Tag Archives: Homeschool

Our Favorite Books for Autumn Enjoyment

To me, Fall is marked by the first of October, or at the very least mid-September. We don’t have a ton of Fall books, but I’ve been slowly remedying that. I recently found another bloggers list of 50 Fall Favorites, which is expanding our own inventory, as well as listening to the Read-Aloud Revival podcast (dangerous stuff!)

Our Favorite Books for Autumn Enjoyment @JessicaMWhite.com

Some people are drawn to the modern, more quirky books for children: No matter how hard I try, I am not one of those people. I want beautiful pictures, I want words like poetry, I want a story that doesn’t leave me. If you’re like that, then this list is definitely for you.

*This post does contain affiliate links: Please read my Disclosure Policy here.

Bold-Italic—Loved for Illustrations and Words
Bold—Loved for Illustrations
Italic—Loved for Words

What are our favorite books for Autumn…

Ox Cart Man by Donald Hall, Illustrated by Barbara Cooney {we love ALL of her books}

Autumn: An Alphabet Acrostic by Steven Schnur, Illustrated by Leslie Evans

Fletcher and the Falling Leaves by Julia Rawlinson, Illustrated by Tiphanie Beeke

Pumpkins by Mary Lyn Ray

Our Favorite Books for Autumn Enjoyment @JessicaMWhite.com

The Berenstain Bears and the Prize Pumpkin by Stan and Jan Berenstain

Winter is Coming by Tony Johnston, Illustrated by Jim LaMarche

Bear Says Thanks by Margaret K. McElderry

The Deer in the Wood by Laura Ingalls Wilder

The Little Yellow Leaf  by Carin Berger

Our Favorite Books for Autumn Enjoyment @JessicaMWhite.com

The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything by Linda Williams, Illustrated by Megan Lloyd

We Gather Together: Celebrating the Harvest Season by Wendy Pfeffer, Illustrated by Linda Bleck
*This book is definitely more of an “educational book”, but is still wonderful!

The Basket Moon by Mary Lyn Ray, Illustrated by Barbara Cooney

Pumpkin Moonshine by Tasha Tudor

Our Favorite Books for Autumn Enjoyment @JessicaMWhite.com

Now mind you, this list is not all-inclusive: I did leave out those that are more specific to Thanksgiving (another post, another day). I don’t know if it’s the colors in Fall books, or the stories of families hunkering down for the winter after bringing in the Harvest, but these are some of my absolute favorites to read.

Do you have some Fall Favorites?
What books do you and your children enjoy cozying under a blanket to read?

Introducing the White House Academy’s Homeschool Planner!

Homeschool PlannerI’m a planner addict….I don’t have any, but I love them! I will admit that I have several blank ones lying around that I’ve never used. The one planner that I DO use is my homeschool planner.

I had planned on spending lots of money on a fancy expensive planner, but I really didn’t want to part with my money, so I figured I’d see if I could do it myself…I DID!

I have it available to you on my etsy shop AND IT’s ONLY $3.00! That’s right THREE DOLLARS! There are even two versions available, one with subjects printed in and one with blank subjects.

This is my first time doing something like this, so ANY feedback you can give me would be fantastic! If there’s a mistake or something you think would work better or something you feel it’s missing, PLEASE LET ME KNOW!

And THANK YOU! Thank you for checking out my planner, for sharing my etsy site and letting me know your thoughts!

Here’s the handy contact form:


The End of Year One of Homeschooling

The end is in sight people! We have nearly completed (successfully) our first year of homeschooling! Pardon me while I take a moment to do my happy dance. In the Fall I was seriously questioning whether we would continue past the first year. It was daunting, there were arguments and fights, and it was not looking good.IMG_9389

Then sometime this spring it just clicked. We had figured out what worked for us and what didn’t and how and when to do what we needed to do. Just the other day, we had to do school in the afternoon, rather than the morning. Ave realized that she was still done with school before the kids were walking past our house leaving the high school. I was floored when she said to me how glad she was that she got to do school at home.

Hands down this girl’s favorite subjects this year have been Math and Science! I always ask what should be start with, and the answer is always science! She loves learning how things work and why things happen. Math I think she loved, because for the most part it came really easy to her this year. A lot easier than reading and writing.

We’re planning on continuing Read, Writing, and Arithmetic through the summer. I’m not going to be all crazy about it, but I do think she will benefit from the extra work, as well as being fresh when we start in the Fall. There won’t be a ton of time wasted covering things we’ve already learned.

I asked Avie about some of her favorite things about this past school year. Her favorite books were Mr. Popper’s Penguins and Owls in the Family, she loved our field trip to the Museum of Natural History. She didn’t like math so much because it got harder over the year.

I really loved Sonlight’s curriculum. Being that this was our first year, I really felt prepared each day. If you are not into reading and really don’t like reading aloud, then it’s not for you. I love books and I can stand reading aloud. We still haven’t finished all of the books that were assigned as part of the curriculum, but, again, I figure we’ll work through them over the summer.

I think going into Sonlight and KNOWING that we wouldn’t read every single book during the year helped me. That was part of our struggle,  I felt a lot of pressure to READ EVERYTHING and then realized I don’t have to. If it’s not working for us, move on. There were a couple of books that were really hard to get through, so we got them on audible and listened when we were in the car. Some of them, became ones that we read at bedtime. It works. That’s the wonderful thing about homeschooling, you figure out and do what works best for you and your kiddos.

While Matthew and I were away, we had given the grandparents a list of things to read. My father in law spent quite a bit of time with Avie doing her world history reading and he was blown away by how intense and substantial the readings were. I never felt that what we were doing was a waste of time or frou-frou. I have to say, that with everything subject we covered it was always meaningful.

I’ve put together an Amazon store of some of our favorites from this year! I’m hoping to keep adding every year to our library.

Our Favorite Homeschool Books


Do you listen to podcasts?

Over the last few years I’ve spent a bit more time listening to podcasts…they were great when riding back and forth to Albany for doctors appointments (2 hours one way). I’ve had a lot less time lately to listen to them, which has been kind of sad. One in particular I’ve made a concerted effort to listen to Sarah Werner’s Write Now Podcast, because I love it! IMG_5934

I don’t remember when or who I started listening to with Podcasts…I think maybe it was Kat Lee’s How They Blog, which I’m not even sure it exists anymore. I do know that she does Inspired to Action, which is another great blog. Anyways. It went from there to God Centered Mom and a whole bunch of other ones, a lot of them radio shows that I just never caught on the radio.

Then came the day that I just declared podcast bankruptcy because I couldn’t handle looking at the number of unplayed podcasts. In November I was looking for podcasts specifically about writing, which is when I found Sarah’s awesome podcast, which is what got me back into the whole listening to podcasts thing and wanting to BE a podcaster {I love them, I’d love to do one, I’d love to be on one…no idea what or who I would talk to}.

The thing I love about podcasts is how my mind can be engaged in something, while doing mindless stuff. I can learn something new, be entertained, inspired, or just about anything else while listening to a podcast and it doesn’t take away from my ability to perform any of the myriad of mindless activities that I need to do on a regular basis.

Just recently I started cleaning our church on a weekly basis which gives me a couple of hours of quiet time to listen to podcasts! Score! Until I got caught up on every podcast episode…now I am in need of some new material…WHICH IS WHERE YOU COME IN! What are your favorite podcasts? Why? Do you listen to every episode or pick and choose? And, if you DON’T listen to podcasts…why not?

What do I listen to?

I love Write Now Podcast, which I mentioned above. She does two different types, the more frequent ones are interviews, referred to as Coffee Breaks, and then there is the more technical/inspirational being a writer ones {which are my favorite!}. I have yet to listen to a Coffee Break, just because…my time was limited, but with cleaning I’m planning on delving more into them.

I also started listening to Modern Mrs. Darcy’s What Should I Read Next? The premise of the podcast is interviews and matchmaking between writers/readers and what they have been reading and what they should read next. It’s really a rather fascinating idea. I’ve been toying with the idea of doing something similar once a month on here.

I’ve already mentioned God Centered Mom and Inspired to Action, both of which I really enjoy. I just starte
d listening to Sorta Awesome with Megan Tietz, which is great, as is Tsh Oxenreider’s The simple Show. I do also enjoy listening to ProBlogger‘s podcast, but it’s more on the if-the-topic-interests-me basis, the same for Focus on the Family‘s daily broadcast.

I’ve really been looking for a family radio theater kind of podcast…either Lamplighter or something similar, but haven’t come across one. We love the Family Hour on Family Life Network, but it goes too late for our crew {they’re in bed by 7:30}.

What are your suggestions? What podcasts do you love? or maybe one that you listened to that you’re definitely not tuning in to again. Maybe you don’t even listen to podcasts. I want to hear from YOU!

How I Manage Homeschooling {for myself}

How I Manage Homeschooling and Our Home @JessicaMWhite.com

Over the past few weeks I’ve shared about HOW we homeschool and WHAT we use, now I’m going to share a bit about how I handle homeschooling so I don’t lose my mind. I don’t let homeschooling rule our life, which may or may not be a good thing. We get the work done, but it’s not the focus of everything.

There’s a school of thought, 1 Child – 1 Activity, created to help parents keep their kids activities from ruling the family. I’m very much a proponent of this {we do have 5 kids and it could get crazy as they get older} in all aspects of life. We need to be able to function as a family, not as caterers to everyone’s interests {that doesn’t mean that if our kids are interested in something we won’t let them do it, it’s a matter of priority}.

How I Manage Homeschooling @JessicaMWhite.com

I shared our schedule a few weeks ago. We try to get the sit-down work of school done first thing in the morning. It’s the best time for all of us. I can check it off my to do list, the kids are usually otherwise interested and can be on their own, and Peter naps. We spend between 1 and 2 hours and then it’s done. Getting that done first thing in the morning is a HUGE thing off of my shoulders. After that I feel like we still have the day ahead of us and I don’t have to dread trying to corral everyone.

The single most helpful thing for me, besides a set schedule, is a planner. I’m a planner girl. I like writing things down and checking them off. This year I went with HEDUA’s Well-Planned Day. It was the ONLY planner that allowed me the space and functionality that I needed. That said, it is a bit limited. I’m hoping, if we continue next year, to put together my own planner for next year that will work much the same way, but allow me a bit more space where I need it.How I Manage Homeschooling @JessicaMWhite.com

After our last lesson of the week, Avelyn is free to go play and I sit down with all of the instructor guides for everything and spend 20 minutes charting out next week and deciding what I need to pull together. I love this time! I love the quiet {because the kids are all ecstatic that she’s done for the week}!  I love sitting down and writing lists and filling out a planner! {Psst…This has quickly become my favorite spot and one of the highlights of my week!} I know this is not for everyone, but for us me taking the time to plan ahead is imperative for me not losing Avelyn’s attention when we do sit down to do school.

The other thing that has helped me manage homeschooling is meal planning and freezing! I know those dreadful words are always popping up all over the internet. Honestly though, it’s a huge help for me. I can take out dinner in the morning and let it thaw. If we have a busy day I can pull a freezer meal out, if I have time to cook I at least don’t have to guess what to cook.

We only do school 4 days a week. This allows us a catch-up day, whether that be schoolwork, housekeeping, outside activities or anything else. Pushing all our work into 4 days helps me know that we only have a certain amount of time, but frees me up to know that we can get the house back in order before the weekend or do things beyond school.

I keep everything together. In our dining room I have a couple of shelves for all of our school books, but I only keep the things we are using right now in the kitchen {where we school}. I have two large tote bags that contain all of the books we are using, my planner, and a pencil box with anything we made need for school {pens, pencils, crayons, markers, scissors, glue, post its, etc}. It saves so much time when I don’t have to go looking for things that we need.

Our method is working for me so far. I’m able to accomplish schoolwork, and still have time to get the other things that we need to be done…done.

What tips do you have from your own schooling experience?