I Can Do It All, I Just Don't Want To

Owner of Blue Corduroy, Emily Waechtler, and family

This last spring, I decided it was time to work outside the home. I thought my girls were at an age (teenagers) where they would be better off with me gone more often.  I thought I could go to work, still be a present wife and mother, still homeschool, and still enjoy my hobbies. But guess what? I was totally wrong. Personally, I can't do it all. Well, no, I take that back. I can do it all, but I decided I didn't want to.

And it wasn't just me, but it was my family too! They missed having me around. They missed the spur of the moment conversations that we used to have, dinners prepared where we all sat down together as a family to eat, just my presence in the house was missing even when everybody was independently doing their own thing. Every time I left for work, my heart would break, and I was reminded how these last few years of having my girls living at home were too priceless to not soak up every last bit.

It was a hard decision to make, believe me, because once I got to work, I had a whole new wonderful crew of friends who quickly became my second family. It was fun to be challenged to learn a new skill and to feel like I was part of a team.  But my priorities were clear, family first.

As of this week, I am now officially working from home again, happily sewing hats and knitting bonnets. So thankful that I have this option. So thankful for the time I get to spend with my girls. So thankful that creating is in my soul!

Interest Led Learning in Homeschool

I was recently asked how I find the balance between "interest led" education vs. "requirement focused" as a homeschool mom.  I know that every home educator will answer this question differently, that is the beauty of the personalized approach to educating at home.

If you follow me on Instagram, you will notice that we spend a lot of our time outside on adventures, or at home you'll see the girls being super crafty and creative making up their own "interest led" projects.  From Ruby running her own business to Ginger making paper dolls, I feel like this is where the real learning happens.  Not in finishing workbooks or following the same topics the local public schools are teaching.

"The world is the true classroom.  The most rewarding and important type of learning is through experience, seeing something with our own eyes." -Jack Hanna

swallowtail butterfly

How do we find the time to spend so much time outdoors in nature, when there's other necessary school work to be done?  I feel like being out in nature IS necessary schoolwork!  But if you mean, learning to read and write, etc. vs. playing outside,  I find a way to make "playing outside"  a learning experience.  If, for example, we discovered a cute little caterpillar in the backyard, the girls (at whatever level they are in) can retell the story of the metamorphosis in their journals (language arts).  We can also research his name and learn his characteristics (science).  We can read books about butterflies (literature).

homeschool nature study

"All children respond to an abundance of free time with ideas, plans, imagination, playing.  They solve problems, think, grow. Children respond to life by living.  They need this time to grow.  Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life" -Susan Schaeffer Macaulay

We do still have a structured morning of math, history, science and language arts.  But I definitely don't feel the pressure that my girls need to be in a certain grade level in math, for example, or need to finish their book by the end of the year.  What I'm more concerned about is if they are understanding the concepts being taught, and if they have a good attitude when things get tough.  I believe this will serve them far better than being able to tell people they finished Algebra by ninth grade.

reading on the couch

Once an atmosphere of education takes root in your lifestyle, I really believe that fundamentals are getting taught, but more so wrapped up in a package custom fit for each child.

"To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment" -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Finding the delicate balance between interest led learning, and educational fundamentals can take time and patience, with plenty of mistakes.  But as long as we continue to try to find the right combination for each child, I feel they can only prosper.

How to add Paper Dolls to your Homeschool

Making paper dolls is such a rich way for the kids to really get to know any character they are learning or reading about.  It really forces the child to pay attention to specifics such as hair color, facial features, dress style, and habits.  It also makes them feel very acquainted to the character after "making" them all afternoon.  The familiarity they feel becomes a lasting knowledge of the person.  All the more reason to surround your child with books full of characters worth getting to know. 

“What kind of books? "Sories that make for wonder. Stories that make for laughter. Stories that stir one within with an understanding of the true natures of courage, of love, of beauty. Stories that make one tingle with high adventure, with daring, with grim determination, with the capacity of seeing danger through to the end. Stories that bring our minds to kneel in reverence; stories that show the tenderness of true mercy, the strength of loyalty, the unmawkish respect for what is good.”
― Gladys M. Hunt, Honey for a Child's Heart

When we were still a part of a homeschool co-op, Ginger learned how to make paper dolls.  It was a craft that went along with a book they read in first grade, "The Prince and the Pauper" by Mark Twain.  She kept those paper dolls in a little brown paper bag fixed into her notebook and fondly visited those paper dolls often.  Every now and then she adds to her collection of characters, usually from history readings or favorite story personalities.  



How to Paper Doll Like a Pro: 

1) Find a template you like.  (I've included one at the bottom of this post) Print it out on thick paper and cut out.

2) Decide what character (fictional, historical, or totally made up) and gather supplies to inspire your vision.

3) Draw on a face.

4) Yarn makes great hair. Ginger has had lots of fun designing new yarn hair styles.

5) For clothes you can draw directly on the paper doll, you can cut out clothes to stick onto your paper doll, using paper, tissue, fabric, etc.  Also here is where the sky is the limit as far as accessories and embellishments.  Just grab all your craft supplies and go crazy!

It's been so fun to watch Ginger's paper doll making skills grow the more she makes them, and I always remind her to write her name, the date, and the name of her character on the back of her paper doll so that when we look back through them, we're reminded of these times.


The Doll ginger is making today was inspired by our history reading about the first settlers of North America from England and how they met Pocahontas and her family.  Pocahontas by the D'Aulaire's is a beautiful book for inpsiration.

She also put to good use some of the feathers we painted a while back.  Here's the How to Paint Feather's blog post I did to see how we made the painted feathers.


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What My Girls Like About Homeschooling

Ever wonder what a homeschool kid thinks about being homeschooled?    

Wild + Free is a homeschool community of an "emerging group of mothers and homeschoolers who want their children to not only receive a quality education, but also to experience the adventure, freedom, and wonder of childhood."  This organization puts out monthly content bundles chock full of resources  to help inspire, inform and motivate your homeschooling journey

This months bundle has an interview with 10 homeschool students answering the question of what they love about homeschooling.  Ruby and Ginger both responded.

happy homeschooler

"I love how being home schooled I can do activities I am truly interested in for the greatest part of the day! After arithmetic and history or science, one afternoon could look like this: I hop on my bike and tour to the bay. There I take a few photos and explore my camera's manual settings, to try to figure out what shutter speed is. Then I return to our home and write a blog post about my outing to the bay and about the speed of my shutter. I click over to my other tab on the computer and start adding a new product to my Etsy shop, Ruby by the Sea. Now it would probably be time for chores, but after those jobs my next adventure would be to write another chapter on whichever book I was working on at that time. I adore all my free time that I get with being home schooled!"  by Ruby age 13


homeschool student

I like home school because I have time to do whatever I like to do.  I get to learn what I want in science and get to always be reading about flowers and other books. And our school day is very short.  By Ginger age 10

If you homeschool or are interested in gathering more information on this lifestyle, I highly suggest subscribing to Wild + Free's monthly content bundles, and following along with their instagram feed @wildandfreeco.