Welcome! My name is Mary. I help parents educate their children at home one day at a time. This site offers LEGO printablesfree music lessonsunit studies,  and much more. Use the tabs above to discover what Homegrown Learners has to offer. You will be equipped and encouraged to travel a most amazing path in your home!









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Wednesday - What's For Dinner? Maple Roasted Chicken With Sweet Potatoes

It is cold, dreary, and just in general a yucky weather day here.... this dinner was PERFECT for tonight! Another plus was that it cost about $10 for the whole thing.... it fed four of us and we have leftovers for lunch another day this week.

I found this recipe at The Flowering Dogwood - it looks like she adapted the recipe from Real Simple Magazine. Liz has some wonderful recipes on her blog. My family gives this one a huge thumbs up.

Maple Roasted Chicken with Sweet Potatoes

  • 8 small bone in, skin on chicken thighs
  • 2 small yellow onions, cut into 1-inch wedges
  • 2 small sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme
  1. Heat oven to 400° F.
  2. Rinse the chicken and pat it dry. Arrange the chicken, onion, and sweet potatoes in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Drizzle the oil over the chicken and vegetables and season with the salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Drizzle with the maple syrup and top with the sprigs of thyme.
  3. Roast, stirring the vegetables once, until the chicken is cooked through, about 1 hour, 15 minutes. Let rest for 10 minutes before serving.
Today I am linking up with Inspiring You to Save for "Wandering Wednesday".... I'm trying to be more frugal in general and this is a great blog.... hopefully my Wednesday dinners will reflect a more budget conscious me! Click the button to visit Inspiring You to Save!


End of Year Wrap-Up/Studying Mammals - and it's FREE!

I'm proud of some of the big things we have accomplished since we began our school year. One of those is our study of mammals - which I tried to tailor to my nine and six year old so we could learn together.

In August we began reading The Burgess Animal Book for Children. Originally I had purchased the book because it is a part of Ambleside Online's curriculum - and we do use parts of that in our homeschool. A few times a week we read a chapter in the book. I must say, my children always ask me to read more and have gained so much from this sweet book. I read it aloud to them and the short chapters (about 15 minutes each) kept my little one's interest, and the detail in the chapters kept my nine year old very interested as well.

While I ordered the physical copy of the book, you can download your own copy for free, read it straight from the internet, get your own free audio download, or download your own free version for the iPad or Kindle (just search the iPad and Kindle stores for that). (By the way -- there are many other Burgess books for free download out there, and I can't wait to explore some more!)

The narrator of the book is Mother Nature, and each day she conducts "school" to instruct the animals around her about the mammals of North America. Each mammal gets a cute name and persona, which really helped my children to remember them. Now, when we see a certain animal out in the real world my kids will say "There goes Johhny Chuck!" or "Do you think that's Chatterer the Red Squirrel?" I LOVE IT! The scientific classification is an added bonus, and while my children remembered some of that, I didn't feel it was of utmost importance. At this age I just wanted them to soak up a general knowledge of the mammals of North America and enjoy learning about them. We accomplished this goal!

Some days I would print out coloring sheets from the internet about mammals we learned about, and other days I would just let my son build Legos or blocks while he listened. I'm finding that he's ALWAYS listening, even when I think he's not!

This week we are reading the last chapter in the book, and then will be watching a video, a DK Eyewitness Mammal DVD, which I got from our library.

I think it will be a perfect way to wrap up our study, and in these weeks before Christmas it's nice to relax a little. We've been doing the crafty thing and baking, too -- but quite honestly I just like activities with low prep on my part and high interest and learning on the kids' part!

If you wanted to make this a totally independent study you could download the audio and let your children listen in the car or during quiet times over a period of months, then let them wrap up with the video at the end. I'm all about instructing my children, but I'm trying to get more "hands off" activities for my own sanity!

I hope you can use this resource as you plan for the New Year!

This post is linked to Teach Me Tuesday, at a Bokros Kind of Life, and also to the Hip Homeschool Hop. Check out these two blogs today for some great ideas!


End of Year Thoughts and Goals

I've been such a faithful blogger for the past year.... wow - I can't believe it's been that long since I started keeping this online journal for our family. I'm so grateful to my husband for suggesting the idea to me and encouraging/helping me along the way. It certainly has been a productive, tiring, joyful, and meaningful year for our family.

We just finished celebrating my son's sixth birthday with a small celebration. He had such a great time - and as my husband and I were relaxing on the couch with a glass of wine (we deserve it!) I remarked that now I feel like I can really move forward with the holidays. Once my little guy's birthday celebration is completed I can mentally move to Christmas. This year, I'm so happy we have decided to SLOW DOWN, lessen our commitments, and truly enjoy the gift of Jesus Christ.

Some good news from today: Our good friends who have recently adopted their second little boy from China asked us to be his Godparents! What an honor this is, and I am so excited to watch this little one grow in his faith throughout his life. We have been inspired by our friends Bruce and Karen, and this brings everything full circle for me.... God is so very good!

My parents (who have been married 52 years) are also making a large move next week. They have sold their home and are moving into a continuing care community. They are both in good health, but my father is 80 and they wanted to have less worries for themselves (and their children) as they age. I am so happy they have sold their home and all is proceeding according to the plan, but I know this will be a difficult transition for them to make. It's hard for me, too - but I'm happy that they have spent their lives saving and preparing for their retirement, and can now truly enjoy life with minimal worries. We've also had some other family worries which I can't go into on my blog - but they have caused me a lot of worry over the past several months.

On the homeschool front: Over the next few weeks we will continue to do math and of course read, read, read. Other than that we are going to take a break. I would like to catch my breath before January gets here (we will be starting more combining of subjects and a couple new curriculums). The new year holds a few big commitments for me, personally -

  1. I will be taking on another piano student, bringing my total to 7.... we will be preparing for a competition in March and a recital in May.
  2. I will be teaching a class for our homeschool co-op - a music class for Kindergarten and First Graders - I'm SO excited about this!
  3. I want to really focus on a CLASSICAL education for my children - after starting mostly eclectic, I've now found that I really do lean towards the classical end of the spectrum.

I may post occasionally over the next few weeks, but I'd really like to give my brain a rest from posting, schooling, and just the online world in general. I love reading blogs, writing my own blog, and getting so many wonderful ideas, but now it's time for me to devote my extra energy to creating a peaceful, calm Christmas for my family and hopefully finding ways for us to bless those around us. I want to take stock of life at the end of 2010 and see how I can improve in 2011!

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