motives, or views of its issuer



Do you have a Homeschool Manifesto? If so, please put a link to your blog or facebook page in the comments below. I’d love to read it!

My friend Ana at They Call Me Blessed wrote about and Periscoped her journey through this little book. Be sure to check it out.

Poems about School.

A great list of poems to kick-off your first Poetry Tea Time!

Posted in The Home Life

Finding Home After Oz: Scarecrow

As previously stated in Part I , Dorothy just wanted to get home after she found Oz. Home was the place where she felt loved and safe.

After Julie Bogart’s keynote address  (titled The Invisible Education) during the Brave Writer Be Good to You Retreat, I started thinking about Dorothy’s friends: The Scarecrow, The Tin Man, and the Lion and noticed an important link. In order for us to make our homes HOME, we all need the same things those characters did.

We all need A Brain, A Heart, & Courage.

Finding Home (4)


(for reference sake, I’m going to base my discussion on the movie version of Baum’s novel and not the novel itself. And, although the English major in me wants to qualify endlessly, let’s just agree that this is how my memory of the movie connected to Julie Bogart’s presentation.)

ScareCrow: Growing the Brain We Have

Four travelers looking for what they thought was missing from their lives.

Four travelers searching for the Wizard they hoped would solve their problems.

Just as Dorothy and her friends searched for the Wizard of Oz, many homeschool moms are searching for answers they suspect lie beyond themselves. Answers that can only be provided by someone else. We search Pinterest, FaceBook groups, Blogs, and more looking for the Wizard, the magic pill, that will cure all of our homeschooling woes. But guess what, the Wizard isn’t real. And what you’re looking for is closer than you think.*

Let’s take a minute to think about the Scarecrow. Despite the fact that the Scarecrow obviously has a brain, we realize it just isn’t very developed.

What does “having a brain” look like as we try to “retool our understanding of home to support learning”?

I think Charlotte Mason has a pretty good grip on that. As a turn of the century, boundary-pushing, tradition-breaking woman, Charlotte Mason held some quite revolutionary beliefs. One was that children should be treated as persons. In today’s world, that might make you say “well, duh!” But in the late 1800s and early 1900s, children were not exactly respected as individuals. Seen and not heard and often used as pawns in the hands of factory owners, few children received a complete education and many lacked access to even a basic education.

With that in mind, Charlotte Mason continued to develop her philosophy regarding children and education. Many homeschool families ascribe to her philosophy and educational approach. In volume 3 of her writings, she states that mother’s owe a “thinking love” to their children. She writes:

We are waking up to our duties, and in proportion, as mothers become more highly educated and efficient, they will doubtless feel the more strongly that the education of their children during the first six years of life is an undertaking hardly to be entrusted to any hands but their own. And they will take it up as their profession––that is, with the diligence, regularity, and punctuality which men bestow on their professional labours.

That the mother may know what she is about, may come thoroughly furnished to her work, she should have something more than a hearsay acquaintance with the theory of education, and with those conditions of the child’s nature upon which such theory rests.

scarecrow (1)

She understands that, as Pestalozzi wrote, “Maternal love is the first agent in education.”

You, mother, have all you need to educate your child.

You have LOVE for your child.

You are the Wizard you’ve been searching for.

However, in order to “take up” the task of homeschooling, Mason encourages us to work at it with diligence, regularity, and punctuality (which I’m going to rename time).

She encourages us to know what we are about. Since we are about educating our children, do we know them? Have we taken time to consider the very people we are educating? I know that we study and research curriculum and methods, but have we studied our own children? Do we know them? (side note: Joining the Homeschool Alliance and doing the July Planning month helped me study my children in a unique yet powerful way.)

This is a thinking love.

A Thinking Love: Diligence. Regularity. Time. 

None of those things require advanced degrees, teaching experience, or even developed skills. They really just require dedication and love.

So as you journey down the yellow brick road of homeschooling, don’t get lost looking for the elusive wizard. Take your love and turn it into a thinking love so you can better connect with your children.

As Julie reminded us, pour into the atmosphere of our homes.

As Charlotte Mason tells us, grow our Thinking Love. 

Then our homes will support all the learning that takes place.

*(I realize there a legitimate issues like learning difficulties, behavioral disorders, and more that require an outside voice. In those circumstances, outside help is valid and often necessary).

So tell me, do you come thoroughly furnished to your work?

-scroll down to leave a comment-

The Unique Power of a Homeschool Mom: Innovation

“I am an educational innovator.  I am on the cutting edge of bringing education into the 21st century.  I am in the practice of creating new methods, ideas, and maybe even products.

And I am not the only one.

The power of educational innovation rests in the hands of every homeschool parent on this planet.”

Keep Reading:

The Unique Power of a Homeschool Mom: Innovation


from my friend Mary at

Not Before 7.

Posted in The Home Life, The Mother Life

Finding Home after Oz

Finding Home


As Dorothy made her way to Oz with her trio of friends, she only wanted one thing:

To Get Home.

Her friends each searched for the thing they needed most. The Lion needed Courage; the Tin Man needed a Heart; the Scarecrow needed a Brain.

And Dorothy?  Well, Dorothy needed home. 

This past week, I spent 3 days surrounded by a group of women each looking for something they thought they needed. We gathered to listen to the wonderful Julie Bogart as she imparted her wisdom regarding life, relationships, and homeschooling during the “Be Good to You” Brave Writer Retreat. But as the days went on, I think we began to notice that there was something else we needed. Something we had overlooked in our search for the elusive Wizard. The one thing that will magically help us. Something we already had.


During one of the final sessions, Julie discussed “The Invisible Education.” This “Invisible Education” results from the atmosphere of our homes as we strive to educate our children.

What kind of atmosphere are we creating? Well, we can boil it down to a simple question: do we create a space that tries to replicate school, or do we “retool our understanding of home to support learning”?

Retooling our understanding of home involves coming to grips with the belief that Home is not meant to be the same as school. It is meant to be HOME–a place of love, support, encouragement, time, rest, hugs, freedom and more. Basically, everything that most schools aren’t.

quote re finding home (1)
Julie Bogart at the “Be Good to You” Brave Writer Retreat 2016


Seems simple enough, but homeschool families are a bit notorious for taking the simple and making it complicated. Julie encourages us to pour into the atmospheres of our homes and work to create a space where learning thrives naturally. We do this through Connection with our kids. As Julie continued to explain, Connection consists of 6 Cs.

The 6 Cs of Connection

  1. Compassion (compassion for all things, successes and problems)
  2. Collaboration (the presence of a mentor; be present as a parent/mentor)
  3. Communication (tell the truth; be a partner)
  4. Creativity (problem solving; allowing space for not knowing)
  5. Cognition (knowing how to guide students into “musing, pondering, and mulling things over)
  6. Consistency (a pattern of behavior; our compassion/collaboration/etc needs to be consistent)

As I took all of this in, Julie brought the session to a close with a fun performance of the song Home from The Wiz. She noted that Dorothy just wanted to get home. That Home was where she felt safe and loved.

I started thinking about Dorothy’s friends: The Lion, The Scarecrow, The Tin Man and noticed an important link. In order for us to make our homes HOME, we all need the same things those characters did. We all need Courage, A Heart, and A Brain.

(Part II will continue this discussion)

Are you still searching for the Wizard?


For your reading pleasure:

Home (from The Wiz by Charlie Smalls)

When I think of home, I think of a place where
There’s love overflowing
I wish I was home, I wish I was back there
With the things I’ve been knowing

Wind that makes the tall trees bend into leaning
Suddenly the raindrops that fall have a meaning
Sprinklin’ the scene, makes it all clean

Maybe there’s a chance for me to go back
Now that I have some direction
It would sure have been nice to be back home
Where there’s love and affection

And just maybe I can convince time to slow up
Giving me enough time in my life to grow up
Time be my friend, let me start again

Suddenly my world’s gone and changed it’s face
But I still know where I’m going
I have had my mind spun around in space
And yet I’ve watched it growing

And if you’re listening God
Please don’t make it hard to know
If we should believe the things that we see

Tell us should we run away
Should we try and stay?
Or would it be better just to let things be?

Living here in this brand new world
Might be a fantasy
But it taught me to love
So it’s real, real to me

And I’ve learned
That we must look inside our hearts
To find a world full of love
Like yours, like mine, like home

Posted in The Home Life

Avoid the Summer Brain Drain: Free Resources

Want your kids to avoid the Summer Brain Drain?
Here are a few free resources I plan to use this summer.

Free Resources

We just finished our first year of homeschooling, and I’ve been looking into things we can use to help the kids hang on to their learning. Initially, I had looked into BJU’s Vacation Station. I like that it covered the core subjects with only 15 minutes per day. I thought that maybe my kids wouldn’t balk at just 15 minutes. It seemed quite do-able. However, with a severely limited budget and three kids, I just couldn’t justify the purchase. Especially when I knew there were so many free resources online.

After a bit of research, here are a few free resources I’ve decided to use this summer. They are free, and I think they are engaging. Let’s hope the kids think so, too!


Khan Academy: Khan Academy actually offers so much more than math, but with simple a format, my children can navigate the site independently, and they have fun earning badges and seeing their percentages increase. I plan to do math a few times per week and let the kids work in the grade level they just completed or do early math for review.

Xtra Math: Xtra Math is phenomenal! It really does help kids learn their math facts. The nice thing about this site (which works well on a tablet) is that parents can customize the settings for each child. You can have one student working on addition facts while another is focusing on multiplication. It really is a wonderful resource. There is an app you can purchase for a small fee, but if you have a tablet, there really is no need for the app.


Your Local Library: Of course, this is a great resource to utilize this summer, and many libraries offer free reading programs for the summer complete with rewards and prizes for those who “win.” Be sure to check your local library.

Read Aloud Revival’s booklist:

This is an AMAZING resource. I don’t know exactly what to say about this resource other than YOU NEED TO CHECK IT OUT! As Sarah Mackenzie says, “not all books are created equal,” and this resource helps you determine the books best suited for your family.

Keep a Record: Make a visual library of all the reading your child does this summer. Print these editable book spines, and post them on the wall for a fun, visual reminder of what your child has accomplished.

Create a Reader’s Log: If you are the crafty type and want to make something special for your reader, Simple as That has a really cute free printable reading log.


YouTube: If your kids are like mine, they LOVE to watch videos. There are so many wonderful resources on YouTube, and I think video is a wonderful way to get kids involved in science which is often a very visual subject. Here are a few channels that have some great videos. (note: I have not previewed every video, so please use your parental brain to make the best choices for your family)

Free School: According to their description, Free School “is a safe and friendly place to expose children to famous art, classical music, children’s literature, and natural science in an age-appropriate and kid-accessible way.” There are some good things here.

National Geographic Kids: What can I say? It’s National Geographic.

Peterson Field Guides: A fun way to learn about birds. Hear and see birds in action, plus learn birding tips and more.


Here are a few other resources we’ve enjoyed. I plan to visit them throughout the summer. Maybe you’ll enjoy them, too.

Seterra Geography and geography games. SO MUCH learning here!

Doodle Academy Fun, easy to follow tutorials for simple sketches. We’ve had a wonderful time building a sketch book full of these simple drawings. Easy enough for a beginner. Use the Fact Navigator to learn story-based multiplication facts. This has helped my daughter who has Dyslexia / Auditory Processing tremendously.

Well, there you have it. I could keep linking sites and sources for all kinds of subjects, but I think to keep away the Brain Drain, some math, some reading, and a bit of science are enough to sprinkle throughout the coming weeks.

What do you plan to do this summer to avoid the Brain Drain?

Free Resources


If you found this helpful, share it with a friend.

Free Poetry Memorization Resource for Homeschoolers

Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization

Expires 8/31/2016

a $65 value


Posted in The Home Life

Homeschool Routine & Curriculum

I’m thrilled to have a post featured over at They Call Me Blessed today.


1 – Briefly tell us about you and your family.

My husband (of 13 years) and I live in Tennessee with our three children ages 8, 10, and 11.

2 – How long have you been homeschooling?

We just completed our first year of homeschooling!

3- Tell us about your homeschooling approach.

Although I’ve always been drawn to a Classical style education due to its rigor and depth, my heart deeply resonated with Charlotte Mason when I came across her philosophy and style. We are very much a Charlotte Mason family (though we do have our weak areas).

4 – Year-around homeschooling or traditional calendar homeschooling?

This being our first year homeschooling, we followed a . . .

Keep Reading

And be sure to come back all month as various homeschooling moms share their approach, routine, and curriculum

How We Homeschool!

I’m excited to take part in a new blog party by Ana Willis over at They Call Me Blessed. For the month of June, homeschoolers across the world will be sharing how they homeschool. From curriculum choices to daily schedules and more, you’ll be able to see how everyone else does it! So be sure to follow along! The first post starts on Wednesday.