T’was the Night Before Homeschool…

T’was the night before homeschool and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, except — the kid

– who is thirsty

– needs to use the bathroom

– is too hot

– is too cold

– too itchy

– whose blankets fell off the bed

– needs a snuggle

– has to use the bathroom, again

You get the picture. Or you’ve been there yourself!

This is a teaser of a series that will be coming down the pipeline, in the near future.

In order to be free to do ‘all the things,’ all the other things must be in order. Say that 10 times fast.

In reality, the more organized and prepared we are as parents and homeschoolers, the smoother the day usually goes. (Now throw a couple of toddlers in the mix and then it doesn’t really matter how well you planned…)

Ok – it does matter how well you plan, even when there are toddlers thrown in the mix. If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time.

When it comes to laying everything out the night before, there was a ton of work that went into the what’s, when’s, where’s, why’s, hows, and whose. Before I even prepped this, there were file folders, lesson plans, bullet journals, printing, laminating, and above all a lot of prayer.

Trying to bring it all together all at the same time would be completely overwhelming. Getting this all together takes multiple steps. These will be set out plainly in the near future. For now, here is a picture of what setting up the night before looks like.

Each kid has seat work, activities, piano practice and a chore that is done before they walk up the stairs, to our main level.

I set out what they need at their table spot and write out the details on the white board.

Keeping it Fresh

Today, my five year old needed something that required movement. Everyday we practice something that is very hands on, but today was especially one of ‘those days.’

One of the ‘move it, move it’ activities we practiced today was spelling words with magnaformers. They are actually a generic form of this magnet, but they get the job done!

Here’s a sneak peek into how he practiced his words today.

Skiing Morning


Once a week, we take a couple hours out of our morning to ski, at the local slopes.

Each spring, Trollhaugen offers a discounted family pass. We are a crowd in and of ourselves, so we take advantage of this.

Last year was a challenging year. I’m a cheap skate and decided to teach the kids to ski – all by myself.

It was all about my expectations. Honestly, it’s still about realistic expectations. But when I was trying to teach skiing, I had to go into each session with the expectation that I was going to be a sweaty mess and I may not be able to walk the next day. 😂

After a few weeks, we graduated from the bunny hills and braved the chair lifts. My youngest still can’t get himself on the chair, by himself. Here I am counting to three and lifting him onto the chair.

This year, we almost exclusively ski the chairlift runs. I am able to drop the twins, at my aunt’s house, for a couple hours. Each kid is able to pick 3 runs. We take turns picking where to ski. That brings us to about 2 hours.

For us, two hours is about right. My oldest kid would love to stay longer, but my five year old is over skiing at about 1.5 hours.

Not to leave out the meek middle child. He was pretty stoked to ‘catch some air’ today. Not sure anyone else would be able to discern any air caught, but he was proud of himself! And so am I! Takes a lot for my ultra cautious child to even think about something kind of dangerous. And that’s ok.

Spelling Words

There are a lot of creative ways to encourage spelling practice.

A few ways we keep spelling fresh and fun:

Boogie board:

Spelling City:


Write a Sentence for each Word, they have for the week. This is great for dictation.

Every Wednesday, we FaceTime Grandpa (my dad) and they write a short story that includes all 10 of their spelling words. It’s usually a funny and nonsensical story – but a effective nonetheless and great for the imagination!

Along with the ‘fun stuff’ we also do a pre test and a real test. Sometimes I have a pencil a paper, but mostly we narrate our spelling words.

Redemptive Artistry

For the first 13 weeks of school, we were able to use a freeelementary edition of Redemptive Artistry. 


My kids and I had a ton of fun learning about past/present artists as well as their differing techniques.

Shelley West, of Redemptive Artistry, does a great job of laying out and explaining each lesson. Included is a Preschool section, perfect for little hands and short attention spans.

Redemptive Artistry has a facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/shelleywestart/

Sunday Lunch

I don’t know about your Sunday mornings and early afternoons, but if I’m not proactive in planning, we are in a constant state of chaos.

Can I get a witness??

Since starting a couple of new gigs, in January, I’ve had to buckle down and plan, plan, plan.

Normally, I would have generally planned, in my head, how our Sunday morning was going to roll. Now, it’s getting it all put together Saturday.

Sunday lunch – Potatoes Au Gratin w/ Ham

5 or 6 medium potatoes

1 cup diced ham

4 TBSP butter

1/2 onion finely chopped

1 – 2 cloves garlic

2 TBSP corn starch

1 cup – ish Milk (kind of eyeball this one. May need more milk to mostly cover potatoes)

1 cup Cheddar Cheese

1 tsp Basil

1 tsp Paprika

Salt and pepper to taste


Peel and slice potatoes. Arrange them in a 9 x 13 pan. (I use dark glass) Sprinkle ham over potatoes.

Meanwhile, melt butter in a sauce pan over medium heat. Add onions and cook until onions are translucent. Add garlic and stir in. Continue to stir for 1 min. Add cornstarch. Combine for 1 min. Add milk and warm milk.

Once milk is warm, add cheddar cheese and stir until cheese is melted. After cheese if melted. Add basil, paprika, salt, and pepper.

Pour over potatoes.

Cover baking dish with tinfoil and refrigerate until needed or bake right away.

Bake at 400 degree Fahrenheit for 1 hour.

We have a baking timer/stop time on our oven.

Before we leave for church, I put the potatoes in the oven and set the oven to bake the potatoes at 400 for an hour AND to be done baking about the time we get home from church.

Like the crockpot, but not the crockpot. (I like to cheese crispy on the top of my potatoes)

MN Zoo Adventure Jan 2019

After Christmas break, it’s safe for the homeschoolers to come out of hiding!
Over past Christmases, I’ve been able to convince several family members to ditch the conventional packages and instead gift an experience or a year long membership.
My brother and sister-in-law have gifted a membership to the Minnesota Zoo for the past 6 years! We have had so many fun experiences, discoveries and learning opportunities.
Regardless of how many times we visit or what time of year it may be, we spend a minimum of four hours walking and taking it all in. (Winter is especially fun – walking slowly along the TROPICS Trail!)