SQT {7): Creating a Homeschool I Love

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We’re coming out of 3 years of survival mode homeschooling due to Cee’s illness.  The kids and I have enjoyed parts, and we’ve learned too…but “loving our homeschool” hasn’t been a major focus.  It’s more of a fortunate occasional byproduct.

I’ve been devouring a new-to-me blog lately.  I don’t really know the author, but she’s practically my new BFF.  She talks about finding joy in homeschooling in the wealth of free info available on her site.

This year is going to be different. More intentional. (Did you just roll your eyes?  I fear that “intentional” is the new “literally” as far as being an overused/misused/buzzword sort of thing.  But I literally mean that our year is going to be intentional, yo.)


-1-  Morning Basket

Our mornings aren’t super crazy since we don’t have to get out the door at a certain time every day, but there is still a fair amount of chaos.  A fair amount.  If I’m creating a homeschool I love, developing a morning routine that grounds us and brings us all together as a family sounds perfect.  My new BFF Pam has lots of info if you’d like to learn more.

I’ve started a “pilot program” for us using a morning basket this summer.  Basically we put in all the things we never get to and sit down as a family to to them using a loop schedule.  I have big plans, but that’s another post. 🙂  So far the pilot program has been successful.

-2- Seton

We enroll with Seton.  It is truly the backbone of our kids’ education.  It’s accredited.  It’s well known.  It’s all picked out for us.  Cee is our guinea pig.  After she goes through a grade, we know the keepers and the skippers.  There’s not much for planning, so it has been a life saver during our survival mode time.  It’s nice to be in a place where we can branch out a little.

-3- Spiral Notebooks

When Sarah MacKenzie at Amongst Lovely Things first suggested using spiral notebooks to structure her homeschooling, it was oddly revolutionary to me.  I used a weekly planner, but it wasn’t very efficient.  The biggest problem:  the kids had to ask me whenever they finished something what was next.  Ugh.  And if we got off schedule, it was hard to keep track of what needed to be done.

Last year we tried using spiral notebooks.  I’d take Sunday night to plan out our week in a planner.  Then every night during the week I would sit down with a notebook for each girl and my planner and write out a list of what they needed to accomplish the following day.  Sometimes there were repeats, skips, extra things based on what happened during the day.  It worked beautifully!

Spiral Notebook

Things they can complete independently get a thin-line check box, things for which they need my help get a thick-line check box.  That way if I am occupied, they know exactly how to use their time.  I would put all the books they need for the day in a pile with their notebooks on top.

If we got off schedule, it wasn’t a big deal.  I just adjusted accordingly in their notebook list for the next day.  Elle still can’t really read, but she still could use her notebook pretty well for kindergarten last year.

-4- Beautiful Feet Books

I never much liked history, but David has great historical awareness.  I want my kids to have his relationship with, understanding of, and love for history.  We looked into the Story of the World, but it doesn’t quite seem to fit us.  At the suggestion of a veteran homeschool mom, I checked out Beautiful Feet Books.

I hemmed and hawed a lot about BFB, going back and forth for weeks.  I didn’t want to have buyer’s remorse, so I would just visit their website and see if I still loved them.  Then wait a few days and repeat.

Every time – – I still did.  I tried to not love them.  “Seton has history.  We don’t neeeeeed history,” I told myself.  But they ran a deal, and I couldn’t refuse any longer.  I’m a little concerned that we might come across some anti-Catholic material, but I’ll be viligent about it.  (Oh, you don’t know that word?  It’s like if “diligent” and “vigilant” had a little word baby.)

We did not get the whole American History package, but we did get many of the titles pictured above.  Cee seems to have an appreciation for American History already (thanks Liberty’s Kids!), so I am excited to share these books with her.  Some of them might become a birthday present.

-5- Co-op

After a year off, we’re all excited to be a part of the a weekly homeschool co-op starting this fall.  I’ll be teaching art for PK-2nd grade, so…I should probably start planning that.  Suggestions are welcome.  The kids are looking forward to doing all sorts of fun activities and being with friends.


-6- Actual Chores

Shellin Peas


All things household have been too mom-centered for too long.  When Cee was starting to be old enough to actually be useful, she got sick.  Then it felt wrong to make Elle do chores when Cee had none.  Regardless of our explanations, Elle resented being the only one to help.  So now we’re going to get hardcore.  Shellin’ peas hardcore.

I still need to figure out how exactly we’re going to transfer household responsibility, but it’s a coming.


-7- Preschool

Moe will be starting up preschool this year!  For Cee we did the entire preschool program that Seton offers (without enrolling) plus a few extra books.  With Elle, we chose a couple Seton workbooks out of the 10 or so that are offered.  With Moe?  He just has one goal for the year:  Avoid doing anything to send himself or anyone else to the emergency room.

Somebody:  What will you be doing with Moe this year for preschool?
Me:  Have you heard of the new ERA program for preschool boys?
Somebody:  No.  Is it Montesorri?  Charlotte Mason?  STEM-based?  Does it follow the Common Core standards?  What does ERA stand for?
Me:  Emergency Room Avoidance.  Basically, he can do whatever he wants as long as no one gets hurt.
Me:  Yeah.  It’s as challenging as it sounds.


That’s it for our not-so-quick takes about the upcoming school year.  Check out Kelly for more!
You can check out more homeschool inspiration here.

(Don’t forget to subscribe to emails above or follow along through bloglovin.  You don’t want to miss hearing how ERA goes for Moe!)



  1. // Reply

    Laughed so hard at the ERA preschool program! It’s also how I cook dinner. As long as no one sounds bleeding, we’re good to go.

    I think morning basket needs to get added to our routine – or at least tried out. I’ve seen it come up enough times from non-martyr homeschool moms that I’m willing to give it a shot.

    1. // Reply

      I’ve enjoyed our pilot of the morning basket, and no kids have had to be forced to attend. Win-win! If you try it, pick things to go in the basket you like, and it might just become the highlight of your day. 🙂

  2. // Reply

    I love all of this! I think it is wonderful that you can come out of survival mode a bit and survey the scene, decide what you’d like to do with intention. We love our Morning Basket. 🙂

    I appreciate your analysis of why chores were slow to be established because of Cee being unable to do chores, then not wanting to make #2 child feel badly, etc. These issues are real. I pray for you as you navigate through these nuances.

    I LOVED using the spiral notebooks for at least a year. Right now, I’m trying a computer-based organizer, but my vote is still unsure of it, and I might return to spiral binders.

  3. // Reply

    Thanks for turning me on to Pam Barnhill! We don’t homeschool (yet?) but I’ve already appreciated reading some of her posts, and have listened to a podcast as well. She has some really good insight!

    1. // Reply

      Glad you’ve enjoyed it! So much of the “homeschool” stuff I like is really just “family life” stuff.

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