The Other Side – Some wonderful things can only be located by taking a chance and peeking on the other side of the map. Use these resources to discover alternative solutions and treasures you may have never imagined possible.  (Even if they seem a bit “out there” at first!)


If you’re cleaning with toxic products (bleach, Lysol, dusting sprays, Fabreeze), you’re adding all kinds of unnecessary chaos into your home.  Breathing toxic chemicals can harm your respiratory system as well as make you (and your family and pets) more susceptible to illness.  There are many alternatives.

Thieves oil and Thieves Cleaner from Young Living
This stuff is amazing. Have a look at 145 great household uses for this great product.

Disinfectant wipes – instead of Clorox, try this. She gives a ton of other alternatives to toxic cleaners as well.

Dishwashing detergent – You don’t need to spend a fortune on toxic “pods” that do it all.  Just a few ingredients make a solution that won’t eat your hands or poison your kids.

Norwex Products – I swear by their polishing cloths, makeup removing cloths and detergent. They don’t use chemicals at all and work like a dream.

Shampoos and conditioners – instead of expensive products that coat your hair and include many hormone disruptors, try baking soda and vinegar.  Sounds odd.  Works.

Toothpaste – Did you ever notice that fluoride toothpaste has a “call poison control if ingested” warning on it?  Fluoride is a poison.  Why would you want that in your mouth?  Try making your own.  My version is similar to that in the link provided, but I keep it simple.  Coconut oil, calcium carbonate, baking soda, and 4-5 essential oils (Young Living is all I will ever use or recommend due to it’s purity – Thieves, peppermint, wintergreen and rosemary make a nice flavor and are great for gums!)


Did you know that many illnesses are caused by increased inflammation in the body?  You can control inflammation with your diet.  The more acidic your diet, the more inflammation you’ll have.  Take a look at foods to limit or avoid and which foods to add to your diet to reduce inflammation.


In the past, parents had just a few choices for educating their children. They could send them to the public school in their district, pay tuition to another public district or private school or homeschool. These days, options are opening up all over to accommodate a wide variety of learners and family situations.

Recently, we started virtual public schooling through Wisconsin Connections Academy. There are dozens of virtual public options cropping up all over the U.S. If you live in a state that offers open enrollment, or school choice, you can opt for a portion of your educational tax dollars to go to a virtual public school. If not, these schools are available as tuition-based.

Our kids are at home, but they are taught by public school teachers who live and work about 3 hours from us. Their lessons are done online and mostly independently, but they have several “live lessons” in which they interact with teachers and other students in a virtual classroom. We as parents are their learning coaches, providing guidance and support to keep them on track. We (as well as our kids) talk more one-on-one with their instructors than we ever did at the traditional public school and the children are learning a ton. In addition to focusing on their regular subjects, they are well-versed in technology, time management, communication, and follow-up.
Because they don’t have traditional amounts of “homework” (all of their work is typically finished by mid-day), they now have time to pursue other interests outside of school in a deeper way. They are apprentices at a rehabilitative horse farm several times a week. They started a farm stand with crafts, healthy treats and produce called, “Organigirls.” They’re in a performance group, singing and playing instruments and learning about stage presence. They started acting with a local theater group, they participate in 4-H, and the Destination Imagination program.

We still have to be creative with replacing the daily social interaction with former schoolmates (but we sure don’t miss the daily drama from the same!) Overall, it’s been a perfect match for our current needs.

Homeschooling is another alternative. Various curricula are available to fit a multitude of needs and budgets. Support through homeschooling networks is really growing.

Blended learning is just coming into vogue and I hope it sticks. The term represents a “blend” of online, traditional live classroom instruction, experiential learning, and sometimes learning at home as well. One district in my county is piloting a program that will allow families to choose a blend of all of these options and do what’s best on a per-child basis.

The long and the short is to check your options out before feeling like you have one and only one choice to school your kids. There are tons of ways to reach out these days!


Leave a Reply