Homeschool Record Keeping A Review

We recently received the Annual Membership Plan of My School Year Homeschool Record Keeping and I  have been using it to track plan out our new school year. We reviewed My School Year Homeschool Record Keeping in 2016 (you can read the review here) and there have been some very significant updates to the subscription. […]

Britfield amp the Lost Crown A Review

My family and I have been enjoying the adventures of Tom and Sarah in the book Britfield & the Lost Crown. We received the audiobook through Audible and enjoyed listening to this engaging story. Britfield & the Lost Crown by C.R. Stewart is the first book in a series of five adventure novels meant to transport […]

How Homeschooling Can Be a Fulfilling Career

Hey homeschoolers!

At the time of this recording, many new homeschoolers are starting this amazing journey. Some of you homeschooling moms are giving up a career, a business, or are putting your education aside to teach your children at home. In this episode, I want to talk with you about how homeschooling can be a fulfilling career. I have the experience to say that it can be.

Listen to the podcast

But first I would like to recommend my book A Year of Living Productively. Whatever your educational or occupational background, A Year of Living Productively can help you get more of your important work done. I share my experience using more than 80 different approaches to productivity, so you will have a shortcut in determining your own best productivity formula.

Podcast Sponsor

I want to thank my sponsor for this episode: the Overcomer movie.

Life changes overnight for coach John Harrison when his high school basketball team’s state championship dreams are crushed under the weight of unexpected news. When the largest manufacturing plant in town suddenly shuts down and hundreds of families begin moving away, John must come to grips with the challenges facing his family and his team. Urged by the school’s principal to fill-in and coach a sport he doesn’t know or like, John is frustrated and questioning his worth… until he crosses paths with a student struggling with her own journey.

Filled with a powerful mix of faith, a twist of humor, and a ton of heart, the Kendrick Brothers return to theaters with OVERCOMER, their newest feature following FACING THE GIANTSFIREPROOFCOURAGEOUS, and the #1 box-office hit, WAR ROOM. The inspiring family film stars Alex Kendrick, Priscilla Shirer, Shari Rigby, Cameron Arnett, and introduces Aryn Wright-Thompson.

Opening nationwide on August 23, OVERCOMER dares to leave you filled with hope, inspired to dream, and asks the question: what do you allow to define you? View the trailer at

Homeschool Fulfillment Resources

Read the blog post

Why I Wasted My Education to Homeschool

My books and curriculum

Interview with Gena Mayo of Music in Our Homeschool

Interview with Beth Napoli

Tech in Your Homeschool Facebook group

Online Unit Studies

Thanks again to the Overcomer Movie for sponsoring  this episode. Join me next time as we discuss how to know if you’re doing enough as a homeschool mom.

Have a happy homeschool week!


The post How Homeschooling Can Be a Fulfilling Career appeared first on Homeschool Sanity.

How to Know if Youre Doing Enough in Your Homeschool

Hey homeschoolers!

I frequently hear this worry from homeschoolers I talk with at the great homeschool conventions: I don’t know if I’m doing enough. In a time when homeschoolers have an abundance of curriculum options for teaching their children and an abundance of philosophies of education to consider, it’s no wonder that many homeschoolers are concerned that they are doing too little. I’ll address this concern with ways to know if you’re doing enough in just a moment.

Listen to the podcast Join our community

But first I would love to invite you to join to join Homeschool Sanity Circle on Facebook. This is the perfect group for new homeschoolers who have all sorts of worries like these. It’s also a fantastic place to build friendships no matter where you are in your homeschooling journey.  I’m looking forward to getting to know you there.

Podcast sponsor

I would like to thank my sponsor for this episode: 7 Sisters Homeschool

Resources for Knowing You’re Doing Enough in Your Homeschool

Read the blog post


HSLDA state laws

Homeschooling Through High School

Raising Arrows time for lessons

Podcast interview with Karla Marie Williams

Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons

Handwriting Without Tears


Art course I recommend

Curriculum Paralysis episode

How to teach vocabulary

Homeschool Sanity Circle on Facebook

Thanks again to 7 Sisters Homeschool for sponsoring the podcast.  Join me next time when we discuss how to trust God with our parents. Have a happy homeschool week!

The post How to Know if You’re Doing Enough in Your Homeschool appeared first on Homeschool Sanity.

3 Methods to Keep Track of School Work

Here are three simple methods to keep track of school work that gets done in your home each day. Whether you’re a person who loves structure or who revels in freedom, you need some method of measuring what subjects your kids complete on a daily and weekly basis. If you’re looking for a new system …

3 Methods to Keep Track of School Work Read More »

The post 3 Methods to Keep Track of School Work appeared first on Old School Homeschool.

A Corporal Works of Mercy Reading List


The Corporal Works of Mercy.  Maybe you had to memorize them in grade school and rarely give them a second thought.  Maybe you are a dedicated volunteer in your kid-free time and you can’t wait to share that passion with your kids…when they get a little older.

What if I told you your kids are ready to learn the basics of The Corporal Works of Mercy and the fundamentals of Christian service right now?  I don’t even know how old your kids are, but I’m confident they are ready to view the dignity of every human person through the lens of compassionate service to those less fortunate than them. 

On a typical Sunday at Mass, a flirty baby’s giggles can do more to bring joy to a lonely person than I could do in a month!  It isn’t just a cliche…kids can make a difference.  But first they need adults who not only set an example of service, but make an intentional effort to show children the world through a lens of social justice- learning about people in all sorts of social situations and backgrounds.  

Shared reading is a great place to start!


This post contains affiliate links.

Shelter The Homeless

Feed The Hungry

Give Drink To The Thirsty

Clothe The Naked

Care For The Sick

Visit The Imprisoned

Bury The Dead

Ready to jump in to the Corporal Works of Mercy with both feet?

I just released a brand new book walking families step-by-step through sharing the Corporal Works of Mercy.  67 Ways to Do the Works of Mercy with Your Kids includes an annotated book list, family discussion questions, suggestions for follow-up reflection, and over 67 activities for families to do together!

But wait!  There’s more!

Join my email list today and I will send you an expanded version of this booklist in checklist form PLUS a discussion guide for studying the Corporal Works of Mercy with your family!

Montessori First Holy Communion Preparation at Home


In the last week the children go into retreat for five days before their first Communion…They live apart from their companions, and a portion of the garden is set aside and reserved for them.   This isolation is, however, neither sad nor wearisome, for innumerable proofs of love reach the small solitaries.   The older boys in the school give all their attention to the preparation for the solemn Mass…and the music being practiced in their honor sweetly reaches the ears of the future communicants.  During retreat, the children laugh and work. … They pass the greater part of the time in the garden, looking after the plants and the animals.  Manual work consists in making their own silver rosaries which they will use on their first Communion day. … Physical exercises suited to the ocasion consist in practicing standing up and siting down, walking without knocking against people or objects, genuflecting, kneeling down and rising up, in observing silence, in maintaining dignity, in not turing at noise.  This occupation of the heart consists in raising their thoughts to God at every action during the day, in loving and praising Him.

Can you even imagine having this experience of spiritual beauty at the age of 6 or 7?  In a collection of essays, titled The Child in the Church, Maria Montessori describes this model of sacramental preparation, culminating in a week long retreat for students receiving their First Holy Communion. 

As an educator, a Catholic, and a parent this approach towards the religious education of children has admittedly captured my heart.  

And I’m not alone.  In fact, in the years since the Montessori method was founded (both before and after Maria Montessori’s death) an entire system called Catechesis of the Good Shepherd has developed as a way of training religious education teachers in the methods of Maria Montessori as they apply to spiritual formation and our Catholic faith.

Which is lovely, except I don’t live somewhere with an atrium.  And even in the atrium, we are talking about something different than what is described above.  Even the most “hands-on” sacramental preparation programs have fallen short in my opinion on embracing the beauty and the truths of the Catholic faith.  

So I did what I always do.  I studied Montessori’s thoughts on religious education (resources at the end of this post).  I studied a bunch of traditional parish-based and homeschool programs to see what they cover.  

And I made my own way.

For each child, my method has gotten a bit more refined as my studies have grown but this year was particularly beautiful as Logan prepared for his First Holy Communion through his other studies rather than in addition to.


What We Studied

Note, this post does not include any work we did for First Reconcilliation or even every resource we used for First Communion, rather the topics studied and a few ideas for how you can incorporate them on your own.  It assumes that a child is already familiar with basic Catholic prayers, attends Mass regularly, and has been taught about the true presence.  Those things should absolutely not be introduced for the first time in a sacramental year.   This outline is not meant as a stand-alone sacramental prep curriculum.  Please check with your parish for local requirements.

The Liturgical Year

At the start of Lent, we began preparing for First Holy Communion in a special way.  We have a liturgical shelf in our school area and it was stripped empty to build anticipation for the work that would be added in the coming weeks- the final weeks of preparation.  Using the Circle of The Church Year, we reviewed the seasons of the church year and liturgical colors.  

Preparing for Mass

From the liturgical seasons and colors, we looked to the ways these materials are used within the church and in the preparation the priest goes through prior to Mass.  For this we did a pasting activity to review liturgical vestments, along with studying the free resources from Catholic Inspired.

In addition to studying things that the priest does to prepare for Mass, we also did a ton of practical life related to the duties of a sacristan.  Ironing altar linens, lighting candles, polishing, etc.

The Mass

From preparing for Mass, we studied the parts of Mass focusing specifically on the Liturgy of the Eucharist.   For this, I put together two shelf works. 

Using a Mass kit from Almond Rod Toys (available on Etsy) and altar linens sewn by Kylee (age 10), we created a complete Mass set.  We supplemented this with our own labeling cards and definitions (shown in the top post image).

I also put together a biblical story telling set for the Last Supper.  Rather than a formal lesson, I simply told the story from one of our Children’s Bibles and let the children draw their own connections.  I knew this was a good call when someone ran away in the middle of the story to get the chalice and hosts from our Mass kit!


Throughout the season of Lent, I did not ask Logan to do any reading or copy work of my choosing.  Instead, I encouraged him to practice with the cardwork that was laid out to accompany the above works.    It was interesting to see how he practiced certain concepts again and again, while others he left almost completely alone.  I cannot peek into his brain to know what drew him to specific concepts, but I am content to simply observe what was.  I’m confident he learned most deply that which he felt most likely to be useful to him in the future.  

We did participate in our parish-based sacramental preparation as well, even though they did not require it.  In the past, we have gone both ways with this but this year’s commitment was only one Wednesday per month in a parent:child setting with a catechist we all adore.  The curriculum wasn’t what I would have chosen (frankly there isn’t one I would have chosen!), but I don’t believe that every learning opportunity has to be perfect to be productive.



“Yes, of course, I would have certain things learned by heart; but I would have the memorizing come at the end, as a summing up after the experience.

-Maria Montessori  (The Child in the Church)

Want to Go Deeper?

You are in luck!  You can dive deeper into this concept today!

First of all, I put together a printable bundle with all of the files I created for myself.  The vestment prayers and labels, the vestment templates, and the altar setting pieces and definitions.  The file also contains a couple other links included in this post and suggested other field trips and practical life.   You can purchase the file in my store or on Teachers Pay Teachers.

OR!  If you want to get this file for free, head on over to my store and join our Premium Member Content Group.  This file is already uploaded to the group, along with a video walk through of our catechesis shelf from this unit!   There are also a ton of other resources (Montessori, Classical, Hands On Catechesis, and More!) exclusively available to members.  Plus you get a forum to pick my brain in real time with any questions that come up!  

And to make it even better- I’m having a membership flash sale!  50% off New Premium Content Membership through May 15th with the code NEWMEMBER50

Additional Resoures Available on Amazon

The following are affiliate links, I may receive a small percentage of your purchases.

A New Way to Use Your Speed Cards

The card game Speed! comes with eight decks of playing cards. Each deck is color coded and uniquely numbered to help kids memorize the multiplication tables. For example, the red Two-Speed deck contains the numbers 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18 and 20. The blue Seven-Speed deck contains the numbers 7, 14, 21, 28, 35, 42, 49, 56, 63 and 70. The game was designed as a two-person racing game where the winner is the first person to get rid of all of his/her cards. (see video)

However, since the game is comprised of decks of cards, many games that can be played with a standard deck of cards can also be played with Speed! cards. This adds a new twist to many card games. One simple game that works very will with Speed! cards is a game called “Garbage”.  The video below shows the game playing played with a standard deck of cards.

The photo below shows the desired finished layout if the game was being played with the Three-Speed deck of cards.

What I like about the game Garbage is that it is a slower placed game that allows players more processing time. When playing this game and drawing a number 24 for example, players can say out loud “24 is 8 times 3”, or “24 divided by 3 is 8”. This helps kids to better link skip-counting to multiplication and division and provides a fun alternative game to play with the Speed! cards.

Johnny039s Jelly Bean Tacos

With sales down at his taco restaurant, Johnny Van Socken invents a new delicacy that becomes an instant success: jelly bean tacos! Unfortunately for Johnny, his success poses a threat to some of the local business owners. When the other business owners convince the local government to pass rules to control the sale of jelly bean tacos, Johnny stands up to protect his rights as a businessman, as well as the rights of his customers.

Here’s an excerpt from the text.

“The competition was frazzled. What should they do?
Mixing tacos and jelly beans just made them say “Ew!”
That people would eat this hardly makes sense.
This affront to good cooking is a terrible offense!”

Johnny’s Jelly Bean Tacos is written in verse and perfect for kids ages 4-10. The story introduces kids to the concept of government protectionism without ever mentioning the phrase. Johnny’s Jelly Bean Tacos is truly an entertaining book. Although kids will come away with an understanding of protectionism, this is not a lesson in disguise. It is a great story!