I want to share a resource I just discovered. It is theDRAWpage. It is a blog of “creativity boosters and art lessons for kids and their grown-ups.” 🙂

I met Rose, the artist, through my Blogging Your Passion University classes. When I went to her site I fell in love. Not for myself, mind you, but for my boy who lives to draw.

theDRAWpage has lots of activities and lessons to download and print, as well as books and workbooks to purchase.

Welcome to The DRAW Page!

Rose Gauss started making and using these exercises while teaching K-8th grade art in her local school. She has also done illustration work for a children’s magazine and illustrated several children’s books.

Please visit theDRAWpage. I think you and your kiddos will love it. I know we do.


Young Entrepreneur Series–The Chicken Boy

young entrepreneurs

(This post contains affiliate links. That means if you click on one and buy something, I make a few pennies to support my blogging venture. 😉 )

I am having a blast interviewing young people with a mission. Not only are these kids passionate about something; they are taking their passions and turning them into money-making ventures.

Today I want to tell you about Jo. This 12 year old is not normal–if you get my meaning. Oh, he loves to watch movies and play video games and hang out with friends. But that only comes after his birds.

Jo got turned on to chickens when he met some bantams, purchased a few of his own, entered them into the county fair and took home blue ribbons. But this kid didn’t stop there. He wanted more. And, he wanted to share his love with others.

After working a weekend for his brother, clearing pasture and putting up fencing, Jo used his earnings to purchase an incubator. That simple piece of equipment took his passion to a new level. First, he hatched out a new flock of bantams for himself. Then, he hatched a bunch of laying hens for his mama. Next, he realized that if he sold a dozen eggs he made $3.50. But if he hatched a dozen eggs and sold the chicks, he could make $42. If you could choose between $3.50 and $42, which would you take?

An Entrepreneur is Born

Jo saw an ad on Craigslist for quail. When he went to purchase them, the woman selling them was aghast that he pulled his own money out of his own wallet to pay her. “You mean he’s got to pay for them himself?” she asked. “It’s his business,” his mother replied.

quail chickJo loved his new little birds and spent hours watching them in the pen. But that wasn’t enough. He wanted to hatch quail. You cannot hatch out two different types of birds in the same incubator at the same time because they require different temperature and humidity settings. So after selling his first batch of chicken chicks, Jo bought himself a second incubator. His mama said she feels like she lives in a poultry house–two incubators going in the living room, tubs of chicks lining the walls in the laundry room, the constant chirping of little birds.

It took him three tries to hatch a batch of quail (He’s working with the cheapest of equipment here, folks.) but he did it. They sold the next day! Then those customers gave him a dozen guinea eggs.

So far, Jo has sold his chicks word-of-mouth and he has a waiting list of potential customers. But when the second batch of quail didn’t sell instantaneously, he put a flier on the bulletin board at his local feed store and asked his mother to post them on Facebook.

What’s he saving his money for? A cabinet incubator that holds 300 eggs. What’s he want to do when he grows up? Own a hatchery business.

What do you think? Is this boy going places? Have any incubator stories you’d like to share? We’d love to hear them.



This post is linked to the Homestead Barn Hop.

Tree House Masters

paperbackbookstandingWe do not have TV in our home and I hesitate to give anyone a reason to want one. But this month I found myself traveling with my husband for business and being confined to a hotel room much of the time. And to my surprise, I discovered Tree House Masters with Pete Nelson on the Animal Planet station.

Remember Lessons from the Tree House? You know, that e-book that I wrote full of lessons your kids can learn by building a tree house? Well, while writing that book I interviewed THE tree house master and author of the book New Tree Houses of the World, Mr. Pete Nelson.

So, if you purchased Lessons from the Tree House, and enjoyed the quotes from Mr. Nelson, you will love this show. Actually, if you didn’t purchase this book (which you most definitely should) you will love this show. And you don’t even have to have TV to watch it. Go to the Tree House Masters website and you can watch complete episodes online.

Then, once you watch a few episodes and get inspired to try building your own tree house, come back here and get Lessons from the Tree House for your kids.


This post contains affiliate links. That means that if you click on one and buy something, I make a few pennies to support this blog. 😉


Educating in Adversity: How to keep it together when everything’s falling apart

educating in adversity

Hi everyone – first, I’d like to thank Carol for allowing me to post on her blog; it really is a pleasure to be here. I thought I’d share with you today my top ten tips for staying sane during a family crisis. I hope you’ll find these ideas helpful for your particular situation….

  1. Accept your limitations – you won’t be able to get through the amount of schoolwork you’re used to, or do it as consistently. Just keep in mind the big picture of why you’re homeschooling.
  2. Spend some time praying about your situation, because it’s possible that the Lord wants you to stop home educating, at least for now. Not likely, but possible. 😉
  3. As a Christian and a parent, you always want to set a good example; but, if you display lack of kindness, forgiveness or hope at this crucial time, your children may never learn it.
  4. Please remember that, depending on your situation, your children may be traumatized in some way by what’s going on around them. Have faith that God will heal your family, but also understand that this may not happen straight away, and it’s up to you to lighten their load where you can. If this means extra candy, television, trips to the library, hugs (lots of hugs!), then don’t feel guilty. Only you know how far to go with this.
  5. However, you must also maintain discipline in your home. Your children, especially older ones, may be in a state of rebellion against you or God, unable to accept what’s going on around them. You must use your authority over your children, and you must punish bad behavior. They can’t be allowed to learn that it’s acceptable to find excuses to sin.
  6. Whatever crisis has struck your family will give you less time for prayer. But, we can’t survive without prayer, can we? Make every moment with the Lord count. You’ll find your faith grow stronger as you realize you have to take Him at His word.
  7. Keep your everyday finances and paperwork in order. It adds so much extra stress to our lives when we lose track of bills, miss deadlines, or even overdraw accounts. Just take a few minutes each day to check your register, go through your bills and give some thought to your budget. This is especially important if you’re experiencing a substantial drop in income.
  8. You may also have to open new bank accounts, change direct debits, deal with insurance companies or lawyers, arrange child support or welfare payments, even move house. Although you’re tired, these things need to take priority.
  9. Keep on giving; your prayers, your time, your money; it only need be a little –  to those less fortunate than yourself. There will always be others whose lives are even more unsettled or uncertain than your own.

We’ve all heard that ‘God helps those who help themselves’. This is so true; He will always help us, and he does that alongside us, as we take steps to care for our household. Please, just keep on taking the first step, whether that be regarding your legal obligations, housework, school lessons or any outside work you have. Then the Lord will ‘step up’ and help you in ways you never expected.

Did I leave anything out? What other strategies have helped you in a crisis? Leave a comment and we can support each other. 😉



Kathy lives in Australia, and is a mother to fourteen children, including one step-daughter and a set of twins. She has been home-educating for twenty years. When she became a single mother, she decided to seek her fortune in the blogosphere, and now, with some help from her children, runs three blogs and two online businesses. Please visit her Etsy store A Beautiful Home.

Another Homeschooling Blogger–Paolo

In a previous post, we met three kids that blog and learn from the experience. Well I met another one. Paolo linked one of her posts to the Self-Sufficient HomeAcre Hop on my other blog Everything Home with Carol. When I read Paolo’s post, I was astonished at her knowledge and ability to communicate it in an understandable fashion.

paolashorseblogfinalbanner (640x254)

Paolo is 13 years old and has been homeschooled since the 3rd grade. She started her blog, Paola’s Horse Blog, in 2009. She’s been blogging as long as I have, folks. I’m just so impressed that she has stuck with it. I guess we can add perseverance up there with the list of things she has learned from her blogging career. (I mean besides writing, grammar, setting up a blog/website, etc.)

LFH: Paola, thank you so much for joining us today on Lessons from the Homestead. As you know, I was delighted with your Horse Blog and really wanted to share with my readers what kids can learning from the blogging experience. So let me begin by asking you, why did you start your blog?

paolaprofilePaola: I started my blog when I first got interested in horses. My mom started a blog not long before and suggested that I post my horse-related schoolwork on the internet as a project. From there, my interest in blogging and writing only grew.

LFH: Do you blog to make money? Do you have advertisements or affiliates on there? If not, would you like to learn how to do that?

Paola: For the most part, I blog because I not only have a passion for learning, but also for sharing what I know with others. I haven’t really considered blogging to make money so I don’t have advertisements or affiliates, but I would love to learn how to do that.

LFH: How do you think your homeschooling has helped your blogging?

Paola: In the first place, I think homeschooling is actually the reason I started a blog. I don’t think my mom would have encouraged me to begin blogging if I had gone to public school. As a homeschooler I have plenty of time to do extra, school-related activities on my own (and love it). I was brought up to love learning, was taught at a young age to learn on my own, and, like most homeschoolers, I know how to study and do school work independently without having my parents constantly reminding me to do it. I think that being an independent worker and doing school-related activities on my own is the most important contributor. These days, in a world when most young people care more about impressing others than learning, you hardly ever see girls my age just pick up a book and read on their own, let alone willingly study and write a research paper that doesn’t count toward their grade. All in all, homeschooling has taught me to work on my own and has given me a different mindset than most public-schoolers.

LFH: Did you set up your blog by yourself or did someone help you?

Paola: My mom was constantly coaching me through the my early days of blogging. She helped with everything, including the design and actually learning how to use all the blogging tools. It’s thanks to her that I finally got my blog kick-started.

LFH: Is there anything else you would like to share?

Paola:  I’m a hard-worker when it comes to things that I really want. Right now I am saving for a horse and later I plan to to compete in shows, so I have been doing all I can to make money.

LFH: Thanks again for joining us, Sweetie. I wish you all the best.

Are you thinking about having your child start a blog this school year? It doesn’t have to be public. You can set it so that search engines cannot find it and only those with the link can view it. You can also set it to be password protected, if that’s an issue.

If you are thinking about it, but don’t know enough to teach them, I highly recommend the Blogging Your Passion University classes. Bob and Jonathan from BYPU know what they are talking about. And Jonathan used to be a high school teacher so he knows how to break things down into easy-to-understand, digestible bites. If you know nothing, start with their Blogging 101 class. If you have a little bit of experience, start with 201.

Now if your kids already have blogs, please leave the links in the comments for us all to read and enjoy.


5 Great E-books for Homeschoolers

With the new year approaching like the stage coach in the wild west, I thought I’d share with you a few top resources for homeschoolers–all at a fantastic price. (I mean who can beat five ebooks and a package of printables for $7.40!?!) Make sure to check them out. You just might find something you didn’t know you needed. 😉

Bundle #31: Homeschooling Resources

This week’s bundle is packed full of resources for homeschoolers, including five ebooks plus two special bonus offers. With your purchase, you’ll get tips for developing curriculum and teaching specific subjects, printables for you and your students, and encouragement for the school year at a discount of more than 80%!

Homeschooling 101 by Kris Bales
Whether you’re just getting started or a veteran homeschooler, Homeschooling 101 offers inspiration and encouragement for your journey. Kris includes practical tips on important topics such as knowing your state’s laws, discovering your homeschool style, recognizing your child’s learning style, planning your calendar, dealing with nay-sayers and homeschooling on a shoestring to help you get off to a smooth start this fall!

Notebooking Success by Jimmie Lanley
Notebooking is a popular learning technique that can be used for every subject and every grade level, but as powerful as notebooking is, it can easily become busy work that wastes time instead of reinforcing the learning if not implemented correctly. In Notebooking Success, Jimmie teaches you the ins and outs, including how to use notebooking to its fullest potential, how to know that children are really learning and what to expect at various grade levels. Plus discover all of her favorite resources for notebooking printables!

The Printable Homeschool Planner by Heather Bixler
The Printable Homeschool Planner makes it easy for you to organize what you need to organize, how you want to organize it. With planning sheets and recordkeeping forms plus access to future homeschool printables that are released in the customer forum, this basic set is a great way to start your homeschool planner today.

Training Your Children in Home Economics by Angie Kauffmann
Angie walks you step-by-step through the basics of home economics — including money management, hospitality, simple sewing skills, meal preparation, laundry skills, table manners and more — in Training Your Children in Home Economics. In addition, you’ll find printable progress forms for the various skill sets covered. This ebook will help you inexpensively introduce practical life skills as part of your homeschool curriculum, even if you’re not sure where to start!

Designing Your Language Arts Curriculum Plus Essay Tune Up by Jimmie Lanley
In Designing Your Language Arts Curriculum, Jimmie covers the basics of language arts with specific advice, teaching tips, links to printables, and encouragement for grammar, spelling, vocabulary, poetry, reading, literature, building a library, writing, Shakespeare, and public speaking. She’ll help you decide what is essential, what is optional and how to best teach your students! In this exclusive bundle offer, you’ll also get Essay Tune Up, including 7 simple formulas for teaching essay writing plus 13 printables to help students organize their thoughts and write better essays.

Plus the Life Your Way Homeschooling Printables by Mandi Ehman
As a special bonus, you’ll also receive a set of homeschooling printables from Life Your Way, including notebooking pages, language arts cheat sheets, Black History Month activities, chore charts and more!

The Homeschooling Resources bundle is only available through 8am EST on Monday, 8/5. Get yours today!.

Planning a New Homeschool Year

planning a new homeschool yearWith 18 years of homeschooling under my belt, I’ve planned and tried just about everything out there–from spending the entire month of August making up lesson plans for every subject and every child, to doing nothing and totally winging it. This year I’m doing something totally different. This year I plan to use a full curriculum. I do not intend to plan, per se. But I do not intend to wing it, either.

I have two boys left to homeschool. One is considered 5th grade, the other 7th. Several years ago I started my own freelance writing business in order to have something earning substantial money by the time my boys were done. I’ve decided that the full curriculum approach is the best choice to make sure the boys get the education they need, and I have the time to devote to my business.

What do I intend to use?

I recently discovered Easy Peasy. What I like about Easy Peasy is that a homeschooling mom developed it for her own children. She simply took materials that she found online and compiled them all in one place, separated by subjects and grade levels, and posted it for others to use. It is free, it is convenient, and it looks like just what I’ve been looking for. If you’d like to read an unbiased review of Easy Peasy, check out this one by Cathy Duffy.

What about my learning by living on the homestead method?

I in no way plan to change my educational philosophy here. In addition to learning academic lessons from the homestead, we have always utilized math and language curricula. But those materials required me to make lesson plans, grade papers, and be more hands-on than I want to be.

I’m just being honest here, gals. I’ve been homeschooling for 18 years and I’m a bit weary. But I’m not giving up. I’m not sending my boys off to school, and I’m not neglecting them. I’m just getting a little help. Same as some moms hire housekeepers or yard maintenance crews. (Oh boy, wouldn’t I love a housekeeper and a yard crew, too. 😉 )

So how am I preparing, anyway?

  • First thing I’m doing is studying the curriculum and determining which subjects the boys will do and which grade levels they fall into. I will set up their accounts, and make sure that all the appropriate links are bookmarked for them.
  • Second, I’m ordering a new computer for the family. Our old one is just about spent.
  • Third, I’m upgrading our Internet service to a faster speed. Last year, if you remember, I wrote a review on The HEV Project on Everything Home with Carol. The one complaint I had about them was the length of time it took the videos to load. Hopefully, upgrading my Internet service will take care of those types of issues.
  • Fourth, I’m planning extra-curricular activities. I’ve never done this before. I always relied on our homeschool support group’s field trips for this. But I’ve made several field trip suggestions–things we really want to do–that they haven’t taken, so we are going to venture out on our own this year.
  • And last, we’re starting early. A friend that used Easy Peasy (and loved it, by the way) until her kids reached high school age, recommended starting a couple weeks early to get the hang of it. With that advice, and the fact that we’ve done nothing educational all summer, in mind, that is exactly what we are going to do.

What about you, how are you planning for this school year?



Young Entrepreneur Series #1–Rachel Coker

young entrepreneursI am super excited about this Young Entrepreneur Series. When I went to the Home Educator’s Association of Virginia Convention in June, I visited the Young Entrepreneur Exhibit Hall and spoke with many fine, talented young people. I missed seeing Rachel because she was at lunch but her mother encouraged me to email her about an interview. I am so glad that she did.

Seventeen year old Rachel Coker has been a published author since she was 14! You may not think that writing novels is a business, but as a freelance writer myself, I can tell you writers market and sell just as much as write. Please give Rachel a warm homestead welcome.

Rachel Coker Author PhotoLFH: Thank you so much, Rachel, for taking the time to answer my questions about your business. I know that many parents are looking for ways to encourage their kids in entrepreneurial pursuits and it helps to have some role models in that area. What can you tell me about being a published author?

RC: I am a published author with Zondervan. I have written two books, “Interrupted: Life Beyond Words” (written when I was fourteen) and “Chasing Jupiter” (written when I was sixteen). Because I am published by a major publisher, many people might not view me as an entrepreneur, but I actually manage my business, arrange speaking events, and manage all my own social media. I travel the country speaking at various schools, conferences, and conventions as well as sell and sign copies of my book.

LFH: How do you market your books?

Chasing JupiterRC: My biggest market is definitely selling books at conventions and conferences. I come up with my own dynamic workshops and present them with the hope of gaining fans as well as selling books. I run my own blog, Facebook account, Youtube page, and other social media pages in order to involve readers in my life and give fans a way to plug into everything that’s going on in my life. I also have a publicist who helps me keep track of all the interviews and media hype that comes with being an author.

LFH: In what ways do you feel that homeschooling has facilitated the success of your writing career.

RC: Homeschooling definitely offered me the freedom of flexibility when I was in my high school years. It was easy to travel and fly across the country for my job, since I could take my school with me! It was also easy to give high school extracurricular credits for all the entrepreneurial work I was doing, which looks great on a college resume!

LFH: What role have your parents taken in helping you in your business? What about your siblings?

RC: My parents have been amazingly supportive of me–my mom was my book keeper all throughout high school! They also helped me set up my specialized banking accounts and file paperwork! And of course my two sisters are my biggest encouragers and love traveling with me and meeting all kinds of people.

LFH: What do you see for your future regarding being a business owner vs. an employee?

RC: I am definitely hoping that God always intends for me to be a business owner. I love the independence and flexibility of running your own business and making those executive decisions. However, I realize that there is a place for both owners and employees in the world, and I just hope that no matter what I’m doing, I can glorify God through it!

LFH: What advice do you have for the guy/gal just starting out? Any warnings or words of wisdom?

RC: My advice would be to make sure you’re doing something you love. At the end of the day, even when you’re working for yourself there are going to be days where you just don’t feel like doing anything. And on those days, it’s better to be doing something you love and are passionate about than something you hate! And always remember to keep God at the center of your life instead of chasing after success or wealth.

LFH: Thank you so much for joining us today, Rachel. I’m sure that your experiences are an encouragement to other young people out there.

RC: Thank you for having me. I do appreciate it.

I hope you enjoyed meeting Rachel as much as I did. If you would like to learn more about her or check out her books, please visit her website.


This post is linked to Tuesdays with a Twist.

Do What You Can and Let The Rest Go

I am so excited to be introducing new voices to Lessons from the Homestead. I know that I have benefited from a multitude of counselors where homeschooling is concerned, and wanted to offer that for you here.

This post was written by Sheila, the farmhousewife of Hope Farms. Sheila is an unschooling, goat-milking, egg-basket-carrying mother of one wide-open boy; wife to Captain Strong-Arms; and an avid student of life. Studying entropy and measuring its worth is a common thread between homesteading and homeschooling. Now in their second year of schooling their son at home, Sheila and Captain Strong-Arms are learning to balance the farm, the schoolwork, and attending farmers’ markets.

I hope that you will give Sheila a warm Lessons from the Homestead welcome and visit her blog at Hope Farms. Subscribing wouldn’t hurt either. 😉

063Contrary to popular belief, success is not a straight, ascending line to the top of all things wonderful. It is indeed more akin to a butterfly – flitting to and fro, up and down, left to right – in no particular order and sometimes very little direction.

Homeschooling is a lot like the aforementioned success. In our home it seems we have not had many straight line successes in regards to homeschooling. Or any other items on an agenda, for that matter. I call it un-schooling. Some might imagine no school work at all with incomplete chaos and a rebellion against all things authoritative. I prefer to think of it as cultivating creativity with a solid foundation of the basics; math, language arts, and a huge helping of real life.

What makes up a good portion of our “classroom” is the farm. Being less than four acres we don’t have a large operation but rather a small-timey yet labor intensive and symbiotic agricultural plot. The house itself serves as a learning tool in that learning to sort clothing, put dishes away, and facilitating responsibility of  indoor animals (read: guinea pig) are more than just functional chores: they are setting the stage for how our child might choose to live when on his own as an adult.

It is easy to get caught up in the daily challenges of running a small farm and sometimes schoolwork is not a schedule to keep, but rather a flexible part of the day. It is extremely important, I believe, to determine your child’s strengths and needs and base a curriculum around those. That said: do what I say, not as I have done.

Last year we did not follow any particular curriculum. This year, as our child will be in the 2nd grade, I would like to find one that fits my son’s needs and our family’s personality.

Meanwhile, the eggs must be gathered, the goat and cow must be milked, all of the animals fed and watered. The garden, in all of its glory, will not preserve the bountiful harvest by itself.

In all we do, as a farm, as a family, we are learning. Today I saw a quote – without an author – that resounded with me deeply. It said, “Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards.” So many of us, whether we homeschool or not, can relate to this.

Knowing that experience is gained the hard way–homeschooling doesn’t have to be perfect. It can be flawed. Inconsistent, even, and still – our children will be learning.

Here’s where I’m going to start:

  • Do what I can, to the best of my ability, and let the rest go.
  • Develop a curriculum that fits the strengths and needs of my child.
  • Build a homeschooling schedule we can adhere to, not something that just looks good on paper.
  • Write about the challenges and triumphs.

What about you? Where are you starting in your planning for the upcoming year?



Magazine School

magazine schoolI absolutely love it when my kids learn things from places other than a textbook–especially when it’s free or cheap. Well, living ain’t free, or cheap; but it’s something that we have to do; so learning from living is the best thing going.

Well, part of living on the homestead is reading homesteading magazines. And I subscribe to quite a few because I write for them. (Shameless self-promotion there. 😉 ) But the wonderful plus to subscribing to them is that my boys read them. And learn from them. Good stuff! You can rest assured that any magazine I recommend here is “boy safe.” You know what I mean–G-rated photos.

What do my boys learn from reading magazines?

  • How to raise chickens
  • The importance of water conservation
  • What to look for when purchasing power tools
  • Foraging for wild foods
  • The best crops to plant for our climate
  • How to grow in containers
  • Different forms of animal housing
  • The health benefits of eating greens (don’t we all want our boys to learn that!)
  • The dangers of pesticides and herbicides
  • When to prune the fruit trees
  • How to trim goat hooves

Need I go on? I mean these magazines are so full of great stuff, that I think they should hire me to pull out all the great content for kids and format it into a regular curriculum!

Shhh, now you can go email the editors and make that suggestion. 😉

What do you think? What magazines have you caught your kids learning from?

This post is linked to Real Life Homeschooling Hop.