Homeschool Resource List

I am entering into my fourth year of official homeschool. While still a fairly new member to this world, I have learned a lot in the past few years and I love to share what I have learned!  I know how time consuming it can be to attempt to sift through the many resources and all of the information that is out there. If I can make that easier for you, then yay!

First of all, there is not one perfect curriculum and even if you use something once, you are not stuck with it forever. Each family, child, and circumstance is unique. That being said, I am going to share what has worked for our family specifically, as well as some more general resources that we love and that are full of many options for families!

1. Beautiful Feet Books

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I first discovered BFB while attending the owner, Rea Berg’s, Literature Soiree. The way she spoke about history as story, the interesting stories she knew, the way she spoke of literature immediately drew me in. I was finally able to purchase some of her books and curriculum this past year and immediately fell in love. BFB focuses on living history, which means NO TEXTBOOKS, but informational books told in story format that leave you longing to know more! They reprint out of print, classic, and unique literature from around the world. Truly a diverse and meaningful selection.

(I am an affiliate for BFB, so if you use my link and make a purchase, I receive commission to bless my family).

2.Home and Haven Community
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This resource began as an instagram community. A place to share ideas and inspiration. From there, it added on a monthly subscription full of printables, articles, and more. I write for the newsletter quite often and was even part of their online conference.  This fall, they will be offering seasonal bundles, which would be SO fun for kids. Celebrating the seasons as part of our schooling is something I want to get better at! We have the freedom to do it, so why not?! These bundles will definitely help me in that area!

(I am an affiliate for HHC, so if you use my link and make a purchase, I receive commission to bless my family).

3. My Father’s World

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I will be starting my fourth year with MFW in the fall and can honestly say I have loved it. All-in-one curriculum isn’t for everyone, but this company is truly a gem. MFW is Bible based, Charlotte Mason inspired curriculum. You will eventually need to add in some language (you can use their language studies) and math (they have recommendations, but the history, bible, science, etc. is all included. What I love about this is that a schedule is set our for you (follow or change as you like) and everything is connected. This means, the poems, art, scripture, etc. relate to the history and science studies as you go, providing a very cohesive curriculum. Also, they provide excellent and thorough book lists!

4.Right Start Math

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I have only used RS for one year so far. It works very well for one daughter and is a little more difficult for another. However, the child that is struggling jumped right into level B as she was older. I think this curriculum works best if you start at Level A and build from there. It is a lot of money up front, but then you are pretty much set . . . forever. HA! I have found the teaching in it to be excellent and I love the use of manipulatives and games. It is more time intensive since it is not merely worksheets, but I am trusting that it is worth it. To be honest, math is my least favorite subject, but I am enjoying the process of learning with my kids. One of my friends is actually a Right Start Math Tutor! Another program I hear good things about is Math U See.

5. The Peaceful Press

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I used their curriculum with my firstborn and we had a lot of fun. It could be a great introduction into the world of homeschool. I have heard Jennifer Pepito speak and I really appreciate all she says and shares. She has numerous studies available now, so check them out.

6. Read Aloud Revival

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A wonderful resource for book lists and more!

7. Wild and Free

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Homeschool conference, podcast, book, subscription, and online inspiration!

I hope this list is helpful!  You can follow me @bloom.wild.schoolhouse on instagram for more recommendations!

Simple Christmas List for Mama

I love Christmas, but I don’t like clutter.  I always try to think of meaningful gifts that I actually need or truly want. I try to consider the purpose of each item and if I have a place for it in my home.  I have created a list of links to items I believe to be beautiful or useful in the home of any mama! Most of these items are on my own list this year!

(If you use the links, it will generate Christmas money for our family).

1. For all that podcast listening.

2. For comfort around the home

3. For Mother Culture.

Pair with Kristin Roger’s Nature Journaling Course

4. For baking.

5. For all those Farmer’s Markets.

6. To feed the masses.

Just an Hour

Every Friday.  Rain or Shine. We spend one hour with Daddy on his lunch break.

Just an hour?  It might not seem like much.  What could we possibly accomplish in that time other than hitting up a local playground? You’d be surprised.

I could tell you about the many places we’ve visited.  The time we were surrounded by monarchs, found a hidden swing, discovered a tree fort, came across a snake, collected Sand Dollars, or even visited a museum. But, that would take too long and only give you a taste.  Today, I’m going to bring you along and show you what “just an hour” can really mean.

Daddy hopped into the van at about 11:45 on a Friday and we were off.  It was one of those February days where the temps were nearing 80 and the fog was nowhere to be seen.  We took the main through town into Montana de Oro Sate Park.

Within minutes, our eyes were tempted by the deep blue waters of the Pacific, glittering against pristine dunes. The mountains on our left loomed up over groves of Eucalyptus and an abundance of local plant life.  We pulled to the side of the road beneath a tunnel of Eucalyptus and unloaded the kids.

The smell of the Eucalyptus was more calming that any essential oil diffuser on the market. We headed down the dirt path, passing sticks and rocks and leaves that called out to the kids, begging closer observation. Up a short hill, we took a detour to the left and walked between bushes that towered above our heads, giving the feel of a magical pathway to an unknown land.

Eager and excited the girls raced ahead as the roar of the sea pounded louder in our ears. Then, sand beneath our feet and foamy splashes against the rocks.  We were there.

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Hazard Canyon.

It isn’t as dangerous as the name sounds. In fact, it is delightful.

We hugged the cliffs since the tide was high and balanced over rocks until we reached the perfect spot. Views of the Morro Monolith drew our gaze to the north, but the rugged coastline pulled us southward as well.

Our barefoot kids took off immediately and scampered up a sandy cliff to their favorite natural slide.  A sandy crevice in the cliffs above.  Over and over the reached their small summit and then plummeted down filled with giggles.  Rocks and shells enticed the more still members of the family and the tumultuous sea was our soundtrack.

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After about thirty minutes we gave the call.  Time to head back.  Shoes were carried rather than worn as we said goodbye to the unhindered view of the horizon and trudged up a hill of sand to a cypress shaded path.  To the left, a large fort made from branches enticed us to return soon.  A few minutes later we were back at the car and everyone was happily munching a snack in their seat as we drove back into reality.

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Soon we were again in the world of stoplights and drive through Starbucks’.

But, for “just” and hour, we had been in a magical land. The six of us, the sea, and the sky. We emerged refreshed, inspired, and laden with beach treasures.

It is amazing what can be discovered in just an hour.

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SLOCAL – Easy Adventuring

I grew up in a much larger town than San Luis Obispo. My hometown was surrounded by mountains and nature.

However, most of my outdoor experience was during family road trips and vacations to heavy hitter National Parks such as Yosemite, Zion, Glacier, Rainier, Olympic, and more.

That sense of adventure and love of nature was instilled early and often with those trips, but it was not part of my daily lifestyle. While I know there was nature available, it wasn’t as easily accessible as it is on the central coast where I live now.

Longer distances and drives that would have dissuaded a mom of littles from venturing out for a hike or beach trip are extremely easy in this small town region.  With four children ages five and under, you would assume my days of adventuring are limited.  Rather, I find myself constantly increasing our time exploring.

Here’s why. It’s easy. You can drive a mere ten minutes and find yourself in a nature wonderland that feels miles away from civilization.  We can head out to magical woods, pristine beaches, or mountain views and be back in time for naps.

This accessibility makes it possible for moms to adventure with their littles on any average weekday.

From our home, we can walk or drive to the bottom of Bishop’s peak where there are rocks to climb, a pond to explore, and views for miles. Grab a pizza from Blaze or some SLODOCO treats and make it a picnic near the Peak.

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A short drive to Cal Poly for a walk through the Arboretum, a hike through Poly Canyon, a visit to the many farm animals, or even an afternoon of picking fresh produce. On your way home, grab some burgers from the Cal Poly Meat department to grill up at home.

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Load up the kids and drive out to Montana de Oro where you can practically drive onto the beach at Spooner’s Cove.  The same is true for Pasadena park in Los Osos where you will often have the sand to yourself with no need to carry the kids across a busy parking lot.  Plus, there is a secret climbing tree. Don’t have time to make dinner after your afternoon of adventures? Noi’s in Baywood has a swing for the kids while you grab takeout.

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These short jaunts are easy on mama and a thrill for the kids.  Mama gets a break without hours of effort and the kids get to expend all that abundant energy. Win-Win.

If you’re feeling the urge to get out and play, don’t stress.  Look for some inviting green space on Google maps and head out the door.  Chances are, you’ll find an adventure and still be back in an hour or two.

While I love these easy adventures, there are times when I still crave a full day of exploring. The weekends allow us to expand our travel and search out new destinations or longer hikes. Not all hikes are family friendly, but many can be modified to accommodate little ones. If not, it isn’t hard to locate a hike that will satisfy adults and kids.

Take a drive up Highway 1 and you’ll find numerous flat bluff hikes near the quaint town of Cayucos. Sparkling waters, dancing waves, and the salty perfume of the air will refresh you. Add a quick antique shop in town and pick up some Taco Temple to refuel on the way home.

A little further, Cambria boasts the expansive Fiscalini Ranch Preserve. The many trails that intertwine from mountain to sea can be customized. Traverse wind-swept hillsides with views of the sea, pass through wooded areas and hang a hammock in an epic tree, or stroll the bluff boardwalk. Follow up the hike with a visit to Main Street Grill and a surprise stop at the Sweet Offerings candy store. Pick up some bath salts at Spellbound herbs to help you unwind once those tired little hikers are asleep for the night.

Whichever direction you head, there is plenty to explore from mainstream trails to hidden nooks, well-known tourist stops and local secret spots. The beauty of the area is there for the taking. Soak it in.

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#soSLOCAL

Easy Kitchen Chair Update

We have gone through a number of table and chair combos in our kitchen during our six years of marriage.

We started with an old $25 garage sale table that I had from living on my own.  We moved from there to a pretty round pedestal farmhouse style table.  After that, we had a darling free-from-someone’s-driveway corner bench and table set-up.

Finally, we have a simple rectangular farmhouse style table.  The chairs were exactly what I wanted shape wise (they are square with legs that are straight up and down rather than angled outward (allows you to push them in further, thus saving space). However, the seats were a rattan style.  This is horrific with toddlers!  Food and play-doh smashed on . . . almost impossible to clean!

So, an upgrade was in order.  I literally have one photo for you because I am fancy and professional like that.  But, you guys, this is so easy!

 

MATERIALS:

Oilcloth

Wood (cut to correct size of seat)

Foam

Staple Gun

DIRECTIONS:

  1. The hardest part is cutting the seats.  We used scrap wood we had on hand and my husband has a saw, so he was able to measure and cut four seat bottoms for the chairs (the rattan ones simply lifted out).
  2. Measure the foam and cut to the same size as each seat bottom. (I bought one rectangular piece of foam from Beverly’s for about $10.
  3. Measure the oilcloth wider than the seat, so you will have enough to wrap around to the back.  Oilcloth is about $10 a yard and I think I only used about 2 yards and had extra leftover for recovering my kids’ metal folding chairs.
  4. Staple the oil cloth to the seat.  Fit into the chair opening and wa-la!  New easy-to-clean seats!

I love this upgrade because it really freshened up the seats, made them easier to clean, and added some fun design to the kitchen.

We can’t always afford fancy upgrades and we have no space for a big beautiful table, but we try our best to be stewards of what we have and this was one way to take our $50 craigslist table and beautify it as well as make it more practical for our family!

HOPE #5

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Wildflowers.  They spring up unexpectedly and sometimes in the most unlikely places: our weedy front yard, freeway onramps, dry creek beds.

Seemingly, out of nothing they spring. But, that isn’t really true.  They are rooted, watered, and given life by our creator.

We recently took our girls to see a bit of the California Super Bloom that everyone is talking about.  Carpets of wildflowers brightening up dry fields and pastures.  A sea of purples, whites and yellows. All grown by God.

What hope there is in the wildflower.  That something so beautiful can grow from nothing, but the will of the Lord.  So, too, are our lives.  Whether you are in a desert place or in a fertile garden, you can grow and God can do beautiful things in your life.

Don’t limit yourself to your circumstances.  God is bigger than them.

 

Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases. psalm 115:3

 

 

Spring Decorating on a Dime

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Hello friends!

It is Spring!

I don’t know about you, but I love welcoming each new season.  I love the idea of decorating my home to feel like the season.

However, this is not always an option due to finances and resources.  I gaze longingly at the tulips at Trader Joe’s, but resist (most of the time) because I know that a mere$4 per week will still add up to a lot.

I have found some easy ways to decorate my home for the changing seasons without spending much money or time! For example, we have a chalkboard in our family room and I used the above photo as a guide to create a spring scene!

Head over to Raising Homemakers to read more about how I decorated for Spring on a Dime.

Small Space Thriving #2

Small spaces.

Some people love them and there is even a major tiny home movement that is becoming all the rage!  In fact, we love watching episodes of Tiny Luxury and other Tiny Home shows.

However, there are also many home shows that feature couples viewing 2,000 square foot homes and referring to them as “small”.

It really depends on the person, I suppose, and probably a lot on what they are accustomed to.

So, what do I LOVE about living in a small space?  Yes, I said “love”.  Not tolerate.  Not appreciate. LOVE.

Of course there are challenges and things that I really don’t enjoy, but I am going to focus on the benefits!

  1. Easy access:  It is usually fairly quick and simple to find anything I need.  I don’t have to go far or reach far for much!
  2. Child safety: There are no stairs, and minimal rooms my children can be in.  They are never far from me and thus we have avoided many of those issues where a child has sneakily destroyed some part of the home! Ha!
  3. Cleaning: I already feel that housework is difficult to keep up with, so I can only imagine how this would be magnified in a larger home.  My cleaning responsibilities are much smaller, which frees me up to do other tasks.
  4. Freedom: Similar to the child safety benefits, I can give my children freedom when they play.  I can hear them from any room in the house.  Now that my older two are almost 5 and 3, I can send them in the yard and hear them from the kitchen/see them from the family room.  Thus, they can play freely, while I tidy up inside or sit on the couch to to my Bible study.
  5. Organization: You would maybe think this would be a difficulty rather than something I love, but being in a small space has forced us to analyze everything we have and how we store everything we have. The extreme organization has freed up a lot of time and removed a lot of stress from our lives.
  6. More outdoor time: Because the space is small, we take full advantage of our yard, which is a wonderful size.  We eat outside when the weather is nice. We have outdoor pets instead of indoor ones.  We keep a small garden.  We have many outdoor activities for the kids: bikes, mud kitchen, sand box, rock wall (to be installed), playhouse, etc.
  7. Tight Knit family:  We are always together.  We can not escape one another, ha ha!  This is one of the reasons why, if we are able to move someday, I do not want an overly large home.  I love that we can be in the same space and be close to each other, even when we are doing different activities!

Take Your Chores Outdoors

Happy first day of Spring!

We are expecting rain this week, but I don’t care: It’s Spring!

My girls and I have been enjoying hours upon hours of outdoor time and, surprisingly, I still feel as though I am keeping up on housework and getting many projects completed!

I compiled some of my tips for getting work done while outdoors and posted them over at Raising Homemakers.

I love having my kids spend as much time outside as possible, but there are still responsibilities and tasks to be completed. I have found a few ways to have the best of both worlds.

I hope this tips are helpful.  Do you have any to add?

 

Raising Homemakers