NEW PODCAST: Get Your Feet Wet This Summer with Nature Studies

feet in the sand.jpg.600x315_q67_crop-smartAh, summertime sun and lazy days at the beach!  Some of my favorite times during the year.  Besides relaxing at the beach and sleeping in,  I love “testing out” new things during the summer.  I use the lazy days of summer to try out ideas or activities I might want to do the next school year.

If you are looking for a way to do science next year that is stress-free, text-book free, and guilt-free, then try Nature Studies!  If you are looking for a way to do science this year that doesn’t require an expensive curriculum or expensive outside science classes, then I strongly suggest you do Charlotte Mason style Nature Studies this year!

What are nature studies?  In our latest podcast, we explore how to use your time at the beach (or your free time this summer), dipping your feet into the cool refreshing idea of nature journaling.

nature god's broadcasting systemIn a nutshell, it is using God’s creation as your inspiration for scientific exploration.  No boring textbooks are needed.  No expensive science curriculums are needed.  No hectic outside science classes are needed.  It’s you, your kids, a backpack, a few journals, and the great outdoors!


  1. Explore nature (backyard, neighborhood walks, parks, gardens, zoos, hikes, etc).
  2. Stop, sit, and draw what you see.
  3. Learn about the plant/animals you saw when you get home.
  4. Add info to your drawing (facts, labels, quotes, verses, thoughts, etc)

Yep, it really is that simple!  If you are not sure how to get started or you have always wanted to do nature studies with your family but haven’t tried it yet, summertime is the BEST time to try it out!  If you plan on doing nature studies for the first time this coming school year, summertime is the BEST time to ease into this new and fun way to learn science.

CLICK HERE to listen to our latest podcast, “Nature Studies:  Get Your Feet Wet This Summer.”  It is full of simple and easy things you can do this summer to try out nature studies with your family.  Then go watch and subscribe to Joy Cherrick’s Nature Study Hacking website and newsletter. She is a master!

As promised, we listed resources mentioned in the podcast below.  Happy Exploring!


FREE “Nature Studies for the Nature Deficit Family: How to Get Started” Handout

**The handout also lists places to visit in Southern California but you can use the list as an example of places to explore in your local area.***

ocena anatomy



Step by Step Drawing Instructions

Draw Write Now Series samples and  and links to purchase 

Ocean Anatomy: The Curious Parts and Pieces Of the World Under the Sea by Julia Rothman

Lined composition notebooks,  Spiral art sketchbooks, and beautiful lined and unlined journals.  

Quality Colored Pencils



Smithsonian Sea Shell Handbook 

Acorn Naturalist: Laminated Field Guides 

Online classification guides

Shell Museum Identification App.  

Ocean Anatomy: The Curious Parts and Pieces Of the World Under the Sea by Julia Rothman



Read Aloud Revival (RAR) Seaside Recommendation List


CLICK HERE to listen to our latest podcast, “Nature Studies:  Get Your Feet Wet This Summer.”

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NEW PODCAST: Let’s Talk Art Studies

creativity-quote-1024x684What exactly is an art study?  Well without sounding too simple, it’s just the simple act of studying art work, artists, and different art periods.  Now wait, don’t start to yawn!  Doing art studies in your homeschooling as a family can be a whole lot of fun.  If you are having flashbacks of sleeping during your art appreciation college course or visions of super quiet “no touchy” hallways in art museums, then tune them out!  Art studies don’t have to be snoozer or a bore.  

In this week’s podcast, Let’s Talk Art Studies, we share simple and engaging ways to learn about art and to make art without breaking your bank account and without spending hours prepping and planning.   We even share how to incorporate writing, read aloud, and history into your art studies.

creativity courageGod is the ultimate artist.  We see His masterpieces all around us each and every day. Sally Clarkson, author of Life-Giving Table, often emphasizes the importance of filling your child’s world with beauty.  She says “Today when you nurture, love and meet the needs of your beloveds with beauty, it will make a difference in how they face their whole day.”  Adding beauty to your child’s day can be as simple as displaying fresh flowers in a vase, putting beautiful art work on the walls, or reading picture books filled with beautiful art work.  

Since we are created in His image, we have a natural desire to create too.  Doing art studies with your children is just another way to bring beauty into your home and into their lives. (And it is super fun and easy to do!)

every child artistListen to our new podcast, Let’s Talk Art Studies.  CLICK HERE or find us on iTunes and Spotify.  Don’t forget to follow us on IG at @coffeewithcarrieconsultant and to share our podcast and website with your homeschooling friends.


Continue reading “NEW PODCAST: Let’s Talk Art Studies”

NEW PODCAST! When God’s Plans Don’t Match Ours

We are super excited about his week’s podcast!  Since we had to cancel our annual Special Weekend for Homeschooling Moms in March due to COVID-19, we were not able to share our session on “The Jonah Journey:  What To Do When God’s Plans Don’t Match Ours.”  So we decided to turn it into a podcast so we could share it with you now.


In this podcast, “When God’s Plans Don’t Match Ours,” we dive deep into the Book of Jonah and share lessons from the prophet on how to be joyful (and obedient) when God’s homeschooling “itinerary” doesn’t match ours!   Like Jonah, you might be traveling this homeschooling journey kicking and screaming or you might even be running in the opposite direction filled with fear, doubts and down-right apprehension? If God has  called you to homeschool or if He has called you to homeschool another year,  don’t run away!  Accept the call!

Continue reading “NEW PODCAST! When God’s Plans Don’t Match Ours”

NEW PODCAST: Passport to Learning

3863F637-2FFF-42E9-A6D7-7CAD94FE613CI am super excited about this week’s podcast entitled Passport to Learning.  It was a session we were suppose to share at our annual weekend for homeschooling moms this past March.  However, due to COVID-19, we had to cancel our special weekend.  Since we didn’t get to share this session in person, we wanted to share it as a podcast.

Some years our family didn’t study history or a historical time period. We traveled the world instead!⠀Well, our pocketbook couldn’t sustain real international travels when the kids were younger, so we spent the year “traveling” the world through literature, games, field trips, cooking and art.
If you are looking for something different to do next year, then consider “traveling the world.”⠀⠀Every couple of years, we would take a break from our “usual” curriculum to learn about the biomes, animals, people, places, and cultures around the world. Each month we would focus on a continent. I would then pick 3-4 counties on that continent to learn about.
We would immerse ourselves in the country we were “traveling” to. We learned about the animals, the plants, the art and music, the customs and holidays, its history and famous people. We read books about the country, prayed for the country, and ate tons of food from that country. We would even play games that originated in that country or games about that country. We would color maps and draw flags.
We even made little passports so we could “stamp” them with flag stickers after we finished learning about each country. It is such a fun way to learn geography and a great way to teach almost all the subjects to your entire family at the same time.

I will be sharing even more about how to “travel” the world in our latest podcast. In our Passport to Learning Podcast, we share how you can spend an entire school year exploring God’s creation and countries and cultures around the world.  Many of us can’t literally travel the world due COVID-19, our schedules won’t allow it, or our checkbooks just can’t handle it.  But that doesn’t mean we can’t “travel” through books, music, art, history, geography, math, games, food, science, and fieldtrips.

So get your Passport, load up your library bag with some great books, add some spices to your kitchen, and listen to our podcast, Passport to Learning.   In our podcast, we will share how your family can use geography and “traveling” around the world as the backbone for an entire year of learning.  We also give tons of examples and explain how to organize and plan your “itinerary” for the year.  As promised in the podcast, all of the resources, handouts, and books mentioned in the podcast are listed below.

Bon Voyage,


NEW PODCAST:  Passport To Learning. (CLICK HERE or find us on iTunes or Spotify)

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passport booksPassport to Learning Packet:  In this packet, you will find charts to help you plan and organize your year and each “trip” as well as the lists of resources and books mentioned in the podcast.  Links are embedded in the PDF file on the Book List handout.  Also included is a sample of our “trip”  to Mexico.

give child world book


Give Your Child the World: Raising Globally Minded Kids One Book at a Time by Jamie Martin.  


suitcase books“Travel Around the World in 80 Books” (Part 1)  Article

“Travel Around the World in 80 Books” (Part 2)  Article

“Travel Around the World in 80 Books” (Part 3) Article

“Christmas Around the World” Article


Helpful Websites:

Rick Steve’s Europe:  Great website with info and videos about countries in Europe.

Duckster Geography:  Simple website for info and research

Google Earth: Tons of great info, games, videos, and live searches

Salt Dough Recipe for 3D Relief Maps


map suitcase 2If you don’t want to plan your own “Trip Around the World,” you can subscribe to one of these monthly boxes or purchase My Father’s World Curriculum: Exploring Countries and Cultures.

Little Passports Monthly Geography Subscription

Eat 2 Explore Monthly Geography and Food Subscription

Highlights Top Secret Adventures Subscription


Another great book with recipes and science experiments:  The Science Chef Travels Around the Worldby Joan D’Amico


CED69723-B520-4A99-AED1-7FCAD0D1B7AESo you are thinking of homeschooling high school!  Even if your child is many years away from those high school years, you should take a little coffee break today and listen in too.  When my children were young, I knew I loved homeschooling but I was terrified of homeschooling the high school years!  Now that I’ve graduated one student, I’m about to graduate another one, and I have helped hundreds of moms (and teens) plan their high school years, I can honestly say, I should not have feared this part of homeschooling.  Homeschooling high school has actually been some of the best ( and easiest) years of our homeschooling journey.  Now matter how old or young your student is, join me for our latest podcast on how to homeschool high school.

In our podcast, “So You Are Homeschooling High School,” we mention a few resources, articles, websites, and books. We have included them here to make it easy for you to find them.

HSLDA imageLegally Home School in your State  (HSLDA Website)  Start here!  The Home School Legal Defense Association lists state requirements for homeschooling and graduation state by state.


skip college bookSkip College:  Launch Your Career Without Debt, Distractions, or Debt by Connor Boyack. Not all students need or want to go to college. I highly recommend you and your teen read this book as you both decide what your teen can or should do post graduation.


coffee carrie logo
“Skip College” Article (Jan 7th, 2020 Coffee With Carrie Blog).  Not sure if your student should or needs to attend college, then read our article posted earlier this year.


coffee carrie logo“Are You Home-Educating a Teenager or a Young Man of God?”  Article (Oct 1st, 2018 Coffee With Carrie Blog).  Is your goal for homeschooling high school to help your teen get into Harvard or into Heaven?  If your ultimate goal of homeschooling high school is to make God and His Word the center of everything you do, then check out our article on making your teen’s high school experiences God-honoring, Christ-centered, and Spirit-led.

chemistry cooking book
I’m Just Here for More Food:  Food X Mixing + Heat = Baking
by Alton Brown (2004).  Meet high school Chemistry requirements by studying the Culinary Arts.


guide to writing novelA Guide To Writing Your Novel (Institute for Excellence in Writing 2010).  If your teen is gifted in writing or loves to write, then consider spending a year writing a novel (or at least several short stories) as her English credit.



carol joy seid
Literature Based Approach to History
(Carol Joy Seid).  For high school history credit, your teen can either read his way through history or watch his way through history!  Carol Joy Seid has teaching history through moviesseveral great resources and books lists for using literature as your history curriculum.  If your teen is more of a movie guy, then use movies and documentaries as a way to learn about US and World History.

Continue reading “NEW PODCAST!”


How do you end the year strong?  With a party, of course!  But first, let’s back up a bit.  We need to first finish the school year before we can start our celebrations.

It is finally May, which means the school year is almost over and summer vacation is within reach.  The end of the school year is usually a stressful time but because of COVID-19 Crisis Schooling and stay-at-home mandates, the end of this school year is a bit more chaotic than usual.


Hopefully, you were able to join us for our LIVE Seminar on “How to End the Year Strong.”  In it, we discussed the three most important questions we need to ask ourselves as we frantically try to finish all of our curriculum and squeeze in as much school work as we possibly can before the school year ends.  This time of the year doesn’t have to be so stressful, and it certainly doesn’t need to be filled with guilt over the things we didn’t complete or accomplish.  By asking and answering three simple questions, we can end the year with confidence:

  1. “What absolutely needs to be finished before the school year ends?”
  2. “What can we take a break from and pick up again next year?”
  3. “What can we drop and not finish or complete at all?”

If you were not able to join our LIVE Seminar where we discussed these questions and answers, you can still listen in.  This week, we uploaded the recording of the LIVE seminar, which includes encouragement, tips, and ideas on different ways you can answer these three questions and what you can do during the rest of May in response to your answers.

celebrate YES!In the podcast, we were not able to include the last part of our LIVE Seminar, so we wanted to share it with you here:  END OF THE YEAR CELEBRATION & SUMMER VACATION!

Once you have answered the three questions, successfully completed your school year, and packed away all of your school books, it is time to celebrate!  And this year, we need to celebrate even more!

FIRST, make it official!  Set a date to end your school year and stick to it.  It will give your kids (and you) something to look forward to.

SECOND, do something special on your last day of school!  Plan a party, have a family Promotion Ceremony, or make a special dinner.  Even if you can’t invite friends, spend time as a family celebrating.  You deserve it and your kids need it!

give thanks psTHIRD, at your celebration make sure to acknowledge God’s faithfulness throughout the year.  Take turns sharing how and when God showed up!  Then make sure you take time to acknowledge each child’s accomplishments during the year.  Be specific.  They worked hard this year (and it was an exceptionally hard school year thanks for COVID-19 and social distancing).


FOURTH, while you are acknowledging God’s faithfulness and your child’s accomplishments, make sure your children acknowledge those who helped them during the year.  Take time to write homemade “Thank You” notes to teachers, coaches, leaders, and mentors.

NEXT, create a “Summer Bucket List.”  Do NOT write a summer “To Do List” of things you want the kids to do or learn over the summer or a list of things you think you need to do while on summer break.  Summer is always just as busy as the school year.  You will inevitably not finish everything on your list.  Then when September rolls around, you will start the school year feeling like a failure instead of feeling refreshed.  Instead, make a “Summer Bucket List” of the things your family would like to do.  Not only will these activities be rewards for all of their hard work during the year, but it will give them things to look forward to during the summer.  Be creative with your list but don’t feel pressured to do it all.  It’s just a wish list instead of a “to do” list.

welcome summerFINALLY, take a break!  After your “end of the year” celebration, take at least two weeks off.  Even if you do year-round schooling or you enroll your students in summer school, make sure you give your family a real break!  Sleep in.  Veg out.  Go to the beach.  Take a road trip.  Read all day.  Take naps.  It is a well-deserved break.  Take it!

May the Lord richly bless the rest of your school year and may He shine His face on your summer break,




If you would like to learn about how to finish your year strong, check out our new podcast.  CLICK HERE (or check us out on iTunes and Spotify).

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Yes, you heard me correctly!  Perhaps it is time for you to take a sabbatical.  Well, you can’t stop being a mom (for better or worse those little eating machines are yours forever and there is no such thing as early retirement in motherhood), but you can take a few much-needed breaks during your week or even better, much-needed break this summer.  The best way to ensure burn out, total exhaustion, or a mental breakdown is to ignore God’s mandate to rest.  Take it from me: a recovering workaholic and partially insane homeschool mom.  I speak TRUTH!  Not only can you trust this because I speak from experience but because it comes straight from God’s Word too.

rest in lord sabbath verse

Sometimes, we just need someone to come alongside us to remind us to just breathe.  We need someone to reassure us it is going to be ok.  Sometimes, we just need someone who understands the rolling around on the floor when the word “math” is mentioned, or someone who can relate to leaving the house while wearing your shirt inside out (True story…. on multiple occasions!)  It’s a gift when you find someone who can relate that your coffee mug has been in the microwave for five hours, or someone who understands why your coffee mug is in the freezer and frozen bananas are in the kitchen drawer (True story… again).   Sometimes we just need someone who has “been there, done that” to come alongside us and give us permission to stop.  It is ok to take time to rest, refresh, and rejuvenate.  Actually,  we not only have permission, we have a mandate to do just that.  

rest in lord burden verse sabbathGod commanded us (not suggested or recommended) but commanded us to take a sabbath day, a day to rest.  “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work…For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.” (Exodus 20:8-11 NIV).  Taking a day to rest the mind, body, and heart is important to our Heavenly Father.  God knows what is best for us.  He knows without rest we will eventually run out of steam, which will ultimately harm ourselves and quite possibly harm those around us.  Am I also giving you permission to stop homeschooling?  Well, no. If God has called you to homeschool, then you should continue the adventure.  However, it is extremely important to follow the principles of the Sabbath not only on Sundays but while homeschooling too.  “Happy mama, happy family!”  

Just breathe…. Take another deep breath.  Exhale slowly.  Sip your coffee.  Put your feet up and give yourself a little time to slow down, to stop for a minute, and to rest.

God not only calls us to honor the Sabbath by setting aside time each week to worship and honor him, but He also knows we need time each week to just rest, a day to refresh our souls, our hearts, and our minds.  The Message translation of Isaiah 58: 13-14 puts it this way,  “If you watch your step on the Sabbath and don’t use my holy day for personal advantage, If you treat the Sabbath as a day of joy, and God’s holy day as a celebration, If you honor it by refusing ‘business as usual,’ while making money, and running here and there—Then you’ll be free to enjoy God!”

soul-finds-rest verse sabbathNot only are we free to enjoy our family and our free time, but we are free to enjoy God too! It’s also essential we take little sabbath breaks during each day.  Don’t wait till the end of the day to put your feet up.   Make it a family routine or personal habit to set aside a few minutes each day to take a break from your schoolwork.

If taking breaks wasn’t important, God would not have commanded it.  Is it time to put the books away for the school year?  Perhaps you should consider starting that sabbatical now.  If not, then wait for the “stay at home mandates” to be lifted, then box up the books and head for the sand.  I hear the beach calling……

****NEW PODCAST IS UP!!!****

ESSENTIALS #9 (Silly Time) & ESSENTIAL #10 (Sabbath Time) CLICK HERE or find us on iTunes or Spotify.

Join Carrie for the last part of the 10 Essentials of Homeschooling!  Carrie shares the last two essentials:  (#9) Silly Time and (#10) Sabbath Time.  While homeschooling, it is essential to not only laugh at ourselves but to take much-needed breaks.   Carrie purposely book-ended this series with spending time with the Lord.  She started with Essential #1 (Bible Time) and ended with Essential #10 (Sabbath Time).  It is important to start our day, our weeks, and our year with the Lord, and it is important to take time out of our busy days, weeks, and school year to worship and honor the Lord. Carrie shares ideas on how to use the principle of the Sabbath in your homeschooling and reasons why moms shouldn’t take themselves too seriously. She even left in some of her mistakes in the podcast.  

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