This week in homeschooling: Shakespeare, spelling and civics

Every week we get to Friday and I think “We didn’t get a thing done this week!” And then I start to write this and realize that we did, in fact, get quite a bit done. Next week, however, we actually won’t get a thing done because we’ll be on Fall Break. We are all looking forward to it.

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


We are still listening to “Little Women,” even though the kids told me they already know about “the big twist” because their cousin listens to “Little Women” constantly. I was not aware of that before I picked the book. But it’s a good book, so I stand by my decision.

Much to my chagrin, I realized today that Poppy hasn’t been reading much of anything lately. We’ll need to do something about that. Pete has been reading the “Warriors” series and a biography of Hillary Clinton that he picked out at the bookstore a few weeks ago. He really enjoys the “Who Is” biographies, if any of you are looking for something to give him for his upcoming birthday.

Language Arts

Poppy finished one level of WordlyWise 3000 this week and — once we figured out how to activate it — moved on to the next one. Pete is also continuing his WordlyWise studies. He’s also been working with a spelling tutor for the last few months. It seems to be going well, but I haven’t tested him or anything. Poppy’s work in her writing class tells me we need to start a formal spelling program with her again, too. I’m looking at Spelling Power, but I haven’t made a final decision on what we’ll use.


Rockford has been working with Poppy on her math in the evenings, and I think both the change in timing and personnel has been good for her. Pete continues to sail through his math book with just a little bit of help.


“Story of the World: Volume 4” seems to be a great leap in content and effort from Volume 3, and we were getting a little overwhelmed with it. So we’re slowing down a bit and taking two weeks for each chapter. Last week we talked about the Canadian rebellions in 1837, and this week we started learning about post-revolution France. We’ll revisit France after our fall break.


Poppy saw a performance of “Twelfth Night” this week, both kids had their usual music lessons and Pete went to chess class while I had coffee with a friend. We also had a brief Civics lesson, in the form of standing in line for an hour to vote. There wasn’t much time spent at tae kwon do this week — due to “Twelfth Night,” doctors appointments, haircuts and soreness from new braces — and Poppy only had two days of soccer practice this week rather than the customary three.

How was your week?

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

And a time to every carpool under Heaven

For every thing there is a season, and it is the season of Driving to Sporting Events and Other Kid Activities at our house. We spent most of the weekend dashing to and fro for Poppy’s soccer games, and today has been a whirlwind of co-op classes, orthodontist appointments and guitar lessons. And after all of the running, we still have to eat dinner.

Here’s what we’re having this week:

Monday: Pot roast
I didn’t want to make hamburgers and/or tacos for our Poppy’s Choice and Pete’s Choice nights this week, so I handed the kids a couple of issues of Cook’s Illustrated and Cook’s Country magazines and asked them to choose something new. Not surprisingly, Pete chose something meaty: Pressure-Cooker Pot Roast. I usually do pot roast in the Crock Pot, but this recipe sounds like it’ll work just fine. We’ll also be having green beans and The Best Crunchy Roast Potatoes You’ll Ever Have.

Tuesday: Fettuccine with butter and cheese
It should come as no surprise that this was Poppy’s pick. It was the simplest thing she could find.

Wednesday: Pot roast pot pie
I’d planned to make chicken pot pie this week, but then Pete requested pot roast so that plan evolved. Pot roast pot pie is the best thing about making pot roast.

Thursday: Crispy Garlic Chicken
I have not actually purchased the chicken for this one yet, so we’ll see if it actually happens.

Friday: Pizza

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

Pete finds a new love in the All-Day Breakfast at McDonald’s

We very rarely went out to eat when I was growing up, because our very small town had only a few places where you could feed a family on a budget. But every now and we’d have a big treat, and 75 percent of the time that treat was a trip to McDonald’s.

My order at McDonald’s was always the same — a McNugget Happy Meal with “orange drink” and honey dipping sauce — until I reached that nebulous age when my mom let me order something that wasn’t on the Happy Meal menu. And that was when my allegiance to my one true McLove, the Filet-O-Fish, began. In the 20ish years since, my loyalty to the Filet-O-Fish has not wavered. Not even when they went to half a slice of cheese and stopped toasting the bun and started steaming it instead.

Until recently, I never would’ve fathomed ordering anything other than fish-sandwich-small-fry-and-a-medium-orange-drink-please. But a few weeks ago our regional McDonald’s restaurants invited me to try out their all-day breakfast offerings. The all-day breakfast does not include the Filet-O-Fish, sadly, so I had to branch out.

We visited two McDonald’s restaurants in our area to sample the all-day breakfast. The first was after Pete and I had dropped Poppy off for classes downtown, and Pete (as he generally is) was hungry. We shared the Bacon, Egg and Cheese Biscuit with a side of hash browns and some orange juice. Pete was very excited to have the opportunity to share his review of it with you. Here’s what he thought:

“McDonald’s Breakfast: Day One.

The Bacon, Egg and Cheese Biscuit was pretty good. The biscuit had a sort of crumbly texture and it was kind of buttery. I like a buttery biscuit. The egg was flat but delicious. The bacon wasn’t as crispy as I’d like it to be, but the cheese went well with it. I think the hash browns weren’t as good as some other stuff I’ve had, like french fries and sweet potatoes. I expected the texture to be more crunchy and the flavor to be more french fryish. The orange juice had the exact right flavor of oranges, and it was just delicious.”

I agree with him almost entirely. The biscuit was really flaky and buttery, which is exactly what I look for in a biscuit, and the bacon was flavorful but could’ve been crispier. I’m not a big fan of eggs, but the egg component was innocuous in combination with everything else. The hash browns were a little too salty for me, and the only thing wrong with the orange juice was that it wasn’t that fake and delicious orange drink that I just can’t quit.

At 450 calories and 24 grams of fat, the Bacon, Egg and Cheese Biscuit wouldn’t be a great everyday choice if you’re looking for a healthy breakfast. The Fruit and Maple Oatmeal, which comes in at 290 calories and 4 grams of fat, would be a much better option. But if you’re looking for a savory breakfast indulgence, the Bacon, Egg and Cheese is where it’s at.


Poppy reluctantly joined us in our second McSampling, which took place when I neglected to pack our lunches for homeschool co-op. (Thanks for saving my pun-definitely-intended bacon, McD.) Poppy is a very particular eater, and she didn’t like my plan to give her something other than a cheesy tortilla for lunch. Once I presented her with a platter 1 of pancakes, though, she was perfectly happy. “They tasted like butter cakes,” she said after finishing them off.


Pete tried a Sausage McMuffin with Egg for his second all-day breakfast option, and he wished he had stuck with the Bacon, Egg and Cheese Biscuit. He probably would’ve been fine with the whole thing if it had the same scrambled-ish sort of egg that was on the Bacon, Egg and Cheese, but he thought the egg on the McMuffin had a “weird texture.” So he ditched the egg and added the sausage patty that his sister had rejected from her pancake platter and made a double-stacker Sausage McMuffin.

Overall, I was impressed with the items we tried from the McDonald’s all-day breakfast menu. I’m not about to denounce my allegiance to the Filet-O-Fish, but it’s possible that I’d consider a biscuit as an alternative every now and again. I know that isn’t the last McDonald’s biscuit Pete will eat, and I’m hopeful that discovering that she likes their pancakes will make McDonald’s another option on Poppy’s list of acceptable stops.

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post for McDonald’s All Day Breakfast. Nichole was compensated for this post.


  1. One of my fellow homeschooling moms questioned the use of Styrofoam in their pancake packaging, and that did give me pause. I know they changed over to cardboard on everything else a long time ago, and I wonder why they’ve stuck with Styrofoam for the flapjacks.