Homeschooling Made Simple

(This post may contain affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosure policy.)

I am about to embark on my 15th year of this incredibly difficult and rewarding journey called homeschooling. Even though I am what many would consider a veteran homeschooler, it seems that the longer I do this, the more I realize there is for me to learn.

But homeschooling doesn’t have to be complicated and one of the best ways to simplify it is to ask others who have walked this same road to share their experience.

Homeschooling Made Simple

There is a new resource for homeschool moms that I am really excited to be able to share with you. It’s an ebook written by 55 homeschool moms on 103 topics related to homeschooling and it covers every question you’ve ever asked and many that you hadn’t even thought to ask!

The Big Book of Homeschool Ideas is 562 pages…that is not a typo…562 pages packed with information. I know that for some of you, well let’s face it, most of you reading, you don’t have time to read 562 pages, but the great thing about the book is that it’s divided into sections and then subdivided further into chapters so that you can read what’s relevant to your situation or what interests you. As an example, if you are the mom of an only child, you likely won’t need to read the chapter on homeschooling a large family. Conversely, if you have many children, you can skip the chapter on homeschooling an only child.

The book addresses homeschooling from preschool through to college, with specifics about each of the stages. It also has all the subjects such as language arts and literature, history and geography, STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) covered and then each is further broken down. There are also subjects such as Bible, learning a second language, phys. Ed., music, and art.

The Big Book of Homeschool Ideas offers practical information such as keeping babies and toddlers occupied during homeschooling or easy dinner options for the busy homeschooling mom. It also has a lot of chapters on more obscure topics such as:

  • how to use postage stamps for learning
  • teaching history with American Girl Dolls
  • how to start a homeschool book club
  • learning from video games
  • homeschooling the bipolar child
  • carschooling: teaching on the road
  • how to teach with Lego
  • teaching a subject you don’t love
  • muffin Mondays (learning with muffins)

Have you ever wanted to get answers from other homeschoolers to your burning questions? Here’s your chance! Just grab a cup of tea or coffee and sit down with this book!

Big Book of Homeschool IdeasWhether you are a brand new homeschooler and not sure where to start or a veteran homeschooler who may be in a season of discouragement or doubt, this book is what you need.

There is also a large section on Special Needs including a chapter written by me on Homeschooling a Child with Sensory Issues. If you are a regular reader of this site, then there may not be much in that chapter that is new to you, but there are other chapters which will be relevant to you and there may even be a few nuggets in my chapter that will be beneficial.

Many of the other authors of this book are women who I admire and respect and whose information and expertise I trust. There are literally hundreds of homeschool years represented collectively!!! 

Big Book of Homeschool IdeasBuy the book by clicking on any of the images above or by clicking this link. It is available to view on any computer or mobile device including your Kindle or other handheld reader.

Fun Ways to Play with Chalk & Pinning Party

(This post may contain affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosure policy.)

Welcome to the Toddler & Preschool Moms Pinning Party! I invite you to join in the fun, sharing your favourite pins and checking out all the fabulous ideas that are shared!

This week in our life is an exciting one as I’ll be going camping for the first time in 14 years. I’m the least outdoorsy person on the planet so it’s going to be a big stretch for me but the kids are really excited! It’s an even bigger week in the life of my co-host Angela, as she is expecting her third son any day now!

We are featuring some fun ways to play with chalk. These all look like they would be so much fun! My kids love playing with chalk whether it’s just drawing on the sidewalk or writing on our chalkboard door in the homeschool room. I’m sure they would enjoy all of these ideas.

Fun Ways to Play with Chalk, as featured on the Toddler & Preschool Moms Pinning Party

Outdoor Slate Chalkboard from Dabbling Momma

Chalkboard Table from One Mindful Mom

Prism Play and Chalk Art from Left Brain Craft Brain

IMPORTANT TO NOTE: By linking up, you are giving us permission to use a photo (with proper link to you!) to use in a featured collage.For this week’s pinning party, you can link up to 3 pins (or posts if you prefer) relevant to parenting toddlers and preschoolers. This can be anything from activities to child-friendly snacks to parenting tips. Then, visit some of the other pins linked up to get new ideas and help others find these great ideas too by repinning! Sharing the love by pinning your favourites really helps everyone.

Toddler & Preschooler Moms - THE place to find family friendly ideas!The Toddler & Preschool Moms Pinning Party is THE place to come to find all the best ideas from Pinterest each week. You can find the pinning party on the following blogs:

Angela Teaching Mama

Sharla The Chaos and The Clutter

Last week’s most clicked posts were:

Bird Nature Study Printables and Resources from Our Adventure Story

‘Stained Glass’ Sun Catchers from In the Playroom

Frozen Colour Mixing from Mini Monets and Mommies

If you were mentioned as a favourite, you are welcome to grab the most pinned button below.

The Chaos and The Clutter

<a href=”http://thechaosandtheclutter.com/archives/category/tender-moments-with-toddlers-preschoolers” target=”_blank”><img src=”http://thechaosandtheclutter.com/TPmostpinned.jpg” alt=”The Chaos and The Clutter” width=”125″ height=”125″ /></a>

You may also want to follow my Pinterest boards where I pin many of the ideas linked up here.


5 Busy Bags with Pipe Cleaners

(This post may contain affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosure policy.)

We love busy bags and have been using them for a few years now. I find that they are especially helpful in keeping my youngest occupied and having fun while I work with the older kids on homeschooling or other projects. They are also great for road trips or waiting rooms.

5 Busy Bags with Pipe Cleaners

These 5 busy bags can all be made with pipe cleaners and most of the other items required are things you likely already have around the house. These are very inexpensive to make and all are very simple.

Pipe Cleaner Bead String

Materials needed:

  • beads (shaped ones are cute to add but plain beads work too)
  • pipe cleaners
  • large resealable bag

Pipe Cleaner Bead String Busy BagThis couldn’t be simpler to make. Place some pipe cleaners and beads into a resealable bag and this busy bag is ready to go! Kids can enjoy making bracelets or doll necklaces or bookmarks while they practise their fine motor skills.

Potato Chip Can Pipe Cleaner Drop

Materials needed:

  • empty potato chip can (such as Pringles)
  • hole punch
  • coloured reinforcements
  • pipe cleaners in matching colours to the reinforcements
  • optional: scrapbook paper

Pipe Cleaner DropPunch holes in the lid of an empty potato chip can (I used a Pringles can). Add a coloured reinforcement sticker to each hole so that the colour surrounds the hole. Add pipe cleaners that are the same colours as the reinforcements into the can. I folded the ends of the pipe cleaners down so that they wouldn’t be sharp but for some kids this isn’t necessary. I also glued a piece of scrapbook paper around the Pringles can just to make it look nicer but this is optional.

Your child can then thread the pipe cleaners down the holes that match the colour. This is a great activity for fine motor as well as for learning colours.

Pringles Can Pipe Cleaner Drop

Magnet Busy Bag

Materials needed:

  • empty plastic bottle
  • pipe cleaners, cut into smaller pieces
  • magnetic wand

Magnet Busy BagTo create this fun activity, cut pipe cleaners into pieces and put them into an empty plastic bottle. Your child can then use the magnet wand on the outside of the bottle to move the pipe cleaners around and explore how the metal pieces in the pipe cleaners react to the magnet.

Pipe Cleaner Shapes

Materials needed:

  • pipe cleaners
  • paper
  • pen or marker
  • resealable plastic bag

Pipe Cleaner ShapesBusy bags don’t have to be complicated. You could create or use some fancy shape cards for this or you can do what I did and just draw simple shapes on paper. Your child can then try to replicate these shapes using one pipe cleaner or by combining several pipe cleaners. Store the pipe cleaners and shape papers in a resealable bag.

Pool Noodle Stack

Materials needed:

  • pool noodle, cut into pieces
  • permanent marker
  • pipe cleaners
  • resealable plastic bag

Pool Noodle Stack Busy BagTo create this busy bag, cut up a pool noodle and number the pieces with a permanent marker. Put them into a resealable bag with some pipe cleaners. Kids can either stack the pieces and work on their counting and number recognition or they can thread the pool noodles onto the pipe cleaners.

Just to give you an idea of how much of a pool noodle making this busy bag will use, with one pool noodle, I made this busy bag for Dancing Queen, made this busy bag for each of the ladies that came to my sensory bin swap, and made a Seaside Sensory Bin. So one pool noodle yielded five busy bags and a sensory bin!

Some of our other busy bags:

7 Busy Bags for Learning Colours

7 Busy Bags Made Using Paint Chips

If you are looking for more busy bag ideas, you may want to follow my Activity Bags board on Pinterest or if you are just looking for some great ideas for kids, you may want to follow my most popular Pinterest board, For Kids.

Follow Sharla Kostelyk’s board For Kids on Pinterest.

Activities with Repurposed Items

(This post may contain affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosure policy.)

Welcome to the Toddler & Preschool Moms Pinning Party! I invite you to join in the fun, sharing your favourite pins and checking out all the fabulous ideas that are shared!

This week, we are featuring activities made with repurposed items. Making things out of things you already have is a great way to save money and to talk to our kids about re-using to help the environment.Activities with Repurposed Items

Wine Craft from Mosswood Connections

Homemade Bird Feeder from B-Inspired Mama

Telescope Craft from In the Playroom

Simple Straw Beads from Look! We’re Learning!

Lemon Juice Bottle Duck from Well Nourished Nest

Bubble Wrap Games from Mosswood Connections

Creative Ideas for Yogurt Containers from Mi An Chi

IMPORTANT TO NOTE: By linking up, you are giving us permission to use a photo (with proper link to you!) to use in a featured collage.For this week’s pinning party, you can link up to 3 pins (or posts if you prefer) relevant to parenting toddlers and preschoolers. This can be anything from activities to child-friendly snacks to parenting tips. Then, visit some of the other pins linked up to get new ideas and help others find these great ideas too by repinning! Sharing the love by pinning your favourites really helps everyone.

Toddler & Preschooler Moms - THE place to find family friendly ideas!The Toddler & Preschool Moms Pinning Party is THE place to come to find all the best ideas from Pinterest each week. You can find the pinning party on the following blogs:

Angela Teaching Mama

Sharla The Chaos and The Clutter

Last week’s most clicked posts were:

Fizzy Glittery Playdough Gloop from Our Little House in the Country

The Best Montessori Printables from Racheous

Creative Ways to Use Yogourt Containers from Mi An Chi

If you were mentioned as a favourite, you are welcome to grab the most pinned button below.

The Chaos and The Clutter

<a href=”http://thechaosandtheclutter.com/archives/category/tender-moments-with-toddlers-preschoolers” target=”_blank”><img src=”http://thechaosandtheclutter.com/TPmostpinned.jpg” alt=”The Chaos and The Clutter” width=”125″ height=”125″ /></a>

You may also want to follow my Pinterest boards where I pin many of the ideas linked up here.