Homeschool: Week Twelve

I started an outline this week of a book about homeschooling. I’m thinking it’ll have to be part memoir and part instructional because I don’t know how to separate what I know from how I know it.

I have five test subjects so it’s not a one size fits all prescription and so far I’m pleased with what I’ve got started. It’s not even my Nanowrimo project- it seems like once I start writing I become slightly ADHD and have multiple docs open at all times. Writing time for me is like an addiction, I don’t want to even begin if I don’t have a measurable amount of time to delve in.

It is nice to be able to jump to something completely different when I get stuck, but also that means I’m never done. Also, figuring out that by the time my youngest graduates I’ll have been at this for twenty-two years.

Wow. I hope I get a Mickey Mouse retirement watch or something.

I contacted a couple of people in publishing that I know through the interwebs and got a surprisingly positive response, so I’m moving this to my everyday schedule. At some point this week I realized that doing all the things have been unproductive in general.

So, I sat myself down and wrote up a priority list. My writing time keeps me sane and I get that done so early in the morning that it doesn’t affect my family so that stays. I love reading and then sharing great books so this blog is safe as well.

I also have to manage our rental/rehab business, teach, and do all the general Mom type stuff that we all have to slog through. Planning meals and eating at home is my actual number home priority right now.

What time-consuming chore can I cut?  Social media management is the one thing that I hate wasting time on; sharing this blog in all the places. Also the obligatory follow back system is a time drag.

I enjoy popping over on social media while waiting in lines, at night before I go to sleep, etc.

I can’t reasonably plow through hundreds of posts to get to the few people I know. I’m not even a social person in real life, and apparently, I’m so introverted that being social online tires me out.

I started this blog hoping it would fill a void as I didn’t see anyone reviewing books with an eye towards the homeschool lifestyle. All the marketing books tell me to blanket social media to get likes and shares- only I don’t care about any of that. And I’m the type of weirdo that cannot stand to see those notification numbers on my phone, it’s like an obtrusive neighbor always at the door asking me something. My solution right now is to move those apps to a back screen that I won’t see. Then when I feel like checking them out I will.

I hope that my reviews are useful to some of you and I love matching kids with “their flavor” of books, but since this isn’t a money making or popularity venture I’m going to do the things I like and not do the things I don’t like. I can tell you that Instagram will probably be my priority. It’s short and sweet and I love scrolling through book pictures.

Rant over.

This week we cruised along doing all the things in school and I actually upped our times that we are spending on our core subjects. We’re making good progress and I hate to cut the time short for other subjects that I know we’re going to be covering again in high school.

Homeschool: Week Eleven

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We had an average type week. One thing that I can’t stress enough at this point is to listen to your kids. If you are banging your head against the wall in some subject, go ahead and make some changes. It’s fine to revamp things as needed.

I put Classical Composition away for a while. Even after learning how they teach it at Memoria Press it still seems better suited to a classroom or group teaching situation. I felt like I was giving him too much help. So, we switched back to some materials I had saved from the older kids. I hand picked seven lessons out of Writing With Ease 4 and we are doing some narration which he excels at and dictation which is a skill that could use some improvement. I’ll reevaluate after we finish but my goal right now is to start Writing With Style 1 around Christmas.

I also never started that Redwood Pre-Algebra text. It’s me, not the material. I just don’t like the book- meaning the font and the instruction within, so I shelved it. Since we had such good success reviewing and solidfying our multiplication tables with this book from WTM, I ordered the division book too. So we’re playing math games and using some old Singapore math 5 and 6 workbooks that I have on the shelf to review some concepts. He loves playing math games and I’ve considered buying the card games from Right Start Math to finish the year. I think the fraction set would be ideal.

In case you are just joining us and (my stats say that a bunch of you are new here!) and wonder what we’re using for curriculum, here is a list:

First Form Latin

MP Grammar 2 (LOVE this! It’s just enough English Grammar to match Latin)

Singapore Math (pre-algebra review)

Memoria Press 7th grade Lit (Trojan War, Anne of Green Gables, The Hobbit and Twenty One Balloons)

Bookshark- Journey to the Eastern Hemisphere (We use the Guide and Readers Only)

Memoria Press 200 Questions of American History (Guerber’s Guide and Question book)

Science- MP Biology (we’re in a get it done mode with science this year- we read and answer the questions, I like to save my efforts for high school)

Classics- Famous Men of Greece (starting that soonish)

In the morning we get Latin, Math, Lit and Comp done and then after lunch we will do Bookshark, American History, FMOG or Biology in a long block. I’ve given up scheduling times on those. I figure out how much I want to cover that week and if we don’t finish it in one afternoon, we work on it again before Friday. It’s that kind of loosey-goosey schedule you can have with just one student. I’m also doing all the afternoon subjects on a loop meaning that if we don’t finish we pick up where we left off the next time we loop through.

Overall I am loving the way that Memoria Press overlaps between subjects. If you have a kid that is straight on grade level and you can get away buying a grade level package it is awesome. I think they may even have secular packages by next Fall on their website. I hope so anyway. We prefer secular materials and so I’ve done some tweaking to their standard package.

Homeschool: Week Ten

Monday- We finally had the house to ourselves and it was lovely. We ate when we wanted and broke up the day not according to anyone else’s convenience. We were so productive. We got all our core down and then spent like 90 minutes researching the Korean War.

Tuesday- Emergency dental surgery took up a ton of the day. We dd Latin, Math and Science

Wednesday- We did all the schoolish things and I found the one missing box of curriculum, but not the box of Halloween decorations. Too late for this year, I guess. I did give my next quarter a once over and started thinking about some changes.

Thursday- We did Latin, Math, Grammar, Lit, American History and then I changed out our Classical Comp for a lesson from Writing With Ease 3. I’ve noticed that we need to add more dictation and written narration to our routine so I pulled WWE out and chose seven lessons. I’ll decide at the end if I want to go back to CC or we may start Writing With Style.

Friday- Got all the quizzes completed, went out for lunch and generally had a great day. He loves WWE so that may sway me away from Classical Comp, which I like, but it is very hard to teach to one student. I feel like I’m giving way too much of it to him. I can see that in a classroom or Co-op you’d have the collaboration among students that would make it work- but here at our house- not so much.

Homeschool: Week Nine

Someone asked me about our actual logistics and so I’m typing this up a little differently. Since I have just one student and he is the 5th in a series so we’re more relaxed than some of you might be.

Monday- We’ve been doing all our reading in the morning after breakfast. After lunch we went up to the treadmill and walked for an hour each. From about 1-4 we did all the book work and lecture.

Latin- I taught the new lesson and we did section 1 of the workbook with reviewing the cards and forms.

Math- We did one lesson and a review fact sheet.

Grammar- One lesson and the grammar recitation cards.

Comp- We went over the Maxim of the week and wrote the Econium.

American History- We read about half the lesson and then rabbit trailed into Paul Revere and his resemblance to Jack Black. Google it and see if you agree.

Lit- The Trojan War we’re just one chapter away from the end. That probably sends like we didn’t like it. We did, but I would have liked to read it a little faster. We do the workbook orally for the most part.

Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday-

After I started typing out Tuesday I realized that ho hum, our days are pretty much the same now.

Tuesday we did all the cores and finally finished The Trojan War and read half a chapter in Biology.

Wednesday we went to the doctor and followed that up with a quick lunch at Ikea- where they had no gnomes. Sad day. We got home and did all the daily subjects plus started reading Anne of Green Gables. It was shockingly hard to read aloud. I’ve read this book a number of times to myself and had no idea how hard the language would be to read aloud. I may switch to the Audible version.

Thursday- We caught up on all our Bookshark EHE reading and we did a lot of Latin. So much Latin.

Friday- We took the day off for more doctor appointments, car repairs, and general weekend fun. I love the 4 day Bookshark schedule for just that reason. In week ten I’m planning to go back to the four day week except for a run through of flashcards on Friday morning.

Homeschool: Week 8

Week 8?

I thought it was week 7 until like Wednesday. That’s crazy considering I’m blogging the whole thing. I should be keeping track better. This was a week of interruptions, proving you don’t need an old man to throw things off kilter.

We got stuff done though. We are plodding along quite nicely.


In Book Shark, we are learning about North and South Korea, cooking up some yummy recipes from the region and reading The Big Wave by Pearl S Buck. When asked how he thought life would be if we lived in North Korea he answered, “unpleasant” so I think he gets the whole dictator/communist thing.

At the end of each country study there is a Choose Your Own Adventure type project. For China we made it easy and chose the- eat with chopsticks variation of the assignment. For Korea we went all out and cooked a whole meal. I’ll accept all your homeschool Mom accolades now. When we were Grandad watching we could never do any extras so I’m feeling pretty good about it,

I did a staggered start at the beginning of the year and so we started First Form in week 2 or 3? In any event, we’re in week three now. I’ve been teaching to a mastery level and so far he hasn’t mastered the material within the week.

I’m getting a handle on what we need to spend more or less time on and have created some new flashcards to practice the endings. He gets the vocab down pat, its the forms and endings that take maybe eight school days instead of the scheduled five. So for this next week I broke up the workbook into smaller daily chunks to stretch out the review. I wish they had a game book like they do for Elementary Latin, cause that would be sweet. We also decided to run through the flashcards daily so that we stay on top of things.

We had a lot of chaos of older kids coming and going and so I put off starting the Pre-Algebra book until next Monday. I know that we’ll need the quiet of our routine for him to concentrate on the new material. We played math games all week and he did his speed drills.

We spent an absurd amount of time on his cursive writing. We will be getting passports and so the need for a “good” signature is pressing, Whatever motivations he has, I’m psyched that we found a font that works- Getty Dubay.

Biology is going great, we worked on classifying animals this week and he loves that we own two panthers (blanket term for any large cat with a black coat) It is just the sort of science we need right now. Read, memorize, recite. We’ll do a season of more hands on stuff later.

Our American history lessons uncovered the fact that he has never watched Disney’s Pocahontas,

which made my hints during our memory flashcard session laughable.

I was pitching hints like,

She can paint with all the colors of the wind. She had a Grandmother Willow Tree.

No response.

So I open the laptop and play this:

“I’ve never watched that movie”, said child number five who is obviously neglected.

I was shocked and dismayed by my own neglect. How could this kid have gotten to the age of thirteen without Disney’s version of events? I’m making him watch the entire movie this weekend. Probably Brother Bear too while we’re at it. (Spoiler- we did not. He has like zero interest in that stuff)

I’m looking forward to week nine when we start Anne of Green Gables and the Greek Alphabet book.

Week 7

We are all over the map this week.


We’re anywhere from week two to fifteen I think depending on the subject. Next week we start Pre- Algebra and the Greek Alphabet book which pushes the average down farther.

All in all though we had a good week. Motivation was high as after school could be spent working on the new to us second car. Turns out Declan is quite the mechanic. He helped take the engine apart and replace things. What things? I don’t know- what happens in the garage pretty much stays there. It is not my domain. He loves it though and this car will for sure need more repair work.

Ok- we started North Korea and fun fact: although medical care is poor and hard to find North Koreans get free funerals. The more you know.

We did some map work in Asia and looked up a ton of current event type stories, but fell behind in the scheduled read alouds.

In math we finished all the lessons that I wrote out for review. I planned on reviewing until Christmas, then I thought we’d be done by Thanksgiving, we’re done now. So I’ve got The College of the Redwoods Pre-Algebra text and we’ll start there on Monday. You might have noticed my Instagram post of peeling labels of my plan book. I’m awesome like that- always prepared to change course. :)

Latin continues to be both easy and fun. “It’s like a puzzle” he says… we’re only on Lesson 3 so I’ll reserve judgement awhile. I will say that It’s good that he likes it and I can finally teach it.

We’re finishing The Trojan War- finally. Those dudes are cray cray. We’ll be celebrating by playing Assassins Creed: Odyssey this weekend. I probably would have enjoyed it more if I could wrap my mouth around their names. I found the pronunciation guide but some of them I just committed to saying wrong. As long as he recognizes the names in print we’ll be fine.

Comp is going great- we’re rewriting some Maxims and putting new words in George Washington’s mouth is fun. We started with this:

“To be prepared for war is one of the most effectual means of preserving peace.”

- George Washington

Our variation was:

To be equipped for combat is one of the most efficient paths to protecting tranquility.

Not bad.

We also came up with this more urban phrasing:

If you’re a bad ass no one is gonna mess with you.

Prolly not a suggested answer in the manual.


At night we’re reading: The Peculiar Incident On Shady Street by Lindsay Currie

It’s just the right amount of Spooky atmosphere plus Chicago!