Planning Your Morning Meeting

Making Your Books Work for You

Toward the end of last year I had a brilliant idea. Well, I thought it was brilliant. I wanted to start a blog linkup about scholé learning and teaching from rest. These ideas have been such a HUGE influence over our homeschool the past year, and we are in a better place than ever with the flow of our homeschool and the learning we are achieving all without stress or anxiety. Sound too good to be true? It’s really not, and I wanted to share the nuts and bolts of scholé with the world. I contacted some other homeschool bloggers who are also enthusiastic about teaching from rest, and we decided to begin a monthly linkup where we each share what scholé looks like in our unique homes. We don’t want you to emulate us necessarily, but to use our ideas and our homeschools to find your own place of rest. I’m thrilled to introduce the very first linkup of the Everyday Scholé bloggers, myself, Tonia from The Sunny Patch, and Sara from Classically Homeschooling. The three of us hope to show the nuts and bolts of restful learning and teaching in our homeschools to help you bring peace and rest to yours. This month it’s all about how we start our day…..

Planning Your Morning Meeting

If you followed my From Type A to Scholé series last year, then you know I love to plan. I love to schedule. After beginning a consistent Morning Meeting time last year, I have slowly started to utilize that precious time that starts our school day to pull it all together. I’m going to share how and why I do it.


Atomidoodle: An App That Makes You Use Your Noodle!

A Fun, Educational Game to Learn the Periodic Table

I received this product for free in exchange for an honest review. I am being compensated for my time to use and review the product. All opinions expressed in this post are my own. See full legal disclosure here.

I am always on the prowl for educational apps to use in our homeschool. They are perfect for using when you need to squeak out a bit of extra instructional time with one child, but need to keep another child busy. It has become common around here for me to say, “Grab my tablet and play something!” since I only download educational apps on mine. Since we are doing chemistry for the first part of the year, I was thrilled when I heard about Atomidoodle by Hero Factor Games.

Atomidoodle by Hero Factor Games Review

First things first, this game is fun! It’s a combination of math, logic, science, and quick problem-solving skills. I love any product that can do quadruple duty in our homeschool! I downloaded the app expecting Grace (my 5th grader) to use it since the skills in it seemed more along her level. While she enjoyed the game at first, it really frustrated her because her logic and problem-solving skills weren’t fast enough to keep up with the higher levels. Enter Sophia. While only in second grade, she LOVED Atomidoodle and plays it a lot. She is my more math and science oriented one of the two girls. With practically no help from me, she was soon zooming those atoms all over the screen to make the necessary combinations. Even I enjoy it, and find myself clicking on it for some quick, but challenging, game playing.

13 Living Book History Series for a Charlotte Mason Based Homeschool

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I’m thrilled to be participating again this year in the Virtual Curriculum Fair. A special thanks to Susan at Homeschooling Hearts and Minds and Stacie at Super Mommy to the Rescue for hosting this week’s fair where homeschool bloggers are sharing their reviews of various homeschool tips, techniques, and curriculum focused on the social sciences and the natural sciences.

It’s always best when you have an addiction to be honest about it, so consider this my moment of honesty.

“Hello. My name is Chelli, and I am addicted to narrative history book series.”

I rationalize my addiction because 1) I majored in history and used to teach it so I really love it, 2) we have a Charlotte Mason inspired homeschool so I’ve got to have living books around, and 3) I will use my addiction to benefit others.

Number three is what this post is all about. I’ve chosen 13 of what I consider the best living book history series to share with all of you. These books make great spines for your history studies {A spine refers to a book or books that you are using as a basic overview of the subject or topic. In this case, history.} or great read alouds. My criteria for this list was two-fold: a series of more than one book and written in an engaging story-like format. I have tried to give suggested grade levels for each series but, of course, use your own judgment based on your own children.

13 Living Book History Series for CM

Drumroll, please……………..…………….


How to Plan Content Subjects

Since our homeschool and my teaching style lean Charlotte Mason quite a bit, planning content subjects (history, science, geography, etc.) can get complicated, especially since I quit using a boxed curriculum and have struck out on my own. I’ve found a rhythm with planning and finding resource for these subjects and I wanted to include a planning page just for this style of homeschool education when I designed my Homeschool Journal Planner.

 How to Plan Content Subjects

I’ll share each section of this planning page and how I use it. The topic line is at the top of the page. This is where I write what we’ll be studying that week. Most homeschoolers rotate their content subjects on a daily basis, history on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and science on Tuesday and Thursday seems to be the most common one. But I changed that format in our homeschool to focusing on one content subject at a time for three weeks, and then switching. My content subject planning page is set up to go along with the way I do it, but it is still easy to use for homeschoolers who schedule their content subjects differently. Instead of using one page for each week, you would use two, one page for your history study and one for your science study.  My topic line reads “Geography of Israel, Lebanon, and Syria” since that will be what we are studying the first week back from Christmas vacation.

Next there is a space to write your spine book or books. A spine book refers to a book that you are using as a basic overview of the subject or topic. Examples of spine books would be Story of the World, Apologia Young Explorers’ science series, or even a textbook. The spines for our geography study are Visits to the Middle East and A Child’s Geography of the Holy Land.

Now there are spaces for supplemental books and media and activities, projects, or experiments. These are the extras that you wish to add into your spine book. It can be extra literature to read on specific topics. For example, in our geography study I will be having Grace read a book on Judaism while both girls will listen to different folk tales from each country. I always try to add in some kind of movie or video clip to watch with any topic we are studying. For our study of Israel, we will watch Israel and the Sinai Desert. Activities, projects, and experiments are my girls’ most favorite part of any subject, but it is easily my least favorite. Therefore, I make sure that the things I find to place in this box are things that the girls can do themselves with little to no assistance from me. The girls will be painting a picture of the Dome of the Rock, baking challah (with my help), and note booking about the countries we study.

Content Subject Planning

The bottom section is divided into days so that you can take your spine and all of your other resources and divide them up into the day of the week you would like to read, watch, and/or do each one. I love pre-planning our days on paper, especially the content subjects. This allows you to schedule more time intensive projects and experiments on days when you don’t have outside commitments and to make sure you are not over loading one day or another with too much reading or too little hands-on. For example, Grace has ballet on Thursday nights for three hours so I know that would be a really bad day to bake challah, but probably a great day to watch our movie on Israel.

Content Subject Planning 2

What I’ve outlined above is how I plan all of our content subjects and using the content planning pages in my Homeschool Journal Planner makes it even easier. Remember, you can get my planner for free by subscribing to my blog using the gray banner at the top of the page, the sign up in the sidebar, or the signup at the bottom of the page. Take a look at the other glimpses into my planner as well.

Journal Pages

Goal Page

Subject Planning Pages

Don’t forget to check out the other iHomeschool Network bloggers as we spend all week posting about different topics.


Organizing awesome resources was never so easy in the tree house,



How to Effectively Use Subject Planning Pages

A couple of years ago I wrote a post about how to fill out subject planning pages and how planning this way allows you to plan for the entire year without worrying about slowing down or speeding up destroying your pre-planned year. When I created my Homeschool Journal Planner, I knew that it was finally time for me to make some pretty subject planner pages to go along with my journal pages and goal page. Today I’m going to share how to most effectively use subject planning pages while using my journal planner.

Subject Planning Pages

As a natural planner there is no way that I could just journal our days without having some kind of plan in place so I had to have some planning pages in my journal planner, but how to fuse the rigidness of planning with the free flowing journaling style. Basically I came up with two different options.


Making Homeschool Goals Inspired by Luke 2:52

Today I’m letting you take a peek at my favorite part of my Homeschool Journal Planner. Yesterday we looked at what makes it unique and today we’re looking at what makes it effective: goal planning. A few year ago I discovered the importance of setting goals to help keep me focused on what is important, especially in our homeschool. When so many new and shiny things come on the market, it’s easy to be lead astray from what is working and your end goal in your homeschool. While those goals help me set large, over-arching principles, I also like to set specific, narrow goals every year for our homeschool and each child. Last year I stumbled upon the perfect template to guide my goal setting: Luke 2:52.

Homeschool Goals Sheet

I love the template laid out in Luke 2:52 so much that I used it to build the goal sheet in my Homeschool Journal Planner. I also created a goal planning page that is not biblical based if anyone wanted a secular one, but in this post I’ll be discussing the biblical based format.


A 5 Day Peek Into My Homeschool Journal Planner

Last fall I started looking for a specific type of homeschool planner, and I wasn’t having much luck finding it. So, like other homeschoolers who can’t find exactly what they are looking for {why do you think we make all of those printables and curriculums!}, I made my own. What exactly was so impossible to find among the multitude of homeschool planners on the market and all over the internet? I wanted a homeschool planner that doubled as a journal. I wanted a place to record my thoughts and memories. I wanted a planner that contained a place for detailed plans for the year along with the freedom to only write what we actually completed that day. And, of course, I wanted the usual goals sheet, reading lists, and calendars found in every homeschool planner. I will be using every day this week to let everyone have a peek inside my homeschool journal planner. If you like what you see, subscribe to my blog, and you’ll get access to it as a free download. For those who already subscribe to The Planted Trees, you will find a link to the Homeschool Journal Planner in the next email you receive from the blog.

My Homeschool Journal Planner

Today I want to focus on what makes my homeschool planner unique: the journal pages.


Talk to Me: How and Why You Should Have a Homeschool Conference

It all started out with some questions from me and comments from Grace when she was in second grade.

“I don’t like this. It’s too hard.”

“ I really like drawing and painting. Can we do more of that?”

“I don’t understand what this book says!”

I slowly realized that she had some valid input and insight about her education despite being so young.  The next year I made it a point to ask her some questions about our homeschool. Now it has evolved into a full-fledged interview type process at a local coffee shop at least twice a year. As Charlotte Mason said, “Children are born persons.” They have thoughts and ideas just as much as the next person. While those thoughts might be juvenile, they can also be extremely insightful if you really listen and dig a bit. Right now is the perfect time to have a homeschool teacher-student conference since it’s the middle of the school year for most of you.

Talk to Me Homeschool Student Conference
It might seem a little silly to talk to your children about their homeschool. I mean you are with them all day anyway, but asking questions with purpose and truly listening are a great way to see school through their eyes. Subjects and curriculum that you think are getting the job done may be leaving your child confused and uninspired. Maybe they feel rushed by your current routine or would like to arrange their school subjects differently. I always placed math first in Grace’s subject line up since I knew it was her least favorite so I though it should be first so she could get it completed as quickly as possible. At our last teacher-student conference, she informed me that she would rather place it last and start with her favorite subjects. I never would have known if I had not asked! So how do you have a homeschool conference?


Logic of English Foundations: The Grand Prize Winner of Phonics

This post contains affiliate links. I appreciate your support of my blog. See full legal disclosure here.

I’m thrilled to be participating again this year in the Virtual Curriculum Fair. A special thanks to Susan at Homeschooling Hearts and Minds and Chareen at Every Bed of Roses for hosting this week’s fair where homeschool bloggers are sharing their reviews of various homeschool language arts tips, techniques, and curriculum.

One of the most frightening propositions as a homeschool parent is teaching a child to read. I know that it terrified me. Between Grace and Sophia I’ve tried at least a handful of different phonics programs. At the end of Sophia’s kindergarten year I found out about a new phonics curriculum that was coming onto the market written by Denise Eide, author of Uncovering the Logic of English: A Common-Sense Approach to Reading, Spelling, and Literacy . She had already published a remedial phonics and spelling program for second grade and up called Essentials. Now she was turning to beginning readers with her new phonics program, Foundations.

Logic of English Review

I jumped on the chance to use Level A, B, and C as a beta tester. Nothing I was using with Sophia to teach her to read really felt right. The program I used with Grace, while it got her reading, I was discovering some gaps in her phonics knowledge as she reached higher level books. I didn’t want to use that program with Sophia for fear that the same thing would happen with her. I signed up for the Foundations beta testing group figuring I had nothing to lose. What I didn’t count on was discovering the BEST phonics program I’d ever used. In fact, it’s so fabulous that this self-proclaimed curriculum addict isn’t even tempted to look at anything else!