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Amazing Mess

Amazing Mess

By Stacie Ann Nelson
The Amazing Mess podcast is dedicated to giving you real hope and practical help in the motherhood trenches. Stacie Nelson, an educator, health coach and homeschool mom, encourages you to remember that you are your child's first and greatest teacher. On this podcast, you'll find ideas and activities for learning at home with your kids, practical help and encouragement for motherhood, simple home management, health and money for moms and much more. Thank you so much for joining this journey.
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How to Homeschool Preschool: 10 Essentials for Preschool at Home – Podcast #3

Amazing Mess

How to Homeschool: Six Ways to Get Started
After the “Why do you homeschool” question, the next question I get on a regular basis is “How do you start homeschooling?”  While this is not an in-depth, step-by-step list, I share six suggestions to get ready to homeschool in this podcast. Show notes: *Find out your state’s homeschool laws at the  HSLDA website (find your state on the map and click it).  You’ll be able to download information for your specific state. *Approaches to homeschooling: * Traditional:  This is the typical textbook and worksheet-driven approach.  It systematically leads children through a prescribed scope and sequence.  If you like structure, this may work for you.  It might be a little more difficult to do when you are teaching several children of different ages. Find out more:BJU PressRod & Staff Publishers * Classical:   This approach is based on the educational philosophy of the Greeks and Romans.  It focuses on the Trivium — three stages of learning.  The first part the child passes through is the grammar stage.  They move onto the logic stage during middle childhood.  The final passage is into the rhetoric stage. Find out more:The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home by Susan Wise Bauer and Jessie Wise * Unit Study:  This form of education seeks to combine all subject areas into one theme.  For instance, your child may be fascinated with butterflies, so your math, reading, art, science, P.E., etc. all come back to butterflies.  I use units (or themes) quite a bit with my younger girls.  It’s easy to find something they are interested in and build activities around it. Find out more:Unit Studies Made Easy by Valerie BendtUnit Studies by Amanda BennettFive in a Row by Jane Claire Lambert * Unschooling:  This approach believes children are stifled in a school-type environment.  Instead, this method relies on a much more natural and relaxed approach to learning.  While implementation of this approach varies from family to family, you can find out more about this by reading the works of John Holt. Read More:Teach Your Own by John HoltFree to Learn by Peter Gray
June 17, 2020
Suddenly Homeschooling? Here’s Some Encouragement – Podcast #6
If you’ve found yourself suddenly homeschooling, I just want to take a minute to encourage you. I saw someone recently call it “SIP” schooling (Shelter in Place) schooling, and I think that is a helpful distinction. As someone who has homeschooled for ten (non-consecutive) years now, I think it’s important to make sure you understand that what you’ve been tasked with is not homeschooling. Yes, you are home. Yes, you are schooling. But those of us that have made a deliberate choice to homeschool have gone into it with deep thought and preparation. We’ve studied curriculum and ways of homeschooling. We’ve found resources and support systems. We’ve attended conferences. We’ve talked with others about how to do this. We’ve had time to plan and prepare for our school year. You? Well, you have been thrown into this. You’ve found yourself in a spot you never probably dreamed or imagined. And it’s hard. And it might feel lonely. And you might be overwhelmed. (Side note: Honestly, those of us that have been homeschooling for a while feel some of these same feelings. We aren’t used to being home this much. We feel really isolated. My girls are missing piano and art class. They are missing daily swim practice and weekly AWANA. One of my biggest concerns is that I don’t want you to think what you are doing right now is traditional homeschooling, because I don’t want you to feel that you could never homeschool…and I definitely don’t want for you to believe the stereotypes that seem to follow homeschoolers. What we are ALL doing now is crisis or SIP-schooling! I wouldn’t want to do this if it was homeschooling, either!) Anyway, I don’t want to leave you without hope or encouragement, so I’ve put together a few things that have helped us on our homeschooling journey. If you find yourself suddenly homeschooling, I hope these will help you in a practical way! 1) Anchor your days What do I mean by that? Instead of a strict schedule to follow, I like to set up specific anchors in our day. For example, our anchors look like this: * Up and at ’em/get ready for the day* Breakfast/chores* Bible/academic time* Lunch* Quiet time* Recreation time (finish academics if not done)* Dinner/Chores* Family time* Bed These things don’t happen at a specific time, but it is just a rhythm through our normal day. We have these “anchors” that we sort of “float” our day around. Not every day looks like this either, but it does help kids to have a basic routine and stability (especially through these turbulent days). 2) Be flexible Sometimes we’re tired. Sometimes we don’t feel well. Sometimes we have a project or something else we need to complete. Sometimes the pressure is too much. It’s okay to stop what you’re doing, take a break and try again later. If you find yourself getting frustrated with your child, take a break. The great thing about homeschooling (whether you are suddenly homeschooling or intentional homeschooling) is that you can change your schedule and school whenever. In the morning. In the evening. On the weekends. Whenever! I’ve heard it said that when you start homeschooling, your child needs a month of de-schooling for every year they’ve been in school. You don’t have the luxury of that amount of time right now, but you can step away, do some stress management (deep breathing, read a book, listen to music….whatever helps you decompress),
April 30, 2020
Why Do You Homeschool? Five of Our Original Reasons for Homeschooling – Podcast #5
I have had several questions about homeschooling through email and blog comments recently. I wasn’t really planning for my podcast to be all about that, but since those are the questions and comments that I’m getting, I have decided to do a few episodes on homeschooling! Today’s episode is based on a post I originally wrote many years ago about why we chose to homeschool. You can find that post here. Please remember that I think each family should do what they feel called to do when it comes to schooling—I have no preconceived ideas or judgments about anyone’s choice in that area. So far, we’ve done homeschooling and private school…and I work in a public school system. I’m sharing these reasons not to convince anyone or make anyone feel badly about their own choices. Instead, I want to share them to encourage people considering homeschooling. It can be a difficult road, but it is definitely a road I’m glad we took…and are taking again! Feel free to ask questions or leave comments below. I’d love to know what you’re thinking and if you have any other topics you’d like to see me cover! Have a wonderful week! SUBSCRIBE TO THE AMAZING MESS PODCAST!!   Amazing Mess Podcast #5 Transcript Why Do You Homeschool? Five Reasons We Homeschooled Welcome back to episode number five. Today, I wanted to talk to you a little bit about homeschooling. So I’ve had some questions about why we homeschooled, why we quit homeschooling and why we are going back to homeschooling–at least for one, if not two or three, all three of the girls next fall–we’re still kind of working on that. I went back into my blog archives, and I found an article that I originally wrote about why we were homeschooling and I thought that I would just share a little bit of that with you. Some of it is changed. I mean, we’ve chosen different reasons to homeschool, but some of it is the same. First of all, you have to know that if you had told me 15 years ago that I would teach my children at home, I would have laughed at you. I attended public school as a child, my college experience included earning a degree in elementary education, and I taught in several schools before the girls were born. So school was basically my life. But somewhere along the line, I started to feel uneasy and I started to reflect on my time in the school system. I didn’t really necessarily like all of the things that were happening there, but I didn’t really know any other options. I had met a few homeschool families, but at that point I thought they were quite weird. I also knew that we couldn’t afford private school at that point in time, but then God started bringing all kinds of amazing people and books and resources into my life. And that’s when we began to seriously ponder whether we could actually undertake that task of homeschooling our children. After studying and praying, I knew without a doubt that we had to do it. So, here are just a few of the reasons why we decided to homeschool at the beginning when the girls were small. Life is Short The very first one, number one is that life is short. I can’t remember if I’ve talked on the podcast about the loss of my dad before. I was pretty angry about it at the time,
September 1, 2019
Three Ways to Simplify Your Summer with Kids – Podcast #4
“We get 18 delicious summers with our children. This is one of your 18. If that’s not perspective, I don’t know what is.” Jessica Scott Today, I’m back and talking about three things I’m doing to simplify our summer this year. It’s easy for the summer to slip by, so I wanted to be intentional about making the most of it. I only have a few summers left with my daughters, and while not every moment has to be meaningful, I do want to have a simple enough summer that we have time to enjoy the important things! If you prefer to watch this as a video, you can check it out here—–>   SUBSCRIBE TO THE AMAZING MESS PODCAST!! Show Notes: A few things I talk about in podcast (some of these are affiliate links which means I make a *small* amount if you purchase through my link….thanks for your support!): Kids Cook Real Food eCourse Summer Bucket List Printable & Customizable Chore Chart (these are available FREE to email subscribers. Just sign up for my weekly email below this transcript or on the right-hand side of the blog, and you will receive access to them once you confirm your email) Thanks for taking time to listen to my podcast. Please subscribe and leave a review if you find it helpful! 🙂     Amazing Mess Podcast #4 Transcript: Simplify Your Summer with Kids Hello, and welcome back to episode number four. Today I will be talking about three ways to simplify your summer. (I did want to let you know that I originally recorded this as a video in my car so the audio is not fabulous. I did try to make it a little bit better, but it is not as high of quality as I hoped, but I hope you are still able to get the main points.)  A couple of weeks ago on my Facebook page, I posted a quote that was from Jessica Scott, and it said something about how you only have 18 delicious summers with your children, and this is one of them. That should give you perspective is basically what it was saying.  And that really went crazy {on my facebook page}. I think we all want to be intentional with our summer, but we don’t always know how, or if you’re like me, you’ve kind of let things go crazy in the summer…like one year I let my girls sign up for so many things. It was really out of control. This year I really wanted to simplify. What I really wanted this summer was to be intentional! My word for the year that I chose back in January is simplify. I don’t know if you ever choose a word for a year, a year or not, but it’s a great practice. I’ve done it for maybe five or six years, maybe six years now.  It really just helps me to focus in on this one word and helps me shape my goals for the year. I chose the word simplify, so I came up with three things that I think you can do to help simplify your summer with kids: 1) Choose a Word for the Summer The very first one is to come up with your own word for the summer. So I have the word simplify for my whole year, but I was thinking, well what if I just have a word just for my summer? What do I want to accomplish this summer? What does that look like? And so I chose the word memories because I only have a few summers left with my oldest daughter, and I really want to make some memories. Using that word is helping me to shape my goals for the summer.
August 1, 2019
How to Homeschool Preschool: 10 Essentials for Preschool at Home – Podcast #3
Today, we are talking about how to do preschool at home. I share my favorite items and essentials for homeschooling preschooling…and they might not be exactly what you think they are! I absolutely love homeschooling preschoolers–life is our preschool, and preschool is life. I miss those sweet times with my little ones, but I’m grateful for all the memories we made! I hope you make some great memories with your kids!! SUBSCRIBE TO THE AMAZING MESS PODCAST!!   Prefer to watch this on video? Check out my YouTube video here. Show Notes: A few things I talk about in podcast (some of these are affiliate links which means I make a *small* amount if you purchase through my link….thanks for your support!): Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder Busy Bags AKA Learning Bags Preschoolers and Chores God’s Little Explorers Home Preschool Curriculum Thanks for taking time to listen to my podcast. Please subscribe and leave a review if you find it helpful! 🙂   Amazing Mess Podcast Episode 3 Transcript: 10 Essentials for Preschool at Home Today, we’re going to talk about homeschooling preschool.  I’ve come up with 10 essentials for preschool at home. Now, these are not necessarily products (some of them are, I guess), but these are the things I think help make preschool at home go much more smoothly. So with no further ado, let’s start with number one. 1) A Sense of Humor The very first thing that I think you need is a sense of humor, because what more can I say? If you have children, you already know you need a sense of humor; they make messes, they say strange things and they see the world differently. You can spend your time upset and angry or you can choose to see the good and humorous in your life at this point in time. This is especially important when you homeschool your kids and you’re with them 24-7. 2) A Schedule Number two is a schedule. I am not a super tight, overly-scheduled kind of person, but I do find our household runs much more smoothly with a basic schedule. So I would venture to say that most children do best with the schedule of some sort. I’m sure there’s some research that backs me up! I’m not saying you need a rigid and minute by minute schedule, but predictability does provide that security and stability that your preschooler needs. 3) Books All right, moving on to number three…books. Buy Books, borrow books, get books in your house and around your child. Read your books out loud. Put baskets of books around the house, put shelves of books everywhere and make them easily accessible and inviting. In my opinion, a formal preschool curriculum isn’t necessary (which I know coming from someone who wrote a preschool curriculum sounds a little weird), but if you involve your child in life around the house, you point out colors and shapes and numbers, and you make it all fun and you do a lot of reading together, I really don’t think you need to have to have a formal curriculum. I understand, however that it can be a good guide.
July 1, 2019
Our Kids Need Encouragement - Podcast #2
Welcome to the Amazing Mess podcast! Episode #2 is all about encouragement and includes a favorite story of mine that made me realize just how much my kids needed my encouragement.
May 28, 2019
Welcome to Amazing Mess! - Podcast #1
Welcome to the Amazing Mess podcast! I'm so glad you're here!
May 1, 2019