Friday, August 21, 2020

What to know about buying a digital curriculum bundle!

If you’re like me, you are easily sucked in to beautifully staged pictures of learning materials that promise to be fun, engaging, and add value to your homeschool.  During this season, home educators and teachers alike are all hunting down curriculum, and supplemental materials to use or help plan out lessons for the year.  So how does buying a curriculum bundle help you? 

As a participant of 2 giant curriculum bundles, I’ve seen the quality and content of, I’m happy and proud to say, these bundles can last much longer than a year.  There are some out there that don’t have a preview option of everything included, and this scares me. I don’t really want to buy something I can’t see. You may purchase a bundle based on high profile likes or advertisement, but then you go to download it and it isn’t at all what you hoped for. Here is where I encourage everyone to view the product photos, look at what’s included and see if it really will get used! 

Digital curriculum is either a Brilliant plan or a Terrible one. For some people, minimal stuff is ideal. Digital curriculum and learning materials is their jam. They can save the whole thing to a computer or flash drive (where are you road-schoolers?) and print what they want, when they want! For others, they prefer books and already printed/bound material. Not bad to have either. Unless you’re going to move. It get’s very expensive….furniture or books?! Ha. So how can you be both? Well I can. I save tons of digital curriculum because I never have to pay shipping! Then I print and bind things myself. I use a Brother toner printer and get over 1,000 pages out of my cartridges, then I bind anything that qualifies as a book. Other things, I laminate, and put in those colorful teacher bins. 

I also know that some people are confused to how it downloads. I can't speak for all bundles, but the ones I've been a part of can be downloaded upon purchase. You can usually choose the folder or drive you want it to go to after that. 

If printing at home isn’t for you, consider supporting a small business locally, or a homeschool family business for printing. Here are some recommendations: 





Last, Look at the value in the products shown. Take the time to go to some of the individual creators and see what it would cost in real time for those products you love. Most of us contributing have a $15-25 range we add, so essentially you’re getting A LOT OF PRODUCTS FREE! You’re being exposed to new ideas, new curriculum, new homeschool families, or teachers, and tons of inspiration!  Is the bundle you’re eyeing worth it? 

This Mega Bundle is Available now through August 24th! It features over 4,000 pages of culutral geography and is split into age groups so you can purchase exactly what you need! But don't take my word for it, check it out yourself! 

 Around The World Curriculum Bundle

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Africa Unit Study

This post includes amazon affiliate links. I may earn a small commission through purchases made here.

 It happened a week ago.  Or maybe it was two weeks ago. Anyway, it doesn't matter.  Basically, I was scrolling through Instagram, when an eye catching story had me at hello.  I have to give social media it's due credit, because without it, I'd be a lost puppy in the world of homeschooling. Those beautiful images, book spreads, and art projects truly inspire a person to build a plan! And that's exactly what happened. 

If you've ever seen Beautiful Feet books mentioned, you would notice unique stories that aren't readily available in your local big bookstore. But they tend to have a content meant for passing on culture and history. So months ago, I started keeping my eye on a few titles and have slowly worked on gathering things for our Africa study.  It's a country rich with culture, ecosystems, and vast animal life. 

I'm finally there. I have most of our collective items prepared. Just waiting on Amazon to deliver the last few bits. This study is going to be epic... like our Marine study last year. Okay..maybe not quite as many books. But definitely more crafts. If there's one thing to say about African people, it's their artisans and tribal crafts that stand out!

My first go to when starting to plan this study was Gather Round Homeschool's Africa Unit. It's detailed enough that it can literally be a month of geography alone. I purchased the middle school bundle so I could incorporate all ages, but we will be using it more of a guide than doing each and every assignment planned. Gather Round also offers an Africa Cookbook which we purchased as well. 
(Girl Scout Thinking Day circa 2013...Africa table was the bees knees!)
The nice thing about having a ready made guide like this are the curated links for videos and book lists if you're not one to hunt for them.
So here are the resources I've gathered for our Unit Study. 

Where is the Congo?
Where is the Serengeti?
We All Went on Safari
The Honey Bird
Sundiata: Lion King of Mali
Mama Panya's Pancakes
The Marvelous Mud House
Swahili Dictionary                                                    


Build a Mud House with clay
Design and build a paper Ndebele Hut
Make beaded jewelry 

Listen to congo drums 
Watch videos     
Cook and eat African Food

In all of my excitement, I had to create some paper resources for us to use. Listed above and linked, we have Safari Animal Fact Cards and the African Lion Anatomy Pack! To go with these, I've also made some Notebooking Pages that I'm offering you, for FREE! Click in picture to get yours!

I estimate this unit to take us about 2 weeks, then we will be starting regular school work! Have ideas and resources to share with us? Message me! 

Monday, July 6, 2020

Summer Strewing


 It's the Summer break and we are all doing our best to stay home. This pandemic has everyone going a little stir crazy.  While the kids can play with Lego, Watch TV, Read, Play outside... they still need to explore something new. So I decided to grab up some books on topics that they are interested in and lay them out. There isn't a lesson plan or required anything. Just simple Strewing.  

Here are some of the Strewing tables I set up. The kids are always in and out of this room anyway, so it's a great place to put out interests! 

We started off the Summer looking at genetics. The kids were very curious about Punnett Squares and Traits. It was a fun little unit with a super cool DNA lava project. 

When your son wants to try Blacksmithing.... I honestly don't know if this will go anywhere, but at least he can read about it!

June was full of Star Wars Movie Marathons. Even though a few of us have seen the movies multiple times, we still have questions. I found some super fun books and games to go with that. 

My son was also interested in Sailing. He wanted to know about sailing boats and maps..of course that's a different type of map, so we found a few book varieties. 

My middle child is currently obsessed with Wolves and Canada. I gathered some books on both and created her section. She is heart set on traveling there one day. 

I absolutely love the 4th of July! We decided to listen to some Rush Revere while cleaning out the school room and have all of these great books out for browsing. I'm sure some will reappear during time period studies. 

I think to finish out the summer, we will be strewing some Rocks & Gems, and Bugs! 

You can find most of these pictured resources from Amazon, Thriftbooks, and Simply Fun Games!

Friday, April 10, 2020

Spring Time Unit Studies

This post contains affiliate links to Amazon. 

Spring is upon us and in my opinion is one of the best times of year to do Unit Studies! The children are wanting to be outside more, their attention span is shortening by the day, and there are so many good choices for units right now! 

So what kinds of things are there to do units on?? Well...If I had a list, it would rival a CVS receipt. No lie. Right off the bat, you can look at Spring Holidays.  Mardi Gras, St. Patricks Day, & Easter fill February through April. But do you want to really spend a whole month learning about one holiday?? No. 
My next go-to is to think about what we usually do in the spring. Gardening, Farming, Nature studies, Animals are having babies... there is a lot of new birth in the spring, so this is a great time to choose something in that realm.

For March, Our focus was a cultural one. We took St. Patricks day and expanded it to all of Ireland and Irish lore. Fairies, Gnomes, and things like that kept the kids interested. I didn't do a post on this due to our crazy schedule and I had a super bad accident that kept me down and out for a couple of weeks. Thankfully I'm almost healed and trying to keep things as normal as possible here.

For April, we have a lot to study! We decided on these topics- 
1) One week of Easter
2) One week of England (in honor of our daughter being born there and it's her birthday month)
3) One or two days studying Viruses..because hello pandemic! 
4) The rest of the month is Farming/Gardening - a focus for us to learn more about our new area, and since we live in the farming country, what is grown here etc. We also are planting vegetables again this year and its always fun watching them grow!

If you'd like to see our resources, check below for links and ideas!

Easter resources have been shared on my Facebook Page @Under The Willow Tree! There weren't many, but it was easy to do there!

One Week England Study
The kids wanted to learn about the UK and have tea and scones! How could I say no to that! 

London Brainbox Game
Book of Afternoon Tea
The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Royal Britain (Barnes & Noble)
My Busy Books London (Barnes & Noble)

Virus Pandemic Study 
The Bacteria Book
Understanding Viruses with Max Axiom
Virus 4D Model

Farming & Gardening Study
We have a lot of nature around us, and that means learning the plants for safety. Knowing there is poisonous things growing with edible things as well is very important. And we are trying our best to get a garden going! 

Foraging With Kids
Farmer Boy
Let's Hatch Chicks
Chicken 4D Model
From Cotton to T-Shirt 
Cotton Education Kit 
To The Coop!
Cow Cents


This is what we have so far. I've been trying to scale back our layout to allow time to do other projects and things too. 

Check back later for more fun resources!

Sunday, April 5, 2020

New Chapter, New Place

Our family just wrapped up 4 adventure filled years in Arizona. We had a lot of opportunities and experiences to grow on. My heart has grown to love new people, new places, and appreciating this homeschool life even more! The desert unfortunately was just too far away from all of our family, and we decided to do our best to get back to them! 

 On to a New Chapter!

We arrived at our new home in Georgia, just in time to enjoy Spring weather! We traded a tiny 15ft foot dirt backyard, for a 1.6 acre parcel of grass and trees! Yay! Our dog is happy, the kids are happy, and we have finally unpacked almost every single remaining box. Whew! 

Have you ever experienced a move so "all consuming" that you couldn't even think about doing normal things?? 

Thats kind of how it's been for us. Thankfully, we have been given some time at home to work on projects and settle in. It's been a true blessing! We have even taken bike rides and nature hikes to explore all of the wonderful nature around us!

One of my biggest goals was to get our homeschool room done first. It was a challenge because we had to paint and unpack the bazillion boxes of homeschool materials. I'm not a minimalist at all (and never claim to be lol). So now, our new homeschool space is also all set up and ready to go! 
Shown with our March theme & Unit Study.
Several weeks in and the kids are loving it here. We look forward to sharing more soon! 

In the following posts, I'll be sharing some awesome homeschool tips and new Unit Studies! 

What to know about buying a digital curriculum bundle!

If you’re like me, you are easily sucked in to beautifully staged pictures of learning materials that promise to be fun, engaging, and add v...