No First Day Jitters Here!

We are off on another school year! This year, Avery is in 2nd/3rd grade and Kaylee is officially in kindergarten.

We like to celebrate our homeschool freedom with a not-back-to-school field trip.

Last year, we went to Legoland Discovery and an aquarium. This year, we took the girls to the American Girl store! Kaylee had been saving her money to buy a WellieWisher but the store is a couple of hours away so it required a special trip. Both the girls are AG obsessed so it worked well for their special day. If you have never been to an American Girl store, it is an experience. Full salon and ear piercing for the dolls. Restaurants or snack bars to dine with your doll. The girls loved it, dad might have been overwhelmed. But it was a fun daytrip to celebrate the path we have chosen and embrace the fact that we don’t answer to anybody!

What grades are you teaching this year? Do you do anything special to celebrate the start of a new school year?


Adding Enchantment


I know, I know, I’m obsessed with all things Brave Writer.  Sorry, not sorry.

One of my favorite things about Brave Writer is the emphasis on enchantment.  One of Julie’s key phases is “An Enchanted Education.”  What does that mean exactly?  You can read it straight from the source here.

I am in the midst of planning and researching HOW I can add enchantment to our homeschool.  I know that part of the magic is in the unplanned but I want to be sure to set my girls up with lots of opportunities when they may easily become enchanted.

For me, planning field trips and “Good-Enough-Parties” are such great ways to add opportunities for enchantment (more on Good-Enough-Parties later).  The girls and I made a wish list last week of field trips that we would like to take this year.  I added the usuals: Zoo, Art Museum, Science Center.  Kaylee added camping.  We usually do a lot of camping but daddy has been out of town this summer so we haven’t been lately.  My girls are missing it and it’s clear that our camping time is some of most important, best quality family time.  Avery added Texas and Alabama to the list.  We’ve never been to either and I have no idea where she got the ideas for those but as soon as she said them, I knew I wanted to make at least 1 happen for her.  Her dad called the next day and said his next training is going to be in Dallas…..fate?  I think so! We are definitely planning to piggy back on that trip!

Our Field Trip Wish List:

Word Art

But Julie is clear on the fact that enchantment doesn’t have to be these big, grand ideas.  Is there enchantment to be found in letting your 6 year old decide a location and plan an across-state-lines trip? Sure!  But all of that isn’t necessary.  As I learned in another blog post of hers, enchantment can be as simple as using cookies as your math manipulatives, taking our read aloud to the park (or Starbucks!), or dressing up in princess costumes to do their fairy tale Jot It Down project.

I want to see all of YOUR enchanted ideas!  How do you add enchantment to your school year? Any brilliant ideas for me?!

Farm Life

My parents recently moved from the neighborhood where I grew up to a 5 acre hobby farm.  This has been our first visit to the farm and we are having a blast!!! 

I cannot imagine a better way to wake up than coffee on the deck, watching my horse run!! 

In addition to our normal family fun, this visit has been chock full of Grandma’s farm animals! I have owned my horse Cody for over 20 years and this is the first time that any of our horses have been able to be home rather than boarded at someone else’s farm. 

Grandma also has chickens, kittens, bottle fed baby goats, and she hatched a baby peacock while we’ve been here!!

I’m calling these 3 weeks an extended field trip because they sure have been educational! #homeschool 

“We homeschool so…..”

Do you have a favorite or funniest “we homeschool!” anecdote?  Where your child does something differently than other kids and you feel the need to explain the reason why is that you homeschool?

We went on a field trip with our co-op awhile back to a nature center.  Someone gave us a talk about bones, skulls, and native animals. It was really interesting and we learned some great info.  The instructor would hold up each skull and ask to which animal it belonged.  She was expecting the kids to raise their hands to answer but Avery just kept blurting it out.  Each time, the lady would look at her and remind her to raise her hand and then call on someone else to answer.   Avery literally had no idea what the lady meant, she just really did not know the concept of raising your hand to be called on.  Eventually, after like 3 rounds of this, I just blurted out “We homeschool!!”  And further explained that when I ask a question, she’s expected to answer it, not raise her hand.  We were there with our homeschool co-op so everyone laughed and agreed that it was a foreign concept to a lot of our littles.

I did, of course, explain the situation to Avery.  I explained to her that when there are so many people in a group, it can get a little crazy if everyone is blurting things out and so people are often expected to raise their hand and wait to be addressed before answering/speaking.  But really, I was just so darn happy that she was participating since she can often be shy in new situations!

Imagine you are at a dinner party and a song comes on.  Someone asks “Who sings this?”  If you know the answer, do you just blurt it out or do you raise your hand to answer the question?  We just blurt it out.  Maybe a couple people blurt it out, everyone laughs and agrees or discusses if they think it was a different band.  But in general, we don’t raise our hands and wait for the opportunity to answer a question.  I mean, that’s kind of weird if you think about it.

So yeah, I will concede that there ARE some things my kids are missing out on by being homeschooled….mainly how to raise their hands and how to stand in line!

But I think they’ll make it in life anyway.

Dinosaur Park

One of my new favorite places to visit in Utah is Ogden’s Dinosaur Park!


It was a really fun park with so much for the kids and plenty for the adults too. They gave the kids Field Guides to fill out so the girls were searching for the different types of dinos and then answering questions about them. There was a prize for completing your field guide….but don’t hold your breath. The prize was a teeny tiny ‘fossil’ that was really a letdown. You could have also picked a free ticket for a return visit as your prize but since we aren’t local, that wasn’t really an option for us. Other than the prize, we had a great visit!



There is an outside trail with huge dinosaurs all along the trail. There are also actual playground parks and picnic areas to let the kids play and run around. Then the inside is more of traditional museum attractions.  We had a ton of fun and will likely make this a regular stop on our Utah vacations!

Leg 2-Utah!

We are onto our second leg of vacation..SLC to visit with dad’s family! Leaving our IL family is always really hard…lots of tears from A and mom. It was the same this time but luckily we were all missing daddy a lot so we were excited to see him. Happy to be back together ♡


For our first day here, we visited the new aquarium. The Loveland Living Aquarium. The last time that we visited was just before the aquarium opened so we have been waiting to check it out! The girls loved it….the touch pools and shark tunnel were the biggest hits!


Field Trippin’

The best part of homeschooling is taking all the field trips you want!! We turn every outing into a field trip or learning experience.  We really love being outside and being active so it is awesome to have the freedom to go whenever we want.

We recently went fishing as a family and we talked about the difference between lakes and oceans…what animals live in each and fresh water vs. salt water.  And there was quite a bit of just playing and having fun too 🙂

When we go camping, we talk about the wildlife, climate, plants, etc.  I am the main educator in our house but I really love when dad gets into it!  On a spring camping trip to Saguaro National Park, we took a hike to see some petroglyphs.  Dad was telling the girls about them, how they got there, what they meant, and how long they had been there.  When we got back to camp, he got out some chalk and showed the girls how to make their own petroglyphs on the rocks around camp.  It was an awesome idea and learning experience and he wasn’t even trying or thinking about making it a “school activity”.  He’s a natural educator 😉

(They also blended different color chalk together to make new colors.)

Some fun places to visit that are very easy to work in a school/learning aspect:

*Zoos/Aquariums/Pettings zoos (We live 2-3 hours from major zoos so we don’t get there as much as I’d like.)

*Library (obviously for the books but also check what special events your library hosts!)

*Bakeries (lots have kid classes now….my mom takes my nephew to chocolate crafting classes)

*Museums (Children’s Museums are so awesome…our town is trying to raise money for one but for now, we have to drive 2-3 hours.)

*Most police and fire stations are happy to give tours and show kids their equipment.

*Nature Centers (we visit a lot of National Parks and all of them have Jr Park Ranger programs…ask about it in the visitor center.)

Have an idea for a field trip outing that I didn’t mention? I’d love to hear it!! We are always looking for new ideas!!