Valentine's Day Project for Kids






Welcome! My name is Mary. I help parents educate their children at home one day at a time. This site offers LEGO printablesfree music lessonsunit studies,  and much more. Use the tabs above to discover what Homegrown Learners has to offer. You will be equipped and encouraged to travel a most amazing path in your home!

Explore Science, Technology, Engineering, Math!









My Music Appreciation Curriculum



I'm Speaking for LEGO® Education!




Popular Posts




« Nature Study in Your Homeschool - Tips and Tricks | Main | Music Appreciation in the Homeschool with Zeezok Publishing »

We All Need Encouragement - Collage Friday


This is the time of year when homeschool discouragement runs rampant.

I get it. I have been discouraged lately, but because I have been down this road for several years now I know this too shall pass!

Normally, when I am feeling this way, I put my thoughts down in a blog post. {I have collected all of these posts under the Homeschool Encouragement tab if you're interested} Recently, however, I haven't even really felt like writing.

I'm sure it is because my parents are both still battling health issues, the weather is gloomy, and pre-teen hormones are still running rampant. On three days this week I have wanted to raise the white flag and run for the hills!  

There always seems to be, however, moments and blessings in each day that turn my focus upward rather than inward. I search for these times, because they are what get me through the difficulties of being not only a homeschool mom, but just a MOM in general. 

Huge helps in my life during times like this are a trusted few friends, our Classical Conversations community day, my dear sweet husband, and (most of all) my faith and trust in God.

Also - this blog - this small place online - is a haven for me. I know I can express myself and be understood. I know people are waiting for a good post, and I know I will always have a lot of kind and positive interaction here. So THANK YOU. Thank you for reading Homegrown Learners, and hopefully I can pull out some good ideas in this week's Collage Friday!

*This post contains affiliate links.

 "School" Things

I feel that we are truly getting the hang of Classical Conversations. 

This year has broadened my view on all things CC as well as all things middle school. All of the CC posts are collected on one page, and I have a page just for Middle Grades Homeschool as well.  


Pictured above:

Learning about Newton's 3 Laws of Motion has been fun!

Grant's presentation for CC this week was all about the Iditarod. He traced a map of Alaska and the Iditarod Trail, and we read a book (again) about Libby Riddles - the first female winner of the Iditarod. It made for a great little unit study!

Anna got in on the map tracing this week, as she is working on Africa. We started having geography time together at the kitchen table and it's working well. The first "tips and tricks" for your homeschool post was all about Map Tracing.

Anna is also learning about the human ear, by drawing, labeling and defining terms. We watched a wonderful documentary, For a Deaf Son, which is actually about a little boy I used to nanny when I was in college. We had a very good discussion about deaf children, and whether or not a parent should teach them to oralize or use sign language. I love that we took off on this tangent this week.

We went to Ash Wednesday services and started our new Lenten devotion this week. I also use the Lenten journey printout from Catholic Icing each year. It's so simple and effective. 

Grant finished his study of Paganini - enter to win the Zeezok Music Appreciation course and see his video lapbook tour!

Yummy Recipes with Plan to Eat

I have been a Plan to Eat user for several years. I love how easy it makes cataloging recipes and grocery shopping.

I've started grocery shopping with the iPad - the Plan to Eat list just makes it so easy to tap an item when I put it in my cart. I feel very organized and efficient when I shop now.


Two new favorite (and Gluten Free) recipes this week were:

Strawberry Banana Chocolate Chip Baked Oatmeal (the whole family RAVED about this!)

Apple Roasted Chicken

You can try Plan to Eat for free for one month - I think you'll like it if you do! 

Errand Day

A system is finally in place for getting errands run around here.

Thursdays seem to be the best day. The kids have piano lessons in the early afternoon, so I get them up earlier than usual on that day, they accomplish a few hours of school, then we run errands and get lunch together.

I've come to look forward to this time, and the kids know that Thursdays is our day to get things done!

We went to the Chick Fil-A Dwarf House for lunch. This was our first time consciously eating Gluten Free there and I think it surprised Anna that she could get the grilled nuggets and enjoy them (plus the waffle fries are gluten free, too!).

I love shopping at Aldi, but we don't go nearly often enough. We stocked up on lots of goodies, especially Gluten Free things.

Two people in our family have had symptoms of gluten intolerance and I figured why not try to eliminate gluten? It certainly can't hurt. I was inspired by my friend Tricia to make some positive changes. 


I'm preparing for a very busy March, with a heavier than normal travel load for my husband, and my attending the Great Homeschool Convention. Add to that baseball, piano competitions, a weekend youth event at church, and just the day to day activities, and we will be busy.

Thank you for your prayers for my parents. My dad is anticipating going home after being in the hospital and rehab for nearly 2 weeks now, and my mom began her radiation treatments this week. I think everything is going to be ok, but I still worry about them.

I'm thankful for the chance to come to this place each Friday and read so many encouraging words from all of you, and then visit your blogs and read about your weeks, too. It's my favorite time of the week. 

I hope you'll join me!  

If you'd like to link, you can do so in a couple of ways:

  • Enter your link below. Be sure to link to your post with photo collages and link back to this post (or include the Collage Friday button on your blog).
  • Share your photo collage(s) on Instagram, FB, G+, or Twitter - use the hashtag #collagefriday so I can find you!

Reader Comments (23)

We're in the midst of three preteen hormonal children. It's all a bit of a shock to the system, isn't it? Although, I'm guessing it will soon become our new norm. I'm just very grateful that we are going through it all together, and they are learning their coping skills within the safe confines of a loving family.
Paying for parents and praying the sun will shine soon on both you and your family!

March 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterClaire

We're having to deal with gluten intolerance as well, so it's been a steep learning curve. Your week sounds fantastically busy with very productive activities nonetheless. I hope your parents enjoy better health, and that the warmer weather in spring will bring much joy to you and your family.

March 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterHwee

I think a couple of my kids are really going to enjoy the map tracing. We are going to try it out next week. Continued prayers for your parents! Have a great weekend.

Continuing to pray for your parents and a quick recovery. I saw that white flag you were "a wavin" and I sent some happy vibes your way 8) Thanks for continued support my friend! I am a better person for knowing you! Enjoy your weekend! XO

March 7, 2014 | Unregistered Commentermelissa newell

I love the grilled chicken and waffle fries from Chick Fil-A! They saved me on a church trip.

March 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKathryn

I love how you focus on the blessings in spite of a hard week! Looks like you found some GF things at ALDI - and hooray for Chickfila :) I also love when things fall into place naturally with a schedule - like your errand day. It sure helps my mama brain when that happens!

March 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTricia

I have never heard of a Chick-fil-A Dwarf house. Gluten-free there? I didn't know that. It looks like you had a great week.

I think this time of year is hard for all kinds of students and teachers, and it doesn't help that the weather around here has been so icky lately. My principal used to say to us (with the sweetest smile) at every March faculty meeting, "Folks, we've got to finish strong. God has entrusted these little ones to us and we have to do it for them!" Thank you for providing encouragement to so many to stay the course and finish strong! Your blog is a great ministry! Oh yeah -- map tracing -- I don't think we would have survived geography this year without your ideas!!

March 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMartha A.

Mary- We've got a couple GF folks at my house (me included) -so we've been doing gluten free for many years! It has gotten sooooo much easier in the past 10 years then it use to be. You are starting out at a good time - there's much to choose from these days! God bless you in your journey. Ps. Love the maps idea! Blessings - Colleen

March 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterColleen

Before I jumped in to the collage friday, I was wondering if a gallery would suffice at times? I don't always have time to make a pretty collage, but I include photos in my post in a gallery style. Just curious, that may sound like a really silly question ;-)

howling laughing - I am so tired I read "plain to eat" and I was thinking, "she's a liar those are not plain dishes". Pass the coffee.

love what you've been sharing with geography and map skills! Looks like another great week despite the FB update the other day. ;)

March 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterStef Layton

I am just ready for warmer weather. I think we will all feel better when we have longer, warmer, sunny days. I really haven't experienced any teen angst here YET! Now I'm not saying I won't but so far so good. We have an Aldi's 5 minutes away and we rarely go. I have friends who drive here from 40 miles away to go but I think I just don't really know 'how' to shop at Aldi's. Everything seems to be in a box. They do have great produce prices. I am not familiar with the Dwarf House either. Looks cool! Prayers for your 'busy' March to go smoothly and lovely. Happy weekend Mary and thank you for hosting.

March 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKaren

Sending prayers your way to your family and you. The past two weeks have been tough 13 year old is entering the tough teen years and it shows, then have an 8 year old with sensory processing disorder and speech/language problems that has a lot of energy to use up and can't because of the weather, and then my two girls ages 6 and 10 that have some well built up energy that needs to be spent (both have ADHD, speech/language disorders, and learning disabilities).

Hoping the sun shines soon, melts away all the snow.... Praying for better days to come.

March 7, 2014 | Unregistered Commentertracy c

Oh, encouragement! We're still bouncing back from last winter's family changes so this year is going up-and-down. But with winter prodding on, we've got serious 'cabin fever' and school...sometimes gets done. We usually have one day like your Thursday, a day to get everything else done! Life skills, right?

I understand, I have a 13 year old son and a 7 year old and I really struggle to find the balance in my home school day. I can't seem to get the older one working independently hardy at all. This is a day that I just cry and hold my head :( Plus my mom is sick and I go and take care of her every day. I appreciate you so much and how you share your heart. You are a great lady and I really appreciate you ALOT ! Take care and rest in His love and pray for a better monday :) Thats what I will do too !! Blessings ~ Amy

March 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAmy

As usual I am humbled and inspired by how you manage to write such an uplifting post even with the personal challenges you are facing, Mary. I remember when my mum had breast cancer, I knew she was going to be okay but it was still so tough seeing her go through the treatment.
Thank you for the jazzy oatmeal recipe - the very title makes my mouth water!
Good idea to have an errand day. I think with me errands just don't get done except in the school holidays!

I'm glad things are looking up a little concerning the health issues your parents are experiencing. I'll continue to pray for you all. I think going gluten free is a great choice! You'll feel much better.

March 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSylvia

Gluten free gets easier after a month or so. I can definitely tell when I accidentally get "glutened". We have more food issues in our house than just gluten, but it was our first step and tremendously helped. Amber loved eating at chick-Fil-a when we first went gluten free, but I wasn't quite as thrilled. I wasn't ever a fan. There are quite a few GF choices even at restaurants, you just need to be clear in ordering.
Good luck with the gluten free diet and I hope it helps your family members.

March 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterChristy

Praying for your parents! Have fun at the Homeschool Convention! Someday I WILL get to one of those. Sigh...

March 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterShelly

I will be praying for your parents. I know worry is very distracting. I hope that everything improves soon. I always enjoy seeing what you all are up too.
Blessings, Dawn

March 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDawn

I will continue my prayers for your entire family. You are an inspiration to so many of us, in part due to your simple honesty.

March 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterChrystal

You are right- i TOTALLY get ENCOURAGED after I read your blog posts- and I hope my little comments offer YOU encouragement every now and again!

March 8, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterWonder Mom

Praying for you, Mary. It is true, this too shall pass, but it is hard to remember that in the midst of feeling down.

I have been enjoying your map tracing pictures - I think I am going to start doing that with Nolan! It looks fun.

March 8, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMary

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>