Homeschooling with Pancake Art

Though my kids are young  elementary-age and most of their schooling is decided by me, I’ve begun incorporating a little more interest-led and life-skill based education into our homeschooling days. This year I asked my nine-year old to choose a subject he’d like to learn more about. He chose cooking.


Since he’s our oldest child, as well as the pickiest eater of the five kids, I wasn’t sure what to expect. But I guessed, with more food knowledge his palette would expand and he’d become more willing to try new foods that he helped prepare. Or, that he’d get further stuck in his favorites–but at least now he’d know how to make them.

Either way, it seemed like a great idea to turn dinnertime over once a week and let him have plenty of supervised experimentation in the kitchen. And happily, he’s taken this weeknight responsibility quite seriously–even (unprompted) checking out simple cookbooks from the library and making regular grocery list requests.

pancake art

Pancakes are one of his favorite foods to cook, and we’re sharing a fun way to combine pancakes, school, and art over at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers. Come join the fun!

Creativity Takes Courage

Walking down the hall, I passed the bathroom where a scene caught the corner of my eye. An entire roll of toilet paper, unraveled and wadded on the tile floor.


Things like this frustrate me! I’m sure most moms can relate. It feels like I could spend the entire day cleaning and never make any headway because a tornado (or five) is raging in the room behind me.

Normally I may have hollered for the mess-making culprit to come clean up. But this time a little voice inside told me to slow down the investigation. And what I discovered a few minutes later, was humbling. That empty toilet paper roll, and my determined 5-year old.

toilet paper roll binoculars

She’s a decision-maker, an innovator. She sees something she wants to do, and then finds a way to make it happen. Her personality’s like a bull-dozer, always pushing forward, never pausing to ask questions (or permission).

And that’s exactly what happened when she decided she needed a cardboard tube. Rather than asking for help (I have a stash of empty cardboard rolls saved for “projects!”), she went about getting an empty tube in the way she knew how–by removing all the toilet paper.

Creativity Takes Courage

“Creativity Takes Courage” {via}

When I spied this graphic on Pinterest a few weeks ago, I was drawn to the content and bright colors. I’m not actually sure the original context of the quote, but today, it’s inspiring me to remember that letting our kids use their creativity can, in fact, take courage! Allowing those messes to happen. Letting go of the preconcieved idea of what the final product should look like. Abandoning the Pinterest-worthy photo opp, and just letting the kids CREATE.

And heck, maybe even jumping in with them, and creating ourselves.

Today, let’s all take a deep breath, and have a little more courage.

Teaching Young Kids the Scriptures with Visual Aids

Teaching Young Kids the Scriptures by Keeping Life Creative

Teaching our young kids the scriptures is something my husband and I strive to be intentional about, and one night during our bedtime reading our five-year-old asked:

“Mommy, why do we read the scriptures?”

Simply put, we choose to read our children the scriptures because they are the word of God. We believe teaching the principles will empower them spiritually, and learning the scriptures in their early years will help root their foundation of faith and build an internal commitment to follow them.

We want to teach our kids to learn and love the scriptures so they will have that strength and guidance for the rest of their lives.

learning the scriptures with picture readers

There are many ways to teach young kids the scriptures, but one way is to to familiarize them with the stories. Let them learn at their level, and know the principles and application will come line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little, there a little, as these stories come alive.

learning the scripture with visual aids

{FREE Creation story printables}

Our favorite way to teach the scripture stories is through visual aids. Visuals can enhance the kids’ learning experience as you teach truth. Visuals can also assist in teaching:

  • Narration (have them practice speaking and storytelling as they retell the story back to you)
  • Sequencing (use the pictures to put the story events in order)
  • Comprehension (test their understanding by asking questions with the pictures)

learning the scripures with visual aids

{FREE Moses story printables}

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What methods have you found effective in teaching your young kids the scriptures?

Originally published on May 13, 2013

Interactively Comparing the Arctic and Antarctic

arctic and antarctic venn diagram

My wiser-than-me mother-in-law always reminds, “It’s great to have a plan, but know, things probably won’t go according to plan.” And that’s exactly how things played out as we dove into a recent multi-elementary-age science unit.

I’d planned to keep things simple by lumping the Arctic and Antarctic together while teaching my preschooler, kindergartner, 2nd grader, and 4th grader about polar habitats. But more organically than I could have planned they began asking questions.

But why don’t polar bears and penguins live in the same place?

To be honest, I wasn’t sure I truly knew the difference between the Arctic and Antarctic myself. And so searching for a way for the kids to differentiate helped fill-in the gaps of my own learning and gave me renewed perspective about this amazing world we get to live in. The love for learning I’ve discovered during this homeschooling journey has been one of my favorite parts of teaching.

arctic and antarctic Venn diagram

To see how we discovered the differences and similarities between the Arctic and Antarctic, and download FREE printables, read the rest in my contributing post at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers

arctic and antarctic venn diagram3

Setting Goals for Growth

scripture storytelling with printables by Keeping Life Creative

{helping mommy tell a Bible story}

Can you imagine the tremendously overwhelming feelings Mary and Joseph must have felt as they carried the responsibility of becoming the earthly parents to the Son of God?

Sometimes–usually during the quiet, early mornings when I’m alone with our nursing newborn baby–I think of these Biblical parents and wonder if they ever felt inadequate–knowing their son’s potential–or if they received enough divine guidance through those early years to give them the confidence, “we’ve got this.”

young Jesus teaches at the temple felt story set by Keeping Life Creative

{prepping Childhood of Jesus printables for Bible storytelling}

Learning from the Childhood of Jesus

My current church responsibility is to teach the adult Sunday School class and we recently spent class time discussing the childhood of Jesus. I’ve been thinking a lot about this idea:

 Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of our Heavenly Father, still had to experience earthly life. And though the scriptures don’t record a lot of his childhood, the stories we do know show his growth physically, intellectually, spiritually, and emotionally. The growing experiences he had as a child must have been the foundation for the service he would later give during his ministry. Though I’m sure his Heavenly Father was a key role in his growth, so were the experiences and teachings he received from his earthly parents.

Luke 2:52

Though we’re raising “regular” kids who will likely grow up to be “regular” adults, I feel just a small piece of the weight Mary and Joseph might have felt when I consider the responsibility I have in raising my own children–children of God with incomprehensible potential.

Growth is Not Automatic

In a webinar I recently listened to, Kelly Thorne Gore taught, “Growth is not an automatic process. If we’re going to grow, we have to do so intentionally. We have to decide what areas we’re going to grow in and we have to have a plan–something strategic, specific, and scheduled.”

Setting Goals with Kids

Helping my children grow has been on my mind over the past few weeks and so I’ve spent some one-on-one time with each child talking about their personal goals for the new year. I feel a need to be intentional in fostering their growth (as well as my own), and so we each selected goals in the four areas: physical, intellectual, spiritual, and emotional.

Then (my favorite part!), we spent an afternoon rummaging through old magazines (and Google Images) to create our annual vision boards.

vision board

The collages will serve as a visual reminder of the things we’d like to accomplish/work on/learn. It’s just one of the ways I’m trying to “keep life creative” through this parenting business.

What are some things you do to help your kids “grow?”