This week in homeschooling: Spelling lists, futuristic ’50s novels and a hint of Nixon

Poppy has brought to my attention the fact that I have been inconsistent in my This Week in Homeschooling updates. So today I’m going to post one, just for her. No promises about improved consistency on my part in the future, though, Poppy.

Language Arts


We’re nearing the end of “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.” I still can’t remember who the half-blood prince is, and I’m trying to make myself refrain from googling it.

Poppy and I read “May B” for our mother-daughter book club this week — we all agreed that it was a dark & difficult story — and also finished “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” and Raina Telgemeier’s “Smile.”

tomswiftPete has been without an assigned reading book until today, when I went downstairs and grabbed a copy of “Tom Swift and His Giant Robot” that my father-in-law picked up for him at a flea market a few years ago. Pete’s career plans currently involve building robots and inventing things, so I’m guessing he’s going to enjoy Tom Swift.


Both kids are still doing well with Spelling City. I’m using a list of fifth-grade spelling words from for Poppy, and Pete is working off the Dolch sight words list.


Poppy is still working independently through her writing curriculum. I check in on her progress periodically, but she’s doing a pretty good job following the book’s instructions.

Pete and I got back to work on his writing this week. He wrote a paragraph about his plans for the weekend (it involves a good deal of candy) as well as an acrostic poem about Easter.


The kids are working on memorizing all of the US presidents. We’re up to Nixon so far.


Pete is working on memorizing multiplication facts. We’ve had some very lovely days this week, weather-wise, so I wanted to find some ways to take our school outside. One of my favorites was’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Outdoor Math game. I made a grid of numbers with chalk in the driveway, and the kids took turns tossing a pair of pebbles onto it and telling me what the product of the two numbers would be.


We opted not to make it a competition, but competitively minded kids might enjoy playing in teams and keeping score.


We focused on Virginia this week. We did zero fun projects to go along with our study.

Co-op classes

Pete and Poppy are taking a “Mad Scientist” class together at co-op this semester, and from the sound of it they’ve mostly been working with chemical reactions. Pete is also taking a Ninja class, in which he’s learning some Japanese history and making marshmallow blow guns. Poppy’s other class is Desserts Around the World. They made luqaimat with rosewater syrup this week. It’s an Arabic doughnut typically made for Ramadan, and they were crazy delicious.

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

5 fun ways to keep the kids occupied on Spring Break

Picture perfect

Scavenger hunts are fun, and photo scavenger hunts are even better because they allow you to capture items like A Creepy Bug or Something Gooey without actually having to tote them back home with you. Photojojo has some terrific tips for planning a large-scale scavenger hunt, but you could also use the list from My Kids Adventures to have a snap-happy good time.

Reduce, reuse, recycle

Pete likes to collect recyclables and turn them into buildings, streets and vehicles for his “Trash City.” The city councilors require him to tear it down and rebuild every now and again, mostly so his room doesn’t look too much like a landfill, but that never seems to bother him all that much. The joy is in the construction. Bored Panda and BuzzFeed each feature an impressive compendium of items you can make with recyclables.

Refresh the toy bin

This is definitely the one my kids would vote for, but we aren’t in the habit of buying new toys just to assuage boredom. Wouldn’t it be nice if there were a way to provide some new toys without buying them? Hold on to your hats, because there is! Pley subscription access to more than 400 LEGO sets and other popular toys. Pley packages are delivered to your door, and when the kids are done playing they can return them for a new toy. (And also Pley sponsored this post.)

Working at the car wash

I’ve mentioned before that we’ve had success setting up a mini car wash for the Hot Wheels in our household. I can only imagine the car wash sprinkler from Lowe’s would be an even bigger hit with the kids. It looks like it would take a little time to set up, but your driveway would be the place to be if you had one of these set up. And if you aren’t feeling industrious enough to DIY a kid car wash? Set the kids loose with some soap and sponges on your own car. You’ll have squeaky clean wheels and a happy crew in no time.

Flex your green thumb

It’s not quite time to put plants in the ground where we are, but your small fries could help get your garden heading in the right direction by working on some egg carton seed starters or by turning rocks into garden markers. Not ready to turn your tomato futures over to the kids? Set them loose on their own terrariums!

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post for the subscription toy service Pley.

A March Madness menu plan that doesn’t have anything to do with basketball

Monday: Grilled cheese sandwiches
I’m not sure whether Poppy is very eager to perfect her grilled cheese skills or if she’s just taking advantage of the opportunity to put grilled-cheese sandwiches on the meal every week. I’m going to let her keep choosing it for awhile. We’re going to add the option of making it a ham and cheese sandwich this week.
Tuesday: Breakfast for dinner
I will be at a homeschool co-op council meeting and Poppy will be at soccer practice, so Pete and Rockford will be enjoying their pancakes solo. At least until Poppy gets home and gets a shortstack of her own.

Wednesday: Party foods
It’s book club week! We’ll be having appetizers and party foods while we discuss this month’s title.

Thursday: Shake & Bake chicken
Pete chose to learn how to make Shake & Bake chicken this week.

Friday: Pizza

Still hungry? Check out OrgJunkie for more menu plans.