Grammar Sneak Peek!

Here are some screenshots of pages from my up-and-coming grammar curriculum for grades 2-6. During the 20+ years of teaching my children, I never found a grammar curriculum they or I loved. Everything was so borrrrrring and difficult to retain. Beowulf the Fox Terrier is going to change all of that….

If you’ve been looking for a new grammar curriculum, you’ll want to see this!

I’m working hard to get Beowulf’s Grammar finished by August or September of this year in time for the new school year!

Chemistry in the Kitchen Review!

Lisa used Chemistry in the Kitchen with her two boys this past year and wrote a terrific review of their experience. Take a look at her post here:


It seems like every day there is a new wildflower popping up around here. There are so many that some areas look like they were planted on purpose because they are THICK with a variety of flowers! God is a great gardener. 😉

I don’t have time to work on a Charlotte Mason style / artist / sketchbook / nature journal right now, so I catalogue what I find via pictures and pop them into a Microsoft Word document with info.  Hopefully someday I’ll have more time to whip out the watercolors and make a physical journal. At least for now I’m learning the names of everything as well as the common uses, or if something’s edible, etc. I really enjoy taking at least a little time to observe and learn about nature! It really recharges my “batteries,” especially when I’ve been working on the computer for hours everyday (making an awesome grammar curriculum / workbook for you all)! P.S. Don’t judge the grammar in my post, lol…This is the casual Jenn, not the working Jenn. 😉

We don’t have the $$ to buy one of those fancy closeup lenses for my Nikon, but my husband managed to score a little screw-on lens (that goes over another lens) that seems to do a pretty good job. I took it out for the first time the other day and it beat trying to take pictures with my tablet. Here are a few pictures I took of things that are on my property for my “plant catalogue / guide.”

We have two types of wild roses (Nootka and Woodsii). They are everywhere! There are a few huge thickets with lovely blossoms, as well as tons of bushes in random places. I can’t believe how fast they grow. We’ve had bushes pop up on bare ground that are nearly 2 feet tall already. I love both colors:

We have yarrow growing everywhere. It has pretty, feathery leaves and clusters of white flowers:

This is cinquefoil (Potentilla). I love the lemony-yellow petals.

Lupine is everywhere right now. We have a small bit on our property, with new plants popping up all the time. They grow in clusters and sometimes you see fields full!

I was so thrilled to find thimble berries growing in a section of our property! They make these huge white flowers and giant leaves that look like huge maple leaves. I can’t wait to eat the delicious berries later in the season!

I think this is orange hawkweed. It really stands out!

These Mariposa lilies are all over. They are so delicate looking and totally at home in the forest:

We have a small bit of hairy vetch. It’s everywhere else in abundance. I love seeing huge clusters of it along the roads. Vetch is in the pea family and is a nitrogen fixer. It’s good for the soil!

I believe this is narrow-leaf collomia from the phlox family:

We have wild honeysuckle!!! This is stuff people PAY for to put in their yards and it grows wild in mine, lol.

We also have rosy pussytoes (or cat’s paw). I think it’s such a unique and lovely flower that looks like a little bouquet:

This is a blue damselfly. They are pretty common and flit around here and there, along with dragonflies and an abundance of butterflies. They add a little extra splash of mobile color. 😉

I love having so many wildflowers and pretty things growing on our property! I love that the rain waters them and they look beautiful without a lick of work. 😉 I can’t wait to see what emerges next week and the week after that! It’s like a non-stop show around here!

Salt A World History is on sale today!

If you ever plan on using Chemistry in the Kitchen, one of the books is on sale today (Kindle version) for 1.99!

Happy homeschooling!

Guest Hollow News

If you are using Chemistry in the Kitchen, you may wish to join the 2017-2018 Chemistry in the Kitchen User’s Group. This group GH is open to all Guest Hollow Chemistry in the Kitchen users and students. This group was started by Jessica L. and is designed for students to interact, teachers to share thoughtful ways to engage their teens and much more!

Check it out if you are already using Chemistry in the Kitchen this summer, or plan on using starting it up this fall!

If you’ve purchased Chemistry in the Kitchen, Physics, Knowledge of Nature, High School Anatomy, or Biology, you can now access a free printable books & resources list for your curriculum to help you with your planning / shopping.

The printable book lists are available as a download via your store account (just log in and grab them):

You can also find them on the ONLINE schedule homepage(s) in both Microsoft Word format (so you can highlight / cross things out, etc.) and PDF format (just print and mark things up the old fashioned way with a pencil, lol).

The only exception to this is the Biology curriculum book list. The printable book list is available to those who have purchased a schedule and is only accessible via the store account downloads. It’s an added benefit / bonus for those who’ve purchased a printable schedule for this FREE curriculum. Everyone else can still see the books and resources via the website page.

Here’s a small screenshot of what the books and resources lists look like:

The rest of the curriculum schedules will also have book lists. They will be added as they are completed.

I’d like to give a HUGE thank you to Heather Garson for creating these and sending them to me, so that I have more time to work on curriculum.

In other news, grammar is coming right along. My proofreaders are going over the pages I’ve already created, and I’m working on finishing up the rest, as well as the built in review pages and teacher’s guide. I’ll post updates here and on my FB page!

Spring in the forest

We had a very long winter, here, as well as a slow spring. But, finally! Spring is here in full force with new wildflowers popping up every day and tons of forest eye candy. I thought I’d share a few pictures!

The hummingbirds here are crazy. They flock around our feeders 5-6 at a time. Sometimes, in the evenings, there will be NINE floating and buzzing around, fighting for a bit of sugar water, and they actually SHARE a feeder. I posted a video on my Guest Hollow FB page of them landing on my hands. Click the linked text, if you want to take a look. They are practically tame, and I’ve never seen hummingbirds act like this where we lived before.

My husband took a picture of this calliope hummingbird – the smallest bird in the United States:

Picture © Charles Guest

They are like little jewels and always darting everywhere. I have a feeder hanging right out the window where I do all of my Guest Hollow work, so I can see them and their aerial acrobatics all day. It always sounds like subtle, tiny chainsaws right outside my window.

It’s a very physical existence here, with tons of outside work, but we manage to squeeze in time to learn more about the forest. Even though I’m no longer homeschooling, I still love to learn. 😉 One of the things I’ve been learning is how to identify the local plants, and other botany related topics. I’m learning permaculture principles, as well, and how to apply them to the “food forest” / garden / orchard we are working on creating.

We were really fortunate to get to tour our new friends’ homestead and see permaculture principles put in action. Monica and Sean of The Prepared Homestead invited us to join one of the tours they put on for one of the classes they teach (they also give tours to groups & individual families). We learned more in that hour tour than hours and hours of reading! It was wonderful to actually see firsthand how a permaculture oriented homestead works, and to walk through their amazing gardens & food forest.

They are now opening up a new bed-and-breakfast in their home: Huckleberry Mountain Homestead & Breakfast. I was privileged to see the beautiful rooms they put together. If you are ever looking for a unique bed-and-breakfast experience, I highly recommend them. They are friendly, kind, and knowledgeable folks!

So, anyway, we are constantly learning about something new. My husband remarked to me the other day that he has NEVER been interested in identifying bird calls, until now, lol. We are constantly surrounded by bird song, and it’s fun to know who’s doing the singing. 😉

He’s less enthusiastic about learning to identify all of the flowers, lol, but he puts up with my constant chatter and pointing out the many new things I know. He encourages my love for this type of learning and supports all of my efforts in that area.

Here’s a picture of some fairy slippers (orchids) growing wild in the forest:

Picture © Charles Guest

A close up:

Picture © Charles Guest

We are chickens when it comes to eating wild mushrooms, but I’ve at least seen my first morel!

Picture © Charles Guest

I love all of the wildflowers that grow in the forest, like this trillium:

Picture © Charles Guest

Even though many of the smaller seasonal snow-melt creeks are starting to disappear, the rivers are full and wild and beautiful:

Picture © Charles Guest

The biggest treat, though, is that we got to see the northern lights!!! I’ve always wanted to see them!!

Picture © Charles Guest

Picture © Charles Guest

Picture © Charles Guest

Picture © Charles Guest

At first there was just this odd subtle tinged green glow in the sky, but there was not a moon out, and it was midnight, and we don’t live near any big cities. My husband looked at his aurora notification app and there was a higher than usual chance of seeing them….but there was just this odd glow and nothing spectacular. He brought out his camera and started capturing it via long exposures. We were able to confirm via the pictures that it was indeed the northern lights.  We were out there a long time, and then around 1:00 a.m. or 1:30 a.m. there was this distinct glowing band that formed. It was not long after that that the magic happened, and we saw what you’d consider the typical aurora (at least a mini version) where they shimmer and undulate across the sky. It was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen. There were a few bursts of red and sometimes a long streak would flash up in the sky. It was almost like it couldn’t be real, lol…like someone was playing with special effects in a movie.

I love our new home, and I love all of the new things I’m experiencing and learning. I’ll post soon about the hugelkultur bed we’re building!

The Biggest Homeschool Sale of the Year!

Today is the first day of the Build Your Own Bundle sale! There are only 8 days left, and then the bundles will no longer be available. The bundles are offered at a HUGE savings. For example, you can build a bundle by picking 5 items that normally would cost about $129 and pay only $39. I have 4 items featured in the sale AND I’m offering a 15% off coupon in the Bundle of Bonuses book every BYOB customer receives for free. Check out the sale before it’s gone! This is truly a great deal! If I was still homeschooling, I’d be purchasing a bunch of stuff from this sale, lol.

Huge Giveaway!

It’s almost that time of year again! The Build Your Own Bundle sale starts on Monday, but starting today through Sunday, you can enter the giveaway to win ALL of the bundles being offered this year. That’s a $4,454 total value of homeschool curricula & helps from a variety of contributors (108 total), including ME! Here’s the link:

Also, if you refer a friend to the presale giveaway, and your friend wins, you win, too!

I’ve looked over all the bundles, and while I can’t share specific contents, yet, I can share that there are a lot of great contributors, including one of my favorites, Ellen McHenry. I used a lot of her things in my own homeschool and schedule some of her great books in my own curriculum schedules. There are also some other goodies from publishers / companies like Tapestry of Grace, TruthQuest History, Bright Ideas Press, and other well-known names. The lesser known contributors are also offering some really good products as well.

For those of you who don’t know, the Build Your Own Bundle sale allows you to bundle together curriculum, workbooks, online classes, etc. at a HUGE savings. There is even going to be a buy-two-get-one-free sale. These bundles are a great deal because you are getting savings of up to 96% off (I can’t share the prices of the bundles, yet). This is the kind of thing I loved when I was homeschooling, as I always needed my dollars to stretch, but I liked using a variety of things to meet the different needs and interests of my children!

You will also get the Bundle of Bonuses Book for free with any purchase. The bonus book has a ton of freebies, sales, and coupons (including one from me)!

I’ll share more info about the sale as soon as I am able to, but for now, you may want to click over and at least enter the pre-sale giveaway!

Happy homeschooling!

A mom shares her experience with Chemistry in the Kitchen

homeschool chemistry curriculum review
A mom recently shared her teens’ experiences with Chemistry in the Kitchen. I’m sharing what she wrote here, with her permission! I get a lot of emails that describe this type of transformation of a student’s attitude toward science. These stories highlight what my goal for Guest Hollow curriculum is: to engage students, get them thinking, teach them practical things they will actually use in their lives, and spark an interest in learning by using a creative approach. If you have a story to share how Guest Hollow has changed your school day or your child’s view of a particular subject, please feel free to share in the comments! Your sharing will help other families better decide if Guest Hollow is a fit for them or not! 🙂
The excerpt from the email I received:
I’ve always been intrigued with a more literature learning style but my boys were reluctant. They say they prefer one textbook for the whole course. What I’ve found is when it comes to science a textbook can be hard because they tend to just give the facts and you memorize. There is no practical application (aside from experiments.) When I chose this course I didn’t know if it would be a good fit. It was so different than anything we’ve done before. They liked that they only had one small book at a time, it didn’t feel so overwhelming. If they didn’t like a book they knew it would be over in a week and they would jump into something new. My oldest who is the pickiest loved all the practical learning. He would often pull me into a discussion about what he read that day. Sometimes it would be comments like, “I’m never eating that again” and sometimes it would be, “What do you think about vaccines, my book says this.” Both teens willing do their science daily – that to me is the biggest blessing because with Biology, I had a wonderful and solid course for them but they fought me all year. We ended up doing just the reading part and the microscope sat in the box unopened. I think this course is perfect for the non-traditional learner because it is more interest-led. My boys have already decided that we will be doing Guest Hollow Physics next year.

Chemistry Workbook / Study Guide is Finished!

Homeschool Chemistry Workbook

I finished creating the Kitchen Chemistry workbook / study guide! If you are a chemistry customer and you didn’t get an email with instructions on how to access the workbook at no cost, please email me. Here at Guest Hollow, we LOVE our customers and in many instances provide access to a number of updates and freebies, even after you’ve purchased your product.

This new workbook is now provided as part of our chemistry curriculum “package” and has 121 student pages, as well as an answer key that features all of the questions in their full format for parents to reference. I’ve also updated the chemistry schedule AGAIN, as I needed to incorporate 2 newer versions of a couple of books when creating the workbook.

Next on the runway: grammar!