In which we search for balance in homeschooling

I have been feeling all sorts of overwhelmed since all of the kids’ activities started a few weeks ago. Poppy’s soccer is more intense this year, and her outsourced classes have included quite a bit more homework than I’d anticipated. I’m struggling to find a good balance and flow for us. I changed our at-home work schedule a little last week to make the workload a little lighter on the days when we have more running around to do. Until I looked back at the kids’ to-do lists, I thought that my efforts had not worked at all. But it turns out that they did accomplish most of the things on their assignment sheets.

I still need to figure out a few things — how and when, for example, to get our history work done — but I’m going to make an effort to take it a little easier on myself next week and trust that our homeschooling effort is not, in fact, frantically treading water.

Here’s what our week looked like:


We listened to our “Story of the World” chapter — on the Civil War — on the way to and from co-op, and in between we spent a bit over three hours at co-op. Multiple families were absent this week, which found me trying to wing my way through teaching a sketch comedy class. Thank heavens for the internet, which provided me with a bevy of improv games to play.

We usually drop Pete off at guitar after co-op, and then Poppy and I work on some of her schoolwork. She had an orthodontist appointment this week, though, so we dropped Pete off and then headed to the orthodontist and then picked Pete up and then went home.

Poppy had less than an hour to get ready for soccer practice at that point, so we decided to do school after practice. And then we discovered that there had been some miscommunication with the carpool vis-à-vis the orthodontist appointment. The carpool was already on the interstate, so we rushed into the car and headed off to practice.

Did we, in fact, get any work done after practice? I honestly don’t remember.


  • Poppy finished her homework for her writing class.
  • Read the penultimate chapter of “The Secret Garden.”

    We got some work done in the morning, and then we headed across town to have a stubborn baby tooth removed from Poppy. She was a little woozy after the extraction, and the dentist recommended that she avoid exertion for the rest of the day. So she took it easy for a few hours, and she didn’t go to any of the three tae kwon do classes that she’s been doing on Tuesdays.


  • Poppy finished her science homework, which included an open-book test.
  • Guitar practice for Pete and piano practice for Poppy.
  • Memorization work.
  • Read the last chapter of “The Secret Garden.”
  • Map Skills.

    Poppy had writing, science and civilization on Wednesday, and while she was there Pete went to chess class and met with his spelling tutor. Then we picked Poppy up and went to the library and to the allergy doctor, and when we finally got home we started our new read-aloud — “Little Women,” which I downloaded as an audiobook and which Poppy apparently loathes — and did a bit of schoolwork, and then it was time to take Poppy to her friend’s house to meet their new kitten and catch the carpool to soccer practice. Pete’s friend came back home with us, and they played video games for awhile until they decided to fly airplanes outside. They switched back to video games after one of them tossed their plane-launching device into the gutter.


  • Nearly everything on their lists! Poppy didn’t do her literature study, because I hadn’t printed it for her and the suddenly the day was over.

    We started the day with another chapter of “Little Women,” which Poppy continues to protest mightily.

    Tuesday’s tooth extraction moved Poppy’s piano lesson to Thursday, and her piano teacher came over at the same time as Pete’s spelling tutor. And that keen scheduling gave me an hour to recap our week for you, dear Butterscotch Sundae reader.


  • Pete did all of his work, and Poppy did everything but vocabulary.

    We had people wandering in and out of the house for a while this morning, and we didn’t get any work done until after things had settled down. I knew that was going to be the case ahead of time, though, so I wasn’t worried about it. Today was Poppy’s first day volunteering at the library, and Pete did most of his work while she was there. She did her schoolwork after her shift at the library. She does still have some homework to do for writing and science, and she is aware that she’s going to need to work on it over the weekend.


  • Everything except a history project, a science project and literature study. We’ll be re-visiting this week’s “Story of the World” chapter next week, and Pete and I agreed that this week’s science project sounded pretty dull.

    How was your week?

    Wanna read more about homeschooling? Check out the Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers weekly linky thing!

  • Pete learns to Stonewall, and Poppy dissects a paragraph

    Every semester there’s a week when I say “What have I done? We are so over-scheduled.” Welcome to that week. All but one of our not-at-home homeschooling activities has started, and it’s going to take me a week or two to figure out how to juggle our at-home work with the kids’ outsourced classes, sports and other activities.

    Here’s a bit of what we did get done this week:

    Language Arts

    We’re in the final third of “The Secret Garden,” Poppy is reading “Where the Red Fern Grows” for her literature study and Pete is reading both “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” and “The Last Dragon Charmer #2: The Quest Maker.” (Also: I am reading “John Quincy Adams: American Visionary” by Fred Kaplan, and Rockford is reading Stephen King’s “It.”)

    For a kid who’s never really had homework before (or who has only had homework, if you want to look at it that way), Poppy has quite a bit of homework this weekend for her writing class. She’s working on finding the key ideas in a paragraph and then rewriting said paragraph in her own words.

    Pete’s adventures in spelling have been pretty well documented here. He’s working with a spelling tutor this year. They just started, but he’s having fun with it so far. I am ever hopeful that this will be the key for him.


    Poppy is taking a math test this very moment. She’s been drawing angry faces at the end of every long division problem for the past two weeks, if that gives you an indication of how well she and math are getting along.


    "Attention humans: I wish to participate in your science project."
    “Attention humans: I wish to participate in your science project.”
    This week Pete learned about the sun, did some review and wrapped things up with a science test and a project. The test didn’t go so well — there was a lot of vocabulary matching, and the difference between a meteoroid, a meteorite, a comet and an asteroid tripped him up a bit — but the project was interesting. We made a pinhole viewer out of cardboard, tape and aluminum foil, then we used it to calculate the diameter of the sun. We were around 63,000 miles off in our calculations, though. Perhaps our measurements weren’t entirely accurate.

    Poppy’s Earth Science class has been studying minerals for the past couple of weeks. She’s had a little bit of homework every week, and she’s done a good job getting it done without having to rush to do it right before class.


    The kids listened to their “Story of the World” chapter at the beginning of the week, and then we didn’t do history for the rest of the week. We’ll be revisiting this week’s chapter next week.


    Poppy is taking a lot of extra tae kwon do classes in an effort to be able to test for her red-black belt next month. She also has soccer practice three times a week, and she has two games this weekend.

    Pete started a beginner chess class this week, and he loved it. The instructor is a Life Master, and he is very enthusiastic and engaging. Pete has been practicing The Stonewall Attack every day.

    Wanna read more about homeschooling? Check out the Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers weekly linky thing!

    Another busy week, another menu plan

    We had a beautifully busy Labor Day weekend filled with friends, family and tons of cake. Pete kicked things off with a birthday sleepover at a friend’s house on Friday night, then we went to my brother’s house to celebrate his son’s third birthday. We spent Saturday night there, and we ate delicious pastries and played a lot of “Super Mario World.” We came home on Sunday in time to have dinner with Rockford’s parents, and on Monday we went to their house for my sister-in-law’s birthday dinner. We also went for a hike on a new-to-us trail that we had literally all to ourselves.

    It was a lovely weekend.

    We won’t be doing as much driving this week as we did over the weekend, but it’s going to be busy-busy nonetheless. Here are the easy-peasy meals we’ll be having this week:

    Monday: Shepherds pie
    We went to my in-laws’ house to celebrate my sister-in-law’s birthday. She’d requested shepherds pie, which I’d never had before. It was a hearty meal.

    Tuesday: Fish sticks and macaroni & cheese
    My original plan called for “Frozens.” Then I checked the freezer and discovered a big bag of fish sticks, so that’s what’ll be on the table this evening. I may have a veggie burger.

    Wednesday: Spaghetti
    Our soccer carpool plan for tomorrow is a little up in the air right now, so this might turn into Pick Something Up On The Way Home from Soccer Practice if I end up driving.

    Thursday: Tacos
    This is the only meal I need to go to the grocery store to make this week!

    Friday: ???
    If we go to the fair we’ll probably have corn dogs and deep-fried Oreos for dinner. If we don’t go, we’ll have pizza. (We aren’t actually going to have deep-fried Oreos. Probably.)

    Still hungry? Check out the Menu Plan Monday linkup at OrgJunkie for more menu plans.