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Some people think the key to a successful homeschool year is in the “right” curriculum. Some think it’s by finding the right schedule. And some think you’re not really meant to thrive in homeschooling but just survive it.

I believe you can not only have a successful and thriving homeschool journey, but can also have joy and fun in the process! But how do you unlock this? The key comes by implementing this one thing into those areas…

Simplicity

I believe this is the key to most all of our homeschooling problems. It starts by simplifying three different areas: your schedule, your curriculum and your expectations.

Your Schedule

Maybe you love planning out every 30 minutes of your day and you really thrive on that. Or maybe you don’t like having a planned day at all. Or if you’re like me, you fall in the middle of those two. I have tried planning out every 30 minutes and each kids schedule times to do things; and I failed epically (I mean terribly and only kept up with it for a day!) because it was too complicated. I got so stressed out if I fell behind by tending to a toddlers tantrums or a child that decided to take 2 hours doing one math lesson (please tell me I’m not the only one with that problem some days?). I have also tried the whole “go with the flow of the day” and not planned anything. Then I found nothing really ever got done because I had no plan or idea what we needed to get done. I got distracted by all the housework I needed to do and my kiddos got frustrated because they didn’t know what the end marker was for school.

I think we need to have a middle ground. To simplify and be realistic. I have found that creating a block schedule for our day has really helped us stay on track. It gives direction to truly get done what needs to happen in our day but it gives the grace of 2-3 hours for you to do it.

I also started simply writing down in a notebook all that I needed to do in our group subjects each day and individual subjects the that I need to help each kid with. All 3 of my older kiddos now have a $1 notebook from Walmart that each day has written out what they need to do. To keep them accountable and keep mom on track. I’ve used other peoples and created my own cutie lesson plans and things to do, but once again I found when I simplify that’s when the relief came and I was able to keep up with it.

Your Curriculum

There are so many amazing curriculums out there, however, so many of them (especially when you are juggling multiple kids) make homeschooling complicated and stressful. Lists of 20 books to read for history, multiple workbooks for Language Art study (a spelling book, phonics book, vocabulary book, grammar book and writing book), science that has words as the teacher I can barely pronounce and science experiments that look intimating to just read the directions for! Plus the science kit that cost more than the science book and student book put together! And this is just for one kid! Times that by five and this mom is never going to get a break and going to give up by week 2 of school.

By simplifying curriculum and focusing on the things you want to have in your homeschooling day, you will find freedom and joy in your days. Do you want to focus on reading a lot of books? Or would you rather set a small goal and then if you pass it you can add more, but if you don’t it’s all good too! Do you want to include art by painting and sketching? Or by doing coloring pages? Do you want to have everyone together for main subjects like bible, history, science and art? Then look for curriculums that help you achieve your goals and purpose you have in homeschooling. Be realistic too. If you’re not a crafty mom, don’t go to the curriculum that has a ton of projects and crafts. And if you’re an artistic mom, don’t go for the curriculum that is super structured and doesn’t have any artistic style flowing through it.

Focus on the main subjects first. In our day we focus on all our group subjects first, if I wait til the end of the day they won’t happen as I will run out of energy. So I’ve looked at what is important for our family. We start with bible, then move to history/science and then to math as a group so I can move about with each kid as needed. I have five kids and need as much as possible to be in group formed so that I’m not stretched too thin. This is going to dictate what curriculum we use and sift through a lot of the things that will or will not work for our family.

By knowing these things and what’s important to our family, I can focus on what matters and simplify those areas.

Your Expectations

This is an important one. Let go of your unrealistic expectation, sweet mom. Stop looking at instagram and thinking everyone else is doing it better than you. If you’re in the season of littles, enjoy that season and work school around it. Don’t put so much on yourself and your kids that you loose the joy of learning in the process. If you have all older kids, enjoy those moments with them. Create those memories of read alouds for your children as they listen to your voice tell a dramatic story. And memories that you can store away in your heart, for when they are older. Let go of the expectations that you have to be a perfect homeschool mom or that you’re kids have to be genius. It just adds unneeded pressure on you and your child. Slow down and enjoy this life God has blessed you with, and the child He has given you.

You know that question, “If you could tell your younger self something, what would it be?” I would say, “Simplify, Erin”. Stop trying to do a strict schedule that won’t work because it’s not you. Stop trying to do curriculums that “looks” like so much fun but is so much work and isn’t realistic in these years with raising littles and having five kids. And to stop beating myself up because I’m comparing myself with what I “think” the perfect homeschool day looks like. But finding instead what works for my family and embracing the unique homeschool journey us. Focus on what matters. Get rid of what doesn’t.

Let’s get rid of the complicated and embrace simplicity. Are you with me? πŸ™‚

February 24, 2020
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Do you ever feel like school is dragging on through the winter? That you wished you didn’t have so much school work during the holidays? Longing to enjoy your summers more, even though you may be doing school year round? It maybe a bit unconventional, but I believe I stumbled on how to solve all those questions!

When we started homeschooling my plan was to do it all year round. I liked having the flexibly and the freedom to take off when we needed to without “fear” we’d get behind schedule. So our first few years of homeschooling, we started the typical school year time in September. Then about two years ago for some different reasons, we start in January. And what am amazing difference it made! We now have no interested in every turning back! Not only has it helped our school year be more successful, but we enjoy our homeschool year and the freedom it brings.

If you started your homeschool year in January here are the things you will have to look forward to. πŸ™‚

  • You’ll start in January with a fresh slate and a new year ahead of you, instead of hitting the dreaded February and feeling ready to be done with your school year or tired of subjects.
  • In most places, you’re already stuck inside so it’s a great time to buckle down and get into your new subjects. You’re then able to get into a good routine before spring hits, instead of being the other way around and tempted to skip school because it’s such a beautiful fall day or week to be outside.
  • By the time spring/summer hits, you should be through a large portion of your school. How we do it is that once the weather gets nice, we take it week by week in our school schedule. For example, on Saturday or Sunday I will look ahead to the coming week and see if it’s going to be rainy or a beautiful week; then we plan school around that. If it’s a rainy day we do school and if it’s a beautiful week we will take off and do play dates at the park and spend a lot of time outside.
  • BUT the thing I love most of all about start in January, is that by the time Thanksgiving and Christmas come we are through most of our subjects and each child only has one or two things left to finish. Which means no stressing over school through the holidays! (can I get an amen for that? ;)) We don’t have to worry about making sure we get our full school load done in the midst of the craziness of the holidays. And instead can just enjoy!

There is something so refreshing and exciting about the start to a new year. And I love that we get to start it off with new curriculum and vision for our school year, instead of going back to the old.

If you have any questions that I may have missed, feel free to leave them down below and I’ll be happy to answer them! πŸ™‚ And if you are not signed up to come to the event January 23rd, be sure to do that are we are going to be digging into so many practical tools to help you thrive in homeschooling plus you get to hang out with other homeschooling moms in the same season and look through curriculum from some amazing companies up close!

May you have a wonderful start to your new year!

Erin

December 31, 2019
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What an amazing time we had at our first event in October! We had around 30 women who gathered for community and encouragement that evening. It was incredible to see so many who didn’t know each other, stay talking for quite a while afterwards and find friends to walk through this homeschooling journey with. Being reminded throughout the evening, that they aren’t in this alone.

We got the opportunity to talk about so many subjects from homeschooling with littles and how to keep your house from falling apart while homeschooling. To how to write a transcript and homeschooling through the high school years. So thankful for all the people who came and hearing so many stories!

Not the best quality of a picture and missing a few women, but thankful to have this picture and reminder of a wonderful evening!

Counting down the days til our next event in January! And love the community that I pray will continue to grow through these events!

December 10, 2019

Have you ever been in those places where God pushes you out of your comfort zone by given you a dream that is bigger than yourself? You’re terrified, yet excited to take that step. But everything that awaits is unknown.

That is were I have been for quite a few months. The Lord began putting this stirring and dream of a community of homeschooling moms who came together from all different backgrounds and ways of homeschooling. For the purpose of building each other up, sharing about their struggles, talking about the moments they love in these child raising years and coming away knowing that they weren’t alone in homeschooling. I made a comment to my husband that I wished that there was a homeschool convention here in town or something bigger that was done where you could go and learn and connect with more people and people could ask questions about things that they were struggling with or wanting advice on. And in his true visionary personality he says, “Why don’t you do something then?”

Anyone that knows me knows that I am an introvert and the idea of starting something terrifies me. I enjoy being behind the scenes and doing things one on one with people. But this desire in my heart continued to stir of wondering what that would look like. More importantly, was this something that God was stirring inside me?

I put it on the back burner and didn’t think much about it. However, as the weeks went on it seemed like every time I turned around I was being connected with some person about homeschooling, and coming along side a mom to be a coach so they would feel confident in their homeschooling journeys.

And the dream continued to grow…

“What if…”

So with my husband’s continued spurring on, a sweet friend’s encouragement and the confidence that this was God’s timing with it all, I took the first step… and then another… and have been absolutely blown away and humbled at how the Lord continues to open doors.

What are those steps you may be asking?

One step has been to create a bi-yearly event where homeschooling moms and those who are interested in homeschooling, can come together, ask questions and grow. Where they leave feeling encouraged, confident and equipped in their homeschooling journeys. And where most importantly they don’t feel the overwhelming feeling of isolation that sometimes homeschooling brings. So if you are in the area and have seen the flyer, I hope that you join us on October 3rd for a night to connect with other moms and be handed tools to help equip you to have an amazing school year.

Our next event is slated to be held mid-January, specifically on homeschool curriculum. Asking the questions of: How do you pick a curriculum? What do you look for? Do you have to do everything as it says? How do you balance multiply age levels? And much more. I am beyond excited to see what God does with these!

The second big dream, which to me was just an idea but again with my visionary husband, and the guidance of our big God, is slowly becoming a reality. The dream? To create an online magazine for homeschooling moms, but at the same time that could be for any mom who has kids at home. Something that encourages them spiritually, gives practical advice and provides ideas for resources. So here we go! Simply following the lead of my God, with the encouragement of those around me, we’re going to see this dream become reality, and I hope you’ll be a part of it.

For so long, I’ve known that my passion for homeschooling and coming along side moms was something the Lord had put in my heart to do. Now seeing what He is doing through that is humbling, exciting and makes me so nervous all in one! πŸ™‚

If you want you can subscribe or follow us on instagram as we start on this journey and on October 1st as we release the first issue of the magazine!! πŸ™‚

Remember, we’re better together. Let’s get going.

September 8, 2019
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Slow down and just be in the moment.

Take in the small things…the mundane tasks and eager little faces that greet you throughout the day. Find joy in the everyday moments. The smiling face of a little boy covered in oatmeal…the excitement of your son who once hated school, now sitting with eagerness…your daughter with her vivid imagination telling a story that her and the rest of the kids are acting out…the hugs and kisses to another little boy who tripped and hurt his knee…and your oldest just wanting to be near her mama throughout the day so while cleaning the kitchen she just sits and reads so that she can be by you.

Take in those moments. Those moments of a short prayer with your husband before you part ways. The morning snuggles and words of “I choose you today” whispered before your feet have touched the floor. The blessing of doing life together each day with the love of your life and best friend.

Breathe deep… of the little girls giggling when their suppose to be asleep. The moments when you see something has finally clicked for a child. The joy that feels your heart when they embrace the love of reading and you all go to the library and hit your max of books you can check out.

Rest…in the peace of God knowing He will give you everything you need for the day. That homeschooling is not a race but a journey.

Just be in the moment…don’t worry about running to grab the camera to capture it. Take it in and imprint it on your heart before it’s gone. Some moment are no one else but your own.

Stop running…remember the blessings when chaos overwhelms. Each day is a gift…each breathe a choice to be thankful or look at the hardships.

Life is full of the mundane and everything moments, so choose joy in them.

February 24, 2020
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In homeschooling or just parenting in general, it’s so hard to navigate what’s good for your kids to read. Especially, if you have a child who loves to read and devours books! It’s difficult to know if the books they just got in their stack from the library or as a present has content that you want your kids putting before their eyes. For our family, I want our kids to read books that have solid morals and that the characters talk in a way that’s honoring to one another. That they would be books that are pure, lovely, true and all the things that God wants us to dwell on. But sifting through books trying to find that is very hard! And to make it a bit more challenging, my girls read faster than I can keep up!

That is way I am beyond grateful for the book list The Good and The Beautiful put out because they do all the hard work for you!! This list is amazing!!! If there is a must have for all parents, whether you homeschool or not it is this book list. They write in there the different levels, moral merit, literacy merit, educational value PLUS they give you an except of what the book is about. I am totally serious that I love this list SO much!

About a week before I downloaded this, my oldest had been given a bunch of chapter books by someone that was fictional stories about horses (which she is obsessed with). I had never heard of the series and from the cover and back excerpts they looked good and seemed to be fine. After downloading this book list and then the book lists for the books that didn’t make the list download (which is separate and you have to email for it, but definitely encourage that one as well!), I saw that it was on that list and the reasons why. I am SO grateful that I had these list to help me and then encourage her in ones that are more wholesome and beautiful literature. It’s also got ideas for Christmas books too (I just used it to request a bunch from the library to read during our morning time :))!

The best part too is that this book list is FREE right now!!! Seriously, I’m slow to promote something but this you will not regret downloading and will be such a help in navigating books for your children, teenagers or read aloud for you to read to your family.

Download here!

 

December 6, 2018
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My husband recently preached a sermon series that really was incredible (I know I’m probably a little bias but others also said it was awesome! #proudwife ;)). The main point he made throughout it was:

“We fail because we quit too soon”. 

That really hit me as I replayed my past. I have quit on so many things in my life. Growing up, I never really stuck with anything and I regret that a lot. Because of that, I have carried it into adulthood now. I fail because I get tired, doubt myself, loss motivation, get bored with it, don’t plan well or just don’t have a good direction set. But my choices and not sticking through with things not only affects me but my husband, my kids and those around me. I realized so much of it has to do with my lack of confidence in myself and my choices. I doubt myself and my abilities, whether it’s my research that I’ve done or my intelligence to be able to do it. Instead of just pressing through, I back out or jump to the easy route. Instead of being steadfast, I waver. Instead of trusting and keeping my focus on God, I get distracted by the waves and start sinking. Then I somehow wonder why I’m sinking or overwhelmed, when I’ve taken my eyes off the One who gives me that solid ground to walk on.

Sometimes I fail at things because it’s just not the right season and sometimes I fail because I just stopped trying.

Now that the Lord has showed me this though, what am I going to do with the knowledge? Am I going to keep running lacking confidence? Or am I going to change my course I’ve been on and instead run with confidence and pushing through even when things get hard. Practically speaking, when my kids whine or refuse to do their chores, am I going to keep at it even when its easier to sometimes do them myself? When I get off track on meal planning and cleaning, am I going to push it off for another day to figure it out? When my toddler is pushing limits and I’m exhausted and don’t want to deal with anymore discipling, am I going to correct or “pretend” I didn’t see and go look at something on my phone? These are the obstacles I have in my races. Everyones looks different but it all comes down to running well and not quitting even in what seems to be something small.

Running in a way to win the race and not quit before the end.

Don’t you know that the runners in a stadium all race, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way to win the prize.  Now everyone who competes exercises self-control in everything. However, they do it to receive a crown that will fade away, but we a crown that will never fade away.  Therefore I do not run like one who runs aimlessly or box like one beating the air. Instead, I discipline my body and bring it under strict control, so that after preaching to others, I myself will not be disqualified.” 1 Corinthians 9:24-27

 

How is my self control? Am I just beating the air or running aimlessly? We have just one life. One race to run. How do I want to run it? Do I want to be distracted by all the other around me running and how they’re running? This doesn’t mean I can’t glean knowledge from others and their experiences. Or encourage others in their running of the race. Instead it’s me not comparing myself to other people or doubting my confidence in the course I’m on. We are each different and have different situations. But we all add to the body of Christ in a beautiful way.

I have confidence and assurance knowing that, in my God there is no shadow of turning. He can bring consistency in my inconsistency. Thank you, God, for that!

December 6, 2018
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