Category Archives: home school

Inbetween the Books

Inbetween the books and schooling my dudes….





You can find me photographing for Boba :)

I finally get to link yall to some of the photos I took for Boba earlier this year. They came out with some new prints. Both for their carriers and wraps. I love them. Below is one of my favorite photos out of the bunch. Model Tiffany – amazing mom of 3 modeling her youngest, who was just so precious. This photo for me sums up my love for babywearing… and the dad’s expression was just perfect. Thank you to all my amazing models and for Boba who helped put this together as well. I think we all made a great team this year.


See more of the new prints on the Boba Website.

I also got to photograph this cutie over the weekend….


& this coming weekend ill get to photograph THIS ARTIST in concert. SO EXCITED about that. As well as like 9 students for school photos & a sweet little guy on Saturday who I photographed at age 1.

Its been kinda a slow season for me with photography. I didn’t push it over the summer… not to many families want portraits when its super hot… and well honestly, I was a bit burned out that I needed a break. I think its good for photographers to take occasional breaks to recharge. Im back in the swing though and look forward to a busy fall. I only wish I had more energy…. seems with photography teamed with home schooling and the task of housework and cooking meals, it leaves little left. Im worn out by 1pm most days and by the end of the day I am just whooped. I so wish I liked coffee…..

If anyone is curious how schooling has been with the boys this year. I thought about doing a post with our daily routine laid out. Anyone interested in that? If not, I probably wont blog it. So do comment ;-)

Hey you.

Sitting on our school table.


Be still.


He is a very indecisive Dragon.


So he ended up in my lap.

Yeah. Life of a Dude Mom, strikes again.

Do you all have any class pets? If so, what ones?

—- for those curious, this is August our Bearded Dragon. He is ALMOST a year old. Caleb got him last Christmas but we believe he was born around August last year (explains the name a little bit). Not 100% sure though, just a guess based on his size. Caleb takes care of him completely and has ever since we got him. Its a must, cause this dude is high maintenance in the area of food!! You can learn more about him and Caleb’s other reptile pets on his BLOG. I hope to encourage his writing more with the blog this year in school. He is taking typing right now, so hopefully this will give him that extra push and practice.

People think we are nuts to have pets like this.

I however am a firm believer in pouring into your children’s passions. Caleb loves reptiles… and since getting him a few, it has really encouraged him and engaged him more into learning. I have seen HUGE growth in his ability to retain things, maturity levels in responsibility and so forth. While I do not believe this is an easy pet… the cost of its set up can add up and the hassle with live feed is a pain. Its been trial and error for us. Thankful to have a set up now that works well and is super cheap (just kinda gross… you can read what he feeds him on his blog) High maintenance or not, this has absolutely been a good one for Caleb to learn with. If your boy wants a reptile, Id suggest a snake ;-) – way easier!!! however, the Dragon has a lot more personality and doesn’t seem to creep people out as much.

Yes, I am a dude mom. Hear me roar :)

2014-2015 Home School Curriculum

Well, its that time again. School time.


Yall have heard my woes of this throughout the last few years.
Home Schooling is not easy…. but it is something I def. have felt called to do… and throughout the years of doing it, I am learning ways to make it better work for our family… as God grows it, moves us and changes our schedules.

Over the last 3 years we have gone through job loss.
Moving 2 states away…
Birth of a new baby…
Living far from Family.
Dealing with a new job with hours that posed to be extremely difficult to deal with.
Depression in the midst of schooling, not cool.
Another Move…
… and ever changing job off days still.

Thankful for grace through those hard 3 years… and despite the bumps, our kids seem to be ok haha….

So Below is a walk through of what we will be using. Hopefully :)


ED9A5501Caleb – Grade 4

History, Science and Bible – Switched on School House
– this is the program the Duggar’s use… and while it has some bad reviews… the selling point for me was the fact he can do most of it on his own. I am all about teaching children to be independent. THIS IS A MUST FOR MOMS OF MANY IMO… I cannot hold my kids hand throughout every step… and while I am here to help if needed, Caleb is almost 10… he is at the age, I believe can be taught to do A LOT on his own…

I also got a steal on the programs. All 3 for $90.00 used! New it would have cost around $300.00. The best part about this program is you can reuse it for all your other kids. So once Taite hits 4th grade, if it works out and we like it… he will get to use it as well. No extra cost. Being able to REUSE home school curriculum with many kids, is the best.

Math – Math U See – Gamma and Beta.
Caleb needs to work on his facts… and while he went through 3rd grade math fine… and was even tested by the state and averaged above the norm… he still struggles sometimes with the memorization of facts… this we believe is important for a good solid foundation in math…and after tossing back and forth between Saxon w/ DVDS and Math u See with CD-ROM, this one took the cake. I was really impressed with their informational DVD they sent me (its free on their website) and I have read A TON of reviews… and from all I have read, this program seems to be amazing for boys. So heres hoping! My friend Nichole also, has 8 kids, soon to be 9 kids, uses this and loves it as well. Her and I are similar in many of ours ways :) – so I thought if she liked it, surely I would. Fingers crossed.


Literature - Im using Progeny Press this year. Recommended by my BFF Shannon (who also home schools 4). I found BOTH the books I needed for the 1st half of the year, used for like .99 cents. I even found the Study Guides used and unwritten on ebay as well. Win Win! He will go through two books and their study guides. From there, we will see if we like it and will continue with more books.

Spelling - I will use the spelling provided on the Switched on Schoolhouse program. Each lesson has a spelling list.  So I figured since Caleb reads very well now, that continued reading on his own and spelling list in history, bible and science are plenty.

– I may also let him use WORLDY WISE the iPad APP. Its free! :) –


ED9A5509Taite – 2nd Grade

Math – Same as Caleb, Math U See. He will be using the BETA lessons.

Language/Spelling – Abeka 2nd Grade – We had the teachers books already… since Caleb did this in 2nd grade. So I only had to buy consumable workbooks this year for Taite. Was around $30.00 or so.

– He also will probably use the WORLDY WISE iPad APP.

Reading – Abeka Readers *2nd grade* (Found all 10 used for $33.00 – including shipping cost. New it would have cost me over $130!). I for some reason did not have the 2nd grade readers even though Caleb did Abeka 2nd grade Language/Spelling. I think because we did Classical Conversations that year, we didn’t do the reading books with Caleb.

Writing – New England Primer
– Got it with a ebook bundle I purchased earlier in the year. Its simple… just writing worksheets to improve his writing. Taite does not have pretty hand writing. His brother Caleb has great hand writing… but one thing I am realizing is each boy is different. Taite just isnt built the same as Caleb. Caleb is very much a perfectionist like me… and therefore he was super neat with his writing. Taite is all boy… and as long as it is semi readable he is ok with it haha… I would like to refine his cursive a bit more tho… and improve his print. So we will do simple things like this throughout the year to do so. Prior to this year, we used Abeka Cursive. Great program!

I also have an ABEKA Print book we have never used. Manuscript, whatever…. Taite actually writes better in cursive than he does in print. So the New England Primer is in cursive…so I may let him work his way through the ABEKA Manuscript book as well for extra practice.


Bible – I plan to let Taite sit with Caleb while Caleb does the Bible studies on the SOS software. It will give Caleb good practice teaching… as well as help him with his reading out loud. I also have a Grapevine study we never finished that we may dabble in some too. Because we plan to do AWANA this year at our church, having a bible core program wasnt high on my list this year. Not saying its not important. It is… but our kids get plenty of it. Their dad is a former Pastor after all ;-) – he is great at doing devotionals with them when he is home after school hours.


Science – Yes Caleb will have 2 Sciences.
I ordered the SONLIGHT Science A 2 years ago… the year I was pregnant with baby Reed… and once Reed was born that program went to pot. I didn’t do any of it. So it was unused and sitting on a shelf for years. I went through and looked over all of it again… and figured we may as well use it. So for Taite’s Science and Caleb’s, jointly we will do this. Owen can join in too. Will be good sitting time for him…. Caleb LOVES science and this program has lots of fun hands on stuff… and great books. The SOS Science for Caleb though is much more in-depth and will def. be good for him to have too, since he is older. We actually started the Sonlight Science yesterday, for a trial run… and my boys LOVED IT! It has some online resources with each lesson… made it much more interactive and fun. Lessons seem very easy and not to long… Im all for short lessons, hah….

HISTORY - Caleb will get to do this with us too… even though he will have his own history lessons to go through on SOS as well. I am using The Story of the World Book 1. With the activity book. Very simple to go through and has fun hands on stuff if you want to do that too. These lessons will be short.

Geography – I have Confession’s of a Home Schooler’s USA Road Trip printed out for them to go through again too for a refresher… if we get to it. Not pressing this to much, but if they want to do it, we may. They always enjoyed it when we did it a few years ago. No harm in refreshers ;-)

Health – We are about to finish up MY BODY
- a great book for teaching the kids an over all look at their organs and structure. My KIDS LOVED THIS BOOK!!! In fact on non school days they’d ask me “Can we do the body book again?” – so fun for them. We have like 3 more parts to do and should be done soon… we kinda did this off and on through the summer. SO once we finish it, we prob wont do a health curriculum til the next year. I think you can teach kids general HEALTH stuff just by living life… its the beauty of home school. Teaching them to cook… teaching them responsibility, chores… teaching them about taking care of themselves…etc… all ties into HEALTH lessons :) The BODY cut outs on some of these images we did using the MY BODY book. Lots of fun. Although Caleb apparently is to tall and Owen to short…. cause Caleb seems to lack organs and Owen has no room for his. Hah… so Taite being age 7 seems the perfect size visually for the body parts in this book. It still works though if you child is tall or short… just got to get creative with the organ placement…

Spanish – I have Rosetta Stone to install and hopefully dabble in this year with the boys. Would love for them to learn spanish. After all, half my family lives in Central America!

ED9A5523Owen – Pre-K

Owen is only 4… so we will not be pushing a lot with him.
I purchased him a general Pre-K book to work through from walmart. Its easy basic stuff. To help him develope his motorskills… become familiar with letters and numbers… but I will not be pushing phonics with him or math really, until at least age 5 or 6.

Reed – Destroyer (hah)

Reed turns 2 in a few months… and he is def. becoming the destroyer in the home haha… that lil dude is into everything!! so my job will be learning to maintain happy-keep-baby-reed-busy activities, inbetween schooling 2 others and dealing with a 4 yr old too. Im not sure its possible… but we shall see hah!

I pinned some fun home school activities to use with him and the others throughout the year. Got to love pinterest!

ED9A5514 ED9A5513

Before I get into ROOM STUFF below… I will say, THIS SEEMS LIKE A LOT ABOVE… One thing I am going to try VERY HARD to do this year… is to relax. To not worry so much about deadlines… we are not a PUBLIC SCHOOL or PRIVATE SCHOOL… we do not have to do X amount of days in X amount of time. The beauty of home schooling is you make it work for your family.

ED9A5525So you know what… if we wake up and baby reed is sick. We may only do 2 things… and the rest of the day veg and love on our baby…

One day we may be on the roll and do more than required…

If we decide to travel, we will travel and pick up where we left.

I want to teach my boys… and help them to learn to love learning… and by me always trying to keep up with a public school schedule, made it just… not cool…. and very unenjoyable some days….


Ok, so onto room stuff…..

I am hoping to diffuse a lot of essential oils this year in the school room, to help with my kids attention spans and normal boy jitters.

On the list to diffuse or apply:

Attention Assist (this is the main one ill be using)

***It was formulated specifically to help you treat ADD and ADHD. In research tests it was established that these oils were definitely beneficial for those with ADD and ADHD. The Vetiver was the most effective, showing that it helped 100% of the test cases*. Since all the oils in the study showed some benefit, we have blended them together so that all their benefits are synergized into a powerful blend.

Attention Assist is deeply relaxing. It helps calm and heal emotional wounds. It helps clear mental cobwebs and fortify the mind. It has been known to help calm angry situations, which is particularly helpful during tense family situations.

Attention Assist helps balance and regulate the Central Nervous System. It also helps you clear your lymphatic system, which helps you rid your body of waste and toxins. ****

A few others I may try too…
- Aligning

- Mind Alive

**** Speaking of Oils. I AM Giving away some BACK TO SCHOOL PACKS of TWO of my favorite Oils. Immune Strength as well as Attention Assist, mentioned above. Be sure to FOLLOW ME on facebook to keep up with when that post goes live. Even though I am taking a 1-2 month break from facebook, all my post are placed onto my facebook page automatically with an app… so its an easy way for you all reading to stay up to date. The giveaway should be this week! It will be open to both USA and Canadian readers. ****

ED9A5515Now… School room organization.

Let me just go through the various things in the room….

We have a smaller less polished table ;-) – for messy babies and toddlers to use paint/markers on..etc…

We have a chalk board (former home owners left it, although Im not a huge fan of it…. much prefer a white board).

We have a huge white board piece I got years back from LOWES. Its a piece of wall siding??? you can go to Lowes and get this for like 12 bucks!! they cut it to the size you need. Only thing is, its not magnetic… I wish I had a magnetic white board… its on my wish list. I would love to frame this white board too… I just havent…. If anything having it more mobile gives baby Reed something else to enjoy.

I have a small shelf unit filled with school supplies. Scissors and more dangerous items I keep above in the white organizer on top. By dangerous, I mean glue. I mean, can you imagine. Baby Reed with glue access. It be terrible. ;-)

The White Cabinet in the room has extra school supplies for crafts in the top area… As well as board games, puzzles and other busy toddler items.

The bookshelf on the right side of the room has our school books. My books on the top shelf. Kids on the middle shelf. Old books on the bottom shelf that we may use again… Above that are our boys 3 jars for saving, giving and spending. A treasure chest filled with dollar tree stuff. If they do well during the week, on Fri they get to choose a prize from the Treasure box. The small tower above that book shelf has other misc. items… like lamination sheets, stickers, hole punch, etc.

The Left book shelf has kid books on it. Globe.

The Blue Table (given to us! love it) has our computer area… with scanner/color printer… laser black and white printer… Calebs SOS software and any DVDS we play will be played on this. It is nothing fancy but it works. My dad gave us this computer…. we had an additional one but it could not run video well, so that one is going back to my dads “work shop” for him to fiddle with if he wants haha… My husband ended up getting a laptop on the back to school no tax day… we had gotten it for the boys but the more I thought about it… the more it made sense for him to have it. So he has that and the kids got his old PC. Win win.

The bigger pine table in the room is where we will do work together… that table was mine growing up in my family… its old but solid! Best thing about old tables, you don’t have to stress over kids marking it up. We dont encourage that btw :) – but if a younger child takes a sharpie to it, I wont stress to much.

I think thats about it.


Let me know if you have any questions :)

I am no perfect home school mom… we may fail at some of what we chose for this year… or we may fly through it and do amazing. I just never know :) – we may have to move mid year… we may not… life for us is so up in the air right now… im trying really hard to just embrace the now and despite the “possible” roads ahead, pressing on.

Thankful for another year to school these dudes. I LOVE THEM!!!

Home schooling is a gift… and while hard many days, it is well worth it in the end.


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Young Blogger

Caleb decided he wanted to start a blog. Having a website was the first step… but WIX was difficult for him to understand… so blogging was our next idea to help him share his love for reptiles and so forth. One thing I have been learning with schooling dudes, is the importance of allowing them to pour into their interest. It encourages learning!

While snakes may not be any moms first choice :) – in our case, dads first choice (My husband HATES SNAKES)… it is something that Caleb really enjoys… and by allowing him to learn more on his own and take up some responsibility, it has done nothing but encourage learning and maturity.

Caleb’s blog is at:

I help him access comments when he gets them… he takes the time to respond to them on his own though. All the comments filter through my email, so things are closely monitored.

Allowing him to blog may seem silly to some… but it has been yet another opportunity to teach him something new. Teaching him about copy/paste options online. How to upload videos… how to clip videos. How to insert images… the basics of code aka html… and so forth. ITS A LOT TO LEARN. I learned it as a young teen, so it was something as an adult took very little effort.

To end, here is Caleb’s latest video on How to Care for Dubia Roaches.

To those who hate bugs. Don’t watch it haha… although its so cute. Esp. when Reed interrupts mid way.

Caleb for 9 years old does very well explaining not only the care for the Roaches but also the stages of their life as well as breeding them. Did you know Roaches give birth LIVE?! crazy! at least these roaches do. All may not. To those who may think we are absolutely NUTS to take on a bin full of 100’s of roaches. Let me just say this. I HATE ROACHES… bugs for that matter… but the cost of CRICKETS for his Bearded Dragon added up. It would have cost between 100-200 dollars a year for crickets to feed his Dragon. Ridiculous. Plus many trips to the pet store to purchase them. Gas, plus cricket cost. Way to expensive for me. Was such a pain… Crickets would die easily (their life span is only like 3 weeks… where Roaches its like 2 yrs) and they smelled worse than kitty litter. The roaches oddly enough do not stink… and after an initial investment of around $50.00 – you will forever and always have food for your Reptile. So its a cheap alternative ;-) – and a route I highly recommend if you plan to get a Bearded Dragon or other insect eating animal. Just thankful I don’t have to tend to them, if I did, we would sell the Beardie and be done with bugs ;-) – cause they are gross looking.


Blessing’s for the Home School Mom

Home School.

Something we have done for 4+ years now… Feel’s weird to even write that. 4 years. How can I have a future 4th grader already?!

Home Schooling…

Something I really, had no intention of ever doing before I had kids. In fact, the thought of it made me think of overly nerdy kids and moms with no life. Yea. I was one of those who thought all home school kids turned out strange and hated it in the end. That any mom who home schooled was weird for doing it and needed a life. I was the mom who never felt smart enough and honestly probably wouldn’t be smart enough, without the help of amazing curriculum available today. Y’all read my blog. You know my grammar and spelling can be pretty bad :) – mainly out of sheer laziness and a constant rush without proofing. It is what it is, doesn’t bother me.

ED9A2574Home Schooling.

Not easy.

Full of struggle.

Full of doubt.

It may be just me. I doubt it. I as a home school mom, question myself.

Question if my kids get it.

Question if its worth it.

Question if I am doing a good job, if my children are up to par with their academics…

Question if I am doing more harm than good… and often wanting to just throw in the towel and let go.

To the public school moms.

I envy you :) – truly.

I have thought to do public school for years now… especially since we live in an area where the schools are great in compassion to some. I have many sweet friends who public school and have very sweet and well mannered, smart children.

Public School is not the enemy, home school die hards. :)

The system may be jacked up in many areas… our society may be polluted with A LOT… and much of which comes from parents, media and technology flooding our children’s minds and hearts. It really is no reason to hate or bash Public School though. After all, I turned out ok ;-) – as did my husband. It came with struggle at times, but life is full of struggles, home school or public schooled.

I envy the recitals and fun school plays. I envy the cute back packs and lunch boxes. Although I am sure if I was the Public School Mom, I wouldn’t envy any of it ;-) – but I do in moments.

So why home school?

ED9A2607I can’t seem to sum it up in any other way, besides… it feels like a calling for me.

Something I can’t seem to shake. A conviction.

A burden.

A desire.

I love my boys. Not to say, someone who doesn’t home school, doesn’t love theirs.

I love seeing them learn… and while at times I want to chuck their books across the room and escape to my room with a very strong glass of wine. I think those moments are normal, few (sometimes many) and all part of the experience.

Through those experiences, my children see their mom broken. They see sacrifice. They see apologies.

As the new year is about to start in a month or two (depending on where you live or what schedule you abide by)… I begin to do research for next year’s curriculum. All the while, I have this tug to just stop.

To give up.

ED9A2592-2The constant weight of doubt in me and my ability to school these boys, is so heavy some days.
I want my boys to do well. I want their education to be above the norm and I want them to love learning. I think so often when you are the teacher… and you are learning right along with each passing year. You tend to over think things some days…

Last night we went to our new neighbors home. Two doors down from us. They just moved in and while out with the boys bike riding… the husband struck up a conversation with Taite *our 7 yr old* – and it led to our entire family bumming off their cookout haha (they insisted). My boys went into their home and began to strike up conversations with the guest they had over. Many minutes later, some of the guest came out to meet us… One of the ladies came over to me and began asking me if the 2 boys inside where mine. I told her yes… and she went on telling me how impressed she was with my boys. She said they where so cute and intellectual in their speech. She said she was so impressed with their manners and how they told her “yes mam’.” Something we btw drill in them daily ;-) – its been a constant reminder we give them when speaking to adults. Lately they have started being much more constant with using “yes mam’ and yes sir.” I also btw use to he ANTI “yes mam’ and yes sir” lingo :) – I thought it was snobbish as a child and didn’t understand why anyone used it. I thought it was old fashion. Boy how your views change once you actually become an adult and have children. It is just so much more respectful to hear a child respond to you with a “yes mam'” than “yea.” To each their own though. Some I know don’t see it as a must… and it isn’t, its just something we feel is nice.

ED9A2546It wasn’t a “huge” conversation last night… but it was huge for me in the sense it truly lifted my spirits.

Hearing someone verbally tell you their approval of your children… and how she thought highly of my boys and praised me for it, was something I needed.

I was so blessed by our children that night and hugged them extra tight that night thanking them. Was proud of them.

Home Schooling.

It is hard.

I don’t blame anyone at all who chooses Public School, Charter, Private… whatever it may be.

I think when it comes to our children’s education, what matters is a parents desire to love those children. To train them… to teach them, outside and inside of school when they can… and to forever encourage and lift them up.

My boys have their moments of disappointment. They have their moments of bickering. Selfishness… pure annoyance :) – but they are good boys who I am so proud of.

Im thankful to be able to say, Ive been there EVERY SINGLE MOMENT. Teaching. Learning. Growing with them daily.