I stumbled on Lindsay's Instagram account a few months ago and I quickly fell in love with all of the beautiful spaces in her home. Each room is carefully curated and perfectly cozy! She and her husband Jeremy have three little ones - Luke (7), Livy (3) and Aspen (1).
Where do you live?
We live in Easton, Pennsylvania which is a small city located right on the Delaware River. Our charming little town is actually super old and boasts as being one of three places the Declaration of Independence was read back in 1776. Easton is also known for having the longest running outdoor farmer's market in the nation, having America's first Christmas Tree, and is home to the Crayola factory. The thing we love most about Easton is that we can enjoy all the perks of city living like wonderful farm-to-table restaurants and cute coffee shops but can be on a dreamy bike ride down the river's edge or on a sunset hike through lush forest in a matter of minutes.
What do you enjoy doing?
Who's got time for interests and hobbies while raising 3 kids??!! Haha....but seriously? When the kids do eventually fall asleep or my husband graciously gives me a day to myself, you can either find me hitting up the thrift stores, refurbishing furniture, or tackling some project around the house. I have been going to thrift stores for as long as I can remember....like waaay before it was the cool thing to do. I love the hunt and not knowing what treasures you might find. I also just can't justify financially or ethically buying anything new unless absolutely necessary. I would say 80% of the things we own have been purchased used, found, or given to us. And because we buy used, a lot of the furniture pieces we get are in need of a little updating so a hobby of sorts has grown from that as well.
Tell us about your home! What makes your home special or unique?
Our home was built in 1900 and comes with all the character and quirk of an old home which I absolutely adore (minus the super creepy basement) but it also has been a lot of work. My husband works in full time ministry so the budget for home renovations is really non-existent. Because of this I have had to get super resourceful and really crafty. The thing I love most about our home is that each and every piece of furniture, every lighting fixture, every pillow, everything...has our literal blood, sweat and tears poured into it. Our dining room light, for example, is literally a storage basket with a hole cut in the bottom of it that I rewired with our old chandelier's parts. Each piece is truly one of a kind and has a story which makes it feel that much more like home.
I don't know if I have a certain decor style. My style has changed over the years, as I have changed, and I feel like it continues to evolve. I do crave simplicity, clean lines, and warmth so I would say that drives most of how I set up our home. Functionality is also key when having kids :) I have found myself recently, based on the philosophy of our schooling...which really has become the philosophy of our life, bringing in items from the natural world to decorate with. Charlotte Mason talks a lot about "living books"; books that communicate ideas worth thinking about. Well I think its just as important, if not more important, to create a "living home"; a place that is "life-giving" emotionally, physically and spiritually but also a place filled with items worth observing; things that prompt curiosity and spark the imagination. It is not unusual to find bowls filled with rocks, acorns, and shells from our hikes. Antlers and feathers tucked into bookshelves. Or bird's nest's framed as wall art.
Where do you find joy and beauty in the day to day?
I'm gonna be honest, there are days when it is hard to find the joy. There are days when I'm tired and worn out and don't feel like being a mom or I don't feel like I'm doing a very good job at being a mom and its crippling. But, like most things in life, joy must be fought for and that starts with perspective. When I choose to see motherhood as something that I MUST do then I am setting myself up for a mundane, joyless day. But if I choose to see it as the privilege that it is; the most important work I will probably ever be a part of; God's gracious gift to me, then claiming and living in joy comes much easier. I GET to be a mom and that's pretty awesome.
Beauty can be found in the simplest of places if you know WHO you are looking for. We are constantly training ourselves to see God's handiwork; His beauty, in all things. Again, its all about perspective. I like to say to the kids when we are outside on a hike through the woods, or walking through a field, or wherever, that we are "just doing a bit of worship practice" because that is what it is...preparing our hearts for the real deal. All of it is just a foretaste of the beauty to come...of eternity...of HIM. I will never forget the time when our oldest son, while surrounded by the beauty of an evening hike, said, "God was here." To which I replied, "Yes, He most certainly was."
How do you create a happy home?
A happy home is a home that is working towards and fighting for the same mission...the same goal. Figure out what the goal is and align your days, your budget, and your prayers with it.
Tell us about how and why you got started Homeschooling?
There was always this pull in my heart to homeschool, even before my oldest was close to being school aged. I never really knew why it was there but it was and it never went away...it only got stronger. Our oldest son was diagnosed with high-functioning Autism when he was 5 years old. There was and is this really special innocence to him that my husband and I felt strongly compelled to protect. These two years that I have spent educating and learning next to our kids in our home has further convinced me that childhood is worth preserving. To see the world as a child does is one of the most beautiful things in all of life. Creating a safe environment for our kids to learn at their own pace in their own way without criticism or judgment, just freedom, has taken precedence over everything else.
Luke struggles to retain information so it became apparent early on that we would have to school year round, with lots of short breaks throughout. Our summer schedule is much more relaxed but we still try to keep the information present and fresh. We primarily use the philosophies of Charlotte Mason in our schooling. She does an amazing job at honoring childhood and the short lesson structure works very well for us. For preschool we used Before Five In A Row (BFIAR) curriculum, for Kindergarten we used The Peaceful Preschool curriculum, and this year for First grade we are super excited to start A Gentle Feast. We will school 4 days a week (M, T, W, Sat.) for about 3 hours. On Thursdays and Fridays Luke attends a Charlotte Mason school that allows him opportunities to build his social/relational skills and allows me to connect with other like-minded mamas. Homeschooling can be so lonely. Its important to find other's to support you and encourage you in the journey!
What does a typical day / week look like?
Our day starts with breakfast and Morning Time. This always includes scripture memory and a Bible story. We alternate, depending on the day, between a picture or composer study, poetry recitation, poet study, a reading of a fable or a hero tale, and a hymn study.
We then break for breakfast clean up, getting dressed, and chores. I then turn the T.V. on and let the kids watch something for 30 min to an hour so I can get in some morning time in of my own. I'm not an early riser and I probably never will be. After failing so many times with the goal of waking up before the kids, I realized I just needed to start being realistic about my expectations for myself and stop feeling guilty for putting the TV on to take care of my own heart. It’s been so beneficial! After this, I put Aspen down for a nap so I can begin to work closely with the older two on our academic block. We try to end every school day with afternoon tea which usually is around 1:30. This time is for a fun drink and snack along with a read aloud while the kids draw or craft. Sunset hikes are our favorite and in the summer, we try to squeeze these in after dinner when daddy is able to join us.
What are some of your favorite activities and lessons you have done?
One of the many perks of homeschooling is that there is so much freedom to learn outside of the classroom. We try to do some kind of field trip at least twice a month if not more. Its always awesome when we can bring to life what we learned at home. This fall we already have plans to visit the Museum of Natural History in NYC and the Ned Smith Center for Nature and Art. Ned Smith is one of Pennsylvania's most recognized naturalists. He was an illustrator for the PA Game Commission and illustrated a number of field guides. We are hoping to gain some inspiration for our own nature journaling.
I am super obsessed with your homeschool space! Tell us a little about where you homeschool and how you created the space.
Our homeschool room is on the third floor of our home. It functions as a school room, play room, and guest bedroom. When we first moved in this space was a wreck and not functional or welcoming at all...it just felt a lot like an attic. The floors and walls were drab shades of brown and tan that did not make use of the amazing light that comes through all the windows up there. So the first thing I did was paint everything white. This immediately made the room so much more welcoming. Luke has sensory issues and is easily distracted so I knew that if this was to be a learning space, that I would want to keep things very minimal. I used black chalkboard paint on one of the walls that we use all the time. I love that all of my kids (ages 1-7) are able to scribble and draw on it because it reaches to the floor. A small round table found second hand with four metal chairs, some bookshelves, and a refurbished cabinet where I keep our homeschool supplies and all our nature finds organized, completes the room. We are in this space a lot but honestly, we do most of our work at the dining room table. Our school and life seems to revolve around the kitchen so being close to it seems to just work better. We also play and do a lot of work outside in the yard and greenhouse. We're really just all over the place!
How do you keep your space organized organized?
Everyone just needs a massive hutch in their life. Its the best for keeping allllll the things hidden and organized. Our hutch is in our kitchen. I actually picked it up for free out of an old school house. It needed a lot of work but it was totally worth it. I prefer having storage pieces that don't look like storage pieces at all. I use dressers and cabinets in addition to the hutch to keep all the kid's toys and materials organized. We also have a built in shelf in the dining room that has been taken over by our school books and supplies.
Do you have any tips, recommendations, or favorite resources for someone getting started?
Instagram is a great place for inspiration but it also can be an overwhelming place. When I first started on this home education journey I felt like I needed to buy everything that I saw on other's Instagram photos. And while all of it is wonderful and helpful in theory, we ended up not using a lot of it. I wish I would have waited to see what school looked like for us so I knew how to better identify the essentials. What is termed "essential" to one person may not be an essential for your family. So my advice is to purchase along the way as you come to understand your unique schooling rhythm.
As far as favorite resources goes, my favorite places to shop for school materials is etsy and the thrift store. Out of print, hard to find, old living books love to make their way to the thrift store and into my cart! I can walk out with 20 books for $5. Etsy is wonderful for unique items that are usually handmade or sold by other hard-working mamas. My sister and I just recently opened up our own little etsy shop. Its a curated collection of natural and vintage items specifically with home educators in mind. We carry items that help create "living" home environments-- things like printer's trays (which are great for displaying nature finds), vintage baskets, rugs, antlers, foraging pouches, etc. Its been a fun little side venture for the both of us.
What keeps you inspired and “fills your cup” as a mama?
Others who are in the same stage of schooling and others who have gone before me. I find such encouragement and inspiration to keep pressing on from other's who are in my tangible circle of friends and those who are in my "insta circle" who are striving for the same things for their children. My kids also keep me inspired. Their excitement to learn about the things they don't yet understand and the passion they express over certain interests is just the most beautiful, inspiring thing ever. We do a lot of interest based learning. There are times when I simply say to the kids, "what do you want to learn about today?" We have spent weeks just focusing on one topic of interest!
What is your go-to daily style?
Comfort. Oh man is it comfort. We play hard. I don't have time to keep pulling up my tight, skinny jeans every time I bend over. I need something that breathes and moves with my body. I wish I could say that I look semi put-together in a cute top and those form fitting athletic pants but even that gets uncomfortable by 10am. No, my go-to, around the house, style is a worn in t-shirt and some stretchy yoga-pants...with the tall waist...they have to have that tall waist band...I can move mountains in those pants!! If we are going to be out and about running errands and such I usually just throw on a pair of high waisted mom jeans, a tank/t-shirt, and my birks.
What are you reading right now?
Its really challenging in this season to find the time to read for myself. I've actually been listening to a lot of podcasts lately because it fits my life a little bit better right now. I did, however, sign up to be on the Risen Motherhood book launch team so I'm currently working my way through that before it is released in September....and its amazing. If you are unfamiliar with the Risen Motherhood Podcast I would highly recommend giving them a listen. They are all about mothering in dependence on Christ. There are so many false or shallow messages of hope out there for the weary mama's soul. Risen Motherhood is not one of them-- @risenmotherhood.
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