Tag Archives: Homeschool

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!

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!

When your homeschooling isn’t so much at home

Most homeschooling families I know eventually reach a point when a majority of their homeschooling isn’t actually taking place in their homes because they’re involved in multiple co-ops or super-active in extracurriculars or doing Classical Conversations or taking dual-enrollment courses at local colleges. We aren’t quite there yet, but this week featured multiple appointments, a couple short-term classes for Poppy, soccer practices and a lot of tae kwon do. It definitely felt like we were away from home more than we were there this week.

Even with all the busyness, we were able to get all of our schoolwork done this week. I give the kids a lot of credit for that. They were up and ready to work every day. (Well, except for today. Poppy was pretty wiped out after two soccer practices and five tae kwon do classes over four days, so she decided to take the day off.)


Our current read-aloud is “The Secret Garden,” which Pete is enjoying despite his early reservations about it. Poppy started reading “Where the Red Fern Grows” for her literature study this week, and I’m reading it along with her. For his assigned reading, I gave Pete a book I’d picked up for Poppy that she never read. Laurie McKay’s “Villain Keeper” is the first book in a trio called “The Last Dragon Charmer,” and Pete asked me to order book two for him before he’d finished it.


The kids are working on memorizing all the counties in our state this year. They finished the first 10 this week.


In an odd turn of events, Poppy did her math without complaint this week while Pete was… less than eager to tackle his work.


This week Pete and I learned about the planets in our solar system. Much time was spent mourning poor Pluto. Today we put together a “planetary bracelet” using string and beads to illustrate the distance between the planets. Marsha T. Cat attacked the solar system while we were stringing it together, and now it’s hanging above the windows in the living room where she can’t get to it.


Our “Story of the World” chapter this week discussed Matthew Perry’s negotiations with Japan and also the Crimean War. Volume Four of SOTW asks the students to make an outline of each chapter. It’s been a bit of a struggle to get Pete to do that, so we’ve walked through it together thus far. The mapping sections are also considerably more challenging than they were in Volume Three.

The activity we chose this week was to create a five-day “Medical Record” of a family member, because Florence Nightingale pioneered the use of medical records during the Crimean War. We did not manage to keep it up for five days.


I believe I mentioned that Poppy went to so many tae kwon do classes? She’s aiming to test for her red-black belt in October, so we should have many more such weeks in our future. She also had her first soccer game of the year this evening. Her team won 2-1! It was an auspicious start to the season.

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