Summer Break or Homeschool?

Homeschool in the Summer: Yes or No?

I’ve been asked a lot lately when we will finish homeschooling for the year. Some schools in our area will end a couple weeks from now while others ended a couple weeks past. If I say our last day is July 31st and his first day will be August 1st I’m likely to hear: “kids need a summer vacation.” Maybe kids do need a break that are in public school. I know I did. School was always stressful for me. Too many tests, too much homework, and too much time lost in a day. I don’t know how finished anything let alone enjoyed hobbies.

Why I want to homeschool this summer.

Make Learning Way of Life!

Keeping my son from needing a 3 month break from learning is high on my priority list for homeschooling. Once a month, we seem to take a vacation. Sometimes we camp at state park and others we travel to Disney World for a week. During our stays there are lots of hikes, expeditions, workshops, aquariums, museums, and other experiences for learning. Every vacation is a field trip to me, and my son loves it. We make travel pages and do other types of journaling to record his favorite memories. I can’t wait for our next field trip (a.k.a vacation!) We live a homeschool lifestyle.

How I Answer:

Officially, my son’s “last day of homeschool” was March 31st. Unofficially however, we are not finishing homeschool for the year. Although this is his “kindergarten” year, I have been homeschooling my son since he read the word elephant at 18 months old. Everyday there is a chance to learn something. To create something. Experiencing life by living it is educational. One should enjoy learning. Learning should not be work or a chore. So yes, I will be homeschooling this summer. That means we will read books, we will go on field trips, we will have fun projects, we will ask questions and find answers. This summer will be our best summer yet.

Will you be homeschooling this summer?
Officially or Unofficially?

Thinking about homeschooling year round?
Here are The Benefits of Year Round Homeschooling (with free printable)
by Hip Homeschool Moms.

30 Days of Blog 2017: Day 2

Grove Dispatch: Summer 2017 Digital Magazine

Grove Dispatch: Ocean Tide Summer 2017 Magazine

Grove Dispatch Summer 2017 Theme:

Ocean Tide Expedition

Hello Explorers! Are you ready for summer adventures? This week I am working on my latest magazine for The Pinecone Grove. This summer edition is paper-free! Because we love trees and digital downloads make for quick delivery. Currently, I am looking for work from parents, homeschoolers, students, educators, scientists, park rangers, and other nature science specialists. Here are 3 steps to get published.

Grove Dispatch: Ocean Tide Summer 2017 Magazine

The Grove Dispatch is an activity based publication from The Pinecone Grove. Content focuses on kid-friendly nature topics in botany, zoology, geology, and astronomy. Articles with The Pinecone Grove are geared toward parents needing wildlife adventure tips for their homeschoolers. My goal is to create a community where parents & kids can connect with other nature oriented families.

Send in your Ocean Tide Expedition themed work
by Sunday, June 18, 2017

Step 1: Create

First, you’ll need to decide what you’d like to publish in The Pinecone Grove’s refreshed digital magazine. Make sure all work submitted is kid-friendly.

Fiction Nature Short Stories

Write a short story about the life of a sea turtle or how a seahorse saved the coral reef.

Nonfiction Wildlife Articles

Share your nature studies with readers so they can learn more about the wildlife you love. You may include photographs with your article if you wish.

Expedition Articles

Recount your latest tide pool, snorkeling, or beach experience.

Nature Science Articles

Report wildlife species finds in the ocean, your successful beach cleanup project, or results from your salt water experiment.

How-To Articles

Because everyone loves a DIY! Write how you take care of the beach. Let us know how to recycle trash into ocean art. Teach an ocean inspired cooking lesson. Or maybe how-to exchanging everyday disposables for reusables.


Did you get a new pair of water shoes or a tropical field guide? Write a review about it. Reviews should include the product and brand, where you got it (gift, Target, etcetera,) your experience in using that product, and a rating: 1 being the worst, 5 being the best.


Construct an ocean inspired poem with us that is at least 10 words in length.

Illustrations and Photography

Your ocean wildlife inspired art and photographs can be digitally created or handmade, scanned, and emailed to I do not accept mailed submissions at this time.

Kid-Friendly Brands

I love to support small business owners. Write an article or send me a pitch for approval on something parents or kids would love to learn about. Include a small feature on your brand or a related product so my readers can connect with you and your brand.

Step 2: Guidelines

Note: the article guidelines listed below do not apply to poems, illustrations, or photography submissions.

Now that you have decided on the type of article you want to write, follow these guidelines when creating your work.

  • Article Length: Your article must be 500 – 2,000 words in length.
  • Article Images: 1 Feature Image (1600px width x 1101px height) & 1 or more Content Images (262px width x 325px height or 800px width x 800px height). Be sure to cite image sources (Photographer/Illustrator/Designer/Etc. & URL). If you are using your own images include your info with the images.
  • Article Links: 1-2 Topic Relevant Links & 1-2 links to your Blog, Shop, or Social media account where readers can follow you. Place links in brackets after the intended linking text.
  • Article Style: Snippet Introduction (125-160 characters), Main Introduction (1 Paragraph), 1 or more Headings, 2 or more Subheadings, Conclusion (1 paragraph), & a Call-to-Action (visit a site, subscribe to something, donate to a cause, etcetera).

Step 3: Email

Finally, you can submit your summer ocean themed work. Please send your email to me: Start the Subject line with OCEAN TIDE and your topic or pitch. I can’t wait to see what you have created!

  • Briefly tell me who you are.
  • State the title of your proposed article or work.
  • Tell me how The Pinecone Grove readers will benefit from your work.
  • Paste your article or share an outline of your pitch.
  • Especially important, sign with: “Pinecones Grow On Trees, [Your Name]” so I’ll know you read the guidelines 😉

Why You Should Publish with The Pinecone Grove

  1. Sharing your passion for nature with other families is a great way to encourage earth conscious living.
  2. A great project to work on with your kids and get the whole family excited about a nature friendly publication.
  3. Plus, if your work is accepted, you’ll receive a FREE digital copy of the summer magazine.

Accepted Work

I accept most submissions to the magazine. Within 24 hours you should receive an email back from me about your submission. Due to large amounts of email, I do not respond to most rejected works. However I may respond with constructive notes to help with the creation of future submissions.


Note: I retain the copyright of all material published in The Pinecone Grove magazine. An author/artist/photographer cannot republish the same work elsewhere; it must remain unique to The Pinecone Grove.

Work NOT Accepted

This magazine is for families so all content must be suitable for children. Consequently, any work submitted to my magazine containing inappropriate content will not be accepted.

  • Work with adult-themed or sexually explicit content will NOT be accepted.
  • Work that promotes hate, violence or discrimination in any way will NOT be accepted.

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3 Steps to Get Kids Published in Grove Dispatch This Summer


3 Activities To Get Kids Outside This Season

3 Activities To Get Kids Outside This Season coming soon

Autumn is my favorite season. Hot apple cider, boots, scarves, gloves, pinecone and acorn hunting… there is just so much I love about Fall. My favorite autumn phenomenon however is the changing of the leaves. I can literally stay outside for hours and enjoy the beauty of colorful leaves on the tress, gently falling and floating on the autumn breeze. My son however sometimes need a little encouragement to get of his electronics or taking a break from his LEGO®️ and Plus-Plus®️ constructing.

If your child finds the chilly weather deterring, here are some activities that will tempt them to step outside and capture their curiosity in nature. Bonus for homeschoolers, you can make these activities a part of your school day!

Nature Challenge

This challenge is like a scavenger hunt, but instead of one find per item on a list, you and your child will hunt for the most of one specific item in a certain amount of time. It’s a race to see who can find the most yellow, orange, or red leaves. Then hunt again to see who can collect the most acorns, pinecones, or twigs. Use whatever seasonal nature scavenger items are in your area to inspire your child’s exploration of nature. This challenge can happen in your backyard, on a hike, or at the beach! Seashells, mermaid purses (which are actually shark eggs), and sea glass also make for a great nature challenge in tropical places year round. The Nature Challenge offers good exercise, lots of fun, and gives kids a reason to be outside for a while.

Draw a Map

In your yard, choose a starting place and an endpoint or vice versa and help your child map it out. You can have a cache for treasure or a time capsule for the next adventure at the map destination to make things more interesting. Point out a stump or other landmark as you go so your child can draw and write it on their map. Ask them if they notice any landmarks as well. Maybe you have a little creek near by or a bird bath they can use. A compass would make a great tool for this activity. They can learn how to determine where East and West are at home and show that on their map. For example, the cache is North of the stump and West of the bird bath. When they are finished mapping it all out they can add color, a key, or copy it for a treasure hunting party. There are so many ways to customize this activity, your child is sure to enjoy it.

Field Journal

Take a blank book and some creative tools on an expedition. When it comes to field journaling there is more than one way to do anything. Your child can draw what they see, mount leaves in their pages, or write about their experience. Let them observe with their eyes, hands, and magnifying lens. Sort the species they find by tree type, color, or size. Or cottontail tracks versus deer tracks. There are so many great ways to make Field Journaling fun. (This is another good homeschool activity for science lessons). Encourage your child to record their observations and experiences of the expedition in their field journals.  They can draw their findings in color, note measurements, and color data. Develop their writing and memory skills as they describe their expedition and leaves collected. Parents can join the fun too by field journaling together.

Share your autumn expeditions and activities with us on social media:
@Pinecone_Grove & #PGExpeditions