Hi, I’m Karen and I live with my husband K and our 5 year old daughter, Captain (okay, NOT her real name), in Sequoia National Forest in California.  We have taken over the family land, have added to it, and are trying to make it all work.  We live in a cabin 1 1/2 hours from town (one way!) and make our own power, like to hike and enjoy nature, and dream of sailing away on a boat.  I love to create things, and mix up potions in my kitchen, using things from the abundance of nature around me. Someday I will have a giant brass gong which I will place up on the ridge above me. There will be a little bench there and, after the hike up, one could sit and rest and think before grasping the mallet and sending a beautiful, deep tone resonating down the mountain!

I am presently homeschooling the Captain, and enjoying all of the ups and downs that come with trying to keep her happy and flowing in a place where there are no kids to be found.  K and I were “late (perfect) bloomers” and that means I am now 42 and having fun crawling on the floor pretending I am a gentle okapi whilst a 45 pound muffin jumps all over my back!  I am on a path to discover my own calling, and it just may be to become a palm-reader, a scarf-designer or an EMT.  I’m not sure but I’m going to find out!  In the meantime, I am all over unschooling this wild thing of mine and there will always be lots our current project and learning activities here.  I really want to create a place where people can find project ideas for kids that are straightforward and give the method quickly, without a lot of story attached.  Personally, when I want to find a project idea, I want it quickly and to the point!  That is my goal when posting homeschooling and kid’s projects.

I will always give credit to those whose ideas and methods are the springboard for our own.  All of the material and photographs here are mine, unless otherwise quoted.  If you want to use content from kartwheels, please email me.

Thanks for visiting and good thoughts!



88 thoughts on “About

  1. Hi, Karen.
    Hi! I’m a fellow mom and blogger, and I’m also a doctoral candidate in education policy. I’ve been researching and writing about homeschooling, and I’ve started a project about understanding homeschooling families’ experiences. Here is an article in Home Education Magazine about my recent writing:
    I would really appreciate it if you completed my survey. You don’t have to leave your name, and I won’t share any of your information. Here’s a link to the survey and more information about it:
    Please let me know if you have any questions! Thanks, Jessica

  2. Miriam

    I love your projects! I’m not naturally crafty, but my youngest son enjoys projects and I’m always looking for ideas and inspiration that seems like something I might actually do. You’ve done a nice job presenting cool things that don’t seem overwhelming to us non-crafty types.

    • Thank you so much Miriam! I really am not a “super” crafter and although some of the things I post are very simple, they are things we really do and I think they are approachable. Thanks for writing. I was just looking at your site, we have some things in common! Take care, Karen

  3. Hi
    Thanks for visiting my blog. I always try to check out every blog of anyone who “likes” me… Boy that sounds needy. Enjoyed your posts, your more crafty than me ( where i come from that would mean cunning! but I mean it in its true form here. i assure you!)

    • Thanks so much for writing in and an extra thanks for calling me crafty in ANY form 🙂 Have a great day today!

  4. Hey Karen! Thanks for visiting and I love your blog – it’s gorgeous and so full of great stuff. I’m looking forward to following along.

  5. Darcel

    Hey Karen! Wow, you make your own power? That’s pretty awesome. Homeschooling has it’s challenges, but I think the rewards far outweigh the challenges. I can’t remember which blog my name links to (I have two) so I’ll leave the address here.

  6. Darcel, I love what you write about. Thank you for leaving your address and I will definitely be checking in regularly. I will look for your dolls on etsy too- they are adorable!

  7. Hi Karen, Thanks for taking time to check out TheDaddyist.com I love what you have going on over here and can’t wait until my daughter is older so we can try out some of your ideas.

    • Thanks for writing in! I really enjoyed the sense of humor in your blog. We can all use more of that in life ‘eh? Take good care!

  8. Hi again! Thanks so much for the follow and I’m pleased to announce I’m now following your blog, your pinterest board and just about to put a “like” on your fb page. Loooove your art btw and I’m so envious of the wonderful lifestyle you and your family are making for yourselves. It sounds absolutely wonderful to be able to live in the country. Simply amazing! Look forward to reading your posts. xo Melissa

    • Melissa, thank you so much for all of your “likes” and checking out kartwheels. I’ll look for you on pinterest!

  9. Thanks for visiting my blog! Always glad to meet another home school mommy forging ahead!

  10. I really like your About page and your blog. You live in a really cool place. I wish I lived where you live too, you’re very lucky. I’m glad you like my blog 🙂 !!!!!!!

    • Thanks so much for visiting PetKid! I like your blog a lot and will be dropping in again. Have a great rest of your day!

  11. Hi Karen,
    I’m so glad you stopped by my blog so that I could discover yours in turn! I love your site and can’t wait to dive in deeper. I’ll be reading everything you post!

  12. Your projects are cool Karen and so doable. Excited about doing some of them with my 3-year old. Glad I stumbled on your blog:-)

    • Thank you so much for this comment. I have always liked “doable” and not intimidating, although I just may have to tackle some of those “intimidating”, amazing projects out there! We like to keep it pretty simple. Thanks for stopping by!

  13. prayingforoneday

    Late 30’s) Dad here.. 🙂
    Thank you for the follow..
    Following right back..

    Shaun x

    • Hey there Shaun, You’re still fresh and young 🙂 but good news… It gets even better (mostly)!
      Thanks for the follow!

      • prayingforoneday

        Ha! Fresh and Young…I wish.
        I am 38 going on 88 🙂
        I suffer Chronic Pain lol…
        And yeah, it gets better. My two toddler Daughters bring light to the dark (To Paraphrase a song)

        Shaun xx

  14. thanks for stopping by my blog, great to have found yours, can see I will be having a good old nosy! xxxx

  15. What wonderful life experiences you are giving your daughter, Karen. I was a late bloomer too!

  16. hi there! wanted to stop in and say thank you for stopping by my blog! part of the fun on wordpress is the contact with different folks. i feel a lil’ out of place as it just so happens im single and childless but i love what you have going on here and i have a friend who’s a single mom and loves crafts projects and is always looking for things to do with her precious lil’ one – so i’ll be following along to pass the word along if you will. 🙂 thanks again

    • Hey there! Thanks so much for peeking in here, and I would love if your friend found a project or two that she likes here. You are right that is fun and interesting to see what others are up to out in the world. I really appreciate you stopping by and look forward to reading more of your stuff!

  17. Thanks so much for visiting and following my blog! I appreciate it very much. 😀

  18. Delighted that you found and are following dragonshades. You and your daughter can have fun thinking up new names for the pictures on my blog. All suggestions welcome. Each day has a new series of colours to view and these along with the shapes keep changing with the seasons. A chance to grow up in contact with Nature is one of the greatest gifts you can give your daughter. Don’t worry about what might be missing but delight in the chance to delve into the minutiae of your own special world.

    • We will love to come up with names for the pictures on your blog! (Captain is famous for coming up with names for things; she takes it very personally. My volvo is named “Grass” at her insistence!) We will enjoy the changing colors. Thank you for mentioning the worry that does come with things “missing”, as I do worry sometimes, but the world here is incredible for a child, and big kids too 🙂
      Thanks for writing. I look forward to more dragonshades.

  19. Thanks for visiting my blog. Your’s is lovely. Full of great ideas. Take care.

  20. I loved my unschooling experience during highschool, so glad your kid can start so early!

    • I always love to hear homeschoolers talk approvingly of their experiences! Thank you so much for writing in!

  21. Thanks so much for following my blog! I’m looking forward to reading more of yours – homeschooling the Captain sounds like quite an adventure!

    PS I just LOVE that you call the kiddo the Captain 🙂

    • Thank you, too, for visiting here and for the follow! We nick-named our daughter “Captain” when she was tiny due to the fact that she seemed to kind of “run the ship” and her grandfathers are airplane pilots 🙂 It just kind of stuck..

  22. Interesting life you live. Glad you stopped by blog fitfinnrecipes so I could get to know yours. If you are still working on your cookbook you are welcome to use any of mine as long as you make it known.

    • Fantastic! I will take you up on that and will let you know when I do (all credits will be in proper place!)
      Good thoughts!

  23. Hi Karen! Thanks for the likes and follow! Good luck with the homeschooling! 🙂

  24. Hi Karen. Thanks for stopping by my blog. I’m always amazed how mums can home-school their kids. Teaching is definitely not my forte. It’s cool that you live amongst nature. I live in an apartment in the city, so not much nature around me, and even if there are, they are all manicured and perfectly landscaped. Better than nothing I guess. Lol! 🙂

    • Thanks for coming here too! In cities, there is a strong energy. I live so remote, but have been to San Francisco and New York City in the past few years. Wow. I can’t wait to take my daughter to NYC some day! There are trade-offs between forest and city. For instance, you have access to glorious art, culture and FOOD! Here, there is no where to run out at get some dinner 🙂

  25. Hey, love your About and love your blog. Thanks for visiting mine and for the follow. I will definitely be following you back. I’m a fan of your down to earth approach to ideas and straightforward methods.

    • Thank you, I really appreciate your comment! I will certainly be visiting flaircreations again and look forward to seeing what you are up to. Take good care! Karen

  26. Thank you for stopping by my blog and the follow. I love your posts and will be following along. I did home school for awhile then had to go back to work…next year, we’ll be starting again at home. I have 3 children.

    So, I’ll be seeing you again soon around the blog!

    • That’s one of the good things of homeschooling: the flexibility. When things change, we are teaching our kids to go with the flow, even if they don’t realize it! Sometimes kids go to school for awhile, and then back to home studies etc. I wish you much luck!

  27. Thank you for the follow at Laura K Marshall. Keep up the great work here. Love what your doing.

  28. Homeschooled and proud of it! I can’t wait to see future posts!

  29. Hi Karen

    Just scrolled through the first couple of posts i found on your blog and i must say i like it.. nice to see you tickle the imagination and creativity of the young ones! Very important and humbling job no doubt 😉

    Keep up the nice posts and thanks for following me!

    • Thank you so much Pieter! I look forward to visiting your blog regularly. Cheers back to you and a wonderful day to you and yours

  30. Hi. Thanks for stopping by my blog and the follow. I love your creativity and ideas! I work with children here on the East Coast, so I look forward to learning a lot!

  31. Hi Karen, Your blog is gorgeous! thank you for following my blog. I would spare my time to read more about your works. Warm regards.

    • Thank you for your kind words! I look forward to reading more of your blog and send you many good thoughts, Karen

  32. thanks for dropping by and following our blog.
    we have our young ones too and your blog makes interesting reading. have a good day! ciao!

    • Hey, thanks for the follow and stopping in! I hope you find things the little ones like. I will enjoy your photoworks as well!
      Cheers, Karen

  33. Hello kartwheels, What an amazing place to live. Lucky you. We have wild land in the Colorado mountains and love to get away there. Love late bloomers and giving oneself permission to be yourself.

    • Hi Monica! Thank you so much for writing and for your encouraging words. I hope you get to spend lots of time in the Colorado mountains. It is a special place indeed. Take good care! Karen

  34. We have a good number of things in common, Karen. At 40, I’m homeschooling by boy. I really admire your living out in the land – you remind me of a homesteading friend of mine. Appreciate your creative posts – I would never have come up with the astronomy rounds. I don’t want to take up too much of your time, so I’ve left out the intro and finale of the series below. I think the exploration of the impact of technology on learning will resonate with you, given the lifestyle you have chosen for your daughter. I just finished a series on the writing process as well, applicable to homeschoolers. I look forward to more from your wonderful blog:

    https://aholisticjourney. wordpress.com/2013/04/21/ technology-the-dark-side-of- efficiency-part-2/

    https://aholisticjourney. wordpress.com/2013/04/23/ technology-the-dark-side-of- efficiency-part-3/

    https://aholisticjourney. wordpress.com/2013/05/02/ technology-the-dark-side-of- efficiency-part-4/

    • Hey, thanks, I just got home from a camping trip and will certainly check out the links you suggested. I am looking forward to reading!

      • I trust you had fun. The series was accepted (as one article) by a homeschool magz – the one on the right margin of my blog. The article is due out this winter. We just got the issue with my first article in it – the Biblical perspective of achievement. =)

      • Congratulations!

  35. Thanks. =) I was just thinking of you today!! And then I saw your comment. I hope you find the latest post on first aid out of my apothecary helpful — though I expect it’s not all news to you. 😉

  36. Hi Karen,
    Thanks for visiting postconsumerlife. So many of your ideas and experiences here align with what we’re doing. In fact, we just made a plaster cast of our coyote print before it dried up, then I saw your post about the cougar. Very cool. Wish our two remote locations were a tad closer for some unschooling/nature/art/play explorations. Also have to say I love the pseudonym “Captain,” not just because it’s for your girl, but because it reminds me of the Walt Whitman poem that begins, “O Captain! my Captain!”

  37. Pssssht. 42 is not at all “late” to have a five year old. I’m 44 with a nine year old, but I always think I’m pregnant, and after the initial panic decide I’m still young enough for one more. Your blog looks great. I can’t wait to read more.

    • Hi Laura, I guess it isn’t just me who occasionally thinks I’m pregnant then 🙂 Thanks so much for writing in and I will certainly be visiting you again!

  38. Hello! I am so happy that you discovered my blog because now I discovered yours! I am not a mom yet but being a vegan in a world of non-vegans and soft-hearted in general in a cruel, non-compassionate world, I am thinking of homeschooling as at least a partial way of education for my future kids. I love your projects and will start reading your blog backwards!

    • Thank you so much for the follow and for being interested in the projects here! When you do have kids, I sincerely hope you will consider homeschooling education. I really believe in it, and it can work so well for so many families. Best of luck to you and I look forward to checking out more of thenonhiphippies! Good thoughts, Karen

  39. Awesome blog! I am enjoying the posts and hope to try something soon. Take care.

  40. Archie Kins

    Hi Karen,

    Thank you for taking the time to check out “Archenette’s Haven”. I’m glad you liked post. I’ll surely post other school projects that my kids (and I) have done in the past (and hopefully, those projects that they will be doing). I like your posts and I’ll surely stop by for more!

    If you don’t mind me asking, why would you prefer homeschooling Captain? Just curious, but if you don’t like to answer, it’s okay.

    • Hello, I don’t mind answering your question about why we homeschool at all! There are many reasons, including our remote forest location, but the main ones are that seat-based schools and traditional curriculums just don’t offer anywhere near the learning opportunities and personal freedom that homeschooling does (for us and many others). Not that there aren’t great schools out there! But, if you look at a timeline of the history of education, you would see that the way schools operate now is a tiny little line on the history of the life of people. Kids used to learn from living and working at home and although life is very different than in the past, I had to ask myself, do I really want my daughter to not only be socialized by random peers, but learning the important things in life with a group that is only gathered on the basis of their age? Some kids move forward super quickly in some areas, but need more time in others. For example, the pressure to read in kindergarten is terrible, I feel. If kids are started off with pressure and “falling behind”, it kind of sets them up for a lifetime distaste for learning. Albert Einstein didn’t read until he was 7, and he was okay, right? Also, my daughter has been doing projects and learning about things that she wouldn’t have access to until 3rd, 4th or 5th grade etc, simply because she is only 5 years old. I feel it is my obligation (and Joy!) to her to let her learn naturally, and by her interest, as much as possible, while I run along beside her and try to put as many new learning experiences in her path as I can. I will add that I am fully capable of homeschooling, and am lucky as the stars to be able to stay at home with her, and not everyone gets to do that. I apologize if I have gone on and on, as there are so many more reasons for homeschool consideration for us, but I’ll leave it at that for now. Thanks so much for the question!

  41. My Tropical Home

    What an amazing blog you have! I’m bookmarking it for future reference. Keep sharing!

  42. Thanks for the follow! I love your blog! While my 22 month old and 5 month old aren’t quite ready for your projects, I’m almost tempted to do a few by myself… Does that make me a nerd?

    • Hey there! Thanks for the follow back, and while you must be quite busy, you are NOT a nerd 🙂 I recommend you try the aluminum foil & shoe polish project… it’s one of my favorites 🙂 Have a great night!

  43. Hey !! Just nominated you for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award!! 🙂 Check it out at:

  44. Strewth, where would we be without Dr Suess. Now to be honest, I’m a bit more of a Green Eggs and Ham man myself…and maybe that explains a lot!

    But hey, lets put that aside for a second or two, you and your family look pretty cool, whatever that means!

    Cheers, (Big Bad) Baz, The Landy

    • I dig your upbeat spirit and enjoy those a green eggs and ham as well. Thanks for writing and have yourself a most excellent week!

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