Last summer, a friend called to ask if I knew of any inexpensive summer camps. The cheapest summer camp she could find cost $150 per week! Aren’t you glad that we can give our children all those fun summer experiences right in our own homes?

Welcome to the Summer Camp edition of the Carnival of Homeschooling!


Summer camp gives children an opportunity to escape the confines of the classroom. These posts describe the benefits of homeschooling and share ways homeschoolers can free themselves from limiting beliefs:

Cindy from Get Along Home presents Things I Can’t Get Homeschoolers to Admit – Part 4, encouraging us to fess up and admit that chores are not schoolwork.

Happy Elf Mom from Homeschool and Etc. presents Homeschool Home Help, asking, Do you want to get advice on how to run your home from the makers of your curriculum?

In Homeschooling with Purpose – Purposeful Children, Amy from Raising Arrows encourages Christian homeschoolers to set aside guilt and remain focused on God as we homeschool our children.

At Association for Homeschooling, Bouwe van der Eems presents Public schools: Should parents patiently wait for the minister? – discussing the status of public schools in South Africa and the options available to parents.

And Henry from Why Homeschool shares a Nice Video about the Benefits of Homeschooling.

Arts, Crafts, Games and The Great Outdoors

No summer camp would be complete without arts & crafts, games and outdoor activities. Add fun to your summer with the following ideas:

Cathy from NurtureStore shares a free ebook Let’s Play Dough with all the playdough recipes you need, tips for mixing in math, literacy and science and a year’s worth of activity ideas.

Maureen from Spell Outloud presents Pretend Play: Preschool Ice Cream Store, sharing recipes and printables your preschoolers can use to run their own ice cream shop using scented play dough.

Vera Lang presents Newsprint Art at Fine Craft Guild, saying, “Teach fun in the sun, teach recycling, teach how to make roses, teach how to make art, teach creating handmade gifts… all in 1 home-made art project that does not cost a dime.”

At PJ’s All Day, Dena discusses the value of imagination, creativity and children who know how to entertain themselves in her post on Entertainment Free Education.

Angela Gray presents There’s Life Outside posted at Team Gray!, saying, “The outside has cures for what ails you.”

Amy shares a collection of picture books for young soccer enthusiasts in her post 7 Children’s Books About Soccer posted at Delightful Children’s Books.

Lisa Nehring presents Mud Works & Crepe Filling posted at Golden Grasses.

Angela of Blissfully Domestic shares 5 Educational Activities in Your Backyard.

Jamie presents Living Social Studies with Adventure! posted at Homeschool Online, saying, “Homeschoolers have that unique opportunity of making adventure the schoolhouse.”

And I share ideas to help you get moving and get fit in my post Moving to Win! – Get Your Groove Back, Part 4 here at Successful Homeschooling.

The 3 R’s and More

Summer is a great time to take learning outside of the box. Here are some thoughts on learning, along with creative ways to study the 3 R’s (and more!) in your summer camp:

Read Aloud Dad presents How To Travel AND Keep Your Kids Learning, saying, “Forget about batteries. Forget about electricity cords or AC adaptors. Forget about portable DVD players and electronic devices. It is time to introduce your kids to literacy-based fun that runs on some serious brain power.”

Nebby at Letters from Nebby presents Books in Which Children Find Themselves, and wonders what parents can learn from books that allow children to solve their own problems.

Laura Grace Weldon presents What Movies Tell Girls, saying, “What do movies (even kids’ movies) teach our children? You’d be surprised.”

At, PARENT AT THE HELM, Linda shares ideas for learning FUN with children in her post, 20 Money-Saving, Fun, Early Years Learning Ideas.

Joyce from Homeschooling High School presents Flash Cards for Studying & Vocabulary, sharing resources homeschoolers can use to create, study, test and print flashcards.

Sarah writes a review of 500 Writing Prompts for Kids at SmallWorld.

In Narration is Hard, Jimmie discusses narration problems and shares tips and resources that make narration easier. She also shares a Pilgrim’s Progress Homeschool Unit Study full of planning ideas and printable resources.

And Kathi presents Reading, Reading, Reading at Homeschool Online, sharing the joy of teaching her son to read.

Fellowship and Fun!

The best aspects of summer camp are the fellowship and fun! Here are some thoughts on socialization, along with ideas for nurturing family relationships:

Mrs. White presents How My Children Learned Social Skills posted at The Legacy of Home.

Cristina shares her Princess Bride homeschooling story in Personal Favorites: Revisiting the Fire Swamp posted at Home Spun Juggling.

Laura Grace Weldon presents Gentle Nurturance=Gentle World?, asking, “Does the way we nurture our children affect society at large? Yes it does.”

And Divya presents Feelings and Growth posted at Inside the Child, sharing thoughts about how each child is unique.

carnival of homeschooling

Share Your Post in the Next Carnival of Homeschooling!

Submitting a post to the Carnival of Homeschooling is a great way to share your best blog posts with other homeschoolers. Just send an e-mail to by 6:00 PM on the Monday before the carnival. Please include the following information in your e-mail:

Title of Post
URL of Post
Name of Blog
URL of Blog
Brief summary of the post
(With “carnival” or “submission” in the subject field of the email.)

Follow this link to learn more about participating in the Carnival of Homeschooling.

Many thanks to the Cates family for organizing the carnival and giving me the opportunity to host it here at Successful Homeschooling!


This morning, I finished the last day of Couch to 5K!

In just 9 short weeks, I have gone from not exercising at all to jogging for 30 minutes without stopping.

In the past, when I needed to lose weight, I would just run a few miles a few days a week, and voila! – I’d lose 10 pounds. Now I’m in my 30’s and a mother of 4, and my body doesn’t work like that anymore.

Here’s how I got back into the groove of exercising:

1. I put on workout clothes first thing in the morning.

I put on my workout clothes as soon as I wake up in the morning, and I wear them until I exercise.

I wear Nike’s Dry FIT Capris (not the tight ones) and Dry FIT Training T-shirts (again, not the tight ones). They’re comfortable, they wick moisture away from the skin when I get sweaty, and they look nice enough to run errands in on days when I can’t workout before leaving home.

I also LOVE Moving Comfort sports bras. They are expensive, but well worth the money. Nothing moves when I run in these bras, and they are so comfortable I could easily wear them all day.

2. I make movement a regular part of my day.

In her guest post about losing 75 pounds, Kris describes how she makes sure she is always active during the day. That’s also how I got started.

Instead of sitting and watching my kids during kids music lessons and sports practices, I took a walk around the block. Instead of sitting and watching the kids play at the park, I walked laps around the park. I got my body in the habit of moving, not sitting and watching. Then, inspired by Kris’ story, I began preparing to run a 5K.

I’m a living witness that if you follow the program, Couch to 5K really can take you from being a complete couch potato to jogging for 30 minutes straight. I ran the program on our treadmill, and tracked my progress using the C25K iPhone app. Last year, when my husband completed the program, he ran outside using a free C25K podcast he downloaded to his iPod.

Here’s a list of other Couch to 5K resources.

3. I participate in an accountability group.

For first time in my life, I found that getting fit was something I couldn’t do on my own. That’s why I am so thankful to have Jamie, Cheryl and Honey walking this journey with me. We check in with each other by e-mail every week to share our goals, our progress and our struggles.

  • Honey is just beginning a 2-year journey to lose 200 pounds. Here’s her no excuses approach to weight loss.

  • Cheryl and I have similar goals. She also wants to lose 30 to 40 pounds, and is finishing up Couch to 5K. Here’s how she describes the exhilarating feeling of getting over the hump.

  • Jamie doesn’t need to lose any weight. She is exercising to improve her cardiovascular strength and overcome chronic asthma. In addition to participating in our e-mail group, she hosts a weekly accountability group at See Jamie Blog.

Watching these ladies make progress has inspired me to keep moving forward, and sheer pride has kept me from giving up. I don’t know that I would have completed C25K had I not participated in this group.

Other Ways to Get Moving

As a busy homeschool mom, I know how hard it is to squeeze one more thing into the day. However, with a little creativity and determination, you can do it! Think about activities you can do at home, activities you can do with your kids, and activities you enjoy that will get your body moving. Here are some ideas:

Activities You Can Do at Home

Workout on a treadmill, elliptical machine or exercise bike. Do push ups, lunges, squats or crunches whenever you have an extra five minutes. Purchase inexpensive equipment like resistance bands bands, an exercise ball, or dumbbells that you can use for strength training.

Activities You Can Do With Your Kids

Take your kids on a walk, jog, or bike ride. Go hiking. Go swimming. Jump on the trampoline. Use the Wii Fit as a family, or put on a favorite workout video and exercise while your kids play. Minna Lessig’s Fat Eliminator is one of my longtime favorites.

Activities You Enjoy

Do you love dancing? Take a Zumba class. Are you a former athlete? Sign up for an adult athletic league. Look for activities you can do socially, like walking, running, swimming or cycling clubs. Now that I’m finished with my running program, I’m headed to Stroller Fit for a more intense group workout that also includes strength training.

Don’t be afraid to try something new. I recently met a woman who took up ice skating while she sat at her son’s hockey practices. I also have a good friend who fell in love with martial arts in her 30’s, and is now convinced she can beat up her husband.

My friend Amy is hosting a series on Diastasis Recti for moms who continue to look pregnant even though they are well past the postpartum period. I do not suffer from this condition, but I know it is a problem for many. If you continue to struggle in a specific area despite your best efforts, don’t be afraid to seek outside help.


I’m Hosting the Carnival of Homeschooling Next Week!

June 15, 2011

I have been participating in the Carnival of Homeschooling off and on for the past 3 years, and next week, I have the privilege of hosting it here on my blog! Joining in the Carnival of Homeschooling is a great way to share your best posts with other homeschoolers and learn from other homeschool bloggers. […]

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Eating to Lose – Get Your Groove Back, Part 3

June 9, 2011

One thing I didn’t want to do when I decided to Get My Groove Back was go on a diet. I remember dieting 12 years ago, when I was 40 pounds lighter and preparing to be married. I remember dieting after the birth of my first child, after the birth of my second child and […]

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How Kris Got Her Groove Back

June 3, 2011

When I finally decided to lose the weight, I was bombarded with feelings of doubt. Face it, you’re not 20 anymore. You’re a mother of 4… A homeschooler… You just don’t have the time. Look in the mirror. You’re too far gone. Just accept it and move on with life. All of my doubts were […]

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Get Your Groove Back!

June 2, 2011

This spring I took this picture with Julie Bogart of BraveWriter, and I did not recognize myself: Seriously… Who’s that? Do I really look like THAT? It doesn’t help that Julie is teeny tiny little gal. But after seeing myself next to her, I realized for the first time that the dryer didn’t shrink my […]

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Homeschool Convention Favorites

May 11, 2011

I am such a home school convention junkie that this year I attended TWO homeschool conventions.  In March, I attended the Mid South convention in Tennessee and met Jimmie, a longtime blogging buddy.  And last Friday, I spent the day at a local homeschool book fair with Jess, a longtime forum friend. While I always […]

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Homeschool Curriculum Review Contest Winners

May 2, 2011

Last week, we received over 325 reviews in our 3rd Annual Homeschool Curriculum Review contest, bringing our total collection to over 1,200 homeschool curriculum reviews! Heather won a Kindle 3G and $50 gift card to Amazon for submitting the largest number of reviews. When I contacted Heather about her prize, she said, “WOW! I’m SO […]

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Tell us about your favorite curriculum and win a Kindle 3G!

April 25, 2011

One the most helpful sections of our website is our collection of over 800 homeschool curriculum reviews. This week, we’re asking you to help us continue building our collection by sharing reviews of your favorite products. In return, we’re offering you the chance to win a FREE Kindle 3G and $50 Amazon gift card or […]

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Spring Spruce Up! – How are you getting your home ready for spring?

March 23, 2011

You’ve seen our Spring Spruce Up ideas, and now we want to hear from you! How are you getting your home ready for spring? Please link to your Spring Spruce Up post below: Share this:Email

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