"Bird!": A Reminder of Why I Do This

This morning, just as we were starting the day, I caught my son staring out the window.  The little lines on his face still showed where he had been sleeping, and the sun caught in his hazel eyes.  I froze, in awe of this moment.  This little moment, which reminded me of 7 years ago, when I had a similar moment with my oldest.  And I was reminded why I do this.

My 19 month-old, Liam, stared out the window, and I realized he was staring at some crows in our yard.  "Do you see the birds?" I asked him.

"Bird!" he exclaimed.

I was immediately taken back in time to about 7 years ago, when I had just quit work to stay at home with my oldest, Laynie, then 22 months old.  I had only been home with her for a few days, when I saw that she found an interest in watching the birds in our backyard in the mornings.  I remember staring at her precious little face, watching the innocent awe and amazement, and just soaking in the joy I felt at that moment.  It hit me how blessed I was to have the privilege of being able to stay at home with her and experience the little moments like this.  I vowed in that moment never to take it for granted, because I recognized that these were the things my heart had grieved over missing in the first part of her life while I was working full-time outside the home.

Liam staring out the window and learning a new word this morning reminded me of three reasons why I do this.  

Why do I homeschool?  Why do I stay at home with my children?

1.  Because of how fast time flies.

Children grow up so quickly.  I can't believe my oldest is now 9 years old.  Laynie was running around in diapers and pigtails just yesterday, and now she's doing cartwheels in the yard.  Lily is learning how to write her name.  Liam is picking up new words every day.  They grow up so fast, and I don't ever want to waste our short time together.

2.  So that I can witness the little moments.

I can't believe how many things I missed when I was a full-time working mom.  I want to stop more often and just be grateful for those little things I could be missing.  Our days are so rushed now, and we tend to stay busy. I don't want to forget Liam's chubby little toddler feet slapping on the floor as he learns to run, Lily's giggles over getting a puzzle completed, or Laynie doing flips outside on our playset.  These moments fly by, and can go unnoticed if I don't stop and appreciate them.

3.  Because I want time together.

I am so glad our time together doesn't consist of rushing to eat breakfast and run out the door in the mornings, or fighting over homework and bathtime in the evenings.  I'm blessed to have an abundance of time with my children during the day, which is unstructured and allows flexibility for spontaneous fun together.  Even so, we tend to get in routines of doing the same thing every day, and it can become quantity but not quality time.  I've gotten less intentional about doing things together, especially individual activities with each child.  I want to carve out specific time to do things together that create special memories for them as well as me.  Homeschooling and being a stay-at-home mom is such a blessing and allows quality time together, and I shouldn't forget that.

My prayer is this:

Lord, help me to soak up these little moments of joy so that as my children grow, I will not have taken anything for granted.  I realize that staying at home with my children and teaching them is a gift from You, and I pray for wisdom in how I structure our days.  Help me to be intentional and grateful, for I know that this privilege is only for a short time, with Your blessing on us.  Amen.

FREE Customizeable Homeschool Planning: My Work Ticket System

In our homeschool, we implement a simple “Work Ticket” system to promote independence and accountability in our daily tasks.  Here is how it works:

First, I write my lesson plans in my own notebook.  I do this weekly.

Then, I give Laynie (my 8 year-old) her assignments as “Work Tickets” in file folders labeled by subject.

I have one file folder labeled per subject and we keep them in a desktop file system.  Laynie’s file folders are labeled as follows (but yours will probably be different)

  • Reading (which includes Reading Comprehension, Phonics review, Read Alouds, Independent Reading, Wordly Wise, and Bible/Prayer Journal)
  • Writing/Copywork/Spelling (which includes Spelling, Writing skills, copywork, and Penmanship)
  • Math (which includes our Math curriculum workbook, math facts drills, online Math program we subscribe to, and online Math videos, etc)
  • Classical Work (these are our assignments related to our homeschool co-op, which includes History, Math, Bible, Science, Latin, Geography, and English Grammar)

When Laynie opens her folder, she can see how many work tickets are within it for each day, and it is a visual representation of her tasks.  Within each folder, I place a work ticket for each assignment she must complete for the day.  She can pick and choose which folder to do first, or which assignments within it to do first.  It doesn’t matter as long as she finishes all work tickets assigned within each subject for that day.

We split our day in half.  In the morning, Laynie does half of her assignments, which usually works out to about 7 tickets in our case.  In the afternoon, she does the other half, which usually is about 6.  In the morning, I tell her to pick her work tickets that she can do independently.  We save the “Mom’s help needed” tasks for the afternoon when her little sister and brother are napping.

There is a time limit for each work ticket.  At our house, it’s 20 minutes.  That means, that for each work ticket I assign, the task should take her less than 20 minutes to complete.  She sets a timer, and if she’s not finished within that time limit, she is allowed to stop and go on to the next ticket.  She leaves the checkbox on the work ticket unchecked, and I know that further time or practice, or an assessment and reteaching is needed in that area.

This system is fully adjustable and flexible for whatever daily or weekly routine your homeschool follows.  I hope you enjoy!

Click here to download your FREE printable Work Ticket System!  The graphic design is by Laynie herself.  She hopes you enjoy it!


Please leave any amount donation to my homeschool nonprofit of choice at HomeschoolFree.org, then come back here and email me or message me on Facebook letting me know you did so.  Include a copy of your child's artwork, and I'll create YOUR CHILD'S VERY OWN CUSTOMIZED WORK TICKET SYSTEM!  (Want to use it as is?  Click here.)

A History of Homeschooling in the United States

Ever wondered about the history of homeschooling in the United States?  This infographic explains it all!

Home Schooling
Source: Early-Childhood-Education-Degrees.com

Super Duper Humongous List of Homeschool Freebies: Week 7

This list contains tons of FREEBIES for homeschool families (they are not all homeschool-specific, but I think you'll like them)!  

Featured Freebies:


New Samples Added: 

Ice Breakers Cool Blasts Mint Chews for Kroger Shoppers (must load to card on 6/19, exp 7/4)
Red Bulletin: FREE One Year Subscription
Hershey XL Candy Bar for Ralph's Shoppers (must load to card, exp 6/22)
Glamour Magazine: FREE One Year Subscription
Stevita Stevia
Guitar Player Magazine: FREE One Year Subscription
Silhouette by Christian Siriano Fragrance
Family Christian Stores $10 off $10 Coupon - Summer Reading Program for Kids
2 FREE Men's Cologne Samples at Sephora
8 FREE Country Song Downloads  

Still Available from Previous Weeks:  


Invati 3 Step System Sample Pack at Aveda Stores (coupon)
Clinique Smart Custom Repair Serum FREE 10 Day Supply
Bareskin Foundation Sample at Ulta with any consultation
Origins Night-a-Mins (coupon to redeem in store)
29 Preserves Skincare
Riversol Skin Care
Murad Acne Clearing Solution (coupon to redeem at Sephora)
Aveda System 3 Pack (coupon to redeem in store)
Origins: FREE Mini Facial
2 Week Supply of Clinique RepairWear Laser Focus (coupon to redeem in store)
Hugo Red Fragrance


Inko's Organic Tea Product (coupon)
Spiru-Tein Protein Energy Drink
GoEverly Natural Drink Mix 

Zing Stevia Sweetener
FREE Arnold Bread for BJ's Wholesale Members (coupon)
Back to Nature Product (coupon)
PreMama Prenatal Vitamin Drink
Toki Hot Sauce
Yogi Tea Quit Tea
Truvia Sweetener Tea Chef


Essence Magazine: FREE One Year Subscription
Wall Street Journal: FREE 26 Week Subscription
Draft Magazine: FREE One Year Subscription
Parents Latina Magazine: FREE One Year Subscription
Shape Magazine: FREE One Year Subscription
Bass Player Magazine: FREE One Year Subscription
Guitar World Magazine: FREE One Year Subscription
Diabetes Forecase Magazine: FREE 3 Issues
Western Horseman Magazine: FREE One Year Subscription
Parents Magazine: FREE One Year Subscription
Off Road Adventures Magazine: FREE 3 Month Subscription
Texas Monthly Magazine: FREE One Year Subscription
National Review Magazine: FREE One Year Subscription
FamilyFun Magazine: FREE One Year Subscription
Diabetic Living Magazine: FREE One Year Subscription
Tennis Magazine: FREE One Year Subscription
Horse & Rider Magazine: FREE One Year Subscription
Prevention Magazine: FREE One Year Subscription
Travel 50 & Beyond Magazine: FREE One Year Subscription
Men's Health Magazine: FREE One Year Subscription
Redbook Magazine: FREE One Year Subscription
Salt Water Sportsmen Magazine: FREE One Year Subscription
Details Magazine: FREE One Year Subscription
CBS Watch Magazine: FREE One Year Subscription
MIT Technology Review Magazine - FREE One Year Subscription
Wired Magazine: FREE One Year Subscription
Field & Stream Magazine: FREE One Year Subscription
Sport Fishing Magazine: FREE One Year Subscription
Motorcycle Cruiser Magazine: FREE One Year Subscription
Sail Magazine: FREE One Year Subscription
Outdoor Life Magazine: FREE One Year Subscription
People en Espanol Magazine: FREE One Year Subscription
FREE One Year Subscription to Sport Rider Magazine
Mom Magazine: One FREE Issue
Ski Magazine: FREE One Year Subscription
Boating Magazine: FREE One Year Subscription
Yachting Magazine: FREE One Year Subscription
Family Circle Magazine: FREE One Year Subscription
Popular Photography: FREE One Year Subscription
Motorcyclist Magazine: FREE One Year Subscription
Dirt Rider: FREE One Year Subscription
Cycle World: FREE One Year Subscription
Opera News Magazine: FREE One Year Subscription
Maxim Magazine: FREE One Year Subscription
Ladies Home Journal: FREE One Year Subscription
Better Homes & Gardens Magazine: FREE One Year Subscription
Seventeen Magazine - FREE One Year Subscription
Marie Claire Magazine Subscription
Car & Driver: FREE One Year Subscription
Latina Magazine: One Year FREE Subscription

Personal Care and Health:

Up & Up Adult Incontinence Products
Lifeline Stem Cell Skin Cream
Depend Silhouette Active Fit
BioThin Weight Loss Sample 
Garnier Fructis Brazilian Smooth Hair Care
Prilosec OTC
Nexcare "Give" Bandages
Playtex Sport Products
Nivea In Shower Body Lotion
MuscleTech Samples Skin MD Samples (for bloggers only)
BioTrue Contact Lens Solution
Bio-35 Supplement
L'Oreal Ultimate Straight Hair Care Sample
Fuelstrips Secret Outlast Clear Gel (must apply)
Always Discreet Sample Pack
Powerful Mind Brain Supplement (bottom of page)
Cobrazol Chronic Pain Relief
Advil PM
Caralox Heartburn Relief
Kenra Volume Spray (salon professionals only)
PinchMe - New Samples Available every Tuesday
U by Kotex
NeilMed Sinus Rinse
Nordic Naturals
Depends Products
Universal Workout Supplements
Breathe Right Nasal Strips
BioFreeze Pain Relief Gel
Tena Samples
Animal Parade KidGreenz Children's Chewables
Real Time Pain Relief


Friskies 7 Cat Food
Friskies Tasty Treasures with Bacon Cat Food
Powder for Paws California Carrots Dog Food Supplement
Petcurean Dog or Cat Food (coupon)
Dog for Dog Dogs Food
FREE Pet Safety Pack


FREE Audiobook Every Day in June
Atkins FREE Quick Start Kit + Coupon Pool Test Kit
Children's Miracle Network #MiracleBand Wristband
Sweat More B*tch Less Wristband
FREE Pitch Perfect 2 Movie Screening Tickets (select locations)
Farmer Kit
FREE Age of Adaline Movie Screening Tickets (select locations)
Montana Guidebook
FREE Bowling for Kids in Summer (select locations)
Rainguard Spray
Feed a Bee Seed Packet
HB-101 Plant Vitalizer Silk Rose Petals
12 Years a Slave eBook
Mambo Sprouts Coupon Book 
Careers in Welding Information Kit & DVD
Good Deeds Day Accessory
Glow in the Dark Checkered Nascar Wristband
STAR Recipe Booklet & Olive Oil Coupon
Stossel in the Classroom: FREE DVD for Educators
2015 Chicago White Sox Kids Club Kit 
FREE Jenny Craig Consultation
$10 Amazon Gift Card (must complete survey)
Medication Tracking Magnet 
Savi Sisters Lapel Pin
Lighter from Krome Cigars
Walton Choral Sampler CD
SOG Knife Clip
Gooseberry Patch Kid Friendly Recipes Cookbook
We are Yoga Sticker
Garden Craft Ideas eBook 
Mr. Food's Homemade Sauce Recipes eBook
Allergy Eats Refrigerator Magnet
Magnetic Postcards (Company Name Required)
FREE Home & Garden Show Pass
Disney Planes Activity Sheets
Sesame Street Fire Safety Coloring Book
Gardner's Idea Book
FREE E-Books: 5 FREE per month
Printable Father's Day Booklet
Disney's Frozen Paper Dolls Maleficent Activity & Coloring Sheets
FREE Barilla Cookbook
NCMEC Lapel Pin
FREE Dave Ramsey Monthly Cash Flow Plan
Tooth Fairy Letters & Coloring Pages
Sunmaid 100th Anniversary Cookbook
FREE Ring Sizer
Donkey Ollie Children's DVD
FREE 30 Day Trial of Sirius XM Radio
FREE Printable Monthly Calendar
FREE Water Test Strips
SchoolMate Folder & Planner Samples (teachers only)
FREE Printable DeClutter Calendar
YogaFit Gift Pack for Yoga Instructors
Make No Little Plans Wristband
Parkinson's or Multiple Sclerosis DVD
Obama Error 404 Sticker
2 Samples of Custom Knob Creek Labels
Jiffy Recipe Book Minted Wedding Sample Kit
FREE Olive Garden Recipes
Wildlife Conservation DVD's (teachers only)
Child's Safety Latch Starter Kit
Martha Stewart Party Planner
Red Dress Pin from American Heart Association
Personalized Ink Pen ~ Business Name Required
Disney Princess Activity Book

Did you like those?  Why don't you subscribe by email so you'll get notifications when I find more?  :-)  Glad you enjoyed them!

Free and Frugal Homeschool Printables and Resources, Including Father's Day!

Every week I bring you some of the best recent free homeschool printables on the web from my blogging friends.  Here are this week's featured free homeschooling resources, including Father's Day!

Did you know you can see all these PLUS MORE on my Pinterest Boards?

By the way, don't forget to check out this week's homeschool events, and the current homeschool giveaways to enter!

This post contains affiliate links.

Father's Day Free and Frugal Homeschool Printables and Resources 

Featured Free Homeschool Printables

The best of these are added to my permanent lists (linked below), and all of these are added to my Pinterest Boards, after being featured here.  Would you like to submit yours?  Email me or message me on Facebook!

The BEST OF THE BEST make it to the following lists after this week is over!  Click the links below to go see them listed in a more permanent place of recognition, where my pickiness and M.Ed. degree comes into play and I only keep the ones I deem educationally PACKED with goodness.  I only keep the best, and if and when I find better options, I even replace the less than perfect ones. ****I'm gradually moving them over... bear with me as I work through these lists over the next several weeks and get them placed where I like them.*****

Fun for Anyone!
For the Mamas

Find MANY more FREE things of interest to frugal homeschool families here!