384 | Balancing Homeschool with Life and Work with Lyndsey of Treehouse Schoolhouse (Jessica Smartt)

384 | Balancing Homeschool with Life and Work with Lyndsey of Treehouse Schoolhouse (Jessica Smartt)

Show Notes:

In this episode Jessica interviews Lyndsey from Treehouse Schoolhouse about all sorts of things related to homeschool mom life. They chat about why Lyndsey and her husband decided to move from Florida and buy land to build their dream home as well as how to balance physical health goals, homeschooling, and running two businesses from home!

About Lyndsey

Lyndsey is a homeschool mom of four and the founder of Treehouse Schoolhouse. Before motherhood, Lyndsey had a career in children's ministry and special needs education. Her home education centers around living books and ideas, hands-on learning, nature exploration, and biblical discipleship. She shares experiences and home education inspiration through her Instagram and blog, as well as creates curriculum and resources for families around the world. Her most popular curriculum titles are An Expectant Easter, A Connected Christmas, and Treehouse Nature Study.

About Jessica

Jessica is a wife, homeschool mom of three, author, and blogger. She lives in sunny North Carolina on a big family farm with chickens, goats, cousins, and lots of mud.


Save 15% on your purchase in Lyndsey's shop at TreehouseSchoolhouse.com. Use code HOMESCHOOLSOLUTIONSSHOW15 for 15% off your total order. One use per customer. Cannot be combined with other promos. Expires January 7, 2024.

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Show Transcript:

Jessica Smartt Hi, everybody. This is Jessica Smartt. I'm so excited to be with you here today. I have a super special guest today. I have Lyndsey from Treehouse Schoolhouse here, and we are just really excited. We have lots of things to talk to you about, but don't forget to hop over and check out my homeschool boot camp course. It is on sale for this summer, and you can find it in the link to the show notes. Or also hop over to Instagram and find it super discounted for the summer, and that is just great to get you either restart on your homeschool, or get you motivated for the next year, or if you're considering homeschool. So definitely hop over and check that out. Okay, Lyndsey, welcome to the show.

Lyndsey Mimnagh How fun. Thank you so much for inviting me on.

Jessica Smartt Yes. So I'm sure that some people are familiar with you, but if they're not, why don't you just go ahead and give us a little blurb about you. And who you are and where you live and all of that fun stuff.

Lyndsey Mimnagh Cool. So I'm Lyndsey and I have four children. My youngest just turned three, and it's so sad because we're all finished having babies, but it's also amazing at the same time because we're moving on to new chapters. My next oldest is four, and then I have an eight- and a ten-year-old. And we have been homeschooling the entire ride. We live outside of Charlotte, North Carolina. We are a family who loves nature, and we actually moved to North Carolina because of that. We wanted to live more of our life outside. We are currently—my husband and I, both are business owners, we homeschool and we are currently building a house. So those are the main big things in our life right now.

Jessica Smartt So you have just a ton of free time. You're just laying around.

Lyndsey Mimnagh No. Zero.

Jessica Smartt Super cool that you are also from North Carolina. We're basically neighbors, so we're going to get together after this. Tell me, where did you live before? And was that just a whole up and relocate everything just for education and kind of your family's priorities? I absolutely love hearing those stories like that.

Lyndsey Mimnagh We lived in Florida. I grew up in Florida. My husband and I met in Florida. We had our first two babies there, and we were involved in a ministry together there. We kind of had our life there. My husband was a firefighter, and we just didn't imagine leaving. We couldn't imagine leaving. But then after we had our second child, we started really dreaming about our family and we started envisioning what we wanted our life to be. And we really did not want to live where it's just hot all year round. And people sometimes think like, oh, Florida, it's like an outside state. You're always outside, but actually, you can't be outside as often as you can in North Carolina just because of the weather. It just gets so hot. And unless you're swimming, you're just not comfortable a lot of the year. And there's not a lot—you see everything around in Florida is like the same. It's flat. I enjoy it for a vacation, but I didn't want to live there. I didn't want to raise my kids there. And we really wanted a very active homeschool community, too. So we did a lot of research about that. And we just—I love that where I live, I can get to the beach in 3 hours. And I can get to the mountains in 3 hours. And there's just so much to do here with the homeschool community. So we moved up here when my kids were babies and we just absolutely love it.

Jessica Smartt Well, I love that because you don't hear of people making big life decisions based on values a lot of times. A lot of times it's like, well, my husband's work moved to blah, blah, blah. But I love just kind of being like, no, what kind of life do we want to live in? Then let's arrange our lives like that. So I love seeing on Instagram your pictures of your property and all of that. Just tell me about the vision for that, and what are you going to be able to do there that you can't do otherwise?

Lyndsey Mimnagh Yeah. So about four years ago, we found a little town that we absolutely loved. We used to take day dates there. There's antique shops and they have little parades. It really feels like you're going back in time. And we found a property that was walking distance from this town, but also had a couple of acres, and it backs up to like ten acres of woods that nobody owns. And so, essentially it feels like you have just so much property. And we did not know how, but we just bought the property and we're like, in faith, hopefully, one day we can build on this. And so it's been a process because COVID happened, and there was a lot of delays with just all the materials, building in general. And it's been a whole entire ride. We actually lived in an RV for four months because we were going to sell our house and we thought we were ready to do it, and it didn't work out. So, I had to move back into our house. It's been this long journey, but this house is—it's been amazing because as hard as it's been, we've been living in rental houses and RV, as we're buying materials. And my husband's a general contractor, so it's really been a whole family project to actually get our hands in there and build the house. We're not just watching it go up. We are saving the money, buying the materials, and building this house as a family unit. And my kids being able to be a part of that whole journey has been a lot of their education really for the last few years. And we're at the end now. And so it's been really, really fun to just design this house with a life lived at home in mind. As business owners, and as home educators, my desire is to be the house that lots of people can come to. That people feel welcomed, have spaces for exploration in nature, have a large kitchen so we can cook together, and we can host dinners. And it's really important to me to just create a culture in our home where we are always serving and bringing people in. So having an extra room that we could host people. And then, of course, my homeschool room has been just the most fun to design. It's just been a really great journey and it's been hard, but I don't think I would have given it up to not have the end result.

Jessica Smartt Yeah. Oh, I love that. So, so many things. Tell us really quickly how old your kids are.

Lyndsey Mimnagh They are three, four, eight, and nine.

Jessica Smartt Okay, so you still have a long jaunt left of homeschooling. That's really fun to kind of look ahead and think like we'll be in the school room for a long time.

Lyndsey Mimnagh Yes, absolutely. And setting it up with also the future in mind of what if we don't need it anymore, what would it be? And my experience with homeschool rooms is you don't necessarily need the room to sit in to do your schoolwork, but it's more of like a space to house all of your materials. And right now I had it where I designed it so that it's open to our main area of the house, but also to the outside. Because I have lived enough life doing home education, sitting at my dining room table and realizing that one, I'm not sitting there with them all day. I am in the kitchen, I am with the little ones. I could go water the garden while they're doing their work with the door wide open. So this space where it's really multipurpose. But I do think just having a designated space that we can go in and focus on our schoolwork is going to be really, really exciting because we've never had that.

Jessica Smartt Yeah. We were talking before we went on the air. I kind of have a parallel experience. We built—we've been in here 18 months and some of the listeners know my parents bought 40 acres and gave some to me, and then my two sisters and we've done animals and just the whole thing. It's been the most amazing experience and I'm just so, so grateful for it. Although in the beginning, I actually didn't want to do it, which now I look back and I'm like, what was I thinking? But what would you say to somebody that is kind of where you were at maybe like seven years ago, eight years ago? And I didn't tell you I was going to ask you this, so maybe you can come up with something. But what would you say to somebody that had that dream? And it felt like, oh, we're never going to be able to do this. And I know not everyone can, but what would you say if somebody was like, I love that. I love that idea. How do I even start? Or start thinking about that and make it a reality?

Lyndsey Mimnagh Yeah, I mean, for my husband and I, it was a lot of sacrifices. Like just deciding to live on one income. Even when we started having two incomes, making a choice just to save. Making a choice to budget strictly so that we could throw everything. And then also just keeping hope, even though you don't know when it's going to happen. If you're making progress, like eventually what you want, you can go after it. Like if you just keep—it might be five years. It might be ten years. We didn't know when we bought the property at what point we would live on that property, or if maybe we would have to sell it. And a different dream would come along. But for us, it was just constantly keeping it before our eyes and communicating it all with our kids, and letting them be part of the journey. Because there was a season where my husband was working every Saturday, taking extra work to throw at our house fund. And the kids are young and they don't quite understand, but including them in it and saying like, we're doing this as a family. So this is all part of the journey, and letting them see like grit. It takes grit to make your dreams happen. And I think my husband—and think that kind of stuff is just as important as the formal academics for teaching our children, is to show them we have a vision. We have a dream, we're going to work together as a team. It's a family affair and we're going to go after it together. And so it's been, like I said before, more than just a house, but like just this experience that even though it's been difficult, I feel like it's really grown a lot in all of us.

Jessica Smartt That is so cool. I love that. And you're right they're making those memories that's just priceless. That's even way better than the math curriculum, probably where they're getting. So probably everybody is curious about this. I know I am. When I browse your Instagram and just hear about your life, what is it look like actually to balance all the roles that you're balancing? And I think in two ways. I think there's probably someone listening that's just adding homeschooling to their life and feels overwhelmed with that. And then you've also added that you're kind of operating one to two businesses out of your house, as well. Like how—what is your day kind of look like and how do you balance all that? So that's kind of like two-part question. But just tell us more about how to do that in a sustainable way.

Lyndsey Mimnagh I mean, I have to be super honest that I fumbled my way into this. And I don't feel like I have this answer that is just this perfect formula because, I was just telling my friend this morning, that when you are a homeschooling family and you are an entrepreneurial family, you do not have a boss. Our boss is ourselves in every area of our life. And that is so freeing and that is something we wanted, right? But it's also really intimidating because you have to wake up every day and be disciplined. And you have to be really in tune with yourself, and what your family needs, and what you need. And you have to make all those decisions for yourself. And so while, like I said, while that's really incredible, it also can be really intimidating and overwhelming. And I often think the grass is greener. So I'll make a schedule and I'll work that schedule and I'll be like, this is going to give me everything I want. Where I have all the free time that I want to have, all the personal time that I want to have. I'm giving everything I want to give to my family and my children. My business is growing. And then I work the schedule and I'm like, but maybe I could just tweak this little part. Or I could tweak this part to feel a little better about this. And so it's hard. I'm not going to lie. I will tell you that it's been quite a few years of trying to work it out, and there's a few things that I've learned. And one is, only do the things that are really important to you and that you really value and that only you can do in a business.

Jessica Smartt That is amazing. I love that so much.

Lyndsey Mimnagh I mean, literally that has saved my life. And it's also been like a lot of putting my pride down. So immediately, as my business started growing, I started to ask myself, like, what are the things in household management, or homeschooling, or children under this umbrella that if I let them go to someone else, nothing—like my heart won't be affected. My children's heart won't be affected, our connection won't be affected. So of course, the first thing was cleaning and laundry, right? Because it doesn't matter who does my children's laundry, that's not going to change their relationship with me, for example. And so that was one of the first things that we hired was like, I'm going to have someone to help me with keeping on top of my house.

Jessica Smartt So quick question with that. Do you feel like you saw a payoff of that? That to pay someone you were getting in return lack of stress and like the time, was that a big help?

Lyndsey Mimnagh For sure. Because I basically–I am only doing–now obviously, I have to still clean and I have to still do things I don't want to do in my life. But the majority of the stuff that was just—like tasks that were menial. That were things that were not helping me build a relationship with my children, I really wanted to homeschool my children. I'm not delegating their education. I'm not delegating my relationship with my husband. I'm not—well, that sounded crazy, but I'm not like—I'm not going to let that suffer. So what are the things I'm not going to let suffer? And the things that it's okay if someone else does them, that I'm going to do that. And that goes within business as well. For a long time, it was just like a two-man show. Me and my sister-in-law we're running through our school house and as soon as we could—we're always evaluating what parts of this job am I doing that I don't need to be doing anymore? That we could hand off to someone and it could still run? And I'm still sharing my heart on home education. I'm still the face of this business. I'm still the one developing the curriculum. But what things do I not need to do? I don't need to be answering customer service emails or whatever. There's so many things that we delegated, so delegating things. But that was a whole long spiel. But I can kind of tell you how it's panned out too, for a typical day now. So I'll just yeah, I'll just tell you—go through my day

Jessica Smartt Just go through your schedule.

Lyndsey Mimnagh I wake up at five on the weekdays because I'm a morning person, and I am not good at being creative after I've done a whole morning of schooling. And I have to be creative in my job. So I wake up at five, and by 5:30 I'm sitting down and I usually spend about an hour doing the creative work of my job. So if I'm like, I'm currently developing a curriculum that requires a lot of brain work and I need quiet. And I need to really dig in deep for like an hour. So I do that every morning for about an hour and I'm slowly chipping away at this huge project, right? And then from about—then around 6:30, I go to the gym about four days a week and it's a 20-minute drive. I spend that time getting some time alone. So, I'll pray, I'll read, I'll listen to a podcast, I'll listen to a book, something like that for my own.

Jessica Smartt Have you not eaten breakfast at all this point?

Lyndsey Mimnagh No, I eat breakfast when I'm working. Because I have to eat before I go workout

Jessica Smartt Okay. That was important to know.

Lyndsey Mimnagh I make my coffee and—I didn't want to get too detailed, but yes, I make two eggs, I make my coffee, and my breakfast. And by 5:30, I'm sitting down with my computer and my breakfast. So then my workout—my gym starts at seven. I do like a boot camp class from 7:00-7:45. And so I do that. And during that time, my kids are starting to wake up. But my husband and I have shifted our schedules, where he takes the morning shift until I get home from the gym. He makes their breakfast and leads Bible over breakfast. So that's a part of our day that's important to us that my husband can take on. So he is teaching them the Bible. They're doing scripture memory, they're doing stuff like that over breakfast. And when I come back in the door, it's my turn and he leaves for work or to build our house. Pretty much from 8:00 to 9:00-930, I'm getting our day in order. I'm doing the dishes, I'm throwing in a load of laundry. I do throw in a laundry load every morning, and I'll complete the story on the rest of the laundry in a minute. Then I get the little kids dressed. I get dressed, kind of set up our school table, and from about 9:30-1:00, I am on as homeschool mom. So we have breaks in there. We go outside in there. We might take a nature walk, but from 9:30-1:00, that is my role and I try not to let anything else kind of get in the way. Because I have learned that when I try to do multiple hats at the same time, I feel stressed. My kids don't feel like they're getting what they need. And at the end of the day, I just look back and really regret it. So having like clear boundaries for me really helps with having a business. So I might take some pictures or take some videos, but I try to like post later or share things later, not answer emails, stuff like that.

Lyndsey Mimnagh Three days a week. I have an afternoon nanny, and she comes at 1:00. She is 28 year old—she just turned 29, 29 years old. She was homeschooled herself. She is incredible. When we found her last year, she's really just become a part of our family. And she brings resources from her childhood and her passions to the table and brings them to our family. So she's teaching my daughter how to knit. She's taught my son leatherwork. They listen to audio-books that she loved as a child. So she really contributes something to our family. And during that time, from 1:00-5:00, I'm working. I am typically either on a podcast, I'm writing blog posts, I'm writing a weekly email newsletter, I'm doing social media, I'm networking. It's a lot of things that I do in a very little amount of time. Around 5:00 we're finished with that and I come down, and my nanny has been working on laundry and she also starts working on dinner for me. When I come down, I'm finishing dinner and then our evenings are spent with the family and we're off to doing read-aloud and other parts of school that my husband can help with we'll do in the evening.

Jessica Smartt That's awesome. I think people are really going to appreciate that you kind of gave a snapshot. And I love just the ways that you've made it work for your family. And when you were talking earlier about—have you ever read the book Essentialism?

Lyndsey Mimnagh I have not.

Jessica Smartt So it's kind of what you're talking about. Only do the essentials in life. I read it this spring during a real season of overwhelm and realized how many things I had in my life that were not essential. That I was either doing because they sound like a good idea or someone thought I should do it, or someone asked me to do it. And you didn't specifically mention other things besides homeschooling or work. But I think for you, what I've realized is being a homeschool mom is going to require that you're going to say no to other things. And if you've got a business too, and I consider myself in that camp as well, then that means your list of saying yes is even more limited. And it is just a season. But I think I have realized about myself that I really try to add too much, and you can't. So I literally made a list of everything in my life and was like, wow, this is way too much, and just "x'ed" out the things that were not essential. So you really—it sounded like you've mastered that early and what a good model, period.

Lyndsey Mimnagh Thank you. I definitely feel like there's other things like grocery shopping I didn't mention. We do all grocery pickup. Even friendships, I've had to ask myself, like, which friendships can I focus on, because I want to be a good friend? So instead of having like 20 people that I'm trying to keep up with and catch up with, it's like, no, here are my five people that I'm going to pour my life. And extracurricular things that we do on the weekends. But yeah, you're right, I do burn out, but I do try to practice being completely off-line on Sundays. And just things to help my mental health because it's a lot to carry. It really is.

Jessica Smartt Yeah, well, that was a good lead into my next question, which is how do you take care of your own physical, mental health? Now, you did talk about the gym, and I love that. I'm sure that's a big piece of it. And you're alone time. Is there anything else that you personally have found to be essential for that?

Lyndsey Mimnagh Yeah, I mean, I have a couple of really close friends that even if we can't get together in person, we do like video chat meet-ups. And just a few close trusted friends that I can share my heart with, and then I can be completely raw with. I'm also such a creative that if I don't get a creative outlet, I feel like rundown. My work is a creative outlet, but I need one that's not attached to work. And so I try to do things, right now it's designing my house, but even things like painting or drawing or crafting things with my children, those kinds of things I need for my own wellbeing. Then I'm a Christian, and so having a relationship with God keeps me afloat. Journaling, praying, reading the word, being in fellowship with other believers. Those kinds of things help me stay grounded and just feel like, am I doing the right thing today? Like, is this where I'm supposed to be going? It just makes me feel like I know who I am and I know what I'm supposed to be doing today. And then, yeah, I think just the physical side I do. I don't like to work out, but I do feel like I need it to feel strong. I need to feel energized, and then nutrition's really important to me. And so I try a meal plan for my own self, even if everything's super simple, just so that I can stay balanced in my eating. Because when I'm off the rails and not paying attention and I'm just kind of throwing everything in my mouth, my blood sugar is off, I don't feel well, I feel foggy. I can't think straight to do all the things I'm supposed to be doing. So that's super important, especially as I get older.

Jessica Smartt I know and I want to sit here for a second because I think so many moms don't take this seriously. I meal plan for my family, but that was really interesting to hear you say. You actually meal plan for yourself, as well? Are you saying like planning certain lunches, easy-to-do snacks, that kind of—does it stay the same every week or every week saying, hey, I feel like making this for my lunch kind of thing?

Lyndsey Mimnagh Yeah. For lunches, lunch is like the craziest time in my house, because we're trying to wrap up school and I know that my nanny is coming at one, and I'm trying to finish everything quickly. So to take like an hour to just like, leisurely make lunch, like I used to do that when I didn't work in the afternoon, but I can't. And if I'm going to be efficient, I have to basically know exactly what I'm going to eat and have it ready and warm it up or whatever. When I do my meal plan, I have my family's meal plan and then on the side I have mommy's meal plan because we don't always eat the same things. And I'm not going to eat the same things as my kids. But my number one trick, if you live a life like this and you're like lunchtime hour is insane, is to pack lunches before the day, even if you're not going anywhere. During the time that I'm home from the gym, between that and when we start school, that hour and a half, one of the things I do most days is pack all of our lunches in our stainless steel bento boxes, and then when it's time for lunch, it'll be like, just go grab your lunchbox, everyone. Now, for me, I like warm food. I usually heat up leftovers, but I at least make a mental note like, oh, this is what's in the fridge. This is what I'm having for lunch. I do that every morning because if I don't, then I feel flustered and I just grab stuff. And if there's something that a piece of the lunch that I still need to make, like, oh, I need to quickly make some chicken so it makes sense with my burrito bowl that I have all the other elements ready. Then I'll do that in the morning block before we get to that period because if I'm late on eating, I start to like, get foggy and get tired.

Jessica Smartt Were the same person.

Lyndsey Mimnagh I get hangry. I have to stay on top of it personally.

Jessica Smartt I think I might be hungry as we're going into this because I keep talking about food, but that's important as a homeschool mom.

Lyndsey Mimnagh It is so important.

Jessica Smartt Okay. So, Lyndsey, as we're recording this, it's summer. And I know that, just real quick, you guys do year-round schooling, which let's talk about that for a second. Because I—my question is basically, how? I feel like I would be really drained. I almost have to unplug everything in the summer. How have you found, just very quickly, why did you settle on that? And how do you find ways to kind of keep it sustainable and not feel burnt out perpetually?

Lyndsey Mimnagh Well, I think that if you look at the rest of our year, it might make more sense. Instead of taking this big chunk off in the summer, we're taking chunks off all year long. Instead of it being this one time, I'm kind of evaluating all the time. When am I burned out, especially carrying a business, because if we have a huge project or a big launch—or also if you look back at my last few years of homeschooling, we've had two babies within the last five years. We've always taken breaks whenever the baby came. Or when I'm just done when I'm pregnant. And so it's honestly just happened organically where it's like, oh, well, I guess I'm going to take a month off. So if we do that, we'll just school through June. And then it was like, oh, let's take two vacations. Okay? We'll just also school through July. And personally, I love fall and spring for adventures, and winter and summer I'm not as into being outside the whole day, it's cold or it's super hot. During fall and spring, we do school, but it's let's quickly do school and then go on a hike. Let's do school and go swimming or whatever. And so I just feel like it organically happened and we just take breaks whenever we need them. We also don't do school any Fridays because of our wild and free homeschool group. And we just take Fridays to be completely cut from school. So we just go out in nature and we're there as long as we want, all day long. And so I tell my kids when they complain over the summer, just because they have friends that are in public school, in the neighborhood or whatever, why don't they do school in the summer? I'm like, well, we could just do school every Friday and never go on vacation, basically, except like weekends.

Jessica Smartt They're like, never mind.

Lyndsey Mimnagh They're like, never mind. I like this idea. So I also have young children and young children need structure, and I need structure because I'm trying to order my whole life with also working and all the other things I do. And so it just makes sense for us to keep the rhythm the same. And we will take a week off here or there. And towards the end of the summer, I take two weeks off usually. And we're just adventuring every day, all day for two weeks. And then we start back and it's the first day of school, even though we only took a couple weeks off. Just because we have that tradition the first day of school, and they do move up grades and all of that. But I don't know, it's just made sense for us and it might not always, but it's worked for us so far.

Jessica Smartt So what do you do when you feel that burnout coming? Because I know everybody's going to relate to this, and I have realized that I always feel it in like April and probably a lot of moms do, or February. What do you do? What are some of your go-to's when you want to reset for school and kind of get your vibe back?

Lyndsey Mimnagh Yeah. I think that I've realized lately because I had a big burnout in May, and so I often try to see how my kids are feeling and actually it's usually me feeling burnout and not them. And so I have to focus on like, what do I need so that I'm inspired again? Because I try to remember why am I doing this? And that helps me to like, read some of the books that have really helped me in my home education journey. Or reasons why. I recently did have like a meltdown with my husband. Like, there's no joy anymore and I don't want to do this anymore. And he's like, okay, let's go back to the beginning. Why are we doing this? What is the typical ideal day? So trying to envision like, what are the parts of homeschooling that you want? That you really want to see in your kids, that you want to see in your connection with them? What are the points that make it exciting again? And then focusing on those things and letting the other stuff go for a while? And then for us, it always helps to spark that joy again when I ask my kids like, what do you guys want to learn? And we just basically stop doing anything else and we use the things they say. So maybe they say they want to learn about reptiles or you can incredibly—like I've learned that you can learn anything through one subject. So I figured out if they want to learn about reptiles, how can I make a math lesson out of this? How can I make a science? Obviously science, but all of the things. We can do writing projects on turtles, we can go to the reptile center and then write a report on it. Taking something that's exciting for me, or them, and using that as the catalyst for the learning for a little while is—it takes a little bit of planning and work. But usually, that aside when I am excited about it, I don't mind all of that. It's actually fun for me. Those are some of the things that we've done. And then just honestly, just taking a break. That's one of the reasons we school year round is so when I'm feeling burnt out, I can just say like, I just need a break from all of this and we just need to connect again, play games, have fun, and we'll get back to this.

Jessica Smartt I'll tell you what you are almost selling me. I'm like, maybe after 11 years I will switch. Because I just can see that it allows you to have a little bit more margin in your life to, like your saying, not feel like you have to plunge through September because you can't stop. You just started.

Lyndsey Mimnagh Yeah, and that's the thing. I don't—there's not really any time throughout the year that I feel this pressure to complete it quickly or to—you have to be responsible with it. You obviously can't just be like, oh, we'll be free all the time because we're going to school year-round. Some states would have you track school attendance and stuff, but I think in general for me it's just the balance of I don't even plan throughout the year when I'm going to take breaks until it comes. And then I'm like, yeah, I think I'm feeling a break coming on and then we'll take one.

Jessica Smartt That's so interesting to me.

Lyndsey Mimnagh Yeah.

Jessica Smartt So let's talk about planning because a lot of people kind of do that reset—summer. How do you—when you're having like, okay, I'm going to plan for the next little chunk of our school year. What are some things that you do? And I also would love to hear, just real quick, about your planner. I'm always on the hunt for a good one, so I'd love to hear if there's anything, any special features you want to tell us about for your planner and why you use that.

Lyndsey Mimnagh For me, I plan typically in chunks. I don't plan for the whole year, but I might get like a vision for the year, but then I'll plan in a few month chunks where I'll look ahead and I'll be like, okay, for the next three months, these are the main thing is that we're going to be doing, these are the main resources that we're going to be using. So I'll sit down and kind of plan that way. And then monthly, I'll sit down and do book requests from the library, order supplies. And because I have a very busy life, I can't continually plan all month long. I have to—I really like to plan the whole month and, buy all the stuff, organize the stuff, laminate the stuff, do all the things I need to do ahead of time and basically create opening and curriculum for myself out of all of the resources that we're using, no matter what that looks like. I mean, every curriculum, no matter how easy it is to implement it, requires a little bit of something at least to make copies, or put it in a binder, or something. So I try to do that stuff and then, yeah, my planner is pretty straightforward. I basically developed it out of something I created for myself, which is like everything that I create, it's like I have a problem, I need a solution, I'm going to create the solution. And then I'm like, I think people might like this. So for us, it's just my—favorite part about it is really the daily lesson plans where it's like, a morning time section and then a lesson section, because for us, a lot of families that have multiple ages of children, they do something collective, where all of the kids do something at the same time in the beginning of the day, typically, and it's called morning time or circle time or together time. And so there's this section at the beginning called morning time where you can fill in what you're going to do. And then there's the bottom portion that has just a ton of space, like if you have multiple children, I love that I can fit everything in there. And I made sure it was small enough that you could do that, but big enough that you could still write in it with a pencil. And so it's pretty straightforward. But for me, I was creating lesson sheets like that and just printing them off for every week. And eventually, we just put it into a planner that now also has a few other features, like there's a habit tracker, which a lot of people love to help them kind of stay on track with, "I want to read this many books a week. I want to even other things like go to the gym four times a week." So it's a really fun habit tracker. And then there's a monthly calendar, or there's a field trip tracker, and extracurricular activities tracker just kind of like a curriculum at a glance scope for the year. So if you're doing beginning-of-the-year planning, there's a few pages in the front. But if I'm really honest with you, I just like simplicity with my planner. And a lot of the planners out there that I had found, they're just so many pages and so much fluff to like, I guess make the product look good. And just to make it pretty. So there's like extra pages with quotes and all of these note pages. And honestly, I just never used those, never looked at those. They were just making my planner really fat and annoying to have to flip through all these pages. So, if you're looking for a planner, that's like just simple, easy. People love it, especially the customizable side of it. So the hard copy, you just buy it, it comes to you, it's blank, but you can actually get a downloadable one where you can edit it. To be your specific kid's names or subjects that you do every day and it auto-populates to the rest of the year. So you could fill out one week with everything that stays the same, and the whole rest of your planner is going to have those words typed in there. So a lot of people like to do that and then just get it ordered after they customize it. They get it ordered to a print shop or something like that, printed at home.

Jessica Smartt That's awesome. And you have a lot of fun stuff in your shop. And I heard you're offering a discount code for our Homeschool Solutions listeners, right?

Lyndsey Mimnagh Yes, so it is. Homeschool Solutions Show 15, and that will be 15% off anything in the shop. So yeah, we have nature study curriculum. We have our planner. We also have a morning time bundle that is really great resource for the beginning of your day with like, calendar skills and weather chart things like that. There's a preschool version and older child version. We also are known for our holiday curriculum. We have a Christmas and Easter curriculum, and we are developing quite a few secrets behind the scenes right now that are going to be coming out in the summer.

Jessica Smartt Oh, okay. Well, we will keep falling. And where can people find you?

Lyndsey Mimnagh TreehouseSchoolhouse.com where I have a blog and all of our resources are there. And then I'm really active on Instagram which is Treehouse_Schoolhouse. And we also have a baby YouTube channel so you can hop over there too and see me act a fool.

Jessica Smartt Oh, hilarious. Well, thank you so much for joining us, Lyndsey. This has been really awesome and encouraging. You have a lot of awesome tips. So everybody hop over and follow Lyndsey, and I wish you the best in your summer relaxing or planning. Make sure you pick up a copy of Memory Making Mom or Let Them Be Kids. Those are both amazing beach, summer reads. You can find them on Amazon and wherever books are sold. And yeah, it was fun being with you today, Lyndsey. Thanks for joining us.

Lyndsey Mimnagh Thanks, Jessica.

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