FREEbie: Shamrock Faux Stained Glass Craft

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Stained glass is beautiful, but not necessarily the most “kid-friendly” craft. So we decided to come up with an alternative … faux stained glass! Our FREEbie: Shamrock Faux Stained Glass is a fun craft for kids and adults and the end result is so pretty! Once complete, you can frame your creation or hang in a window to enjoy.

The inspiration for this stained glass comes from the legend of the shamrock. St. Patrick used the shamrock as a symbol to explain the Holy Trinity to the people of Ireland. Tomie dePaola beautifully shares the story of St. Patrick, along with the legend of the shamrock, in his book Patrick: Patron Saint of Ireland.

“When Saint Patrick was preaching about the Holy Trinity, the people could not understand that there was one God in three Divine Persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Patrick looked down, and growing at his feet was a shamrock. He picked it and held it up, showing that there was one stem, but three leaves. The people understood the Holy Trinity at once.” – excerpt from Patrick Patron Saint of Ireland by Tomie dePaolo

Tomie dePaolo’s Patrick: Patron Saint of Ireland does a beautiful job of sharing the true story of how a young boy went from being a slave to a faithful servant of God. Along with the biography of Saint Patrick, he also includes several legends: Saint Patrick and the Snakes, Saint Patrick and the Lost Horses, Saint Patrick and the Evil Coroticus, Saint Patrick and the Altar Stone, and Saint Patrick and the Shamrock.

Download our FREEbie: Shamrock Faux Stained Glass to celebrate the legend of the shamrock as you learn more about Saint Patrick and the reason we celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day!


Kat ReaderKat is the proud mama to 3 incredible boys. Her family began their homeschooling journey in 2006 when her oldest was in 2nd grade, and the twins were barely 6 months old. She’s passionate about researching resources and activities that allow her children to use all of their senses and learning styles, which she shares at World of Learning. In her “spare time”, she’s a Virtual Assistant, creating printables, logos, business cards and more, and providing editing services.  Connect with Kat on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google +.

It’s OK to Change Your Homeschool Curriculum


It's OK to Change Your Homeschool Curriculum

Well, you”ve made it to halfway through the school year.

How do you feel?


Need a break?

Are you satsified with your curriculum choice? Its ok if you’re not. Sometimes we get excited and feel we have to get the latest and greatest versions, do everything the manual says, go on every field trip etc. But to me that’s not homeschooling. If you’re feeling too rushed and the kids are getting burned out and overwhelmed, then maybe you should analyze your schedule and take a step back. We as parents have a responsibility to raise our children, teach them and nurture them. We feel pressured to do the very best far and beyond what we may be capable of and be subject to burnout.

This happened to me. Last year was rough. We were having a difficult time finacially, my husband had a bad bout of sciatica and then when everything seemed to calm down and we were getting back on our feet we got a letter in the mail. Our landlords wanted to sell the house we were liviing in for 7 years and wanted us to move. They only gave us 2 months. 2 months to pack up 7 years of stuff and try to find another place to live. We were devastated. It was the first house we ever lived in.  We were in turmoil. How could I possibly homeschool too? How could I follow the curriculum, househunt and pack? Well, I didnt.

We took a break. I was so stressed. The kids were stressed and I can’t imagine what my husband was going through. Children are learning all the time whether you have a curriculum or not. It’s their nature. They are naturally curious. If your kids are like mine, they love to ask questions. Sometimes that could lead to a trip to the library to look at books about what interests them, going online, there are so many possibilities. Even some television shows are educational and can maybe even give you a break while they are watching it. SCORE!!! Unit studies are also another avenue to use and also lapbooks.  It’s almost endless.

Just find what works for your family. It also helps if you find out what learning style your children are and go from there. For instance my son doesnt sit still for long periods of time so having an actual curriculum with alot of bookwork and seat work wouldn’t be a good fit for him. My daughter could sit longer but she will drift off into never-neverland if she gets bored. A curriculum with a lot of reading where she can’t be creative, wouldn’t be a good fit for her. Find what fits your child and your lifstyle. You want them to love learning.  

Fast forward 6 months: we are in our new home and getting back into our groove. I decided to ditch the curriculum we were using and do something else. Unschooling fits our lifestyle. And guess what? The kids are fine. We survived not using a boxed curriculum. And I’m a much better mother and teacher for it.

Integrating Technology Into Classical Education

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Integrating Technology into Classical Education


A classical education, such as I have written about in the past on Simply Homeschool Living, is a good ideal but I have found it is not practical for my family. My children are fascinated with STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) and electronics. Mouthy now spends half of each day programming! So I had to revamp my idea of what our homeschool was. The goal is to teach each child what s/he needs to know, in the way s/he learns best. Although at times scarily similar (finishing each other’s sentences!) Mouthy and Curly learn very differently. Often, the most effective method involves technology. Many homeschool books and blogs I’ve read discourage electronics, forbidding television and allowing limited computer use. I question this outlook. Our children will be set loose into a wired society. Although I agree media should be screened and limited in some respect, I can only encourage computer use in education. This is the way our kids will be working and living. They have to be prepared. At the same time, I believe a classical education is a necessity. Critical thinking skills, the ability to express one’s self clearly in writing, and an understanding of interconnections between history and today are highly valued in the market.

Here are some of the ways we integrate computing and technology into our classical education:

  • Minecraft: For the co-op Knowledge Fair, my daughter elected to create a “Digestion Themepark”. She is creating it in MineCraft, integrating computing and programming with anatomy.
  • DuoLingo: My daughter and I use the free DuoLingo app for language (she is learning French, I am practicing Spanish). My son watches Latin DVDs to hear pronunciation and conjugations.
  • KhanAcademy and YouTube: Some subjects are easier to understand with pictures. Khan covers math, science, and technology. YouTube has far too much available to let kids go on their own, but I can often find history and Bible movies. (Prescreen!)
  • Amazon Prime: In addition to a huge selection of lectures and videos, Amazon offers eBooks at little or no cost. There are over 10,000 free classical tomes for instant download.
  • Coding: Mouthy (my 13 year old son) loves coding. He has a Java programming course from, and he also uses a free platform called GameMaker Studios. I feel too many people do not understand how the electronic devices we depend on work!
  • MS Office: For my dyslexic daughter especially, typing allows her to process her thoughts quickly. (Dragon Naturally Speaking helps both of us, her with spelling and me with my hands).  We use PowerPoint presentations for book reports and other projects.
  • Television: We use a DVR to record programs that will aid in our homeschool. Our favorites are Big History, Through the Wormhole, and specials on History and H2. Some programs provide teacher’s or study guides, such as Lifetime’s The Gabby Douglas Story.

Although we want to be apart from the “world” (Colossians 3:1), that doesn’t mean we have to reject the things of the world out of hand. Through planning and monitoring, we can create a new classical education that encompasses the best of what the world has to offer.


Kathy LaPan is a homeschooling mom of two in Northern NY. She has an MBA in finance and teaches through Check out her blog at Simply Homeschool Living.

Indoor Kids Activities to Get You Through Winter

It’s winter, and the weather outside can be so dreary it makes the shortest days seem long. It is even harder for little ones who want to go outside and play! Harder for them means harder for us mom’s too! What can we do to keep them entertained (and out of trouble) while stuck indoors?

Bring the Outdoors in!So you have a blizzard going on or sleet or just really cold temperatures, but that doesn’t mean the kids can’t explore nature a bit. Put out a bowl and catch some snow, or sleet, or just find some sticks, leaves, pine cones (easier for you to pick up while the weather is tolerable), etc to bring in. 

Books! Little kids love books! When you encourage that they turn into big kids that love books, so read to them. Provide books that they can safely manipulate (board books for itty bitties). If you have readers in the house have them read to the littler ones; keeps them both occupied at once! And if no one has time to read to them at the moment try an audio book! I know my girls really enjoy audio books as well as radio programs like Adventures in Odyssey!

Games and Puzzles! Most kids enjoy playing games, and it helps them to learn how to behave when they win or lose! Obviously the games you play will depend on the child. You can try card games or board games or you can try games like Hide and Seek or I Spy or make up your own!  Puzzles can even be enjoyed by toddlers when you get some of the chunk wood puzzles. Bigger kids will enjoy solving bigger picture puzzles especially when they are interested in the picture!

Art! There are tons of amazing projects out there for kids to do; if you need specific ideas head over to Pinterest! But really, my kids love just making their own creations with colors and blank paper. Or stickers! All kids love stickers! If they are mature enough, you can also provide child safe scissors and glue! And if you are really brave give them some paint and glitter! My kids also have a fascination with pipe cleaners and beads!

Play Dough! What kid doesn’t like play dough? It can be messy at times, but it is great for building hand muscles as well as creativity. And you don’t have to buy it! You can make your own in most any scent you can imagine!

Sensory Bins! When my girls were little I had no idea these things existed! I have to admit since learning of them, I am hooked. They can entertain my kids for hours depending on what I put in them! You can make them very messy or mostly clean, and you can use what seems like an infinite number of themes! Need some ideas of where to start; check out my Sensory Page!

Forts! Maybe your kids need to be a bit more active! Why not let them build a fort? They can use couch cushions and blankets or just throw a blanket over a table for them to hide under. My girls love to hang a blanket from the top bunk of their bed to enclose the lower bunk for an instant fort! If you really want to get creative make them an obstacle course out of the same materials!


Dress up and Pretend Play! Get their imaginations going with a box of dress up clothes or accessories. This isn’t just for little girls either, little boys love to dress up! Mine likes to wear crowns and super hero capes, possibly at the same time. He also loves fake food and his little oven mitt. It is seriously cute to see a 2 year old boy carrying around a pan of pretend cookie with a little oven mitt on! The girls love their princess dresses and fairy wings and any jewelry they can get their hands on! They run around in super hero capes from time to time too though! If you have time (and room) you can set up pretend areas for them like a store, a doctor’s office, or a tea party.
Building! Lincoln Logs, Wooden Blocks, Magna Tiles, Legos….all of these (and probably many more I am unaware of) provide great entertainment for all those future engineers. They can follow pre-made instructions or make their own creations, and then they can use them with other toys (animals, dolls, trains, etc) to enhance pretend play!
Scavenger Hunt! These can be as simple or as intricate as you want. You can create maps, clues, trails, obstacles, and so on, or you can say find things that are green or animals that live on a farm or things that start with “t”, anything really! It gets really fun when you turn off the lights and have them find things with a flashlight!


Music and Dance! Music always lifts our spirits, so turn up the music! Dance with your little ones or let them make up their own dances and songs. Provide them with some small instruments, or pots and pans to make their own music. Have them create their own song, dance routine, or puppet show for you!

Experiment! This is the way I head a lot of dreary days; my inner scientist comes out and takes my kids along with it. Even the simplest baking soda/ vinegar volcano amazes kids over and over!  There are so many options in the kitchen science area; for a few ideas you can head over to my Science Page!



Cook! I have already mentioned my kids affinity for fake food; they love to pretend to cook. They also love to help cook for real! Let them add pre-measured ingredients or stir. My oldest loves cracking eggs. They all love watching the mixer and then watching through the oven door (with the light turned on). If you have some outdated spices give them to the kids along with some bowls, spoons, and water. They can pretend to cook their own delicacies!
Remember! Who doesn’t love pictures? What a better way for kids to learn about themselves and their heritage then by looking through pictures or old family movies! Plus great memories for you!

Cleaning! I know a lot of the above recommendations can be a bit messy, and sometimes you just need things clean. Lucky for you little ones really love to “help” too. We know their help isn’t always helpful though! The one thing all my kids like to do (that I never have time to do) is dusting! Give them a rag or a duster and show them how to use it! Your kid isn’t so sure about it? Make a dusting puppet from an old sock!

I know a lot of these suggestions are not amazing ideas; in fact many are very simplistic ideas that even I overlook sometimes! But in reality, we don’t all have the time need to come up with, prepare, and follow through with some of those more interesting ideas. I promise your kids don’t care how creative you can be; in fact sometimes they prefer the simple because it is more open to their own invention!

Ashley is a classic strong-willed child,  she fulfilled her lifelong dream of becoming a veterinarian is 2005 only to realize a new dream had formed, having a family with her husband (another strong-willed child). After much heartache, they were blessed with 2 daughters and a son, who are all proving to be just as spirited as their parents! Though she still works part-time, she fills her days off with fun activities and lots of learning with her three kids. And this is where the blog comes in, Life with Moore Babies, is where she documents the activities they do and the places they go in hopes that someone might be inspired to do some “fun learning” with their own kids. You can find Ashley on Facebook, Pinterest, Google +, and Twitter.

The Advent Adventure

The Advent Adventure

Christmas is my favorite time of year. I don’t know if it is because of the family, decorations, food or just all the festivities. In all the hustle and bustle of the season, however, the true meaning of Christmas can get lost. That is why we try to teach our children to look at all the symbols of Christmas as ways to remember what it is all about.

This year as we put the angel on top of one of our trees my oldest daughter (7 yrs old)  began to tear up. I asked her if she was alright. She replied that seeing the tree and the angel reminded her of how much she loves Jesus and how much He loves her. She added, that sometimes she forgets but that seeing all the decorations remind her of that. This got my wheels turning, and from that this post was born:  The Advent Adventure!

So, we all know what an Advent calendar is, right? This one is with a twist. It is 25 boxes filled with iconic Christmas symbols. Each has a tie back to Christ. It isn’t deep, just things to get the discussion flowing and our hearts and minds re-focused on Him.

Avent Boxes

Making it is simple. Just grab the items listed or make up some of your own. Then number boxes or sacks 1-25 and fill. Finally, simply open numerically from December 1 through the 25.

 DIY Advent Boxes

Dec. 1 – A small purple candle and the word HOPE. The first candle in the Advent wreath is Hope which invites us to think about the hope we find in Christ Jesus.

Dec. 2 – Evergreen Branch. This helps us to remember the renewed life we find in Him.

Dec. 3 – The Stocking is a symbol that God directs our day-to-day “steps.”

Proverbs 3:5-6 says, Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your paths. 

Dec. 4 – Angels… The significance of the angels is great. An angel announced the good news to Mary, Joesph and the Shepherds.

Dec. 5 – A Candy Cane is full of symbolism. Read the legend of the candy cane.

Dec. 6 – You can see that the shape of the Christmas Tree is a triangle, reminding us of the Trinity…Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Dec. 7 – I used a Christmas bow to represent Giving Gifts. God gave us the best gift that we could ever ask for. He gave us salvation through his son Jesus.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that who so ever believes in him will not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16

Dec. 8 – The Peace candle is the second candle in the Advent wreath. (It is also a purple candle.) This candle reminds us that Jesus is the Prince of Peace.

Dec. 9 – A white Dove reminds us of God’s promise to Noah, of Mary and Joseph’s offering upon Jesus’ presentation at the temple,  and of the peace we find through knowing Jesus.

Dec 10 – Christmas Greeting Cards are a reminder that we spread God’s peace and love to others. May the Peace of Christ Jesus be with you and your family!

Dec. 11 – Poinsettias are the official flowers of Christmas. This flower gets it’s red color as it begins to die. The redder the color the closer to death. As Jesus surrendered his life on the cross as an atonement for our sins, his blood flowed. His birth that we celebrate at Christmas wouldn’t have any significance without His death and resurrection.

Dec. 12 – Caroling is a favorite tradition of many. It is a way to share the good news of Jesus with other. Hark, the herald angels sing, glory to the newborn King!

Dec. 13 – We all deck our tree out with twinkling Christmas Lights. When you see the lights remember that Jesus is the light of the world, and that we are to reflect that light to those around us.

Dec. 14 – Let it snow, Let it Snow, Let it snow!  Snowflakes can remind us of God’s purity. He can also cleanse us and make us fresh through his love.

Dec. 15 – The third Advent candle is pink and know as the candle of Joy. This one should be obvious, so let your kids run with it!

Dec, 16 – Haul out the Holly…which is a prickly plant. But it can be used to symbolize the crown of thorns and drops of blood that Jesus wore during his crucifixion.

Dec. 17 – Wrapping gifts is a great way to reflect on the fact that so long ago in a stable, Mary wrapped Jesus in swaddling clothes. She was wrapping the greatest gift ever given!

Dec. 18 – Baking is a family tradition that many of us share. Did you know that Bethlehem literally means “House of Bread?” Fitting, since the Bread Of Life was born there!

Dec. 19 – We decorate our house inside and out for this special occasion. As we prepare our earthly houses with Ornaments, don’t forget that our bodies are the Lord’s temple.  We must do some cleaning and preparing for our eternal home also.

Dec. 20 – Jingle bells, Jingle bells, Jingle all the way! Hearing the sound of Bells should remind us to listen to God always.

Dec. 21- Nativity Scenes are a great way to pass on to our children the story of Christ’s birth, emphasizing Jesus’ humility.

Dec. 22 – God’s love for us is the reason we have the Christmas holiday. The fourth candle in the Advent wreath is the purple candle of Love.

Dec. 23 – Wise men followed a Star to guide them to the stable where Jesus lay. Today, we have his Word and the Spirit to guide us and direct us.

Dec. 24 – Santa may be a controversial topic in some households, but St. Nicholas was real. Through his love for others we can learn to show charity and compassion for one another.

Dec. 25 – A white Birthday Candle (Christ child candle) helps us to celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ:  the true reason for the season!


Resources used:

The Adventure of Christmas by Lisa Whelchel.

A Circle Of Love  by Caroline Pignat.

Advent.ures by Terry and Rich Steinke.

In the Storm

Psalm 29:1   

Give unto the LORD, O you mighty ones, 
Give unto the LORD glory and strength.


Psalm 30:12

To the end that my glory may sing praise to You and not be silent. 

O LORD my God, I will give thanks to You forever.

I am meditating on the words of David. 
 God is whispering; tugging at my heart. 

 I want to give glory to Him in all areas of my life – to bring Him glory in all I do and say. This is not a new idea. It’s an old lesson, learned time and again. Destined to show itself repeatedly throughout my life – because I turned it over to Him. My life is not my own. And because I try and fail. 


In His faithfulness, He continually shows me the way to dig deeper, see more of Him. 
It’s easy  to see Him in the beauty of His creation and to bring Him glory and honor in it. 

Psalm 19:1
The heavens declare the glory of God
And the firmament shows His handiwork.

~He whispers for me to dig deeper~


As I ponder these things – David comes to mind. Any time you study verses about praise and bringing glory to God – it’s likely to land you somewhere in Psalms – where you’ll  find David singing and worshiping – asking for help, protection, wisdom – and giving glory to God.  In looking at the life of David, a few things jump out at me. 
His faith was unwavering. He sought to honor God and give Him glory in all areas of His life. He messed up regularly. And, God called him a “man after My (His) own heart”. 

Acts 13:22

And when He had removed him, He raised up for them David as king,

 to whom also He gave testimony and said, ‘I have found David the son of Jesse, 
a man after My own heart, who will do all My will.’

My prayer today is that God will make me a woman after His own heart. I want to bring Him glory, and honor, and praise with my heart and my life. I want to show these things to my children and constantly point them to Him. It’s my desire to follow Jesus. 


God isn’t finished with me yet – but I’m responding to His whisper.

 I’m praising Him in the storm. 

I am praising God today – right here in this storm 


Kelli Becton2Kelli Becton – Homeschooling Adventurez (division of AdventurezinChildRearing)

Is a Jesus loving, homeschooling mama of 3 boys (biological and adoption).  They are an outdoor family, living and learning on the Gulf coast of Southwest Florida. Kelli was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis over 11 years ago, and although there is pain, there is also great joy. She and her husband, Mark, have always loved the outdoors and they spend as much time as possible adventuring with their boys. Exploring God’s creation is their favorite pass-time. Jesus is their passion, and homeschooling their boys is a blessing. Kelli loves to write and speak to other homeschool families, sharing life’s lessons and what God has laid on her heart, through their adventures.

Homeschool Survival: The Beginning

Hello to all my new friends!  Welcome to this awesome new site that I call Homeschool Survival!

I’m Sarah.  The owner of the site.

Sarah Robinson

I’ve been married to my awesome husband Ryan since 1996.  We have 6 children from teenagers all the way down to toddlers.  To say we’re busy is an understatement!


When I was a freshman in high school, my parents decided to homeschool me the following year.  Even though I left the public school scene kicking and screaming, it turned out to be the best thing my parents could have ever done for me!  I, in turn, decided that I was going to homeschool my own children.  All I had to do is get my husband to agree with me.  Thankfully, he eventually did agree and the rest is history!

Throughout the many years of homeschooling my own children, I’ve seen much heart ache among homeschool families.  Just because you’re a homeschool family, following the Lord’s leading in your educational decisions, you’re not exempt from hard times.  But, because we are homeschooling, we can adapt and change the way we do things to better match the needs of our children.

This site is meant to be a place of refuge for those who are going through hard times to come to and find that they are not alone.  It is also meant to be a place where we, as a collective group of homeschoolers, can share our stories about how we made it through the hard times.  Through these stories, you will see the mighty hand of God and how he cares for us in our times of need!

My desire is to support the struggling homeschooler.  Whether they’re struggling because they recently went through a death in the family or they’re struggling because their homes are chaotic and overly cluttered, my desire is to give them a virtual hug, letting them know that everything will get better.  You may have to work at it, but with God anything is possible!

In addition to the stories, you will find tips and tricks that will help you to maintain educating your children, even if all you really want to do is give up and crawl into a hole.

Every family has a story to tell.  You may not think that it sounds like anything special, but it could be exactly what another homeschool family needs to hear in their time of need!   If you’re interested in sharing your story with us, please email it to me at  For ideas of what you could write about, click here.


We will be having a launch party here on May 14th!  Many companies will be joining in and offering all subscribers of this site some awesome freebies and several great Giveaways as well!  You won’t want to miss it.  It’s going to be exciting!!  If you subscribe now, you’ll be sure that you don’t!



P.S.  I also blog at Sidetracked Sarah.  If you have a few minutes, stop by and say hello!