Educationally Speaking: Homeschool update. On our way to summer break and taking a more relaxed approach to learning

We are on our last month of homeschooling before summer break and to say we all have summer brain is an understatement. Not even the teacher is focused all the way in on school right now. Because of our lack of focus, I have decided to dial down the strict workbook and textbook-heavy subjects for this month, but we will still be doing them twice a week.

I got to mid-April and realized I hadn’t focused as much on the arts as I need to in order to meet the requirements for the state we are in so I decided we would make May an art month. That means more lessons on artists (Monet, Cezanne, Picasso) and musicians (composers like Bach, Beethoven, and Mozart) throughout our week and fewer lessons on math, science, and history. We will still be doing those last three subjects, just not every day.

This is a relief for Little Miss who is so dramatic when I tell her it is time for her math lesson. You would think I would have told her it is time to clean the toilets at a frat house.

She often runs and hides, pulling a blanket over her head in a homemade fort she made by turning our couch to face the wall and hanging the veil-like curtains across it.

Once she sits down and does it, however, she really doesn’t have any major issues with doing the math.

She isn’t a fan of having to write letters either so that has also been a struggle this past year. I need this summer break as much as her.

However, I have told her she will need to do some math during the summer so that she doesn’t have to jump back into it cold in August when we start up again. I’m also considering starting school a month early this year. This will allow us to take more breaks throughout the school year at times when we feel beat down by the mundane routine of daily lessons.

I have been the most relaxed about homeschooling this year than in any previous year. I have finally started to accept that homeschooling is not simply school at home. It is not bringing the traditional idea of public school into your home.

We homeschool so we can break away from a system we do not feel is conducive with the need for children to be free to focus on their passions and to learn at their own pace. Homeschooling parents bring their children home to learn for a variety of reasons, but at the core of it is that the child is not thriving or might not thrive in the traditional environment.

For us, homeschooling has offered more opportunities for learning beyond the scope of a daily lesson. It has allowed us to take a subject my child is interested in and explore it beyond one moment in time in their education. It has also allowed us to go visit or go help my parents whenever is needed, which has been invaluable to us, especially to my son who is very close to his grandfather.

Resting on my newfound acceptance that homeschooling doesn’t have to look like a traditional public school day, we started taking a much more relaxed approach to our homeschool days sometime in March. We did math and reading lessons, but history was reading historical fiction and watching videos and then simply talking about history. Math was lessons in our book but also on ABC Mouse for the youngest. The oldest does his math online so there wasn’t much of a change for him. Reading or English has been some actual lessons about parts of speech and grammar but it has also been simply reading books out loud to each other, discussing hard words when we get to them or discussing what we read.

I read a post on Facebook recently by … that reminded homeschooling parents that homeschooling can happen at any time of the day. She wrote that you don’t have to read to your child only during the day and count that as a time of learning. Read-aloud sessions can happen at night before bed while waiting in the car, or pretty much anywhere at any time.

Life lessons and skills can be taught throughout the day.

Homeschool is a 24/7 type of education that doesn’t require a desk or a book or four walls around a child. It is a constant flow of information and knowledge that can come through the everyday journey of life.

With all that being said, yesterday Little Miss and I watched videos about Mozart while she made slime. We read Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle before bed for our English reading.

Today we have a homeschool gathering at the local library.

Tomorrow we will be painting in the style of Monet while watching videos about him and the other impressionists or while listening to Mozart. We will also probably read some from The Cabin Faced West for history and do a math lesson or simply go on ABC Mouse and have her play some games there related to what we’ve been learning in Math.

The Boy will be reading Fellowship of the Ring and working on a research project and also preparing some Minecraft creations for the art requirements under the homeschool guidelines for our state. Then he will go to work as a dishwasher at a local restaurant, which I see as another educational opportunity and an activity that fits in well with homeschooling.

Later in the week, we will be watching art history videos, and videos about famous composers, and I will be encouraging him to continue bass lessons at home since we are taking a month off from his formal bass lessons (which were 45 minutes away and a bit expensive for us this month).

This month, both The Boy and Little Miss will also be studying music from a book I ordered that is set to arrive today.

I am absolutely loving this freestyle type of learning that incorporates music and the arts into our academic lessons. It’s something I plan to do more of during our next school year.  

Educationally Speaking: Homeschooling allows for the down time some kids need

I’ve written before about why I like to homeschool, and this past week highlighted a couple of those reasons perfectly.

When Little Miss had a major dental procedure due to a soft enamel issue the week before last, I backed off strict homeschool lessons for a few days afterward. Giving her time to recover was possible because of the flexibility of homeschooling. There was no pressure for her to get back into class even though she was having some discomfort and trouble eating.

We spent a lot of time reading books, picture and otherwise, snuggling, watching educational shows, playing with Legos or outside, making slime, painting or just chatting.

On Tuesday Little Miss’s friends were off school because of snowy weather. This gave her a chance to visit with them via the phone and cheer her up after a difficult few days of recovering. We did a little bit of school that day but not as intensive as some days.

We were grateful that pain wasn’t a large part of Little Miss’s recovery. Being unable to eat normally was part of the recovery process, unfortunately.

This left me anxious for two or three days until I decided to make some soups from scratch that would add protein and nutrients to Little Miss’s diet.

She lived on Jell-O, pudding, yogurt drinks, and my homemade soups for about three days. On the fourth day, she discovered she could eat tater tots without pain. On Wednesday she was back to eating almost completely normally.

As someone who was educated in public school, it has been hard for me to change my mind about school needing to be six hours of instructional time, even though that isn’t how many hours students really spend on academics in public school anyhow when you figure in time in  homeroom, lunch, extracurricular activities, study halls, and for the younger children, recess.

When you cut out the time on the bus, homeroom, recess, etc., school really only takes 1-3 hours depending on the day. Children who are homeschooled can do their work without having to wait for the rest of the class to catch up or slow down. They can get their lessons done and the rest of the day is theirs to do what they want with (within reason, of course).`

I’ve really had to work hard to change my mindset about education overall in the last couple of years actually. I’m very much still stuck in the mindset that we have to do “book learning” during our school day, every day, versus simply reading books, doing art, or exploring nature and learning on some days.

However, last week I let a lot of that go. I reminded myself that educating a child is a long  term commitment that goes beyond what they learn from a textbook.

I also reminded myself that healing from something that was traumatizing to a child is about much more than physical healing.

Little Miss needed emotional comfort as much as she needed her gums to be comforted and in order to do that I had to back off heavily pushing math and science lessons that she could easily make up after her recovery was complete.

The time we spent cuddling on the couch with a book or watching an educational show instead of opening up the textbook was even more important than academic learning.

There are many ways you can enrich your child’s education without doing set curriculum for times when they need some one on one time.

A few ideas:

  • Read educational or simply entertaining books to them.
  • Watch educational or enriching shows together.
  • Create art together  
  • Take a walk together in the woods or somewhere outside to see what you find and can turn into a lesson.
  • Do only the simplest lessons from your curriculum
  • Visit their grandparents
  • Simply hold them and cuddle them as much as they want

Educationally Speaking: when it is a bad thing your child was brought up watching Wild Kratts

She makes sure I know how much she knows about animals anytime I tell her we are going to study animals for our science lesson.

I choose animals because I know they interest her but every time I choose animals as our subject I brace myself for her to say what she always says, “I already know that about . . .” whatever animal we are studying.  

Last week when I started an amphibians and reptiles curriculum she rolled her eyes.

“I already know all about them already,” she told me.

So I asked her a couple of questions I had a feeling she wouldn’t know. She narrowed her eyes at me and admitted she didn’t know everything about the particular amphibians we were talking about but then decided I needed to learn something too. She asked me what the difference between tortoises and turtles were. I told her I wasn’t sure so she ticked off several differences, which I can only assume she learned on Wild Kratts.

She’s been watching this show since she was probably two.

“It’s great,” I thought back then. “She’s learning while being entertained.”

The problem came when she actually started taking in all the information and regurgitating it. Now we are here in second grade and she sometimes does know a lot of what I am teaching her about the animals, but sometimes she doesn’t. Getting her to listen to see if she knows what I’m going to teach her, or not, has been a bit of a challenge.

Luckily, she’s starting to take a chance and listen to the lessons and seems to actually be enjoying them.

On the day we learned about snakes we had a game to play with the lesson and she loved it. There were a lot of questions she didn’t know the answer to and it seemed to, at first, deflate her a little, but, then, once she knew the answers she was proud to play the game again with her dad and show him what she’d learned.

One day, she decided I needed to learn what the difference was between crocodiles and alligators. So she made me watch a Wild Kratts episode that talked about the differences. I said, “But wait. I’m supposed to be teaching you.”

She said, “Well, you’re teaching me and I’m teaching you. It’s a win-win. See?”

Then she clapped her hands together.

That’s what’s been so much fun about homeschooling. Learning with my kids.

Yes, Little Miss. It’s been a win-win.

Educationally speaking: Children of the Longhouse and The History of Lacrosse

Little Miss and I have been studying Native American history for the last month or more while reading Children of the Longhouse by Joseph Bruchac. I found a curriculum to use with the book that is very simple and includes science, health, and language arts along with history lessons. This allowed us to branch off into other subjects while reading.

The book focuses on Ohkwa’ri and Osti:stia, two Iroquois children, or, yes, children of the longhouse. The siblings are twins (check) and Ohkwarri is on the cusp of becoming a man. He’s also become the target of one of the boys in the village after he overheard the boy conspiring with his friend to attack a neighboring tribe and told the village council about it.

Here is a brief description of the book:

When Ohkwa’ri overhears a group of older boys planning a raid on a neighboring village, he immediately tells his Mohawk elders. He has done the right thing—but he has also made enemies. Grabber and his friends will do anything they can to hurt him, especially during the village-wide game of Tekwaarathon (lacrosse). Ohkwa’ri believes in the path of peace, but can peaceful ways work against Grabber’s wrath?

I agree with this review on The Home Librarian about the book: “If I had one complaint about the book, it’s a minor one. There is a glossary with pronunciation guide that was incredibly helpful. However, it’s tucked at the back of the book so I didn’t realize it was there until about half way through the book when I came across a word and wondered if there was a pronunciation guide. It would have been better to put it up front so the reader knows it’s there and so you first see how to pronounce the names Ohkwar’ri (Oh-gwah’-li) and Otsi:stia (Oh-dzee-dzyah).”

It is easy to see from the picture on the front of the book and from the description of the game that Tekwaarathon(pronounced Day-gwaah-la-ton) is actually lacrosse. I had no idea until I read this book that Lacrosse was passed down from Native Americans. Well, let’s say I had a very vague idea it was somehow connected to Native American culture, but I had forgotten it over the years. Like maybe I heard it somewhere one day when I was young, but I didn’t really remember much about it until we started this book.

At first, the book was slow and overly descriptive in some parts in my opinion. I suggested we skip past those parts but Little Miss said she liked even the slow parts so I plowed through them and then ended up liking them. I felt bad that I was impatient for the story to pick up and get to the game already and finally reminded myself that the book was as much about presenting Iroquois culture as it was about the action of the game. There are 13 long chapters in the book and it took us until chapter 12 to get to the actual game scenes. That chapter did not disappoint either. In fact, when we finished the book yesterday, Little Miss said, “Read it again!”

I have declined to read it again at this time but may do so later. I did enjoy the book, but the chapters were quite long and we need to move on to another history-based book for a new unit next week. I may read the book to her at night, however.

The curriculum we used provided us with various historical, scientific, and artistic videos and sites. One of the resources that fascinated me was a video about the history of lacrosse:

This prompted me to hop on the interwebs and read a bit more about the history of the game and its connection to the  Haudenosaunee or Iroquois people. First, I found out in the video that the French called the Haudenosaunee Iroquois. They weren’t always called Iroquois. I had no idea their name had been changed by the French.

Second, I had no idea the game was being played in 1100. Tekwaarathon, by the way, is pronounced nothing like it looks like so that was a lot of fun to try to pronounce while reading it to Little Miss.

According to, “The early versions of lacrosse matches played by Native American nations included 100 to 1,000 men or more using wooden sticks, sometimes with net baskets or pockets attached, and small, deer hide-wrapped balls. Deer sinew formed nets.  Borderless fields could span miles, and games could last days.”

In our book, the author talked about the bruises and cuts on the main character’s face as he competes in the game and the injuries that many of the men had while playing.

Women did occasionally play the game as well and definitely play it these days.

Some Native Americans believed the Creator gave the game to them as medicine and entertainment. They played for a variety of reasons, one being to lift the spirits of someone who was sick, which is why the game was played in The Children of The Longhouse.

If you watch the video, you will see that the name of the game was changed to lacrosse by French missionaries because they thought the stick resembled the cross carried by bishops during religious ceremonies.

Somewhere along the line the game became more of an exclusive game that was mainly played by the elite or the wealthy. In 1859, Canada adopted Lacrosse and it was made their national sport for a while but as we all know that was later replaced by hockey.

You can read more about the game’s fascinating history on

I’m so glad I veered off the strict curriculum I had been using and went a bit rogue by choosing a historical fiction book we could use as a jump-off point into history lessons. When I decided to do Little Miss’s history this way, I knew I wanted to focus on Native American history for at least a month and move on to other early history for another month but I wasn’t sure which book I would use.

I can’t remember how I stumbled on The Children of the Longhouse, but I’m glad it did. It not only allowed me to teach Little Miss about our nation’s first real settlers but also enlightened me to their culture and history. That’s one of the aspects of homeschooling I enjoy the most – being able to learn right along with the kids.

If you have a historical fiction book for children you think we should dive into next, let me know in the comments.

Additional Educationally Speaking Thoughts

If you’re new here, I’m a homeschooling mom to an 8-year-old daughter and a 16-year-old son. I shared a little bit about our homeschool journey in a brief post last week.

On Sunday I was going to the kitchen for some hot cocoa when I looked at a book on the table that Little Miss had picked up at the library sale on Friday. It was a level two chapter book.

“Ooh,” I thought to my homeschool mom-self. “I can use that for reading aloud this week during reading/English lessons.”

Immediately something Little Miss said to me the week before came to mind right after that thought. It was something she said when I asked her to read two poems out loud for me.

“Mom, you already know I know how to read. Why are you making me read this out loud?”


Well, she had a point.

Why was I making her read it out loud?

Practice, I suppose.

Because reading out loud helps to make sure you are saying words right, I guess.

Or is it really because the curriculum said to do it and I’m – as I told a friend this week – a rule follower.

Rules are good.

Rules are often necessary.

Rules aren’t always made to be broken.


I am homeschooling for a reason and part of that reason is to allow my children to learn at their own pace – whether that is fast or slow.

If Little Miss or The Boy already have a concept down, then it really isn’t necessary or conducive to their learning to keep making them repeat that skill over and over. The exception to this is in math, of course. I think the repetition of math lessons is important to keeping facts straight and fresh in the mind and to build up to other concepts.

Now, I don’t mean that I shouldn’t keep repeating or showing her grammar rules and similar items, but, yeah, if she already knows how to read, I need to stop making her read out loud to prove that she can do what she can already do and has been doing for two years now.

And, yeah, she had a point.

What am I doing? She gets the concepts. She knows it. Review the spelling rules with her and .. yes… move on. We’re good.

Educationally Speaking: Relaxing, getting ready for Christmas break, and actually enjoying school this year

I haven’t shared a homeschooling update in a while so I thought I would do so today.

The children and I are anxiously awaiting our Christmas break, which will begin on December 22 and last until January 2.

The kids are honestly completely over school but they are being troopers and I think that’s because I am trying to make school a little more fun this year. We aren’t necessarily doing anything “fun” but I am more relaxed about it all than I have been in previous years. I’m letting go of a lot of the anxiety I’ve had about teaching and what they are learning. If we need to take some time off during the day by cutting a couple subjects because something has popped up – like my dad stopping by or a neighbor needing help, etc. – then I am fine with that more now than I used to be. If we need to do some lessons in the evening, after dinner, I am okay with that too, though I will say I still twitch just a bit if work isn’t done before supper time.

The Boy is fairly independent. I give him his assignments and he heads upstairs and does them without much help from me. This year I am giving him more to read on some days and then trying to keep Friday fairly clear so that can be his day to just relax and be a kid. I hope that Fridays will become a day where he can explore some sort of activity he is interested in, such as playing guitar, which we hope he will be able to explore after Christmas (shh, don’t tell him. Thankfully he never reads my blog.).

I would definitely say that Little Miss is my biggest challenge. She is a little bit better about settling down to do her work this year than she was last year, but we still battle many days. Once we start our lessons she buckles down and gets the work done, but until then . . . well, there is quite a bit of drama. She doesn’t throw a tantrum by any means. My daughter practices something my son has always practiced – silent disobedience.

For instance, when I tell her we are going to do our work in five minutes, she picks up the duster and decides the living room needs dusting. Other times she starts a new episode of her cartoon or decides the dog needs a bath, or begins a game of chase with the dog, or decides she needs a snack.

Once we get passed her stalling tactics, though, we are actually learning something during our lessons. This year I tossed aside the set history curriculum and have instead been doing unit studies. Right now we are doing a unit study on Native Americans. As part of that unit we are reading Children of the Longhouse by Joseph Bruchac.

It is a fiction book, but it is teaching us a lot about the culture of the tribes of the longhouses, such as those who lived in our area and were part of the Iroquois. I hope we will be able to participate in a field trip at some point as there are places around us that focus on artifacts and the history of the Native American people. There is a museum about 45 minutes north that has canoes and arrowheads and other artifacts so that’s probably where I will take her.

I am counting the book as history and English.

We are, however, also doing a separate English curriculum through The Good and The Beautiful and that focuses on spelling, grammar, writing rules, and specifically reading. Little Miss has known how to read since she was about six and a half so she finds this curriculum a bit tedious and boring, which usually means we end up skimming it and just doing the lesson part, unless it is a totally new concept that will help her with larger words. She absolutely hates when I dictate words to her and she has to write them, but her handwriting is improving and she’s pouting a little less about it these days, thankfully.

We’ve been doing the same with math recently because she’s caught on quickly to many of the concepts and the lessons reiterate the points each subsequent lesson. That means we can jump right to the assignment page for math as well. We can’t do this every lesson because the math is becoming more difficult, but I have been surprised with how quickly she catches on to the concepts.

We are also using The Good and The Beautiful for math.

For Science we are continuing a unit on space through Apologia and in January we will start a unit on Reptiles and amphibians through – yes, The Good and The Beautiful. Little Miss loves snakes, lizards, etc. so she’s going to love that unit.

The Boy is studying medieval history, which he is really enjoying, even though a lot of the names sound the same and are a bit confusing. We’ve recently found a series via the history channel app on Amazon that focuses on some of the aspects from the textbook. This textbook is very detailed, nitty-gritty stuff and I thought The Boy would balk at it but so far he’s been loving it.

For science, he is continuing Biology from last year but in January or February, we are starting Physical Science to make sure we get in all the science credits he needs to graduate high school in a couple of years.

For math, we are using CTC Math, which is an online program and for English we are reading individual books and right now we are reading The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. He is also working on grammar through Fix It Grammar.

I would say that The Boy spends more time on his lessons than Little Miss, but her lessons can be time-consuming depending on the specific area we need to focus on for her subjects.

Over all we are still enjoying homeschooling and the freedom it gives us to take trips together, visit their grandparents, and for them to explore topics and activities they are interested in.

Educationally Speaking: Fall Homeschool Update

Homeschool has been trucking along fairly well this year. Our days have been filled with more book learning than hands-on learning for the last couple of weeks.

Little Miss and I are still working with math and reading/English curriculum from The Good and The Beautiful. She’s not fighting me as often as she was last year when I say it is time to do our lessons.

For Science, we are using the space curriculum from Apologia’s Creation series.

We finished our history and are now doing individual unit studies. Last week we finished a book about George Washington Carver which I combined with videos and an art project where we recreated paintings of his. Well, I tried to recreate one, but she sort of did her own thing, which is fine as long as she was enjoying herself.

Next up is a unit on Native Americans and I have ordered a fiction book — Children of the Longhouse by Joseph Bruchac — that I hope will tell a Native American story in a creative way and allow us to talk about real-life events. I looked up a bunch of picture books about Native Americans but our library only had one of them so I’ll either have to buy them or look at larger libraries.

A couple of weeks ago when it was still nice enough outside for Little Miss to jump on the trampoline, we had an assignment in our reading/English book for Little Miss to orally relay to me a story she made up.

One day she spent three straight hours working on the book, using my computer, even with my messed up “s” and “w” keys which sometimes work and sometimes don’t. Since then she’s asked a couple of times to work on her book and wants me to publish it for her at some point, which I hope to do next year.

The Boy is still working with his grandpa a couple of days a week, which is part of his life skills education, in addition to his regular schoolwork.

For his book-based schoolwork, he is reading about Medieval History via The History of the Medieval World by Susan Wise Bauer, Biology through Apologia, and classic literature in the form of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, which he is actually enjoying. He also has math through CTC Math, which is an online program and grammar through FixIt! Grammar.

We have been trying to secure him a place at a school near us for next year that is similar to a trade school but seem to be being stonewalled because he is homeschooled and not enrolled, even though under state law we are supposed to be able to access those programs as well. The local school district will not return phone calls and it is very frustrating.

Hopefully it will work out.

The Boy is 16 now so we will be starting driving lessons soon, but first we will be studying the manual, which is now online. My husband printed it out for him, but The Boy isn’t in a huge hurry to get his license so we will take our time in that area.

I need to find a field trip for us in the next month or so and I think I’ll look into a couple small museums near us that have Native American artifacts. Winter seems to have started a little earlier with temperatures already in the high 20s or low 30s and our first snowfall coming yesterday, so any field trips will have to be inside at this point.

If you are homeschooling, how is it going for you? If you aren’t, how is school going for you children or grandchildren?

Educationally Speaking: homeschool round up

It’s hard for me to believe it, but this week is our final week of homeschool.

We are finished with most of what I wanted to complete before the end of the school year, but there is still tons I wish we had been able to shove in. It seems with homeschooling is you never exactly feel like you are finished. You also never exactly feel like you did enough. When you go back and look at the entire year, though, you usually realize you did a lot more than you thought you did. Still, I often look back and think about how much more I could have taught or included in lessons.

We are tying up some loose ends this week, including writing an essay and a book report for The Boy. Little Miss needs to finish up a few math lessons so we can put part one of this particular level of math behind us and pick up with part two in July, which is when we can start recording school days for the next year. While I do plan to do some math with her starting in July, I don’t plan to start full on school. I want my kids to have a break where they can be kids and have fun during the summer but for Little Miss, I know it is important to keep the continuity going so we don’t have to do too much review at the beginning of next school year.

Also, this week I have to start putting together a portfolio of schoolwork for each of them to present to the evaluator next week. The evaluator will then type up a summary of our work which essentially is a sheet of paper that tells the school district we are in and the state that we did what we were supposed to do as set by the homeschooling law in Pennsylvania.

I have to present that evaluation by June 30th to the local school district office. I also plan to present them with an affidavit that declares our intent to homeschool for the 2022-2023 school year. The affidavit isn’t actually due until August 1, but I usually present the evaluation and the affidavit at the same time. Last year I completely missed the deadline for the evaluation, but the district secretary was very understanding and accepted it anyhow, telling me that as long as I had it in before the next school year started then it was totally fine. Whew. I breathed a sigh of relief when she told me that.

While gathering together material for the portfolio, which includes a sample of all the work we did this year, I also have to have a list of any textbooks we used and any books we read.

For Little Miss we used:

Notgrass’ Our Star Spangled Story for history/social studies

Spectrum Science for science

CTC Math and The Good and the Beautiful for Math

And The Good and the Beautiful for reading/English

Notgrass also included half a credit for English with their course because their curriculum comes with a selection of historical fiction books to be read with the book.

As part of the English part of the Notgrass curriculum we read:

Benjamin West and His Cat Grimalkin by Marguerite Henry

Toliver’s Secret by Esther Wood Brady

Freedom Crossing by Margaret Goff Clark 

Mountain Born by Elizabeth Yates 

The Year of Miss Agnes by Kirkpatrick Hill (which we hope to finish by next Friday)

These books were read in addition to the books I read to her at night, including the Little House on the Prairie books, the Misty of Chincoteague books, and the Paddington books.

The Boy’s curriculum this year included:

CTC Math for Math

Notgrass for World Geography

Notgrass for Economics

And Apologia Biology for Science

For English, we used a few sources, including Fix It! Grammar, Apologia American Literature and the books which came with the Notgross World Geo curriculum

Books that The Boy read this year included:

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Know Why You Believe by Paul Little

Blood Brothers by Elias Chacour

A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

And Smoke and Mirrors by Neil Gaiman

We had four or five more books we were supposed to read as part of his geography course, but we ran out of time, partially because I added To Kill A Mockingbird to our reading on my own and partially because The Boy already had a lot (and I mean A LOT) of text to read in his other subjects.

One thing we didn’t do enough of this year was field trips. We had a couple of trips in the beginning of the year but then we were hit with Covid and then high gas prices, so the field trips were put on the back burner. That didn’t stop the kids from learning things from their grandparents and others and through other activities at home.

What I like about homeschooling is that learning isn’t only done through established curriculum, but from everyday activities. Homeschooling allows for a lot more flexibility than traditional schooling, as I have mentioned here before.

So far we have decided to continue homeschool for next year. If either of the children decide they want to be educated in a different way over the summer then we will revaluate that decision.

If you are a homeschooler how did school go for your kids this year? Let me know in the comments.

Educationally Speaking: New reading course, Biology is like hard, and less arguments after winter break

The kids and I started back to homeschool last week after being sick and our Christmas break. I don’t know if they felt this way, but for me, it was nice to get back into a routine after being sick for almost a month and a half.

We got back into the swing of things and oddly Little Miss didn’t argue at all about her lessons. She actually seemed interested and excited some days. That was very refreshing. I don’t know how long it will last, but I am going to enjoy it while I can.

She and I started a new unit for reading, also from The Good and the Beautiful. The lessons are longer but she’s breezing right through them. The book features  four or five pages words for her to study the entire unit but she breezed through all of the words on day one. I have a feeling we might jump into the next level before the year is out.

We are finishing her math unit from Kindergarten and will start first grade math the week after next, I think. She catches on to math quickly so I have a feeling we might move through the first grade math faster than we did kindergarten. We got a late start last year on this particular curriculum and also broke it up with CTC Math, which is an online program.

Science is our biggest issue because I can’t seem to find a science curriculum I like. We are doing some very simple science books for now.

History is a little bit of a challenge as well because she really can’t remember everything I read to her at her age, but we do our best and at least she’s learning something about the founding of our country.

The curriculum we have (Our Star Spangled Story from Notgrass) also includes literature so it allows me to cross off history and English/Literature in one shot.

We are currently reading Freedom Crossing about a pair of siblings who are hiding a runaway slave sometime in the mid-1800s.

The Boy is making his way through Geography (Social Studies) and Economics and barely through Biology. Biology is going over both our heads and I’m beginning to wonder if the curriculum I have is for college level. It claims it is for tenth grade so I thought The Boy would be okay since he is in ninth grade but, wow, the definitions and concepts that are taught are extremely complex and a bit overwhelming. Hopefully we will survive the next few months.

We just finished Blood Brothers, which is a selection from the literature part of his Social Studies course. There was another book that we were supposed to read but I didn’t feel he would really enjoy it so I decided we will wait until the next until when a new book is assigned.

I’m considering introducing him to poetry this week which should induce some mocking from him but that’s okay. That’s what kids at this age do but hopefully they will come to appreciate it later on.

He is still continuing CTC Math for his math and he’s also doing a grammar course through Fix It Grammar.

The kids had a lighter day on Friday of last week when it snowed. I let them play in the snow, or in The Boy’s case shovel the driveway. He still had to do school work but I think the break for some time outside was welcomed.

I don’t have any major outings or projects planned for January, but I hope to get us out of the house more in February and March. So far this year I am glad we stuck to homeschooling. The schedule is flexible and allows us to have more time with my parents, including my son working with my dad on various projects around the house and community. In addition to a flexible schedule, we don’t have to worry about masks, the kids being pulled in and out of school for closures because of You Know What, and other issues facing public schools at this time. This is not a slam on public schools at all. These are just some challenges that they are facing right now and we are glad we currently don’t have to face them.

If you are homeschooling, how is it going for you this year? If you aren’t homeschooling, how is school going for your children or grandchildren this year? If you don’t have children or grandchildren, then how are YOU doing? Let me know in the comments.