Monday links: The Little House edition

This post contains affiliate links, and when you purchase anything after clicking them it benefits my family. Thank you for your support of this site!
Photos from Little House in the Big Woods of Pepin, Wisconsin! With more to come after the laundry is washed and suitcases unpacked!

My recommendations this week:

Screen Shot 2014-06-20 at 6.12.50 PM

Wow, this Little House on the Prairie 4 part miniseries by Disney is beautiful to watch!

Sticks much closer to the script of the books than the TV show and it does not sugarcoat the hardships of pioneer living (including the tremendous tension between Indians and settlers – I did fast forward a couple of scenes, fyi). I’d highly recommend this for family viewing with your kids ages 9 and up.

Screen Shot 2014-06-20 at 6.54.42 PM

Out of all the Little House themed books we’ve read this year, THIS is one of the few we actually packed along our journey to the sites.

Beautiful photographs and history of the people and places Laura loved (and some she hated, ahem, Nellie). It’s one to add to your shelf if you have Little House fans at home!

Screen Shot 2014-06-22 at 8.39.51 AM

If you have studied the pioneers with your family, you must take a peek at A Pioneer Sampler – it’s one of our newest discoveries and favorites in our home library!

The author cleverly blends historical fiction about a pioneer family in the 1840s with nonfiction about some of the most common chores and activities: maple sugaring, house building, sheep shearing, etc. Make sure to check it out for your 8-12 year-olds.

Featured sponsors this week:

Screen Shot 2014-06-22 at 8.33.29 AM

If your kids love Lego, check out this way to try out more sets without paying for them - is a Lego rental service (Think of it like Netflix for Lego!).

Rent a set for a month, send it back in a prepaid box, and have another show up at your doorstep.


Take school outside this summer:

Home Science Tools offers plenty of supplies and projects to help you boost summer learning (insect collecting, owl pellet dissection, microscopes, and tons more)  – and right now you can get an extra 10% off!

Blessings on you and yours…

“It is a good idea sometimes to think of the importance and dignity of our every-day duties. It keeps them from being so tiresome; besides, others are apt take us at our own valuation.”
~ Laura Ingalls Wilder

On setting (& adjusting) your summer expectations

On setting and adjusting your summer expectations
Jamie Martin, editor of Simple Homeschool, also blogs about motherhood at Steady Mom

I‘m finishing this post off in a Midwestern hotel, right before the start of a journey we’ve planned all year (and that I’ve looked forward to for decades!)

We are preparing to kick off our Little House site tour–it’s like the ultimate field trip, visiting some of the sites that Laura called home.

All year long the kids and I have been studying the Little House books, in anticipation of actually seeing and experiencing some of what the Ingalls did long ago. I cannot wait!
[Read more...]

Weekend links

This post contains affiliate links, and when you purchase anything after clicking them it benefits my family. Thank you for your support of this site!
weekend links montessori

My recommendations this week:

Screen Shot 2014-06-16 at 12.55.45 PM

Looking for a homeschool resource to teach your kids cursive? This book is what I use with Trishna and we like it.

With short lessons (10 minutes), it starts with the easiest strokes and progresses from there. And it’s non-consumable, so you can use it with multiple kids!

Screen Shot 2014-06-18 at 11.12.26 AM

These “first” encyclopedias by DK Publishing are my favs to purchase. I add a couple each year to our home library, and it seems like not a day goes by when I don’t see one of my kids flipping through them.

They are full of colorful photographs, diagrams, and fascinating info. Highly recommended for ages 5-10+!

Screen Shot 2014-06-14 at 5.43.48 PM

We just got our Little Passports package from England in the mail this week, but did you know that they also offer another subscription just for the USA?

For ages 7-12, “visit” two states each month with recipes, connect the dots, mazes, and other activities to learn more as you travel the US.

Featured sponsors this week:

Screen Shot 2014-06-17 at 2.50.26 PM

Reading Rainbow was a huge part of my journey toward falling in love with books way back when, so I was thrilled to donate toward their Kickstarter campaign to bring it back via the web to homes and give it free to needy schools!

They have just 11 days left of their campaign and about $1 million left to raise – even a few dollars makes a difference.

Screen Shot 2014-06-19 at 4.17.23 PM

Oak Meadow’s curriculum goes from PreK-12th grade and their unique approach is both academic yet still infused with a sense of heart and imagination.

You can use their program independently or enroll in their fully accredited distance learning school for support! I’ve been inspired by many of their materials over the years.

Screen Shot 2014-06-17 at 2.11.07 PM

Artterro offers a collection of inspirational eco-friendly art kits. I love that they are open-ended–so kids can really let their creativity run wild with them.

We have the needle felting kit and I have to say I enjoyed it as much as the kids–simple and a fun way to spend time together.

Screen Shot 2014-06-19 at 7.24.55 PM

These Magic School Bus Science labs on Weather, Engineering, Polymers, and Chemistry look fun to have on hand over the summer for ages 5-10…and for just a few days Educents has them on sale even cheaper than Amazon Prime!

Blessings on you and yours this week…

“Our care of the child should be governed, not by the desire to make him learn things, but by the endeavor always to keep burning within him that light which is called intelligence.”
~ Maria Montessori

Navigating the path ahead: Using your homeschool compass

This post contains affiliate links, and when you purchase anything after clicking them it benefits my family. Thank you for your support of this site!
Navigating the path ahead Using your homeschool compass
Jamie Martin, editor of Simple Homeschool, also blogs about motherhood at Steady Mom

This post is part of an ongoing series
about the educational philosophy Leadership Education
(also known as A Thomas Jefferson Education.)
Find the other posts in the series here.

Last Monday I described for you the process of creating a homeschool compass–a plan your children ages eight and older can use to help direct their own learning with you serving as a mentor and guide.

In that post I walked through the questions I asked my own kids–about skills they’d like to conquer, books they want to read, and even what they feel their mission and purpose on this earth might be.

Today I’d like to explain how we finished off the compasses and how we are actually putting them to use in our day-to-day homeschool life.
[Read more...]

Weekend links

This post contains affiliate links, and when you purchase anything after clicking them it benefits my family. Thank you for your support of this site!
weekend links

My recommendations this week:

Screen Shot 2014-06-08 at 2.27.26 PM

Sometimes don’t you just wish you could hear from someone who traveled this crazy road of alternative education & came out the other side successfully?

I tore through the pages of The Call to Brilliance years ago and felt so inspired by the story of Resa & her kids: “Unable to read until ages nine and ten, they entered college at eleven and twelve, became systems administrators, chief technology officers, trained with the Berlin Opera and Hamburg Ballet, and more, all before the ages of eighteen.”

Screen Shot 2014-06-13 at 3.05.18 PM

I got SO much beauty & reassurance out of Sarah Mackenzie’s new ebook, Teaching from a State of Rest: A Homeschooler’s Guide to Unshakable Peace. As I said in my official review of it: “Sarah beautifully reminds us that we will never be able to give our children the ‘perfect’ education. Instead of crumbling under the weight of our attempts to do so, we can let the burdens fall off our tired backs.”

Highly recommended as a summer inspirational read before the new school year kicks off. And make sure you check out Sarah’s blog as well.


If you’re a mama who hates clothes shopping (like I do!), you may find Stitch Fix to be your answer (like I have!)

5 items delivered to your door each month to try on (according to a style profile you complete), keep the ones you want, & send the rest back in a prepaid envelope.

Featured sponsors this week:

Screen Shot 2014-06-09 at 7.46.12 PM

From the folks behind the popular curriculum Math-U-See, comes a new program – Spelling You See!

It’s aim is to imprint correct spelling into a student’s long-term visual memory through short daily activities that integrate copy work, reading, speaking, & listening.

Screen Shot 2014-06-13 at 2.58.33 PM

I’m not what you would call a “crafty” mom, which is why Green Kid Crafts has been a help to our family!

I like how each monthly box includes ALL the supplies needed – that every project is separated and organized in its own bag, and that they are simple and fun (& usually not too messy!) Use the code HEARTDAD for 40% off your first month through 6/16.

“It is a wise father that knows his own child.”
~ William Shakespeare