Wednesday, 18 March 2020

OMG! So…I’m homeschooling?! Now what?!

Like a lot of families who find themselves in the role of reluctant homeschoolers you are probably feeling pretty overwhelmed right now. As a former homeschooler and current classroom and online teacher, let me start by saying that this is normal and it’s okay to feel that way. Take a deep breath, this temporary and you will get through it. You may even enjoy it! I promise!

Now that you’ve collected your thoughts, let’s get down to business. The first thing I want you to do is to STOP! Stop fretting. Stop worrying over curriculum. Stop trying to force your kids to do things that, right now, they don’t want to do and are likely unable to do because they’ve never experienced this before. For most kids homeschooling is a huge change from what they are used to in the classroom and it takes some time to adjust. Give them that time! Let them adjust. Let them decompress. Let them process all the stress that they are under right now. It’s okay. Really. I promise. Believe it or not, this is part of the homeschooling process. It’s called deschooling. Everything that they are used to about the process of learning will be different when homeschooling. And that’s okay.

Even though you are deschooling right now this does NOT mean you are doing nothing. It does NOT mean you’re letting them do what they want. During the deschooling process I urge you to continue to maintain some type of rhythm within your family. You don’t have to be a drill sergeant about it, but some kind of routine that is the same day in and day out is going to be imperative to their sanity and yours.  Leave out academics for the first week or so. Give them time to explore art, music, movement, handwork, gardening, and baking this first week instead of immediately forcing them into more academic pursuits. This will allow them to decompress and find a bit of goodness and beauty in their rapidly changing, upended world.

When they are ready to begin academic pursuits again you will need to understand that it is going to look much different than in the classroom. The good thing is that it doesn’t take near as long to get through lessons when homeschooling because you are cutting out much of what is procedural in traditional school. Thankfully, some schools are providing tons of guidance as to what needs to be done during this time, which makes it easier for you! Yay! Even better if your school is doing live online classes because they will continue working with their teachers and be able to maintain connections with their classmates. In the case of schools assigning independent work, your job is simply to work with your child to ensure these tasks are completed. Set aside time in the day to do it and help them work through it. If they are reluctant let them step away from a few minutes and then let them come back and try again. Encourage them! Use positive words and phrases even though it might be frustrating and they might be reluctant or even defiant. If it’s difficult for them to focus find a way to engage all their senses so that they can channel their energy and still learn.

What if you have no idea where to begin and no guidance? Lucky for you there are tons of resources out there for homeschoolers. The world of homeschooling and homeschool resources is HUGE! There are live online classes, there are online programs that are self-paced, there are tons of choices for boxed curriculum and even free options as well. Pick one and go with it. DON'T GET OVERWHELMED. Seriously, pick one. Just one. Otherwise, you will end up with tons of curriculum that you will never get through. I know this because, well, let's just say that my bookshelves are stocked with curriculum that will never be used!

I am going to work on compiling a more comprehensive list of curriculum and education options and will posting it soon. In the meantime, please feel free to ask me for help via our Simple Cottage School Facebook page or email at

But, in the meantime, a bit of shameless self-promotion:

Check Out Our LIVE online classes at Outschool here:

Check Out Our Self-Guided classes at our website here:

I wish you much luck in your new and exciting role as homeschool teacher and I assure you that this too shall pass. Hang in there families!

Monday, 17 February 2020

Monday Rundown 2/17/20

February here in Arizona is pretty delightful. Coming from the cold Midwest/Upper South and being used to being bundled up in mid-February it's always a bit exciting and confusing to be outside eating lunch with my students and being perfectly comfortable. 

Our school week is only 3 days this week due to Rodeo Days. I have mixed feeling about rodeo culture and it's treatment of animals, but I am grateful for a bit of a break. Having never experienced rodeo festivities I am interested and kind of want to see it for myself, but then again I don't want to support someone so brutal. I am still trying to decide if we will go to any of the festivities or not. Regardless, who can argue with a 4 day weekend?

In other news around the house, our seedling have been planted and I am waiting for them to get big enough to put into our Tower Gardens. I started out with one Tower Garden years ago and ordered a new one awhile back. I had a nice garden going this past fall, but a windstorm wiped out my plants so I decided to wait until spring to start again. I do still have a few broccoli, garlic, potato, carrot, and beet plants out in raised beds and they should be about ready to harvest pretty soon. This whole concept of planting through the winter is another thing that is mind-boggling to Midwest/Upper South me.
With all the new things for my grades classes at school I feel like I've been neglectful of my handwork students, but that changes this week. I have spent all weekend working on project samples for crochet hats and washcloths and we will be getting new supplies in this week! I can't wait to get my students working hard on new projects! I have a few new patterns that I will be posting on Wednesday for Handwork Wednesday.

Hope you all have a wonderful week!

Don't forget to check out our self-guided courses at: 

Wednesday, 12 February 2020

The Herb Cabinet: Honey Lip Balm

Each week we will share one of our favorite herbal recipes with you. This week we are sharing the best lip balm ever! Forget the expensive store-bought kind! You can make your own honey lip balm with this super easy recipe!

Honey Lip Balm Recipe

1 1/4 c. herb infused oil
3 tbsps beeswax
1 tbsp honey
1/2 tsp liquid vitamin E oil
Essential oils if desired


Melt oil and beeswax together in a double boiler or a other non-reactive pot. When oil and wax are well blended remove from heat and add in honey, ,vitamin E oil and essential oils.

If you like this recipe, don't forget to check out our self-guided herbology classes at 

Monday, 10 February 2020

Monday Rundown: 2/10/20

New year, new life!

Since I last posted in late September things have changed once again! After an unexpected turn of events I am now the Class 3 and 4 Grades Teacher at the school that I had been working at as a Handwork teacher. As such I haven't had time to do much except for lesson plan, eat, and sleep. My dream has always been to be a Waldorf teacher so this was a huge blessing!

Despite all my busyness, I have had a bit of time to get my Tower Gardens back up and running for the season. I may not have big gardens these days, but my two Tower Gardens and a few planting bags for root vegetables work just fine for now. I just put planted several new seedlings so they will be going into the Tower Gardens in just a few weeks. The lovely thing about Arizona is that it's early February and 70 degrees out. Perfect weather for my Tower Gardens.

Although, it's still winter I am already starting to think about the summer. Conferences, trips, Outschool summer camp classes! There is so much to do! I can't wait to share it all with you!