Mother Culture, by Karen Andreola

This read reminded me of a cup of coffee: sip, savor, repeat.

Spending any amount of time, in the homeschool world, you are bound to come across ‘mother culture.’ Although the inter-web can pass along many ideas about mother culture, Mrs. Andreola fills the cup to overflowing.

Free to imagine what culture could permeate my home.

Even as I write, so many thoughts swirl around my mind. Thoughts about raising children. Raising adults. Passing on genuine faith. Educating children. Staying sane. Being healthy. The list goes on and on. ‘Mother Culture’ touches on all these and is a book that I’ll read several times over. As a seasoned homeschool mom and now grandmother, Mrs. Andreola gathers all swirling thoughts and brings them into focus. She provides space for the freedom to imagine what home could realistically look like.

At the end of each chapter, she provides a list of extra resources

Frequently, Mrs. Andreola would quote from other resources. Each time, my Amazon wish list would grow by one more book. I also found myself reading portions aloud to my husband or anyone else who would hear me. She put into words things that I couldn’t quite ‘put my finger on.’

If you find yourself in the state of motherhood and especially if you have been led into homeschooling, this is a must read!

Cascade Falls

As a ‘stay at home adventurist’ this is a gem of an adventure. A short little jaunt down some stairs – to Cascade Falls, a leisurely walk along the St. Croix River, and short/sweet hike up a steep hill. We end our hike at the local Dairy Queen. Besides the DQ, Osceola, WI has cute coffee shops and boutiques to round off the experience.

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:

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!)