May 25, 2015

Don't Miss the BIGGEST Homeschool Sale of the Year

2015 Build Your Bundle Homeschool Sale

{This post may contain affiliate links.}

Here's something I know you will be interested in. This week only, you can save up to 90% on homeschool curriculum at the Build Your Bundle sale.

Homeschool Curriculum Bundles to Match Your Homeschool Style or Need

This is one of my favorite sales, because they offer very specific bundles. Are you looking for a certain age range? A certain method? 

You'll find everything from Preschool to High School PLUS notebooking, Charlotte Mason, and unit studies!

The best part of course is you get these quality products for a great price!

There are NINE bundles priced under $20 - with values up to $207! You will also find classes and memberships at 50% off.

These bundles are full of products from popular contributors!

  • Preschool-Kindergarten
  • 1st-3rd grade (2 bundles!)
  • 4th-6th grade (2 bundles!)
  • Middle School
  • High School
  • Charlotte Mason
  • Notebooking
  • Copywork
  • Unit Studies
  • Just for Boys
  • Just for Girls
  • Character Bundle
  • Just for Moms (2 bundles!)
  • Fine Arts
  • Special Needs Bundle
  • Non-Faith Based/Secular Bundle

Over 200 products in 19 bundles priced starting at just $10!

Want a Tailored Homeschool Bundle?

Would you rather pick and choose what you want to purchase? If so, then you can Build Your OWN BundlesThere are 19 individual bundles priced starting at $10, plus the BUILD YOUR OWN OPTIONS!!

2015 Build Your Bundle Homeschool Sale

Build Your Own Basic Bundle of FIVE - $25 
If you would like to Build Your OWN Basic Bundle of 5 items, there are 148 products priced $19.99 and under that you can choose from. 

Build Your Own Basic Bundle of TEN - $39
If you would like to Build Your OWN Basic Bundle of 10 items, we have 148 products priced $19.99 and under that you can choose from.

Build Your Own PREMIUM Bundle of TEN - $59If you would like to Build Your OWN Bundle by selecting some products that are priced OVER $19.99, then this is your bundle!

Choose one product with NO PRICE CAP from a list of OVER 200 products. Then you get to select one product priced up to $29.99 from a list of 189 products. The other 8 options are from all of the products priced $19.99 and below (148 amazing products!)

Buy More and Save More!

Our Buy Two Get One FREE offer also applies to Build Your Own options! You can use this to purchase any two Build Your Own Bundles and get the third one of equal or lesser value for FREE!

    Let me do some math for you:
  • Purchase 3 Basic Bundles of Five for just $50! That is 15 products priced $19.99 and under at a savings up to 83%!
  • Purchase 3 Basic Bundles of Ten for $78! That is 30 products priced $19.99 and under at a savings up to 87%
  • Purchase 3 Premium Bundles of Ten and get the best savings!
    • 3 Products with NO PRICE CAP!
    • 3 Products Priced up to $29.99
    • 24 Products Priced $19.99 and under
    • Total potential value: $860.73 for just $118.00! You can save up to 86% with the Buy Two Get One Free when you Build Your Own Premium Bundles!

I really hope that you will check out this sale. Be sure to visit the FAQ pageThis sale will end at 11:59 p.m. on 6/1/15.

These bundles will NEVER be sold together again, so get yours TODAY!

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Happy Homeschooling!

May 19, 2015

How to Make Summer Learning an Adventure


brain chase summer learning challenge
Summer is right around the corner. Some homeschoolers will be taking a break; others will push through with their year-round schedule. Some, like my family, take a mini-break. 

No matter what you're doing, keeping academic skills sharpened over the summer is important, right? Why not have a little fun with it?

I am excited to introduce you to an online learning adventure your kids are going to love. It's called Brain Chase

What is Brain Chase? 

  • 5-week online summer learning challenge for 2nd through 8th graders
  • A massive global treasure hunt powered by reading, writing and math
  • A learning adventure to prevent summer brain drain
  • A motivational tool for getting kids to do online academic work during the summer
  • A personalized learning platform
  • A hunt for a golden mechanical treasure
  • A $10,000 scholarship and trophy

Prevent Summer Brain Drain with Brain Chase

Most of us have heard about the RAND study findings that by the end of summer, kids are performing, on average, one to two months behind where they left off in the spring.

So if you're taking a summer break, this is a great way to keep academic skills sharpened.

But what if you don't really do summer break? Then give yourself a little more relaxation time! Let your kids play a video game that does a little of the homeschool work for you!

Decoder ring. Enough said. 
Brain Chase offers: 

  • 5 weeks of structured challenges on external reading and math websites
  • Weekly writing exercises with feedback from credentialed teachers
  • Weekly progress reports emailed to parents
  • Exclusive access to an original animated adventure series loaded with hidden puzzles and clues
  • 3 adventure tools mailed to your home to help solve special bonus challenges
  • Participation in a massive global treasure hunt for a golden trophy containing the key to a safe deposit box holding $10,000

Brain Chase is online summer learning adventure your kids will not want to miss! While your child is having fun, you can rest assured his skills are being sharpened. Learning is part of the game.

How Brain Chase Works


At 9 a.m. ET on Monday, June 22, 2015, Brain Chase: The Sunstone of Cortés begins. Adventurers log in to watch the first animated webisode and meet Mae Merriweather, the star of the show. Then they dive into their first week of learning challenges. A proprietary (patent pending) learning management system – the “Dashboard” – tracks each student’s progress as they journey through the 5-week challenge.


Each week the adventurers have four tasks: read for 15 minutes per day, write one journal entry, earn 10,000 points on Khan Academy, and do one bonus challenge. When they’re done, they unlock the next webisode, which contains hidden pictures, numbers, and riddles to help them guess the treasure’s location.


Mae Merriweather and her friends from the Grayson Academy of Antiquities are hot on the trail the mysterious Sunstone of Cortés. To find it, they travel to the Himalayas, dive off the coast of Greece, and solve riddles. But there is more to the quest — and treasure — than they realize.


The hunt for the Sunstone isn’t just fiction – there is a real golden Sunstone of Cortés and $10,000 buried somewhere on Earth. Every 24 hours, adventurers can log in to enter their guess of the treasure’s location. The first adventurer to guess the location within a two-mile radius travels with his/her family to the treasure site to claim the gold.

The 2015 Challenge

The 2015 Brain Chase challenge is to find the Sunstone of Cortés, a mysterious calendar stolen from the Aztec empire by Hernan Cortés in the 1500s. Kids join Mae Merriweather, her brother Max, athletic Sean Drake, and former nemesis Savannah Bryce to find the fictional Sunstone of Cortés... and the real one!

New partnership with Rosetta Stone

All Brain Chase registrants will now have the opportunity to choose to participate in a language module as part of their online academic work. If selected, the language module will replace the writing module. 

Students will be required to complete 2 lessons (a total of a little over an hour) each week in order to fulfill their language requirement and unlock the next episode. Students will be allowed to choose from 30+ languages when they register.

A Few Brain Chase Extras You May Want to Know

What is the age range of Brain Chase?
It's mainly geared toward early readers through 8th graders. The technical rules are age 6-16.

How many participants joined in last year, and is there a cut-off for how many can sign up? 

Last summer was a beta test, and they had 500 participants. They do have to limit enrollment because they have to order the hands-on materials in advance, and so can't exceed that number. Get your child registered so she doesn't miss out!

How often can we guess the location of the treasure?

Kids get to guess the treasure’s location once every 24 hours. Once they drop a pin on the virtual map, a time counts down 24 hours until they can guess again. If they don’t guess within that 24-hour period, they lose their turn for that day, but they can guess again the next day.

How does the reading work – is it online, and how is it tracked? Are the books classics?

Brain Chase uses a reading platform called myON, which has a library of more than 5,000 digital books. Kids can choose what they’d like to read, and myON can measure number of pages read, number of minutes of active reading, etc., to ensure students are completing their tasks.

How Much Does it Cost?

For this 5-week adventure, the cost is approximately $25/week. Brain Chase is giving readers at The Heart of Michelle 15% off their total purchase. All you have to do is use the code: HEARTMICHELLE15 when you checkout.

Using my discount code, the cost is:
$169 for one child
$254 for two children
$339 for three children

Register now!

Brain Chase Giveaway (value $199)

As a part of my partnership with Brain Chase, I am giving away one registration for this summer learning challenge. Simply use the Rafflecopter widget below.

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Happy Homeschooling!

May 16, 2015

How to Get a Homeschool Curriculum on a Tight Budget

{This post may contain affiliate links.}

It's that time again! We're all looking for new homeschool curriculum. 

I don't particularly enjoy planning our curriculum. When you factor in the single-mom-tight-budget, it can be a real headache. 

I'm going to share with you three ways you can get your hands on homeschool curriculum, even if you're working within a tight budget. 

Save up to 90% on Homeschool Curriculum

The 2015 Build Your Bundle Sale will go live on May 25 for one week only. I'm letting you know ahead of time so you can set some money aside.

I understand needing or wanting a full curriculum, but not really needing (or wanting) the cost that comes with it. That's why this sale is perfect. 

You can save up to 90% on homeschool curriculum bundles No, I'm not kidding; I did it last year. I'll be bringing your more information about the bundles as we get closer to the sale date. (Subscribe so you don't miss when I send that out.)

Getting great homeschool curriculum one way to save money, right? But what if you could get free curriculum?

Enter to Win 3 Bundles of Your Choice

To celebrate the upcoming sale, there is a pre-sale giveaway for 3 bundles of your choice. How fantastic is that

Enter to win 3 bundles of your choice!

Build Your Homeschool Curriculum

Enter this giveaway for a chance to win any 3 of 19 individual bundles. I cannot tell you what products are in the bundles just yet, but just know, THEY ROCK!

There are several individual bundles, priced starting at $10. The 2015 Build Your Bundle Sale will consist of the following bundles, plus, of course, the BUILD YOUR OWN OPTIONS!! These bundles are full of products from popular publishers!

  • Preschool-Kindergarten
  • 1st-3rd grade (2 bundles!)
  • 4th-6th grade (2 bundles!)
  • Middle School
  • High School
  • Charlotte Mason
  • Notebooking
  • Copywork
  • Unit Studies
  • Just for Boys
  • Just for Girls
  • Character Bundle
  • Just for Moms (2 bundles!)
  • Fine Arts
  • Special Needs Bundle
  • Non-Faith Based/Secular Bundle

Go ahead. Enter. You know you can't pass up this opportunity to save some money.

Now what's the third way you can save money? Coupons, of course!

A Coupon Code for Homeschool Curriculum

A great sale and a giveaway? Awesome, right? What if I said there is also a coupon code available, too? Well, there is.

Grab a Coupon Code

You can receive a coupon code, just for entering your email address! Refer friends for additional savings. Enter your email address to get a coupon code you can use when the 2015 Build Your Bundle Sale starts!

The Build Your Bundle Sale is ONE-WEEK ONLY - 

May 25th - June 1st 2015.

Don't miss the BIGGEST homeschooling sale of the year. When you enter the giveaway OR enter your email for a coupon code, you will receive a reminder email so you don't miss the big sale.

Never miss a post! Subscribe here.

Happy Homeschooling!

May 3, 2015

"How We Teach" Instagram Challenge

Join the bloggers of iHomeschool Network in an Instagram challenge.

"How We Teach" Instagram Challenge 

The bloggers of iHomeschool Network, are celebrating the release of our latest book How We Teach with a week-long Instagram challenge.

The themes are based on the most popular subjects in the book - fine arts, language arts, history, science, math, life skills, and geography.

How to Participate
It's easy: Simply post photos related to the daily theme and tag them #ihsnet. That's it! It's a fun way to meet other homeschoolers on Instagram.

May 2, 2015

How We Teach: Unleash the Individuality of Your Homeschool

>Discover how other homeschool families teach their own children using various homeschooling methods.

I have a BIG announcement for you today.

As most of you know, I've been a member of iHomeschool Network for a few years. Together, the bloggers of iHN regularly bring you great resources, ideas, and encouragement.

And now they're bringing you a brand new resource!

How We Teach:
Unleash the Individuality of Your Homeschool

{This post may contain affiliate links.}

How We Teach: the real lives of homeschoolers from classical to unschooling and everything in between is the newest collaborative book from the bloggers at iHomeschool Network. 

I often tell people, "If you could peek into the homes of two million homeschool families, you would find two million different ways to homeschool."

This is true even among those using the same method of education. That's because each homeschool is as individual as the family that comprises it. 

This book is proof of that fact.

What This Book Is About

  • Are you inspired by Charlotte Mason, but would like to see examples of how it works?
  • Are you wondering how to unschool through high school?
  • Maybe you want to see how a high school student learns history through unschooling.
Whatever method, stage, or subject, this book has it all

Each contributor was asked to choose a homeschool method, a subject, and an age range, and then tell how they teach it in their own unique way.

The result is a book that will inspire you to unleash the individuality of your own homeschool! 

My Contribution to this Book

As always, I am honored to be a part of such a terrific collaboration. For How We Teach, I have contributed four chapters.

Cultivating the Finer Things: Giving Your Child a Fine Arts Education
(Fine Arts - Charlotte Mason - Elementary) 

Language Arts the Natural Way
(Language Arts - Charlotte Mason - Elementary) 

Bring Foreign Language to Life 
(Foreign Language - Eclectic - Middle School) 

Living Books Aren't Just for Little Kids
(History - Charlotte Mason - High School)

That's only four chapters. See the table of contents here. While you're at it, take a look at the complete list of contributing authors.

Get Your Copy Now!

Peeking into the real lives of other homeschool families can encourage you on your homeschool journey. You'll find ideas and inspiration, yes, but you'll also gain confidence in knowing that your unique approach to education - doing what works for your family - is not only acceptable, but encouraged, too.

You can own this book for only $6.99 and it comes in pdf, mobi, and epub formats so you can read it on your tablet, laptop, or smart phone! Get your copy of How We Teach today!

Also see the Big Book of Homeschool Ideas

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Happy Homeschooling!

April 30, 2015

The Homeschool Planner That Helped Me Overcome Chaos

A Plan in Place homeschool teacher planner helps me juggle household chores, work, and homeschooling.

{Disclosure: I am working as a Brand Ambassador for this company, a position for which I am compensated, having used the products myself and finding them to be a worthy of promotion.}

Homeschool Mom,

  • Are you struggling to keep your schedule together?
  • Are you having trouble 'getting it all done?'
  • Do you find yourself 'letting things go' far more often than you'd like?

Me too!

I've been struggling lately. I mean really struggling.
 At first, I thought it was post-vacation fog, but it's more than that.

When Work and Homeschool Collide

I'm a working mom. Granted, I work at home, but it's still work. In fact, working from home can make for it's own challenges.

For instance:

  • It's easy to get side-tracked.
  • Kids' needs don't always happen according to a schedule.
  • Special needs never do.
  • Some days are met with many interruptions. Some from within my home; others from outside my home.
  • I have an innate ability to get sucked into (or away from) things.

Under normal circumstances, I juggle everything pretty well. Sometimes, circumstances aren't 'normal.' That's where I am now.

It began in March, when my daughter sank into a deep depression which lasted for six weeks. At the same time, business picked up. Between the workload and taking care of her needs, I was completely overwhelmed and couldn't find time to do everything.

I was either focused solely on my child's needs, forfeiting work time, or I was focused on work so much the house suffered. I gave up all the fun things like park days and field trips. Still, there never seemed to be enough time for it all.

Homeschool would have taken a backseat had it not been for the fact that March is one of our month-long breaks. (One of those small blessings I am thankful for!)

Then April arrived.

I was so busy work, I couldn't find a minute to plan, let alone start anything. School didn't happen the first week of April. Then came the second week. I still wasn't making progress. I was stressing.

When Life Changes, So Must the Schedule

For years, it was easy to use this homeschool schedule. As the girls grew older, and worked more independently, I switched to this, which was more like a lineup of subjects than a schedule. Either of those, in combination with a daily routine, was working out great for me.

Until it wasn't.

Life has changed. 

  • My youngest child is experiencing more emotional issues. 
  • My blogging has become a professional activity. 
  • I'm writing and co-writing books (see this one and this one
  • I'm doing public speaking engagements. 

Life has become busy. I need a different plan in place.

I am not one to sit back and let my life run me. I am a left-brained thinker, so my first response to a problem is to find a solution. I'd already had experience with A Plan in Place student planners, so I turned to their website for the answer to my problem. 

And there it was. My answer.

Not only does A Plan in Place offer student planners, they now offer homeschool teacher planners! I immediately placed my order and it was in my hands within days. 

Homeschooling and work shall clash no more!

Putting a Plan in Place

While I haven't filled the entire planner with goals, long-term plans, or homeschool budgets, I did manage to find the time to get my daily schedule created. I was able to look at my daughters' homeschool day in their planners, and plan my own day accordingly.

  • I blocked off an hour after breakfast for a daily nature walk with my daughters.
  • During the first hour of my daughters' homeschool lessons, I'll be doing household chores. (If I'm up moving about, I can't be so absorbed in work-related tasks that I fail to get the girls moving on lessons.)
  • I carved out a few hours each afternoon for work. On each day of the work week, I listed exactly what type of tasks I'll cover on that day.
  • I set goals, listed the action steps and target dates. (Maybe I'll actually accomplish something now!)

Boom! Control over the schedule!

There are many helpful pages in this planner. I will get to them. For now, I just really needed to get a grip on my daily schedule. My weekends are free now, so I'll have time to work on those bit by bit.

Having my time organized in a logical, orderly way has relieved me of a lot of stress. I'm now able to accomplish all my tasks, not just pieces and parts of them.

I encourage you to take a look at 
A Plan in Place planners. They can really help you get your life on track! (See my student planner review here.)

My daughter will be sharing her experience with the early learner edition in May, so be sure to come back for that.

What's your best tip for keeping life on track? Share it in the comments.

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Happy Homeschooling!

April 29, 2015

Happy Blogiversary to Me! (A Giveaway for YOU!)

I'm celebrating my 6th blogiversary with a giveaway! Check out this great prize pack and enter for your chance to win!

April 2015 marks six years The Heart of Michelle (formerly The Holistic Homeschooler) has been going strong.

Let's celebrate my blogiversary!

Happy Blogiversary to Me!
(A Giveaway for YOU!)

{This post may contain affiliate links.}

First, A Word about the Last Year

The last year has seen big changes on this blog. A year ago, it was a relatively small blog, focused solely on homeschooling. While I still write about homeschooling, there is another focus - an important focus.

When I wrote what I've come to call "The Robin William Post", I was simply sharing my feelings. That post took no time to write because the feelings were right there, pouring from my heart into my fingertips. 

I never expected what came next. 

  • Overnight it was shared on social media over 15,000 times.
  • There were well over 10,000 as I slept that night.
  • I received hundreds of emails, comments, and thank yous in the days following that post.
  • I spent days crying through all the stories shared with me.
I never knew that post would touch the hearts of so many. I didn't expect those things, but I'm glad they happened. With that blog post, the direction of my blog changed a little. More importantly, it changed my life.

No matter your reason for being here - whether for homeschool support, or for information and support through bipolar disorder, I want to say thank you for being here. You are why I do this.

Annual Readership Survey

It's time for my annual survey. This survey helps me serve you better. Please take a few moments to answer these few questions. Each submission will count toward the giveaway below.

A Giveaway for YOU! 

To celebrate my 6th blogiversary, I've turned to my colleagues and business partners to offer this fantastic prize to one winner.

Prize includes:

Homeschool Consultation ($25 value)

Even the most seasoned of homeschool parents can use a helping hand. I'm donating a one-hour consultation to one winner.  

iHomeschool University from iHomeschool Network ($25 value)

iHomeschool Network has pooled the expertise of the 100 homeschool moms in our network to bring you a comprehensive course that will give you the tools you need to homeschool your children without fear.

Sea Life Notebook Pages from Harrington Harmonies ($3.99 value)

Learn about sea life around the world with these pages. Packed full with 38 sea life animals and 1 plant, these sea life notebooking pages include space for drawing a sketch of the species you are studying and its life cycle.

A Seasonal Start in Spring Chalk Pastels from Hodgepodge 

($7.99 value)

Celebrate the spring season using this simple, fun collection of art tutorials. These lessons have been a blessing to my youngest daughter, who thought she had no artistic skill until she tried these lessons.

$10 Gift Card to Classical Copywork  ($10 value)

Copywork is a fantastic way to help your child master reading, penmanship, grammar, and spelling all at the same time.

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH Literature Study Guide from 7 Sisters Homeschool ($3.99 value)

This study guide by Sabrina Justison will enhance your child's understanding and enjoyment of Newbery Medal winner Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O'Brien. It includes vocabulary, comprehension questions for each chapter, and Going Deeper questions for more mature students. The book and study guide are geared to 3rd through 8th grade and can be adjusted for different age groups.

We Got Jazz! – Exploring the Pioneers of Scat, Bebop, and Swing! from Look! We're Learning! ($4.99 value)

We Got Jazz! is a jazz history facts ebook packed with jazz history, activities, and games for kids in grades K-4! This eBook is packed with more than 130 pages of jazz unit studies for kids!

Sallie Borrink is offering one winner a $25 gift card to her online store. This store is packed with high quality teaching resources at incredibly affordable prices.

Time Capsule: Medieval England Unit Study from Homeschool Your Boys ($37 value)

Designed for 2nd-8th grade, these lessons will immerse your child in the social hierarchy of feudal England. They will get to wear the clothes, eat the food, perform the jobs, discover about the history, act in character, hear the music and the speech, learn about the geography, read about the people, and more. 

Geography Field Guide from Triumphant Learning ($9.95 value)

Learn geographical features in a fun and exciting way with this field guide.

Adaptive Placement Test and Individualized Lesson Plan from A+ Tutor Soft ($49.99 value)

The "Adaptive Placement Test and Individualized Lesson Plan" is designed to help you identify and close learning gaps in as little as just 3-months or less. The program administers a series of "mini tests" to identify learning gaps for all major math concepts. It then creates an "individualized" lesson plan that includes everything you need to close the learning gaps!

Med Free Bipolar by Aspen Morrow ($7.99 value)

I highly recommend this book to everyone, whether you're living with bipolar disorder or not. The information and nutritional advice in this book is useful to anyone who wants to achieve a healthier lifestyle. I'm using it in my own households and the results have been amazing.

  • Giveaway will run April 29 - May 6, 2015 (ends at 11:59 p.m. EST)
  • The only mandatory entry is your email address. All others are optional, but appreciated.
  • Winner will be notified by email. 
  • Prize must be claimed within 48 hours of notification.
  • All terms and conditions are listed in Rafflecopter giveaway widget

Never miss a post! Subscribe here.

Happy Homeschooling!

April 27, 2015

The Ups and Downs of My Homeschool Life

Homeschooling has it's ups and downs. Here are some great things about our homeschool and some not-so-great things.

Let's talk about what I love about homeschooling. 


So that was a little short, I'll admit. The truth is I enjoy homeschooling. Except for one thing, I actually do enjoy every aspect of this lifestyle.

There is only one thing about homeschooling I don't like. really dislike writing our curriculum. And that's it. That's my one and only dislike.

But no one wants to hear about my perfect homeschool, right? That's great, because I don't have one!

My homeschool may not be full of likes and dislikes, but it is full of ups and downs.

The Ups and Downs of My Homeschool Life

{This post may contain affiliate links.}

Our homeschool experienced a rocky start, but we finally found our groove with the Charlotte Mason method. Even so, we have some very specific challenges. Although these challenges are not strictly homeschool-related, they have a significant impact on our homeschool.

What are some of the 'ups' of our homeschool life?

We take fantastic breaks. - Year-round homeschooling allows us to take regular breaks, preventing burnout and giving me a chance to plan the next term. In our homeschool, we take one-month breaks in March, July and November. It's a time of relaxation, rejuvenation, and fun.

My children are free to pursue interests. - Lorelai loves craftingchalk pastels, and is a naturalist at heart. Alexis is enjoys photography, dancing, singing, and is an artist.

Because my kids are homeschooled, they are not bogged down with 8-hour school days or 6-hour homework nights. They have time to pursue the things that interest them. 

My kids enjoy learning. - My goal has always been to develop a love for learning in my kids. School days are not met with rolled eyes, slumped shoulders, and dragging feet. 

"Mommy, can we do science?" 
"Mommy, can I do that math program again?"

These are regular requests in my household. 
Sometimes, the lessons aren't requested. Sometimes, I just find the kids pursuing knowledge on their own.

A photo posted by Michelle Cannon (@tmichellecannon) on

A photo posted by Michelle Cannon (@tmichellecannon) on

I can barely express how much joy that brings my homeschool mama's heart.

What are some of the 'downs' of our homeschool life?

Sleep problems get in the way. - Bipolar disorder is a circadian rhythm problem. In other words, the body clock doesn't work correctly. Since both of my girls have this disorder, we experience an incredibly different sort of flow in our household.

Unlike the typical household, in which all family members may wake in the morning, and all go to sleep at night, we don't. Let me put it this way. Rare is the moment when there is no one awake in this house. It's the house that never sleeps. 

There is always at least one person awake. 24 hours a day. Imagine trying to homeschool in this house. It can be challenging, to say the least.

I'll give you an example:

  • Yesterday, Lorelai went to sleep at 8 a.m. and got up at 5 p.m. (Can you say night school?)
  • Alexis woke at 10 this morning. (School in the day! Whoo-hoo!)
  • Lorelai went to sleep at noon. 
  • My son went to sleep at 4 p.m. 
  • He and Lorelai both woke at 9 o'clock tonight. 

It's now 2 a.m. and the entire family is awake. I will soon go to bed. I haven't a clue what tomorrow will look like.

Moods get in the way. - Bipolar disorder also comes with intense mood swings. A person with this disorder can be happy as a lark. Suddenly, as though someone flipped a switch, the person is intensely angry. The reason may or may not be apparent. There may not even be one. It happens.

Dyslexia has it's challenges. - While I don't feel this is a dominating issue in my house, I'm sure Alexis feels differently. She's the one who has dyslexia, after all. It affects her life profoundly.

We use the Charlotte Mason method, which means there is a strong focus on literature. Reading isn't the problem. Processing the language is the real challenge. This means I must adapt her lessons, making them hands-on and using audio-books (or reading aloud as a family).

Asperger's gets in the way (sort of). - Alexis and I have Asperger's. This means we have some challenges with executive function. It means we need a laid-out plan of what to do and when to do it. Unfortunately, the sleep issues (mentioned above) get in the way of this.

I'd love to be as free-flowing as their sleep disorder demands. I've tried. I've been trying. I can't do it. 
No, seriously, I can't do it. 

So I've found a solution to all those scheduling issues.

We all have ups and downs in our homeschools. Name one up and one down that apply to yours. Share in the comments.

Now hop over to see what some of the other iHomeschool Network bloggers like and dislike about their own homeschools.

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Happy Homeschooling!

April 20, 2015

The Ultimate Guide to Artist Studies

A comprehensive guide to artist study resources, lesson plans, printables and more.

Art was not something I was exposed to in my childhood. I wasn't raised around art lovers or artists. 

Yet, I've produced several children with these natural talents (thank their dads for that gift). As a result, I learned to incorporate art not only into our studies but into our lives as well.

I believe we are all born with a natural appreciation for art. It's why little kids are so fascinated by all the handiworks of God, from flowers to bees. They see the artwork and love it. Give them a crayon and they'll draw on anything. Literally.

All children are artists. Whether they continue to be artists is up to us. 

  • Do we provide the proper environment to grow an artist?
  • Do we give them the tools they need to create art?
  • Do we praise and support their artistic interests?

How long should you study an artist?

I believe it's up to you to decide how long you'll study an individual artist. I've seen it done many ways.
  • An artist each month
  • One artist for 12 weeks (Charlotte Mason style)
  • An artist every two weeks.
I do it Charlotte Mason style. I choose an artist (usually it relates to the time period we're studying in history, but not always) and then I choose three pieces of work by that artist.

How to Conduct Artist Studies

Since I use the Charlotte Mason method our studies are actually two parts: The artist study and the picture study.

The Artist Study

We read living books about the artist. We visit websites. We go to museums. There are many activities you can do truly get to know the artist.

The Picture Study

With the three pieces of art we've chosen, I simply have the children study each piece of work for 5 minutes, then I take it away. At this point, they can narrate what they saw in the painting. They may talk about colors, feelings, brush strokes - whatever they happened to take notice of. We do that twice each week.

In addition to those basics, we may try to copy the piece of art ourselves, painting Starry Starry Night, or drawing it. Or doing some other fun hands-on activity that really draws their attention to the artwork itself. 

Of course, this is just one way and a few ideas. Hopefully this comprehensive guide to artist studies will give you plenty of inspiration and ideas to take with you on your homeschool journey.

The Ultimate Guide to Artist Studies

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How to Conduct Artist Studies

Art Lessons and Unit Studies

Harmony Fine Arts (curriculum)
Audubon Artist Study
Index of Artist Study Lessons
Art Lessons by Artist
How I Teach Grant Wood to My Homeschool Co-op

Art Unit for Claude Monet
Paint Like Seurat
Geometric Style Like Mondrian for Kids
Make Waves Like Hokusai Tutorial
Create Color Like O’Keeffe: A Georgia O’Keeffe

Scissor Style Like Henri Matisse Art Lesson
Paint like van Gogh
Mary Cassatt Hats- A Color Harmonies Lesson
Dance With Degas: How to Draw a Ballerina
Folk Art Lessons from Grandma Moses

Tornado Art Tutorial: Wizard of Oz Activity #2
Henri Rousseau for Kids: Rousseau Jungle Scenes
Tell a Story Like Rockwell: A Norman Rockwell Art Lesson
Invent Like Da Vinci: An Inkblot Art Lesson for the Inventive Child
Independent Art Project: Wassily Kandinsky

Kandinsky Notebooking Study
Prints & Tessellations: An Art Study of MC Escher
Gustav Vigeland: Artist & Visionary
Claude Monet
Modern Masters Art Lesson Plans

Artists and Pictures to Study

Picture Study Prints for Kids & the lessons to go with them!
Free Artist Notebook Pages
100 Artists to Study in Your Homeschool
Biographies of 75 artists
Picture Study
Chuck Close Portraits
Artist and Composer Study Round-up

Books to Read

Printables and Activities:

More Resources

Did you find something useful here? Is there something you would add? Share in the comments.

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Happy Homeschooling!