MFW Kindergarten: Leaf


We experienced the most gorgeous weather during our Leaf unit! We had compiled a long list of activities for the week and the majority required nice weather, so you can imagine our thankfulness! Here are a few things we did in addition to our scheduled MFWK work….


We started the week out by reading “Counting on the Woods” by George Ella Lyon. This is a nature based counting book with lovely photographs and a memorable meter. He carried this book in his mind on all our nature walks that week, repeating some of the rhymes and looking for similar finds.  When we got home he made his own “Counting on Woods” book filled with the things he saw, numbered and recorded.

Later that day we read Louis Ehlert’s wonderful book, “Leaf Man.”


We bought a pack of double sided punch out leaves from the craft store and made our own leaf men.  He loved this project! We ended up with an army of leaf men, all with their own backstory and role to play. We ended up teaching our leaf men all of our bible lessons this week.

We continue to use our little sand box for tactile letter practice along with our sand paper letters.  His letters are slowly improving as we practice each week.  He works on these small whiteboards first and then we work on our handwriting student sheet which we have a higher standard for. Of all the worksheets in each unit, this one always takes us the longest. We take our time to do our work carefully with great diligence and attention to detail. As one of my Classical Conversations students recently reminded me, “Ms. Elsie, practice makes permanent.” First we learn, which takes time and is often sloppy as shapes and ideas are sorted out; and then we practice, which takes time and requires great effort and excellence.


As I mentioned, we went for several nature walks during the course of this unit. Our local cypress dome was a must see! We found such a large variety of leaves on this particular walk.


He loved the cypress trees, but his favorite was the sawgrass. Ah, the river of grass. How beautiful it is.


By his request, we studied leaves later on in the week. He left the house early in the morning with one of his older brothers in order to collect specimens. We laminated them against white paper and took a half hour to identify them all. He made several water color paintings of different leaves to add to his notebook. We sorted leaves by shape and size and color and texture. We skip counted smaller leaves in various groupings with our songs from Classical Conversations.


The rest of the day was spent playing. He made several leaf crowns for different family members and spent a few hours playing outside in his “Fern Palace.”


This evolved into muddy, muddy play with all of his siblings as the afternoon wore on.
We also use The Homegrown Preschooler curriculum in our home and I love how easily everything blends together. It has really kept me on track!  Gentle learning in the morning and non stop play in the afternoon.

There is pressure everywhere to make things much more rigorous at a much earlier age, but the research stands strong that children need play and a later start date with rigorous academics. I am reminded everyday that I do not teach to standardize my children, I teach to bless them with the opportunity to learn in their own unique way in their own time.


MFW Adventures: More States and a State of the Union


We always start planning the upcoming school year in January. This is partially due to our involvement with Classical Conversations. I have yet to blog much about CC, I’m still trying to get a solid year of MFW and HGP blogging under my belt before I try and add in CC. It is a huge part of our lives and our school year revolves around those 24 week cycles. Next year I will be directing a new Foundations community group in our area, which is exciting and nerve wracking all at once. Its strange to start planning so far in advance when I am still in the midst of this wonderful year I worked so hard to plan last January. But the time has come for the yearly, “State of the Union” and so this is the week when I stepped back and observed all that takes place in our home and in our hearts. For us, education is not simply what we are learning but who we are becoming. The short of it is, we are loving Adventures so far. It has been a perfect fit for our family and I am so grateful for it and for the Charlotte Mason method it employs.


I am currently in the midst of reading “Consider This: Charlotte Mason and the Classical Tradition” by Karen Glass.  It is one of the best homeschooling books I have ever read and I am savoring every single chapter. This book echoes all that we do (and hope to do) in our own home. Its wonderful to pick up a well written book that engages the two methods of education closest to my heart.

Today, I sat on a park bench with my book and watched my 5 year old engage in a self-led physics experiment involving a steep slide and fistfuls of sand. He would walk over every once in awhile to discuss his findings. We talked about friction, inertia, motion and he would hypothesize the results of his next trial with barely contained glee. When it was time to leave, he tidied up the slide, pushed sand off the sidewalk and into the play area where it belonged, and went out of his way to pick up a piece of someone else’s trash and threw it in the garbage.  He did this without any prompting. Twenty minutes earlier I had circled the following passage in the Karen Glass book:

“…Charlotte Mason’s conception of synthetic thinking, or “the science of relations” concerned itself with placing the child in the way of forming relationships with every area of knowledge, so that the question we ask is not “how much does the youth know?” but rather “how much does he care?” When the affections are involved–when we care about a place, a person, or an idea–we are more motivated to act if action is required. When we love virtue itself, we are more likely to behave virtuously.”


This is what I have loved about Adventures. Not the amount my children are learning, though they have grown by leaps and bounds this year, but the virtue they are cultivating and employing. How much does he care? It seems everything we are studying, all the habit training and scripture study and living books, everything is nourishing these little ones to care, to desire to act rightly.

Here is what the week looked like. We studied several states: Maine, Missouri, Arkansas and Michigan. The boys took great care in opening the tin of special colored pencils used for our States book. They were diligent in coloring each bird and flower to the right specifications. They copied down each state motto in their neatest penmanship. They closed their books and put away their pencils. They brought out the book basket and we went on adventures in four different states while the toddler shrieked in the background and the preschooler called for pretzels and juice. Everyone eventually settled down and we experienced beautiful illustrations and rich prose. The boys played with seashells while we read “Island Boy.” They acted out “Blueberries for Sal” and cooked pretend clam chowder after reading “One Morning in Maine.” We pulled out our Saxon books and halfway through our lesson, I noticed my six year old building cranes and seabirds out of pattern blocks. “Remember that story?” he asked,  “About Obadiah and the seagull?” Off he went to fetch the book. As soon as he completed his math lesson, he picked up Brinton Turkle’s tender and lovely book, “Thy friend, Obadiah” and read it aloud to his siblings, giving special attention and affection to his younger brothers. Thirty minutes later we were on a website looking at the anatomy of birds and constructing their skeletal systems over and over again. This brought us back to our study of Human Anatomy. The boys brought down the Human Organ tray and began reading each three part card and matching them with the corresponding organs from their safari toob, until the toddler stole the large intestine and chaos ensued. We resolved the quarrel and moved on to our Usbourne Encyclopedia and the boys began to question the latin names they kept hearing, so we picked up our latin work and labored over a few declensions. One particular song used to memorize the 3rd declension latin noun endings reminded them of a Rachmaninoff piece they had heard weeks before. We listened to it twice and then one of the boys asked if we could play outside. We dashed out of the house and opened the coop to let the chickens out. Once again we were talking about birds and anatomy while the 5 year old zoomed by on skates humming Rachmaninoff and the 3 year old stomped around saying “Kuplink, Kuplank, Kuplunk,” in his best imitation of little Sal dropping blueberries in a tin pail.


I am not teaching my children for the sole purpose of ensuring successful performances on tests that cannot measure love, sense of wonder, compassion, joy, faithfulness, goodness, or creativity. As Karen Glass says, “If we answer the question ‘What is man?’ with ‘man is a living soul created in the image of God,’ our educational task will be much different, as we seek to discover all the potential in each child so that he can become everything that God meant him to be. All that we can give him will not be too much nor go to waste.”


Week 23 was a slower week in terms of topics covered but it was a rich week nonetheless. On these slower weeks, I love to get out into nature with the boys. That prescheduled Friday nature walk is something I make sure to enforce. I make every effort to protect that part of their schedule. In many ways, it is the capstone to all we learn in the classroom.


Our son’s godfather came to visit with his son and so our nature walk for Unit 23 took place at the beach. It was a nice tie in for all those “salty” books we read about Maine.  The boys tumbled about the tide pools and played in the surf. They collected seashells and felt the sand between their toes. They experienced life and their souls were nourished by the sea air and warm water.  Little scientific observations were sprinkled throughout the day. It happened naturally. “School” is not something they go to and then leave after a few hours. There are no compartmentalized subjects. It is not a chore.


Learning is life and it brings them joy.


MFW Adventures: New Netherlands + Wiggle Room

IMG_5239Lots of new growth on the farm this month! Pineapples, bananas, watermelon, and avocados. What a great boost of encouragement for us as we lay out plans for our big fall garden.

We have wrapped up the unit on New Netherlands. Confession: I had no idea how to plan for this one. Not too many activities lurking around pinterest for this one. A trip to the library yielded a scant six books. I decided to keep the planner as bare as possible for the week. You know, keep a little wiggle room? I was tempted to take advantage of this “slow” week by adding extra geography or art, but I restrained myself.  Instead, at the end of each session, I would turn to the boys and ask, “Lets play what we learned! What should we do?”

Well, these boys have zero problems being creative. They loved being in charge of our activities for this unit! We planned out settlements with our lincoln logs. We colored in maps of Old Boston and made a town meeting diorama.

IMG_5261We built windmills, sea port dioramas and Dutch step homes. We played with them during activity time.

IMG_5268We took the loom out to the backyard and did some weaving while we “watched the sheep.”  We had to bring our rifles along in case the wolf (our west highland terrier) showed up. We pretended to take long sea voyages while huddled in bunk beds.IMG_5291
Then we had this conversation:

Six year old: “Sooo how come you never make those crazy snacks that go with our Adventures stuff? Like that little cookie bear driving a covered wagon made out of marshmallows and graham crackers.”
Me: “Because toddlers.”
Six year old: “Can I make a cool snack for us?”
Me: “Sure, what do you have in mind for Dutch Pioneers?”
Six year old: “I was thinking crescent rolls stuffed with gummy worms. Ya know, for the moldy bread?”
Me: “Not bad kiddo. You should write out a line up for the whole year!”

Not all ideas were approved. For example, the suggestion: “Lets invent a Separatist’s Diarrhea Bucket for sea trips! You go mix some mud for the diarrhea…” was met with, “Hmmmm, lets rethink this game a bit.”

So we went on a very long sea voyage while summer rain pounded down on the roof of the farmhouse. Whenever lightning flashed we’d roll about on the bunk beds and pretend to be seasick while someone shouted out “Day 42!” or “Day 127!” The boys excel at feigning sea sickness, so I can check that off the list, “Things the Boys should learn in 2nd Grade.”  We sometimes read aloud from our book basket to pass the time during the voyage. Then the six year old began to direct things, “We’ll eat this moldy worm bread and Mom, you can be Trinka the cow. Go hide in the closet with the other cows and let out a sad, seasick, ‘Mooooo’ every once in a while.” (I have grown so much as an actress this year between my turns as Goodwife Misery and Trinka the cow). The six year old became a little overbearing and at one point my four year old rolled his eyes and said, “Ugh! You are such a Duke of York!” Guess the preschool gang has been absorbing more than I thought they would…

Have  I mentioned how much we love ” American Pioneers and Patriots?”  We are quite thrilled with it! Hands down our favorite part of Adventures so far. These stories about children throughout history make my sons wonder about their own place/story in history. Here are a few other books we read this week:

IMG_5294 James E. Knight books—so much information relayed through these engaging stories!


We are also plodding our way through Betsy Maestro’s book: The New Americans: Colonial Times 1620-1689. We began last week during Pilgrims and we read a bit more this week about the colonists in New Amsterdam. The book does describe plenty of the violence between the settlers and the Native Americans. I am still not sure how much of the book we will finish in weeks to come. As always, I must balance informing their minds while still taking their young age into consideration and protecting their hearts. The fragility of their innocence is both humbling and terrifying sometimes.

We watched Magic School Bus, baked bread and finished our yeast experiments. We churned butter and kept working on our handicrafts.

We completed our Beautiful Feet study of “The Courage of Sarah Noble,” well ahead of the MFW schedule, which allows us to read “The Matchlock Gun” next week, during Michigan Pioneers.  We snuck in “Sign of the Beaver” during our noon reading.  “Sign of the Beaver” carries many parallels to “The Courage of Sarah Noble,” but replaces a young heroine with a young hero. The boys were thrilled at the thought of being abandoned in the wilderness with only Indian neighbors for company.  They are currently wondering which part of the farm they can run away to and how long they might survive there.  Many votes have been cast in favor of “somewhere near the chicken coop so we can eat eggs!” We also managed to squeak in a few chapters of “Misty of Chincoteague.”  I had not planned to read this book at all for our Adventures year, but our language arts book, Writing With Ease, used it this week and the boy’s collective curiosity was piqued. After all, “American Pioneers and Patriots” featured animals brought over on ships to New Amsterdam. What other voyages did European animals take to come to the New World? My eldest is considering penning a small children’s book for his baby brother about just such a journey. Whether or not he ever does it, I am pleased that he is thinking about storytelling.


This unit was 40% pretend play, 40% read alouds and 20% science experiments. Does it sound like we read a lot? Well, we do. If your family does not read out loud much, don’t feel less than. I love reading and it has naturally flourished in our home because I make a huge effort to read out loud as many times a day as possible. We suffer greatly in other areas because of that single minded effort (read: LAUNDRY). I encourage you to do what you can with where you are in life. Even if its just ten minutes a day. Don’t feel guilty, just start somewhere and be consistent!

IMG_5005 2

The boys always keep their hands busy while I read. The preschool gang made use of our sensory bins during story time. Mostly water beads, kinetic sand, corn and playdoh. They have learned to play quietly and are quite absorbed in what they are doing when measuring cups, magnifying glasses, scissors and toob figures are involved. Its taken training over the course of many weeks, but the stretches of quiet play are getting longer and longer each day!

This week we used the book “Colonial America.” It provided the patterns for the projects listed earlier in this post. Dutch step homes, windmills, etc. This book was more challenging than the Pilgrims History Pockets book we used the week before. The boys had no trouble coloring in and cutting out all the pieces, but they were only able to independently assemble 2 out of the 8 projects we finished. I would not recommend this book if you are looking for independent work, unless your child is especially deft at constructing these sorts of models.


Our favorite project was probably the “Look Inside Log Cabin.”
IMG_5339IMG_5337The boys loved seeing how simple these log cabin homes were. “No room for toys inside…so that means the outside world was where the kids played all of the time!” They seemed to be inspired by this prospect. During our Mom’s group playdate, my second-born eschewed the splash pad at the park in order to climb our family’s favorite giant banyan tree, far away from the group.

When I asked him about it he responded, “I am a pioneer boy in my heart today. I want to only be in this tree with my thoughts and imagine whatever I want. I think its the best way to play.”  Little by little, his brothers joined him. When we arrived home, they quickly changed clothes and headed outdoors again; eager to collect eggs and mushrooms, scouting for places to build a log cabin, gathering pinecones and jasmine flowers to trade with neighboring Indian villages.

10915279_820075911018_1848104050298760662_nThese imaginative adventures are made of rich stuff, my friends.

Nature Walks & Our Hike Pack


Nature hikes and nature journals. Two parts of homeschool life that are growing in importance over time. In fact, it has become essential to our life as homeschoolers.


When we first started homeschooling, I assumed that the scheduled “Nature Walk” portions of our curriculum were just a “get them out of the house” option. And while these scheduled walks do get them out of the house, they have become so much more than that to our family.


Nature walks have given us an abundance of time. When we are at home I always feel like the days are slipping by and the children are growing too quickly. Out in nature, everything slows down. Time seems to multiply. Details, thousands of details, spring up all around us. We begin to discover and wonder aloud. We start naming, classifying, drawing and jotting down notes of things to look up later. We sit quietly and reflect. We are lost in a canopied cathedral, where worship and wonder mingle and flow unconstrained.


This year we have been keeping more formal notebooks of our time outside. Seasons, times, sightings, sketches, thoughts, ideas.  The six year old loves making tree rubbings against the bark of the biggest trees he can find. My seven year old is quite keen on sketching hawks. The four year has been content to draw bats over and over and over. Guess what? He’s getting quite proficient at drawing bats! His drawing skills improve through this repetition. We are starting to find our bearings a little quicker with practice. Before the compass is pulled out we each take a guess. Which way is North? Over time the guesses have become more accurate. Where is the closest body of water? What are the names of the trees in this forest or park?


Today, I finished reading “Keeping A Nature Journal” by Clare Walker Leslie and Charles E. Roth.  It has inspired me to keep my own journal and quit overseeing my children’s journals.

Summers are difficult where we live. Extreme heat and extreme bugs make outdoor time a misery.  The majority of our outings are to parks and the beach. If we rise particularly early, then we are able to go out for a hike in the local preserves.  The rest of the year is gorgeous perfection and we are often outside rambling around the farm or in the pine woods nearby. We make great effort to get outside every day and once we are there, I leave the boys up to their own devices for awhile. Its amazing what stories they come home with.


I keep a backpack, stocked and ready for these hikes.


Included in our Hike Pack:

1) (4) 2 x 3 rugs from IKEA
2) Pencil case stocked with pencils (HB, 2B and 3B) erasers and a few colored pencils.
3) Pocket knife
4) Badger Sunscreen and Bug Spray combo
5) Take Along Guides
We use: Caterpillars, Bugs and Butterflies by Mel Boring
Trees, Leaves and Bark by Diane L Burnes
Tracks, Scats and Signs by Leslie Dendy
6) Nature Journals
We use:  Classical Conversations Nature Sketch Journals for 7 and 6 year old.
Run of the mill composition journals for myself and the 4 year old.

IMG_5253  IMG_5254         IMG_5252

Also in the pack but not pictured…

7)  Diapers + wipes
8) Flashlight for checking tree burrows
9) Cell phone w full battery
10) First Aid Kit
11) Compass

Before we leave for the Nature Walk we usually read a passage from an adventurous book my boys have expressed fondness for.  For example, “Wild Animals I have Known” by Ernest Thompson Seton or any of Thornton Burgess’ Animal stories. We make sure we are wearing the correct footwear and that we have been sprayed and lotioned in order to fend off ticks and UV Rays. We grab our water bottles and the boys usually arm themselves with binoculars and wooden rifles. Then, we set out to find the spectacular ordinary and the beautifully mundane.  We do not go looking for tigers or elephants. We walk quietly in the nature that is part of our space and time and we try to get to know it a little better and in doing so we know ourselves and each other better.


Boys love to collect things. I am forever turning pockets inside out before loading the wash. I’ve had a few terrified lizards leap out at me and once or twice a wriggly worm. Usually, the pockets are stuffed to the brim with seeds and rocks and bits of twine.

This is quite wonderful for us. On rainy days or unbearably hot days, we pull out those little treasures and sketch them.  I have also found these small acrylic boxes from Oriental Trading Co. to be quite useful!


We can enclose paper wasp nest fragments, snake skins, fragile exoskeletons or decaying leaves inside.  It is then passed around so the boys can examine their finds without crushing or mangling them.


The clear view from every side is perfect for studying our specimens up close! The boys, inspired by Teddy Roosevelt, have decided to curate their own small museums. We are preserving their best finds each school year and then displaying them in shadow boxes. The boys will be responsible for curating their specimens, labeling them and pinning them in place.

I asked my son the other day, “What is your favorite thing about Nature Walks?” He responded quickly, “Its the biggest space for me to wander and think about all I  am learning and all the stuff I still don’t know. Everything feels taped together. I feel really small and really big all at the same time. Mostly, I just like looking at all the wonderful things God took the time to make.”

The Walks Taken


Our best moments of learning have oftentimes occurred in a forest.

If we can find a quiet wood to walk, then we have found a treasure.


Nothing keeps children engaged in learning quite like ditching the books and fleeing into the trees.
We skip count as we march. We find new leaves to press into our nature journals. We figure out which direction we are traveling in.  I will ask my children: Where is the nearest body of water? Where is the best climbing tree? Can we find three different kinds of homes?  Recall our last walk in the woods and describe what happened?


Burrows, nests and hollows.

Shells, rocks and tiny fossils.

Strips of birch, pine needles and acorns.

Pockets never return home empty.


Anything can happen when your classroom has no walls.

We try and find a spot to sit still. We stay put for several long minutes and wait to see what happens. Just when we think nothing will change, different birds fly into view, squirrels dash out from previously unseen hiding spots, flowers that had escaped our notice before are now blazing in full view. We might pull out a field guide and try to identify things around us. We might tell stories while we fletch tiny arrows.


There are days when the boys sling rifles across their backs and we march through the woods, seeking out the Green Mountain Boys or the Continental Marines.

Oftentimes there is no plan and I find that those are the best days. When the boys can ramble in the woods free of lessons plans and the word “no.”


Take an unplanned walk in the woods. Pull over and visit that nature preserve you always pass by.

If you feel the weight of all the curriculum you have amassed pressing down on you–do yourself a grand favor and heave it to the side.

Take your little one by the hand and make for the trees!

They will not remember the elaborate handouts.

They will remember the walks taken.


Daily Rhythm

One of the first questions fellow homeschool Mamas ask me?

“What is your homeschool schedule like?”


It is a common misconception that homeschoolers are stuck at home with nothing to do all day. Unless you live in a very remote area, the opposite is true! There are so many programs, co-ops, classes, lessons, groups, etc. Truly, the mind boggles! Every spring I am inundated with emails, flyers, messages packed with information. Summer camps and science programs. Athletic organizations and music academies. Your schedule starts to feel like a vise around your head before you’ve even committed to anything. Mommy guilt stampedes through your brain, demanding your compliance in sacrificing every free evening upon the altar of team sports for four year olds. Saying “no” on behalf of your family is somehow equated to denying your sweet child the best learning opportunities.


A number of years ago, Ann Voskamp wrote up a lovely post about the seven phases of her family’s day. It has provided a purposeful, meaty framework for our schedule.

The Seven Rungs
1. Listening: A Way of the Spirit
2. Love: A Way of Sacrificing (The heart of everything we do)
3. Labor: A Way of Serving
4. Loveliness: A Way of Seeing
5. Literature: A Way of Seeking
6. Language: A Way of Speaking
7. Logic: A Way of Scaffolding

We then applied our own homeschool rhythm. I teach my children in blocks of time, which is a concept I picked up from Leigh Bortins of Classical Conversations.

If maths start at 1pm, the children have one hour to complete their work, if it only takes 15 minutes then they have the rest of the hour to play. If it takes 30 minutes then they will have the remaining 30 minutes to play. Each hour of our school day is blocked off in this way.

I find this method especially successful for our four rowdy boys.

They engage with a subject and are then released to refresh and renew. Quite often, their play is focused around what they just learned. This is particularly true of history and science… Lewis and Clark move their expedition outside. Nature notebooks are not taken inside but remain in the backyard to acquire more colored bark impressions. They have the choice to continue to enjoy what they are learning about or break from a frustrating challenge and unwind with a long bike ride or a bit of archery.


We have meshed the rungs and our block schedule to create a daily schedule that allows for LIFE and flexibility in our family.

Here is a sample schedule for the older children (second grade) in our home:

Wake up! Stretch! Breakfast!
8AM Listening: A Way of the Spirit
Devotionals , Memory Work, Family Meeting and Prayer Requests
8:30AM Love: A Way of Sacrificing
Find a way to serve someone in the family/Send notes of encouragement to members of our community.
9AM Loveliness: A Way of Seeing
Art, Music, Handicrafts, Review Core Memory/ Free Play upon completion
10AM Literature: A Way of Seeking
History, Bible/Free Play upon completion
11AM Lunch & Literature
Read books aloud while we eat/Free Play

1PM Language: A Way of Speaking
Phonics, Grammar, Copywork, Writing, Foreign Language Study/Free Play upon completion.
2PM Logic: A Way of Scaffolding
Math, Science/ Free Play Upon Completion.
2PM-4PM Occasional remedial work/Music Practice/Free Time
4PM Labor: A Way of Sacrificing
Blessing Hour
5PM-8PM Family Dinner/ Read Alouds

For Further Clarification:

*Free time can mean anything on the farm. Reading books up in trees, shepherding the chickens through the back hollow, bike races, or playing in the mud pit. The boys are in charge of their own free play. As long as they don’t kill anything or set any fires, its pretty much a go.

*We taper in seasonal activities as needed and try to adhere to the rungs as much as possible on those days. The heart of our schedule is our rhythm. The boys like knowing the purpose of each hour. It teaches them to try and live their days well. It helps me remember
that my time with them as small children is fleeting.


We have learned the art of saying “no” in open-ended ways. “Right now, this is not a good fit for our family.” Things might change, we could be up for it some other time, we aren’t slamming the door in your face but “right now” is not the time.


We have also embraced the “YES.” Yes to reserving time for jumping in mud puddles and reading favorite stories over and over. Yes to collecting a million sticks for the sole purpose of building teepees for our chickens to play in. Yes to valuing our children’s time! Their season is so sweet and so very short. Yes, lets read another book! Yes, lets have a sword fight! Yes, lets climb that tree. What we say YES to is just as important as what we say NO to.


Do you value your time? Does your schedule reflect that? What is important to you? Family meal time? Tucking your child in at night? Are the activities you are involved in adding joy and learning or stress and fatigue? Plow through the hard questions you need to ask yourself and wipe the slate clean if need be!


We only experience childhood once.


At first, I chose to keep my children at home because I wanted their childhood to be protected and enjoyed to the fullest.

I wanted their world to be filled with dirt and sunshine and books.

We chose to homeschool.

This is the path we have set upon to help one another seek God.


Their spiritual inclination, the shaping of their character, the passion in their hearts, over time these elements have risen to the top of the list of why we homeschool.

The acknowledgment of my own personal limitations and abysmal failings has also heightened over time.


There is no earthly way my children can learn every piece of information out there.

I can not teach it all.

They can not learn it all.

After accepting that bit of truth, our homeschool style began its never ending metamorphosis. We constantly change. We have learned to forage, evaluating what stays and what goes. Discovering what remains true, good and beautiful for our children to engage with.

We are a home that strives to cultivate wonder, not entertainment.

We engage slowly, playing skillfully in these tender early years and savoring the gift of discovery.


This past May I had the privilege of attending a few seminars given by Sonya Schafer of Simply Charlotte Mason. She was easily one of the best speakers at the FPEA Convention.  She touched upon a topic close to my heart: Which question do we ask when we want to know if our children are learning well? She posed two questions to consider. The first, “Is my child learning enough?” and the second, “Who is my child becoming and what does he care about?”

I am committed to the latter question because I am not interested in creating tiny humanoid google search engines.

I am passionate about who my children are becoming in Christ.

My daily child-centered energies are focused on loving my children well, gathering knowledge that forms who they will become, sharing stories and ideas that will shape who they are today and above all, pouring the Biblical foundation upon which they will stand.

I am teaching my children to feed themselves from Scripture.

I am training them to have a sharp eye for truth and beauty.

I am gifting them with time to explore and wonder and create and grow.

Those are the standards I try to flesh out each day in spite of my sinful nature and my, at times, frail standards which waver on days when the laundry has accumulated to an exceptionally horrid degree.

If homeschooling has taught me anything it is humility and flexibility.

Our homeschool is a hodgepodge of curriculums and ideas. A Year of Playing Skillfully, Simply Charlotte Mason, Ambelside Online, My Father’s World and Classical Conversations. We learn through beautiful books and puddles and farm chores. Life is messy and chaotic on this farm packed with four kids, eleven hens, three turkeys and an overly confident west highland terrier. We yell at each other more than we should. We often choose selfishness in the moments when we should choose selflessness. I am never, ever caught up on laundry. Yet we have fallen into grace and will remain there until He comes to make all things new.

Welcome to Farmhouse Schoolhouse.