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Gina’s Laundry & Storage Room Organization (Part 1)

I’m so glad that I have been able to meet Gina and work with her! We had a home consult last month where we walked through her house, and she told me her story and what she needed from me. She lost her daughter almost six years ago and now that her son has also moved out, they are basically empty-nesters. She’s now ready for a refresh in her home, and it’s time to move some things that have been in the same spot for the last six years since Carmen died.

I knew that working with Gina could potentially be a really hard process emotionally, so I suggested we start with something “easy” that didn’t feel so taxing emotionally. We started in the laundry room and a storage room off of it. I absolutely LOVE it when a client’s space already has amazing cabinets and shelves to work with. It makes my job really easy!

We basically moved out most of Tyler and Carmen’s memorabilia for the time being. I actually ended up with some empty boxes and some extra shelf space so the might eventually be able to sort through those boxes and bring them back into the space, but for now, my goal was to make these spaces functional for them, more than anything else.

I sorted and categorized everything, thought about how they would best use things, asked questions, changed things, and I think we found a way to make it all work.

Gina has been a pleasure to work with! I’m so proud of her for the progress she’s already made with parting with some things, and I really hope she enjoys her new space!

#RideForCarmen
#BeKind #HelpAStranger #HaveAGodlyAttitude

Let’s Check out the Before and After’s of Gina’s new space!

This is what you see when you first walk into Gina’s back door. We cleared this counter top, emptied the cabinets and drawers, reorganized everything, and we even made use of the vertical space she has above the cabinets, but now it’s functional storage that’s also appealing to the eye.

Before
After

 

 

 

Before
Before

These are the upper cabinets in this space. I corralled many of the smart item groupings in these clear, acrylic bins. It’s so nice to be able to see at a glance what you have and what you may be running low on with these. We also gave Gina two bins for her “Fragrances”. I wish you could smell the inside of this cabinet because every time I opened it, it smelled AMAZING!

We tried a few different things for the laundry and cleaning products, but this is basically the “back-stock” of extra supplies so instead of containing them in bins, we left them lined on the shelves.

The “Laundry Box” on the top shelf holds all of the smaller laundry-related items like clothespins, patches, safety pins, etc.

These are the “Junk Drawers”. Yall know we all have ’em! But now you can see exactly what you’re looking for and easily find what you need!

Before
Before
After
After
Before
Before

These are the lower cabinets which we organized into bins of cleaning supplies, separated by category. There’s also a couple bins for electronics.

After

 

 

 

 

Women’s Worship Nite

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2021 Yearly Goals

Alright. 2021 is here, and I’m finally sitting down to type out this post. I penned it several days ago, but it’s been a busy and fulfilling week for me. It was a post-holiday week / homeschool break week, and I used it to catch up on some home projects of decluttering and some work tasks.

If you didn’t hear, those work tasks I’m referring to were The Plan Your Purposeful Year Webinar AND the Plan Your Purposeful Life Online Course which has been in the works for what seems like forever, but it’s really only been a little over a year. Haha. 2020, you guys. It was a doozy!

Anyway, the doors to the online course are now open and will remain open through January 8th at the Founding Members’ Price. There’s also a Special Bonus Offer if you sign up THIS WEEKEND through Sunday, and I’ll send you the entire download of the Deluxe Purposeful Life Planner to use with your course registration OR you can take $20 off any Physical Planner from my shop if you’d rather do that option. Get signed up while the bonuses are available, and the price is low!

Okay, so now that the announcements are all out of the way – Let’s talk New Year’s Resolutions or Yearly Goals for 2021! I shared last week (or maybe the week prior) about my Word Choice for 2021, and it was, honestly, not a word I would’ve ever imagined myself choosing. But when it came to my mind after seeing a post on Instagram, I KNEW it was the perfect choice. It’s a good word, you guys. Like a REALLY GOOD WORD. It’s actually one of the top words in the history of all the words ever to be spoken. And I don’t know what 2021 has in store, but I do know that I want this word to be my top pursuit above all things, and I know that it also means I’ll probably need this word more than anything else as well.

It could mean that there is a hard year ahead. I really don’t know, you guys. But I have been the one to shy away from challenges and hardships, as I’m sure we all have. And in the end, it doesn’t really matter what I choose anyway. God is sovereign and He ALWAYS uses those things for good anyway, so it ends up being worth it in the end.

No, we’d never intentionally choose struggles and hardship…
but the lessons we learn from them?
The growth and maturity that can only happen once we’ve gone through those things and persevered through them? Priceless. Worth it.

And so, yes, whatever God has in store for my 2021… to teach me, to grow me, to mature me… I want it.

EVEN IF it’s hard. And those are really really hard words to type out. It’s almost like a superstition or something, but I don’t really believe in those anyway so it’s all good.

Alright, so if you haven’t already clicked over to see my Word of the Year Choice for 2021, go ahead and do that first. Then, meet me back here. Read that post here.

So if you know me and you’ve followed me any length of time, you know that my yearly goals aren’t going to be a simple list of a few good ideas. I used to do that, sure… and I did an okay job of reaching some of them from time to time.

But Nope. I’m done with those. I am a purposeful person. God has spent the last several years inspiring me and teaching me, and I’m not letting any of that go to waste. I want to use every thing He’s given me. All of the tools I’ve found. All of the the resources I’ve stumbled across. I want to steward this life well. The Time that I have. The way I spend me days. Yes, all of it. I want to LOVE LIFE. I want to actually like my life, and the blessings in it. I want to notice the good things, appreciate what I have, and be present for all the things that really matter to me. In fact that was last year’s word and focus…. Immerse. It was the perfect word choice for 2020, and you can go read all about that here.

This list is going to be broken down into mini goals and action steps, because I believe that’s how you actually make things happen. It’s not just a list of good ideas…but it’s the strategies to follow  through and actually find success in these goals. That’s the way I do it. I don’t set them and forget them. I come back to them and review them often. I set goals seasonally, monthly, weekly, and even check things off daily to make sure I’m on track. No, every day is not perfect. Certainly not. There were SO MANY DAYS that I didn’t even open my planner this year! 2020 – what a year to design a planner?! Haha! It’s so funny to me looking back, but I’m still proud of it, and it’s been my most helpful tool!

When I start my purposeful days with a to do list which stems from the yearly goals I’ve set, my life vision, and the things I prioritize the most… that’s how I find success in reaching my goals. I’d love to prove this to you, too. Today, I’m sharing my goals and strategies for 2021. I’m going to be working on a 2020 Goals post to update you on how the year actually went for me and what goals I was able to find success in and reach…. despite this doozy of year that it was. That’s coming soon. Stay tuned!

But without further, ado.. here they are – my 2021 yearly goals! 

#1 (Spiritual Goals) – Connect more with Christ.

Connect was one of those words that I was considering for my Word of the Year. It’s one that I felt challenged by, so I knew that it would probably appear somewhere in my yearly goals as well, and I was right about that.

I used something from my Quiet Time over the past couple weeks to form a list of focus areas for the first few months this year for this goal.

Mini Goal 1 – Focus on Prayer in January.

Obviously I already know how to pray, but I just want to focus on this, specifically, for the month of January as I seek to Connect More with Christ. It’s a great place to start!

Ideas:
1. Prayer List
2. Prayer Journaling (I’m going to use a journal I received for Christmas for this, I think. I know it may sound strange, but I’m going to set a timer for this, and journal a quick prayer for 1 minute. Then, every day I want to add 1% to that. So by the end of the year that’s 365% better, and if I did my math correctly (which I probably didn’t… haha), I should be able to journal and pray for a little over twenty minutes.
3. Habit Tracking my Purposeful Prayer Time – Using Daily Habit Tracking Page & The Habit Tracker on my Weekly Page in my Planner

Mini Goal 2 – Focus on Daily Bible Reading in February.

I already have a Quiet Time habit established, but I’ve been reading through a devotional recently, so my plan is to get back into my Bible reading plan during February.

Ideas:
1. Reading Plan – Mostly Likely I’ll continue where I left off with the Bible Recap in 2020 because I didn’t completely finish it with other studies and plans I did in between.
2. Habit Tracking and Goal-Setting my Daily Bible Reading – This will be noted on my Daily Planning Page and Weekly Page as well as tracked with my Daily Habit Tracking Page.
3. Note-taking on what God speaks to me or what I learn using the Quiet Time Purposeful Quiet Time Pages

Mini Goal 3 – Rely Constantly on the Holy Spirit.
(Currently, I’m planning for this to. be my focus for March.)

Ideas:
1. Do a study on this.
2. Prayer Language
3. Practice Listening / Being Still

This is what I have planned for now, but these could change as time grows closer.
I’m sure I’ll also have more to add to these. It’s still months away. 

Mini Goal 4 – Be an Obedient Christian. (Possibly the focus for April?)

Mini Goal 5 – Be a Witnessing Christian. (Possibly the focus for May?)

Mini Goal 6 – Be a Wholesome Christian. (Possibly the focus for June?)

 

#2 (Relationship Goals) – Connect more with my family.

Mini Goal 1 – Pray for and with them. (See how this lines up with my first goal also?)

Ideas:
1. At Bedtime
2. Spontaneously
3. Journaled Prayers 

Mini Goal 2 – Be intentional on their “Birth” Days each month.

Ideas:
1. Make their favorite foods.
2. Go on a date with them.
3. Play or do something they like to do with them. 

Mini Goal 3 – Adventure Challenge

Mini Goal 4 – Seasonal Family Adventures or Outings

Ideas:
1. Aquarium
2. Water Park
3. Zoo
4. Pumpkin Patch
5. Christmas Tree Farm 

#3 (Ministry & Outreach Goals) – Connect with others.

Mini Goal 1 – Lead a small group.

Mini Goal 2 – Have someone (probably another mama and her kids) over to the house during our HomeSchool Break Weeks and/or once a month.

Mini Goal 3 – Reach out to extended family members.

Ideas:
1. Ask “How are you?” but in different ways
2. Send texts, photos, food, etc.
3. Visit as much as possible. 

Mini Goal 4 – Connect with people in my business.

#4 (Personal Development Goals / Leisure / Work Goals all lumped into One) Be. Belong. Breathe.

Be. Be who I am. Know that I am enough. Be still. Belong. There is a space specifically for me. Breathe. I am not a failure. Do what I love. Be happy. Love my life. Appreciate all the little moments and blessings.

Ideas:
1. Gratitude.
2. Observations
3. Journaling
4. Notice “the manna” in my life
5. Connect with my feelings
6. Affirmations
7. Read good books, including 2 fiction choices this year. (Make a reading list.)
8. Wellness Check-ins

#5 (Home/Environment Goals) – Cultivate our Dream Home.

Right now, this is it. Declutter. Organize. Make it homey. Decorate. Be creative. Love it. Be proud of it. Take care of it. Use it for God’s glory. Finish some design plans and ideas as our budget allows for it.

Mini Goal 1 – Finish the Master Bedroom Decor.

Ideas:
1. Rug
2. Accent Pillows
3. Artword
4. Small Decor Pieces
5. Jewelry Organizer
6. New Hamper Basket 

Mini Goal 2 – Finish the Master Bath.

Ideas:
1. Wallpaper
2. Paint the closet
3. Peg Hooks
4. New Shower Curtain
5. New Towels

Mini Goal 3 – Check off some other things in the Home Design Plan as the Budget Allows for It.

Ideas:
1. Family Photos on the Walls
2. New Living Room Furniture (Maybe?!) 
3. Barstools
4. Gray Table Cloth
5. Candle Sticks for Dining Room
6. Outdoor Furniture
7. Grill
8. Office Chair
9. Rug for Office
10. Rug for Sunroom

#6 (Health / Wellness Goals) – Push towards health.

Be intent on doing “what healthy people do”. Aim for fitness. Strive for strength. Pursue wellness in all aspects.

Ideas:
1. Workout. (Plan after Plan… Line them up, because that’s what works for me right now.)
2. Log Meals. Just be mindful and balanced. If you can’t log it, don’t eat it.
3. Look into “Eat More to Weigh Less”.
4. Build muscle and strength.
5. Go back to Crossfit Classes at some point this year.
6. Drink water. 

#7 (Work Goals) Teach. Develop. Share.

I don’t really have mini goals for this one just yet, and I don’t know that I’ll share them publicly when I do. This is my goals that I set for my business, my social media, my blog, my podcast, my online course, and anything else that will fall into this “Work” Category for me. I find purpose in it. I find fulfillment, and it’s just an ongoing category that I will continue to work in.

I just want to remember and remind myself that I have something that people need. I need to put it out there and make it available to them. There’s always a tendency in me to not feel like I know enough or feel like what I have is good enough. I guess we all do this to an extent, but it causes me to delay and put things off when I need to just do them. 😉

#8 (Financial Goals) Follow the map we’ve made of our Financial Plans.

Our goals in this area will pretty much stay the same as they have been. I recently turned over our finances to let my husband run them for our family. That was a big deal because it’s always been something that I’ve liked having control over. It’s been a learning process because we use different systems and methods, but I was finding it overwhelming, both mentally and emotionally. I needed to relieve some of that pressure I was feeling. I feel so much freer now, letting him make those calls and decisions. I feel like he’s doing an excellent job, which sometimes means saying “No”, but that’s okay. It’s good because I had a hard time making those tough calls sometimes. I struggled to say ‘No’, and then I struggled to re-adjust after we’d spent too much in one category or another.

Mini Goal 1 – Work our monthly budget and continue to work to steward our finances well.

Mini Goal 2 – Pay off debts. (Our more Long-Term Goal in this area is to be debt-free in 2023.)

Mini Goal 3 – Eliminate excess and unnecessary spending.

Mini Goal 4 – Continue our Christmas Sinking Fund.

Mini Goal 5 – Begin Sinking Funds for additional categories this year.

And there you have it. Eight areas that I’ve set goals in. Mini Goals and Ideas to go along with each one. I know this may seem way too detailed and overwhelming to some, but it’s the whole process of thinking through a goal and how I’m actually going to accomplish it. That’s what makes this whole thing work for me. I keep coming back to these things again and again throughout my year, and I DO REACH MY GOALS. It is amazing to see the goals and resolutions that I’ve set over the years and how I’ve reached them. This process works. It’s proven. If I can do it, I promise you can do it too, and I would absolutely LOVE TO HELP YOU!

2021 Word of the Year Reveal

Well, you guys… I’ve been thinking through my Word of the Year for 2021. Usually, I have my word by now. Some years, God has pressed it upon my heart as early as October, usually mid November for sure. But this year? Nothing. I looked up some inspiration for popular word choices, and I made a list of several that jumped out to me.

I defined each one, looked at synonyms, even looked up scriptures that might align with them. Usually, I have a word and a scripture that goes along with it too. Not this year.

This year, my process has been a little challenging. I just haven’t felt any clear direction on which word to choose. I had three words (Be, Breathe, and Belong) that I was kind of leaning towards for a week or so. But then, I felt that these were words that wouldn’t really challenge me in any way. Not that I always need to be challenged, but I didn’t feel settled. I had a couple other options come to me, words that would take me out of my comfort zone a bit and give me a direction of study and for goal-setting… Those words were Feel and Connect, two things that I often find difficult… but are pretty important in life. I think these might be two words that I do come back to with my goal-setting this year.

But then I stumbled upon a graphic a friend shared on Instagram, and it hit me like a ton of bricks. Yes. This. This is going to be my word. It trumps all other words that I could’ve chosen. It challenges me. It gives me perspective. It’s where it all should start and end anyway.

I can’t tell you anything about what 2021 will hold. I don’t know if it will be any better than 2020 or if things will get worse. I just know that I know where I want my focus to be… and that’s Jesus. I’m sure I’ll share more about this as I’m inspired, as I’m planning and goal-setting, and as the year goes on. But this right now is all I know… Jesus. Just Jesus.

Vision Series

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about Vision… why it’s important, how to write it out, and how having a big vision can help us to be more purposeful in life.

Vision – the ability to think about or plan the future with imagination or wisdom; a mental image of what the future will or could be like; a vivid mental image, especially a fanciful one of the future

Do you think it’s important to have a Big Life Vision, or is it something you’d rather not even think about? If i’m being honest, which I always try my best to do here, I would tell you that although I consider myself a big dreamer and LOVE to think about the future and what I want to accomplish in life… other times – those big, lofty things are just daunting to me… they sometimes seem impossible, and I begin to ask “What is the point?”

Well, I’ll tell you the point. The point is that if you have NO vision, you are living a very purposeless life. That’s something I definitely don’t want to do.

Proverbs 29:18 says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.”

If I were to stop there, I could easily read into scripture and think what I wanted that “the vision” is all about me and whatever hopes, goals, and desires I have for myself in life. It would be all good, all positive, and there would be absolutely no hardships or effort involved. I would just wake up one day, and life would be grand.

However, as I study this verse a little deeper and read it in different versions, I can gain more clarity from it. I did that, and I’m going to just share a summary of the different versions I read for you here…

When we have no vision…
When we have no revelation of God and His word…
When we don’t have guidance from God…
When we have no word from God, no prophecy…
When we can’t see what God is doing…
When there is no message from God…
Where there is no understanding of the Word of the Lord…

…then…

….we perish.
…we are unrestrained.
…we get out of control.
…we have no law and order.
…we stumble all over ourselves.
…we do whatever we want to.

And those things are no good. So you see, we NEED vision. But not just any vision. We need to ask God to reveal HIS vision to us, and pray that our desires and our hearts would line up with that vision.

I’d like to explore this idea of having a Big Life Vision more with you, but I want to also make sure that I do it in the right order. We can’t just write out the vision without God’s help. We can’t do this in our own efforts, or it just won’t work. (Ask me how I know that.)

So, let’s put things back in order…

1. Delight yourself in the Lord.
2. Truly seek to obey Him in whatever you do.
3. See that your heart’s desires line up with His plans and purposes for you.
4. Watch him bless you abundantly, even more than you could think or imagine.

This will also be the order in which I’ll share my thoughts on this topic of Vision….
First, we’ll talk about what it means to delight ourselves in the Lord. We’re going to get back to the basics here, and I’m going to give you a challenge for the week on how we can do that.

We’ll discuss Obedience… why our plans fail sometimes, how it sometimes falls on us, and what we can do to change that so that we’re ready and obedient to God, no matter what.

We’ll talk about how we can actually write out our Big Life Visions… visions that line up with God’s plans for us. I’ll share with you some steps for doing this, and I hope to share with you some of the vision that God has placed on my heart as well.

We’ll wrap up there, but I hope to also be able to share with you, ongoing, how God is blessing me and my family abundantly… and I would LOVE to hear how he’s blessing you abundantly too!

 

Christmas 2020… let’s do this!

Alright. It’s here. The Christmas holiday season. If you haven’t already been jamming out to Christmas music and decorating, then you’re behind. 😉

Just Kidding. You are perfectly fine to celebrate your holidays one at a time like we all used to do… but let’s not judge the rest of us who needed Christmas spirit a little early… mmkay?

So if you’re not ready to talk Christmas, it’s perfectly fine to come back and read this later, but you all know – I’m a planner. Christmas has been on my mind for months. Christmas shopping began MONTHS ago. I’m not completely finished, but let me just say that I’m so glad I do it this way.

Here are some things that have changed the past few years of doing Christmas purposefully for us…

Two years ago was the first Christmas we actually set a Christmas Budget… Well, actually it was less of a budget and more of just tracking what we actually spent on things. That’s always a good first step anyway. We’ve always had a pretty minimal Christmas, just because it’s what our income allows. So, for that year, we just cash flowed our Christmas in with our regular budget and made it work somehow. I’m pretty sure we still had a credit card bill to pay off in January.

Last year, we actually did have a Christmas Budget. We sold a vehicle, so Justin gave me the $1,000 to use for Christmas. It was so freeing to know that I could spend money on gifts and things we needed and it wasn’t digging in to our household budget. And we didn’t have a credit card bill to pay off in January this year. Praise the Lord.

This is the year we got smart. Having an actual Christmas Budget was NICE! I knew I wanted to repeat that experience…. but we had to have a plan to make it happen.

I’ve been learning about Sinking Funds for a few years, but we didn’t have the “extra” in our budget to allow for it in the past. God has just always provided for everything we have ever needed, and we are not lacking. But this is the year we did start a Christmas Sinking Fund. Each month I set up an automatic transfer of $100, and when I started Christmas shopping a few months ago, I had a Fund to pull from. I just kept track of everything, and would transfer the amount spent back into our checking account so it was simple enough to do.

Just like last year, I’ll share with you what our kids are getting for Christmas, if you promise not to tell them.
We want it to be a surprise for them, of course. 😉 

Lawson, age 8

Hoverboard – paid $85
Scooter – paid $30

Linkin, age 6

Tobots Integration Toys – paid $30 and $50
Wild Kratts Game $15

   

Layten, age 4

Melissa and Doug Ice Cream Set $21
Flower Arranging and Building Set $16.99
Melissa and Doug Pancake Set $20
Magnatab Letter Board $20
Bows $12

Lyndon, age 2

Roller Coaster Ride-On Toy – Paid $99 at Sam’s Club 

Finley, our Aussie-Doodle (He’ll be 9 months at Christmas)

He’ll also get some of his favorite, filled bones… but I couldn’t find them on Amazon to share with you.

Stocking Stuffer Ideas 

I haven’t bought these things yet, but these are some of the ideas that I have. This year we do have a few little things I’m adding in that go along with our Little House on the Prairie Read Aloud this year… so each child will get a peppermint stick, a heart shaped cake (I might make these myself), a tin cup (We’ll do a new water bottle instead since my kids need these anyway), and a penny and maybe a quarter or a dollar if we’re feeling generous ;).

I also like to do a few small fun things, something that feels like a small “present”, a book from their current series, something they need (toothbrushes), and they’ll probably get new underwear too which I won’t post here. I also like to buy a couple boxes of a few of their favorite treats that we don’t always have and divide them up among each of them. It’s usually cheaper to do that instead of buying individual treats for each of them.
I’m trying to decide on a good toddler book for Lyndon if you have any recommendations for that.

 




How are your being purposeful with Christmas this year, and what’s on your kids’ wish lists? What’s on YOUR wish list? I’d love to know! 

“Not” Back to School 2020-2021

Because we are home-schoolers, we are
“Not” Back-to-School.

(We’re basically just at school all day, every day around here.)

This will be my third year of this “Not Back to School Series”.
To see posts of how we’ve done things in previous years, you can check those out here:
“Not” Back to School 2019-2020
Series Intro.
Our Homeschool Organization & Space
Our Homeschool Yearly Schedule & Terms
Our Homeschool Curriculum Choices 
Our Homeschool Daily Schedule & Routines
Homeschool Planner 
Our Story of How We Decided to Homeschool
Our Favorite Homeschool & Educational Resources
Summer School

Today, I’m here to give you an update for this school year. I get asked ALL the time about what curriculum we are using, and since we use a variety of things… not a boxed curriculum – it’s much easier just to put it all in a blog post! I also love sharing the resources and supplies that have become our favorites over the years.

**This post does contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of these links, I do earn a small commission – at no extra cost to you. Thank you so much for your support!

Our 2020-2021 Curriculum Choices

Lyndon – (He’ll turn 2 in December; Tot School)
He’s #4. This is the point where I relax as a mom and a homeschool teacher. Right? Maybe. I don’t really know if that’s in my nature, but we’ll see. For now, we’ll focus on his play kits from LovEvery. Intentional Play IS all the school we need. I might be interested in starting Tot School Printables in January after he turns 2 mostly to work on teaching him new words and expanding his vocabulary, but we’ll see. It’s just intentional play with guided educational concepts. No biggie. And it’s something I printed when Lawson was this age, laminated, saved, and have used with all of them 😉

Layten Bradleigh – (She’ll turn 4 in October; Pre-School)
Layten absolutely LOVES to do school. She even asks if we can do school on Saturdays sometimes. I’m so glad she loves it so much. It definitely makes things easier for me.

We have enrolled Layten in the local preschool class here for 3 year olds where she will go two or three mornings out of the week. Her two older brothers got to go to this preschool, so now it’s her turn.

On the days she’s home, I’m sure she’ll still want to do school though. We’re working through See,Hear,Do Books and she’s even begun tracing her letters now, and she does very well with it. This is the first time she’s actually been able to remember the sounds that the letters make. (Remember we’ve been going over them since she was 2.) Either it was just time after all of the multiple and meaningful exposures she’s had, or these books really work. I’ll let you decide.

See, Hear, Do Book
See, Hear, Do Coloring Book
See, Hear, Do Tracing Workbook

If she’s home full-time, and we decide not to put her in preschool, I’m going to go ahead and order My Father’s World Kindergarten with her. We’ll spread it out over two years if we need to, but I think she’s ready for it. Some friends of ours use it, and I really love what I’ve seen. It is quite pricey so I will only justify the cost if I can find it used or if she doesn’t end up going to preschool where we’re paying for monthly tuition.


Linkin – (age 6; First Grade)
For Reading & Language Arts, we are finishing up The Good & The Beautiful the Kindergarten Course, and then we’ll begin the Level 1 Course. We LOVE this curriculum for so many reasons. I’ve looked at others to think about switching, but none other compares in my book. They cover SO MUCH, and it’s all included… but without all the “fluff” if you know what I mean. It’s just great! The curriculum includes everything you need – Mini Book readers, phonics cards, an activity packet so we’re good to go!

For Handwriting / Creative Writing, we are using Writing Workshop. This is not really a “curriculum choice” but an idea I learned from Samantha at Our Homeschooling Journey. They get to draw a picture of whatever they’d like (or sometimes something I assign from our Read Alouds or to review something we’ve learned), and then they write about it. I work with them closely to correct errors as they happen so that he can learn as he goes.

In Kindergarten, I only required him to write one sentence, and I would write the rest for him as he dictated it to me. This year, for First Grade, I will require 2 sentences. Lawson was required 3 sentences for 2nd Grade, so he’ll write even more this year, but I haven’t decided how much is appropriate just yet. This has helped his writing skills tremendously!

For Math, we are using Master Books… although I’m definitely going to be purchasing games and things to supplement. Math has come very easily for Linkin, and he tends to fly through it and needs more of a challenge. I mostly chose this level of curriculum for him because it has him practicing to write his numbers more often, and he needed that extra practice.

Lawson – (age 8; Third Grade)
Language Arts – Lawson did The Good & The Beautiful Level 3 for a semester last year, and then we decided to go back to level 2, which we’d skipped for the second semester. He breezed through Level 2, and we will continue to breeze through it again this semester and then skip back to finish up Level 3.

Math – Masterbooks Living Math, Level 3 I love that this math is very open and go with very little prep work. Occasionally there are extra projects and real life  things where we can apply the concepts he’s learning, but it’s just the perfect amount of it for us.

Handwriting – Writing Workshop

Elective – The Good and the Beautiful Typing, Level One

Extras – We’re planning to supplement with some computer things… XtraMath, Starfall maybe, Adventure Academy, etc. I’m not quite sure yet… the Math will be for extra practice which is needed, but the others simply because my kids ask for it and love to do things on the computer so I want to have safe and educational options for them.

Group Subjects:
While I don’t “require” these subjects for Kindergarten or below, I do encourage them to participate if they want to. They are more than welcome to do these with us, especially the hands-on activities! Linkin will actually work through these with us this year, and Layten will more than likely just learn with us too because she usually just picks up on whatever we’re discussing in little ways here and there.

Religion: We’re using More than Words, Level 1. We’ve done Bible Road Trip in the past and loved it. We might come back and try to add it in later if I see we have time for it, but for right now I’m loving that More Than Words is so open and go. There is no extra planning on my part, and that’s a win! I’m taking a minimal approach to homeschool these days instead of trying to do ALL the things because I know my tendencies and the challenges we’ve faced in our homeschool.

Memory Work: We’ll focus on the poetry from their language arts courses, catechisms reviewing what we’ve already learned and circling back around to the newer stuff, and our scriptures and concepts from More Than Words.

Morning Time Read Aloud: Mom’s Choice (I’ve got a few selected to supplement our Science and History lessons.)

History: We’re slowly making our way through Mystery of History Volume 1 . I LOVE that the lessons are short and simple, it works across multiple age-groups, and it includes TimeLine and Mapwork. We LOVE our school room timeline!

Science: Nature Studies is where our focus will be this year. I don’t know why I always feel like I need “an actual textbook curriculum” for this…. we don’t! My kids learn so much more from living literature with our read-alouds and hands-on things like Nature Studies and discussion.
We’re using…
Nature Study Hacking: Trees
Nature Study Hacking: Insects
Julia Rothman Books

Extracurriculars:
Lawson – hopefully Football in the Fall, maybe Soccer again in the Spring or Baseball
Linkin – Probably Soccer again in the Spring, and maybe Kids Cook Real Food
Layten – Dance

Our Favorite Home School Tools & Resources…

  1. My Levenger Planner Cover
  2. My Levenger Disc-bound Planner Divider Tabs
  3. My Editable HomeSchool Planner
  4. Our “Notebook Paper” Assignment Dry Erase Boards
  5.  Our Pencil Sharpener
  6.  Our Favorite Pencils
  7. Frixion Erasable Colored Pens – I use these to color-code my lesson plans.
  8. Frixion Erasable Colored Highlighters – I use these to highlight through what we’ve completed in my lesson plans.
  9. Erasable Colored Pencils
  10. Our “New” Favorite Watercolors – They come in several varieties – SO MUCH better quality that what you’d find in most back to school sales.
  11. Disc-bound Covers -The kids use these with their printable curriculum.
  12. Metal Discs – We use these with our printable curriculum.)
    **I like this option better than bulky binders or having the pages bound because the spirals always seemed to come undone throughout the year which would drive me nuts. This way we have the “customizable” flexibility of a binder by easily being able to take pages in and out and also the ability to flip it around like a spiral-bound book. It’s the best of both worlds, in my opinion.
  13. Laminator
  14. Dry Erase Markers
  15. Wet Erase Markers
  16. Printer
  17. Label Maker
  18. ESV Children’s Bible
  19. 365 Great Bible Stories
  20. 66 Books One Story
  21. Window on the World
  22. Large Notebook (We use this for note-taking in our group subjects or in anything we’d use a chalk or white board for, except we get to keep it and refer back to it if we need to.)
  23. Spelling Power Student Record Book (This has been a game changer for our spelling lessons this year!)
  24. The Homeschool History Book of Centuries
  25. Rand McNally Historical Atlas of the World
  26. The Student Bible Atlas
  27. Amazon Kindle Fire Tablets
  28. Wooden Easel (We originally purchased this for Typing, but we use it for so much more than that actually! I love to display a book we’ll be reading or something fun like that.)
  29. Teaching from Rest Book
  30. Your Morning Basket Podcast
  31. The Homeschool Solutions Show Podcast
  32. The Homeschool Sanity Show
  33. Raising Arrows Podcast

 

Our Home School Wish-List:

Just ask any teacher out there… every single one will have a wish list. Whether it’s written down or just in our heads, there’s always something else we’d like to add – whether supplies or resources. We prioritize the most-important things. These things haven’t made the cut… yet. (This is more of just a reference for me to have and come back to when I’m looking for ideas. You’ll probably slowly see me add these things in to our home school as our budget allows.)

I think most things are self explanatory but

  • Mindful Games Cards are for us to practice body and emotional awareness, such an important skill and we need work on this with our attitudes sometimes in our homeschool.
  • I love the ABC rug… it’s small so it would be perfect to place in front of our shelf with the Montessori toys and activities but still look nice in our school room. (Layten is mad because I just moved the rug from her room into the school room for this area, so I need to prioritize getting this so I can make her happy.)
  • The wooden organizer would be for our memory work and cards. It just looks so much nicer than what we’re using now.
  • Financial Peace, Jr. is something I really want to teach the kids early on… how to manage money well.
  • We want the Montessori letters to use for practicing spelling.
  • The Montessori numbers and counters would be for practicing math, obviously. We love when we can take a hands-on approach to what we’re already learning.

  • The story cards would be great to give my kids ideas for what to write and draw for Writing Workshop.
  • We have a couple sets of Hot Dots that we love, but we only have one pen. This is mainly for Layten to have her own pen and to have something to do while we finish up school because she gets done first.
  • We love these GeoPuzzles to supplement what we’re learning in History. I’d like to collect them all because it gives the kids a way to practice geography, other than the same ole labeling a map every day.
  • This Handbook of Nature Study is recommended everywhere, so we’d like to add it to our collection.
  • I want the menus to put our Memory Work in. I just feel like that will elevate the paper folders we’re using now, but it will also give us room to use dry erase markers for maps or tracing inside them too. Who wants to go in with me and split that pack of 10? It seems to be the best deal! 😉
  • My kids love games and they don’t even realize that they are helping them with educational concepts at the same time. Win Win!

    Some other ideas… NOT found on Amazon:

    Kids Cook Real Food
    Preschool Fall Video Art Lessons
    Fall Video Chalk Art Lessons
    Classical Collection History Art Lessons
    Hymns Video Art Lessons
    Illustrated Nature Journaling
    LovEvery PlayKits: Lyndon
    Panda Crate: Lyndon
    Koala Crate: Layten
    Kiwi Crate: Linkin
    Tinker Crate: Lawson

Notes & Links from the HomeSchool Live

I so enjoyed talking with you and sharing a little bit about our homeschooling in our Facebook Live yesterday. We are happy to be finished with one school year (Mama and kiddos are tired, lol), but I’m also really excited to plan the next. I tried to include links to the things mentioned in the video. I’ll update it throughout the week as I have time.

Things We Discussed in the HomeSchool LIVE:

Filing HomeSchool Stuff

  • Completed work – we use a wall file (Each child has their own pocket where they file their work.)
    At the beginning of each month, I try to sort through it. That’s the goal anyway so that it doesn’t get too
    overwhelming.
  • Portfolios – I use document boxes (well, similar ones that I saved from when we ordered our nice planner covers)
    to keep up with work we want to save.
  • What we keep and What we dont – I don’t keep random worksheets or math pages. I only keep really cute crafts,
    some handwriting samples, projects that are easy to save, or our favorite art. I do keep all of their Writing Workshop, all of their Bible Work because it’s kind of like a journal of what they’re learning and how they apply it to their every day lives, and I love that to have and keep. I don’t save random workbooks. I’d only save a unit study if it was really cute.
  • Records – My lesson planners are my best records that I keep. There’s no doubt that we ever did school when you take a look at those.
  • Long-term Filing – I have two big square fabric bins in our homeschool cabinet. It holds binders of work from previous years, notebooks of work portfolios, and even “out of season” curriculum. It’s hidden storage because it’s not pretty storage,  but maybe one day I’ll get around to re-organizing those and probably doing a big purge as well.
  • Easy-Access Filing – I have a magazine file turned on it’s side on our shelf. It holds things that we need for our curriculum some days and in future lessons… things like “sight word cards” I’ve printed but not yet cut because we don’t need them yet, timelines pieces for our history, curriciulm I printed myself and havent put in student books yet, things like that…

How I Plan Each Week

  • Future LIVE video on this topic – It will be so much easier to show you because every curriculum is different.
  • Advance Planning – For some subjects, I plan them weeks in advance – Science, History, Bible, Read-Alouds because those things take prep work. Things need to be added to my shopping list or ordered sometimes, so I need advance time to be ready for them. They aren’t open and go subjects, at least not with the curriculum we are using.
  • Interval Planning – We plan our calendar six weeks of work and one week break. This gives us regular breaks throughout the year. It also helps me to do this advance planning during that break or prep week, whatever you’d like to call it. I can also use themes in my planning this way.
    **I’ll add my Interval Planner to my shop so you can use it too.
  • We do the next thing – When I’m planning our weekly lessons of our “skill-based subjects” (Math, Reading, Phonics, Spelling, Grammar, Writing, etc.), we just do the next lesson listed so planning is fairly simple. I do look through my lessons list for each curriculum to make sure we’re “on track” with where we need to be. But that’s the extent of the planning portion.

Free Resources We Use

Balancing Our Day Between Different Grade Levels

  • We try to do school when the toddler is napping. That works best.
  • If the toddler is awake and with us, I have to be okay with some messes… like pulling all the books off the shelf or supplies out of the drawer. As long as he’s not destroying anything or hurting himself, I can always clean up a little mess later.
  • Give the toddler something to do! We LOVE LovEvery Play Kits. Lyndon has the Pioneer Kit and the Babbler Kit.
  • Work with the Little Ones first. Usually after they get their one on one attention with you, you can easily set them up with a simple activity in the next room and they’ll be good.
    **Listen. I know this can be hard. All my kids are still pretty little too. You are a capable mama. You can overcome any of these obstacles if you decide it’s important enough. I’m personally terrible at multi-tasking so it took some training on my part to get my kids to be okay with playing independently. It’s an important skill for them too.
  • Keep all of your kids together. We all sit at the same table so I can keep an eye on each one of them and help as needed. One day, the goal is that I would be able to leave and switch out a load of laundry or something while they continue to work and stay on task, but we’re not there yet. I have to stay right with them during school time so that we can get done what we need to and I’m there to help them.
  • Encourage independent work. My oldest is finishing second grade. This year, I wrote his daily assignments on the board for him and let him work on his own. I checked his work, helped with only what he needed, but he mostly worked on his own. The idea is that we teach our kids how to learn for themselves… not just to be fed information. (Hmm… that could apply to another area of life, couldn’t it? Yes. That’s why we teach our kids to read. We want them to be able to read the Bible and learn from that. It’s the whole foundation of this homeschool stuff.)
  • Learning Centers – We’re going to try a homeschool version of this next year I think… Computer Work, Table Work, and Activities… more on this later 😉

Our Favorite Home School Tools & Resources…

This is a list from a previous post that I updated a little bit. I added some thing we discussed in the video in case you’re in search of something similar. This is not an exhaustive list. I’ll add to it more as we plan for the next school year.

  1.  My Purposeful Planning HomeSchool Lesson Planner
  2.  My Favorite Disc-Bound Planner Cover (We splurged on this one a little, but you know I waited for a sale too!)
  3.  Disk-Bound Planner Covers the Kids Have Now (We were on the search for covers that would last multiple years and look more masculine for my boys.)
    *I’ll post more affordable options from Amazon at the bottom of this post.
  4.  Our Pencil Sharpener
  5.  Our Favorite Pencils
  6. Frixion Erasable Colored Pens
  7. Frixion Erasable Colored Highlighters
  8. Erasable Colored Pencils
  9. Our “New” Favorite Watercolors
  10. Disc-bound Covers (We use these with our printable curriculum.)
  11. Metal Discs (We use these with our printable curriculum.)
    **I like this option better than bulky binders or having the pages bound because the spirals always seemed to come undone throughout the year which would drive me nuts. This way we have the customizable flexibility of a binder by easily being able to take pages in and out and also the ability to flip it around like a spiral-bound book. It’s the best of both worlds, in my opinion.
  12. Laminator
  13. Dry Erase Markers
  14. Wet Erase Markers
  15. Printer
  16. Label Maker
  17. ESV Children’s Bible
  18. 365 Great Bible Stories
  19. 66 Books One Story
  20. Window on the World
  21. Large Notebook (We use this for note-taking in our group subjects or in anything we’d use a chalk or white board for, except we get to keep it and refer back to it if we need to.)
  22. Spelling Power Student Record Book (This has been a game changer for our spelling lessons this year!)
  23. The Homeschool History Book of Centuries
  24. Rand McNally Historical Atlas of the World
  25. The Student Bible Atlas
  26. Amazon Kindle Fire Tablets
  27. Wooden Easel (We originally purchased this for Typing, but we use it for so much more than that actually! I love to display a book we’ll be reading or something fun like that.)
  28. Jelly Telly App
  29. Teaching from Rest Book
  30. The Same Page Podcast (Great for car rides with your kids- even for non-homeschoolers!)
  31. Your Morning Basket Podcast
  32. The Homeschool Solutions Show Podcast
  33. The Homeschool Sanity Show
  34. Raising Arrows Podcast
  35. Wall File – Great for Completed Work!
  36. Document Boxes – Great for portfolios!
  37. Magazine File – Great for loose curriculum, prepped pages and activities, etc.

 

Our Favorite Home School & Educational Resources

As promised, here is my list of favorite Home School Games, Arts n Crafts, and Books. Of course, these could definitely be used for non-home-schoolers as well. It’s just a short list of educational and fun things to do at home with your little ones. Try to enjoy this time of rest and enjoyment with your family!


*This post does contain my affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of these links, I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. I do thank you for your support in this way though.

Games

My First BananaGrams
Sum Swamp
Sight Word Swat
Scrabble Junior

Arts n Crafts

Alex Kits: My Giant Busy Box
Toddler Box
Watercolors Set
Similar Paint Pen Set to the My First Crayola Paint Brush I Shared
Oil Pastels
Chunkies Paint Sticks

Books

Julia Rothman Collection of Nature Anatomy, Food Anatomy, and Farm Anatomy
Christian Liberty Nature Reader
Beautiful Stories for Children
Who HQ Book Collection