Category Archives: Homeschool

Learning at home with a second-grader and a fifth-grader.

We’ve entered a new era in homeschooling

It’s been a good long while since I wrote a This Week In Homeschooling post, and that’s because this semester the kids have more outsourced work than ever before. We joined a new co-op that’s much more academically focused than the one we’ve been doing for years. We’re still doing math, history, spelling and some science at home, and between the new co-op and the classes Poppy was already taking downtown a good bit of our school time at home is dedicated to doing homework.

Here are a few highlights from the week:


The kids had their final Odyssey of the Mind meeting before the regional competition. I think they’re both kind of relieved that they’re nearing the finish line. We listened to our “Story of the World” chapter on the way to and from the meeting. We learned about Pedro II, who was the second and last emperor of Brazil and seems like a pretty good leader.


Poppy’s OM team came over for a few hours to practice some spontaneous problems and run through their script a few more times.


Poppy went off to her classes downtown while a sickly Pete convalesced in his room all day.


Thursday is New Co-op Day. Poppy’s literature class is reading “To Kill a Mockingbird,” she learned a little about Elvis in History of Rock ‘n’ Roll, and she discussed India in world geography (which I’m teaching). Pete’s reading “The Boxcar Children” for literature, and he played soccer in Sports & Games, learned about Venus in astronomy and took apart a computer tower in his technology class.


Poppy had a piano lesson earlier today, and Pete had a session with his spelling tutor. We learned about The Pantanal via a very short history project, and the kids did some homework. And then we ended the school day early because it’s beautiful outside and they wanted to go enjoy it.

We used one of those origami fortune-teller gizmos to learn about animals that live in The Pantanal.

Want to peek into some other homeschoolers’ lives? Check out the weekly roundup at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers!

The children take a virtual trip to Pearl Harbor

We crushed this can last week using the power of science. Because Pete was studying air pressure.
We crushed this can last week using the power of science. Because Pete was studying air pressure.
We’re getting tantalizingly close to our Christmas break, so of course now is the time I’ve decided to crack down on the rampant morning electronic distractions. Pete has been diving directly into Metroid on the WiiU when he wakes up in the morning, and Poppy has developed a mild obsession with some Australian dude who opens packs of Pokemon cards on YouTube, and both of those things have been making it difficult for the kids to get started on their schoolwork in the mornings. So on Monday night I gathered up the WiiU controller and the iPad, and I changed the password on the computer.

I went to bed expecting a mutiny on Tuesday morning, but so far as I can tell neither of them even noticed the stuff was gone. (Although they certainly will now, because Poppy reads all of my posts. Hi Poppy!) They’ve been more pleasant about getting their schoolwork done, and they’ve been getting along with one another unusually well. I think we’re going to stick with the electronics-free morning routine.

At Pete’s request, we started reading “The Hobbit” for our family read-aloud this week. He’s listened to it 1,000 times as an audiobook, but I don’t think Poppy has ever listened to the whole thing. The opening pages have piqued her interest. Here are some other highlights of our week:


Poppy had finished 75 percent of her schoolwork by 11am, and Pete spent most of his day working with his Odyssey of the Mind team. It was a weirdly hands-off day for me.


This was our first electronics-free morning, and I was shocked that the kids didn’t even ask where the iPad or Wii controller were. I was far less shocked that our morning went much more smoothly than mornings past. The kids got most of their work done before 10am, when we headed out to a meeting. Pete met with his spelling tutor and Poppy had a piano lesson after that, and then the afternoon was full of tae kwon do, followed by writing homework and science reading.


Poppy spent the majority of the morning at her Wednesday classes, while Pete and I went to chess class and got out allergy shots. Once we got home, we took a short break before the kids settled in to watch a virtual field trip about Pearl Harbor that was produced by WYES in New Orleans. It was a very informative program, and the online polls they included kept the kids engaged.

Watching the WYES Pearl Harbor virtual field trip.
Watching the WYES Pearl Harbor virtual field trip.

The kids went back to building a cat village in the basement after the virtual field trip, and after that they both tackled their math lessons.


Thursday was our only “normal” day this week, which I guess means that staying home and doing schoolwork is no longer our normal.


Poppy is doing the first part of her tae kwon do testing this evening, so we’re going to take it pretty easy today. So far, the day has been dedicated to cleaning. Specifically, the kids are helping one another clean their rooms while I sit in the floor and read “The Hobbit” to them. I’m getting the good end of this deal.

In future-schooling news, I’m signed up to teach a geography class to a group of middle-schoolers in the spring. I’m looking for some exciting materials for that, so please let me know if you have some wonderful ideas or sources!

Want to peek into some other homeschoolers’ lives? Check out the weekly roundup at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers!

This week in homeschooling: More gingerbread.

This has felt like an unnaturally long week. I overslept today, and since the kids had so much other stuff going on I decided that we’d take today off. Here’s a bit of what the kids did this week:


Some day, in the far and distant future, we may finish listening to “Little Women.” This week we found that coloring whilst listening helps the time go a bit faster. I colored a peacock:


We also started reading a biography of Thomas Edison, to go along with our history studies.


After a minor blow-up over math last week, Poppy and I decided she should take a break from her regular curriculum. She is working on a Khan Academy program for now.


This week the kids learned about a couple of moves toward modernization in American history. Namely, they talked about the transcontinental railroad and Thomas Edison’s progress on electricity. Their textbook didn’t mention Nikola Tesla, but we talked a bit about him anyway.


Today marks the end of our gingerbread saga, which took up a good bit of our energy again today. The original plan quite literally fell apart, so the kids ended up doing a traditional gingerbread village instead.


How was your week?

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