homeschool: curriculum + schedule + all the ideas

Wow!! What a Summer it has been. Pretty sure a day hasn't gone by since June that we haven't talked about whether to send our girls back to their private school or homeschool this Fall. After prayer, some tears (on my end), many conversations and lots & lots of considerations, we are so excited to have finally landed on homeschooling. Excited to share our journey on instagram and my blog in the hopes of inspiring and encouraging those of you who are also Homeschooling!!

I've been sharing peeks of what we are doing on instagram but wanted to answer a few questions here that I've been getting a lot!! Prepare yourselves for the longest post ever.


I'll be focusing on PreK for Della (3.5), PreK/Kinder for Poppy (almost 5) and Olivia (7) will be a 2nd Grader (which I still can't believe!!). Poppy did 2-day PreK last year and her teacher said she was fully ready for Kindergarten, but because she is a mid-September birthday, we decided we'd wait until Fall 2021 to officially send her to Kinder. However, now that I am homeschooling, I have the flexibility to do a dual approach. We will continue working on sharpening PreK skills (handwriting, phonics, colors/numbers and basic math) and then I'll also add in some Kinder curriculum (beginning reading) as she is ready.

The core of our curriculum is The Good and the Beautiful, which will include Language Arts & Handwriting for Olivia, Poppy and Della at Grade Levels (Level 2, Level K Primer + Level K and PreK). I love that TGATB is an Open & Go curriculum, which means that you can simply open it and start teaching + learning, versus having to do extensive lesson planning ahead of time. 

For Math, I am using the curriculum that Olivia used last year at her private school, Math in Focus (Singapore Math); we had a great experience with it. I experienced teaching it during Distance Learning and it was easy to understand for both myself and Olivia. Compared to traditional US math, Singapore Math focuses on fewer topics but covers them in greater detail, with each semester textbook building upon prior knowledge & skills and requiring a student to master them before moving on. Math in Focus has problem solving as the center of math learning and concepts are taught with a concrete-pictorial-abstract learning progression through real world, hands on experiences. For Poppy, I plan to use Level K Math from TGATB and then assorted worksheets + workbooks for Della. 


Probably what I am MOST excited about is our Morning Basket. I shared lots of links in stories today, as we officially began school this morning. As I began researching homeschool earlier in the Summer, the Morning Basket concept was something that kept coming up and as I read more about it, I knew we had to incorporate one in to our routine. Every family approaches it a little differently, but in ours we have:

    -Bible & Kids Devotion Books

    -Chapter Book Series to read out loud

    -Poetry Books

    -Journal/planner for a daily gratitude exercise

    -Character cards (these + these)

    -Coloring book (picked this one up last week and can't wait to start using it with the girls)

    -Daily Calendar pages / activities or a calendar board (to teach months, dates, weather)

    -Books and materials related to the Morning Basket Unit Study that we will rotate every 2 weeks

After breakfast, I envision us spending about an hour doing our Morning Basket. I want to open with scripture, prayer and a kids devotion as well as share what we're grateful for. Reflecting on all that we have to be thankful for has been so life-giving to me and I want to pass that habit down to my girls. I picked out this beautiful planner to use to record gratitude notes (love the amount of space each day has), which I know will be such a treasure to look back on. 

We'll also focus on different character traits using the character cards I linked above, do a calendar page (Olivia did this every day as a 1st Grader and it was great practice) and then a few mornings a week I would like to spend 15-20 minutes reading from a chapter book series while they color. I envision our Morning Basket time as just super relaxed, on the couch cozied up...a special way to start the day together. 


Afterward, we'll focus on our Morning Basket Unit Study which will be the bulk of our Science Unit. I have set a curriculum to rotate every 2 weeks based on what the girls wanted to study. We are starting with Butterflies, Weather, The Solar System & The Night Sky and then a National Parks Nature Unit. After that, we will begin our Autumn Unit. We will also have a built in Bible Unit Study within our Morning Basket. We are beginning with Creation and then doing Fruit of the Spirit followed by The Names & Characteristics of God and The Armor of God. Still in the early planning stages of those.

Each "unit" will include activities that strengthen Language, Grammar, Writing, Math and Art skills that I am tailoring to their age. For example, Olivia will have more in-depth writing and more difficult math, whereas Della and Poppy will have tracing, cutting, simple math, matching and coloring. This is just a fun way to learn about subjects they enjoy and cover a wide range of skills in a short period of time. Because each unit will span over 2 weeks, I am structuring it so that we spend about 15 minutes each morning learning and then 15 minutes working on a few related worksheets. I am sure I will adjust as we actually start doing it...these are just all the ideas in my head!!

From there, we'll have blocks of Math, LA and Writing throughout the morning with lots of breaks in between, a morning snack and plenty of worship music. Our plan is to get outside after lunch and then have a "Creative Free Hour" (CFree for short) where they can select from sticker books, handwriting, perler beads, jewelry making, paper crafts (included this book in Olivia's Back to School Basket), art, reading or puzzles. This would be a time when I can work one on one with Olivia for anything we want to dive deeper in to or to review things from the morning. After that, definitely an hour of quiet time, most likely while I sip a cold press in silence :)

I'll share more about our daily schedule as we develop a routine and I'm sure we will make changes, but hopefully this gives you a high level overview of our plan and structure. 


Can you tell I have so many ideas I can hardly keep them all in?! Here are a few other things I am hoping to add in to our routine:

LETTER OF THE DAY: This is more for Poppy and Della but hopefully something Olivia will enjoy also. I found some mini rolls of kraft paper in the Target Dollar Spot that I will use to roll onto the table in the mornings. We'll go through the alphabet with a new letter each day (or every few days) and the girls can brainstorm things that start with that letter. They can practice writing the letter and words on the kraft paper. As part of this, the younger two will also be creating a simple Alphabet Book throughout the year, which I am creating with free printables. 

STATE OF THE WEEK: If you do the math, obviously if we do one state per week, it will take us nearly a full year to get through all 50. So we will probably do 2 per week, but this is a way I envision integrating Geography in to our curriculum in a really natural way without dedicating a full block of time to it each day. For the activities, we'll read about each state using books (we love this book), flashcards and workbooks (this one + this one) and then I found some awesome printables that will give them the opportunity to create a state book throughout the school year. I also picked up a few sets of State Art placemats that we can pull out during snack or lunch time for them to draw and write on. Olivia will be able to read/study each state more in depth whereas for Poppy and Olivia it will be more basic, but no doubt we will listen to Fifty Nifty United States about 100 times. It's a fun way to teach the states in alphabetical order. 

CURSIVE: Another totally free Pinterest find, I stumbled across beautiful cursive worksheets that Olivia happened to see as I was printing one and she got so excited, asking if she can practice cursive. She was introduced to it as a 1st Grader so I am excited to continue teaching it to her. Because her sisters won't be doing cursive (yet), this skill would be something she can work on during a Handwriting block in the morning or during Creative Hour in the afternoon. I created a binder with all the cursive worksheets by letter that she can easily access whenever she wants. 

FILLING MY CUP: This has been a phrase continually on my mind and heart as we approach the school year. I realized the other day that because Distance Learning began in March, the girls had officially been out of school over 5 months, which just blew my mind. Especially now with homeschool, I want to continually find ways to fill my own cup so I have what it takes to pour out to my girls every day. I don't know exactly what this will look like each week, but things that come to mind: resting during the girls' daily quiet time, reading new books, earlier bedtimes for the girls to create more space in the evening to unwind, orangetheory on the weekends, gardening, bubble baths once everyone is asleep, trying new recipes and of course lots of iced coffee. I'd love to hear what you do to fill your cup in the busy seasons. 

So there you have it! Can you tell I am excited?! Honestly, I think making the decision to homeschool was way more overwhelming to me than actually homeschooling. One of the hardest parts (deciding WHAT we would do this Fall) is done -- and although it will take time and intentional effort, I am excited for the year ahead, hard work & all. I'm sure I'll continue adding more, but you can shop all our current resources for the year ahead HERE.

As Mamas, at the end of our lives, we will never wish we had spent less time with our children. And when I get overwhelmed, I just remind myself of that truth. It is a gift and joy to have my girls home, growing and learning with me. About two weeks ago, after we had sent our official withdrawal notice to their school (which we loved so much), at dinner Olivia prayed: "Thank you God that we get to have Mama as our homeschool teacher and learn about butterflies and flowers and the stars." I will hold that sweet prayer in my heart and remind myself of it in those moments of doubt. I hope you can do the same in your home...cling to what is good, focus on each moment and just enjoy the journey ahead. Here's to new adventures, one day at a time!!


spring baskets 2020

Hi friends!! I hope you are all staying healthy and safe at home. The girls were on Spring Break last week so this week was really the official start of a new routine for us. We are continually trying to find ways to see + focus on the good. I said it after my miscarriage in January and I'll say it again: God is good, all the time. I have never been more sure of that. We trust in Him day by day, especially in this uncharted season, knowing He will meet our every need. He has brought us so much overwhelming joy & peace.

The girls and I have been enjoying sleeping in (I definitely do not miss the early morning school hustle), having brunch in the mornings together (what a sweet gift it is to have my three girls around the table with me each morning to start the day), cooking + baking new recipes together, reading many books, doing lots of art, spending more quality time both inside + outside as a family and enjoying a really peaceful new pace. Thankful for iced mochas, sunshine and lots of grace on all fronts!! 

Sharing a few ideas for Spring Baskets if you are like me and still wanting to make this season fun for your little ones. Plus, online shopping is a pretty good distraction after an especially long day of being teacher / housekeeper / chef & referee ;) 
This year, I'm using these baskets and plan to use them throughout our home afterward for storage and organization. Also loving these white ones, which are very similar to the ones we have used in years past but a bit bigger (to fit all the things!). 

As you know, I'm all about practical so to start, each of our girls will be getting a pair of sandals in their baskets. They lived in these sandals last Summer so I picked up new pairs in purple for Poppy & Della. I loved these gold ones so much for Olivia, totally perfect for dressing up or down. Wish they came in my size!!

I ordered this Sunshine Gift Set and am splitting it between the girls; each one will get a bottle & bath bomb. I cannot wait to see their faces when they discover the bath bombs...every kid's dream, right?! You can shop with this link & get 10% off your purchase!! We also love their All Over Ointment for dry or irritated skin.

Olivia will be getting a desk for her 7th birthday in May so I focused on some fun new art supplies and desk items in her basket. I loved this floral monogram stationary set (on sale + extra 20% off & free shipping!) and then picked up a new set of mini highlighters for her and some cute popsicle erasers (no longer available but loving these macaron ones). She is also getting a few new chapter books. Find more of our favorite books for Readers 5-7 linked here

Each of the girls will be getting these matching nightgowns (40% off + extra 20% off right now!). They loooove nightgowns, especially as the weather gets warmer, and these pear ones are so soft + Springy.

Della is getting some new sunglasses and Poppy is getting a pretty bow and this rainbow necklace

Other fun things I'll be adding...bubbles, sidewalk chalk, swimsuits & hair clips. We love these & these. I also love putting in new play-doh, art supplies and beautiful books. Loving this brightly colored one for babies & toddlers.

The teachers at our girls' school put together packets of resources that we picked up today for Distance Learning, but they also included "art project kits." One of Poppy's projects will be planting seeds and then learning about the life cycle of a plant. She was so excited to see everything for it today so I am planning to add this newly released book in to her basket to go along with it. Also love the message behind it. This book is another one on my radar, not being released until mid-April but excited to add it to our collection. And if you're looking ahead for a sweet Summertime read, this one looks darling. 

I am also putting a few new learning workbooks in Poppy's basket, including this tracing one & this preschool math one. And then I always like to add in essential oil rollers because our girls think they're pretty much the coolest thing ever. Lots of you were asking where I get my labels & bottles when I shared the rainbow set I put in their Love Day Baskets. Linking the rainbow roller set here + the labels here. I print them myself through Avery but you can also buy them as a set already printed

If you're looking for some other ideas, I love adding in small puzzles and games. This Shape Maker Set was a gift from my parents' to the girls at Christmastime and Della (3) literally plays with it every single day. It's the perfect quiet time activity. It says it's for Ages 6+ but honestly I feel like 3-6 is the perfect range. The girls also have a few of these Travel Puzzles and love them. Our girls love magnets and these magnetic playsets by one of my forever favorite kids brands, Petit Collage, also look so fun.

We gave this Build-A-Garden Set to Della for her birthday in February and its another huge hit in our home. All 3 girls enjoy playing with it. 

Other pretty things I had to include: a bunny from one of our favorite boutiques, a wooden donut set (our girls would love these for their Market Cart!), the sweetest wooden activity cube for little ones, these spinning bath toys and this bath tea set. Also love this little wooden airplane. And last but not least, a toy that definitely wouldn't fit in a basket but that my girls are obsessed with. I found this B. bowling set over a year ago at Home Goods and could not find it online anywhere so I never shared about it but I *just* stumbled upon it and you guys, it is so much fun. We have hardwood floors in our home and the girls love going bowling in our entryway. The ball lights up, it all stores in one handy caddy and it is designed in a way that the pins even sound as if they're being knocked down in a real bowling alley. Perfect for indoor entertainment for the whole family!! 

Hope this gives you some fun new ideas and inspiration. I'd love to see your baskets!! If you share them in your stories on instagram, tag me @blessednestblog so I can see! Thanks as always for following along!! XO


friday favorites

Happy New Year and Happy Friday!! I hope 2020 has been wonderful so far for each of you. I always love the fresh start of a new year. I generally set a few goals, pick a word of intention and try to pick up some new healthy habits that are simple and easy to integrate into my daily rhythms + routines.

Also, the sun finally made an appearance here yesterday after what felt like 3 weeks of gray. It was so good for our souls.

To kick off the weekend, I wanted to share a round up of some fun Friday Favorites!! It's been so long since I've done one of these posts and they are my favorite.

prettiest minimalist calendar | stumbled upon this yesterday and loved the simplicity of it. way prettier in person than it looks online in my opinion.

floral shower curtain | loving this for spring. hung it up this week in our master bathroom and it's so bright and cheerful. another one that i prefer in person versus online.

rhythms of renewal | one of my goals in 2020 is to read 20 books. I started with this one that was gifted to me by a dear friend and cannot put it down. do yourself a favor and go. read. it.

sweetest heart sweatshirt | perfect for valentine's day and neutral enough for all year round. it will be going in della's v-day basket this year. 

tangram puzzle set | my parents gave this to the girls for Christmas and it is hands down one of their favorite gifts. would also be great for the car or restaurants!

leopard swimsuit | putting this suit in poppy's v-day basket because she loves all things leopard-print. like mother like daughter.

pink polka dot leggings | another darling idea for a valentine's basket! i'm not normally a pink person but loving these.

the book so many of you suggested on my instastories | I have heard so many good things about this book and it's next on my list. 

prettiest pearls | this dainty necklace with a pearl for each of my girls is at the top of my birthday wishlist. 

magnolia wreath | our front door needed something fresh for the new year and I fell in love with this one. looks so pretty even with snow on the ground. 

a snow day craft | this is the sweetest paper doll kit where kids can color dozens of outfits with the colored pencils included. poppy spends hours coloring and then we cut them out and she plays with them on the dolls. 

the sweetst valentine's books | find all our girls' favorites here

and...last but not least, if you're looking for some new toys or birthday gifts...

together, dustin and I picked out 3 gifts for della's 3rd birthday in february and you guys, they are so much fun. I cannot wait to give them to her!!

della loves using dustin's tools and helping him with projects around the house so he picked out this design & drill flower power studio set. love that it holds everything inside (so I won't be stepping on screws in random places around the house) and will give her the opportunity to do her own projects.

we loved this flower garden building set which is so bright + springy. I can see all of our girls spending hours playing with this.

finally, I randomly came across this gorgeous wooden city block set and it practically leaped in my cart. it looks like it would be found at anthropologie for 4 times the price. I plan to put the set in a basket for her bedroom so she can build during quiet time or when she wakes up in the morning.

hope this gives you some fun new ideas!! have the best weekend!!

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