We are a homeschooling family of six living on a 2.5 acre farm with a gaggle of pigs, turkeys, chickens, a dog and one duck. The noise level in our home is indescribable. The amount of laundry is harrowing. Our mudroom lives up to its name. I am an admitted book addict and anglophile. I love tea, gardening, chocolate, novels, tropical fruit and going to the bathroom by myself.
My husband and I met in the Windy City. We fell in love writing letters (as in actual snail mail) back and forth between Chicago and the rural mountains of Honduras. He is an engineer, musician, writer and knows how to rock one heckuva farmer’s tan! We were married on the coast of Florida and proceeded to have four boys in five years.
Those four all-American boys possess the explosive ancestral cocktail of Cuban, Russian and Sicilian cultures.
When the first two were born, strangers would ask, “Are you the Nanny?”
When the last two were born, strangers and some family members would ask, “Are you crazy?”
I was boy-crazy growing up. Technically, I still am, just in an entirely different way. As a young girl, I spent every Sunday chasing two little boys around the churchyard trying to steal kisses. (Sorry, Danny and Danny!) The majority of my friends, during those formative girlhood years, were male. I spent my recess hours catching lizards and playing in the dirt. I loved climbing my Abuelo’s tree and eating mangos right off the branch. I was exceptionally gifted in the art of torturing my non-tomboy younger sister.
If my Dad was on his way somewhere, I wanted to be by his side. The city dump or Home Depot? Sign me up! Alaska, Machu Picchu? I’m with you, Dad!
No bug was too gross to catch. No tree too tall to climb. If you told me “boys only” you were issuing a direct challenge.
And so the Lord blitzed my life with boys and chickens.
Legos on the floor.
Jam on the tabletops.
An assortment of broken arrows, lightsabers and wooden swords in the linen closet.
The bathroom is in a permanent state of “Oh God, what is that smell?”
Someone is always inventing something around here.
I have a vase by the sink that never lacks a bouquet of weeds from the yard, roots still attached, lovingly gifted by a wide-eyed, dirt-streaked little boy.
I am thankful for my husband. He puts Jesus first, loves us with a forgiving heart, and always asks, “What can I do to help you?” the minute he walks in the door.
I have been promoted from boy-crazy tomboy to Mama Hen in this farm boy realm of tender sweetness and untrained circus-quality chaos.
Welcome to Farmhouse Schoolhouse!
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32 thoughts on “About”
I’m so glad I found your blog! Our family has also done Classical Conversations, Ambleside, and now Sonlight but I’m switching to MFW’s for Adventures (hence how I found your blog). Looking at your pictures I thought I saw FL foliage and see on your “about page” y’all live near the coast. My husband and I moved from the mid-west (IA & MI) and have lived in FL for about 15 years. We live in Port Orange:) I just thought it was neat:) Your pictures are beautiful!
How funny! Thank you 🙂 I hope you have a great year in Adventures. 🙂
Wow!! You are inspiring 🙂 I have 4 girls…currently teaching MFW…BUT honestly feeling like I’m failing miserably…how do you teach K, 2nd and 4th while running after an 18 month turning 2 during the year?? Baahh…any pointers would be amazing! Thx
Hi Elsie! I’ve really enjoyed your blog and am following you on Instagram. Thank you for doing both of them! I have three boys … 8 months, 2 years and 4 (five in Nov). I was hoping for your insight if you have chance … My oldest is a very thoughtful guy. He like to know how things work and seems like a little engineer in the making. He has a very good attention span (during his quiet time he spends two hours each day listening to books on tape – he’s finishing his sixth chapter book this week) and he has an interest in reading. We started going through the book Teach your child to read in 100 Easy Lessons when he was just turning four and got to lesson 70 before he no longer was motivated to do it. Now I have read so many articles about waiting to get into school until age 6 and the importance of play. I’m wondering if we should just spend this year playing and playing alphabet games or should we do My Fathers World kindergarten curriculum? It says it is for five year olds and older fours. We would start in September, two months before he turns five. My son George says he wants to start school and I think he’d love one on one attention. I worry if I don’t do a curriculum the year will just pass us by and we won’t have done anything. But then I also worry that maybe I’m trying to start things too soon. Do you have any thoughts from your own experience with the curriculum that could be helpful? Thank you again for sharing your homeschool experience!
Marianne Hackett in Nashville, TN
Hi Marianne! Your little guy sounds just like one of mine. I love how gentle MFWK is. You can adjust according to where he is at if need be. There are plenty of opportunities for playing 🙂 Or if you want something truly play based, Homegrown Preschooler is appropriate up to age 6/7. Do you have any friends using MFWK? Its always helpful to me if I can open up a curriculum and look through it. You can also call the company directly and ask as many questions as you’d like. They are so helpful! Lelsi and Kathy from Homegrown Preschooler are also a wealth of knowledge!
So thankful a few friends recommended this blog! I, too, have four little boys (3.5 years apart, no twins!). We are missionaries in Ghana, West Africa. I am looking into homeschooling and all things Charlotte Mason, but was told I must check your blog out! So glad I did! Can’t wait to read more! Thanks for sharing!
Loving your blog! We are in MFW ECC right now and our Elsie is MFW K (that name is becoming popular, I’ve found).
I would love some advice, though, if you have any to share. We have 5 girls and one boy. Our boy is 19mo and I have three in homeschool, a 3yo and a NB. What do I do with this boy?! He wreaks havoc on our school time. Boys are SOOOOO different from girls! Eek! What I could set my girls down with for quiet time is not working for the little man. A sensory box becomes a huge mess, art time with the olders means boy is crawling on the table and making a huge mess, reading aloud from picture books keeps him for a whopping 2 minutes. The poor thing gets relegated to the play pen for much of the time along with plenty of “No, Frank!” and “Not that, Frank”……you get the idea. What did you do with your Team B when they were this young or can you point me in a direction for ideas?
Thank you! Many blessings, Amy
Wow!!! 5 girls and 1 boy, what a wonderful crew. 🙂 Well, my best advice would be to let Frank be the spunky, messy, rascally boy he is and build your rhythm around him and your NB. If you can, break away from what the girls typically did at that age and try as best you can not to have those expectations for him. Habit training is certainly important, but make sure that you aren’t inadvertently sending the message that he isn’t behaving the “right way.” 🙂 19 months is a needy age, if you can spend lots of time with him before starting school so that his tank is nice and full of mommy’s love and attention. A few ideas for fun boy play: If you have a backyard, try and give him a little grassless square of it to run trucks and cars through (add water to make it muddy and smooth landscape stones from Home Depot to make it interesting!) Maybe the older children can get some work done while he plays outside in all his glory. Hose him off before he comes inside to fuel up with snacks and perhaps get some read aloud time in with the girls while he is munching. If outdoors is not an option, make a similar little zone somewhere inside for him. A space that is just for him. Watch and see what brings him joy, what kinds of things he is interested in. Animals? Taking things apart? climbing and jumping off things? Then try and provide time to do that during the day. Give him jobs. I have found that my little boys desperately want to be of help with important things that matter to the life of the family. 19 months is a great age to start training to do fun chores around the house. Sonya Schafer of Simply Charlotte Mason has great ideas about this sort of thing (and homeschooling large families in general). Check out their blog for more info! Hope thats helpful.
Hello-I am so happy to have stumbled upon your blog. My son just turned 5 and has been in PreK until a month ago. I’ve been called to keep him home and educate him myself. I’ve heard good things about Homegrown Preschooler and MFW. Would you recommend we start the homegrown preschooler now and use it through our K year or just play the rest of the year and start MFW in the fall for K? Thank you for any guidance!
Hi Elsie!!!! Really learning a ton through your pursuit of the Lord and love for Him and your crew!!! Thank you for making so much of your world transparent!! Rest assured, God is using it!!! 🙂
I am reworking our schedule and am intrigued by your 6 weeks on one week off schedule. I know that Sarah Mackenzie also does this too, how does this work itself out for the year?
No doubt MUCH vies for your attention, so no worries if this q is too much.
Where do you live in Florida? Like, what town? Or place? It’s gorgeous! It looks like a wonderful place to raise kids!
Elsie, I truly love the story your living with your adorable family. I also love the engaging atmosphere you have created, it inspires me. Where did you get the smaller “posters” that are shown in your reading nook?
Also, do you have a system or tips on best ways to hang/rotate & store your posters?
Hello Elsie! I’m new to homeschooling and found you through Wild and Free. I hope this question isn’t annoying but do you happen to have photos of your portfolios for your kids? I downloaded and read through your tips in the Nature Bundle with W&F but I’d love to actually see how one is set up and organized.
Thank you so much!
I am in awe of your dedication to your homeschooling and family! I have an almost 4 yr old and 1 yr old boys and I want to start organizing myself to begin homeschooling ans I stumbled on your blog and IG. I live in Miami and was wondering if there is a homeschooling group you could recommend. I wanted to start with MFW. Thank you for sharing your adventures, they are truly inspiring. I can only pray I can do half of all the beautiful things and routines you have with your boys.
Love your approach..u do what I want to.do but can’t seem to.do it…maybe soon..
Can.u tell me where u get your cool posters..the leaves and others etc..and can u give a book list to LEARN how to do this blended approach
They are from paper source.
I was told you Home school a son with dyslexia. I have a son (8…almost 9) who has dyslexia and I was wondering what curriculum you have chosen or tried for him.
Hi! you can look through my blog under the rhythm section to find all that information.
I couldn’t find any other way to contact you, so I hope here is ok.
My family and I love your website, and it’s so cool to see your ideas and methods for homeschooling your kids!
I just wanted to reach out on the behalf of my mom, Paula Ramm, and our family home business to see if you would open to working together. We would like to sponsor a review/giveaway on your site (or Instagram) if you’re open, and if our product is a good fit for your readers.
We also have a Facebook fan page of 4,800 followers, and email list of over 2,500 that we would email the R&G out to which would provide some extra exposure. If this sounds like something you might want to do, we’d love to have your full media kit. If not, no big deal. 🙂
If you’d like to know more about our product or our family, just let me know. You can email us at:
Thanks so much! We look forward to hearing from you!
Hi! Love your blog. So helpful! Will you be posting a Charlotte Mason Approach for Cycle 3 weeks 13-24? Hope so! Happy new year! Sarah
I recently heard you interviewed on Cindy Rollins’s Mason Jar podcast. Thank you so much. I appreciated hearing not only HOW you structure your days but WHY. Also, I am wondering when you find time for school planning, plus the work of the home. I have 5 kids under 6, and caring for them is so time-consuming I’m not sure how I will fit in more formal school lessons when my oldest enters 1st grade in the fall. I will continue perusing your blog for ideas.
I totally understand. I try and grab time one friday night a month with small organization planning times on saturday afternoons or mornings depending on the day. Our whole family pitches in to make this happen.
Hi! You may not want to answer this but I was curious what part of Florida you live in? I grew up in Jacksonville. We currently live on 5 acres in Washington with hobby farm animals and have been considering a move back to Florida. But farming in Florida makes me a little nervous 😂 (snakes/bugs) and we’ve noticed not much is available in the land/non HOA dept. I love your blog/instagram. We have 5 kids and I homeschool the oldest 3. We’ve been looking all around the Tampa area.
Your blog & instagram feed have been an inspiration. I also homeschool CM, & am currently looking into starting a CC community in my area. I would love to hear more about your house experience in CC leadership. (I know you did a live video on CC Instagram feed, but unfortunately I could never watch past the first 3 minutes as it kept freezing.) Maybe you can do a future blog post or repost a similar video😊
Where did you get all the art work on your walls???
Hello! Very inspiring! I like your CM approach to CC!!! When are you posting CC Cycle 1 ?
If you could guide your younger self in preparing for educating your children, what would you recommend? Habits, skills, books… Anything!
I’m a young mother (formerly homeschooled) with a bright 2 year old son. I’m devouring recommended reading to find our family’s niche as well as my son’s learning style in hopes of having a compass before we begin formal learning.
We are preparing to introduce AYOPS around his 3rd birthday and I am exploring the local CC while reading everything CM as well as other homeschool philosophies.
What do you wish you had read? Would you be so kind as to share a list?
Hello i want to know more.
Hello i want to know more.
HI!!! I just listened to your PodCast on Wild + Free… and I just kept asking myself… Who is this!?! I just felt like I had to “meet” you!!! That was one of the very best podcasts that I have EVER listened to! Thank you for pointing us to Jesus and His Word… thank you for making me legitimately laugh (I know the amazing adventure of going to a grocery store bathroom with many children… while yes, also trying to keep them from contracting some crazy disease from licking the bathroom doors!)… thank you for helping me focus once again on the priorities of homeschooling… thank you for sharing your life and love of learning!
We have 4 little boys and a little spitfire daughter to add the exclamation point on the end of the sentence (our oldest was still 4 when our 5th baby was born!), and let me tell you that it’s quite the adventure! Dirt, warrior yells, muddy clothes, lots of laughter (and tears), homemade flower (aka weed) bouquets, and SO much love.
I’m encouraged to keep going. To focus our family on what is important and strive hard after those! In our family, it’s coming into focus… First Jesus, then nature, and finally good books. Yes, of course there will be other “formal” learning… math and science and grammar, etc… but what a glorious life the Lord has given us, and He’s filled it with Truth… Jesus is the Truth, He points to His truth in the nature, and He has given men and women throughout history the ability to write captivating and incredible stories that have Truth woven throughout them to point us to Him.
Thank You Lord! Thank you Elsie! I feel like I just got a good ole pep talk and I’m ready to keep going! We’ll walk on in Truth, beauty (sometimes covered in mud) and Love!