I loved getting the chance to chat with Sara about the beginnings of her homeschool journey. Sara has a beautiful home and I instantly fell in love with all of her simple and nature filled approach to homeschooling her little ones.
Sara and her husband have been in Williston, North Dakota for 5 years. They have two precious children (a son 3.5 and a daughter 8mo) and they also have a 6 year old black shepherd who spends most of her days running wildly around the shop eating pizza and leftovers.
For many years her hobbies were snowboarding, skateboarding, dirt biking, and anything that might fall into the extreme sports category and long cross country roads trips (lots of them). Her new love of learning and educating herself on home education has become her favorite hobby.
Tell us about you home!
Our house is special, it was a gift from God. Truly. I feel so thankful for what he has provided us. I am slowly developing a home decor style. This is our first home as a family and it takes time to grow into it. Seriously, the best place in our home is in our bed with all of us cuddle up. Co-sleeping family right here!
Any tips or daily habits for creating a happy home?
I’ve been encouraged by so many homeschooling mamas and stay at home mamas to find a rhythm not a schedule. In our household I have found schedules discourage creativity and can leave us feeling rushed and disappointed. When we started using a rhythm our days went much smoother and allowed “time” for spontaneous adventures.
Why did you decide to pursue Homeschooling for your family?
Oooo gosh this is a loaded question! Aaaannnddd I love this question so much I have so many answers. Here we go.. I love spending all my time with my family. I can’t imagine sending them off to spend more time other people, especially as a young child. I also want my kids to spend few days in the same building, in the same room with the same kids and the same few teachers for endless hours. I, me, their mom want to spend those “endless hours” with them doing activities as a family and traveling together. I, me, over here, my hand is raise!! I want that time with my kiddos!! I also want my kiddos to learn out in the world by taking adventures, and creating many memories together as possible!
What does a typical day / week look like?
Currently we are doing a “light preschool” if I must give it a title. We are working on our daily rhythm which includes habit training, myself and the little ones do together. This includes making the beds, getting dressed, brushing teeth. Next we jump into our family basket full of books and an activity for my Wiggly toddler. After the morning basket we incorporate a table time activity which my kiddo does while I clean up the kitchen. Most days in the early morning we are outside on an adventure if weather permits. In the afternoons while my little chick goes down for a long nap my son and I will play games in the yard or crafts in the house. This pretty much sums up our current rhythm. Simple and beautiful.
What are some of the favorite activities / lessons you have done?
Our favorite activities have come from the outdoors. We made mud pies, we have run out in the rain and spent hours digging holes in the dirt. We spend most of our days outdoors and this is where we find our most joy. Now I say this being summer time, winter in ND is very challenging to be outdoors for long periods of time!!
My inspiration this year will come from “Exploring Nature with Children”, “The Peaceful Preschool” also I’ve been educating myself through “Simply Charlotte Mason The Early Years”. This is a MUST read for everyone not only homeschool families!!
Do you have a designated homeschool space?
As for our homeschool space my kiddos are so young we don’t have tons of “stuff”. Our space currently is in our main living room and dining room. We do our family basket (reading) on our living room floor on a large floor pillow listening to music. Our living room has become the perfect space for us currently as it is an open space to sing, dance and run around after our floor snuggles and books.
Many people think homeschooling looks like or should look like traditional schooling with a special room dedicated with a special desk and books. For some that works really nice! And someday we may have a room dedicated for our studies. However home education looks very different for each family!
Do you have any tips, recommendations, or favorite resources for someone getting started? Research philosophies!! Once I dug into the philosophies I was hooked. I always recommend a simple google search “homeschool approaches”. You’ll find there are generally around 9 main approaches. Now I’m saying this lightly because that is simply main approaches, there are many many more. I recommend researching these main approaches and narrow down the style that works for you. Here is a quick list of a few of the main styles;
Classical, Charlotte Mason, Unschooling, School at Home, Eclectic, Montessori and Unit Study, Waldorf, Life Schooling.
Finding an approach and knowing the philosophies will help you narrow down the curriculum (if your style recommends a curriculum). Spending money on curriculum and materials that do not match your style will be discouraging and will likely leave you feeling like “homeschooling” isn’t for you and your family. It’s likely you just have not found the approach that works best for your families lifestyle!
I suppose like all areas of life, over time your style may change! And that’s awesome! Also it’s important to remind ourselves the God has created each of us with uniqueness, each kiddo may benefit from a different approach. This is the coolest part about “homeschooling”! Homeschooling isn’t about competing with our family life it is to enhance our family life!!. Uggg this makes my heart melt!
Do you have any favorite resources or curriculum?
Hmm I don’t have much life experience with this but I will tell you you do not NEED curriculum that’s a personal choice depending on your approach. BUT I will tell you a little about how I am planning our time. We are using a hodge podge of curriculums for inspirations. I say inspiration because we are not going online by line on any specific curriculum. I have been recommended to read through/skim all the curriculums during the summer which I have highlighted the ideas I’d like to incorporate. ”The Peaceful Preschool” curriculum is 26 weeks, each week focuses on a different letter with activities based around that letter. You can choose to do your weeks alphabetically, or choose which week you’d like to do focus on a specific letter. As for us, we plan to focus on all upper case, starting with all letters that are straight lined. Once we feel confident with those we will move onto letter with curves. My philosophy behind our order in which we will learn the alphabet has come from Simply Charlotte Mason “Playing with Letters and Sounds”. there are a few other concepts including vowels and sounds. Our weeks will also follow along with Exploring Nature with Children’s weekly nature study. We will do nature walks and explore the trees, lakes, fields and rivers and bugs.
Do you have any words of advice or encouragement for someone getting started?
I know this sounds like a lot or overwhelming. It’s totally NOT!! We spend 5-10 minutes on any indoor activity and most learning activities are not “presented” as activities. For example; spend time smelling the different spices in your cabinet, point out the letter A on different spice jars. Also it is really important to me that I do not force him to do something if he’s not feelin it, because somedays I’m not feelin it so we simply go exploring! We do not need to check off ALL the boxes. Sorry I kinda babbled here!!
- research philosophy
- attend a homeschool conference
- dig dig dig
What keeps you inspired as a mama?
Honestly, IG has been extremely inspiring for our homeschool journey. The homeschool communities are amazing. I have learned so much following these beautiful women and their families. What is your go-to daily style?
I’m pretty low key. I do find it important to get yourself together right away in the mornings, and for those days you want a little less time getting ready toss on a hat! I have always been a hat girl. Alwaaaays.
What are you reading and learning right now?
I’m currently reading “For The Children’s Sake” by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay. Soooooo good!! Read read read!! The two Most important thing I’ve learned about home education is that Homeschooling is a lifestyle and Education is not the same as schooling.
Connect with Sara
You can follow along Sara's homeschool journey in instagram @mysimplemommy so you will definitely want to check that out for even more dreamy photos!