A Day in My Life as a Homeschool Mom

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So, about a month ago, I shared I was working on a project. Before I continue, I want to make certain this project will be worthwhile. I’m compiling a collection of my days as a homeschooling, work-at-home mom of seven. A real-life picture inside our home. Is a booklet of these compilations something that would interest you?

Here is an example of one of my days…I would LOVE your feedback. What would you like me to talk more about in such days? More details? More focus on specific parts of our days?

A Day in the Life of a Homeschool Mom

Of course I moaned at my husband’s alarm clock going off at 7:30am. I just didn’t want to get up. I told my husband I may as well turn my 5:00am alarm off because I never get up to it anyways.

Oh but how I want to! I dream of waking up before the sun rises, sipping my coffee, reading my Bible, and being fully alert when my children begin to wake up for the day.

But that’s just not reality. Instead, my 18-month old Great Dane finishes the task of making sure I’m awake by making her way to my bedside and licking my face (yes, she’s that tall).

My 4-year old comes in asking me if I can cut his waffles. I smile at him and tell him I’ll be right there, but inside I’m groaning. My feet haven’t even hit the floor yet and the day’s demands have begun.

I don’t even make it out of my room before I hear crying. My seven year old, Jeremiah, ran his hand into the wall as he tripped going up the stairs. Poor guy! No doubt, he was probably running, as most my kids do when they need to get from point A to point B.

I check it out and make sure he’s OK. The three of us make it down the stairs and we all get through breakfast. Well, I don’t actually eat breakfast that early. I usually wait until 11am to cook up some eggs and toast for myself. But, I tend to play referee where needed and help small children pour juice.

I start the coffee pot and begin putting random items away as I come across them in my path. The routine in the morning is pretty much the same. The children have their morning chores and I continuously prompt them to get them done. I’ve made each child a schedule and put it on their very own clipboard, but still, the prompting is needed.

I remind myself, this is their training ground. When they grow up and move out, they will learn they will need to be their own boss in order to keep their homes tidy. I also try to remember that I was a child once, too, who didn’t like to remember to do her chores.

So, we work through math, which, with 7 children, takes all morning. We didn’t even finish my eleven year old’s lesson because it was simply too long for one day. So, we will finish it up tomorrow.

So I make a quick lunch of eggs and toast and some of the children go downstairs to play. I start to think ahead to dinner with dread. I’ve never been good at menu making, despite all the wonderful tools available. Tonight two of my girls have dance class and it falls right at dinner time. It’s always difficult to juggle.

It’s not long before a fight breaks out downstairs and I hear yelling, screaming, and crying. I sigh deep. Why can’t my children see the value of their relationship over such trite issues? Oh, right. They’re just children. So, I send the offenders to their beds so they can both calm down and regroup.

For the next hour the children kind of scatter and tend to their own interests. One is drawing with chalk pastels, another writing a book about firefighters, a few playing dolls, one working on a Word Search. Then it’s time for quiet time. One hour for the children to read in their beds and for me to write.

Some days this hour goes smoothly and other days there is more correcting than time that is actually quiet. Today is a mix. This time allows everyone a little space to breathe again, including me.

After we conclude quiet time, everyone wants a snack and then a few children want to pull out the chalk pastels. For the older children, this activity is great! For my four year old, not so much. He makes quite a mess! But, I let him indulge anyways.

I still don’t know what we’re doing about dinner. While the children are engaged again, I sit down and do some VA (virtual assistant) work for a couple clients. Then we prepare to leave for dance. We have to leave by 5pm and won’t return until about 7pm.

As I’m driving home from dance, I’m still mulling over in my head what we’re going to do for dinner. We have some frozen chicken patties and tater tots I can put in the oven. Easy peasy and everyone’s full.

The children do their evening chores and routine and are in bed by 8:30pm. Today is one of those rare days I feel like collapsing. Maybe it’s because the two weeks prior of sickness throughout the family finally caught up to me.

I put my husbands dinner in the oven and work on some more VA work. Then we turn on Netflix and complete our night vegging. We actually head to bed early this night; 10:30pm. I drift off wondering if this is the way I want to live the rest of my life. (Yes, I am a thinker).

Do I really want to go through each day with the tunnel vision of merely checking things off my list and schedule? How can I truly make the most of this life? How can I be more eternally minded? I admit, my time in the Word has been sorely lacking. Why is it so hard to open it again after it’s been some time? It feels like repelling magnetic fields; a tug between my flesh and my spirit.

No two days are exactly alike, but that’s what this particular day looked like.

Animal Learning Homeschool Activities

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Kids Animal Activities

This is a sponsored post. I was given a free packet to explore and compensated for this post. All opinions are my own.

Animal Learning

My seven-year old is quite fond of animals. Several of my children have taken more than an interest in animals, but he may just take the cake.

He takes great care of many stuffed animals; giraffe’s mainly, but also a french bulldog and a bull terrier. He jumps at the chance to learn new things about animals.

He was so excited to receive his Junior Explorers packet in the mail and get started right away! So we laid everything out to get a good look at what was included.

Animal Learning

Kids Animal Activities

He received:

  • An Activity Book
  • Animal Stickers
  • Animal Tattoos
  • Animal Fact Cards
  • Animal Postcards
  • A bracelet
  • A pin/badge
  • A Sheet of Facts

Also included was a mission code to be entered into the iPad app. Inside the app, he learned about animals from the arctic. His mission was to find mother polar bear that went missing from her cubs. Along the way he would learn different facts about the arctic and view photos. He went through different facts and played some fun games in between.

Science Learning

Educational Kids Games

I love the hands on aspect of it as well as the digital side because it offers some variety in his learning. It helps him to transition from one thing to the other while still maintaining the topic. It’s not just one or the other, it’s both. It also has something called “Mission Giveback initiative, where he can give back at the end of each mission.

Each month, Junior Explorers sends out a new kit with a new mission to explore. It’s set up as a subscription so they automatically arrive each month. It’s specifically designed for elementary aged children and is a wonderful way to introduce or supplement studies with characters Kia and Kyle.

They learn about ecosystems; the Arctic, the Amazon, and the Serengeti as well as the animals that live there. As they work through and complete each mission, they earn points that can be converted to dollars for the Mission Giveback Initiative. They can choose a non-profit to donate, supporting a conservation. What a wonderfully tangible way to learn!

The goal of Junior Explorers is to help connect kids to the planet through these missions in order to teach them about wildlife and nature.

As you can see, he is one happy (and cheeky) boy! And you will be, too!



Junior Explorers is offering 50% off your first month using code HS50. Woot!

Be sure to follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and/or Google+.

Paradigm Accelerated Curriculum for Independent Learners

(This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure.)

Raising Independent Learners

The first several years I homeschooled, I believed it was my job to be alongside my child, teaching and sitting alongside my children the whole time they worked. While this may be true for young children, generally speaking, it can eventually cause more harm than good to constantly be over the shoulder of your children as they work.

What does it mean to learn independently? Does that mean there is no parental involvement, instruction, or direction? Absolutely not. As a mom who struggled with feeling at peace with allowing my child to learn without me (because I thought it was my JOB to hover), I’d like to pass on what I’ve learned and how I am continuing to teach my children independent learning.

My job as my children’s sole educator isn’t merely teacher but also facilitator, encourager, and challengerWhile I need to teach certain concepts and offer instructions, my ultimate goal is to encourage my children to seek out the answers to their questions rather than handing them the answers.

For example, when a child asks me how to spell a word, rather than give them the answer, I offer a dictionary. The first few times may warrant instructions on how to use the dictionary, but after that, they become masters at looking up words.

Children who take it upon themselves to research a time period that interests them, who write a story that’s burning inside of them, or utilize discipline to get through a difficult math lesson, even when it’s not their favorite thing to do, are on track for independent learning.

Here are 3 things you can do to help your children become independent learners:

Begin with simple lessons that have only 1 or 2 directions.

If you’re just beginning to ease your child into learning independently, start small. Don’t overwhelm them with half a dozen instructions and expect them to remember or understand everything yet. Start small. Offer a lesson with 1 or 2 simple instructions to follow, without you hovering over their shoulder as they work. 

You could give them a sheet or line of copy work and tell them to make sure they capitalize the letter at the beginning of the sentence and use a period at the end. That’s it.

Don’t hand out answers.

When your child asks you questions that can be found by looking up the answer, don’t freely hand them the answer. This does quite the opposite of teaching them to grow into learning on their own.

Always Follow Up.

Always follow up with your child’s work. Everyone needs accountability and it’s important we check in regularly to make sure they are on track and continue to move forward.

Our children still need to be challenged to go the extra mile and stretch themselves.

Here are 3 benefits to teaching your children to learn independently:

1.  Allows them to think for themselves.

Sometimes we as parents tend to do much of the work of thinking for our children. We don’t train them to do the work of thinking themselves so it can actually handicap them as they grow into adults. But, intentionally raising an independent learner and training them to ask questions of their own work and purposefully seeking out the answers trains them for life.

2. Helps them understand learning is constant. 

As your children take on more and more independence in their learning, they realize there are no boundaries to when learning can take place. It doesn’t have to happen Monday thru Friday between the hours of 9am and 2pm. It happens whenever there’s a spark to know and understand something new.

3. It gives them ownership. 

Once they’ve integrated into independent learning, they can go where their curiosity leads them and as parents, we can help by providing the resources they need to accomplish that.

Paradigm Accelerated Curriculum

{This post is sponsored. I received the product free in exchange for this paid review. All opinions are my own.}

This is why we enjoy programs such as Paradigm Accelerated Curriculum.

My eldest daughter has been utilizing the Character and Skills for Home and Career  as she grows interested in the different aspects the course has to offer.

She’s learning:

  • How to Build a Shed
  • How to Manage Money to Buy a Home (and many things involved with that)
  • Basic home electrical
  • Plumbing

PAC CurriculumAs a mother homeschooling seven children, I love the independent nature of the Paradigm Accelerated Curriculum course. Aside from minor questions or clarifications on vocabulary words, my daughter has worked on her own, at her own pace throughout this course. In fact, she surprised me when she started telling me how two-way switches work and pointing out we had several in our own home!

We are pretty eclectic when it comes to curriculum and we like to change things up to keep learning fresh, focused, and fun. I think workbook based curriculums definitely have their place, especially in my home. Several of my children love this type of work.

Paradigm Accelerated Curriculum is designed to be better than the average textbook. It combines left brain (reading) and right brain (visual) stimuli in order to offer a well-rounded comprehension of the material.

My daughter loves how this course is set up in story form. As a writer, this definitely held her attention and helped her understand the concepts more clearly. We both love that it teaches from real-life scenarios.

The course includes some quizzes with multiple choice questions and while she has worked through these, I have also asked her to explain what she’s learned in her own words. This helps me see how well she understands the material.

The Paradigm Accelerated Curriculum courses come in digital and print form and currently they are in the process of incorporating QR Codes into their courses to allow students access to extra content through their smartphones. How fun is that?!

Highlights of What Paradigm Accelerated Curriculum Includes

PAC Review

  • Texts
  • Activities
  • Teacher’s Resource Kit
  • QR Codes for further content via smartphones (coming soon!)


Paradigm Accelerated Curriculum offers 40% off for homeschool groups (with a $1000 minimum purchase) and for single parents.

They also offer 20% off for ministry and military families, farmers and ranchers, as well as first responders and foster parents.

If you qualify for either of these discounts, be sure to call Paradigm at 325-649-0976 for the coupon code to use during the checkout process.

I think this is a really good program and definitely recommend it for families who work well with workbooks, and independent learning.

Don’t forget to follow Paradigm Accelerated Curriculum on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and/or YouTube.

When Homeschooling Doesn’t Fit Your Mold

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When Homeschooling Doesn't Fit Your Mold

The Initial Picture

When I first began homeschooling back in 2004, I had the ideal picture in my head. I also had only 2 children, one of whom was actually doing any sort of “school work” by the age of 3.

In addition, my first born was (is) a very eager learner and quickly punched through any workbook I placed in front of her. So, by the time she turned 6, we switched to something more robust and challenging: Tapestry of Grace. She rose to the occasion.

Coming up behind her was her younger brother and a one year old tornado. Thankfully she started off as a rather independent learner.

The Reality of Our Days

Today, I often have younger children running around in the background as I try to teach my older children. They don’t stay engaged very long, and when they do, they make a rather large mess by the end of teaching my lesson.

There are just some things I cannot control and I have to be OK with. As someone who came from public schools, it’s all I have to go off of on how “school” is supposed to look and it has taken a long time for those walls to come down and learn that learning can be done in more than one way.

So, having said all that, the ideal I had in my head to teach my children the same things, at the same time, from the same curriculum just doesn’t happen. My children have different needs, learn at different levels, and with different methods. That makes for a rather interesting day of school!

No two days look a like around here, despite my carefully planned out schedule.  The schedule simply cannot account for a child “not in the mood” to do their lessons, a child who gets sick, tired children who’ve had a long weekend, or distracted children. I mean, really, the list can go on. And with seven children, it’s rare we have a smooth day of school.

I think it’s important, in order to set ourselves and our children up for success, to accept the fact that our expectations may be too high and to take things as they come. That’s not to say we shouldn’t plan, but the plans will get messed up and we can’t just throw our hands up when that happens. We simply need to adjust ourselves to that reality and work from that place.

Today, I am getting over a cold that has knocked me down these last couple of days. I am still not feeling 100% myself, therefore I can not perform optimally. In addition, I have not yet been to my friends to pick up our next set of books for the next unit in our Tapestry studies. In light of this, I am adjusting our week accordingly.

Thankfully, we just made a great library visit over the weekend, so the children have plenty of new, good quality books to dig into. And because I’m still lacking energy from being sick, I am only focusing on the most important things today. For example, since we aren’t leaving the house today, I am not enforcing everyone to get dressed. We can declare today a “pajama day”.

On top of all that, reading aloud is often a nightmare because I am always telling someone to “Shhhh”. Math consistently puts someone in tears. (Including me at times). Writing, my own favorite subject, is a subject I struggle to teach–especially at varying levels.

Bad attitudes are a norm (I know, they shouldn’t be, but I can only encourage good attitudes, not force them). Despite the fact that I’ve created a schedule and chore chart for each child, I am constantly telling them what they are supposed to be doing.

The sooner I accept the fact that homeschooling isn’t perfect because people aren’t perfect, the smoother our days will go.

Homeschooling isn’t meant to look perfect, it’s meant to serve a purpose, and that purpose will be defined by each family.

For more imperfect homeschool days, visit the iHomeschool Network bloggers.



How I Homeschool and Work At Home

(This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure.)

Working from home is a hot topic among moms.

Many moms want to work from home, but don’t know where to start. Others don’t know how work-at-home moms manage to work at home, homeschool, and tend to the house.

I want to share what I do to give you an idea of how we make it work for our family. It has taken many trial-and-error periods to find something that works well for us, but we have settled into a fairly workable groove.

Simplified Homeschool

We are year-round homeschoolers, which helps alleviate a lot of stress trying to pack it all in.

Because of this, we do not do every single subject everyday. I have broken down our lessons to focus on 4 subjects a day. This allows us to study each subject more thoroughly and not feel like we need to rush through them to get to the next one. In addition, it allows my children to pursue their interests because they in fact have time to.

When it comes to homeschooling, I have learned that is less is more. I have tried the Classical Education approach and while it’s a fine method, it just doesn’t work for our family dynamic. So I went back to my first love: Charlotte Mason.

Another thing that I am working toward is helping my children become independent learners. Having seven children at varying age levels can definitely stretch me when I don’t empower my them to work on their own, they don’t pursue their own studies.

My two youngest still require my full attention for lessons, so I spend about an hour in the morning with them. And then throughout the morning I offer help where the other children need it. They each have an assignment sheet they work from. Then I spend another hour working with my two Ghanaian girls as they continue to strengthen their English and reading comprehension skills.

Work Schedule

One of my greatest challenges of working at home is I don’t have any real set hours. I plug in when I can and work. I’ll do some in the morning, in the afternoon, and at night when the children are in bed. This actually proves to be quite stressful because often when I’m homeschooling or cleaning, I have tasks in the back of my head for clients that I also need to accomplish. So I am currently working through this dilemma.

Since most of our lessons are complete by lunch time, I am considering using the afternoon as my work hours while the children pursue their creative outlets and interests. I just bought a new planner that I am looking forward to digging into for my work related tasks.

So my goal is to work in the afternoon and free up my mornings to focus better on homeschooling and cleaning, and free up my evening to focus on time with my husband.

Sometimes I work Saturdays if we don’t otherwise have plans.

While tasks are getting done, having a more streamlined schedule will help free my mind of stressful clutter.

Work at Home Myths

I think in order for one to see the workings of a family with a work at home mom, one has to let go of some of the myths surrounding working from home.

For example, homeschooling doesn’t take all day — even with seven children.

Because I have seven children, there are lots of hands to help with cleaning, so I am not doing that alone. I wasn’t always in a season where I had older children, so it’s not uncommon for work at home moms with smaller children to let some cleaning slide until the weekend.

I do not work full time hours. I work 2-4 hours per day. Obviously my work as a mom is still work and fills the remainder of my hours. But as far as writing for my blog and working tasks for other bloggers, it’s about 2-4 hours per day.

Hopefully this gives you a fair picture of my days. I have a more extensive version of being a blogger and stay at home mom in my eBook, Blog at Home Mom.

What burning questions do you have? :)

P.S. In case you haven’t heard the news yet, Joyful Mothering will be merging into this site by the new year. I will also be shutting down my Joyful Mothering Facebook page and utilizing this one. So be sure to like it to stay up to date on news and receive encouragement via Facebook.

The Life of a Homeschool Mom of Many

(This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure.)

31 Days 2014

Day 1 – Celebrating 14 Years of Marriage

Day 2 – When Unexpected News Clouds the Day

Day 3 – The Day My Alarm Failed

Day 4 – Mommy Work Day

Day 5 – Saturdays

Day 6 – Sunday’s Are For Rest

Day 7 – Distract of the Dog

Day 8 – Terrible Tuesday

Day 9 & 10- Last Full Day

Day 11 & 12 – Family Workout Weekend

Day 13 – Chicken Breast Parmesan Bake

So, starting tomorrow (Wednesday, October 1), I will be sharing my raw life as a homeschooling mom of many for 31 days. My hope is to give people a realistic picture of what being a homeschool mom of many children really looks like.

Believe me when I say I have the ideal in my head, but reality doesn’t always play out that way. I have our schedule and our lesson plans but this isn’t just about homeschooling.

Homeschooling takes up a large (very large) chunk of my day. But I am also a work at home mom and I have to make time for my clients as well. If you don’t work at home, don’t let that discourage you from following along. I do not work full time hours. My working hours simply replace some of my own free time. I really enjoy what I do, so I don’t necessarily consider it “work”.

So, here is how I am going to set my posts up so they don’t feel all over the place.

I will do a few hour by hour posts throughout the month.

I am going to try and focus on a theme each day. However, if a theme fails to really present itself, I will just write about our day.

It will be a journal of sorts, and I will get personal into my own heart and struggles and write them publicly.

I will write in *almost* real time. What you read on a given day will be words from the day before. So I have not pre-written these posts for the month. I will write them as each day comes and goes.

Today is my 14th wedding anniversary, so tomorrow’s post will reflect what we did today as a family. I can tell you right now that I’ve canceled our lessons for the day in order to celebrate. :D

I will use my own photos as much as possible to offer a realistic picture rather than a stock image.

I will not worry about word count. Some posts will be longer than others and others may be short and sweet. They will ebb and flow with life within these 31 days.

You may find me sharing tips and recipes I use throughout the month as well. I honestly have no set plans or goals which is probably a huge no-no! Ha ha! I just want to write and be helpful where I can. But I will do my best to present the days in a way that will be helpful for you and easy to read.

October offers me a unique opportunity to share my experience at the Allume Conference–so I will be leaving my family for 4 days. Something I only do once a year.

So…here we go!

Oh and be sure to get your ticket for the Homemaking From Scratch conference coming up October 7th-9th. If you purchase your ticket before the conference dates, you’ll get over $200 of homemaking resources FREE. I will be speaking on Biblical Motherhood. Would love for you to join us! Click below for a full spread of topics, speakers, and the free resources.


Online Writing Course {Giveaway!}

(This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure.)

Fortuigence Writing Course

Online Writing Course – Fortuigence

This is a sponsored review, which means I was given free access to a writing course from Fortuigence and paid for my time and to share my experience. You can read my full disclosure here.

I am becoming more and more fond of online learning when it’s a high quality, student focused program. Fortuigence is one of those programs. It has allowed my 12-year daughter to work on a writing piece throughout the summer with very little help from me–and when you have seven children, this is super wonderful!

I felt very confident that my daughter was learning well and receiving great feedback and I would periodically check her work and was very pleased with her instructor’s feedback.

For each lesson she would

  • Watch a video which contained the lesson
  • Read the instructions following the video
  • Worked through the assignment
  • Emailed her work to her instructor
  • Received feedback within a week

The instructor, Miss Lily, was very timely in her responses and never faulted my daughter if she had to miss a few weeks, such as during our move or our trip to Ghana when we picked up our adopted daughters. She just picked up where she left off. This is very typical of our homeschool days. We ebb and flow with life as needed.

Miss Lily was very attentive and worked one-on-one with my daughter, to show her areas of improvement and praise her for good work. She couldn’t move on to the next step until the current one was mastered. I loved that. There was no rush, there was no pressure. It allowed my daughter to excel in her writing as well as feel confident in her abilities, despite her needed improvements.

Fortuigence Review 2Fortuigence review

Improve Writing Skills

As my daughter continues through her middle school years, I want to help her continue to excel in her writing, be challenged, and really hone her writing skills. She already has a love for writing, so getting her to write is not difficult.

Having help with a solid, trusted, online program is truly a gift for busy homeschool moms. We don’t have to do it all and I think that recognizing that fact is truly freeing. In addition, it’s good to allow my children to experience being taught from someone other than myself.

Essay Rock Star Writing Courses

There are several classes offered through Fortuigence. They include:

Essay Rock Star

Essay Rock Star: The Personal Statement

Essay Rock Star: The Persuasive Essay

Essay Rock Star: The Expository Essay

Essay Rock Star: The Textual Analysis

You can learn more about these courses on their website.

My daughter did The Textual Analysis and it has been a wonderful {new} experience for her.

Summer Special


Connect with Fortuigence:

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One winner will receive their choice of an Essay Rock Star short course; you can find the courses here.

Giveaway ends August 22 at 11pm EST.

Entry in the contest means that you agree to be added to the Fortuigence mailing list. You can unsubscribe at any time.

The Disciplined Homeschool Mom

(This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure.)

5 Disciplines for a Successful Homeschool Year

I haven’t been as disciplined as I should be in our homeschooling. I created paths of bad habits throughout our adoption process due to the stress levels. Too often I have allowed free days, and while I don’t think it’s tragic to get away with when my children are young, they are getting older. My eldest is 12 and adding our two daughters has boosted the need for order and discipline.

One thing I need to remember is how privileged we are to be able to homeschool in this country, and the last thing I want to do is take it for granted.

It’s important for homeschool moms to be disciplined so they get the most from their time and offer the most to their children. I know some people don’t do well on schedules, but even a loose one is better than nothing. And to some degree, we all follow a routine of sorts.

A schedule doesn’t need to be wound so tight that it makes everyone cranky. It simply needs to offer direction and help you get things done, everyday.

I am really looking forward to the upcoming year, and have 3 weeks before we begin to plan out our first quarter (squee!).

So, what disciplines are good to brush up on? Maybe you can relate?

The Disciplined Homeschool Mom:

1. Has a Vision
If I do not know where we are headed, I will get nowhere–and neither will my children. It’s really important for a family to know why they are headed somewhere and how they are going to get there. What does God want for your children? Above all else, it is to trust in Him and follow Him. How can we accomplish that through homeschooling? How does God want academics used for His glory?

2. Plans and Prepares
In addition to having that vision, I need to plan and prepare my way there. I also need to leave some wiggle room for flexibility. All of this planning is in vain, however, if it is not done with much prayer and direction from God. What is the best way for my family to reach its destination? Furthermore, each homeschool week and day needs to be well planned and prepared ahead of time. The last thing I want to do is be fumbling for supplies or making copies in the middle of a lesson.

3. Prays Regularly
Praying is a non-negotiable. I don’t have room for excuses on why I am not meeting with God in prayer daily, especially in the morning hours, before our day begins. I absolutely need His strength, His direction, and His wisdom every single day and the only way to receive those is if I go to Him and ask for them. Each day offers new challenges and new horizons that will need new direction, wisdom, and certainly strength.

4. Follows a Routine and Schedule
It is vital my children are in a routine and know what to expect. It offers them a sense of security and direction, just as it does me. It also ensures we are accomplishing certain things every single day. A routine solidifies our eating and sleeping schedule. But our schedule keeps us on track doing such things as daily, weekly, and monthly chores as well as regular lessons. Everyone knows when we do what and knows where they should be and what they should be doing.

5. Avoids Detours and Distractions
This is a huge one for me — especially when it comes to the Internet and social media! Laptop needs to be shut, social media and email notifications turned off and my attention needs to be fully on my children as we go through our lessons. One distraction could literally disrupt an entire day! And if I consistently allow that to happen, we will never complete a full day of lessons. That is definitely a problem and cannot be allowed.

What about you? What discipline do you most need to work on? What can you add to this list? It’s definitely not exhaustive, and each mom will have her own need.

Recommended Resource:


Early Reader Chapter Books

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Early Reader Chapter Books

Our daughters arrived home from Ghana two weeks ago and I have been trying to gauge their reading levels and see where they can best jump in. Since they know quite a bit of English, they read at a greater level than I expected. However, I am still trying to feel out their reading comprehension.

I decided to compile a list of early reader chapter books to help me get started. These range from very early readers to your middle-of-the-road readers–if I had to put a grade level on the list, I’d say first to fourth grade. But these books range in age anywhere from 5 years old to 12 years old.

These books are great for having your child read aloud to you and reading aloud to your child. So, even if your child reads at a first grade level, you can still read them a book listed in the third or fourth grade level. This will help build vocabulary and offer some great mom-child time! I don’t think children at home can ever be too old to be read aloud to, especially in a family setting.

Early Reader Chapter Books

Keep the Lights Burning, Abbie

Sarah, Plain and Tall

Magic Tree House {Series} – There are dozens of books in this series. They teach all kinds of history and science.

Amelia Bedelia {Series}

Fancy Nancy {Series}

Ling and Ting {Series}

The {Original} Boxcar Children {Series}

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

The Trumpet of the Swan

The Cricket in Time Square

The Little House in the Big Woods {Series}

The Hardy Boys {Series}

Mr. Popper’s Penguins

American Girl {Series} There are dozens of these books. The older ones are the best!

The Indian in the Cupboard {Series}

Pippi Longstocking {Series}

Charlotte’s Web

Stuart Little

So, if you’re in need of a starting point for early reader chapter books, hopefully this list will point you in the right direction!

What books would you add to this list? Leave a comment below.

Looking for a list of early reader chapter books? Here's one to get you started!

Homeschool Curriculum: Social Studies

(This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure.)

I was compensated for this my time and received a free curriculum. All opinions are mine. Please read my full disclosure here.

Homeschool Curriculum

Homeschool Curriculum

Pearson Homeschool has some great bundles in various subjects. We’re working through Social Studies right now.

Social Studies hasn’t been something we have studied formally, from a book, in our homeschool until now. It has been a good experience so far, as my almost 6 year old daughter is learning some new things about community and responsibility as a member of society.

The first lesson was so great and she really took interest in what the children on the DVD had to say about “cooperation”. (And seriously, they were so cute!)

It’s funny now, listening to my daughter use the word, “cooperation” after learning its meaning. (Makes her sound so grown up, even if it is a little misused!)

For example, the other day she was trying to convince her younger brother that he needed to “cooperate” with her in order to get her room clean. I looked at her with my eyebrow raised and she said, “What? Cooperate  means ‘to work together’!” I couldn’t deny that and I just chuckled to myself.

Pearson Homeschool

Pearson Homeschool

The Pearson Social Studies First Grade curriculum  teaches children about

  • rules
  • responsibility
  • leaders
  • our government
  • our country symbols
  • jobs
  • maps & globes
  • land & water
  • environment
  • culture
  • time & history
  • American heroes
  • and so much more!

It helps young children understand some of the foundations of what make up our society. In many cases, our children already experience much of what’s taught, however, this program really helps to put it into context for my daughter.

Pearson Homeschool.png
I love how the workbook encourages critical thinking skills and creativity.

While life experiences are great for learning, sometimes it’s good to learn how to avoid mistakes before making them, too. Teaching children about money management, even in its simplest form, is a great start in learning money management skills the right way before learning the hard way.

Some children need to see it written down for it to really click. (I was that kind of child and have grown into that kind of adult). ;)

One of the things I love about this program is some of the illustrations are things I wouldn’t have thought of to help my child better understand certain concepts. Such as envisioning how orange juice makes it to the grocery store shelf. Unless my child asked me straightforward, I wouldn’t have thought to illustrate how the juice gets there in the first place.

For all she knows it’s just always there! She doesn’t realize, without being taught, that it starts off with oranges on a tree. Maybe it seems an obvious thing to teach, but as adults it can be easy to forget the obvious! Things we know but just don’t think much of.

The photographs in the workbook are all from real life, which I love because it shows my daughter these ideas are real. Cartoon illustrations, in this case, would only confuse what’s real, I think. So I really appreciated that detail.

Overall, the program is very well put together. We are really enjoying it together and she is learning more about how life around her works, right here in her community.

This program comes with the teacher’s guide on a CD-R as well as a DVD to watch videos with each unit.

Pearson also offers enVision Math Bundles, MCP Plaid Phonics Bundles, and Interactive Science Bundles,

Visit Pearson Homeschool to get 25% off any K-6 myWorld Social Studies Bundle (or the aforementioned) through August 15th, using promo code BLG25.  To see all the grade levels of this Social Studies Curriculum, click one below:


First Grade

Second Grade

Third Grade

Fourth Grade

Fifth Grade

Sixth Grade