Hooray!!! So many of you have asked if I was going to do another homeschool planner (I’m so glad you loved the first one!) and I’m delighted to share that it’s HERE!

Enter your email below for your free download! It may take a few minutes to land in your inbox! 😊NEW in this year’s free planner download:
—The new planner is UNDATED so you can start anytime, print one month at a time if you like, or set up your whole school year the way you love it.
—New artwork throughout—it’s so pretty!
—Just like the PowerSheets Goal Planner, simple and intuitive pages created to help you focus on what matters most. Pick and choose which pages work best for you!

How to print your planner:
Download your free planner. Once you enter your email above, you’ll get access to a folder with all the pages you need! Click the sections you’d like and hit “download.” Voila!
Print what you love for your homeschool needs. Some people love having just an attendance record and monthly pages, and some people (me!) love all the fun pages, too. Choose what’s best for you and you can always add pages in as you go! (Keep in mind: if you want a year of teal monthly divider pages, print 12 of that divider page. If you want 9 monthly sections, print that section 9 times—you get the idea! Organize your pages the way YOU want them and enjoy!)
Printing tips: I had mine printed and spiral bound at a local printer which was significantly less expensive than FedEx Kinkos, and much better quality. I had them size mine down to 7.5 x 10. Printing on a home printer and using a three-ring binder is a great option, too. You could also print on your home printer and have it spiral bound at your local print shop!

Curious about how we homeschool? Read my post from last year—we’re still on the same path!

I hope this free download gives you great joy—and helps you focus on what matters most to you and your students!

Your turn! Do you homeschool? Considering it, but not sure where to start? Have tips or favorite resources for newbies? Share below!

P.S. Mark your planners: NEW Write the Word Journals are coming in 13 days—including a brand new volume for KIDS! We use Write the Word for Kids in our homeschool and Grace can’t wait to use the new one! 

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Update: The NEW undated 2019-2020 Cultivated Homeschool Planner is available for download!

Long before our first day of homeschool, when I was still in the preparation stages, I was asked what curriculum we were using, what my best tips were, and even to speak at homeschool conventions. This felt a little like being asked to teach others how to ride a bike before I ever touched one myself. 🙂

I understand why friends asked me these well-meaning questions, though—I asked those same questions of others myself!

There are so many unknowns when you begin this journey. How do I do this? What do I do exactly? What if I mess up and don’t do enough? Where do I even START!? There are a million ways to do school (the challenge), and you get to do what’s best for your unique and wonderful child (the blessing).

While I’m no homeschool expert, I am deeply passionate about cultivating what matters—and a huge part of that for us is growing the hearts we’ve been entrusted with. Moving into our second year of homeschooling, I have learned a few things, but I’m still—and likely always will be—the student here.

I haven’t shared much about our homeschooling journey for the reasons above, and because this has been a really special and sacred time for just Grace and me. I’ve shared so much of my life online, and this has been a sweet experience for just the two of us. Here are some basics of how we do it, though:

We homeschool because… Simply because God led us here. Our reason for homeschooling might be easier to explain, perhaps, if I had a strong schooling philosophy that leaned toward homeschool, or if I were homeschooled myself, or if there were no great schools in the area. None of these things are true though! The honest answer is God made it clear to us with every little step forward that this would be our path for Grace. Through conversations with friends, being around other homeschool families, little nudges and opened doors… it just fit. Much like our journey to adoption, homeschool was not on our radar for life, but we’re so glad He planted us here. There are so many ways to grow our children’s hearts well, whether that’s a wonderful public school education (my path!), private school (Ari’s path), homeschool, charter school, boarding school, unschool, or circus school (technically I was required to take clowning in college so this is a real thing, people!).

I don’t do it all. Grace goes to a “homeschool school” two days a week where she does history, social studies, and science, and I work with her for the other two days. Friday she does piano lessons and gets to play with her siblings and just have fun being a kiddo.

We don’t use a formal curriculum. I’m using recommendations for each subject from close friends whom I trust. Kindergarten was our year to build foundations, learning how to learn together. If I had to put us in a category, I’d say we’re Charlotte-Mason-ish with a side of Grace-likes-workbooks. My favorite resources: My friend, Lara, has been a wonderful resource and encourager. I also love Read Aloud Revival. Her book, The Read Aloud Family, is awesome. I have modeled our year after some of the Ambleside Online suggestions. We use our Write the Word for Kids to practice handwriting and as a fun way to get into the Bible. There are a few of blogs I occasionally read too, but my very favorite resources have been in-person relationships. We are in a weekly Bible study with three other couples, two of which are long-time homeschool families—one even runs a homeschool school. My friend, Natascha, runs a homeschool school, too. Many of our church friends homeschool. The list goes on. The Lord built this community around us, and we are grateful.

School this week with my buddies. : ) 

We finally have a school name! It took us our entire first year to come up with a school name that fit. Trying to create a name that embodied our school and also looked good on a future transcript felt like trying to name a child! Our final decision? Thanks to Ari’s suggestion, we chose C.C. Austin Day School. Cecil Clyde Austin was my grandfather, who I have written about many times. He greatly impacted my faith, and Joshua even has “Cecil” as a middle name. We often tell stories about him to our kids, flip through his old Bibles, and I probably mention his name at least once a week. Our school name makes us think of his humility and passion for the Lord. We love it! Now, onto our mascot, chosen by Grace: a unicorn, naturally!

We do morning time. A resource I’ve enjoyed for this is Pam Barnhill’s website.

We take it day by day, week by week, and we plan to take it year by year. Right now, this is where God wants us. We’re open to whatever He wants for each child in the future.

Homeschool is challenging and wonderful all at once. Our journey so far has been, to put it mildly, spiritually refining. It’s the hardest and most rewarding thing I’ve done. And some days, it’s totally overwhelming!

To help me—and you—I have a little surprise!

Feeling overwhelmed by homeschool planning? I can relate! When I began our homeschool adventure, I prayed, researched, and readied myself as much as I could—but the most helpful thing I did was start each day with open hands. More than growing Grace’s mind, I wanted to cultivate her heart. I needed a simple system to stay focused on our big picture goals while getting the day-to-day learning done, too.

I created The Cultivated Homeschool Planner (a free download!) to help me get organized and focused on what matters most in our homeschool—and I’m excited to share it with you, too!

It is possible to set intentional goals and tend to them little by little with this customizable planner. No matter your method of schooling—or if your homeschool terms are six weeks long, three month periods, or traditional “semester” lengths, you can customize this undated planner to meet your needs. *I had mine printed and bound at a local printer which was significantly less expensive than FedEx Kinkos, and much better quality. I had them size mine down to 7.5 x 10. Printing on a home printer and using a three-ring binder is a great option, too!

I hope you enjoy this free download as much as I do!

Your turn! Do you homeschool? Considering it, but not sure where to start? Have tips or favorite resources for newbies? Feel free to share below!

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We’re 3 days away from the half-way point of 2019!

Does that fact catch you a little, as it does me?
Maybe time feels like it’s flying and you aren’t where you want to be at this mid-point of the year.

You’re craving refreshment, but you feel like it’s too late.
You’re too overwhelmed to get motivated again! You just want to take a nap.

I know these feelings! Traditional goal setting would tell you to WORK HARDER, strive, wear yourself out, or try to convince you that it is too late.

Cue the CRAZY TRAIN BRAKES!

Making the most of the second half of 2019 doesn’t have to be complicated or overwhelming. In fact, it’s quite simple! It starts with one small step. Then another. Then another. (And you can totally nap in between!)

This month, we’re going to focus on the power of little by little progress together—it really does add up. And taking small steps forward is FUN! Making progress on the things that matter to us feels really good!

Hehe. These words make me giggle!

We don’t need any more towels added to our laundry piles, do we, friends!? 😁 We’re going to make the most of the rest of 2019—no matter how it started. We’re going to take it slow and act intentionally, knowing we’ll be so thankful for our small steps forward come December 31!

A quick progress update from my June PowerSheets goals and what I learned. I hope this encourages you to celebrate even the tiny victories!

Little by little progress on my June PowerSheets above!

June Monthly Goals:
— Seek His wisdom, ask for His wisdom, pass on His wisdom. / Progress! From our Summer Team Summit to teaching to speaking at a conference this month, I was very grateful for the opportunity to be stretched as a leader, rely on His strength instead of my own, and pass on good things!
— Enjoy the garden. / Listen in to Episode 21 of the podcast for an update!
— Train leaders—pass on wisdom. / Yes! We made some great strides in our company this month putting people in new leadership positions. It has been hard work, but so worth it.
— Dig into summer homeschool. / Yes! We are taking it slow this summer and have enjoyed it!
— Do all of the new goal guides! / I thought I’d be able to do these in the long car rides through the mountains with Ari, but the mountains were so captivating, I couldn’t look down at anything! We did complete the Couples Goal Guide, though, and it was AWESOME! We had the best month of marriage ever in June! Praising Him for this.
— Learn to number my days (life is short—play in the sprinklers!) / Yes! We played in lots of creeks and had a ton of fun on our hiking trip!

I was so grateful to be asked to be a judge for the Children’s Business Fair in June! These young ladies and gents were SO inspiring!

June Weekly Goals:
Sabbath rest / Yes, we have loved this.
— Spread joy around like manure—encouraging things to grow! Ha! / You all laughed at this goal, but it was so fruitful! I did lots of small little things to spread joy, like getting peaches from the Peach Truck for the ladies I work with on the first day of summer and surprising the kids with ice cream on our hiking trip! I’m continuing this goal in July, too!
— Love people well. / We had many opportunities to do this in June—hosting my women’s small group, giving peaches away to neighbors, praying for friends, and small steps I took in relationships to make people feel loved.
— Simplify + systemize my work. / SO MUCH PROGRESS HERE! When you get clear about your goals (like we do with PowerSheets!), your efforts become more simple and streamlined. There’s not as much time wasted because you are using it well!
— Finish reading Letters to the Church, Rocket Fuel, and The Out of Sync Child. / I finished Rocket Fuel, am one chapter away from being done with Letters to the Church, and I’m continuing The Out of Sync Child in July.

We celebrated Emily Thomas‘ 10-year working anniversary last weekend!

June Daily Goals:
Write the Word (P.S. Brand new Write the Word journals are coming July 17 and they are so good!) / Yes, progress!
— Bible reading. / Still my number 1 goal! I can’t wait to celebrate at the end of the year with the group of women I’m reading with! I love texting with them every morning about what we’re reading.
— Run!! / I am so pumped to say I made progress here! I ran maybe 5 times this month, and I call that a big win!
— Read aloud to the kids. / Yes! Little by little progress here, too.

So many of you took steps forward on your goals at this mid-point of the year—and we loved adding you to the Goal Getters wall in our office!

Don’t miss these from June:
Two of your favorite podcast episodes launched in June: 10 Things We’ve Made Happen (And Some We Didn’t!) and How To Say No were two of the most popular episodes! Be sure to listen to them in order—they go together and they are so fun.
Learn how to make the second half of 2019 count—no matter how it started—in MY FAVORITE LIVE CLASS I’VE EVER DONE (thanks to YOU bringing the party!).
Join me for the ultimate way to set yourself up for success in 2020! Cultivate Your Year LIVE Tickets went on sale this week and close in a few hours. I can’t wait to see so many of you there!

On to July! It’s a new month and I’m so grateful for the PowerSheets summer refresh—it was right on time! I’m excited to dig into these July PowerSheet goals.

New goals for July!

July Monthly Goals:
— #GoalSettingIsFUN! — Moving forward on the things that matter feels great and it can be a lot simpler than you think! Follow Cultivate What Matters on Instagram for easy #GoalSettingIsFUN tips all month long.
— Write the book with JOY! — Yes, I’m writing a book this month! After two years, it’s finally happening. Sometimes, you just have to wait and wait and wait some more for the Lord’s timing. I’m so grateful for the waiting that got me ready for this month! Any guesses what book this is??? ☺️
— Summer fun with the kids. — We’re working through our summer bucket list from the Cultivate shop and it has been so simple and fun. Next on our list: picking blueberries today at a farm we love!
— Be a generous host. My mom AND Gina are coming to visit this month for big chunks of time and I want to love them so well! (Gina is coming to photograph our 2020 PowerSheets Collection that launches in October! Yahoo!!!)
— Finish The Out of Sync Child. We have a sweet kiddo with Sensory Processing Disorder and this book has been incredibly helpful so far.
— Release the NEW Cultivated Homeschool Planner. SO MANY OF YOU have asked about this and emailed me wondering if there’s a new one coming. We are only days away from releasing the new one and it’s so good! Stay posted—it’s coming so soon! UPDATE: The NEW Homeschool Planner is HERE!!
— Make our fall homeschool plans.
Work heartily for Q4. — I’m working ahead so I can do work with excellence and clear out my time around the holidays.

July Weekly Goals:
— Sabbath: surrender and be renewed
— Lead the kids to the Word
Write the Word for Kids with Grace (there’s a new volume coming for kids on July 17th! (Text CULTIVATEFAITH to 55222 for sneak peeks every week!)
— Spread joy around like manure—encouraging young things to grow! : )

July Daily Goals:
— Bible reading
— Run! Praise!
— Slow down and soak in the summer
— Write the Word at night. — And mark your calendars, friends! The Fresh Faith Challenge (31 days of writing the Word) starts again August 1 and I can’t wait to do it with you!

Your turn! Do you have goals for July? Comment below and I’ll pick one of you to send a special surprise box of goodies to from the Cultivate What Matters Shop! I love sending real mail, and I love hearing your thoughts! 

P.S.  Now is the PERFECT TIME to start a 6-month set of PowerSheets. Buy yours today for 30% off—no code needed!

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We’re almost to the half-way point of 2019 and you’re feeling it.

Life keeps happening.
Daily pressures keep pressing.
You want to make progress on the things you’ve always wanted to do. But, you’re starting to think it’s not possible to achieve your goals this year—it feels like it’s too late.

It’s no surprise you feel this way! The world tries to convince you that that, in order to have a meaningful life, you have to do it all and be it all. You have to have made perfect progress on your goals from January 1 to now. You have to have it all together. You have to take big shiny steps forward. You have to do “big things” to have value.

Ugh!

I’ve been there, too. Feeling like I have to do it all and be it all. Escaping to social media, to distractions, to comparison, to whatever we can find to avoid that voice that keeps telling us we’re not good enough.

There’s a better way forward! A simple way. Like my garden, it’s the way of growing slow and well.

My little buddy exploring the community garden down the street from us!

Starting next Monday, I’m going to guide you through 3 steps to finally make progress on your goals—no matter how your year started. Ready for a life reset without the pressure, guilt, or that feeling of never catching up?

Welcome to your LIFE RESET.

Whether you’ve made progress this year, completely forgot about your goals, or never set them in the first place, Mid-Year Goals Prep Week is for you—and it’s going to be FUN!

3 steps to get ready for your Mid-Year RESET:
1. Grab your PowerSheets—no matter where you are in your goals, I’ll help you get refreshed!
2. Follow Cultivate What Matters on Instagram for Mid-Year Goals coaching and fun all week.
3. Sign up for my free live class next Monday at 1 pm ET. Let’s make it a date! I’ll guide you through the 3 steps to make the rest of 2019 count—no matter how it started (and of course I’ll send you the replay if you can’t join live!). Save your spot now.

And now, a quick progress update from my May PowerSheets goals! May was a big month! Grace finished 1st grade, all the kiddos started the transition-to-summer, and Mommy eased lots of big emotions for sweet little hearts who don’t love transition! : ) We had a refreshing trip to the beach, planted the garden, and ate breakfast outside. It was a good month!

May Monthly Goals:
— Love the Word (above all else!) – One of our work benefits is an allowance for books, so I got a new ESV study Bible and have been loving it alongside my Write the Word Prayer journal, which I’m almost done with!
— Make our family summer plans – Done! We’re headed to the mountains in June and August and have simple summer fun plans thanks to many of your suggestions and the Summer Wildcard Page pack.
— Train team members (2 Corinthians 3:2 is my verse for this!) – So much progress here that I am very grateful for! I work with amazing women.
— Make our summer homeschool plan – Done! We ordered all of our 2nd-grade books, too! (By the way, the new version of the Cultivated Homeschool Planner is coming soon! Stay tuned!)
— Plant the garden + Josh’s farm – FINALLY!!! Listen in here for the story of how this almost didn’t happen.

May Weekly Goals:
— Weekly family Sabbath. – Many naps with Josh transpired! And we had an especially sweet Shabbat with some friends at the beach, complete with a seder meal and singing!
— Do something for the joy of it—HIS joy! – Goodness, I loved this goal. It was a reminder to live with joy! From being silly with the kids to telling funny stories to making fun things for breakfast, this was a delight.
— Be in the Word with Ari – This was pretty simple – a reminder to have spiritual conversation with him!

May Daily Goals:
— Old Testament Bible Reading – Yes, and continuing to LOVE this reading time with friends each morning!
— 10k steps every day – Progress not perfection here. I’m so glad I set this goal—it motivated me to move!
— Read aloud to our kids – We already finished some of our second-grade books and made some good library trips. Mr. Putter and Tabby Pour the Tea has us rolling in laughter every time!
— Write the Word – Yes, little by little steps forward here, too!
— Exercise it out! – Progress! I’ve been walking and running in our driveway while the kiddos play in the garden.

Here’s a little marriage advice we shared this month that resonated with many of you!

Don’t miss these from May!
One of your favorite podcast episodes launched in May! In How to Let Go of A Dream, I share the story of letting go of Southern Weddings and the surprising thing that happened next.
—Learn how to take back your summer before it starts!
—Feel like it’s too late to start a goal since it’s not January 1? Here are 3 reasons to start your goals today.
See big change in 5 different goal areas. Check out our NEW Downloadable Goal Guides in friendship, finance, relationships, parenting, or wellness!

On to June! It’s a new month and I’m ready for that mid-year reset! I’m excited to dig into these June PowerSheets goals (Goal Setting Sticker Book in hand, of course!)!

New goals for June!

June Monthly Goals:
— Seek His wisdom
— Ask His wisdom
— Pass on His wisdom (There’s clearly a theme in June! ☺️ )
— Enjoy the garden
— Train leaders—pass on wisdom
— Dig into summer homeschool
— Do all of the new goal guides! Ari and I are halfway through the Couples Goal Guide and it has been AMAZING.
— Learn to number my days (life is short—play in the sprinklers!)

June Weekly Goals:
— Sabbath rest
— Spread joy around like manure—encouraging things to grow! Ha!
— Love people well
— Simplify + systemize my work
— Finish reading Letters to the Church, Rocket Fuel, and The Out of Sync Child

June Daily Goals:
Write the Word (P.S. Brand new Write the Word journals are coming in July and they are so good!)
— Bible reading
— Run!!
— Read aloud to the kids

Your turn! Do you have goals for June? Comment below and I’ll pick one of you to send a special surprise box of goodies to from the Cultivate What Matters shop. I love sending real mail, and I love hearing your thoughts! Congrats to May’s winner, Tiffany!

P.S.  Let’s have a coffee date on Monday! Join me for the free live class where I’ll guide you through the 3 steps to make the rest of 2019 count––no matter how it started (and of course I’ll send you the replay if you can’t join live)––save your seat now.

Affiliate links are used in this post.

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So, you want to start a garden. Plant lady that I am, I’m thrilled for you! But, do I sense a bit of overwhelm? There’s just so much information out there, and so many resources. You just want to be told how to get started, in plain language. You want to know:

what to plant
when to plant it
how not to kill it.

I may be an unlikely gardener (I’ve killed plenty of plants in my day!), but over the years I’ve kept trying and trying again. The lessons I’ve learned, and the beauty I’ve experienced with my family in the garden, have kept me moving forward. No matter how far from green your thumb is, YOU can become a gardener, too. Let’s talk! LISTEN NOW!

In this episode:

— You’ll hear a little bit about my history as a gardener (dead plants and all), and why I love getting my hands dirty.
— I tell you about the Gardening 101 LIVE class we’re offering for the first time ever. I’ve helped hundreds of people start and tend to their first gardens, and I want to do the same for you! Register here. We’re going to have so much fun, and by the end you’ll be ready to get started with a garden of your own and – best of all! – you’ll know how NOT to kill your plants.
— You’ll hear about my first year of gardening, and the classic mistake I made – and how I’ve course corrected since then.
I’ll tell you about my gardening WHY and help you find yours. Is it for food? Teaching? Fun? Beauty? Filling vases? Attracting butterflies, birds, and bees? Let’s find out!

Interested in some of the things I mentioned throughout this episode? Here you go!

— You can learn everything you need to know to start your own garden in my new, LIVE Gardening 101 class. It’s on April 16th, and if you can’t join live, the replay is yours to watch whenever you’d like! Register now.
— I wrote a whole chapter in Cultivate about all the plants I’ve killed. There’s hope for you, too! : )
For Garden’s Sake is my favorite local nursery. If you’re in the Triangle, pay them a visit!
— We chatted a bit about how our garden fuels my homeschooling with Grace. Here’s my homeschool planner – a free download!

LOVE THE PODCAST? SHARE IT! Text, email, carrier pigeon—share this episode with friends however you like! This episode is really special, so I hope you’ll share it with someone you love! Feel free to grab one of these graphics to post about it, too!

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I’D LOVE TO MEET YOU! Come say hi on Instagram! I love sharing my life with you! And if you loved the outro, don’t miss the “Ari Raps” highlight on my Instagram!

SUBSCRIBE NOW to the Cultivate Your Life podcast on iTunes so you won’t miss an episode. If you love the podcast, please leave a quick review on iTunes—it helps other women find this free encouragement! Just click here to review, select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” and let me know what your favorite part of the podcast is. I’ll be featuring some of your reviews in a future episode!

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