Finding Your Homeschool Swing!

Homeschooling?  Normal versus Typical? How to Find Your Swing?

find your homeschool swing

Today, I wanted to jump into what you should expect when you homeschool–what should your day look like? Expect just a bit of satire in this post, because the longer you go homeschooling, the more you will notice that hardly anyone does homeschool the same way that you do! The main thing is to find your own swing.

We recently listened on to the story, The Boys in the Boat. See my post in April Audio Favorites for the details on this book. In short, the book tells the story of Joe Rance, a member of the 1932 Olympic Gold Medal winner team for rowing. Fascinating read that we really enjoyed. Anyway, in that book, the rowing crew struggled and spluttered along, facing all kinds of challenges with the competitions, until at one point, they found their swing. This was the point where they began to work like a well-oiled machine, and not every man for himself.

find your homeschool swing

Finding your Homeschool Swing

Finding your swing is a concept that applies to us as homeschoolers. We will see many directions, options, and distractions. How do you choose what’s best? I can’t answer that for you, but sooner or later, you will recognize that your family has its own particular style. It does not have to look like the other families that you see. Not even your best friend’s family. You must find your swing. And you can find it as God directs you!


You may have homeschooling seasons that looks just like you planned! Classes all lined up, with music lessons filling in the cracks, time for socialization neatly scheduled in, and plenty getting done! Those are rewarding seasons!  Believe me, that’s what we all would love to have happen every day of the year!

Other seasons may seem out of place, like a big thunderstorm on the day of your picnic. You may long for those perfectly organized days that never seem to materialize. You may be squeezing school in the cracks of an unorthodox life. Hello–can I get a witness?

Variations from the Usual

find your homeschool swing

Maybe you have a business that you’re running, and you bring the kids to the store. Maybe you’re building many days, like us, and it feels like you’d like to cover a bit more in your curriculum. Or you work nights, and depend on your kids to keep rolling with their school work independently. What about if you’re traveling the road with your family, and much of your education comes from sites that you find along the way?

I assure you, that even in these types of come-what-may environments, you can find a swing, even if it’s a temporary one.

Continue reading…

via Finding Your Homeschool Swing – Lessons…and lessons


Mother’s Day (with Free Printable)

It’s Mother’s Day!

Have you told your mother that you love her?

Mothers do so much, and although I don’t believe in all the commercialism that attends this day, telling your mother how dear she is to you is appropriate ANY DAY!

With appreciation for my own mother in my mind, I want to share a nice printable that you may choose to share with your mother, if you still have her. Take the time to tell her how much she means to you while you still have her, because she will not always be here. My husband lost his mom some years ago, and so many times, he has commented how he would like to ask her counsel or probe her for a memory that is fuzzy to him. 

Mother’s Day is just a nice time to remember the many kind attentions that your mother has shown to you over the years. Most things that mothers do every day go unnoticed, especially by children. Mother’s Day is a good opportunity for us to teach our own children to value little kindnesses. When they see us as mothers value our own mother, they will learn by example. 

So, this printable will only cost you the amount of paper and ink. This would work nicely on a thick card stock, and is suitable for framing.

Continue reading…

Wilderness Wildlife Week is for Homeschoolers! – Lessons…and lessons

Wilderness Wildlife Week

May 7, 2019-May 11, 2019

Wilderness Wildlife Week is the Spring highlight of our homeschool year! Wilderness Wildlife Week begins this Tuesday!

This FREE EVENT takes place in Pigeon Forgeat the Leconte Center.

You can read more about Wilderness Wildlife Week here on the official website. You can also download the schedule at this website.

Wood carving at Wilderness Wildlife Week
Wood carving done at WWW

Why should I interrupt my homeschool schedule to attendWilderness Wildlife Week?

Good question!

Let me share just a few reasons why we love Wilderness Wildlife Week at our house!

1.  Hands-On Learning.

  • If you know anything about our homeschool of boys, you know that we highly prize hands-on learning. Hands-on=highly remembered.
  • Here’s some other hands-on learning we’ve recently enjoyed.
  • At WWW we get to sink our hands into the dirt, paint, and wool, or we get to try our hands at strumming the dulcimer, shooting an arrow, petting a snake (!) or carving a chunk of wood. These are all skills we have tried from the past few years. But, wait, there’s more!

Carving wood at Wilderness Wildlife Week

Carving class

2.  Inter-Generational Learning. This is probably one of my favorite aspects of WWW. You have a lot of older folks who know wonderful skills, and who are happy to share with the younger generations! Some of our favorites are the gentleman who loves to talk about his love of Nature, the Appalachian musicians, the basket weavers, wool spinners, and the wood carving expert. One year, a dear older lady personally took our boys aside to show them the skill of old-timey rope tricks. I firmly believe that she enjoyed teaching them even more than they enjoyed learning, which they did. But you could see how moving the rope in certain ways to make interesting patterns seemed to take her back to her own girlhood days. Young people absolutely need to interact with older people! There more than skills to learn! There is simply no substitute for lessons of life gleaned from years of experience. String art at Wilderness Wildlife Week

String art

3. Lost and Dying Arts.

Continue Reading…

via Wilderness Wildlife Week is for Homeschoolers! – Lessons…and lessons

Sabbath Playlist ~ Scripture Songs Resource

Happy Sabbath!

As you seek to enter into the rest of the Sabbath, please enjoy these FREE Scripture Songs!

Listening to songs right out of the Bible will change your thinking!  As a result, your character will change!  

Doesn’t it say in the Bible,

As he thinketh in his heart, so is he.

Proverbs 23:7

The more you meditate on God’s word, the more like Him you will become!

So, enjoy this relaxing way of storing God’s words in your heart!

I memorized all of James with the music on this site  Little by little!  Songs make it super easy to remember verses!

Let me know your favorite!


via Sabbath Playlist ~ Scripture Songs Resource


April Audio books-Our Favorites – Lessons…and lessons

Learn while you drive with Audio books

April Audio book favorites

Much of our reading time recently has been with audio books. We seem to spend a lot of time running around in the truck, so our Audible account has gotten well-used these last few years of homeschool. You would be amazed how many books you can listen to just while driving to PE and the grocery store!

We mostly try to stick to educational reads, or listens, so that we can sneak in a few more minutes of learning on the go! I like to include history biographies, great missionary stories, and anything that I come across that sounds like it would be inspirational.

Here are some that we have listened to recently, along with our thoughts on them.

This post contains affiliate links. If you click on my link and make a purchase, I will receive a commission, but your price is the same. This allows me to fund this blog site. Thank you! 

Through Gates of Splendor

Through Gates of Splendor Audio book

Thumbs UP! 

What did we love about this book?

—Keep reading—

Language of Encouragement, Part 1 – Lessons…and lessons

Want to learn to speak the Language of Encouragement?

Encouraging Words is one of the Five Love Languages.

I spoke about the first two of the Five Love Languages in my posts aboutTime Together, and Hugs and Tickles(Loving Touch). In my next few posts on this topic, I will talk about Encouraging Words, or what can be called The Language of Encouragement.

I did not come up with this term. But I know a good thing when I hear it, and I want to share a helpful resource for you! All parents, homeschoolers, teachers, grandparents,friends, employers, employees, and pretty much anyone can benefit from learning this language. 

Listen to The Language of Encouragement talk (it’s free)

I want to refer you to a talk that I had recommended to me several years ago. This talk has impacted me, inspired me, and little by bit, is changing me. But I will be honest. The Language of Encouragement does not come naturally to me at all. For this reason, I have listened to this talk many times over the last several years, because I lose my way over and over, and fall back into my old rut of non-encouraging words! 

The talk, entitled The Language of Encouragement, authored by Maria Nebblett, can be downloaded here on their family’s ministry website. You may also find more encouraging talks at that site. I strongly encourage you to listen to it! Just scroll down to the category Family, and it’s the last talk. You will certainly be blessed!

If you prefer video, the talk can be seen here on Vimeo. Sometimes I like to watch a person talk, but more often, I like to download the talk to listen to it while I walk in the morning.

Please listen to the Introduction

For this post, please listen to the Introduction of The Language of Encouragement, or about the first 15 minutes of the audio file. This will give you a good overview of the talk, and plenty of food for thought. 

Free Printable, The Language of Encouragement

Go ahead and print the free printable (below) if you like! This will give you a visual aid as you listen. The Printable is also a nice poster to hang up in a prominent place as a reminder of the principles you want to put into practice! You may color it if you like, and laminate it to help it to last longer, or just leave it plain.

Printable is available on my self-hosted site (for free).

The Language of Encouragement, a talk by Maria Nebblett, has encouraged me. Here is a free printable coloring page/prayer guide to accompany this talk.
— Read on

Blogging in the Raw

Starting out in blogging world, conquering the obstacles.

Blogging in the raw

Learning about blogging through my blunders

I’ve been dabbling into blogging now for about five weeks. If you don’t count that week where I completely botched everything up and had to scrap the whole thing. More about that here. So…blogging for five weeks.

I set up a self-hosted blog to mirror this one. However, I didn’t know what I was doing, so have been learning about that world. SEO, keywords, and headlines. It’s different on the other side, away from

I am learning some things.

  • Blogging is hard work. I know that is obvious. It takes me way more time than I think it should take, because homeschool, family, and life get take time, and I don’t get much quiet time.
    It’s lonely in the self-hosted world. Not to complain, but there’s more people reading blogs over at, so you don’t feel so invisible. Maybe I’ll come back for awhile.
    I like blogging I enjoy writing and turning happenings into a story. I enjoy writing about my passions.
    Blogging is a faith step. At least that’s how it is right now. I walk by faith, not by sight. I believe that if I am consistent, I will be “seen” more. 🙂
    Blogging is a mindset. Once you get going, you start to have all kinds of blogging ideas popping into your head! I sure do! 😃

Blogging in the raw

Testing the waters of blogging

So…I sort of feel like I am still testing the waters in the blogging world. I will stick with it, and blog as consistently as life allows.

I bit off more than I can chew perhaps, since I have this homeschool blog, and a homesteading blog (both self-hosted). At this point in the game, if I had to do it again, I would stay at with my blog and keep going.

Since I paid for my web hosting and domain, I feel like I need to give it my best shot. I tend to do things the hard way, and this is no exception. don’t get me wrong–I actually enjoy blogging on my self-hosted side as well, but currently I feel invisible.


What about you?

I hope that me sharing will help someone who is in the valley of decision with their blogging journey. I kept hearing that self hosting is the way to go if you are serious about blogging. I drank that Koolaid. But I see many successful, happy bloggers who are using the site.

I would love it if anyone would remember their early days, and chime in and share anything that would help other bloggers! There are good writers who are just starting out, and your encouragement could make a big difference to them!

Thank you for visiting!

Enjoy your blogging journey!


My self-hosted blogs:

Lady’s Slipper Lane (with Free Printable) – Lessons…and lessons

Hunting for Pink Lady’s Slippers in East Tennessee

It’s time for the Pink Lady’s Slipper orchids to bloom, and they are out in abundance on our property!

We took a Nature Walk yesterday, and I bribed my boys with one cookie per flower they found. I never dreamed how many cookies I’d have to bake!

To access the printable, click on the link below, and you’ll be taken to the page where the link is.

Read about our fun walk by clicking the below.

Hunting for Pink Lady’s Slipper orchids on our property in East Tennessee. A homeschool Nature hike, or walk in the woods
— Read on

Mean Mom takes a Nature Walk – Lessons…and lessons

Get out in Nature whether you feel like or not!

family nature walk

Hi! I’m the Mean Mom!  Occasionally, anyway, I answer to that title. Today was one of those days.

Outside it was perfect!! Mid-seventy degrees, sunny, and clear! It was a perfect day for a quick stroll in nature.

After lunch we almost always walk down our driveway and hike back up. That’s right. We have our own Cardio Hill, or my exercise route right on the driveway. By the time you get to the top, you’re huffing and puffing. In fact, when we thought about purchasing our property, my husband promised me that this land would whip me into shape! He was not kidding! But, after living here for the past almost six months, I can walk up that hill way easier than I used to be able to. I’m definitely getting stronger, but need more exercise in general.

Hence, our little walk today. We strolled down, then instead of hiking back up the driveway, I challenged the boys to hike back up by way of the wet-weather creek. That’s a bit harder, but not bad for strapping young fellows; it just takes a little longer. And the boys were chomping at the bit to get back!

Enter Mean Mom

I declared the instructions, amid some groans for my reply.

Haha!  What a fun day, but my boys were not easily convinced!  We found some awesome treasures from Nature, however.

Read on to see what our Homeschool Nature Walk looked like this week!  The “rest of the story” is over on my self-hosted blog site.   See you there!

via Mean Mom takes a Nature Walk – Lessons…and lessons

Lessons from Clay in the Potter’s Hand – Lessons…and lessons

You are the Potter, I am the Clay

Molding and shaping clay into something useful is similar to shaping our characters. We are like the clay, and God is the Potter.

Our boys are learning pottery in their Pathfinder club. As I’ve observed and participated in the process of making, shaping, and turning out a vessel from clay, I was struck at how many lessons we can apply to our Christian walk, and our character development.

The post is over at my self-hosted site.

Hope you can come on over!


— Read on