May 2013 - Sarah Mae
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Monthly Archives: May 2013

I like the fray

I was sitting next to her, the lifeguard at the pool where my kids swim. She put her finger on my knee and pulled on the piece of string that is hanging off the hole in my jeans. “Doesn’t that bother you?” She asked.

“No. I don’t even notice it.”

Because I don’t.

I don’t mind the fray, and in fact, I kind of like it.

I like that torn piece with the strings dangling; I think it gives my jeans some character.

I like the fray.

I like you. And I like loose ends and missing puzzle pieces.

Life is splotchy art, and I think it’s interesting and curious and painful and beautiful.

“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.” -Oscar Wilde

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I’ll be signing books at the Lancaster, PA Barnes & Noble THIS Saturday! {Plus 15% off Coupon}

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My sweet friend Darlene at my last book signing!

Good morning, friends!

Just wanted to let you all know that if you’re looking for a Mother’s Day gift, and you’re thinking about purchasing Desperate – Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe, come on out to the Lancaster Barnes & Noble this Saturday between 6-8pm and I’ll sign your book (and have some coffee with you)! I’d love to meet you! Plus, click on the image below to get 15% off Desperate (or any one item at B & N)!

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Hope to see you there!

Love, SM

“Excellent, encouraging, surprisingly balanced book on motherhood by Sally Clarkson and Sarah Mae. Highly recommended.” -Catherine Gillespie, Review of Desperate

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Homeschooling Resources {Kindergarten Through 2nd Grade}


You already know I finally enjoy homeschooling, and a large reason is that we’ve settled into our curriculum choices with confidence. I’m not even going to CHAP this year because I don’t want to be swayed by all the wonderful choices! It feels simply wonderful to keep moving forward without second guessing myself. If you’ve chosen your curriculum, fantastic! If you’re looking for some ideas for what to use with your babes, perhaps you’ll like some of what we’re using. Take a peek:

spelling workoutSpelling Workout

Easy, cheap, and effective. It’s $10 a book, two pages a day (no prep), and using it has massively improved my 7-Year old’s (who starts second-grade in the fall) reading and spelling. We’ve nearly completed two books and will continue on with the third this month (and continue through the summer). I will start Caed (my almost first-grader) on it after he completes 100 Easy Lessons (see below).


Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons

I have to admit, I did not like this reading program when I used it with Ella, and the feeling was mutual with her! We made it to lesson 84 and threw in the towel (it wasn’t sticking, and she was miserable). But Caed? He likes it, and sometimes he even does two lessons in a day. Go figure! Whatever works, right?


First Language Lessons, Level 1 and Level 2 

I like the simple lessons, the copywork, the narration, the poetry, and the ease in which the building blocks of grammar are taught. It works really well with Ella, who has a brilliant memory and enjoys memory work. I’m going to give it a go with Caed in the fall (when he’ll be in first-grade) and hopefully it will work for him as well (although I’ll go much slower with the memory work – too much of it frustrates him).



I’ve used Math-U-See with Ella for two years now and will be continuing on with Beta in the fall. Caed is working through the Primer (he loves it) and will begin Alpha in the fall.


Story of the World, Volume 1: Ancient Times

My babes listen to this at night before bed, and on long car rides (I’m secretly tucking history into their brains). All three of them enjoy it, and how can you not with Jim Weiss as the narrator?!

Speaking of Jim Weiss, his Shakespeare for Children is superb!

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Ambleside Online (Charlotte Mason inspired)

I love Ambleside Online and am so grateful for their articles, resources, and recommendations. We use their book lists and loosely follow their weekly reading recommendations.

As for science, I recently decided to forgo an official curriculum and follow suit with what my friend Laura has to say about it.

For other subjects and interests, we use the library.

And last but not least, we love Lamplighter Theatre (Sir Malcolm and the Missing Prince is our favorite). Excellent, excellent, excellent character building stories!

Okay friends, your turn! What are some of your favorite resources for homeschooling?

Love, SM

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*UPDATED with Winner’s* Ultimate Homemaking Bundle GIVEAWAY! 10 Winners Will Be Chosen!


Just think, after tomorrow all this talk about the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle will go away (for some of you, you’re all, “Thank goodness!”).

But for others, it is a gift to be able to get so many wonderful eBooks for WAY cheaper than if you were to buy them all, or even a quarter of them. The thing is, sometimes spending even $30 is too much. I so get that, I’ve been there. So how about a giveaway?

Today you can enter to win the whole shebang – the complete 97 eBook bundle (worth $640)!  Even happier news? I’m going to pick 10 winners.


All you have to do is enter below! The giveaway ends tomorrow (Saturday) at 5pm EST.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

(Email readers, CLICK HERE to come to the blog and enter!)

Want to see all the eBooks in the bundle? Just click HERE!

Love, SM

P.S. Today (Saturday) is the last day to get these eBooks together for over 90% off. Sale ends at 11:59 pm EST. *UPDATE* The sale is now over.

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How to Enjoy Homeschooling {A Few Things I’ve Learned Along the Way}


I finally, finally enjoy homeschooling.

After failed attempts, neglect, tons of curriculum, comparing, sage advice, and a settling in, I can finally say I enjoy homeschooling. Thank God. Because I was starting to think about how I could save to send my babes to private school.

My heart’s desire has always been to homeschool; I loved the idea of learning with my children, filling their minds with beautiful things, being with them as they learn about the world, and choosing what they study, based on what I thought was best and what suited their personality and bents. The problem? I didn’t take it seriously enough. I had built up an ideal (sort of like I did with motherhood), and it all came crashing down. I learned that homeschooling wasn’t easy, or always fun, and that it takes discipline, consistency, and hard work (all of which I lack, and all of which are obvious…except to me). I also compared myself with other homeschool moms that I admired, which just about did me in. I would look at pictures and read posts about their craft-filled, lap-book-filled days and feel like a loser, totally inadequate to homeschool my babes.

Some of you may have felt that way about me.

The truth is, it’s been an uphill battle for me. I can be lazy and unmotivated and undisciplined. I also fear too much: “What if she hates homeschooling? What if I push her too hard? What if I don’t push her enough?” I am a seriously neurotic mother. But I am teachable, and I have heart, lot’s of heart, and I want to be with my babes as they learn. So I’ve had to learn a few things, I’ve had to discipline myself, and I’ve had to serve hot chocolate to get Ella to smile while she does her work.

Some of you are struggling to enjoy homeschooling. Some of you are comparing yourselves with other moms, and some of you are barely hanging in there. I don’t have the wisdom of a seasoned homeschool mama, but I do have a few things for those of you who might need some encouragement to keep going.

How to Enjoy Homeschooling {A Few Things I’ve Learned Along the Way}

Know You Want to Homeschool

Do you really want to homeschool? Do you feel that’s where the Lord has led your family? Is your husband on board with it? It’s going to be pretty difficult to enjoy homeschooling if you feel like you have to do it, or your husband doesn’t want you to, or whatever other reason. You homeschool because you feel that’s what you’re called to do, and there is a desire in you to do it.

Figure Out What Works for Your Family

Break out of the mindset that homeschooling must only be done one way, or that it needs to follow a school model. Find what works for you as a family! Maybe that is a school model, or maybe it’s homeschooling in the evening, or at a park in the middle of the day. Maybe it’s two hours of work a day, maybe it’s five. Maybe it’s field trips and living books, or text books and desks. Maybe your husband does the homeschooling. Every family will have a style of their own, and that’s great! Find yours, and go with it!

Stop Comparing {And Stop Reading Blogs That Make You Feel Inadequate}

I really think that a big reason parents give up on homeschooling is because they feel inadequate due to comparing themselves with others. It’s one thing to stop homeschooling if you feel the Lord leading you somewhere else, but it’s another to stop because you are comparing yourself with another mom or homeschooling lifestyle. You have your own unique personality and bents and limitations and strengths and weaknesses. Focus on what your strengths are, and move in confidence in those areas. If you know you struggle with not feeling like you’re good enough to homeschool after reading certain blogs, just stop reading them! There are wonderful bloggers out there that I cannot read on a regular basis because I know my weakness (and sinful tendency) is to compare myself with them. When I compare, I get in a funk, everything all of a sudden feels overwhelming and hopeless, and I want to throw in the towel. But when I’m walking free in how the Lord made me, and when I put blinders on and keep focused on where the Lord is guiding us, I’m okay, and in fact, I’m happy. I love our family and where we’re at with homeschooling, and I want to stay in that place. I want you know find that sweet spot as well.

Find Support

We all need support, and we all need grace. Find friends or a co-op or a mentor  (or all of those things) who homeschools or has homeschooled to encourage you on the journey. Having supportive people in your life will help tremendously in persevering.

Have a Talk with Your Babes

I called Sally just about in tears of frustration one day and said, “Ella is always complaining about her work! I don’t know what to do!” Sally said, “You need to sit down with her and tell her that this is what we do, every day, Monday through Friday. School work is non-negotiable.” Well, I did what she said, and what do you know, it worked! I sat down my sweet Ella and gently but firmly laid out for her the fact that we will be doing school work every day. We talked about why, we talked about our attitudes, and I agreed to hot chocolate (see below).

Serve Hot Chocolate

My Ella gets through her school work by having some sort of treat half way through. In the winter, it was hot chocolate. Sometimes it’s tea, currently it’s just a snack of some sort. Find something that brings your child a smile during their work time.

Have Fun!

For real, have fun! Go places, dance, sing at the top of your lungs, go on field trips, make your own schedule, talk, live, create, and relax! Your babes can be your crew – do life with them. Remember, homeschooling is just living life and learning together.

At The End of the Day…

As Sally Clarkson says, “Read to your children a ton, have them around adults, and listen to good music. If you do these things, they’ll be brilliant.” 😉

Keep on!

Love, SM

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