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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Weekly Wrap-Up: Pigs & Gingerbread

It's been a relaxing week at our house....we have needed the chance to not worry about anything! We've continued with math and reading as usual. The kids have enjoyed reading different versions of The Nutcracker, and our favorite music this week is "Sleigh Ride" by Leroy Anderson. We have been learning about the instrumentation and talking about how instruments can evoke certain feelings and moods in a piece of music.

Thursday we headed to Atlanta to ride The Pink Pig at Macy's. It's been a tradition here since the 1950s. We had a wonderful time! We went with some good friends of ours.... Miss B didn't want to have her picture taken with Priscilla the Pig!

Here are my two sweet children getting ready to ride the pig.... even though it was a cold, rainy day we had a great time!

And of course we headed into the mall afterwards and enjoyed some California Pizza Kitchen. What a special treat!

Today we have a friend staying with us... he is a good buddy of GMan's, so we wanted to do a fun activity with him. We read about the history of gingerbread, colored our own Gingerbread Glyphs (check out the link for great Gingerbread Math activities!), then decorated Gingerbread men with icing, chocolate chips, and candies.

The sun is out and I can hear the basketballs bouncing outside - the boys are getting some energy out and having lots of fun! Later we have a couple of homemade goodies to deliver and then I think I have to face the inevitable -- cleaning bathrooms! Well, the WHOLE day can't be perfect now, can it?

I'm looking forward to Miss B's piano recital tomorrow afternoon - I'll be sure to post some video when it's over.


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!