Thought I'd share the sale at - for those looking to invest in Notebooking!

Saturday, November 28, 2015

So, I've shared many-a-time how much I love

This site has inspired me in so many ways to embrace a much simpler, more enriching homeschool lifestyle.  And for a Mama who is trying to embrace a living books, Notebooking-focused philosophy, this site has been invaluable for me!

Pretty much every single time I need a Notebooking Page about something, someone, or some random topic - they have it.

Blank, lined primary pages?  Yes!
Pretty notebooking pages for the girly-girl in your life?  Yep.
Straight-forward, no frills pages for the logical, linear boy in your life?  Thank goodness, yes.
Notebooking pages on Queen Elizabeth I?  Yep.
Shakespeare? Yes, he's there.
Walter De La Mare? Yes.
William Blake?  Yep!
Squanto?  You bet.
Provinces of Canada?  Even that!
Early American settlement?  Sure, lots.
Ancient History? Loads.
Biography pages for historical figures?  So many!
Human anatomy?  Yep.
Nature Studies of plants and animals?  Yes, they have more than I think we could ever use.

It's so great to think, "Oh!  We should include a Notebooking Page about that!"  And voila, they usually have what I need!  :)  Saves time, energy, confusion, and makes Notebooking so much easier and more interesting for our whole family.

I'm not a big one on sharing "sales", but I thought with all the focus I've had on Notebooking lately, it would be worth sharing this great deal on a LIFETIME membership.   The sale ends  Monday night.

Check it out if you wish, if you are looking to embrace Notebooking in your homeschool, it is well worth the investment!

Cyber Weekend Membership Sale

Here are links to my most recent Notebooking posts:

Favorite Helpful Links for Getting Started with Notebooking

Simplifying and Enriching our Homeschool with Notebooking (Part 1)

Simplifying and Enriching our Homeschool with Notebooking (Part 2)

Just a couple examples of Notebooking Pages we've done from

Honestly, the options are endless - from topical pages to blank pages to fancy borders, boxes, primary lined pages, biographical, geographical, science...  

(This post contains affiliate links, thanks!)

Great Big List of Living Books Links {Charlotte Mason Monday}

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Hello and Happy Monday!  I actually really, really like Mondays - they feel so fresh and new and well, my planner isn't all crossed out yet!  Hooray!  *wink*

Over the past while, I've been putting together a list of Living Book Links for you.  I've shared my heart concerning how I feel about curriculum and getting 'stuck' on certain timelines and book lists in a previous post, so I won't repeat myself here.  

What I long to do is whisper some encouragement - living and whole book lists are only suggestions.  Think of them as springboards, idea starters, possibilities, and potential inspirations.  They are a great way to, in one place, find tons of wonderful living book suggestions for various topics, subjects, grade levels, you name it.  These lists are not, however, set in stone, required, perfect in any way, complete in any way, or going to fit every child, family or philosophy.  

My hope is that these lists work as a resource for Moms like me who are attempting to embrace a Living Books focused education with their children.

If you have a list that I have not included here, feel free to add it in the comments with a link and I'll try to include it below!

Great Big List of Living Books Links:

Absolutely Enormous List of Christian History Books

100 Best Boy Books

Living Books for Girls

Living Books for age 4-7

Living Books for Boys

Read-alouds for Boys and Girls

30+ Books for Christian Tween and Teen Narnia Fans

Simply Charlotte Mason's Preschool reading list

Free Classics List by Grade Level from Heart of Wisdom

Twaddle Free Literature by Grade

1000 Good Books for Classical Christian Education

Teachers of Good Things' list for the Revolutionary War

12 Living Books for Ancient History

Living Math Book list

40+ Picture Books to Teach Grammar

Around the USA with Living Literature

Around the World 1 Living Book at a Time

Living Books to Encourage Bible Study

Character Building Books for High School

65 Favorite Read-Alouds for Boys

Favorite 2nd Grade Read-alouds

Favorite 3rd Grade Read-alouds

Elementary Reading List by grade level

Living Literature Top 10 Index

Early American Literature

Living Books for Nature Study

Living Books for Science

Middle Ages Book List

Ancient Civilizations Book List

Living Books for Studying Wild Flowers

Searchable Living Book List

Best Artists Living Books

Best Ancient and Middle Ages Historical Reads

Living Books History Series

Living Books Library

Curriculum and Publishers with book lists/packages worth checking out for living book ideas:


Heart of Dakota

Tapestry of Grace's Book Shelf Central

My Father's World

Higher Up and Further In List

Greenleaf Press

Five in a Row

Ambleside Online

Simply Charlotte Mason

For more Living Book Links and Suggestions, visit my Living Books Pinterest Board:

Follow Cassandra's board Learning with Living Books on Pinterest.

How to make Nature Study a beautiful part of any (and every) day.

Monday, November 9, 2015

It seems many Moms find this idea of implementing Nature Study a daunting task.  When the topic is discussed by Charlotte Mason Homeschoolers, I've noticed the conversation can easily go to guilt (for not doing enough Nature Study) and confusion (wondering how on earth to DO Nature Study).  This makes me so incredibly sad because Nature Study is one of the most beautiful, natural, and down-to-earth parts of the Charlotte Mason Education.

Implementing Nature Study into your home can be incredibly simple.  Sure, you can use elaborate programs, unit studies, nature journals, field guides, etc... but you definitely don't have to do any of these.  You can reap many of the wonderful benefits of Nature Study by embracing a love of nature with your children in a way that is natural, easy, and burden-free.  

Two Very Simple Steps to Make Nature Study a beautiful part of any day:

1. Live slowly - take time to get outside and notice the simple beauties of God's creation.

One of the reasons Nature Study is so important to me is because it points my heart and the hearts of my children towards our Awesome Creator.  The Word says God has shown Himself to us through His creation... and how can we deny it?!  His majestic fingerprints are on every living thing and His presence seems to be amplified in nature.

When I started a gratitude journal (about 4 years ago), my life was revolutionized.  I started to really see beauty.  And I started seeing things I'd never taken the time to notice before.  That little lady bug crawling along the shelf in front of the sink.  The Mourning Doves bobbing around the back deck.  The sparkle of the sun when it hits the dew on just the perfect angle.  I started looking for more and more beauty until I would be in complete awe of God's creation and my "Nature Study" would become an act of worship!

"All this beauty!  That Sumac, that Black-Eye Junco, that tiny little insect - oh Lord, you created them all!  I want to see, I want to notice your handiwork!"

Yes, I've really learned the beginning of sharing Nature Study with our children is embracing it ourselves.  

2. Intentionally share the beauty you are seeing with your children.

So, if we are in genuine awe of God's creation,  that awe and passion will spill over in our normal everyday life.  We will be noticing interesting and unusual things in nature and our natural interest will rub off on our children.  I'm sure you've noticed, children are very apt to reflect our tones and attitudes.  If we are excited about something, that excitement will often be mirrored.  (At least most of the time!)

Trust me when I say, your kids will pick up on our enthusiasm for nature if we are genuinely interested ourselves.  Even if you don't think they are picking it up - you'll see the fruit soon enough.

When I get excited about Nature Study, the kids do as well.

I started when they were very young - I had very little real knowledge of Nature Study or nature in general!  I just truly loved being in nature and tried hard to point out the interesting things I saw.  The squirrel!  The chipmunk - look at him, he's collecting nuts for the Winter, see him run to his home?  Or I would just pick up a beautiful leaf or flower and show it to the children close-up, marvelling at the beauty together.  We read some great books about nature, mostly picture books.  And that's all we did for about 5 years.  We went outside, we noticed beautiful and interesting things together, we read books.

And boy, did that time instil a love of nature in our children... it works!

Nature Study doesn't have to be complicated.  

An easy way to make Nature Study a part of everyday is to just live wide-eyed with your children. Take time as often as possible (every day if you can!) to get outside.  There is no need for an amazing natural sanctuary or forest by your house to enjoy nature.  The backyard or a local park will work just fine!

Take time to walk, to breathe deep.  Point interesting or beautiful things out to your children.  If you want to, you can try to learn together about those things that truly grab your attention; talk about them, observe them, enjoy them!

If you really want to delve further, grab a good book and read about whatever has peaked your interest.  It's as simple as that.  THAT is Nature Study.

Of course, you can take it further into journaling and more research and hands on activities, but you don't have to!  This should not be burdensome.  I think true, fulfilling Nature Study brings us closer to God, closer to each other, and fills our hearts and minds with peace and joy.

Don't worry about doing too much - just gaze out the window and point out a new bird at the feeder, or go for a simple nature walk.  (Or take a trip to the local Apple Farm, like below!)

 Keep it simple and you will be rewarded with days of light-hearted learning and a fresh awareness of the truly breath-taking world we live in!

In Charlotte Mason's words-

“It is infinitely well worth the mother’s while to take some pains every day to secure, in the first place, that her children spend hours daily amongst rural and natural objects; and, in the second place, to infuse into them, or rather, to cherish in them, the love of investigation..."

"Do children keep tadpoles, and silkworms, and caterpillars in these days? Very few have given us the results of their own observations. We have many capital descriptions from books, and that is better than nothing, but the very essence of natural history is that it should, so far as possible, be drawn direct from Nature."

My Favorite Helpful Links for Getting Started with Notebooking

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

I have been getting so many messages asking me for more information about Notebooking.  I do plan to follow up with more posts about how we implement Notebooking into our homeschool, but I also wanted to share some links that I have found very helpful.  The majority of these links are from because I honestly find the site to be one of the BEST sites for starting with Notebooking, especially if you don't know anything about Notebooking and are interested in learning what it is all about and why you should even consider using it as a tool in your homeschool.

This is the site that truly inspired me and motivated me to really jump into Notebooking as a daily habit over the past year.   Debra is full of wisdom and inspiration!

My Favorite Helpful Links for getting started (and continuing) with Notebooking from

The Doom and Gloom of Homeschooling (Part 1)

Are you experiencing burn-out?  Has homeschooling become more of a chore than something you enjoy with your children?  I love how Debra expresses the transparent truth so many of us live - homeschooling is HARD but there is hope.

3 Homeschooling Myths that Trapped Me (Part 2)

Here Debra talks about the traps that held her - "I just need to find the right homeschool method", "I just need to find the right homeschool curriculum", and "My homeschool just needs better time management."

Can any of you relate to believing these lies?  (I can...)

Victory over Busywork, Boredom, and Burnout (Part 3)

Narrations and Notebooking are a winning combination, this post discusses the whys and hows.

Tutorial #1 - Change Your Mindset

What is busy work and how is it hindering your homeschool?  Identify the busy work and set it aside...

Tutorial #2 - The Glue that Makes it All Stick Together (Narrations)

What are narrations and how do they benefit the homeschool?  This is a super detailed post covering all things narrations.  (This site is seriously so amazing...!)

Tutorial #3 - Time for Notebooking

This is an AWESOME post that covers questions like, "What is Notebooking?" and also shows a typical day with reading, narration, and notebooking.

Copywork and Notebooking

A great post all about how to implement copywork into Notebooking.

Notebooking with a Structured Writing Plan

This article includes tips on how to approach writing within a Notebooking structure.  This is very Charlotte Mason friendly, so, of course, I love it.  This post talks about the importance of Oral Narration, how to approach Copywork and and Artwork.  It also touches on the movement from Oral Narration to Written Narration and how to develop from sentence writing to paragraph writing within the Notebooking method.

Language Arts Notebooks

Ideas for using Notebooking for Language Arts (copywork, poetry, etc.).

"Our Story" Video from Debra Reed

If you are feeling tired, burned out, exhausted of the grind of homeschool curriculums and methods that aren't really working - you need to watch this video.  (Or, rather, listen to it...)  Some super inspiring words from a Mama of 10 here...

I truly hope these links will be as helpful to you as they have been to me.


You can also follow my Notebooking Pinterest Board where I'm always trying to add helpful links:
Follow Cassandra's board Notebooking and Lapbooking on Pinterest.

{This post contains affiliate links.}

Staying Present {a whisper about unplugging to plug in to what matters}

Monday, October 26, 2015

Have you lived the struggle of staying present in your home?   

I sure have.  

I know how so many Moms feel.  I've lived those days when the exhaustion sets in, selfishness wins, and distractions take over.  Especially the distractions.

And don't we live in a world full of time-wasting distractions?

Part of the reason I long so deeply to be more 'unplugged' is so I can 'plug in' to what matters.   

Because our culture urges us to live in fast-forward, blasting through the days.  The laundry, the sports team, the dinner, the play date, the appointments, the cleaning, the this, the that, the phone, the email, the Facebook... always something to do and something to check.

I wonder though, when we're taking our last breaths here on earth, what will we reflect upon?  And we're all going to get there.  We'll all come to the end.

What will be our regrets?  I'm sure we won't wish we'd cleaned more toilets or signed the kids up for more sports teams.  Or checked more text messages, or uploaded more images...

{To read more, will you join me over at Hip Homeschool Moms?}

You might also enjoy this post: Living Hands Free

Proudly designed by Mlekoshi playground