Thinking of Homeschooling? JOIN US!

fake it make woodJoin me this summer for a little coffee break and let’s talk homeschooling!

Are you intrigued by the idea of homeschooling but have no idea where to start or what to do? If God has placed homeschooling on your heart but you are feeling overwhelmed by the idea, then join us for a 3 Week “How To” Seminar.  I like to call this seminar the “Fake it till you make it” course.

AMAIn this seminar, we get down to the nitty gritty!  We will explain the legal requirements (for CA in particular) and record keeping options, share curriculum choices and different homeschooling methods, discuss ways to balance home and school, and how to teach multiple students at the same time.  The group will meet weekly via Zoom and will have the opportunity to participate in a private Facebook group for discussions, support, and “Ask Me Anything” (AMA) live stream sessions. Continue reading “Thinking of Homeschooling? JOIN US!”

NEW PODCAST: History Alive!

To continue our summer series, this week’s episode is on how to make History Come Alive!  And in God’s perfect timing, we are talking about the study of history the week of political chaos, national monuments being torn down, and a few days before July 4th.  I had no idea how timely this podcast would be when I recorded it a month ago and scheduled it for this week, but GOD DID!  Mamas, I had so much to say about not only how to teach History in a fun and engaging way and on why it is so important to teach history that we had to break up this podcast into two parts.

history kipling

Because history textbooks and college courses are teaching history that has been revised, white-washed, amended, and sometimes even skewed towards different political ideologies, it makes it even more important to teach real history from real sources and from real living books.  You can’t go wrong when you are reading primary documents, diaries and journals, biographies and autobiographies, and historical stories told from or about the people who experienced the events themselves.    Look!  I did it again!  I got on my little soap box again.  I promise!  This podcast is not political, but I do share how important it is  to teach history now more than ever in an engaging, mindful, and truthful manner.

I think my history homeschooling story is a familiar one.  When I was in school, I hated history.  Every year it was my least favorite class.  However, now that I am teaching it to my kids, I am learning or relearning history for the first time and I LOVE it!  I know many homeschooling moms feel this way too.  Now that they are teaching and learning history in ways different from the “traditional dry textbooks,” history has come alive not just for their children but for them as well.  That is what this 2-Part Podcast is about- helping YOU and your family develop a love for all things history- REAL History and HIStory!

CLICK HERE to listen to Part 1 of HISTORY ALIVE:

In Part 1, you will learn how to:

  • organize your school year around one historical topic or era
  • learn history as a family (even if you have a wide range of ages and levels)
  • cycle through historical eras and/or topics so there are not “gaps” or “holes” in your child’s history IQ
  • give yourself grace when your history projects are epic fails (and how to laugh at yourself too)

history quoteIn Part 2, we dig into the nitty gritty.  We share SIX super simple ways to make History Come Alive.  You will learn how to:

  • read your way through history (and watch your way through history too!)
  • create and use inexpensive and meaningful timelines to make connections
  • compose personalized history “textbooks” or history notebooks
  • incorporate simple map activities
  • play tons of great games with historical themes
  • experience history through fieldtrips without breaking your budget.


As promised, links to the resources mentioned in both podcasts are listed below.  May God richly bless your historical studies for His honor and glory. After all, history is HIStory and we need to teach it truthfully more now than ever before!

Carrie De Francisco


School House Rock History Songs:  They can all be found for free on YouTube.  They are still one of the best ways to sing your way through history.

History & Timeline Jingles: Classical Conversations now has all of their history and timeline jingles on iTunes for download.  If your child loves to memorize facts and dates and loves to sing, this is a great resource.

My Father’s World Curriculum: If you would like a Christian curriculum with lessons and suggested activities to help you cycle through history in 3 or 4 years, then MFW is great.

The Mystery of History: If you would like a Christian curriculum with lessons and suggested activities to help you cycle through history in 3 or 4 years, then this is a great resource too.

Story of the World (Vol 1, 2, 3, & 4): SOW literally tells the story of the world in written or audible form along with maps and suggested activities.

Read Your Way Through History (literally):  All you need is a library card and list of historical fictions, biographies, and primary resources you want to read.  Read Aloud Revival (RAR)and Carol Joy Seid have great lists to start with.

History Notebook How To & Samplesand History Timeline How To & Samples:  Check out our IG stories for videos @coffeewithcarrieconsultant.

History Games:  Check out Games Curriculum by Martin and Carolyn Forte as well as the website Homeschool Gameschool.

Gameology Article:  Check out our blog article on Feb. 1st, 2020.  It lists tons of games with links for all subjects including history.


CLICK HERE to listen to Part 1 of HISTORY ALIVE

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The “Perfect” Writing Curriculum


writing amour quoteWhile writing this post on “writing,” I was painfully reminded of the number one reason students have trouble writing (or in some cases hate to write)!  It’s Writer’s Block!  Sometimes, it is extremely hard to get the writing process started.

Type A personalities like myself insist on perfection from the beginning of a project.  With that kind of pressure, it is hard to even begin because we are struggling to find the best way to start!  We want to “hook” the audience right away!  Additionally, Perfectionists stall along the way as they obsess over every misspelled word or incorrect punctuation in their first draft.

For older students, they may not know what to write about or how to organize their thoughts.  Younger students simply haven’t lived long enough to have much to write about.  Struggling students may have a limited vocabulary, writer’s fatigue with the act of physically writing, and/or dysgraphia (a form of dyslexia).  Let’s face it!  It is hard to find the perfect curriculum that fits your child’s learning style and meets your family’s learning needs.

1 peterFirst, let’s back up a bit and discuss WHY we want our children to be excellent (or at least proficient) writers and good communicators.  The most important reason to teach reading, writing, and language arts is to help our students share their faith, express their beliefs, and explain the Gospel. 

Especially in the age of texting and tweets, Facebook and Instagram,  blogs and vlogs, and news and fake news, this generation more than any other generation in the past, need the ability to express themselves and defend their faith in a powerful and effective manner.  Is our aim to raise the next C.S. Lewis or Charles Spurgeon?  Probably Not.  But do we want our children to be able to express themselves in spoken and written language to impact their friends, family, and strangers for the kingdom of God?  Oh Yes!  So if our primary goal is NOT to raise the next Mark Twain or to earn a perfect score on the SAT, then your writing instruction can be simple, stress-free and still very fruitful.

Is there a perfect writing curriculum?  I humbly say “No”!  Just like there is not one perfect math curriculum or reading curriculum, there is no such thing as the perfect writing curriculum.  It is easier to use the same curriculum for all students if you have a large family, however like math, your students will probably be at different writing levels and have different writing and spelling abilities.  Writing is one of those subjects that may need to be individualized.  So let’s talk about making your writing instruction easier so you don’t go crazy trying. You CAN teach writing, punctuation, and grammar without a boxed curriculum, and you can do it without breaking your budget!

writing voltaire quoteAfter teaching 25 plus years, writing books and devotionals for homeschooling moms, and homeschooling my own, I have found there are basically SIX essentials to teaching writing and instilling a love of writing in any student:  (1) Read and discuss great books, (2) copy great writers, (3) write something every day, (4) integrate writing, grammar and spelling, (5) practice editing, and (6) play with words!

Check out our PODCAST “Writing Lessons:  You Can Do It.”  CLICK HERE.

In this podcast, we unpack and explain the six basics of  teaching your child to write.  We also explain the method Ben Franklin used to teach himself how to write.

ben-franklin-quotes writingFrom the Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin:

“About this time I met with an odd volume of the Spectator – I thought the writing excellent, and wished, if possible, to imitate it.

With this view I took some of the papers, and, making short hints of the sentiment in each sentence laid them by a few days, and then, without looking at the book, try’d to compleat the papers again, by expressing each hinted sentiment at length, and as fully as it had been expressed before, in any suitable words that should come hand. 

Then I compared my Spectator with the original.  By comparing my work afterwards with the original, I discovered many faults and amended them; but I sometimes had the pleasure of fancying that, in certain particulars of small import, I had been lucky enough to improve the method or the language.”

In a nutshell, Franklin did the following: (This is also what IEW uses in Key Word Outlines)

  1. Read an article or passage from a book.
  2. Wrote short hints about each sentence (or a keyword outline) and then set it aside for a while.
  3. Using these short hints, he recalled what the article was about and then rewrote the article in his own words.
  4. Compared his work with the original.
  5. Revised and improved his writing.



The most important thing to remember is if you can read, understand, and evaluate this article on the “perfect” writing curriculum, then you are capable and qualified to teach your child how to write and how to write well!


May God richly bless your teaching and writing for His glory,







Check out our PODCAST “Writing Lessons:  You Can Do It.”  CLICK HERE.

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NEW PODCAST: Math Morning Time

Do you deal with math tears and tantrums?  Are you afraid to do math or teach math?  Are you interested in making math more fun and meaningful?  Then you need to check out our new podcast:  Math Morning Time!

If you are already using Morning Time or Basket Time, this episode will add another fun component to your time together as you explore math as a family.  If you don’t use Morning Time and want to know more about it, then check out our podcast “Homeschooling Essential #5 Morning Time” first then join us for this podcast, “Math Morning Time.  (For more Morning Time ideas, check out Pam Barnhill’s website and podcast too!)

In this podcast, we share how to use and rotate SIX of my favorite “Go To” Math Resources during your morning basket time.  Our suggestions take 5-10 minutes tops to do each morning so they are perfect activities to add to your morning time routine.  All of the resources mentioned in the podcast with links are listed below.

Tame those math tears and fears by doing Math Morning Time!  CLICK HERE for the Podcast or find us on iTunes and Spotify.




List of Carrie’s Favorites on Amazon

Read Aloud Rival (RAR) Math Read Aloud Recommendations

Marilyn Burn Books:  The Greedy Triangle, $1 Word Riddle Book, and more

Sir Cumference Series by Cindy Neuschwander:  Start with Sir Cumference and the First Round Table

Pigs Will Be Pigsby Amy Axelrod:  Start with Pigs Will Be Pigs, Fun with Math and Money

Mitsumasa Anno Books

Books by Greg Tang:  Start with Grapes of Mathand Math-terpieces

Stephen Schwartz Million Books

Charlesbridge Math Adventure Books

Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster (Digitopolis chapters) and Homer Price by Robert McCloskey. (Middle School)

Flatland by Edwin Abott and The Number Devil:  A Mathematical Adventure by Hans Magnus Enzenberg (High School)



Count Your Way Through Mexico and more



Mathematicians are People Too:  Stories from the Lives of Great Mathematicians (Vol 1)

Mathematicians are People Too:  Stories from the Lives of Great Mathematicians (Vol 2)



Sequence Dice: connect four with addition and dice

Uncle Wiggly Game:  place value game based on the book

Dino Math Tracks Board Game:  place value with a dinosaur theme

Farkle:  addition and multiplication dice game

Go Sushi: math in scoring

24 Game:  Order of Operations and computation

Absolute Zero:  pre algebra and algebra computation

Spectrangle:  Addition and Multiplication

Totally Tut: Mutliplication and order of operations with an Egyptian Theme

Blokus:  spatial problem solving game

Logic Links Game:  logic game

Tangrams and Tangoes:  spatial problem solving games

FREE Dice and Card Games at @coffeewithcarrieconsultant IGTV channel:  Math Game Series

More Math Game suggestions:  Holiday Homeschooling: 12 Days of Christmas Article

More Math Game suggestions: Games Curriculum developed by Carolyn and Martin Forte



math bedtime app



math life of fred

May God richly bless your mathematical adventures and morning time for His honor and Glory!

CLICK HERE for the Podcast, “Math Morning Time” or find us on iTunes, Spotify or anywhere you find your favorite podcasts.

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NEW PODCAST: The Enemy’s Playbook

Nehemiah-2-18-bible-verseAre you feeling discouraged, disappointed, or defeated?  If so, then take a little coffee break and dig into the Book of Nehemiah with me.

Even though this podcast focuses on moms in general and homeschooling moms in particular, its message is timely. The enemy is using his best tactics to create chaos in our families, to divide our nation, and to spread fear throughout the world.

The enemy has been using the same playbook since the dawn of time, and we get to see them all played out in the Book of Nehemiah.  Satan’s Play Book consists of the 7 D’S:  Disapproval, Discouragement, Distractions, Distress (& fear), Division, Deception, & Doubt.   Through Nehemiah’s example, we can learn how to respond to these tactics, how to choose faith over fear, and how to have victory over defeat. But have heart, friend.

At our first annual Special Weekend for Homeschooling Moms, our first session was entitled “Victory over Defeat.”  We spent the morning digging deep into the Book of Nehemiah.  We discussed the different tactics that the enemy uses to stump us and cause us to stumble.  Satan used every trick in his little playbook to try to get Nehemiah to give up, to intimidate the Jews, and to bring the wall down.  Many of the principles in the Book of Nehemiah can be applied to our mission of motherhood and our ministry of homeschooling, so we decided to record the teaching and share it with you now.

Join me for a little coffee break and check out our new podcast, “The Enemy’s Playbook:  Lessons from Nehemiah.”



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