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Homeschool 101


We recently made the decision to homeschool my kiddos instead of placing them in school. Along with starting my own nursery school in our home, I can make sure my toddler is getting the skills she needs for development. This is our homeschool preschool routine.

Our Homeschool Preschool Routine
We use free play inside and outside along with book time and other explorations. Explorations are planned activities by me, but are not worksheets. They can be anything from painting, exploring the library, hiking at our local conservancy, nature art, play dough, etc. I try to keep the Explorations as open minded as I can.

So here it is….

Our Homeschool Preschool Routine

*This is the homeschool preschool routine of our day and not a ridged schedule. We are pretty flexible with the exact times we do things, but the routine still offers consistency and routine for the little ones.

6-6:30 wake up, meditation, set intentions

7:00- Breakfast, To Do List for the day

Breakfast as part of our homeschool preschool routine
Followed by: Get dressed, brush hair, and brush teeth

Brushing our teeth as part of our homeschool preschool routine
Next is mommy and me yoga

Read books togetherReading books together as part of our homeschool preschool routine
Then comes Free Play Inside (Inside now because it’s winter and it’s usually colder in the mornings. However, outside time in the spring, summer and first part of fall.

Free play as part of our homeschool preschool routine
Inside play time with our PVC pipes


Wash up and snack time around 9:30

Followed by our Exploration…

Some our favorites are coloring, playdough (Check our leaf and playdough exploration here), nature crafts (Check out our homemade bird feeders here) and visits to our library.

11:00 is nap time which allows mama time to prepare lunch and get a little work done.

12:00 is lunch time

Followed by outside time

Outside playtime as part of our homeschool preschool routine

2:00 we come in and get washed up for snack time

2:30- Quiet Time which usually means cartoons.

3:30- Free Play Inside

4:30- Mama prepares dinner while she plays with daddy.

5:00- Dinner Time Together as a Family

6:30- Bath, Get dressed, Brush Hair and Teeth

7:30- Book and off to bed

I included times which usually are rough estimates of when we do things. We don’t keep a set schedule, but live in a flexible routine. Thankfully this works for my daughter.

Our schedule is about to change as I am preparing to head into the hospital to have our son. This means be watching out for a new updated routine, once we are in a new establish routine.

Our Homeschool Preschool Routine

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If you are a homeschool preschool family, then you know there are just some items you can’t live without in your classroom. Did you know there are eco-friendly versions of those must haves that are both safe for the environment and safer for your preschoolers? The following are some of our must have items we use in our eco-friendly homeschool preschool.

This post contains affiliate links.

1. Paints
We love to use homemade paints or Eco Kids Finger paints. Both are non-toxic and eco-friendly.

There are so many benefits for our littles through the art of painting. Painting enhances creativity when children are encouraged to free paint, improves fine motor skills and can provide a great sensory experience when finger painting. Painting is a lovely precursor to writing and a wonderful outlet for those who love painting.


2. Play-dough

We love to make our playdough right at home. Ecodough is our dough of choice if we choose to use already made products. Play dough is great for sensory and building hand strength. Children build fine motor skills and boost their creativity with the use of play dough.

3. Crayons

If you have a little artist like mine, then you know crayons are an essential item to have readily available. Crayons are a great tool to allow for creativity and boost fine motor skills. We love crayons made from Beeswax. They are eco-friendly and safe for little ones.

4. Non-Toxic Glue
Glue is another must have item. We use glue often when we are creating art projects and our occasional craft. Glueing items is another way to help improve fine motor skills. If you use liquid glue, it’s also a great way to teach children about the less is more concept. Most kid friendly glue is non-toxic or at least we would hope, however, there are some eco-friendly kinds out there as well.

5. Pencils

The skill of using pencils is so important for our little writers. Pencils come in different sizes for different grips.  Pencil use helps children to gain fine motor and eye-hand coordination skills as well as fine tune their pencil grip. There are eco-friendly pencils options available. Check out Sprouts which can be later planted and grown into a plant.

These are some of our must haves we use almost on a daily basis in our eco-friendly homeschool preschool. I’m always looking into trying different brands to see which options work best.

This post contains affiliate links. This means I may earn a small commission when you order from my link which helps to fund my blog and our homeschool preschool. 

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Two Sunday’s ago, we talked about goal setting, so today I want to talk about another powerful tool for our homeschoolers… the to-do list.
So why a to-do list?
To-do lists with Title of article

To-do lists help us stay productive and focused on our goals. It helps us prioritize our day. This is true for even our natural learners.

The Key Elements to the List

Child-led List

The most important element to a natural learning to-do list is that it is the child’s list. It needs to be based on how they want to prioritize their day and what they want to accomplish. When it’s an adult imposed list, there is no ownership for the child. It may not contain things that are truly important to them which can cause avoidance or other negative behaviors. This means you as the parent need to be open to what your child puts on their list.

The littlest ones will need guidance. If they are verbal enough, ask them what they want to do. If they aren’t that verbal yet like our 17 month old, then simply include things you know they like on their to do list. For example, Scout loves building with blocks, reading books with us, coloring, playing outside, etc. These are some of the items I include on her to-do list.

Consistent Time 

Another key element is making sure to write their to-do list at a consistent time each day. Some people like me prefer to do them the night before. It helps ease my anxiety at night which helps me sleep better. Others prefer to do them in the morning as part of their daily routine. You may want to try both for about a week or so to see which is best for your child. Then be sure to stick with the routine.

Review the List

Be sure to review the list several times a day. If you wrote the night before, go over it at the start of the day as part of your morning routine. The children can cross items off the list as they complete them and then look to see what is next on their list. I recommend reviewing the list at least 3 times, once in the morning, once at lunch time, and once at dinner.

Keep the List Small

The size of the list will vary for each child. Keep it simple. Children can’t realistically do 100 things in the day, so be sure to help guide them to narrow down their list. Vice versa, older children may need more than two items on their lists. Again, the number will depend on the age, maturity, and level of comfort with to-do lists for each child.

*If you are in the beginning stages of using to-do lists, remember it’s more about teaching the process than it is actually using the list.


I like to add a nighttime reflection with the kiddos. What went well on the list? What didn’t go so well? Was there something they should have included on the list but didn’t? Was there something they should have not included with their list?

The self-reflection helps them to truly learn how to use a to-do list with items that are a priority. It also helps them to see what is important to them and not so important. Along with what needs to be done vs. what they want to do instead.

What should a homeschoolers to-do list include?

This completely depends on the child and their interests. However, here is a list of some ideas…

  1. Chores
  2. Outdoor Time
  3. Play Time
  4. Painting
  5. Play Dough Play
  6. Minecraft Time
  7. Book Time
  8. Time with Mom or Dad Alone
  9. Trip to the Library
  10. Research a Topic
  11. Build with Legos
  12. Go for Hike

What Type of To-Do List Works Best?

Well again, this is completely dependent on the child and what works best for them. There are many ways to do a to-do list.

Paper-Pencil List

There’s the good ole paper-pencil list. Sometimes people including children need to physically write it down to help them think.

*Some kiddos especially younger ones might draw pictures instead of writing down the words. Whatever works best for them!


There are many apps available via phones or tablets. You and your homeschooler will just have to try different ones until you find the one that works best for them.


Planners are another great place to keep to do lists handy. Planners allow them to keep track of important dates, their goals and their to-do lists.

*If you need documentation of your child’s learning, a planner with daily to-do lists, goals, and dates would be a great resource to either use or look back through when you are compiling your documentation.

Over all, To-do lists are a great tool for children to learn to use to keep them productive and motivated. It also helps them to learn how to prioritize.  They can be used by any kiddo including traditional homeschoolers, unschoolers, and even children in a school system. Just remember giving your child the lead whether you agree with their to-do list or not is what will be key to them truly learning the importance to a to-do list.

To-do lists with Title of Post


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Chaotic Bliss Homeschooling


Last Sunday we talked about setting goals with your children, so this week I want to talk to you about setting intentions with homeschoolers.

Setting Intentions with Homeschoolers
According to Webster’s Dictionary…

Goals: the object of a person’s ambition or effort; an aim or desired result.
Intentions: a thing intended; an aim or plan.

Some people use the words goals and intentions interchangeably, but to me they are very different and distinct words. Both are crucial to our developments in my opinion.

“Goals focus on a fixed outcome in the future, while intentions focus on the present and provide the guiding light to living mindfully moment-to-moment.” –

Goals to me are specific, measurable, and attainable within a specified time-line. For example, I will read 2 books before January 31st.

Intentions, however, are completely different. These are things we want to guide our life… our purpose. There are no set time limits, just ways we intentionally want to live our life. Think of these of what you want your desired life to be like.

Setting intentions with homeschoolers is just as important as their yearly goals. Children can have a “homeschooled” life that they desire or ways they want to live their lives more intentionally if we show them how.

Still not sure on the difference or just need some ideas?

Here are some examples…

  • I intend to try new things.
  • I intend to read more.
  • I intend to engage with my friends more face to face.
  • I intend to do more for the planet.
  • I intend to volunteer.
  • I intend to explore more about animals.
  • I intend to write every day.

These are just a few examples of some intentions.

Be sure the intentions are Child-led, but will be more adult guided at the beginning until children learn how to set their own intentions.   Don’t expect any child regardless of their age to do this independently the first several times. Help them and guide them, but be open to what their true intentions are…. not what YOU want them to be.

Setting intentions with homeschoolers can inspire them to be life long learners and better people in general.


Did you set intentions with your homeschooler? What are some examples of their intentions?

Setting Intentions With Homeschoolers Can Inspire Learning


It’s the first month of the year and that means it’s a brand new start for all of us. This even includes our homeschoolers. So let’s talk goals!

How Goals Can Inspire Homeschoolers to Learn title picture
I personally love the feel of a brand new start. It’s so refreshing like a pair of freshly washed sheets. This makes the 1st of the year a great time to set new goals for the year.
Goal setting keeps us focused on a purpose and can be a great way to keep us motivated to keep working too. Whether you use traditional homeschool or an unschooling method with your children, goal setting is a wonderful and useful skill for them to develop.

Here’s how we use goal setting with our kiddos…

Our oldest is 9 and is not homeschooled. He attends public school as he is only with us part-time. The rest of the time he is with his mom. However, we still feel it’s important that he has a say in what and how he will learn when he is with us. We use a natural learning method with him on the weekends and when he is with us. This allows him to follow his passions and find new ones.

Goal setting with him is pretty simple. It mostly consists of me asking him several questions. Then we write down his responses together (a great writing opportunity for the kiddos that is meaningful and provides purpose).

Here’s the list of questions we use…

1. What ideas would you like to explore?

A. By when do you want to have this topic explored?

2. What books or book topics would you like to read this year?

A. Where can you  access these books at?

B. How often do you want to read each day?

C. How many books do you want to read this year?

4. What skills would you like to master this year?

A. What can you do to improve that skill?

B. How often will you work on this skill?

C. When do you want to master the skill by?

5. How would you like to spend your time in nature?

A. How much time will you spend in nature each day?

6. What places would you like to visit this year?

A. How many times do you want to visit?

B. How will you earn the money to pay for your visits?

C. When do you want to visit it by?

It’s important for the kids to have access to their goals each day to reread and review. I recommend hanging the goals up somewhere they will see it. The kids will use this to help guide their daily to do lists each day. Check out our post on How to use a To Do list with your Homeschooler here (to come later this month).

At the end of each day before bed, I recommend the child to review their goals. Did they meet their daily goal? What did they do to move themselves closer to their goals today? What did they do today that moved themselves away from their goals? How do they feel about their goals?

Hopefully, they are still excited about working towards their goals. This excitement  will keep them motivated to keep working towards their goals. If they are not, then maybe it’s time to adjust or even change that goal.

The point of goal setting is to keep our homeschoolers especially our unschoolers moving along in their interest-led education. Our ultimate goal is to help them stay positive and motivated to become life long learners on their own.

Goal Setting with a Toddler

Setting goals with my toddler looks and sounds completely different. With our 17 month old, this is much more adult directed and more about getting into a goal setting routine. Every morning we go over our day and what will be doing. We have lots of free play in our daily routine as well as reading books and spending time in nature. I make sure to have toys and items available to her that fit her interests as well as new explorations. Then at the end of our day we reflect on our day. What did she like? What didn’t she like? What would she like more of? Less of? What does she want to do tomorrow? This begins the reflecting of our goals process each night. Then when she is old enough we will transition this to a much more child-led process.

Goals Help Parents too

By setting these goals with our kiddos, it helps us too. It allows parents to get to know their kids. A little insight from them can go a long when it comes to discovering their interests. Toddlers especially those who aren’t verbal yet can be more difficult, so observing them during free play time is crucial. You can discover a lot about your child’s interest by watching what toys they interact with the most.

Overall, goals are amazing things for both the kids and parents. They really can drive how the children learn and what kind of opportunities you should offer the children. It also gets them thinking about how they want their days structured.

The key to goal setting is making sure it is completely Child-led. Adult directed goals at least at the older ages is not as useful as the children’s own goals. Be sure to allow them the lead in setting their goals.

What type of goals do you set with your children?
Title picture with planner
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After spending 7 years in the public school system, I quickly realized I didn’t agree with how we were told to teach our students. Between the scripted curriculums, the endless busy worksheets, and the lack of play/exploration, I decided I wanted different for my own children. However, our small town doesn’t offer any other educational philosophy schools like  Montessori, Forest School, Reggio, or Waldorf schools as options, so this means as my children get older I will be homeschooling them. 

Yes,  I’m a certified teacher with several years of teaching experience in everything from k-7th grades and in both general education and special education. However, we will not be doing a public school version at home which is  what my college education prepared me to do. Basically, my degree and experience really aren’t that relavent to homeschooling my children. 

Let me explain why…..

First, children are born with an innate desire to learn. I’ve seen this first hand as my own daughter has gone from the infant to active toddler stage. She is constantly exploring and learning all on her own. She doesn’t need me to motivate her to learn. 

All it takes is trust. Trust in your child’s own desire to learn. This is why we spend most of our time playing. Children learn the best through play.  It allows them to use their creativity and helps them to use trial and error when developing a new skill. Heck, it even helps them to fail and overcome it which is a crucial skill to master. 

Second, children learn when they are developmentally ready. Some children walk at 9 months and some like my daughter walk at 15 months. Each child is unique and will master tasks at different times. The beautiful thing about homeschooling is we can work at the child’s pace. This is something that public school teachers just don’t have time to do. 

Okay, so here it is….

How a Public School Teacher Homeschools my Children.

1. We play! Granted my daughter is only 16 months (at the time I am writing this). Children learn the best through play. They develop all kinds of different skills, but they also discover their interests which we will talk about next.

2. I follow their interests. My daughter really enjoys tractors right now. We spend a lot of time rolling tractors around the living room. Another 16 month old might really be into dolls. Children are all different and have different interests, so we use those interests to learn our new skills. It’s unique and personalized for each child.  

3. I set up explorations for her to explore. I hate the word lesson plans because it makes me think of objectives, standards, and everything else that’s public school. Instead, I put together one or two explorations for my daughter. This gives her an opportunity to see if she enjoys the explorations or not and exposes her to new things. In other words, expanding her background knowledge and interests. I also make sure to not take it personal when she doesn’t care for an exploration. 

*Be sure to check out my blog and Pinterest page for a ton of Exploration ideas.  

The explorations can be anything from setting up paints for finger painting, going on a nature hike at the local conservation, reading books together, visiting a museum, taking a trip to the library, or putting together a hands on science exploration like apple volcanoes. This keeps her expanding her interests, discovering who she is as a person, and exposes her to all kinds of new ideas.

4. We use themes. I already mentioned using the child’s interests to drive what we learn about. However, we also use those interests to teach all the academic skills. For example, if we are studying a child’s interest of baseball, then we are using baseball to teach reading, writing, science, history, and math. The individual subjects aren’t isolated like they are in public education. 

5. I plan to use lots of technology (more so as they get older). We will use blogs, YouTube videos, webinars, and podcasts to help them learn more about their topics of choice. This will not only give them information, but it will also help them to think critically about the information and whether or not it’s truly accurate. When they get older, we will also create their own blogs, podcasts, videos, etc about their interests. I believe this is crucial for them to be successful in the world they  will live in as adults. 

6. Finally, we explore and venture to new places. Traveling and meeting new people help them to not only discover new places, but it helps them to expand their world view, discover more about themselves, and helps them to develop empathy and tolerance. I make a point to visit our big cities as much as possible and visit new places in those cities. 

These are just a few ways that I homeschool or will homeschool my own children. Trust in your children and let them guide you on this adventure if you choose to homeschool. I hope you found this info helpful. If homeschooling isn’t an option or not something you want to do, you can still support your kiddos with these skills while they are home with you no matter what type of school they maybe enrolled in. Be sure to watch for more blogs on how we do exactly this with my stepson who is enrolled in public school.