Life in the Forest

When I’m not working, I’m looking out the window, because, well…there is a LOT to look at via our new home in the forest! I don’t think a day goes by where my husband and I don’t gawk at something outside. We have plenty of visitors like this guy who decided to lick the salt off our truck:


Then he proceeded to try to eat our truck antenna and ended up bedding down nearby after a dinner of bare winter branches. He (or one of his friends) came back and feasted on my little compost pile just this morning!


We were also visited by a baby and mama moose. Here’s mom nibbling twigs, standing in our driveway.

moose mom

Her adorable baby was struggling through the snow in what is going to be my garden (hence the ribbon markers and the windmill base).baby moose

You lookin’ at me?

moose calf

We’ve also been visited by a flock of turkeys who decided to roost in our trees a couple of times:


I never saw a turkey FLY until this winter:

flying turkey

There are also a few resident red squirrels. This one is living in the squirrel hotel (logs that came from trees cut down for our homesite). They like to scold us with their incessant chatter.

red squirrel

There is also a downy woodpecker who regularly visits the peanut butter I smeared on a nearby tree. She’s such a pretty bird! I say “she” because she doesn’t have the red head markings of a male. 🙂 I’m having fun learning about all of our new “friends”.

downey woodpecker

We’ve also seen some ruffled grouse browsing some of the snowberries and such:

ruffled grouse

Sometimes we aren’t looking at animals, but at the scenery. It’s raw and peaceful, with mountains all around and a forest stretching in every direction.

If I’m not looking at the scenery, I may be watching my husband who has new chores like shoveling the roof. No one told us we’d have to have the roof shoveled!!! Living where it snows as much as it does here is a lot of physical work. Our house is heated entirely by wood (our choice), so there is trekking to the wood pile, digging paths so we can take the dog pee and get to wherever we need to go in our yard, shoveling and snowblowing the driveway, chipping away at 5 inch thick ice that is melting and starting to flood the garage, and so on…Those of you who live in the snow are probably rolling your eyes and thinking, “Yeah, so?”, but this is all new to us.

My husband is my hero with all of the brawny work he does around here. 😉 I help, too, but I don’t do nearly as much as he does!! Yay for husbands, lol!

Check him out on our roof. He had to get as much snow off as possible because of creepy things like ice dams that can ruin your roof and flood your house walls with melting ice.

Don’t think I’m whining about all of the extra work. There is something so satisfying about seeing the results of genuine old fashioned labor vs. sitting around working on a computer. I know my husband doesn’t miss his previous 2 1/2 hour commute (ONE way on a GOOD day). We were made for this.

I can’t describe how much we love it here. It’s like when you are on a vacation and you look around and wish you lived wherever it is you are…well, we are living THAT. We live where we dreamed of living. If you are in a situation wondering if you will ever get THERE, wherever THERE is, don’t give up. You never know what God has in store for you down the road. Just hang in there and keep working toward it. Don’t let dark days and difficulties cloud that distant hopeful view. God is GOOD. Keep trusting Him and you’ll get to where you need to be. <3

That’s a little slice of our new life in the forest. We will be very busy this coming year building the infrastructure for a garden, small orchard, and so on, as well as working on Guest Hollow, which has started to really take off now that we are working on it full-time! I’ll post more about our life here, as time permits, as well as Guest Hollow updates.

P.S. My husband took most of the above pictures. 😉

Jr. Anatomy is updated!

Homeschool anatomy curriculum

Our Jr. Anatomy curriculum has been updated!…/ana…/jr_anatomy_curriculum.html

If you’ve purchased this curriculum in the past year, check your email for instructions on how to get the newest version for free! The online schedule has also been updated and is accessible to ALL past purchasers.

Our anatomy curriculum has loads of great books, fun activities, fascinating videos and even online games and free printables scheduled in. It’s meaty enough to be a “core” curriculum (a.k.a. unit type study) and is perfect for science-loving children with plenty of practical information and a variety of materials to appeal to different learning styles.

Topics for this curriculum:

●All about the human body
●Stories about real people & scientists
●Germs and diseases
●Saying no to alcohol and smoking
●Keeping safe from inappropriate touch
●Puberty (optional – with separate books for boys and girls)
●Survival and what to do in emergencies

Our anatomy curriculum has 3 different levels that follow the same topics, so you can teach a multitude of ages from pre-K through high school!

I’ve really enjoyed seeing students working on Jr. Anatomy projects via customer’s blogs. You can see a bunch of posts that’s show a bright young lady using Guest Hollow’s Jr. Anatomy at!

If you have a blog that shows a student using our materials, we’d love to share! Feel free to post the url below in the comments.

Happy homeschooling!

Guest Hollow’s Botany is totally revamped!

botany curriculumWe’ve updated our botany curriculum. This is our biggest overhaul, yet! Not only did I update the schedule links, I also totally revamped it with new books, videos, recipes, activities, and more. The updated version is appropriate for 6th grade through high school, with lots of new books added in for older students, and new, better titles added for all ages.…/…/botany/botany_curriculum.html

Why study botany? I think botany is an overlooked topic that gets shoved into a chapter of biology and then forgotten. Plants affect and enrich so many parts of our lives! Our houses and clothes are made of plant materials. We eat plants. We enjoy their beauty. They provide us with medicines, fuel, perfume, dyes, paper and a variety of other products. They are tied to history and even our future. They are an integral part of our lives!

This course is for any student who has a love for nature and plants. It’s also perfect as a pre-biology course. Students will learn the science behind plants and to appreciate the myriad contributions plants make to our lives!

The goals for this course:

To understand many scientific concepts concerning plants
To understand and appreciate many practical applications of plants
To learn how to identify many different plants, flowers and trees
To learn some history and geography as it pertains to specific plants or plant discoveries
To be involved in the natural world on a more frequent basis
To hone observation skills, nurture an interest in the natural world and encourage reflection on beautiful and interesting things
To see the hand of our creator in nature (although almost all of this year’s resources are secular)
To keep a nature journal and learn some artistic skills that will help students reproduce their observations via drawings
To learn how to grow, cook, and use plants in a variety of ways
To learn about bees and worms as “side topics” (creatures that are beneficial to plants)

If you were using the free version, you can still access it. Here is the link to the archived version:…/archive…/botany_curriculum.html

Check out our botany curriculum page for more info, a list of topics covered, a list of books & resources used, sample weeks, and more!…/…/botany/botany_curriculum.html

If you purchased a botany schedule in the past year, look in your email for a notice about how to get your FREE updated version. The new schedule also has login information for a password protected online version of the schedule. Feel free to contact me, if you need assistance accessing the new schedule!

Our biology curriculum has been updated!

Our much-loved biology curriculum has been updated! If you purchased a schedule within the last year, just log into your account at our store

and download a new copy. The FREE online schedule is also completely updated.

In other news, I started researching American history spines for high school! I’ll post an update about our progress with that after more has been accomplished.

Happy Homeschooling with Guest Hollow!

Our Geography Curriculum has been completely updated!

Our geography curriculum has been completely updated & revised!…/geography/geography.html

Why study geography?

I believe this is an often overlooked subject that sometimes gets short shrift in our homeschools. Geography is squashed into our history studies or quickly glossed over with a workbook or song. Our kids often spend a great deal of time learning the cultures of ancient civilizations, but they don’t usually spend as much time learning about the current cultures, people and places that exist all over the world. That leaves them woefully unprepared to understand our world’s politics, world-wide needs or even that there are people who live very different lives from themselves. Learning about the world can open their eyes, mind and heart concerning others and excite their imaginations with animals, cuisine, landscapes culture and stories from different regions.

We made geography and cultures an important part of our homeschool and as a result, our daughter (who is now an adult), became very involved with the international community. She’s fluent in reading, writing and speaking Japanese and has a degree in International Studies. She married a Japanese citizen and is living permanently in Japan working in Christian missions & ministry work via teaching and other venues like music. She and her husband will be starting a home church in a very rural Japanese area, in the future! I remember her as a kid cooking up lunches from our Kids Around the World Cookbook and playing dress up in an Indian scarf. She cares about worldwide politics and loves other cultures. I think all of my kids have fond memories from studying other peoples and lands, and hopefully I’ve left them with a better understanding of the world, an appreciation of other cultures and a knowledge of just how blessed we are.

Geography & cultures should be something we as homeschoolers don’t neglect. In this ever-expanding global community, our kids NEED to know this material to understand so many of the things going on in our world that directly affect us as Americans (or whatever nationality you happen to be, lol).

Check out our geography curriculum! It’s chock full of great books, interesting videos, and fun activities for a variety of ages!…/geography/geography.html

New, FREE, Updated Chemistry Curriculum Schedule

If you’ve purchased our chemistry curriculum at ANY time in the past, look in your email for a NEW, updated, FREE schedule we’ve sent out. We’ve recently updated the curriculum with new links, etc. Please let us know if you don’t get your copy.

You can also access the new copy via your store login, if you created an account when you made your purchase:

Just enter in the email address you used to make your purchase, along with the password you created when setting up your account.

We’ll be posting updated schedules for the other curricula in the next few months and letting you know how to access them!

Everyone who has made a purchase of a curriculum that is updated will have access to a NEW copy with this set of updates, even if your purchase was over a year ago.

Thank you so much for being part of the Guest Hollow family!

The Physics Curriculum is Posted!

homeschool physics curriculum

Our literature-based, conceptual (math-free) high school physics curriculum is ready to be purchased! Click here to read more about it.

Links are being updated!

I’m letting everyone know that my husband has now joined me in working on Guest Hollow curriculum and materials in a much more active role. He is working on updating all the curriculum schedule links to make sure every link is working, or replaced, if necessary. This will be done every year to make sure our schedules stay fresh and updated. We’re working hard to make Guest Hollow better than ever!
For those of you who are purchasing curriculum now, you will have access to the NEW printable versions of the schedules via the online schedule home page(s) for several months. Just use the login from your purchased curriculum schedule(s) to access. No need to worry about missing out on the new changes! New versions will be posted over the next few months. We’ll keep you updated here and via my blog.
Also, the physics curriculum is about 1-2 days from being finished. I’m really excited to share it and add it to our beloved high school science programs.
Students who’ve HATED their other science curriculum(s) really do love the switch to Guest Hollow!

Physics Curriculum Update!

Homeschool physics curriculum

I’m finished creating the (math-free!) high school physics schedule and am now working on finishing up the accompanying study guide (due to popular demand)! You can take a look at the curriculum in more detail here:…/highschool_p…/physics_home.html

You can also look at the scheduled books and resources here:…/highschool_…/physics_books.html

I’m up to week 17 in the study guide and furiously typing away to get it finished up! After the guide is finished and the online version of the schedule is posted, the curriculum will go live in my store – hopefully sometime this month! Please contact me via PM if you need it before then.

Happy homeschooling and a big thanks to those of you who voted for a physics curriculum! Grammar and American history are coming up next!

Physics Curriculum

physics curriculum

Just a heads-up: a math-free, text-book free high school physics curriculum is being worked on and should be released sometime in January! I’ve posted a small teaser of some of the books that are going to be included, above!

This has been a crazy year for my family. I “retired” from homeschooling in May when my youngest graduated, and then we moved to another state this summer. We finally moved into our new home in the forest just a little over a month ago, and are still getting settled. We are enjoying all of our new experiences of life in-the-middle-of-nowhere, including daily visits from wild turkeys, learning how to use a wood stove properly, and SNOW – something we never even had a flake of back in CA, as well as sub-zero temps for the first time. There are a few challenges to get used to, like satellite internet data caps (lol), chopping wood (thank you husband!), driving on dirt roads to get to our house, and hearing wolves howl at night. We LOVE our new life, though!

Despite all the moving-craziness, I’m back to work on curricula, so expect lots of goodies coming down the pipeline! 😉 The first release will be the high school physics. Subscribe to my blog or like my FB page to receive updates on what’s next!

I’ll be sharing more in the weeks to come!

Happy homeschooling!