Author Archives: Sallie

Back to School Shopping Spree

Back to School Giveaway!

Back to School Shopping Spree

It’s that wonderful week of the year when a bunch of bloggers from the iHomeschool Network do a massive Back to School Giveaway.

This year I’m doing a Back to School Shopping Spree and giving away two gift cards. The first is a $25 Amazon gift card so you can buy pencils or sketchpads or graphic novels or chocolate (or whatever else you need this year!).

The second is a $25 gift card to my Sallie Borrink Printables Shop. You can pick out copywork or fun fact cards or a printable homeschool planner. There is also a wide variety of products for just about every subject and topic including autumn, apples, pumpkins, Thanksgiving, Christmas and winter!

Printable Planners Banner Ad 728x92(The shopping cart in the picture is Caroline’s and is not included in the prize.)

Enter my drawing here and then be sure to check out some of the other 51 (!) other giveaways that are linked below in this post. There is something for everyone!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Gift Baskets 2016 Collage 252 homeschool bloggers from the iHomeschool Network have joined together to provide one massive back-to-homeschool basket giveaway! Take a peek around these 52 sites and enter to win as many baskets as you like. Each blogger is conducting her own giveaway, so you never know…you may end up winning more than one! All giveaways will be live on Monday, August 15.

(1) Our Favorite Literature by Milk and Cookies
(2) Civitas Family Game Night Basket by Bright Ideas Press
(3) Back to Homeschool Giveaway by Blog, She Wrote
(4) Elementary Homeschool Curriculum Giveaway by Starts at Eight
(5) Geography Basket For All Ages by Classic Housewife
(6) A Collection of Disney Luxuries for Mom by Education Possible
(7) A Few of My Favorite Things by Family Style Homeschooling
(8) Nature Study Through Art Bag by Weller Momma
(9) Back to School Shopping Spree Giveaway by Sallie Borrink
(10) Family Fitness Fun by Mama Teaches
(11) All About Art Basket by Table Life
(12) The Homeschool Sisters’ Favorite Books by The Homeschool Sisters Podcast
(13) A Gift Basket for High School @ Home by BJ’s Homeschool Encouragement
(14) Writing & Journaling Gift Basket by Sprouting Tadpoles
(15) Nature Journaling Giveaway by Faithful With the Little
(16) Art Study Coloring Book Basket Giveaway by Look! We’re Learning
(17) Super Science and More Basket by Great Peace Academy
(18) Alicia’s Favorite Things Gift Basket by Investing Love
(19) Homeschooling Kindergarten (Math, Reading, Science, and More) by Line Upon Line Learning
(20) Science Workbooks & Elementary Math DVDs Giveaway Basket by Busy Boys Brigade
(21) Art Appreciation Basket by Flourish
(22) Mom’s Back to Homeschool Gift Basket by Chaotic Bliss Homeschooling
(23) Homeschool Organization Motivation: 11 Gadgets To Get You Going by Tina’s Dynamic Homeschool Plus
(24) STEM Basket by Teach Beside Me
(25) Preschool Play by Faith Filled Parenting
(26) Cultivate a Love of Beauty in Your Homeschool by Everyday Graces
(27) ThinkFun Back To School Basket by My Little Poppies
(28) Mom’s Break Time Gift Basket by Embracing Destiny
(29) How to Build a Connection with Nature in Your Homeschool by Eva Varga
(30) At-Home Mom Retreat Basket by 2:1 Conference
(31) Eclectic Learning by From the Desk of Adena F.
(32) Eclectic Homeschool Fun by Raising Lifelong Learners
(33) John Grishom Adventure Pack for Tweens by The Kennedy Adventures
(34) All About Learning Level 1: Reading Basket by All About Learning Press
(35) Explore the World This Year by Pat and Candy
(36) Harmony Fine Arts and Draw Squad Bundle by Harmony Fine Arts
(37) A Grace-Filled Home Basket by Amy’s Wandering
(38) Explore the World Through Literature Giveaway by Enjoy the Learning
(39) Fall in Love with American Sign Language by Rochelle Barlow
(40) Catholic Kids Back to School Basket by The Kennedy Adventures
(41) New Millennium Girls Language Bundle by New Millennium Girl Books
(42) Poetry Teatime Starter Kit by Homeschooling Without Training Wheels
(43) Circle C Milestones Literature Unit Study by Circle C Adventures
(44) Boy’s Gold-Rush Adventure Literature Unit Study by Circle C Adventures
(45) Young Pony Lover’s Reading Unit Study by Circle C Adventures
(46) Horse Lover’s Literature Unit Study by Circle C Adventures
(47) Favorite Fast and Fun Games by The Hmmmschooling Mom
(48) For the Birds! by Handbook of Nature Study
(49) My Favourite Things for Back to Homeschool by Up Above the Rowan Tree
(50) Sensory Resources Gift Basket by Mama of Many Blessings
(51) Back to Homeschool Planning Giveaway by Sam’s Noggin
(52) Tween Girls Book Basket by The Kennedy Adventures

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Using Audio Dramas for History

Using Audio Dramas for History

Using Audio Dramas for HistoryHistory is one of my favorite subjects, but I never had the opportunity to listen to high quality audio dramas when I was younger. At least not the kind that Heirloom Audio has created. I was excited to receive copies of four of their audio dramas to listen to. Now I am excited to share with you my thoughts about how I would suggest using these dramas with your own family (as well as a great offer at the end!). This post is sponsored by Heirloom Audio. All content and photos are my own.

These are the four titles I received. (They have since released another title – Beric the Briton.)

G.A. Henty Audio DramasThe audio dramas are based on books by G.A. Henty so they feature adventure, history, and faith. Heirloom Audio believes that it is important to help children understand history from a Christian worldview including showing how God is sovereign in history, how history is Christ-centered, and how history gives us the opportunity to remember and learn as we prepare our children to take a biblical worldview into their culture.

Heirloom Audio Productions

I found Heirloom Audio dramas to be top notch in every way. They truly exceeded my expectations. The production value is outstanding. The voice actors are some of the best in the world including John Ryhs-Davies (Indiana Jones movies), Joanne Froggatt (Downton Abbey), Sean Astin (The Lord of the Rings), Kirk Cameron (Fireproof) and beloved storyteller, Jim Weiss.

In Freedom's Cause Audio DramaAs a musician, I was so pleased that the music is well done. Oftentimes music is skimped on in audio productions to the point where it almost seems like an afterthought. That is definitely not the case here. The music on each CD is rich and adds a great deal to each story.

One Word of Warning

One word of warning is necessary for those of you who have sensitive children. Some of the adventures are graphic, even in an audio story. For example, in With Lee in Virginia there are the graphic sounds of an overseer beating a slave and then later a plantation owner doing the same. Some of the adventures are intense. There is no lack of talk of conflict and death and other heavy topics such as someone being asked to recant their faith in Christ in The Dragon and the Raven. These are, after all, life and death adventure stories from history and history was, well, often violent. They are tastefully done in the context of the story and none of the violence is gratuitous. But I would suggest listening to each story before letting your sensitive children listen to them, especially if they are younger.

Audio Drama Homeschool Curriculum

Beyond the audio dramas themselves, Heirloom Audio is also creating homeschool curriculum to use alongside the stories. This is the one I received for The Dragon and the Raven.

The Dragon and the Raven Homeschool Curriculum The books are high quality, printed on a heavy, glossy paper. They are full of dozens of learning ideas that fit every kind of learner and age from 6-16.

The Dragon and the Raven background materialThere are so many ideas you won’t be able to do all of them, but will have to pick and choose what will work best with your child and your time.

The Dragon and the Raven teaching ideasThere are also helpful graphics and printables to use for a variety of ages.

The Raven and the Dragon unit study ideas

History Unit Study Extension

My suggestion is to use these as a part of your history curriculum as a history unit extension. You will definitely want your children to know the basics of the story before they listen. Unless your children are already history junkies, they might find it challenging to keep up with the storyline. They will get much more out of listening to the adventure if they have a framework in place and have an understanding in advance of who the main characters are and the events involved.

If the events of the stories don’t fit neatly into your homeschool history scope and sequence, then they would make great stand alone unit studies. You could use them for a week or two when you want to do something different. They would also be great to have on hand for those days when you realize you need to shake things up with something different and exciting.

Amazing Discount Code and Offer! Seriously!

I definitely recommend investing in Heirloom Audio dramas to use with your children. If you don’t homeschool, the adventures will be fun to listen to in the car or at home. If you do homeschool, they offer a great way to engage all of your learners in a fascinating unit study with each CD set or simply enjoy them as part of your family time together as you would a read aloud book.

If you click through here to Heirloom Audio dramas and use the code they will give you as a reader of my website, you can see the amazing offer they have put together.

Celebrating the Homeschool Successes2

Celebrating the Homeschool Successes

Celebrating the Homeschool Successes2

As we wrap up with the last day of the 10 Days of Homeschool Encouragement, I’d like to ask you to get involved. I’d like to celebrate our homeschool successes.

It’s easy to focus on the things that don’t go well. That’s why I started out with The Real Phases of the Homeschool Year and a printable you can download. But the truth is that we all do so much well and we tend to overlook it.

We play it down.

We think the successes aren’t as important as the obvious failures.

We don’t allow the successes to shape how we view ourselves in a healthy way as homeschool moms, but instead focus over and over again on what we perceive as failures in the areas where we think we don’t measure up.

The successes are vitally important and they are everywhere – if you allow yourself to look.

I would like to encourage you to take two minutes and share a bunch of your homeschool successes in the comments. Yes, a bunch. You think you don’t have a bunch, but you do.

You need to write them down. Other moms need to see them. People who are thinking about homeschooling and find this post need to read them. We need to celebrate all of the tremendous good happening every day in our homes.

If you have one of my homeschool planners, you’ll know that there are a couple of pages in every planner called “Moments to Remember in _________________” with 31 numbered lines – one for each day of the month. They are in there for a reason. They are in there to help us remember the funny things, the profound things, the important things, and the amazing things that happen every. single. day. in our homeschools.

Please don’t be shy. And don’t feel like it’s wrong because you are bragging. We’re celebrating. We’re celebrating all the hard work we all do every day. We’re celebrating the long hours we’ve put in to make sure our children have the educational experience they need. I want to celebrate with you! So please tell me your homeschool successes!

This is part of my 10 Days of Homeschool Encouragement series. Click the graphic to see all of the posts in the series!

10 Days of Homeschool Encouragement

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Choose Your Five People Carefully

Choose Your Five People Carefully

Choose Your Five People CarefullyI don’t know who said it first, but the idea is that you become like the five people you spend the most time with. So if you want to see who you will be in ten years, look at the people you are spending the most time with every week.  I’ve looked back over my life in ten year increments and I find this to be quite accurate in many ways.

Who Are Your Five People Right Now?

Today I want to encourage you to think about the five people you spend time with who most influence your homeschooling. Who do you talk with on the phone? Who do you text with? Who do you read? Who do you listen to? Who do you interact with on social media? The five people you are interacting with on a very regular basis are going to shape your homeschooling experience and, in turn, are going to shape your children. In some cases one of those “people” might actually be a group of people. It could be a co-op, a Facebook group, or a forum. These kinds of groups can have a tremendous impact on your homeschooling – for good or bad.

Choosing Groups Carefully

I’ve been thinking about this for myself over the past few months and realized I had to make some changes in where I was investing my time. Online groups that met a very important need for a season were no longer necessary. In some cases, they were actually destructive. I realized one group in particular was actually starting to depress me. The constant stream of struggles and problems in my Facebook feed was doing real harm to me. I didn’t leave the group because it is a valuable group, but I turned off the notifications. That way if I ever need the group again, I can go there and look for an answer. But I’m not subjected to the steady stream of problems and painful questions that constantly popped up in this active group.

Avoiding Negative Ruts

The other thing I’ve thought about is the importance of avoiding ruts and moving on when people are no longer where you are. It’s easy to keep visiting the same websites, the same forums, and the same social media channels. I fall into it myself. But I had to ask myself, “Why in the world am I investing time in this? I have precious little time each day so why would I give those golden moments to something that really isn’t necessary, edifying, or inspiring?”

The same thing can be said for negative people. If there is someone in your life who is dragging down your homeschooling by being unsupportive or undermining what you are trying to do, try to remove yourself from her/his influence as much as possible. It might not be possible or necessary to completely remove that person from your life, but you might benefit a great deal by slowly easing your way out of regular contact with a negative person who doesn’t help your homeschooling endeavors.

Thinking Ahead Ten Years

In ten years, Caroline will be of college age. Right now she is heading into fifth grade (age-wise) and so I am starting to think more of where I can find support and wisdom as I head into the middle school and high school years. Who is through that time who can help me navigate it? Who has the type of attitude and life perspective that will inspire me and encourage me?

If you think about the homeschooling experience you want for yourself and your children, it’s important to choose people who will help get you there. What might that look like and who will help you get there?

This is part of my 10 Days of Homeschool Encouragement series. Click the graphic to see all of the posts in the series!

10 Days of Homeschool Encouragement

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Creating with 3D Pens for Kids2

Creating with 3D Pens for Kids

Creating with 3D Pens for Kids2

Caroline enjoys trying almost any new art medium we discover. She especially enjoys working with three dimensional art and toys. Because of this, she could hardly wait to get her box of IDO3D Art Pens opened when it arrived!

100_4453I received this product for free and was compensated for my time reviewing the product and writing this review. All opinions are our own and I was not required to post a positive review.

Using IDO3D Art Pens

IDO3D Art has developed special pens that make it possible for kids to create three dimensional objects with polymers. The kit Caroline had to explore with included four different colored pens, forms, and plastic sheets for creating on.

IDO3D Pen KitSince we are a family of creative people, we talk a lot about practice when learning to create whether it is with words, paints, colored pencils, or some other medium. Like most art mediums, working in 3D takes patience and practice to be able to do things like you’ll see in this video. But the potential is amazing!

Creating with IDO3D Art Pens

IDO3D Art kits come with forms and outlines if you want to try building something that you assemble into a 3D object when you are first learning. This gives kids the opportunity to understand how the pens work and get a feel for them. For kids who are naturally artistic, I think working in 3D with these pens presents a new and helpful challenge they might not encounter very often.

Caroline decided to start this way by creating a pair of eye glasses. You start by following the patterns on the special plastic mat.

Creating with IDO3D PensYou can see in this picture she’s holding down the mat since it wanted slide around a bit on the table.

Using IDO3D Art PensIt only took a little angel to keep it in place and free up her other hand!

Curing the IDO3D GlassesNow she’s curing the pink part of the glasses with the special light.

Using the Special IDO3D Pen and LightNow she’s curing the rest of the glasses. The material is a bit different to work with. It has a bit of a greasy feel to it even after it is dry.

Three dimensional glasses created with IDO3D art pens!And we have glasses once the parts are put together and cured! Amazing!

Here are lots of other ideas for kids who really want to put forth the effort to practice and learn how to create with IDO3D Art pens or even take lessons. I am sure there are lots of tricks to be learned just as there is with any art medium.

If you want to learn even more about IDO3D, you can find them on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube and Instagram.

If your kids would love to try out IDO3D Pens, we’re giving away three IDO3D Vertical Kits! Just enter below!

The Power of a Simplified Life

The Power of a Simplified Life

The Power of a Simplified LifeIs it ironic that I’m writing about the power of a simplified life a day late? Kind of. But there’s still a story to be told and a lesson to be learned.

When I started this series on homeschool encouragement, I wanted to have all ten days finished before it went live. I didn’t. I was a few days ahead at the start, but still doing some writing. Last evening, I sat down to finish up numerous things but I could not access my site, write anything in my dashboard, nothing. My website hosting would not let me do anything because they were throttling my site. In other words, I had used too much of the hosting resources and they were punishing me because of it – despite the fact that we are paying for “unlimited” resources. (It was frustrating and also the last straw. Time to make a major switch with our hosting.)

However, it was not the end of the world. We still all went to bed on time. We all got fed. Our evening routine mostly stayed the same despite our frustrations and figurative head banging on our desks. In other words, life went on.

That is the power of a simplified life.

If our life had been packed to the max, something like this would have completely derailed our family life. But because we leave a lot of margin in our lives for the expected unexpected events, they are an inconvenience, but not devastating. Because we keep margin in our simplified life, we could drop pretty much everything else this morning and spend it researching hosting and talking with reps on the phone.

The same principle applies to homeschooling.

When you simplify, you give yourself freedom. When you put margin in your schedule, you can deal with the crises that will come without them overwhelming your life. The unexpected becomes an inconvenience, but doesn’t derail your life. Remember the real phases of the homeschool year? Things like the flu, bad weather and so on? They are going to come. Plan on the unexpected. Give yourself enough margin to make adjustments and keep rolling.

If your homeschool plans for the coming year are like a tightly choreographed death march (as my friend, Peggy, once described her holiday season) then you are setting yourself and your family up for much grief.

Instead, discover the relief of a simplified life.

Now, I’m off to simplify my life even more by finding better web hosting.

This is part of my 10 Days of Homeschool Encouragement series. Click the graphic to see all of the posts in the series!

10 Days of Homeschool Encouragement

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Trusting Your Instincts When No One Understands

Trusting Your Instincts When No One Understands

Trusting Your Instincts When No One UnderstandsIf there is one concept that has driven my parenting and homeschooling, it is this – trust your instincts even when no one understands. Fully embracing this idea early on changed the course of my parenting and made me a much more effective parent to my daughter.

As a Christian, I believe that sometimes it is hard to tell where our gut instinct ends and the leading of the Holy Spirit begins. (How the Holy Spirit works is a discussion beyond the scope of this post!) But in either case, learning to listen and trust your intuition is vitally important. And the more your child falls outside of the “norm” the more important it is. If you are trying to parent a child who is an outlier in any way, trying to act on traditional parenting and homeschooling advice will erode your confidence and threaten to slowly drive you mad. Believe me, I know this firsthand.

This post is part of my “10 Days of Homeschool Encouragement” series and today I’m going to mostly point you to so many other things I’ve already written about this topic. I’ve been fairly open about my own parenting and homeschool journey. Depending on where you are in your journey and what kind of child you have, there is probably something here to encourage and help you. Look at the drop down menus in the header for many topics. And also check out the colorful topic bars in the sidebar. There are literally dozens and dozens of encouraging posts to help you sort out whatever issue you are facing. If you want to know if I’ve written about some specific topic and can’t find it, feel free to ask in a comment and I’d be glad to point you to something that might be relevant.

So what is my advice? Take in the relevant information you can find in books or online. Listen to what people say. Listen carefully to people you trust. Ask the Lord for guidance. But I can guarantee you will find yourself in situations where no one understands and you need to trust your mother gut. Acknowledge the truth of what you are hearing, but at the same time if you simply know that it isn’t the right choice for you, your child and/or your family then have the courage to trust your instincts – even if no one else understands.

This is part of my 10 Days of Homeschool Encouragement series. Click the graphic to see all of the posts in the series!

10 Days of Homeschool Encouragement

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Before You Plan Your Homeschool Year

Before You Plan Your Homeschool Year

Before You Plan Your Homeschool Year

Homeschool planning is obviously a big deal for a lot of moms because everyone has an opinion (and blog post) about how it should be done. I confess I am much more of a go with the flow type homeschooler overall.  So I’m not going to offer up some detailed step-by-step guide. I could, but I’m not going to.

What I do have is something I think is more valuable. It’s a simple page that will help you before you get into the thick of curriculum selection and planning. It is focused on reflecting on the great, the good, the meh, and the bad so you can plan more intentionally.

Before you jump into that printing off your free PDF, there is one other point I want to make about revising your plans. Revising throughout the year is not failure. Revising your plans demonstrates insight and flexibility. That’s why I put a lot of different options in the planners I created. That’s why I created a planner that goes into a three ring binder. Life changes so much. Our kids change so much. There is absolutely no reason to be locked into the same thing all year. If you need to switch things up a couple of times during the school year, do it! Don’t feel badly about it. Be glad you have the freedom to do so! Maybe your kids are in major age disequilibrium. Do what works.

The printables below come in four versions that coordinate with my homeschool planners. Feel free to choose the design you like best!

Strawberries PDF

Thinking About Our Homeschool Year - Strawberries

Pink Roses PDF

Thinking About Our Homeschool Year - Pink Roses

Vintage Pink Flowers PDF

Thinking About Our Homeschool Year - Pink Vintage Flowers

Aqua and Yellow PDF

Thinking About Our Homeschool Year - Aqua and Yellow

This is part of my 10 Days of Homeschool Encouragement series. Click the graphic to see all of the posts in the series!

10 Days of Homeschool Encouragement

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Homeschool Mom Care - Beyond Survival Mode

Homeschool Mom Care: Beyond Survival Mode

Homeschool Mom Care - Beyond Survival Mode

Homeschool moms spend hours and hours researching curriculum, reading reviews online, and ordering just the right supplies for their children. But how much time do they invest in their own needs for the school year? Do most moms even realize or admit they have needs?

Can we make one thing crystal clear right now?

Homeschool mom DOES NOT equal martyr.

We’ve all lived in survival mode at one time or another. It might have been because of a needy baby, a death in the family, a job loss, or some other significant life situation. You come to a point where you realize you have to let everything go and just survive.

It’s okay to live that way for a brief period of time a few times in your life.

It’s not okay to live that way all the time, year after year. Your body, your mind, and your spirit are not designed to handle survival mode forever.

For homeschooling moms, it can be easy to default into survival mode far too often.

Develop a Homeschool Mom Care Plan

I’ve written before about making your homeschool mom-friendly which I believe is vitally important. If you’ve never read it, please do. Today I want to encourage you to take it a step further and proactively plan for how you are going to care for yourself in the coming school year.

Please download the printable below and write down one or two ways you are going to care for yourself each month this year. It can be as simple as going out for a cup of coffee and reading a book for the evening or as complicated as flying across the country to visit your best friend for a long weekend. Just plan something for every month. It might be establishing a routine that makes it possible for you to get a minimum of seven hours of sleep a night. It could be joining a Bible study or a book club. Maybe you should take a long bike ride once a month – alone! Or sign up for a once a month painting class.

And if you have a favorite mom care idea, would you please share it in the comments for other people who read this and need to be inspired?

The printables below come in four versions that coordinate with my homeschool planners. Feel free to choose the design you like best!

Strawberries PDF

Homeschool Mom Care Plan - Strawberries

Pink Roses PDF

Homeschool Mom Care Plan - Pink Roses

Vintage Pink Flowers PDF

Homeschool Mom Care Plan - Pink Vintage Flowers

Aqua and Yellow PDF

Homeschool Mom Care Plan - Aqua and Yellow

This is part of my 10 Days of Homeschool Encouragement series. Click the graphic to see all of the posts in the series!

10 Days of Homeschool Encouragement

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