Summer Bible Studies for Teen Girls

Summer Bible Studies for Teen Girls from

At our church we have bible study groups called D-Groups. They are small groups of 3-6 girls and a leader. During the year we meet together every week to go through a bible study and just hang out. We’ve done a bunch of great books, so I thought I’d share them with you in Summer Bible Studies for Teen Girls. Summer is a great time to do a bible study because you have more time and can really slow down to spend time with God. I hope you find these books helpful in digging in and immersing yourself in the love of God.


Summer Bible Studies for Teen Girls from

I am kinda weird in that I find learning about people in the Old Testament more interesting than learning about people from the New Testament. When I saw this Bible study on Hannah, I knew it would be great! I really enjoyed learning about Hannah and the trust in God that she displays. This study can be used for a group, but I just did it on my own. It is easy to divide into sections depending on how much time you have that day.


Summer Bible Studies for Teen Girls from

This book by Kari Kampakis would be a great one to read! I read it in the fall and loved it! It talks about how our social status doesn’t determine our worth or how much God loves us. It is in more of a book/chapter form with questions at the end of each chapter. It is a great one for groups, but reading it by itself is great too!


Summer Bible Studies for Teen Girls from

I didn’t have a picture of this one because we got the ebook, but it is probably my favorite one out of all of these. It’s the true life story of a girl named Edie who struggles her whole life to find her Jesus. She sees what Jesus does or doesn’t mean to others and struggles through life’s ups and downs to find Him. It is an amazing story and I HIGHLY recommend. I thought it was just a book originally, but in the back there are discussion questions, so you can do it with a group.


Summer Bible Studies for Teen Girls from

This book has been through some controversy. You can ask anyone else in my D-Group and they will say that they don’t like this book. I, however, loved it!! I loved learning about different women in the Bible and their encounters with Jesus. It really taught me a lot about them! I did this in a group format, but I’m sure that you can just get the student guide and be perfectly fine.


Summer Bible Studies for Teen Girls from

Being homeschooled a lot of friends don’t just come to you. Since you’re not sitting in class with them everyday, working on group projects, and eating with them at lunch you have to make an extra effort to be their friend. You’ll have those few rare ones that will want to be friends with you, but most of the time you have to want to be friends with them first. This book looks really good for teaching you how to start friendships and keep them. I am thinking about doing this study this summer, so join along if you’d like better friendships too!

That wraps up our talk abut Summer Bible Studies for Teen Girls! I hope you’ll start a Bible study this summer and dig in to God’s good Word. If you’d like to check out more from me click here. Follow our social channels @TheHillHangout to see what we’re up to this summer.
XOXO, Mary Anneliese

Summer Bible Studies for Teen Girls from

Beginner’s Calligraphy

Calligraphy is an art that I have fallen in love with. I always have been interested in writing letters in different sizes, fonts, and styles. Calligraphy was one of the things I loved even before I knew about it. It is an art that we are seeing more often on cards, paintings, and envelopes. Whether you’re looking to teach a calligraphy class or just address your christmas cards, I’m here to help you get started. I’m starting Beginner’s Calligraphy so I thought we could learn together.


Beginner's Calligraphy from

My mom got me these pens off of Amazon for Christmas. They are amazing! You have a lot of control with them (even if it doesn’t seem like it at first) and they come in 10 vibrant colors. They have the brush end that you use for what we’re doing, but they also have a small marker end that is perfect for addressing the street name on an envelope or changing up the fonts on a piece of art. For paper, I just used some scrap paper we had left over from when Patterson was learning to write her letters. It was the perfect size! It’s probably not what you’re supposed to use, but we already owned it so I’m going with it.


Beginner's Calligraphy from

Calligraphy requires a lot of practice. It is hard at first, but I promise it’s not just you. Everyone struggles at times, and this is one of those times. The goal of this step is just to get a feel for how the pens write. When you bring the pen up, it should be a thinner line, and the down stroke should be thicker. Just zig-zag your heart away.


Beginner's Calligraphy from

You didn’t think I was going to let you off the hook with one line did you? Nope! Make lines and lines of zig-zags. Fill up pages and pages of them until you’re comfortable with the pen and you like how the lines are looking.


Beginner's Calligraphy from

Now that you’re comfortable with lines, we’ll start to do some circles. Many letters have circles in them, so this is a great thing to practice. Make sure to do just like the lines and fill up pages with Os. Get a smooth transition from the thick-to-thin lines before you move on. This is also a great time to practice writing letters over and over again.


Beginner's Calligraphy from

At this point you’re probably getting pretty good with individual letters, but you haven’t started connecting them. The next step is to start writing words. You can do Bible verses, names of friends, random words you think of, anything! The goal of this step is to get comfortable with writing words.


Beginner's Calligraphy from

The only way you’re ever going to get any better at this skill is by practicing. You have to write words over and over to get them just the way you want them. In the picture above, I’ve used different fonts to add to the beauty of the verse. Calligraphy is a tedious task, but well worth it in the end.

I hope you’ve enjoyed Beginner’s Calligraphy with me today! I hope you learned something! I by all means am not a pro at this, but I gave ya what I got. If you’d like more tutorials on anything artsy, let me know in the comments and I’ll see what I can do! Thanks for reading today!
XOXO, Mary Anneliese

Beginner's Calligraphy from

Favorite Childhood Read Aloud Books

Even though I’m technically still in my childhood, I have books that I remember from years past. I’ve been homeschooled since first grade and one of my favorite subjects has always been reading. I loved reading to myself and being read to by my mom. I thought some of you might want some ideas on what books to read aloud to your kiddos. Below, I’ve linked some of my favorite books that I still remember the storyline of 6-7 years after reading it. All these were read to me by my mother dear and made fun memories for younger me.

1. Little House on the Prairie– This is more of a series than just a book because I enjoyed all of the Little House books just the same. If I had to pick a favorite though, it would probably be Little House on the Prairie. I loved Ma, Pa, Laura, Mary, and baby Carrie just as if they were my own extended family.

Favorite Childhood Read-Aloud books

2.The Borrowers– This book was so, so good! I loved it! It is about a family, who is small, so they live under the floor boards of a normal family’s house. They have to “borrow” things from the normal family in order to make their tiny home and get food. It was the cutest book and there is a movie that is adorable as well.

Favorite Childhood Read-Aloud books from width=

3.The Family Under the Bridge– I remember that during summer reading at the library one year, if you read a certain number of pages, you would get to go into the “book room” and pick out any book you wanted to take home with you. Of course I read the pages, I mean who wouldn’t want a free book? I picked out this book and have loved it ever since! It’s also a shorter book for all your short attention-spanded small friends.

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4. Mr. Poppers Penguins– This book was a marvelous one to read and watch. It is about Mr. Popper who gets a package from one of his exploring idols. It’s a crate full of cold weather friends who he quickly has no idea what to do with. He is super funny for little kids and I got a kick out of him. He has a really cute movie too!

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5. The Twenty-One Balloons– This book was so superb that we read it twice! It is about a professor who no longer wants to teach, but fly around the world in a hot-air balloon. He sets sail with 1 and is found in the ocean with twenty-one on the other side of the world. This book is full of imagination and creativity so I’m sure your little readers will love it!

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6. Where the Sidewalk Ends is a fantastic book. It is a poetry book, so that means the entire book is made of poems. You can read as many or as little at a time, so you can basically pick how long you want to read for. The pictures in it are hand drawn and are so diverse compared to other books,which makes it really fun to read.

Favorite Childhood Read-Aloud books

7. The Invention of Hugo Cabret– This book is almost too wonderful to describe! I think our family has read it at LEAST four times. It is the story of a boy who lives in a train station and keeps the clocks running. He is supposed to be living there with his uncle, but when he didn’t come back several days after an outing, Hugo has adjusted to living alone. This book is illustrated, but the illustrations usually cover the entire page, and there are several at a time. It is an enchanting story and I hope everyone has a chance to read it.

Favorite Childhood Read-Aloud books

8. The Moffats– This book is so fun! The characters in it are funny, adventurous, and quite cleaver. There are 4 kids in the family, and they are all unique, but still similar. Only they could get stuck in a breadbox, or “hitch a ride on a boxcar during kindergarten recess,” as Amazon describes it. They’ll have you rooting for them in no time on their fun filled adventure.

Favorite Childhood Read-Aloud books

Thanks so much for reading today!! If you want more book suggestions, check out Books I Want to Read in 2017 and Books I Want to Read in 2017- Teen Edition. Happy reading everybody!
XOXO, Mary Anneliese

Books I Want To Read in 2017 – Teen Edition

Books I Want to Read in 2017 - Teen Edition from

You may or may not know, but I am a big book nerd. I love reading just like my mom and grandmother. However, I usually have the hardest time finding books that are appropriate for my age, but yet still have an interesting plot and characters. Anyone feel the pain? I have come across some that I want to read this year, so I thought I’d tell you so you can get some ideas too.

Red Queen – I’ve heard this book is good, and nobody in my family has ever read it, so I thought I’d give it a shot. There’s a first time for everything, right?

Books I Want To Read in 2017 - Teen Edition from

Divergent – I first heard of this book when the movie came out and our friend was in it. The storyline sounded interesting so why not read it?

Books I Want To Read in 2017 - Teen Edition from

The Hiding Place -Ahh y’all!! This book is one of my favorites of all time. I’ve already read it, but not in a few years. Do y’all have those books you go back to over and over again? Tell me in the comments below! I’d love to hear some new ones!

Books I Want To Read in 2017 - Teen Edition from


The Selection -I have seen this on a few of my friends bookshelves and I hope I get to read it soon! I was drawn to it by the pretty cover, but I looked up the summary of it, and it looked like a good one.

Books I Want To Read in 2017 - Teen Edition from


Anne of Ingleside -Anne of Ingleside is the 6th book in the Anne of Green Gables series. I started this series when I was younger, but never finished it. The books are some of my favorites and I can’t wait to see how the story ends! One of my goals this year is to finally finish the series, and this is the next step.

Books I Want To Read in 2017 - Teen Edition from


Out of the Dust -I’ve never read, or heard of this book. I saw it on a list for good books though and the plot sounded interesting. This one’s a leap of faith, but I’m excited to try something new.

Books I Want To Read in 2017 - Teen Edition from


Bridge to Terabithia -This book my mom suggested a year or two back, but I never read it. I decided this was the year!

Books I Want To Read in 2017 - Teen Edition from


The Outsiders -This book was read by my friends last year, and they all raved on how much they enjoyed it. I thought this year would be a good year to finally read it.

Books I Want To Read in 2017 - Teen Edition from

I hope all these books gave you some good ideas on what to read next! I know I’m looking forward to a great year of books! Happy reading!
XOXO, Mary Anneliese

Books I Want To Read in 2017

Books I Want to Read in 2017 from

Books I Want to Read in 2017 from

First up is Dispatches From Pluto. It’s about Mississippi, y’all. Why would I not want to read it??? Here’s how Amazon describes it…

Richard Grant and his girlfriend were living in a shoebox apartment in New York City when they decided on a whim to buy an old plantation house in the Mississippi Delta. Dispatches from Pluto is their journey of discovery into this strange and wonderful American place. Imagine A Year In Provence with alligators and assassins, or Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil with hunting scenes and swamp-to-table dining.

On a remote, isolated strip of land, three miles beyond the tiny community of Pluto, Richard and his girlfriend, Mariah, embark on a new life. They learn to hunt, grow their own food, and fend off alligators, snakes, and varmints galore. They befriend an array of unforgettable local characters—blues legend T-Model Ford, cookbook maven Martha Foose, catfish farmers, eccentric millionaires, and the actor Morgan Freeman. Grant brings an adept, empathetic eye to the fascinating people he meets, capturing the rich, extraordinary culture of the Delta, while tracking its utterly bizarre and criminal extremes. Reporting from all angles as only an outsider can, Grant also delves deeply into the Delta’s lingering racial tensions. He finds that de facto segregation continues. Yet even as he observes major structural problems, he encounters many close, loving, and interdependent relationships between black and white families—and good reasons for hope.

Dispatches from Pluto is a book as unique as the Delta itself.

Books I Want To Read in 2017 from

I’ve heard so much about Where’d You Go, Bernadette, but I haven’t had a chance to check it out… until now. Here’s how Amazon describes it…

Bernadette Fox is notorious. To her Microsoft-guru husband, she’s a fearlessly opinionated partner; to fellow private-school mothers in Seattle, she’s a disgrace; to design mavens, she’s a revolutionary architect, and to 15-year-old Bee, she is a best friend and, simply, Mom.

Then Bernadette disappears. It began when Bee aced her report card and claimed her promised reward: a family trip to Antarctica. But Bernadette’s intensifying allergy to Seattle–and people in general–has made her so agoraphobic that a virtual assistant in India now runs her most basic errands. A trip to the end of the earth is problematic.

To find her mother, Bee compiles email messages, official documents, secret correspondence–creating a compulsively readable and touching novel about misplaced genius and a mother and daughter’s role in an absurd world.

Books I Want to Read in 2017 from

I attend a Baptist church and work on a Baptist college campus, so it’s no surprise that I would be interested in a book like Baptists in America. Here’s how Amazon describes it…

The Puritans called Baptists “the troublers of churches in all places” and hounded them out of Massachusetts Bay Colony. Four hundred years later, Baptists are the second-largest religious group in America, and their influence matches their numbers. They have built strong institutions, from megachurches to publishing houses to charities to mission organizations, and have firmly established themselves in the mainstream of American culture. Yet the historical legacy of outsider status lingers, and the inherently fractured nature of their faith makes Baptists ever wary of threats from within as well as without.

In Baptists in America, Thomas S. Kidd and Barry Hankins explore the long-running tensions between church, state, and culture that Baptists have shaped and navigated. Despite the moment of unity that their early persecution provided, their history has been marked by internal battles and schisms that were microcosms of national events, from the conflict over slavery that divided North from South to the conservative revolution of the 1970s and 80s. Baptists have made an indelible impact on American religious and cultural history, from their early insistence that America should have no established church to their place in the modern-day culture wars, where they frequently advocate greater religious involvement in politics. Yet the more mainstream they have become, the more they have been pressured to conform to the mainstream, a paradox that defines–and is essential to understanding–the Baptist experience in America.

Kidd and Hankins, both practicing Baptists, weave the threads of Baptist history alongside those of American history. Baptists in America is a remarkable story of how one religious denomination was transformed from persecuted minority into a leading actor on the national stage, with profound implications for American society and culture.

Books I Want To Read in 2017 from

The Martian is pretty far outside of my usual genres, but I have heard that the movie was fabulous but the book was better. Isn’t that always the case? Here’s how Amazon describes it…

Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars.

Now, he’s sure he’ll be the first person to die there.

After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive.

Chances are, though, he won’t have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain-old “human error” are much more likely to kill him first.

But Mark isn’t ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills—and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit—he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?

Books I Want To Read in 2017 from

I know I”m late to the party with The Girl On the Train, but I still want to read it. Here’s how Amazon describes it…

Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning and night. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. Jess and Jason, she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.


And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel goes to the police. But is she really as unreliable as they say? Soon she is deeply entangled not only in the investigation but in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?
Books I Want To Read in 2017 from

I read 7 Women and the Story of Their Greatness last year, and it was superb. I’m a huge Eric Metaxas fan. I’m really looking forward to diving into 7 Men and the Story of Their Greatness this year. Here’s how Amazon describes it…

Written in a beautiful and engaging style, Seven Men addresses what it means (or should mean) to be a man today, at a time when media and popular culture present images of masculinity that are not the picture presented in Scripture and historic civil life. What does it take to be a true exemplar as a father, brother, husband, leader, coach, counselor, change agent, and wise man? What does it mean to stand for honesty, courage, and charity, especially at times when the culture and the world run counter to those values?

Each of the seven biographies represents the life of a man who experienced the struggles and challenges to be strong in the face of forces and circumstances that would have destroyed the resolve of lesser men. Each of the seven men profiled—George Washington, William Wilberforce, Eric Liddell, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Jackie Robinson, John Paul II, and Charles Colson—call the reader to a more elevated walk and lifestyle, one that embodies the gospel in the world around us.

Books I Want To Read in 2017 from

Since it’s a Pulitzer prize winner, All the Light We Cannot See is one I’ve been wanting to read since it came out in 2014. Here’s how Amazon describes it…

Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.

In a mining town in Germany, the orphan Werner grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments, a talent that wins him a place at a brutal academy for Hitler Youth, then a special assignment to track the resistance. More and more aware of the human cost of his intelligence, Werner travels through the heart of the war and, finally, into Saint-Malo, where his story and Marie-Laure’s converge.

Books I Want to Read in 2017 from

The Fault In Our Stars was written by John Green, who once lived in our city. This is another one that has already been made into a movie, but I want to read the book before I see it. Here’s how Amazon describes it…

Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.

What’s on your reading list for 2017?

My Biggest Homeschooling Mistakes

One of the biggest decisions we will make in regards to raising children is how to educate them. This post is not meant to proselytize you into homeschooling. Believe it or not, I DO NOT believe that homeschooling is for everyone. However, if this is the path God has for you and your children, I’d love to have you learn from my biggest homeschooling mistakes in the hopes that you can avoid the pain of repeating them.

Homeschooling has been, for our family, one of the biggest blessings we have received. But it wasn’t always easy. In fact, the early days brought on a lot of frustration for me as well as my little ones. When we started homeschooling, we didn’t know anyone else who homeschooled. I had NO ONE to guide me through, save the Susan Wise Bauer books that I checked out of the library. Unfortunately, I made more than my fair share of mistakes. But even with a rough start, I thankfully learned a few things quickly to make our life together more manageable. I hope this little confession of my biggest homeschooling mistakes helps you avoid similar pitfalls.

My Biggest Homeschooling Mistakes

Expecting Too Much of Myself and My Child

While many people begin their homeschooling journey with fear and insecurity, others jump in with excitement and big plans. I fell into the second camp. While a healthy level enthusiasm is good, I fell into the trap of wanting to teach her EVERYTHING. RIGHT NOW. If this sounds familiar, can I encourage you to slow down and take a deep breath? Homeschooling is a marathon, not a sprint. If you set the bar too high for you and/or your children, you will have everyone feeling like a total failure when you start to lose steam. Pace yourself. You will have many weeks, months, and years to teach all that you want your children to know.

Buying Too Many Materials

One of the best pieces of advice I received as a prospecting homeschooler was to attend a homeschooling convention. At these conventions, you can visit the vendor hall and view curricula, books, and other materials before deciding what to invest in. The problem is, as a new homeschooler you really don’t know what you need. I easily justified in my mind the purchase of too many materials. You will not need every map, ruler, coloring book, or laminating machine that you come across. You can easily rack up a hefty total for these things if you don’t carefully consider whether you’ll actually use them. My advice is to take your time perusing the options. Look carefully at curricula and textbooks to decide what you really will need to teach your child. Avoid the temptation to make your dining room look like a traditional classroom, unless you really will be using the things that will cover the walls. Purchase only the basics, and make notes of what you might want to add in the future. Utilize FREE resources like your local library and educational apps and websites. Get your year started and spend some time learning how your child learns best. ALL THE THINGS might actually turn out to be a distraction for your student. Stick to the basics to begin with and add to your stash as needed.

Buying Only New Materials

New textbooks and materials can be very costly. It’s easy to feel like you need to buy everything at the homeschool convention, but using a little self-control can save you big money. When you find a new curriculum or textbook you want to use, look at eBay, your local library, or find a Facebook homeschooling buy/sell group. You can cut your book tab by over half by using used materials. Be careful, however, to ask about condition to be sure answers haven’t been filled in, etc. Also, be sure you know which pieces of a set are included and what you’ll need to purchase separately.

Sticking With a Curriculum That Doesn’t Work For Us

There are so many good choices in curricula, but not every book works for every child. Sometimes we make mistakes and purchase something that simply doesn’t work for us. While that can be costly in terms of money, not switching to a better fit can cost your child a love of learning. Try your best to purchase wisely, but don’t be too slow to make a change when something isn’t a good fit. There are too many good options out there to be miserable.

Giving Busy Work to Fill Our Day

Because you FEEL like school has to look a certain way and take up a certain amount of time, it’s easy to fall into the trap of filling up your day with busy work. Listen to me, mama: there is not one thing wrong with doing school for three hours, if that’s all it takes your child. Do not give into the urge to make your babies do worksheet after worksheet or project after project, just so you feel like you’ve done a complete school day. If it takes your child only a few math problems to get a concept down, stop giving more required work than they need. If your kid is a smarty pants who thrives on math work, then by all means, let him do his thing. But if they would rather have their nose buried in a book, let them move on to another activity that they enjoy. If they can’t wait to get outside and play, let them have that time, too. Children learn from doing all sorts of activities, even playing. Don’t give in to the temptation to fill a 8:00-3:00 day with book work. It usually isn’t necessary.

Teaching for Tests 

I set out as a homeschool mom to teach my children to love learning. I just knew that if I could help them fall in love with learning, they would never stop learning. Sounds good, right? It was and is a good approach, but somewhere along the way we fell into teaching so that they could pass tests. It was an easy transition, so I didn’t see it coming. We didn’t test at first because I thought my little student was retaining everything I taught her. But after a few months I realized she couldn’t remember half of what we’d learned. I decided to give tests to give her some accountability for listening and retaining information. She began to remember more of what we studied. I felt like we were winning. Somewhere along the way, though, she began learning just enough to pass the tests and then forgetting it all when the test was over. She’s a sly one. We had to learn a new approach that included not only listening with wonder and excitement, but also remembering longer than testing lasted. For us, that meant reviewing more often and helping her connect the dots on why this material was important. When we know our “why” our “how” and “what” become easier.

Not Plugging in Socially

It’s no secret that socialization is one of the hot topics of homeschooling. How will they ever learn to behave around their peers? Most homeschooling parents quickly learn that their children will do just fine socially as long as they are still involved in field trips, church activities, sports, or other extra-curricular activities. What I failed to realize, however, is MY need for socializing. It is super easy to slide down the slippery slope of thinking you’re fine at home, doing the thing God has called you to. You click along, doing your daily school routine, not realizing the isolation that creeps in. One day you look up and realize you haven’t left the house in days and haven’t been in touch with friends in far too long. And now that your children are home with you all day, how could you do any of that stuff anyway? Mamas, I want to encourage you to make time with friends happen. Make date nights with your husband happen. Make beach weekends with your sisters happen. Go to that ladies night out with your church friends. You need it. You cannot keep pouring into your children without being filled up. That well will soon run dry. Get over the guilt and realize that you are a better homeschooling mom when you take time to engage with people who do not live in your house. Isolation=desperation. Nip that in the bud.

Expecting My Home to Stay Neat

Since we were home all day, I mistakenly assumed that our home would stay cleaner. Not true. We lived in that home all day, every day, and it stayed messy! Not unclean, mind you, but messy. Sure, the dishes were done, the floor scrubbed, and the laundry clean, but our tables and counters constantly held stacks of papers, buckets of art supplies, and open lesson plan books. Nothing was neat. There were always projects in process. I could either be constantly frustrated at the mess or learn to look at it as a beautiful sign of the homeschooling way of life. I wish I could say that my mind changed instantly. It didn’t. It took me lots of months and even years to accept that being home meant being disorderly. However, over time I learned to accept more messiness and my family learned to keep things neater. We meet in the middle.

Defending My Decision To Homeschool

Not everyone will be as excited about your decision to homeschool as you are. Not everyone will hear from God on this subject like you have. People will not get why you don’t do things the way everyone else does. While homeschooling is becoming increasingly more common, you will still face tension. You might face questions, and even criticism, from friends or family who don’t understand your decision. You will, no doubt, hear retellings of every homeschooling-gone-wrong story that has ever been told. Usually a simple explanation of your desire to homeschool will ease the tension. However, sometimes that isn’t the case. It’s easy to feel the need to defend yourself and your students to anyone who doesn’t agree with your choice to homeschool. Don’t fall into the trap of needing the approval of other people. You can really send yourself into a tailspin by needing other people to accept and agree with your decision, because you simply won’t get that from everyone. As long as you and your spouse are in agreement, and you feel like God is leading you to it, don’t concern yourself with the acceptance of everyone else. Sometimes you have to lead your family into unchartered territory to experience great blessing. Peter had to get out of the boat to walk on water, but he is the only one who got to experience Jesus in the storm.

You will, no doubt, experience mistakes of your own when beginning your homeschooling journey. Try as you might to gain wisdom from others who have gone before you, you will find that you too have blown it a time or two. I sincerely hope that you can avoid some of the things I have mentioned, but just in case… learn to give yourself grace.

Peace to you and your family as you make the homeschooling journey!

Most Popular Posts of 2014

Best of 2014 collage

2014 has been a terrific year around the Hill Hangout! We have had more readers this year than in any other previous year since 2007, when we started posting a few pictures for our out-of-town family to see. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for hanging out with us. I feel that I have found MY people – the ones who love the Lord, love their families, love good food, love to fix things that are broken down, and love to explore new places. My top ten posts from 2014 reflect just that! I hope you’ll stick around for 2015.

10. Yum Yum Sauce

Yum Yum Sauce

9. The Best Homemade And Killer

Ant Killer

8. The Magic of Chalk Paint

Green Caneback Chairs

7. Mudslide Pie

Mudslide Pie

6. Summer Art Projects


5. Back to School Prayers

Back to school

4. Greek Seasoning

Greek Seasoning

3. Creamy Sriracha Dipping Sauce


2. Loaded Cornbread

Loaded Cornbread

1. Miracle Treatment for Eczema

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100 Best Gifts for Homeschooling Families

Christmas Gifts for Homeschooling Families

Do you have a homeschooling family on your Christmas shopping list? While most homeschooling families enjoy the same things most other families enjoy, there are a few gifts ideas that would be especially thoughtful to provide for the homeschoolers you love. Here are a few ideas:

For the Whole Family:

Membership to the local zoo
Kindle Fire or other reader
Subscription to Netflix
Subscription to Amazon Prime
Target Gift Cards
Season passes to children’s theater
Season passes to the symphony
Movie tickets
Wall Map
A Subscription to Discovery Ed
A Membership to BrainPOP
Chess Set
Professor Noggin’s Trivia Games
Logic games like Qwirkle or Blokus
Carcassonne Basic Game
Any game by SET Enterprises
Classic, hardback children’s storybooks
Blink Card Game
Badminton Set
Ukulele Starter Set
Home Karaoke System
Tickets to a sporting event
Disc Swing
Brain Quest cards
Scripture CDs and Patriotic Songs CDs
Slackline Set
Fort Building Kit
Perplexus Puzzle
Katamino Game
IMAX Movie Tickets
Jim Weiss Recordings
A Subscription to Boomerang
Theme Park Tickets

For the Kids:

Minecraft – Xbox 360
Snap Circuits
Subscription to National Geographic Kids
Swing Set
Wooden Blocks Set
Hula Hoop
Jump rope
Board games
Floor Puzzle
Good Art Set
Dress-Up Outfits
Insect Lore Live Butterfly Garden
Chemistry Set
Make Your Own Chewing Gum Kit
Make Your Own Chocolate Kit
Mr. Root Beer Home Brewing Root Beer Kit
Create Your Own Pop-Up Books Kit
Klutz Craft Kits
Classes at a local museum
Art lessons
Mondo Bloxx Set
Schleich Animals
Groovy Lab in a Box
Art Easel
Plastic Pattern Blocks
Punch Balloons
GeoTrax Railway
Hop Ball
Juggling Balls
Rory’s Story Cubes
Spiral Art Book
Curious Chef Foundation Set
Lacing Cards
Wooden Food Sets
Magic Set
Skateboards or Roller Blades

For the Parents:

Gift cards to Starbucks
Gift certificate to local Parent/Teacher store
Gift cards to grocery store
Gift certificate for mani/pedi or spa visit
Offer to babysit for date night
Offer to be the maid for a day or send a maid service
Magazine subscriptions
Frozen homemade dinners to fill the freezer
Pretty Tote Bags for Mom
Cute Storage Boxes
Gift cards to book stores
Dry Erase Board
Calendar and Weather Pocket Chart

Pearson Homeschool Interactive Science: A Review

Disclaimer: Pearson provided me the materials for this review free of charge. They have also compensated me for my time to write this review. They did not require me to write a positive review. As always, opinions about products or services I review are entirely my own.

When my oldest daughter was in first grade, I wasn’t sure how I should go about teaching science. I knew I wanted her to know about a variety of subjects, but I didn’t really know how to attack this animal. I purchased a science workbook at our local teacher supply store, but it was too simple and she was finished with it in a few weeks. We read tons of science books from the library, and this is really where she received much of her true science education that year. As my youngest daughter is just starting first grade science, I was looking for something that would make my life easier. I jumped at the chance to review a copy of Pearson Homechool’s Interactive Science curriculum, as it sounded like it would cover a variety of topics, but in an orderly and systematic way.

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The Pearson Interactive Science curriculum has been exactly what I needed. Patterson uses the student book, which is a consumable workbook with beautiful illustrations, activities, and text. I have access to the online Teachers Edition eText, which provides teaching helps as well as lesson plans.

What Is Being Taught?

The topics covered are perfect for someone studying science for the first time.

  • The Nature of Science
  • The Design Process
  • Living Things and Their Environment
  • Plants and Animals
  • Earth and Sky
  • Weather
  • Matter
  • Energy
  • Movement

Pearson Homeschool


How Is It Being Taught?

I review the Teacher’s Edition eText before I start the week to determine which components of the lesson I am going to use. It is also helpful to review the experiments so that I can be sure I have the materials on hand. When I sit down with my student, we read the text and discuss the questions. She writes the answers to the questions, which are short and require minimal writing skills. We complete the activity and review the vocabulary cards. The vocabulary is a little advanced for first graders, in my opinion, but she has done well with it when I provide further explanation. The Teacher’s Edition eText provides differentiated instruction for students who need additional instruction in order to understand the concepts. This has been quite helpful, as science isn’t Patterson’s strong suit. The Lesson Checks provided in the Teacher’s Edition eText are also helpful to ensure the student has really understood the lesson.

Open Book

If you’re looking for a new science curriculum, I highly recommend Pearson’s product. It has worked well for my family and provided the “meat” I was looking for in a science curriculum. You can use code BLG25 to receive 25% off their Interactive Science Bundle for Kindergarten, 1st Grade, 2nd Grade, 3rd Grade, 4th Grade, and 5th Grade.

The coupon code is also good for their other products:

  • MCP Plaid Phonics Bundle Grades K-6
  • myWorld Social Studies Bundle Grades K-6
  • enVision Math Bundle Grades K-6

This code expires September 15, 2014.

Pearson is a great partner in your child’s education. You can follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+.

Five Days of Praying for Your Homeschool: Joy

5 Days of Praying for Your Homeschool

Today is the last day of our series entitled Five Days of Praying for Your Homeschool. I hate to see it some to an end because I could spend many more days praying with you over our precious ones at home with us. There is nothing more important that we can do for our children than to pray for them. And as I said in day 1 of this series, I know that I wouldn’t have made it through those first few years without the sustaining power of God. I feel like we kinda made it on a wing and a prayer. Without His encouragement and clear direction, I would have given up and sent everybody off to school. However, He did sustain us, we didn’t kill each other, and we even had many many moments of pure joy.

Since joy didn’t happen naturally in those first few years of homeschooling my children, I had to make it a priority. I had to be purposeful about praying for joy and be intentional about creating times of joy for us. Since joy is a fruit of the Spirit, I knew I needed to abide in the Spirit more so that He could do His work in me in this area. Focusing on joy paid off for us, and I can say that homeschooling my children has been an absolute JOY for six years. It has been one of the biggest blessings of my life to be able to educate my girls at home. And I thank God for restoring that joy when it was lost. Using Galatians 5:22 and Psalm 16:11 as our guide, we can pray, “Father, thank you that Your will for us is JOY. Thank you that You want us to experience fun in our homeschool and in our life. Thank you that we don’t have to settle for boring and dull, but that You love for us to enjoy Your work and Your creation. Lord, the fruit of Your Spirit is joy. Fill us with Your Spirit and help us to abide there, so that our joy might be complete in You. Fill us with joy in Your presence.”

Aren’t we grateful that we serve a God who is a source of joy? Let’s have fun in our home schools this year, friends!

If you missed days 1-4 of this series, you can go back and read about praying about wisdom, unity, attack, and health. If you’d like to ready other 5 Days Hopscotch posts on, please click here.

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