How to Create A Stress-Free Homeschool

How to Create A Stress-Free Homeschool


Reading Time: 3 Min. 8 Seconds

I sat down late at night and did a google search of how to homeschool. I had no idea that there were (what felt like) a thousand different ways to teach my child. Terms like Classical, Montessori, Waldorf, Unschooling, Charlotte Mason, and Eclectic overwhelmed my thoughts.


I hadn’t even started researching state laws and I already feel overwhelmed. Why I thought, does this have to be so complicated? I stared at the screen feeling alone, discouraged, and wishing I had someone to help make sense of this mountain of information.


Have you ever felt the same way? Have you and your spouse talked about homeschooling but you are not sure where to start? Are you already homeschooling but it’s just not working and you can’t figure out why?  Do you have questions about socialization, curriculum, schedules, and homeschool groups?  Do you worry about how to teach your child subjects that you bombed as a kid?


I talk with moms who are overwhelmed, confused, and stressed out after attempting to wade through all of the homeschool information out there.  There are so many different and often conflicting viewpoints that it can feel like trying to find a needle in a haystack.


Wouldn’t it be amazing if a veteran homeschool mom could walk beside you on this journey, simplifying all of the information out there into one spot?  Someone who could help you to craft your ultimate homeschool experience while saving you hundreds if not thousands of dollars on useless curriculum, hours of stress and anxiety, and needless work?



1. Professional Development 

2. What Is Zero To Homeschool? 

3. Why I Love It


4. Why It Might Not Be A Good Fit 

1. Professional Development 


Many of us are coming from one-income families and we are trying to homeschool on a budget.  We research, research, and research trying to make our resources stretch.  An online course can seem like a luxury.


Please, don’t make the mistake of putting your ongoing education at the bottom of the priority list.  As your child’s main teacher, you directly affect your homeschool environment.  When you are confident and operating out of a proactive instead of reactive stance, it changes how you homeschool.


Invest in your ongoing education, and save yourself (and your kids) years, buckets of tears, and thousands of dollars trying to piece together a homeschool structure that works.


2. Overview of Zero To Homeschool


Zero to Homeschool is a step by step online course that empowers moms with the hands-on training  to create a homeschool environment that is tailored to your family’s needs.


The course was created by a veteran homeschool mom; someone who answers your questions, encourages you in your role as a teacher, and fills you with the confidence you need to thrive as a homeschool mama.


The course is very comprehensive with 8 modules, 59 lessons, and three bonus workshops. The course is self-paced so you can take it at a time that works best for your schedule.


It teaches you everything from the importance of deschooling, knowing yourself and your family, homeschool styles and resources, how to plan your homeschool year, juggling home life and homeschooling, and so much more.


3. Why I Love It 

I was blown away at how comprehensive the  Zero to Homeschool course is. I kept startling my family, as I went through each module, yelling, “YES!” to each main point.



I just did Module 3 of Zero to Homeschool and I learned a lot. Now instead of allowing myself to get spread too thin with all the things we could do, I was able to refocus on our family’s key priorities.


What I love is that this course is honest about the strengths and pitfalls of homeschooling.  Kelly, the course creator, takes an overwhelming subject and simplifies it into bite-size pieces. I also love that it’s not just lessons but also practical activities that help you apply what you have learned to your homeschool.


For instance, she includes follow up questions to talk about the material with your spouse or friend. She also includes additional articles, and e-books so you can dive down deep into topics that might interest you.


4. Why It Might Not Be Right For You

  • If your homeschool is doing well. Woohoo! Go You!
  • If you are drawn to a very structured approach to homeschooling.


 You can Register and find out more information about the Zero to Homeschool course here



Are you wondering HOW do you actually get started homeschooling? Join our community of moms who want to invest in the lives of their children through homeschooling. I also created a 10 Tips to Finding Excellent Curriculum form to help you on your journey. 



What about you? What is the #1 thing in Homeschooling that is most challenging for you? Leave a comment, and don’t forget to follow Most Important Work on Pinterest! 

Amazing And Affordable Curriculum Ideas for First Grade

Amazing And Affordable Curriculum Ideas for First Grade


Reading Time: 10 min 32 sec


I don’t know about you, but I love planning for a new school year.  It can feel like a treasure hunt as I comb through various places to find just that right tool to help learning come alive for my child.  I have compiled a list of my favorite resources for a Pre-K and 1stGrade student below.


As interest-led, eclectic homeschoolers, we seem to thrive on borrowing from all the different homeschooling approaches and blending it up into something that fits our family just right.  (Yes, it does sound like we are the smoothie of the homeschooling community).  


I have found that boxed curriculum doesn’t work for my family. I would find a curriculum that I thought would be a good fit, shell out a couple hundred dollars, only to find to out that I loved the math, was “ehh” about the social studies, and absolutely hated the language arts program.


I came to understand that I know my child, I know their strengths and weaknesses, I know the vision and values of my homeschool, and I have found that I am the best person to hand select curriculum. By choosing your own curriculum, you also get a lot more control over the price tag.


Our goal is to foster a love of learning in our children. We do that by surrounding them with stacks of beautiful books, interest-led unit studies, interesting people, a plethora of games, real-world experiences, and tons of time spent outdoors.


We do use some textbooks, but we don’t feel compelled to finish each one for the sake of completion. We watch carefully for signs of burnout, and might switch to a different tool or resource midway through the semester.


We also try to “teach” most subjects together as a family (with the exception of reading lessons).  My children are close enough in age that this really worked well for our family. I say “teach” because a lot of what we do is very interactive, so it also fits our Pre-K child’s attention level.  I have never put together a formal teaching plan for Pre-K because I found that they pick up what they need to know just by living life. smile


Here is an overview of some of our top affordable curriculum resources for a 1stgrade (and Pre-K) student.  I have only listed the resources that we have LOVED!


I hope this serves as some inspiration for your homeschool adventures this fall! Happy Treasure Hunting! 


1.    Language Arts

2. Mathematics

3. Science

4. Social Studies

5. Bible 

6. Art & Music 

1. Language Arts 

Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons


This is such a stress-free, zero prep, way to teach a child to read. This book employs the steady, drip, drip, drip mentality. IT WORKS! I love how this book includes not only reading but writing lessons as well.  Worth its weight in gold! 

Poetry For Young People

This is an entire series, that we have used as a part of our weekly poetry tea times. Each book is a compilation of age-appropriate poems from famous poets throughout the years. The Emily Dickenson book was our favorite.


Read-Aloud Rhymes For the Very Young

This was a fun book that I would use in addition to the Poetry for Young People series as a part of our poetry tea time.  This book really helped to spark an interest in poetry in my children. They found it very engaging and often hilarious.


Cahier d’ecriture-Handwriting

I have always loved the beautiful style of handwriting from France. This book is all in French (you don’t need to know French to use it) and it teaches the fundamentals of great handwriting.  My children have used it a little bit each day and it has so improved their handwriting skills. 



Story Cubes


This is a fun game that uses visual prompts to help foster the imagination and inner storyteller in your child. There are nine cubes with six images on each cube. Each person rolls the cubes and creates a story based on the images. My children have laughed their way through this game.



We read literally hundreds of books, so it would be impossible to list them all. Here are a couple of our top favorites from this past year.


A World Full of Animal Stories

 This is a beautiful book full of folk stories from different countries around the world. This book not only sparked great discussions but also introduced the children to different cultures and ways of thought.  One of my children literally couldn’t get enough of this book. Win!

Favorite Audio Books


Audiobooks are my favorite way of not only expanding my children’s vocabulary but introducing them to great literature. Children can comprehend far above their own current reading level when they don’t have to take the time to sound out the words. Start small with Curious George, Madeline, or Amelia Bedelia, and transition into longer books like A Bear Called Paddington.  I have found that Audiobooks (when you have young children) work really well in the car when you have a captive audience.


Foreign Language


YouTube was our friend this year. We loved utilizing a Year of French with Tonton videos.

2. Math

Logic Lollipop Series

 I knew I wanted a supplement to our many logic games. WOW, these books are image-based, fun and perfect for young children. We actually went through the entire series in one year (there are three books) because my children were obsessed with it. LOVE!



Math Workbooks

We used several math workbooks that I grabbed from our local Dollar store. The workbooks were not necessary (we teach math many different ways) but my kids asked for them, so why not!  They were short, fun and covered the basics of simple math.  You can’t beat $1.00 for a math workbook! 

Life of Fred Series 

Is an amazing alternative to a traditional math book. Written in story form, it follows the adventures of a 5-year-old prodigy named Fred who shows children how math applies to real life.  At the end of every chapter, there are several math questions that pertain to the lesson for your child to answer. My children love this series and beg for more “Fred, Please”!


Here is a list of our favorite math games from this year.

Math Picture Books

(Check out this article for a list of our favorite Math Picturebooks)

  1. Science

The Periodic Table: Elements With Style  

My children wanted to learn more about the Periodic Table thanks to a Magic School Bus Episode on Chemistry. This is a fun book that has one-page profiles for each of the elements. My children loved finding the elements on the Periodic Table each day. Great Resource!

Magic School Bus Chemistry

This kit sparks a love of chemistry. It includes 51 experiment cards and tools, and an observation notebook to record results. You do have to provide some of the supplies. My kids had so much fun conducting experiments. This is a great way to encourage a love of science.




Wildcraft is a group game where players learn how to identify wild herbs. This is a cooperative game where everyone works together to travel to the top of the mountain to collect Huckleberries for Grandma.

Throughout the game, players run into various first aid crisis, and they learn how to identify 27 different wild plants and how they can be used to treat various medical issues.  This a great game that my children have played again and again.

Here are some more of our favorite STEM games.


Here are our favorite shows that spark a love of Science. Animated Hero classics has dvds for a number of different scientists.


4. Social Studies

Around the World Stories

We LOVE AWS! This 30-minute audio story series focuses on a new country and culture every four weeks. It combines geography, social studies, history and language arts in an engaging format that sticks with your children.

This has been one of the best resources I have ever purchased for homeschooling. My children ask MULTIPLE times a day to listen to their favorite stories. You can choose from three different packages (Europe, Asia and Artist series).  It also includes a parent guide for additional resources. LOVE!!


Give Your Child the World: Raising Globally Minded Kids One Book At A Time

 This book is a must-have resource for every homeschooling family. It is an amazing time saving tool that helps you gather the best children’s literature from around the world. It is full of curated book lists that are based on age range (4-12) and organized by country.

Draw Europe

This is a wonderful (and FUN) step by step tool to not only memorizing but learning how to draw Europe. We used this book over a semester and would draw a couple of countries a day. It has been amazing to see how much my child has become familiar with European geography. This is only one book in an entire series on different countries and continents



Travel With Kids

We LOVE this series. In Travel with Kids, you follow a family with two little boys who travel all over the world.  Children are exposed to different cultures all from the comfort of home. My children want to travel the world due to this series.

4. Bible

My First Hands-On Bible

I appreciated this children’s version of the Bible because instead of paraphrasing it actually uses Biblical text.  This was a well-loved Bible for many years.


Praying In Color Kids Edition

Have you ever heard, “But I don’t want to pray? I don’t know what to say? I’m embarrassed to pray out loud?” This is a revolutionary resource for children who want another try another way to spend time with God. 

The author Sybil Macbeth gently leads children in understanding what prayer is, common prayer problems, how to pray, and step by step of how to pray using art.  Love it!


What’s In the Bible Series

These videos are part of a 13-part series that helps kids big picture look at the Bible as a whole. Phil Vischer (the creator of Veggie Tales) pulls out all the stops as he invites kids to wonder, explore and discover the Bible in a whole new way. It is full of fun characters, interesting questions, great animation, and of course fun music.


Nest Bible Animated Classics

We have really enjoyed the Animated Bible Classics. These videos are a great complement to devotional time as they allow children to see Bible stories happen right before their eyes. There are thirty-six different stories and they are geared towards ages kindergarten-third grade.

Picture Books

The Boy And The Ocean

 Oh, my word, hands down, probably my favorite Christian picture book. The illustrations are beautiful, the words are life-changing, and what an amazing book to pull out at bedtime.   The story draws parallels between Gods creation and his vast love for his children.

God’s Great Love for You

 This book is all about Gods overwhelming love for his kids told in such an imaginative way. Written by Rick Warren, the book shows a young girl on different adventures discovering God lavish love. The illustrations are adorable and though the book can be read to girls and boys, the book is specifically geared towards young girls.

Shh… God Is In the Silence

This book is a great introductory book to one of the ways that we hear God’s voice in the silence. In a time where we value filling up every available moment with something, this counter-cultural book reminds us that God was in “a gentle, quiet whisper”.  (1 Kings 19:11-12).

  1. Art-Music

The Amazing Musical Instruments

This book is very comprehensive and is a wonderful foundation for understanding the history and sounds of major instruments.

This resource really breaks down the parts of a classical orchestra into bite-size pieces and allows you to really appreciate the contribution of each instrument.  This is an interactive book that comes with a CD-ROM so you can hear different sounds and songs from different instruments.

Impressionism By Linda Bolton

This is a great behind the scenes look at Impressionism. Each artist has one or two pages full of background info, and samples of their most famous works of art. We would focus on one or two artists a day and then supplement with more hands-on activities. Great resource!



Van Gogh and Friends Art Game

This is a fun memory game that focuses on Post-Impressionists.  We use this as a memory game, although it is designed to be played like Go Fish or Concentration.   It really helps the kids learn the names and works of art of the different artists. It covers Van Gogh, Gauguin, Cezanne, Seurat, Rousseau, and Toulouse-Lautrec.


Classical Kids Series

This is a phenomenal series!  You get to know different classical composers, through a captivating story set to that composers’ music. This series has helped spark curiosity, and a love of classical music in the hearts of my children.  We listen to this series, again, and again!


Beethoven’s Wig

This is a great sing-along series set to classical music. The lyrics are filled with facts about the composers and are hilarious.  My children can now identify classical music because of this amazing series.

Kids Meet Composers

This cd covers twenty different songwriters and their most famous pieces. Each song starts with a dialogue between the narrator and children, where you learn some history and fun facts about the composer. This is an amazing resource if you are studying various composers.


Picture Books


Anholt’s Artists-Laurence Anholt

This author through fun stories brings to life famous artists throughout history. We have learned so much about art and history from this series. I love this series because the author does an amazing job of sparking curiosity, and a love of art in children.


Katie and Ella Bella Series By James Mayhew 

James Mayhew is another great author/illustrator that makes classical art, and ballet accessible for kids. They will never see art as boring after growing up reading his stories about the adventures of Katie and Ella Bella.  The illustrations from the Ella Bella Ballerina series are stunning. An amazing resource for helping children engage in and love art history.

Drawing Books



 What about you? What are your favorite ways to foster a love of learning at home?  If you try any of these resources, let us know! Leave a comment, and don’t forget to follow Most Important Workon Pinterest!



How to Unlock Hidden Secrets to Affordable Homeschooling

How to Unlock Hidden Secrets to Affordable Homeschooling

                                                            Reading Time: 4 min 21 sec

You are interested in homeschooling but one of the huge hurdles is the budget. Last time you checked, you are not Bill Gates, and you have kids that are determined to eat you out of the house.


In this day and age where the majority of households are dual-income, you wonder how on earth anyone can afford to homeschool? When you think about the potential cost of curriculum, let alone all the co-ops, field trips, and activities, your mind begins to explode. The only thing you can come up with is that homeschooling families have to be secretly rich.  


I am here to tell you that no, not all homeschoolers are rich, not by long shot. They are just normal families with mortgages, kids needing braces, and spending their extra money buying diapers in bulk.  The difference is that they made a huge decision to adjust their way of life in order to meet their family’s values.  


It can feel overwhelming when you begin a new journey, especially when finances are involved. Unlike public school, the US government does not offer any assistance for homeschoolers in the form of tax breaks etc.  You are responsible to cover the cost of your child’s education.


It is hard to make life adjustments if you do not know your end goal. Have you sat down and asked yourself (or with your spouse) what are our values as a family? And then follow that up with asking the question does homeschooling match up our vision and values for the future of our family?


So how do you do it?  How do you homeschool on a typically one income budget?


 1. Shop Smart

2. The Local Mom Scoop


3. Free Curriculum 


4. Utilize Free Trial Offers

1. Shop Smart 

You can always get good deals on school supplies in August, but what about in freezing cold of February?  The Dollar store is my go-to resource for all school supplies, art supplies..chocolate…that you use all the time.  I don’t know about you, but we always have a shortage of drawing paper.  What would cost four dollars or more somewhere else is a steal at the dollar store.  

There is a whole section just dedicated to teacher and education supplies.  It is full of blow globes, clocks, workbooks, flashcards, and games. You never know what you are going to find, so I make sure to check out my local dollar store prior to making a purchase somewhere else.  With the amount of school and craft supplies my kids go through on a daily basis, I have saved the fortune. Yay!


Here are some of my favorite finds:

  1. Activity Books (Math, Language Arts, Spelling etc.)
  2. Acrylic Paint
  3. Drawing Paper
  4. Handwriting Paper
  5. Pencils/Pens
  6. Puzzles


2. The Local Mom Scoop

There can be a wealth of free or low-cost classes and field trips if you know where to look in your town.  Local mom websites that list upcoming events in your town are invaluable to homeschooling affordably.


 You can find them by searching for free activities for kids or by also looking for a local kid activity magazine located in the FREE magazine section at your local grocery store (typically by the door).  This is my #1 Resource for finding AMAZING free or cheap activities to do with my kids.


Second, search for local homeschooling Facebook groups. Join the main homeschooling group for your area and then one or two subgroups that match or have a similar teaching philosophy to yours.  Those groups are a great resource for letting you know of upcoming homeschooling events in your area.  


Third, check your local performing arts websites for field trip opportunities.


Here are some low-cost field trip ideas to check out locally.

  •  Museums– Free Art Classes, Art History, Science Classes
  • Performing Arts– Free Symphonies, ballets, classes
  • Zoo– Free Days
  • Science Center– Free Science classes
  • Historical Landmarks
  • State Parks– Nature centers, classes,
  • Places of business– Factory Tours, etc.


3. Free Curriculum 

I HATE spending hundreds of dollars on curriculum that I don’t end up using (frankly I hate spending money, period).  I am so thankful that I discovered that you can borrow curriculum for FREE at the library. You heard me! I know Christmas just came early, right?!  (See this article for step by step instructions)


They have a number of not only mainstream textbooks, streaming documentaries, and free software (ROSETTA STONE, PEOPLE), that are available. If your library doesn’t have the resource, they can request it from a web of libraries all over the US.


I have found not only found reading, grammar, logic, math, science, and religion books but have saved hundreds if not thousands of dollars. Woohoo!


 Here are just some examples:

  1. Living Books for every subject
  2. Audio Books– Music, Languages, Math, Social Studies etc. on CDs
  3. Curriculum– Textbooks, and Software


*Check out this post for more info and step by step instructions to request your free curriculum.


4. Utilize Free Trial Offers

There are some amazing resources that you can check out for FREE (many with zero credit card required).  Whatever topic you are diving into, check to see if there is a free trial for a resource you could use to supplement your curriculum. These resources could be apps, streaming video, audiobooks or classes, etc.


This is a HUGE resource because it SAVES YOU MAJOR MONEY! No one wants to buy the latest and greatest resource only to have it sit on a shelf (waiting to be returned) because it doesn’t fit the needs of your family.


I have personally tried out free trial offers to art, social studies, math, reading, piano, language programs. Sometimes the trials are temporary and only happen a couple of times a year, and others are a permanent part of their marketing.  


You can find such resources by a quick Google Search and by following your favorite homeschool bloggers (insert shameless plug* You can hear about more awesome homeschool resources and follow Most Important Work below* ) If you find a resource that you are interested in, sign up for their email list, be patient, and a couple of times a year, they will send out free (or close to free) specials.


Are you wondering HOW do you actually get started homeschooling? Join our community of moms who want to invest in the lives of their children through homeschooling.  I also created a 10 Tips to Finding Excellent Curriculum form (grab it below) to help you on your journey. 

You Got this Mom!


What about you? What is your number one frustration when it comes to figuring out this homeschooling adventure?  Leave a comment, and don’t forget to follow Most Important Work on Pinterest!

How to Avoid these Five Homeschooling Mistakes

How to Avoid these Five Homeschooling Mistakes


Reading Time: 5 min 22 sec

Are you a new to homeschooling or in the thick of figuring out how to start? Are you dreaming of newly sharpened pencils, child prodigies, and Von Trapp family adventures?  We are going to come alongside you on your journey and talk about the five common mistakes first-time homeschoolers make and how YOU can avoid them (and save hundreds of dollars).  


I have spoken with a lot of new homeschool parents over the years who are overwhelmed, frustrated, burned out and about five minutes away from shipping their kids off to boarding school in Switzerland. They start to wonder about their ability, sanity, and if homeschooling is really doable for the average mom.


Homeschooling is very possible but sometimes we can unintentionally shoot ourselves in the foot by making decisions out of a lack of experience.  We need people to come alongside us and help us through the minefields of those early days so that we can go back to enjoying those amazing family moments.  


We are going to be addressing these 5 common homeschooling mistakes today:


 1.Homeschooling without Direction

2. Duplicating School at Home


3. Bowing to a Teaching Philosophy


 4.Requiring Too Much Too Soon


5.A Boxed Curriculum is the Answer 


1. Homeschooling without Direction

We have an endless supply of amazing resources for homeschooling mamas and their students. It can get very easy to get caught up running to the latest teaching philosophy, schedule, curriculum, or activity hoping that it will solve all of your learning woes. Now I am all for exploring new teaching resources (We love you, Life of Fred) but it can get very exhausting and can give your kids whiplash if you don’t have a roadmap in place to help you figure out if that latest thing fits your family.


You need to know what your vision and values are because they influence the goals and atmosphere of your homeschool.  You can’t set or accomplish your goals if you have no idea what you are aiming at.  


 For instance, does your vision for the future include children who grow up to be lifelong learners, self-starters, out of the box thinkers and mighty followers of Jesus?  Does one of your values include forming quality family relationships?  


If so, the decisions you make, your teaching style, activities, schedule, curriculum choices, and atmosphere all should flow out of your vision and values.  They are a roadmap to a successful homeschool and when used properly, can help prevent burnout. Do not move forward without taking the time to talk over your vision, values, and goals with your spouse or a friend. 


When things get challenging, instead of completely changing direction, and giving into fear and self-doubt, you can rest in the knowledge that you have an overall plan in place. By establishing your vision, values, goals, and atmosphere ahead of time it allows you to not have to make big decisions in a time of crisis.


2. Duplicating School at Home

You have just decided that you are going to homeschool and you are scared but also super excited. You rearrange your home, choose a homeschooling room, and rush out and buy (borrow or steal) desks, chalkboards, and inspirational posters for the walls.  Three days into your homeschool adventure you realize that no one wants to sit at cold, hard desks when they can be snuggling on the couch reading books with mom. 

Homeschooling is not public school at home.  Homeschooling is a way of life.  If your only exposure to education has been in a corporate setting, it might be helpful for you to think of homeschooling as private tutoring (with a lot of snuggles, family adventures and laughter thrown in).  

Homeschooling is not just when you open your “school books” but all throughout the day, at the grocery store, gardening, listening to audiobooks in the car, while doing the budget, and fixing the sink, you are giving your children the benefit of real-world experience.  


Save yourself tons of money, homeschool regrets (and your children a lot of frustration) by taking advantage of the benefits of teaching your children at home; one on one time together, comfy couches, and real-life learning to find out and own what works for you and your family.


3. Bowing to a Teaching Philosophy 

As you start to research homeschooling it can feel like there are HUNDREDS of teaching methodologies out there. You are told that time in nature, memorizing information, giving them time to play, structure, no structure, textbooks, only living books, experience, and facts are crucial to your child’s success in life.


The options can not only feel overwhelming but restricting to a new homeschool parent.  You get sold on a teaching philosophy and jump in 100% only to find out that it doesn’t quite fit your family.  I have seen moms ignore the downsides (every philosophy can have negatives) and keep pressing on only to feel miserable because it is not a perfect fit.


You can save yourself time, energy, frustration, and money by realizing that you will need to adapt any philosophy to your family not your family to the philosophy. This is where knowing your vision, values, goals is crucial to setting the tone of your homeschool. Listen to your mom instincts, and don’t feel pressured to teach in a certain way if it doesn’t fit the needs of your family.


4. Requiring Too Much Too Soon 


You are excited to get started on your homeschooling adventure. You sit down with your five-year-old and dive into your new stack of curriculum.  The first couple of days are wonderful, and things are moving along brilliantly until suddenly they aren’t.


Your child whines when you get out the books, you find yourself constantly encouraging him to do one last problem or activity. You just find yourself working harder than they are to complete your list of studies for the day. You feel frustrated, demoralized, and you wonder if this homeschooling really works in real life.

Save yourself (and your child) frustration, by focusing on your values (strong family relationships, fostering a love for learning, character development etc.)  instead of focusing on checking “educational” boxes.  

When you have a ten-thousand-foot view of the future, you won’t get hung up on whether or not you completed the allotted math problems for the day.


Enjoy these early years, they won’t last forever. Encourage your child’s curiosity and rest in the knowledge that they are constantly learning by living life with you at the perfect pace for them.    


6. A Boxed Curriculum is the Answer 

You spend hours researching a comprehensive curriculum, you want to make sure that every base is covered, and that your kid won’t end up going to college, not knowing how to do long division. You find a curriculum that you think will be a good fit, shell out a couple hundred dollars, only to find to out that you love the math, are “ehh” about the social studies, and absolutely hate the language arts program.  


It is rare (and I mean RARE) that a boxed curriculum will meet all of your needs. You know your child, you know their strengths and weaknesses, you know the vision and values of your homeschool, and you are the best person to hand select curriculum.  Save yourself hundreds of dollars (do you see a theme here) by choosing the best resources for your child.


When you handpick curriculum, not only is it a smaller monetary investment but if it doesn’t work, you aren’t stuck with it (trying to get your money’s worth) or desperately scrambling to replace an entire curriculum midway through the school year.


Are you wondering HOW do you actually find a great curriculum for each subject? I created a How to Find Excellent Curriculum checklist (grab it below)  to help you on your journey.

You Got this Mom!


What about you? What is your number one frustration when it comes to figuring out this homeschooling adventure?  Leave a comment, and don’t forget to follow Most Important Work on Pinterest!

How to Stop the Tears with 50 Out of the Box Math Resources

How to Stop the Tears with 50 Out of the Box Math Resources

Reading Time: 4 min 40 sec


I hated math after second grade. Math in K through 2nd-grade was full of fun pictures, simple problems, and little challenges that grabbed my interest.  3rd-grade hit and so did purely text-based learning, and my joy of problem-solving DIED! 


If your child is anything like me, math can feel overwhelming, and it can be a struggle to draw connections between solving difficult math problems and how that info will be used in real life. It’s frustrating to teach a child who obviously would rather be doing anything else (even visiting the dentist) than spend time learning math.


My overriding goal is for my kids to fall in love with learning. No matter their strengths and weaknesses I want to encourage them to wrestle with all aspects of education. I do that by not sticking to one way (a math textbook) of communicating concepts but by taking a multi-tool approach.  Imagine teaching your child math concepts through playing a game, reading a story, listening to music, beating levels on an app, mastering brain teasers, or by solving a problem in a real life application?


There is a self-motivation that arises when kids make direct connections between what I am learning today, and if it can be applied directly to my life. Who doesn’t want to practice logical thinking, if they know it can be used to win at a game or to make purchases with their money?


Creating an atmosphere of fun, family relationships and multi-tool approaches allow you, as the parent to foster a love of learning at home.

In this article, we will be talking about:


  1. How to Make Math Fun

  2. How to Make Math Practical

  3. How to Make Math a Treat

  4. How to Make Math Unforgettable

  5. How to Make Math an Adventure

Make Math Fun 


Forget math drills and grab a board game. As your child practices their math skills, your family builds lifelong memories, and connections are drawn between math and FUN! I have seen a significant improvement in my children’s math skills and abilities to think logically after playing these board games!Here are a couple of math board game suggestions to get you started:


Quoridor(pronounced like Corridor) blew me away, with its modern, well made, wooden set. You want to leave this game out as a decorative piece, it’s that impressive. This game is a little on the higher end of the price tag, but WELL WORTH IT (I have already bought it to give away as gifts)! It takes anywhere from ten-twenty minutes to play the game so it is easy to use when you only have a short window of available time.  I have seen a significant improvement in my children’s ability to think logically after playing this game!


    1. Quoridor                              Logic
    2. Math Dice Jr.                       Math
    3. Rush Hour                            Logic
    4. Brain Builders                      Logic
    5. Sum Swamp                         Addition
    6. Money Bags                         Money
    7. Sequence                            Logic
    8. Clumsy Thief                       Addition-Money


Make Math Practical

What seems to be the biggest hang-up with Math curriculum is the question, “How does this apply in real life?”  This issue seems to grow throughout upper elementary years and beyond. Here are some amazing alternatives to traditional textbooks. What I appreciate is that children get to see immediately a direct correlation between math concepts and real-life application.


9. Life of Fred Series

Is an amazing alternative to a traditional math book. Written in story form, it follows the adventures of a 5-year-old prodigy named Fred who shows children how math applies to real life. At the end of every chapter, there are several math questions that pertain to the lesson for your child to answer. My children love this series and beg for more “Fred, please”!   There is an elementary, middle school, high school series, and college.


10. Bedtime Math Series

Bedtime math is a three-part book series aimed at Pre-K- 2nd-grade students. This book is full of funny questions designed to make math fun for kids.  I love that each question only takes about 5 minutes to answer so it’s easy to add to any part of your day. The genius of this series is that it offers three difficulty levels for each problem so the whole family can participate together.  



11. Logic Lollipop Series

I started Logic Lollipop in 1st grade and Pre-K for my kids, and they fell in love with the books. What makes Logic Lollipop unique is that it is picture based book instead of text-based. This makes this series perfect for pre/beginning readers. I appreciated the program because it helped my children develop their critical thinking skills at young ages. There are three books in the series and are targeted to K-2 grade students.  Love it!


12. Logic Safari Series

Is the next series following Logic Lollipop. It is text-based and builds upon the skills in the Logic Lollipop series. I would read aloud the problem aloud and have my children give a verbal response.   There are three books in the series and they are targeted to 2-6 grade students. It is definitely challenging but my children have enjoyed working their way through the problems. These books teach kids to look at life logically and have helped my children understand math in a whole new way.


13. Math Skills Workbooks

If you worry that your child isn’t getting enough “real” practice, grab a workbook. These workbooks are affordable and they offer a great overview of the math skills per grade without a lot of unnecessary busy work.  


Make Math A Treat

Math Seeds is by far our favorite math app. It is so engaging and fun that my kids beg to play “just one more game”.  Math Seeds has really transformed my children’s math aptitude. Using challenges, games, songs, and tests, it teaches core math skills to kids ages 3-9.

We bought the program for my oldest, but my youngest who was in Pre-K at the time, got a hold of it, and after playing for several months ended up skipping K and most of 1st-grade math due to using this program.

Love it! What’s also great is that you can use it for two weeks for free and find out if it’s a good fit for your family!  Win!

14. Math Seeds

Make Math Unforgettable

You know when a song gets stuck in your head and you just CAN’T GET IT OUT?! We have found these CDs to be a great way to memorize the multiplication tables. They are so much so that our kindergartener couldn’t help memorize them without even realizing it (she will thank me later).  Each cd has a fun beat and perfect for taking advantage of time spent running errands in the car (we all have had those last-minute milk runs).


15. Multiplication “rock”

16. Multiplication Songs  


Make Math an Adventure

Who knew math could be so fun? What I love about the power of picture books is that kids connect the warm feelings of snuggling on the couch, experiencing the magic of adventure with math!  These are some of our favorite math picture books.  Bon Voyage! 


Math Books by Cindy Neuschwander 

17. Sir Cumference series

18. Amanda Bean Amazing Dream   


General & Logic Math Books

19. A Math Book You Can Count On – Dan Green                                                                                                                                                                                                                20. The Rabbit Problem – Emily Gravett                                                                                                                                               21. Math-terpieces the Art of Problem Solving – Greg Tang                                                                                                                                                                                                22. The King’ Chessboard  – David Birch


Famous People in Math

23. Counting on Katherine                               Helaine Becker

24. The Boy Who Loved Math                           Deborah Erdos



25. The Grapes of Math                                       Greg Tang

26. If you Were a Plus Sign                                  Trisha Speed Shaskan

27. The Doorbell Rang                                         Pat Hutchins

28. Each Orange Has Eight Slices                          Paul Giganti Jr.

29. Mission Addition                                             Loreen Leedy

30. How Much is a Million?                                    David M. Schwartz

31. Beyond a Million-An Amazing Math Journey      David M. Schwartz

32. Infinity and Me                                                Kate Hosford

33. Place Value                                                     David A. Alder

34. Two of Everything                                            Lily Toy Hong

35.Six Dinner Sid                                                   Igna Moore



36. Subtraction Action                                            Loreen Leady

37. If You Were a Minus Sign                                   Trisha Speed Shaskan


Telling Time

38. The Clock Struck One- A Time Telling Tale         Trudy Harris

39.Bats Around the Clock                                       Kathi Appeit

40. A Second is a Hiccup-A Childs book of Time       Hazel Hutchins

41. Telling Time                                                    Jules Older


Measuring and Shapes

42. Measuring Penny                                             Loreen Leedy

43. The Greedy Triangle                                       Marilyn Burns

44. If You Were a Quadrilateral                             Molly Blaisdell


Multiplying and Dividing

45. Minnie’s Diner- A Multiplying Menu                   Dayle Ann Dodds

46. Divide and Ride                                               Stuart J. Murphy

47. One Hundred Hungry Ants                                Elinor J. Pinczes



48. Lions Share                                                      Matthew McElligott

49.Full House: An Invitation to Fractions                Dayle Ann Dodds

50. Apple Fractions                                                Donna Townsend



 What about you? What are your favorite ways to foster a love of math at home?                      Please feel free to leave me a Comment and don’t forget to follow Most Important Work on Pinterest!


Want to Dive in Deeper? Check out these 2 Bonus Resources:


  1. Give Your Child the World Jamie C. Martin
  2. Read A-Loud Family Sarah Mackenzie

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