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The First Day of Homeschool – 2014

I cant believe its time for another school year! This year, my girl is in 1st grade and my boy is starting pre k. Its a hard pill to swallow, watching them grow up so fast and all, but once again, I am so happy to be able to be at home to school them again. Homeschooling has been such a blessing (and a curse, depending on the day…just being honest yall), but overall its where I know I need to be. Last year, I took on the tradition of blogging what our day looked like and you can find that HERE. I love being able to look back to see how we have grown so I wanted to do it again this year. Im going to walk you through our day and since I really enjoyed shooting it I would really love to get into a better habit of blogging our homeschool adventures. I have been throwing the idea around about starting a homeschool blog, but I think just keeping it simple for now, and sharing our days here will be the best option for the time being. I hope you will follow along!:)(You can also follow our homeschool days on instagram @deannamccasland)

We switched curriculums again this year. After a ton of research we finally decided on Earthschooling. So far we are really enjoying it! I love the teacher guides and videos and the lessons are jam packed. They are also adding on a foreign language lesson and I am so excited to finally learn German! Just one of the benefits of homeschooling is I get to learn too! I wish it was a bit more organized by day, but if you don’t mind spending a little time planning then it is well worth looking into in my opinion. We fell in love with Waldorf schooling last year and we are really excited to continue learning and growing by that philosophy each year.

If you look up Waldorf, one of the main topics you will see come about is having a rhythm. A rhythm is not a schedule, but is a timeline on how our days should unfold. While it is a schedule in a sense, the times are completely lifted off and there is a sense of freedom and security for the child to guide themselves throughout their days. Our rhythm is looking a bit like this right now, but I’m always revaluating myself to make it better for my family.

Daily Rhythm:

I wake up at 5am

I have quiet/meditation time until 6am.

I start getting ready for the day and gathering my daily lesson plans and craft materials at 7am and do chores until the kids wake.

They are usually up by 7:30-8. Once they wake, we take a few moments to gather ourselves and then I get them dressed, brush teeth, etc…

We have breakfast around our table. Breakfast is brought to the center of the table and the children are able to fix their own plates and pour their own drinks. Even the 3 year old.

After breakfast we clean up, the kids do their own dishes and clear the table and we start our outdoor chores which is feeding animals, gathering eggs, etc…

We gather for circle time, start our main lesson, followed by a short lesson in the school room.

We break for a nature walk and come home to a snack.

The children then have a bit of free time while I gather materials for the afternoon lesson and crafts.

The children help with lunch and then we move into our afternoon lesson. Afternoon lessons rotate from science, history, and music.

This is followed by handiwork. Maddox just plays outside and Marleigh is learning to knit.  On our first day we made field trip shirts to wear on Fridays to make it a bit more special.

There’s then inside chores (this will change by our weekly rhythm listed below).

We have free time, followed by dinner prep, bath, free time/handiwork, and bed.

Our weekly rhythm is as followed:

Monday: Cleaning day – I like to start the week with a clean house. We catch up laundry, clean floors, bathrooms, chicken coop, etc…

Tuesday: Gardening day

Wednesday: Errands/Co-op meeting day

Thursday: Baking day

Friday: Field trip day

Saturday: Farm day (We spend the day as a family doing farm chores and anything that needs done around the house)

Sunday: Rest


Heres to another fabulous year of homeschooling! xo



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Our new family member

I have been a bit slack on keeping my blog updated with personal stories. I am trying to get in a better habit of keeping up with this. A lot has happened since I last posted anything so I wanted to jump in and first, fill you in on something that has been weighing heavy on my heart and secondly, to introduce our new family member.

A couple of weeks ago, our big old bloodhound had to be rehomed. It was a hard decision, but it was something we knew had to be done for our family. You see, on this morning….actually about 30 minutes after this photo was taken, Bocephus bit my son on the face really bad and we had to rush him to the ER for stiches. It was scary to witness. And while I don’t think it was a vicious attack by any means to simply hurt my son, it was enough to make us realize that we could no longer keep him. None of us wanted to see him go. He had become part of our family. I like to think about what our life would look like in 10-15 years and he was always in that vision. A big red hound, with a little gray around the eyes, laying sleepily on our porch. Our heart broke over the decision, but we didn’t want a 120 pound dog that we have to walk on egg shells around. I put up an ad and found him a good home and that was that.


Here are the stiches. This bite was 1/2 inches deep. The other side of his face also had a huge bite mark and he had to have his cheek glued shut. This boy here is a trooper though. He was in shock after it happened and of course screamed and cried, but as soon as we got to the ER he was brave. He took 2 shots to his face and the 4 stiches and never cried once. I couldn’t believe how tough he was!


I think about Bochephus every day. I still expect to see him running up to greet us as we get out of the car, I wait for him to come stand in the kitchen for me while I make breakfast in hopes that I drop a piece of bacon, and I still wonder when he is going to come jump in the bed at night and snuggle by my feet. Its hard to send a pet away to a new home and then get use to the new normal. Its like a piece of our family has died. We are the kind of family that needs a dog. Our home dosent feel right with out one.

So that brings me to introduce our new family member.


Meet June. Our English lab. We are smitten over her. She is in no way, shape or form here to replace Bocephus. But she does fill that hole that has been in our hearts since the day we had to send Bo away to his new home.

Heres to new adventures with this gal. Welcome to the family June bug!


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What Backyard Camping Looks Like

Summer has been busy.  There’s always a chore to do, an errand to run, and something or another pulling us all in opposite directions.  We sadly haven’t done a single trip or get away as a family all summer thanks to the tango of life always making us dance in opposite directions.  Saturday was once again another busy day, but we realized we needed to do something to be together, outside of the house, with no chores for just a few hours, and to simply just be with each other.  One of the sacrifices of living on a growing homestead is the chance to pick up and go on spur of the moment trips because there’s always a mouth that needs to be fed, some poop that needs to be scooped, and something that just needs done. So around 5pm on Saturday we realized for once, we didn’t have anything to do so we pitched a tent in the yard and had a family back yard camp out.

It wasn’t long.  It wasn’t a trip to the beach, and it wasn’t the camping trip I have had planned in my head all summer that we still haven’t gotten around to taking yet, but it was fun and it was time well spent just simply being together.

We cranked up the radio, started a fire, made campfire pizza and had smores with reeses cups for dessert.  There was farm fresh chocolate milk for the kids and rum and coke for the grown ups.  Served in mason jars of course.  The mountain air was cold all night and the ground was hard, but we were together and that was all that mattered.  The crickets and frogs serenaded us off to dream land and the morning sun coming up over the mountain woke us up with the crowing of our rooster.  We had sausage and eggs right from the coop for breakfast over the fire with a cup of strong coffee on the side.  We were surrounded by those we love most…even the ones with fur and feathers and we couldn’t have picked a better way to spend our weekend.

Here’s to many, many more boring nights on the homestead.

After you check it out, make sure to mosey around our crazy talented group…up next is the talented Suzanne Gipson


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What our summer days look like

I cant believe summer is half way over. We have been taking it easy this year since we did 2 huge vacations last summer. I have been missing our annual beach trip, but its been really nice staying home. The kids have been dancing to the beat of their own drums and its been a really beautiful experience to witness. Showers consist of getting sprayed with the hose, afternoons are full of 4 wheeler rides around the mountain, evenings are filled with lighting bug chasing, my house smells of zucchini bread baking, and everyday has been full of surprises when we check on our garden. We have had a few garden hiccups…like goats eating all of our strawberry plants and broccoli leaves…but overall we cannot complain of our daily abundance.

Please make your way around our little circle and visit the crazy talented Summer Murdock to see what she has in store for you this month.

July 22, 2014 - 3:17 pm

Danielle - Gorgeous gorgeous images as always! love how full of life and joy each and every image evokes. I spy my tea towel! So glad you are using it! They are going to cherish each and every one of these images for years to come.

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The Hutcherson Family

I am always honored when I get to photograph another photographer. Meet Casey from Casey Blake Photography and her adorable fam! They drove to our little town for a little weekend getaway and so I could document some bits and pieces of their afternoon on our land. Anytime I get to photograph another photographer I find myself focusing on her and her connection with her family. As most of us know, not only as moms and especially photographers, we are always behind the scenes. It brings me incredible joy to document the proof that these mothers are present in their children’s childhood. I love all of it. From the cuddles to the smiles or even just the way a 4 year old hands rest on his mother’s knee. From nursing to watching them grow independence and explore and even to the way she looks at her husband. I want to celebrate mothers everywhere. No matter if its in their home or just on a blanket enjoying each others company. Its all important. Its all worth documenting.   “It occurred to me as it sometimes does, that this day is over and will never be lived again, that we are only the sum of days and when those days are spent, we will not come back to this place, to this time, to these people and these colors and I wonder to be sad or happy, to trust that these moments were meant for some kind of enjoyment, as a kind of blessing. And it feels, tonight, as if there is much to think about, there is much we have been given, and much we leave behind. The smell of freedom is as brisk as as the air through the windows. And there is a feeling that time itself has been curtained by darkness.” -Donald Miller 

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