Homeschooling Survival Tips with Essential Oils

As we head BACK TO SCHOOL, I wanted to share a few of my favorite ways to use essential oils in our homeschool! (Keep reading to the end, I have a FREEBIE offer for you!)

First of all, you should know, I have teenagers. My particular teenagers don’t always buy into the oil thing OR want to be excited about what mom is excited about. ūüėČ So, just because I can’t always get my kids to participate or be excited about essential oils doesn’t mean that I can’t still use essential oils in our homeschool! {Insert my evil laugh…}

My 3 Favorite Tips for Surviving Homeschooling with Essential Oils

1. Diffuse, diffuse, diffuse.

This is the BEST way to use aromatherapy in your home and help your children to reap the benefits of essential oils without ever even touching a bottle themselves!

Diffusing is one of my TWO favorite ways to use essential oils in my home! Aromatherapy is real, y’all.

Did you know that our SENSE OF SMELL is the ONLY SENSE that goes straight to the limbic system?? Why does that matter? Do you know what the LIMBIC SYSTEM does in our bodies?!?!

The primary structures within the limbic system include the amygdala, hippocampus, thalamus, hypothalamus, basal ganglia, and cingulate gyrus. The amygdala is the emotion center of the brain, while the hippocampus plays an essential role in the formation of new memories about past experiences.

Our EMOTIONS and our MEMORIES are so very affected by SMELL. This is one of the biggest reasons why essential oils WORK so well to help support our emotional wellness. 

(Well, along with the fact that God made them and He is the ultimate Creator and a good Father who knew what His children would need!)

My favorite oils to diffuse on a school day: 

  • Orange (great for a mood boost)
  • Anything Citrus (citrus oils are HAPPY oils)
  • Peppermint (helps wake us up!)
  • Joy – need I say more?

2. Use blends in roller bottles.

I use several blends in roller bottles on a regular basis. A roller bottle top will allow you to just ROLL the oil straight onto your wrists, neck, bottoms of feet OR those of your children! Easy and quick!

These 2 particular blends I’m going to share with you are 2 of my VERY FAVORITES.

Focus blend. I use this focus blend with my son every morning before school. I also use it right before we tackle a tough subject like math!

Happy mama or Happy student blend. This blend is the perfect perfume for mama or the perfect way to bring some HAPPY and MOOD LIFTING scents into your home!

3. Oils for the stressed out mom.

The number 1 reason I use oils for surviving homeschooling is to SUPPORT MY OWN WELL BEING. Stress and anxiety has always been a part of my mothering. If you’ve read my blog for long, you know that depression was a part of my life for so many years. Not until I started really focusing on my health did I start to find ways to help manage my stress & mood better. Essential oils play a HUGE role in helping me to feel my best, less irritable, I don’t feel that panicky anxiety anymore. Praise God!

My favorite oils for stress:

  • Frankincense
  • Valor
  • Orange
  • Peace & Calming
  • Ningxia (not an oil but it is a supplement that is infused with oils! This is our super fruit juice supplement that helps me with stress management and energy!)

Free Roller Bottle of Your Choice

I am offering a FREE roller bottle AND a FREE reference app to anyone who joins my team & the Oily Sisterhood in the next 5 days! Click here to sign up. 

I will send you YOUR CHOICE: wellness blend in a roller bottle (with Thieves essential oil blend & lemon) or the focus blend mentioned above (vetiver, lavender, cedar wood) AND I will give you the Reference Guide to Essential Oils app that helps me EVERY DAY figure out which oils to use for which things I need help with!

When you join my team you need to purchase a starter kit. The starter kit is the PERFECT way to start the school year off right! Click here to get started with essential oils and the starter kit!  You not only get these oils pictured below but you get a DIFFUSER (yay!) and a bunch of samples as well! You will also gain entrance to the Oily Sisterhood led by Dr. Edie Wadsworth.

The oils in the starter kit will help support your immune system, digestive system, overall wellness, help with emotional balance, skin care, odor control and muscle soothing.

Let’s have our best school year ever, mamas! <3

Best Van Gogh Picture Books {Give Away}

Top 12 Picture Books About Van Gogh

I’m so excited to have THREE Van Gogh picture books to give away to THREE winners! Keep reading to the bottom of this post to find out how to enter!

Vincent, Theo and the Fox by Ted Macaluso is such a unique book for children! I love it! Your children will go on a fast-paced adventure all over inspired by Van Gogh’s paintings!¬†As young boys, Vincent and his brother Theo spy a mischievous fox sneaking into a farmer‚Äôs cart. Wanting to catch the furry creature, the brothers give chase through colorful fields, over land and sea, into the city and beyond ‚Äď settings illustrated by over 30 full color reproductions of van Gogh‚Äôs greatest works. On this imaginative journey, the boys ‚Äď and the fox ‚Äď learn about failure, success, and discovering how to be the best you can be when you grow up. It is also a sweet story about brotherhood. An epilogue gives a brief, factual biography of Vincent van Gogh.

Best Picture Books About Van Gogh

Best Van Gogh Picture Books

  1. Camille and the Sunflowers
  2. In the Garden with Van Gogh
  3. Vincent, Theo and the Fox: A mischievous adventure through the paintings of Vincent Van Gogh – I love this story that takes the reader on an adventure all over the place, from one Van Gogh painting to another!
  4. Vincent’s Colors ~ this is a very simple book with simple, short wording, but it’s also one of my favorites because the lines in this book are Vincent’s own words written about his paintings in letters to his brother!
  5. Katie and the Starry Night ~ These James Mayhew books are EXCELLENT, probably my favorite books to introduce children to these famous artists!
  6. Vincent Van Gogh: Sunflowers and Swirly Stars (Smart About Art)
  7. Visiting Vincent Van Gogh
  8. Vincent van Gogh & the Colors of the Wind
  9. The Van Gogh Cafe ~ this is more of a chapter book, 64 pages, but I had to include it because it was written by one of my favorite children’s authors, Cynthia Rylant
  10. van Gogh and the Sunflowers (Anholt’s Artists Books for Children)
  11. The Yellow House: Vincent Van Gogh and Paul Gauguin Side by Side ~ this is based on a true story and my art students and I had a great conversation based on this book after reading it together.
  12. Katie and the Sunflowers

Van Gogh Art Lessons

I have collected a few Van Gogh resources and art lessons here for you!

Teaching Art for the Non-Artist

Did you know I have a whole series of posts (enough for at least 1 semester!) on TEACHING ART for the non-artististic teacher or parent?

I am musical and creative, but I’m not an artist. However, I taught art at our homeschool co-op and LOVED it.

See all the posts here! 

Teaching Art with the Help of Pinterest

Give Away

THREE of you will win a copy of this picture book called Vincent, Theo and the Fox. U.S. Residents only.

Use the Rafflecopter to enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Armor of God Homeschool Class

Armor of God Class

This semester I am leading a small group of middle school girls through the Armor of God Bible Study by Priscilla Shirer. We are using some other resources, books and ideas that I wanted to share with you, too!

When I was growing up, though I grew up in church, I don’t remember hearing much about the devil, satan, spiritual warfare, etc. I’m so excited to share these TRUTHS with my girls and the other sweet girls in this class.

Items Needed for Class

For this class you will need the DVD set Armor of God (DVD Kit) to watch through the study. 

Each student will need:


Another book that we are using hand-in-hand with this study is called This Means War: A Strategic Prayer Journal. I originally found this for my son to use, but when I started reading through it, I realized it would be hugely beneficial for the middle school girls as well!

For our first class, we watched War Room together!

Our Semester Schedule & Syllabus

I am sharing the semester syllabus (15-week) that I used with my students, but you tweak your schedule and make it work for you!

The Armor of God Bible Study Syllabus PDF

Armor of God Homeschool Class

Pinterest Board

I have been collecting ideas for this Armor of God on Pinterest. Here is the board:

Follow His Mercy is New’s board Armor of God on Pinterest.

More & Resources

  This is a very cool video that your boys, especially, will love!  

We saw this idea on Pinterest and made it our own!  IMG_4315

Making Scripture Prayer Cards

One of the big things that Priscilla Shirer keeps mentioning to do in this Bible Study is to make PRAYER STRATEGIES. So one day for class, the girls and I found verses that applied to our lives and made pretty cards out of them! (The prayer cards you see pictured here are in the back of the member workbook for you to tear out and use!) We used colored pens,¬†washi tape, and¬†gelatos. Praying God’s Word is something I’m passionate about! I loved sharing with these sweet girls about this awesome way to pray! IMG_4311 ¬† IMG_4313

Guard Your Heart

“Above all else,¬†guard¬†your¬†heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Proverbs 4:23 We read this verse together in class and discussed how the Armor of God and learning how to do BATTLE with the enemy is practically how we GUARD OUR HEARTS. We talked about various ways to guard our hearts: prayer, reading God’s Word, memorizing God’s Word, listening to worship music, choosing our friends wisely, attending church, hanging verses around our home – like the cards we made, or pretty pictures and signs too! This sign from Dayspring fits PERFECTLY with our study and I LOVE hanging Scripture around my home! 5620021079

Free Homeschool Resources for High School


Free Resources for Homeschooling High School

**This is a little bit of a different post for me! But, in the fall I will have a FRESHMAN in high school. Yes, take a moment and freak out with me. So, after a little bit of freaking out, I’ve been doing lots of research and talking to friends who are a little bit ahead of me in this journey of homeschooling high school. I’m collecting resources and thought I should share those with you!**

I have this friend that I dearly love. She encourages me in my faith as well as in my parenting and homeschooling. I tell her that her methods are “out of the box” and she asks me, “WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?” LOL!

So, what do I mean by out-of-the-box homeschooling?

No textbooks. Or mostly no textbooks. ūüôā Or basing a class off of non-textbook related resources. Textbooks may be used, but as one of many tools used to help formulate the class.

For the most part, this friend of mine uses {mostly} FREE resources she finds on line or in her co-op. I have to tell you, she does a LOT of research for her homeschool family. She has 5 children, 2 of which are high schoolers. And you know what? I am pretty sure her kids are getting a better education than my own children. So, in a nutshell, she rocks.

I have collected so many of her resources saved and collected that I thought I should just do a blog post CRAMMED full of GOOD STUFF! I will divide up the resources by subjects.

Recommended: My friend recommends that you find textbooks (even college!) and make your syllabus based on the TABLE OF CONTENTS. Find free things (videos, PDFs, library books, activities) based on these topics and you can explore these things without even using the textbook as a main source for your class. Many of the links below came as a result of a topic found in the table of contents and looking for videos or sources online to use to teach that topic.

**If you have any resources you would like to be added to this list, please leave a comment with the link! Thank you!**

FREE Webinar to Help Parents with High School Transcripts 

Free High School Home School Resources

Full Curriculum

Ambleside Online –¬†¬†full, free, 12-year, Charlotte Mason-style curriculum.


**I’m sharing lots of links to resources that accompany the text she is using for her high school Chemistry weekly lab co-op class — here are the texts she is using to teach: Conceptual Chemistry¬†& The Joy of Chemistry¬†& The Cartoon Guide to Chemistry

Your Morning Basket


Health & Wellness & Body Systems (Biology)


Other Sciences



Literature, Writing & Poetry


Race to the Colosseum

Spanish (Foreign Languages)

Bible & Other (Misc.)


Free High School Homeschool Resources

Trying to Get Your Kids to Read More?

How to get your kids reading more

The New Year is the PERFECT time to dive into good books with our children.

Ahem. You’ve probably heard me mention a time or two that reading aloud has been the biggest disappointment of my homeschooling career. Reading is such a HUGE thing for me. I taught kindergarten. I collected picture books. I’m an avid reader myself. I love putting unit studies together based on books. But, when I go to read to my kids? They fight. They cry. They run around like wild animals.

I kid. Sort of. 

So, I share this resource with you because I NEED IT MORE THAN YOU DO. ha!

Are you familiar with the Read Aloud Revival? 

I have known about this resource for awhile, but it wasn’t until very recently that I really began looking at ALL that is available on this wonderful site.

First off — there are lots of FREE resources here and then there is a PAID membership. Keep reading…

But first, my amateur tips for you!

5 Tips for Getting Your Kids to Read More

5 Tips for Getting Your Kids to Read More

I’ve tried for YEARS. Believe me. These things don’t always work for my kids, but sometimes they do. ūüôā Please tell me in the comment what helps your non-readers to read more or even enjoy it a little more? These tips are really meant for READING ALOUD. But they could be used as bribery¬†suggestions for getting them to read more books in general as well.

1. Give them a yummy drink or treat. Yes, I let my kids have coffee or hot chocolate if it will help them listen to a book. Or chocolate. Chocolate almost always works.

2. Let them play. Some days this works beautifully and some days it doesn’t work at.all. Sometimes I tell them to build me something with Legos that pertains to the book. They usually enjoy this. If not legos, maybe some other quiet toy.

3. Split up the children. I know, I know. This is a PAIN. But, WOW, when I read to my only boy alone, he almost always eats it up! It is worth it to me to spend more time with them individually if my child will enjoy our time together reading!

4. Let them choose the book. This usually turns into a fight in my home. But, if I let Caleb pick out a book that just he and I will read, it works.

5. Have a reading challenge. I loved this challenge that the Read Aloud Revival put together for January! You could put one together for any month, though! Make sure you include prizes. Bribery works well in our home.

Free Read Aloud Revival Podcasts

My favorite FREE thing available to you is ALL THE PODCASTS. I may or may not have been binging on podcasts over Christmas break.

As of the writing of this post there are 37 podcasts available! That is enough encouragement to keep you going for months!

If you’ve never listened to Sarah, you’ve been missing out. You’re in for a treat, let me tell you! Sarah is an online friend of mine (through blogging) that I’ve loved for many years now. Back when she had 3 little ones that were very close in age to my 3 little ones, we commiserated over 3 babies in the home and homeschooling little ones.

Well, then Sarah had to go and show me up by going on to have THREE MORE, including a set of twins. I don’t hold that against her, though, because really…look at these gorgeous boys! Every time she writes a new post I have to click over and see if there are pictures.

Read Aloud Revival Membership

If you want encouragement, master classes, author interviews, resource guides, and a member-only forum with nearly 2,000 parents — then this membership is for you! At $14.95 a month, I think this is the PERFECT way to stay MOTIVATED and EXCITED about books in your home!

Listen to the titles of these classes that she offers to members: Turn Your Worst Homeschool Day into Your Best, Parent/Child Book Club: It’s Simpler Than You Think, Use the World’s Greatest Fairy Tales to Inspire Virtue in Your Kids, Have Engaging Conversations with Your Teens, Getting Started with a Poetry Tea Time, Building the Perfect Reading List, Turn Your Reluctant Teen into a Voracious Reader.

I think I need each and every one of those classes, what about you?

Those are included in the Read Aloud Revival Membership, along with a lot more good stuff.

Become a member!

Author Access Events

Sarah also offers the opportunity for YOUR CHILDREN to interact and ask questions of some of their favorite authors!

Here is a sample of one of these events with the author of Hank the Cowdog!

Look at who Sarah has coming up in these Author Access events for 2016!

Click here for membership information! 



More Encouragement from Amongst Lovely Things

I can’t leave this post without sharing Sarah’s book — that I need to read again, quite honestly. I was blessed to read one of the early copies of the book and it is just so, so good. In fact, I wrote a whole post about it at the time.

Teaching From Rest: A Homeschooler’s Guide to Unshakeable Peace

I don’t know about you, but I want that PEACE in my heart and in my homeschool. What about you?

You can also find the book or the Kindle version on Amazon. 
Free Quickstart Guide

If you’re new to Sarah, her blog and her resources, trying out this FREE guide is a GREAT place to start!

This guide will help you learn better ways to discuss books with your kids! I don’t know about you, but sometimes I ask the same questions every time we read. I need some creative ideas!


So, now that I’ve gushed about all these FABULOUS resources, I hope you will take a few moments to check them out for yourself!

You can start here: Read Aloud Revival