We Made It!

No, I’m not talking about my husband and me. (But, yes, we did make it to 17 years of marriage this past week!). I’m actually referring to ALL of us. We made it through 2020. That feels like a real accomplishment, right?! I don’t think any of us could have anticipated how 2020 would turn out, but we made it to the end and it does feel good to leave last year behind and take steps forward.

This year, I hope to bring more content to this little ol’ blog. You may not know this, but I used to have a pretty popular blog back in the day. I was sponsored by big name brands and had no clue what that actually meant. There are many times in my life when I look back and realize that I had missed something big. Well, blogging was one of those things. I used to share printables, schedules, crafts, recipes, and so much more. I had a lot of followers, but, one day, I just up and quit. Not a wise decision… Then started a YouTube channel a few years later. But, I decided to ditch that as well. Will this be one of those decisions I look back upon and regret? Possibly. But it was the right thing to do right now and I have peace about that decision, so I’m going to run with it.

When I left YouTube a few months ago, I knew that I needed a break, but I am also the type of person who likes to be productive and have a thing that I do on the side that is just for me and something that I enjoy. Since YouTube, I have been randomly updating my Etsy Shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/acommonlife I hope to do more of that this year, too. This week, I sat down and planned out some things I’d like to share on this blog now that I’m not longer filming, editing, uploading videos every week. I love planning and I have some things to share that you are going to enjoy!

And I love writing. I am incredibly out of practice, so cut me some slack while I ease back into it. When I was blogging almost daily, it was nothing for me to put together a post in minutes. That is no longer the case. But that’s ok. I enjoy this and I will do my best to keep up with it and share my wisdom from over a decade of homeschooling and fifteen years of parenting. Saying that makes me feel old. And I’m turning 40 in a few months, so that doesn’t help either.

So, let’s make this a great year! I wish you many blessings, true peace, and much joy.


Looking at the Lights: Christmas Bingo

We were out driving the other night, and I thought it would be fun to put together a simple Bingo for the kids to use the next time we take a drive to see the lights in our town. And, of course, I wanted to share it with you, too!

Just click the link and download them for your family!
I’ve made five different copies so that your kids will make different Bingos.

Closing a Chapter

For the past four years, I have been sharing our homeschool journey on YouTube, but I’ve decided to move on and focus more on family. At the beginning, I thought that sharing videos would helps others; and I think it did… for a while.

But, soon, life became incredibly hectic. Gregory’s health was rapidly declining, and just surviving was taking up all of my energy. I took a month long break back in 2019, but that wasn’t quite enough. Once I began vlogging again, I just couldn’t find the joy that I had found in previous years. I decided to finish out the year and see how it goes.

By December of 2019, I was exhausted and I was very ready for a break. I planned to take a small break at the beginning of 2020, but, well, you know what happened in 2020. My short break ended up lasting seven months, but I came back right at the start of our 2020-21 homeschool year and gave it the ol’ college try.

I quickly realized that YouTube had become flooded with other homeschool accounts. When I started making videos back in 2016, there weren’t that many homeschoolers, but now… wow. It is amazing how many people have jumped on the bandwagon recently. I felt that, at this time, I didn’t have enough to offer. And, frankly, I didn’t want to put forth the time and effort for such a small return of investment.

It takes a lot of time to produce a video. And I would rather use my time for other things.

So, here I am, back on the old blog and attempting to write again like I used to many moons ago. I was one of those Mommy Bloggers before Mommy-Blogging was a thing. I actually blogged before I was a mom. I’ve basically always had some form of outlet online since 2003. Typing that date makes me feel *very* old, but, hey, it’s true.

No guarantees, but I hope to post on here somewhat regularly. I guess we’ll both see how it goes.

All the Best,

Authenticity on Social Media

Unattainably clean homes, perfect flatlays, and family photoshoots with children in matching clothes have taken over social media these days. If you’re anything like me, these photos make you feel like you’re not measuring up. If my home is messy or my mood is bad, I feel like I am failing. And, frankly, I’ve gotten to the point where I am sick of it. I am tired of feeling less than because my son has an Autism meltdown and our plans are derailed or my perfectly clean home is messy in ten minutes or because I need a big chunk of alone time. Aspiring to perfection is a ridiculously impossible ideal.

So, over on Instagram, I encouraged everyone to use the hashtag #reallifetoday to share what is going on in their world without filter or cleaning up messes. The response was amazing. It was so much fun to see people sharing real life, not posed photos in the perfect lighting with filters.

We’ve gotten to the point where people can’t tell the different between a filtered photo and a real, authentic one. No one has perfect skin or flawless hair all the time. Remember the days of people editing their thigh gap? Well, now we don’t even know to know how to edit; we can just pop on a filter and call it a day.

But, sadly, we are also filtering our lives. We are only sharing the good, the pretty, the “inspiring.” When, in all honestly, I would find it much more inspirational to hear how someone is fighting a current battle, not just the end result. We show before and afters, but we don’t always share in the inbetweens. And we are in the inbetween more than anywhere else.

I encourage you to share your inbetweens, your messes, your reality. I think if we all were to share the reality of our lives, we wouldn’t feel so isolated from one another. If your reality is that perfectly decorated home, more power to you. If you home was clean about five minutes ago but now it looks like a hurricane hit, I feel you. I’ve been in both places. If we are sharing online, let’s share it all: the good, the bad, and the inbetween.

Morning Time

We try to begin each homeschool day with Morning Time.

Years ago, all six of us would plop down at the homeschool table and spend the first hour of the day going through our morning basket. I made a video about it years ago. But now, it is usually just our three youngest and me.

Since there is lots of boy energy in the morning, we always start with MadLibs. Well, after our morning prayer because we definitely need a little prayer before we can begin. (You can find the printable of the prayer that we use HERE.) These boys are always begging to do just one more MadLib before we move on to the more serious subjects.

I love making our Morning Time fun because it keeps the boys engaged and entertained before we dive into our core subjects and independent work. If you want a peek at several of the things that we use each morning, check out my Amazon Shop.

Poetry Tea Time || Resources and Free Books!

Our family loves adding Poetry Tea Time
to our homeschool day.

We make it very simple, too. All we do is boil some water to make tea or hot cocoa and put together a few snacks. Then we grab our poetry books from our bookshelves and the kids pick a few poems to read aloud. We keep things fun and relaxed.

If you don’t own any poetry books, you can pick some up at the library or just look online for some poems to share.

Here are a full poetry books available completely free from the Gutenberg Project:

Here are a few sites you can explore with your kids:

Homeschooling Through Difficult Times

When you’re going through a difficult time in life, homeschooling can become quite a challenge. If you’re facing chronic illness, the challenge comes every day and stays with you.

We never expected to find ourselves on this path, but living life with a medically complex child who has serious medical concerns can be very difficult at times.

Even though we couldn’t anticipate this, we had to rise to the occasion and find the best way to continue homeschooling our five children.

I hope this video is helpful to anyone out there who needs a few tips on how to manage homeschool when you or your child is facing chronic illness or something just as serious.

How to Go from Traditional School to Homeschool

Making the move from Public or Private School to Homeschool can sometime be difficult. In this video, I am sharing with you a few tips to make the transition easier!

How to START: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z_ojQ…

Reasons to Homeschool Now: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vVv06…

How to Find Community: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kl7zT…

Homeschooling Like A Pro: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c9sPR…

Letting Go of Homeschool Expectations: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EyEDK…

Our 1st Day of Homeschool: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gAb2S…

How I Homeschool: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gdtE9…

Why I Love Homeschooling: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yP_mL…

Curriculum Picks for Our Summer Homeschool

We homeschool year round, and in the summer, we focus on Reading, Writing, and Math. This summer, we are also adding Latin to the mix.

Watch to see how I plan our everything for our summer homeschool.

☀️ Our Summer Homeschool Plans: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MOW82…

☀️ Summer Bridge Workbooks: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K90lD…

☀️Simple Summer Schedule: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f2ISZ…

📚 Check out my homeschool favorites: https://www.amazon.com/shop/acommonlife