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    Family Life

    Homeschooling Inspiration + Resources

    Last week I shared about how and why we are considering homeschooling and I couldn’t believe the number of mamas who also said they were thinking about it too! I loved reading through your Instagram comments and hearing about what works best for your families and that some of you are in the same boat as me!

    Today I wanted to share some of the ways I plan on researching/testing out homeschooling for our family. Because I’ve kinda had this whole homeschooling thing in the back of my mind since having children, I’ve followed some great blogs, Instagram accounts and gathered some amazing resources that I am going to be drawing from as I continue to mull this whole thing over. I thought it would be fun to share those here, in case any of you are totally crazy like me and considering teaching your children… yourself…everyday…at home…forever.(kidding…kind of).

    Now this isn’t an extensive list of homeschool resources, I’m just not there yet. This is more of a list of a couple of things that I found intriguing, interesting and encouraging as I’m researching this whole home school thing.

    First up is Simply Learning – I sometimes feel like she has read my mind with her simple and minimalistic approach to homeschooling. But that’s just it…she kind of did. She took everything that made her feel overwhelmed and frustrated with homeschooling young children and (I hate to keep using this word but) simplified it. She provides FREE literature based curriculums for preschool age kids and has recently taken a different approach for this coming school year by following along with The Peaceful Preschool. She created additional (and again FREE) printables to go along with the PPS curriculum and even shares her weekly schedule and Pinterest boards to make it really easy for you.

    The Peaceful Preschool is my next favourite resource that I’ll be exploring more the next couple of months. It is an incredible curriculum and blog created by mom of 7 and homeschooling master Jennifer Pepito. I fell in love with the simple and clean design of her free printables and also couldn’t believe how affordable her curriculum is! I downloaded the letter A curriculum for free and she also breaks it down into what activities and focuses you have each day of the week (disorganized mamas rejoice!). I think it may be a little young to use if we actually do homeschool Dexter, but it’s still so fun to try and play around with each day.

    Next is the Modern Scout Adventure Collector – This little journal is so amazing whether you homeschool or not. It was sent to me by my friend Brittany, owner of Modern Scout and even my husband even mentioned how cool it was after flipping through it. Essentially, its a journal, with a different adventure on each page and prompted questions and areas to draw, tape in things and record details about your adventure. Younger children would need help writing in the answers, but a lot of the pages are really visual and have an art aspect to them too. Some of the adventures we are looking forward to the most are Go Send A Letter Attached To A Balloon, Go Plant Something, and Go Hide A Treasure. The whole Modern Scout website has a very boy scout vibe which is so cute. I plan on using this for our “field trip days” and to add some learning and purpose to our everyday outdoor play. I can’t wait to do some of these with Dex and in the end have a book with all of our adventures recorded that we can look back on.

    The last thing are some of my favourite homeschool bloggers/youtubers. For me, I love finding like minded mamas online or on Instagram. I’m obviously at the very beginning of this whole thing and it helps for me to get an inside look at what actually goes on in their days, how they schedule things, that they struggle and get off schedule too, and all the other ins and outs of being a homeschooling mama. It’s still such a foreign world to me and I feel like developing an in person community to connect with will be key, but also an online community is always so helpful too!  There is SO much out there but these are some faves I’ve been into lately! I’m just going to list them to keep it easy:

    The Quick Journey Blog | Instagram

    This Gathered Nest Blog | Youtube

    Jodie Mockabee Blog | Instagram

    Cloistered Away Blog | Instagram

    At Home Homeschooling Podcast 

    The Wild and Free community  (one view of the video on their main page and I was feeling pretty exited!)

    Pinterest – this is another amazing resources for homeschool info, sample schedules, free printables, and, lots more (it’s Pinterest so basically everything is there)! I’ve been pinning like crazy on my little homeschool board so be sure to follow me there too!

    So that’s where I’m at! If you’ve made it this far you’re likely already a homeschooler, considering it, or wondering if I’ve totally lost my mind. Wherever you’re at, I would love to connect with you and hear about your favourite homeschool resources or how you make this whole thing work.  I’ve got so much to learn and know that each family needs to make the choice that is best for them and am just hoping to find what that means for my little crew.

    Thanks so much for reading guys!

    Family Life

    Dipping Our Toes Into Homeschooling

    We are considering homeschooling. There, I said it.

    That was seriously a really hard thing for me to type. Here’s a little backstory.

    My husband was homeschooled up until grade 9. He had the most amazing experience and was able to reach some pretty amazing extracurricular achievements because of it. He’s also the smartest and most talented person I’ve ever known….so there’s that. 😉

    I was not homeschooled. I went to public school all my life and also had an amazing experience. I loved school, got really good grades, played sports and loved my teachers.

    I’ve always known that due to my husband and I having totally different school experiences, that we would have a lot to talk about when it came time to decide where our children would go to school.  The problem is when you have babies, them turning 4 and going to school seems like something you need to deal with in, oh, I don’t know 20 years. And then you blink and they are 4 and the scary school decision is staring you right in the face.

    My husband and I have had so many long talks about it. And my conclusions have ranged from “I was born to be a homeschool mama” to “NEVER EVER! I want him to go to school just to have the house threenager free for the day.” Several of my close friends have recently decided to homeschool and it’s been really interesting to chat with them about their plans and motivation. We’ve been praying a lot about it and to be honest, we still don’t have much clarity or peace about it. It honestly it stresses me out so much that I usually just pretend Dex is still 2 and decide to put it off another couple years.

    Almost daily I go over all of the pros and cons (for my family) and thought it would be fun to just chat through some of them here, in case any of you are in the same boat as me, or if you’re wondering what in the heck would possess someone to want to homeschool (I was that girl for a looong time).

    Okay, first some cons. On one hand, I don’t know anything about this. Growing up, I didn’t even know homeschooling was a thing. Although I’m a perfectionist, I’m not an overly organized person and I feel like a rigid schedule is just asking me to break it. I worry that I won’t be a good teacher. That I won’t be organized enough or motivated enough (as bad as that sounds). I care so deeply about my son’s education and more than anything, I just don’t want to mess it up. Or mess me up. Homeschooling is a BIG commitment. It’s a privilege and a gift and I’m sure the benefits are endless. I just don’t know if I can hack it, emotionally. If it will cause me too much anxiety. And the “social thing” – I certainly don’t want to stereotype (and my husband is the most social person I know) but Dex loves being social and surrounded by other kids his age. There are days I can picture it and it would be so beautiful and fun and perfect for my son. And other days – I think, someone else would be MUCH better than me at this job. Lastly, I want a break. I would need to implement some serious “quiet time” (something I have struggled to make happen in the past) because I fear I would just burn out.

    And now for some pros! So, I love the flexibility it would bring to our family. My husband works from home and the thought of him being able to help with the schooling and for us to do field trips and learning together makes me pretty excited. I have loved “teaching” Dex so far, and although I am supremely biased, I think my kids are crazy smart. My son is really active and thrives spending time outside and learning in nature, I love that we would be able to do things like that for our school. I love that we would cater what we were learning to each child’s area of interest to keep them engaged and excited about learning. As much as I mentioned wanting a break sometimes, I do love the idea of spending these precious years all day with my kids. Influencing them and teaching them and getting to know them better.

    This is clearly a big decision that is different for every family and while these are some pros and cons that are frequently flying around my mind, they would probably look completely different for your family. It might be all pros and you can’t imagine why I’m worried about all those cons, or it might sound like your worst nightmare and you can get all those “pros” checked off in your public school system – which is awesome!

    At this point we are still praying about it and waiting for God to give us some direction with this whole thing. We have some tours to schools in our area planned and are going to be doing some more research for the next couple of months. In the meantime, I thought I would “dip my toes” into the whole homeschool thing and just see how it fits. Practice setting some school-like routines and following some loose curriculums to see how I feel, how Dex does and whether it’s a good fit for our family.

    Monday I’ll be sharing some fun homeschool inspiration in the form of bloggers/youtubers/podcasts that are perfect for the stage I’m in, and if you’re still wondering if it’s right for your family!

    Thanks so much for reading!

     

     

     

    Family Life

    Our Family Photos with Mint Photography

    Okay – I’m so excited! These family photos may or may not be the very reason I started this blog. As soon as I saw (and loved) them, I knew that I had to post them all. I could feel it, my overgramming was about to reach an unhealthy level and surely anyone following me on instagram would run for their lives away from my feed and never return. I love photos, they have memories attached to them, memories I want to write down and remember. So here I am, shamelessly posting as many family photos as I want on my new blog. Of course, I’ve blogged in the past, and after taking a long break, these photos reminded me of why I truly love blogging; to document and share and save our family memories. To be able to look back on these days for years to come and to write again, even if it’s just for me. I used to get so caught up in all the “Ways to be the best blogger ever!”/”How I made a bajillion dollars after three months of blogging” posts and while some thrive off of that challenge, it actually made me feel stuck and stressed and afraid to start something that I knew I loved, for fear of it not being…enough.

    I think these photos mean so much to me because to be honest, we’ve been going through a bit of a tough time as a family the last couple of months. Nothing too serious, but enough to really get us down. I’ve had a bunch of negative self talk lately, and a lot of stress, worry and just feeling blah about everything. I saw these photos and my first reaction was “Wow, Natalie made us look like a really happy and carefree family!” But as I scrolled, I realized that this is the true us. Not the lies I sometimes believe. We are not a family defined by stress and hard times, we are a family who laughs and genuinely smiles and plays and feels joy in the midst of our circumstance. And I guess I hadn’t seen it all laid out in a photo in a long time.

    I am so grateful to Mint Photography for taking these photos. Photos that caused me to feel more grateful than I have in a long time and that inspired me to get back into something I love regardless of whether I’ve got it all together or not.

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    Thanks for reading!

     

    Family Life

    Getting our Christmas Tree + Video

    I’m going to be totally honest, I have a love/hate relationship with our annual trip to cut down our Christmas tree. On one hand, it’s kinda magical and fun. We go to this amazing place that has pony rides, cookie decorating, campfires and Christmas music playing from the tree tops. It always signals the beginning of the holidays for us, and having always grown up with an artificial tree, searching for the perfect one and cutting it down is something I have so much fun with. You know who doesn’t think its all that fun? My kids. I mean, they like it. Dex is always excited about the day (not that you can tell in that first photo below HA) and Elle is just along for the ride, but at some point in the day, my husband and I always look at each other and without saying a thing, wonder why in the heck we bother with these things when they are so young. Last year, the day was just a total disaster, and by the time we got our tree, both kids had had it. I literally had one under each arm and the kindest women walked up to me with the most knowing smile and said “It gets better, I promise.” This year was actually much more successful! Other than when Dex got lost among the trees about 5 minutes after we got there, there were no major meltdowns. I think it’s the combination of the cold, toasted marshmallows and a fire and mini train crossing you’re trying to keep them away from that always make for an interesting time. My husband and I are always half joking say “Next year we are just going to the grocery store and grabbing the first tree we see.”  But, I know we will keep coming back, even though it can be total chaos, it’s such a fun memory and gets me SO in the Christmas mood!

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    Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

    Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

    Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

    Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

    Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

    Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

    Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

    I also took a little video of our day! This is so new to me and I kinda feel nervous to share it. I’ve never made a video like this before but my husband and I got chatting one day about how it would be fun to have video of our times together as a family. If you have kids (or even if you don’t) you’ll know that trying to capture that perfect shot where they’re looking and smiling can totally kill the moment. This day, we thought it would be fun to snap some candids and a family shot, and then just let them do their thing and take short little clips throughout the day. My husband edited it for me and I almost cried when I watched it. I just pictured myself watching this same video when my kids are grown and gone. Being able to see their little marshmallow faces, the way my son watched as my husband cut down the tree and how Elle loves to move and dance. It’s so special to me. I’m going to be making a bunch more videos like this and posting them here as I go! It’s not perfect, and we are not videographers, but I love our squirmy family photo and this shaky family vid so much.

    Thanks so much for reading! And for checking out my new blog – Haaaaayyy!

     

    Blogging, Family Life

    Back To Blogging

    Back at it again! Guys, this is my 4th blog. I remember reading waaaay back when, that your first blog is usually not the one you end up with, and that has obviously proven true for me. I started with a beauty blog, then moved to a pregnancy/baby blog when I was pregnant with my son, then I had a mom/lifestyle blog with my best friend, and now here I am!

    After my last blog ended, I felt kind of lost. My blog ended (amicably of course!), I had just had my second baby and was exhausted, I was (and still am) closing in on 30 and I just felt kind of lost. I lost who I was. I forgot what I was passionate about. I forgot why I did what I did. I remember turning to my husband in bed and asking him, “What are my hobbies? What am I into?” because I had no idea.  These things change as you get older, and I found myself so poured into motherhood, that I became a little unfamiliar with me.

    I’ve been back and forth on this whole blog thing for a while. First of all WHY do I want to blog in the first place? What kind of blog will I have? Can I keep up with it if I can barely manage a shower and laundry these days? I decided I was going to wait until I had my stuff together before I started anything, but anyone who’s ever said that knows that you NEVER ever get all your stuff together.

    Here’s what I know. It’s important to be wise, but in the end, sometimes you just need to go for it and figure the rest out on the way. Even when you feel nervous and vulnerable. Even when things aren’t totally lined up.Even when you can’t imagine taking on something else. 
    So, here we are, another blog. It’s about me. It’s about my family. Our home. Our beliefs. Our adventures. It’s about things I like, that I think you guys might like too! It’s about blogging and learning and challenging myself. It’s for me. And that feels really good. It won’t be perfectly consistent. I probably don’t have a narrow enough “niche”. I probably still misuse commas and have a million run on sentences but, for the first time in a long time, that’s totally okay with me!
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