Lesson Plan For Homeschool Mom Sick Day

Homeschool Mom Sick Day

Even if you are a veteran homeschooler or a newbie, having a plan for those days when you are too ill to accomplish the lesson plans will serve you well in those hours of needing rest.

First start a Pinterest board of ideas, or a note in Evernote, or a word doc on ideas and links. This way you can make decisions now while your head is not exhausted from being sick.

The Goal is Have a Plan for Homeschool Mom Sick Day!

Homeschool Mom Sick Day Online Ideas

  • iHN has a monthly thread of Famous Birthday Lessons and Unit Studies. Print out a few copies of this notebook page, Famous Birthday PDF, and have your students select a famous person to learn more about.
  • Maybe just giving them time on their iPad on PBS to play games will be all it takes for some time for a nap.
  • Khan Academy is a favorite at my house for learning how to do things. Let your kids have fun with Hour of Code.

Homeschool Mom Sick Day Project Ideas

  • Have your kids follow directions to Build Your Own Board Game. My kids really enjoy making board games. They still talk about the Health Matters DIY Science Board Game they created. (PS order supplies early if you want to provide some extra direction.)
  • If you get really desperate for an activity and have a bar of ivory soap give your kids the link to this post on Ivory Soap Experiment.
  • Have them Design Their Own Colony. They might enjoy establishing their own rules.
  • Even giving your kids all the sheets and blankets in the house to build forts should buy you a few moments of rest. My boys enjoyed building a Hooverville Fort in their bedroom one afternoon. The idea came from The Great Depression Hands-on Activities.
  • Sometimes just having a box of tape, paper, string, and random supplies can allow kids an opportunity to create a new invention. Maybe even challenge them to build something that will keep an egg from breaking when dropped from different heights.

Homeschool Mom Sick Day Movie and Book Ideas

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Saving Money on Groceries Starts in the Kitchen

The great thing about raising lifelong learners is the chance to role rodel lifelong learning! Here is a copy of a 5 minute speech I had to give for a class I took on becoming a better communicator. I also get to role model doing hard things, public speaking still makes my stomach go into knots.

Saving money on groceries starts in the kitchen!

With the average family of 4 spending $12,000 a year on groceries this becomes a popular area to try and cut spending. The interesting thing about that amount of money, around $1500 goes toward wasted food.

That’s right money spent on food that is never eaten or enjoyed. The food ends up in the trashcan.

We do not even have to leave our house to save money on groceries. No need to cut coupons or read about the psychology of shopping. Just take an honest look at the amount of food you throw away each week.

I believe every mom can save money on groceries by conquering food waste.

I have 3 concepts that can help conquer food waste:

  • Serving
  • Selecting
  • Supervising

The first concept that can help conquer food waste is serving sizes.

For adults having an understanding for portion sizes. Spend a week reading the labels and get an understanding for portion sizes.

For parents of small children serve them just 3 bites of dinner. Children under the age of 5 have this amazing ability to only eat 3 bites of a meal one day and then eat an entire adult serving the next day.

When my children were young I often only served half of a sandwich at lunchtime or 3 bites of a meal at dinnertime.

I wanted my children to learn to ask for more when they were still hungry rather then learn it was ok to throw food away.

The second concept that can help conquer food waste is selecting recipes that contain similar ingredients. Keep your recipes simple.

I love looking on Pinterest for new recipes. But it can break the budget trying a recipe with a lot of ingredients. For example I avoid recipes that use 1 tablespoon of tomato paste because unless you have a plan to use the rest of the can of paste you will find yourself 2 weeks later throwing the tomato paste in the trashcan.

The great thing about cooking is you can have a little less or a little extra of an ingredient and the recipe will still turn out fine.

Trying meal planning where you can use ingredients twice in the same week or you can double the recipe to help use up all of an ingredient. [Read more…]

A Day in The Life of an Overwhelmed Homeschool Mom

My homeschool schedule has changed tremendously over the years. I no longer have elementary kids, I work outside of the home, and I only have 2 kids still homeschooling.

Sometimes I miss the days when all 4 kids gathered around the kitchen table during lunch for our read-aloud.

My alarm goes off each day at 6:30am. The first thing I do is check FreshDesk, Facebook and email. This for my job, not pleasure. This allows me to solve any problems quickly and see if anything happened over night to change my day.

I force my feet to the floor around 7am. Find breakfast and coffee because yes the #givemeJesusandcoffee is my life.

From 7am to 9am I do household chores, get dinner in the crockpot, blog, or go over my planner. My boys get up at 7am and by 8am they have to begin practice for their instruments or I confiscate their electronic devices for the day.

On Monday/Tuesday/Thursday my boys have online classes that start at 11am. That gives us from 9am to 10:30 to go over some school lessons, pack lunches and leave the house. Since we do not have internet at home the boys can do their classes at the office while I work. We stay at the office until 5pm. On Tuesday/Thursday we do not return to the house until 8:30pm because my youngest is on swim team. We have dinner, grade school papers, and prep for the next day.

Wednesday is the most amazing day of the week. I have a standing weekly coffee date with my dear friend from 9:30 to 11:30. Sometimes we just sit at the coffee shop, sometimes we go for a walk or we run errands. It gives me the chance to whine, complain, cry, get encouragement, and be reminded that I am not alone. The boys have mime on Wednesday afternoon so I spend my time at the office working.  Wednesday evening one goes to youth group and one works. My daughter provides transportation so I head home to mow grass and do chores.

Friday morning my boys have a 9am online class. While they are in class I work at the office. Friday afternoon we wrap up school lessons, in theory. While we are at swim again, I use that time to go over my high school kid’s assignments.  Thankfully we have Saturdays for catching up! 

Concepts that help my schedule work:

  • While my youngest is at swim I find time to exercise, blog, and work on projects.
  • I use Walmart online shopping.
  • I don’t volunteer any more because it takes all my time to work, homeschool, and take care of the house.
  • About every 6 weeks my kids gather in the kitchen and help me assemble freezer meals. They value having dinner cooked each night and this is the only way it will happen.
  • Saturday mornings are for household chores.

Of course this is just the highlights and general items. Many days requiring juggling for doctor appointments, field trips, and life events. Yes I generalized because this is our routine but often that is changed by juggling extra things. I work full time while homeschooling and taking care of my husband and the house. There is no way to fix hard so I do what I can.

In all the chaos of being overwhelmed, I try to cherish these fleeting moments of being a homeschool mom. My heart’s desire is to finish strong. 


Our Curriculum Choices for 2017-2018

Our Curriculum Choices for this school year.

Each year I stand amazed that I still agonize over selecting curriculum. But I was not blessed with children who learned the same way or could use the same curriculum over again.

The changes in my life have slowly changed my methods of homeschooling. You will notice I have outsourced and sought out help to juggle homeschooling, working full time, and managing my home. My husband’s health prevents him from helping in most areas.

11th Grade Curriculum Choices

My son is planning on trade school so we continue to strive for the best academics that fit his needs and abilities. While he may never attend college I still strive to expose him to subjects and prepare him for whatever choices he decides to make.

  • Algebra 1: The Academy at Bright Ideas Press. We have spent the first 2 years of high school solidifying his math skills. We are going to be stretching ourselves to complete this class. Next year we will switch gears and do business math and personal finance.
  • Spanish 1: The Academy at Bright Ideas Press: We have tried for 2 years to complete Spanish. My hope of having accountability with another teacher will get this subject completed.
  • All American History: The Academy at Bright Ideas Press: I had planned on teaching this class but when an opportunity to switch classes opened up I found myself putting both boys in this history class. The history teacher raps, my boys are impressed with her.
  • English: Who Dun It: My daughter has agreed to teach English to her brother this year. She has a passion for literature. Recently her college was attempting to recruit her for tutoring for English, I am very thankful she has agreed to help me. I am going to attend their monthly book club meetings and I look forward to the discussions.
  • Physical Science: Advanced Physical Science: I found this at a recent homeschool convention. The project based learning really appealed to me. I am excited to spend Friday mornings doing labs with the boys.
  • Mime: Louder Than Words: Every Wednesday afternoon my children have attended Louder Than Words. This group provides mentorship, bible study, leadership, volunteering, and performing arts.
  • Music: Guitar and Piano Lessons: He loves his weekly lessons for piano and guitar. He loves playing guitar for worship time at mime and youth group.

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Embracing Overwhelm

Why I am embracing overwhelm instead of battling overwhelm.

What does overwhelm mean? The Definition of overwhelm: to overpower the thoughts, emotions, or senses of. 
Pretty sure womanhood, motherhood, homeschoolhood, and all the “hoods” combine together to overpower my life.
I have allowed the feelings of overwhelm to beat-up my mental psyche for the past few years. I felt like I was doing something wrong in life to always feel overwhelmed.
I have stopped looking for tips and tricks to do more in my day, to keep hustling, to get up earlier as though something exists to help me accomplish more in the battle of being overwhelm. I don’t have the power to change my husband’s health, diminish the needs of my kids, or quit my job and give up homeschooling.
I will never conquer being overwhelmed and I don’t want to battle anymore!
I will carry it differently.

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Happy Mother’s Day, Strong Silent Type

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother’s Day to the women who society thinks is doing a great job despite painful situations life has given them. Do you know a woman who you think has done exceptionally well after losing her husband, or a child, or battling a nasty illness? Maybe you are that woman. 

Have you ever said, “Wow you are doing well despite (insert specific situation).” Maybe you have been told that.

I think we often assume that these strong women have somehow found a way to battle grief, depression or hard situations because we don’t see the emotional scars. We don’t see the tears shed while taking a shower. We don’t notice the broken heart hiding behind the smile.

Not that these women are trying to be deceitful, they grieve and hurt in small bursts often unnoticed. Often small bursts of emotions is all that can be handled for fear of being entirely consumed.

These women are still serving, still reaching out to help others because they are all too familiar with the pain life has given them to leave others battling alone.

I want to wish a Happy Mother’s Day to the women who battled to get out of bed today. No one witnessed the internal battle that it took to start another difficult day but it still exists.

I want to wish a Happy Mother’s Day to the women who battle their fears by showing up and doing the hard things.

I want to wish a Happy Mother’s Day to the women who collapse silently in the pew with their battle wounds from the week craving the salve of worship and fellowship.

I want to remind all of us to take a moment and realize that the strong woman you might want to put on a pedestal for handling difficult situations while still getting dinner on the table; might just need a shoulder to cry on.

I know a lot of weary moms who are handling situations most of us can’t even begin to understand how they are doing it.

Maybe send them a text with a smiley face and random emojis for a laugh.

Maybe send them some dinner just because you know they could use a moment to themselves.

Maybe just remember that the”strong woman” needs help and compassion just like the damsel in distress.

Happy Mother’s Day to all my friends 🙂

Happy Mother's Day



Working and Homeschooling While Staying Frugal

Working and Homeschooling While Staying Frugal

Working and Homeschooling; While Staying Frugal

After 17 years of homeschooling, the biggest change has been homeschooling while being a stay-at-home mom and homeschooling while being an employed mom; all while trying to live a frugal lifestyle.

In the early years of homeschooling my 4 children; my goal was their education and finding every economical way I could save money.

  • Since that was schooling before Pinterest, I would spend time creating lesson plans from scratch.
  • I would organize co-ops to keep costs down on group activities.
  • I spent my Saturday mornings scouring yard sales for books and educational items.
  • I would barter with friends for babysitting.
  • I would coupon shop and read The Complete Tightwad Gazette into the wee hours of the night.

Over the past few years, the reality of our situation changed with the diagnosis of my husband with COPD. Keeping up with the medical bills and expenses of kids in college has proven too much for a single income.

At first I worked part-time to keep my self in the job market ready to go full-time when my husband could no longer work. But in order to keep current with the needs of the family I have increased my hours to almost full-time.

My biggest goal is to strive toward my income going toward the budget and not for convenience items because now I don’t have the time for every frugal idea. 

  • I now buy curriculum that can be easily planned or online classes.
  • My kids still enjoy group activities but instead of being present I offer support to the group in other ways.
  • I spend my Saturday mornings homeschooling and my afternoons working.
  • I shop thrift stores instead of going to yard sales.
  • There is not a lot of time for bartering these days, but occasionally it works.
  • I shop at Aldis instead of coupon shopping.

While most of our expenses to homeschool have increased because of being employed, I feel I have done my best to get the most out of the situation. You just have to crunch the numbers.

For example an online class can cost $500 for year, divided by 32 weeks, you are paying $16 a week. I know each on-line class saves me 3 hours a week in planning, teaching and grading.

I know our biggest budget buster is groceries. I focus all my time on this one area. My kids help me every 6 weeks prep 30 freezer meals. We rarely eat out or buy convenience food. Thankfully my kids know the biggest challenge for me is to have dinner on the table after putting in a 12 hour day with jobs and homeschooling.

I love to hang clothes on the line but if I get behind on the laundry I will use the dryer. I try to let some of the little frugal things slide. Instead of beating myself up over using the drying I focus on the 4 loads that did make it to the clothes line.

It is a constant juggling act and evaluating of frugal choices with how much time I have in a day. 

Are you working and homeschooling? Do you have a great tip to share on getting things done?


Lost and Found, A Book Review

Lost and Found: Losing Religion, Finding Grace by Kendra Fletcher

My friends just lifted an eyebrow and took notice of this blog title. I am not a book reader, I prefer hands-on learning over books any day. I wrestle with words and grammar to connect and share my thoughts with my friends and hope to leave them encouraged. So me writing a book review will be a few steps out of my comfort zone.

I met Kendra Fletcher a few years ago at a blogging conference. I was coming to the dinner hour late and most of the spots at the tables had been filled, so I was eager to find an empty area to quietly slip into and eat. Kendra, her husband Fletch, and Carol-Ann took notice of my choosing to eat alone and quickly invited me to join them. I am always grateful for people who invite others to join them.

Over the years at other blogging conference I would get the honor to sit with Kendra and hear bits and pieces of her story. She would share stories of her son, Mighty Joe. She would share her heart as she struggled to be a godly mom. 

Last summer when Kendra announced her book would be published I made a mental note for 2017 to be the year I would read a few books and Lost and Found: Losing Religion, Finding Grace found the number one position on my list.

What I didn’t know was that I would read her book while sitting in PACU waiting for a doctor to give me information about my own son. While my heart bonded to her medical stories and I related to the fear of when the ER staff begins reviewing past trips and questioning your ability to care for your children…I was grateful for her reminders that God has my back.

Even more important than sharing the medical details of her life…were the details of how God changed her heart and reminded her of  her identity in Christ. 

The one paragraph from her book that I loved…We had to have Jesus plus our Reformed theology. Jesus plus our choice to homeschool our children. Jesus plus my decision to be a stay-at-home mom. Jesus plus giving our family size over to God. Jesus plus supporting missions, giving to our church, attending Bible studies. Again, we believed wholeheartedly that we are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, but we just continued on, wanting to do something. Surely Jesus hadn’t paid it all. (Excerpt from Lost and Found) 

Often as moms we need that reminder, while we desire to do our best job raising our kids…ultimately we are not the ones in control of the outcome…our kids have free will and God has a plan. I am not a great parent if all my children stay in the faith, I am not a bad parent if all my children walk away from the faith…but I am the parent in the trenches fighting for their hearts and pointing them to the truth.

Grab a copy of Lost and Found and a cup of tea or coffee and take a moment to refuel your mind and soul.

I was thankful that day sitting in PACU alone that I had this book as a reminder that while I might have been physically alone, Jesus still had my back, still cares for my situation, and always loves me.

After you read the book you might want to know the rest of story of what happened after Kendra found her infant son near death, ran over her daughter with the family van and almost lost her daughter to a ruptured appendix. Good news, Kendra will be blogging about those details, just follow the link to her website and sign-up at KendraFletcher.com


8 Signs That You Might Be an Overwhelmed Woman

8 Signs That You Might Be an Overwhelmed Woman

Overwhelmed Woman

Not that I have done any great research on the topic but I might have experience with a few of these signs.

Since I find these signs can muster up a small chuckle…I shall share my list on being an overwhelmed woman.

*Warning it might be a tad TMI

  1. When you are constipated NOT because you haven’t eaten enough fruits or drank enough water BUT because you have not had time to actually “sit down” to get that job done.
  2. When you get summoned for jury duty and it sounds like a really nice vacation. Sitting in a room where you have no responsibility and you could stare at a wall and daydream.
  3. When your mammogram paper is collecting dust on the back of your desk because you are convinced that juggling one more doctor appointment will land you in the loony bin.
  4. When you see a meme on Facebook that mentions donating leg hair for wigs and you laugh hysterically about that becoming a goal you could achieve.
  5. When your friends publicly announce that they stand ready to fund an account for your bail…just in case your day might find you in need.
  6. When friends find you napping in public places and are kind enough to not disturb you…only secretly take your photo.
  7. When reading posts on being overwhelmed is the closest thing you come to self-care.
  8. You are okay with this list really only having 7 signs since that is one less thing to worry about.

I do think I have some friends out there who can relate with being an overwhelmed woman…don’t worry if you chuckled reading the list…there is still hope…that is an amazing thing.

Humor is a great balm to the hard overwhelming days. At least that is my plan for getting through the trials.


Thank You! My word for 2017

My word for 2017…Thank You!

I know being thankful is often discussed…giving thanks…focusing on saying thank you…not relatively new ideas.  But here is why these two words are taking on a new meaning for me in 2017.

See, in 2016 I found myself saying…”I am sorry”…a whole bunch.

I am sorry I was late…sorry mommy forgot to fill out the paper…sorry mommy forgot to buy that at the store…sorry I didn’t remember to do that.

I have been beating myself up over and over for not being super woman mom and handling all that life throws at me with homeschooling, working, and caring for my husband.

Maybe you do the same thing? Trying to battle a little mom guilt here.

Here is the original cartoon that was written last year on Say Thank You Instead of I am Sorry.

For some reason I never saw the cartoon until 3 days ago…it was like a huge illuminating light went off in my head…hey I feel like I am saying I am sorry all the time. It only took about 5 seconds for my heart to know that would be my word for 2017.

In 2017 I want to say: [Read more…]