My Favorite Homeschooling Resources 2016

This week I had the privilege of giving an inside look to our homeschool day in my Mommy Secrets Insiders page. We spent 3 hours going through a whole lot of information and I promised to share a page with all the resources I mentioned. This list is constantly changing and being added to, so I dated it. I would love for you to share any resources you love in the comments.

Before You Continue

We are part of a Classical Conversations Community that serves as our main curriculum or “spine”. I could rave and rave about CC for an entire post (or 10), but that is for another day. If you have never looked into it I cannot encourage you to do so enough. It has transformed our homeschooling journey and allowed me to homeschool my kiddos with absolute confidence. The following resources simply add to this amazing program we are a part of. We fully embrace the classical model of learning and try to apply it in all areas of learning.

Major Curriculum


Spell to Write and Read

Core Kit comes with everything you will need except for the Learning Logs

The Original McGuffey’s Eclectic Readers (I prefer the originals not the revised editions)

Primer (PreReading – Kindergarten/1st Grade)

First Reader (2nd – 3rd Grade)

Second Reader (4th-6th Grade)

Third Reader  (6th – 8th Grade)

Fourth Reader (Advanced Middle School – High School)


Saxon Math (I prefer to buy my teacher books used on, but the kits linked below are for new)

Saxon 1

Saxon 2

Saxon 3

If you manage to get the teacher manuals on ebay I order my student workbooks from Rainbow Resource Room.

I prefer to order the older books for the upper grade on or other b/s/t sites. This is what the older versions look like:









Here are links to the daily math warm up sheets I use. Grade 1 is free and then Grades 2 and 3 are for a nominal fee. Make sure you save the files after you purchase them because the links do expire.

Grade 1 Warm Up Sheets

Grades 2 and 3 Warm Up Sheets

Additional Resources

  • To access the CC and additional resource correlation chart you must have a CC Connected membership. Log into the file sharing portion of the website and search for Cycle 2 and user “Brandyferrell” the file is called “Cycle2ReadingCorrelation”.
  • For our Map Tracing Notebook I used this link for Blob Maps and this link for the Printable Atlas
  • Read Aloud Revivial for Quality Book Lists
  • for used books at awesome prices
  • Prescripts writing book for additional handwriting and copy work practice



A Virtual View Into Our Homeschool Day

I remember my first few years homeschooling, how I was always second guessing myself. I wasn’t sure that I was doing the right thing, I had no idea how to structure my day. There were so many curriculums to choose from. Were my children ever going to be able to read? Was I really capable of teaching them at home? By myself? I had a big beautiful room dedicated to school time and I thought we had to spend hours in there every single day or I was surely failing. My how things have changed.

Thankfully we are now over 6  years in and I am beginning to see some of the fruits of my labor. Let me be clear, I don’t have all the answers and I don’t pretend to think that it will be smooth sailing. However, I do have some wisdom I would love to share with you to encourage you along the journey.

Virtual View on Thursday

As a Classical Conversations Director I have been asked so many times what each day looks like at home and how to implement certain curriculums. This Thursday night at 7:00 PM MST, I will be sharing just that. I happen to live in a small farming community about 45 minutes from my actual campus. Since it is such a hike for several of my families I decided to do a live stream of the night. I know many of you have been following me on this journey for several years so I thought I would invite you as well. It will be a fun night with real moms with me to ask questions as well as a way for you to ask questions as well.

I will be streaming inside my private Facebook group for my blog called Mommy Secrets Insiders. Simply submit a join request and you will have access to the stream on Thursday.

The Schedule for the Night

I have lots of things to cover, so we may or may not get to all of it. However, here is what I have planned:

  1. Saxon math – I have Saxon 1 – Saxon 6/7 available to see and I will be sharing how I simplify this program to make it more time friendly for multiple young children needing assistance
  2. Spell to Write and Read – This is a curriculum I have heard raves about from the start but I always felt that it was a little intimidating. I finally bought it this year and I was right. It takes quite a bit to fully feel confident. However, thanks to some practice and a few conversations with a trainer I feel pretty confident with it now and will be sharing how to get started. I will also share why I think this curriculum is the best for busy moms with several children of varying abilities and ages.
  3. Foundations/Essentials at home – what does this look like practically? I plan on sharing some of my favorite ways to make reviewing the memory work fun and when/where I fit this into my day. I bet you will be surprised!

That’s it! I look forward to an encouraging evening on Thursday night! Let me know if there is anything specific you would like for me to cover that i haven’t mentioned above!

Oils, Leggings, Make-up, Pink Drinks, and More

We all have one (or a few) of “those friends”. You know the one I am talking about. She is always filling up your social media feed with some sort of life changing announcement about a product she is is selling. Often our knee jerk reaction is to roll our eyes and keep scrolling or even delete or unfollow them.

When I was a new mom social media was just starting. I believe I joined Facebook when my oldest was still an infant. Before social media there were the “parties”. Oh how I dreaded getting an invite to those parties. I always felt guilted into going and then felt awful when I didn’t buy anything. Times have changed and now lots of these parties happen online.

Direct sales have kind of a bad rap among anyone who does not sell them. There are quite a few blog posts floating around the internet ripping into mom’s that do this type of business. When I lived back east it was even worse. A few months before I moved I did some direct sales and I experienced this firsthand. However since I have moved West the culture is different. As a result of this culture I have bought quite a few things from these mom’s and  I have had  sort of an epiphany that has completely changed my thoughts on direct sales.

Reasons Why I Don’t Hate Direct Sales

  1. It helps mom’s support their families – Have you ever stopped and really thought about this? I have a friend whose husband is about to quit his job of hard labor and help her with the business side of things including being home with the kids more. Why is he able to do that? Because she works in direct sales. Another friend of mine started direct sales while living in a friend’s basement. Now? She drives a Mercedes and she and her husband are homeschooling their children, together. Is it easy? No. However when I buy something from someone in direct sales the money goes directly to their family, not some big corporation.
  2. It gives mom’s an opportunity to learn, grow, get out of the house – sometimes being a mom is exhausting and lonely. These direct sales companies are not only providing an outlet for mom’s to connect but most of them also provide amazing business training. Women are learning so much about business, finances, sales, and so much more. Talk about empowerment!
  3. The products can be pretty amazing – I have found some products to be something I can’t live without. Lularoe legging are seriously the most comfortable things I have ever worn. Arbonne shampoo does something magical to my hair I can’t explain or replicate with any other brand I try. Doterra Digestzen makes living with digestive issues more bearable. Usbourne books are some of the most incredible books I have ever put my hands on. Pampered Chef stoneware is the only stoneware I bake in. Yes I can get leggings for a few bucks less at Target but they are no where near the same. No matter how many brands of less expensive shampoo I try, nothing compares to what the Arbonne shampoo does to my hair. Bottom line – some products are worth it.
  4. My money is going to something amazing – when I buy shampoo or leggings or oils from a friend instead of from a big box store I am not just giving money to a big corporation but perhaps to put towards their child’s swim lessons or their family vacation. If you want to take it to the next level when you buy from a local friend you are even putting money into the local economy. I have also had friends that use a direct sales company to raise money for mission trips or a friend in need. Just last week I attended an online party for Lularoe where a friend of mine donated all her hostess rewards to a friend that had lost lots of weight recently and needed new clothes. Lots of these companies also stand for fair labor for their overseas employees, natural living, or chemical free products.

Now of course, not every brand is for everyone. I have one brand in particular I really don’t care for, but that isn’t any different than preferring a different grocery store than your neighbor.

Worth a Second Glance

So the next time you see an invite from one of “those” friends maybe give it a try. Or make your friends day by offering to host an online party for them. It feels good to support a fellow mom, especially when you may find an awesome product you can’t live without. With the holidays approaching perhaps we could consider buying a few gifts from our friends? The past few weeks I have been toying the idea of possibly doing a little bit of sales myself (no promises though). It’s funny how perspective changes everything.

Fun Facts

I asked a few of my direct sales friends to share one thing they love about the company they work for. Enjoy learning something new. I can personally vouch for each of the awesome ladies quoted below, so feel free to click on their names and check out what they do!


You actually make a sustainable full time income with Arbonne! And our products cannot be matched! Amazing people & amazing products that truly give you time freedom and financial freedom! -Christal Foreman 


There is truly so much I love about doTERRA! But to keep it simple..they truly care about wanting to change people’s lives, either through health, financially, improving the lives of those who harvest and supply the oils, their healing hands foundation and so much more! They want to ensure that the oils they provide are pure, safe and sustainable in the market no matter the growth. They have been working with the NAHA to improve and educate safe usage of the oils! Plus the discounts and loyalty rewards program is fantastic…. And shipping is now reduced to $3.99!! DoTERRA is also 100% debt free, and has over a 65% retention rate! –Elizabeth Roberts


I like that Evolv helps change people’s health with a focus on gut health. I also like that we are ending global childhood malnutrition because every time you use a product, you are feeding a kid, and just one individual feeds 140 kids a month. –Bethany Wheeler


Over the past year, Lularoe has seen growth that is rarely seen in any industry. Still, every production worker overseas is paid equitably and are paid hourly rather than by piece so they can have a relaxed and enjoyable pace. This makes for less defects…a rate that is HALF that of the industry standard. – Laura Gaither

LuLaRoe not only helps me provide for my family financially, but I get so much more out of it than that. I get to help women find clothes they feel good in and that puts a big smile on my face. Many times I’ve met new moms who are in the post-partum stage and can’t find flattering, yet comfortable clothing, and they try on LuLaRoe and just LOVE how beautiful they look and feel in the clothes! It really is a company all about empowering women. – Carly Curry

Mary Kay

Mary Kay empowers women and is the #1 selling cosmetic and skin care company having and in 2013 and 2014 had an increase each year over 1/2 billion wholesale, still privately owned and 100% debt free meaning job security. Plus there is the environmental side, 8 facilities in the US and they are zero landfill status, no animal testing for over 25 years and the MK foundation has 97% of donations go to ending domestic violence and curing cancers effecting women. -Autumn Nauahi

Pampered Chef

Pampered Chef is helping you enjoy the moments most important to you and yours by inspiring satisfying, stress-free meals, fit for the way you live. It evokes the joy of being together with those we love. Of bringing mealtime back home, without breaking a sweat. I love being able to show people quick easy meals to enjoy together! –Kelly Harr


Plexus is a debt fee company that has been listed in Inc 5000 top private companies for the last 2 years. We have less than 500,000 ambassadors which means we are still considered a start up. They give generously to their ambassadors and to outside charities. –Tiffany Langford

Rodan + Fields®

Rodan + Fields is about helping people create opportunities to change lives. The Prescription for Change (PFC) Foundation is at the very core of this mission. Since 2008, the company has been giving back through the foundation with the goal that everyone can empower change for themselves and in their community. The PFC Foundation helps students in need on their journey to becoming a prescription for change in their communities. In 2014, we partnered with buildOn to support its work of breaking the cycle of poverty, illiteracy and low expectations through service and education. To date, we have granted nearly $2 million in charitable gifts, sponsored more than 200,767 buildOn student program days and funded a new buildOn high school program in a distressed community. – Jaala Kirkley

Usbourne Books and More

USBORNE Books and More offer educational excellence and foster a love for reading in children of all ages. -Nicole Echols


With Vollara (Green Tech of Boise) Using NASA technology for green home solutions, our in-house team and our esteemed Medical & Scientific Advisory Board guides, tests and researches every component of every technology to ensure we are delivering solid, best-in-class products that fill real needs for green healthy homes! -Krissy Fulton


I love that the company created a foundation that supports emotional healing for women who were sexually abused. They offer a retreat for these women for free. Here is more information. – Anna Herring

How about you? Do you have a direct sales product you can’t live without? Tell me about it in the comments!