More About Me


Thanks for stopping by my space here!  I'm Celeste, and my husband and I live in the suburbs in Northern California with our crew:

Vincent, 17 (high school senior!)
Gianna, 17 (high school senior!)
Catherine, 14 (9th grade/Form 4)
Xavier, 13 (8th grade/Form 3 Upper)
Bridget, 12 (6th grade/Form 2A Upper)
Clara, 11 (5th grade/Form 2A Lower)
Andrew, 8 (4th grade/Form 2B)
Justin, 7 (2nd grade/Form 1A Lower)
Damien, 6 (1st grade/Form 1B)
Emilia, 3
and Matthew, who will be 1 in January!

Once upon a time I was studying to be an English professor; now I'm a homeschool mother grateful for the philosophy of Charlotte Mason. I spend any spare time I can carve out reading, writing, nature journaling, enjoying good picture books with my littles, and dating my husband of twenty years.

I'm a traditional Catholic. You can read all about my conversion story, but put simply: I grew up as a "Bible Christian" going on missions trips to convert Catholics. In college, I converted to the Catholic Church myself and married a cradle Catholic. Two years after that, we discovered the Traditional Latin Mass together, which led to our deciding to homeschool and raise a big family. I'm in a completely different place than I ever expected and couldn't be happier about it.

We homeschooled for many using AmblesideOnline's booklists with some tweaks to suit our family and faith. A few years ago, I joined the team at the Charlotte Mason Educational Center, a non-profit collaboration of parents and teachers dedicated to putting the philosophy of Charlotte Mason into practice. I love my work at the CMEC and put most of my extra energy toward supporting the member families and thinking through Mason's ideas alongside them.

And as a final note: in this space, I share the JOYS of our home-educating life. As my children get older, I want them to be comfortable with what I have shared here, so I choose to focus on the things I love about life and lessons. Be assured that some of our days are chaotic and do not go quite as planned! Those days do not usually make it on to the blog. ;)

Please feel free to contact me at joyous lessons (at) gmail (dot) com. You can subscribe to my blog via email or add it to your favorite RSS reader -- just check the sidebar for subscription options.

Want to read more? Find me on Instagram or check out the other places you can "meet" me online.

(And by the way: this blog began as a group blog--my dear, in-real-life friend Angela and I wrote here together.  Her life took a different tack many years ago, so I've been blogging here solo for a decade.  But you'll occasionally see an old post pop up with her name on it!)


  1. Love your blog! I'm starting Kindergarten with my son this fall and all of your posts have been really helpful! I also love sweets, fall, art history and foggy beach days ;) Thanks for all you do!

    1. Hi, Brooke--thanks for stopping by! It sounds like we're kindred spirits. :)

  2. We have many things in common. Latin Mass and AO! You're making me wish you were my neighbor! I love what you said about only blogging on the JOY out of respect for your children. I wholeheartedly agree with that approach. I've been homeschooling and using AO since 2001 but just the last couple weeks started really looking around at blogs. They didn't exist when I started out and I've been so into doing I hadn't looked up to see what's out there outside of the AO Forum in ages. Wow. So many great blogs. Love your site. Barbara

    1. Barbara, thank you so much for stopping by and leaving a comment. TLM and AO? I just love meeting like-minded moms! Your website is beautiful! I opened it up in a new tab and will take my time perusing all you have written there. And now I'm wishing that I were in VA so I could join your co-op! ;)

  3. Hi Celeste! I have read your bio here before, but this is the first time I've reread it after getting to "know" you on IG. I really appreciate this insight into who you are as a person, mother, and Catholic, as well as the goals you have established for your blog. One thing I'm really eager to hear your thoughts on is how you have fit blogging into your life. What are your time commitment and frequency goals for writing; what do you give up (TV time, sleep, etc.) in order to make blogging a reality; and how have you (and your blog) evolved over time?

    If you've already written a post on this, please direct me; and if not, consider this as an idea for a future post! Thank you so much for sharing your days here. I have benefitted personally from getting this view into the nuts and bolts of your homeschooling. :)

    1. Thanks, Angela! :) The short answer is that I fit it in where I can -- usually a bit in the evenings and on the weekends, where I have chunks of "free time" scheduled in anyway. I consider it a hobby because I enjoy it, but for me, it's also a mode of learning because I learn through the writing and the organizing of my thoughts that I do here in preparation for a post. Blogging is a big part of my community with like-minded moms and I also consider it a little way I might give back to the CM/AO community (I have learned so much from others' blogs and want to repay that in some way!), so it's a tiny ministry too. :)

      My problem is that I have a lot of hobbies, so I go through seasons where I dedicate more time to one than another! Like now, my blog is fairly quiet, but I'm spending more time reading and nature journaling. So my posting frequency varies. My general goal is two posts per week -- but if life takes over, I don't feel guilty about it. :) And as for free time in general, streamlining my household tasks and errands and cutting TV has helped a lot to give me more time to spend on things like this.

      Thank you so much for stopping by!

    2. I love this response. I actually thought the internet had gobbled up my comment (which I accidentally deleted and then had to retype), so I'm very glad to find that it got to you. I appreciate the information, and your grasp of moderation and seasonality in creating the blog. Makes perfect sense with the balance you've achieved...and not forcing it when your interests and life take you elsewhere for a while. Thank you for sharing!

  4. I am so thankful that I have found your blog!
    My family and my three girls attend Traditional Latin Mass in Ontario, Canada. We have started planning for our Year 1 on Ambleside with my eldest daughter and wanted to make sure to incorporate Catholic hymns, catechism etc. Your blog will be a great source for me!

  5. Hi Celeste! First of all, wishing a great festival of Christmas and best wishes for the new year 2019. Hope you get your desired success in the coming year and make your life the happiest one. Your blog has brought in good insights of kids education and how to manage it. Your efforts are appreciated and please keep on writing such useful thoughts. Good Luck!

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  7. I am a 'cradle Catholic', and was very impressed with your blog entry on Advent with the St Andrew novena prayer card (actually,it was that pic that got me linked to your blog-post, after a Google search!). I found I could read your background info, but not link to some other posts without permission. So, may I be so bold, as to ask permission?

    Robert Yankoski

    1. Hi Robert! Nice to meet you. :) All of my posts here on the blog should be set to public, so if you let me know which ones the links aren't working for, I can check into it. Thanks!

  8. Hi Celeste. I know you have many balls in the air. But now that I joined the CMEC (thanks to you!) I was wondering if you would consider sharing your updated paper plans for this year? How did the CMEC change your planning, if at all? I always return to your checklist method when I feel our homeschool is off-the-rails and I need to step back and simplify. God bless!

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  10. Greetings,

    I enjoy reading your blog and getting ideas for our homeschool. You mentioned a chalk drawing book earlier this year, but I've searched the blog and can not find the title. Will you please let me know what it is? Thank you and God bless.