Homeschooling Update {October}

We usually do not take an official “fall break” in our homeschool for the same reasons we do not take summer break—it is just easier to chug along more or less continuously unless we have a specific reason for scheduling time off. 

The month of October, however, has been sort of a whirlwind of travel and organizing and moving plans, so we will likely take probably one full week off soon—possibly two—while we prepare to sell the house and relocate. 

Autumn leaves still on the branches with a sunny sky as the background.

This post contains affiliate links. I receive a small commission—at no extra cost to you—if you make a purchase. I only recommend products and services I have personally used and enjoyed. For more information read my complete disclaimer here.

We started the month with a trip to Hawaii—a first for Momma and the Agents, although hubby has been several times for work. Last week we took a cruise {Disney, of course} to Mexico as our final big travel on the west coast. 

Now we are pretty much in crunch mode for cleaning and planning and packing. School is still happening every day, but we are going through a bit of a slower period and mostly trying to get to a good stopping point in all of our subjects. Our library bookshelves look very empty compared to their usual. 

This is just how homeschooling looks for us right now. We have made it through many transitions and I do not stress about what we are getting done {or not getting done} because I know it will all balance out. Homeschooling year round means less pressure when life happens.

We plan to travel with a minimized collection of materials, and spend a lot of time checking out our new town. {Which is not technically new to all of us; hubby and I lived there from when we married until the Senior Agents were toddlers.} 

While getting a new library card will be high on our agenda, we will also travel with a few books. Since we will be in transition for most of November, we plan to include two favorites for this time of year: Mayflower 1620: A New Look At Pilgrim Voyage and 1621: A New Look At Thanksgiving

By next month’s update post, we should be in our new home and somewhat settled and back into our groove. 

Thanks so much for stopping by today. If you enjoyed this post, I would love to connect with you on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Pinterest.

2 Comments

Homeschooling Update {Weeks 13 and 14}

Hope everyone is enjoying the final days of September. Starting in October I am going to move to monthly homeschooling updates, posting a summary at the end of the month instead of every Sunday. Because—as evidenced by the title of this post—weekly updates are apparently too much for me to keep track of.

We did have a couple of lovely homeschooling weeks, though. I feel that we have accomplished a lot in the first three months of the school year, and we have settled into a content groove. Of course, we will be uprooting all of that soon with yet another move. But more on that later. 

Sharpened colored pencils in order from light to dark form a semi-circle.

In the meantime we will be doing some traveling. If you follow along on Instagram you can {temporarily} expect to see more photos of humans and beaches and landmarks and fewer photos of cats.

As I was thinking about our upcoming plans, I realized I have not made any attempt to tie our trip to our homeschooling. We went to two libraries this week, and I did not search for a single book on our destination. We plan to make a trip to a very significant historical landmark, and I did not incorporate it into our history studies. There are numerous books and movies I can think of just off the top of my head that we could have read and watched just for fun and I did not even consider them.

Am I even a homeschool parent at this point?

Thanks so much for stopping by today. If you enjoyed this post, I would love to connect with you on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Pinterest.

0 Comments

Homeschooling Update {Week 12}

One of the many things I love about homeschooling is the scheduling freedom it provides. We do not have to choose between going to school and worrying about what is going on at home, or staying at home and worrying about what we might be missing at school. 

This week our adorable kitty needed some intense work done by a veterinary dental specialist. The Agents, of course, are very attached to this feline and just had to be there in the waiting room the entire time. Then after we returned home, they wanted to be close by and make sure he was okay. 

Luckily we were able to decide to forgo school for the day, knowing we can make it up later. Instead we focused all our energy on making sure our sweet cat principal stayed safe and healthy. Not like they would have been able to concentrate on anything else, anyway.

I am happy to report that Oscar {Agent O} is doing great. He is down to just six teeth now. Adult cats typically have 30 teeth. He came to us two years ago with about half already missing. They removed some remaining ones that were causing him issues, but I don’t think he will even notice. He is very capable of compensating and has adjusted well to life with minimal teeth.

Sharpened colored pencils in order from light to dark form a semi-circle.

This post contains affiliate links. I receive a small commission—at no extra cost to you—if you make a purchase. I only recommend products and services I have personally used and enjoyed. For more information read my complete disclaimer here.

This week we added a new art book to our loop schedule: Rachel Ignotofsky’s Women in Art. It just came out this week {we had pre-ordered it} so we haven’t really gotten a chance to take a careful look at it, but I think it will be a welcome addition. 

She also authored another of our favorites, Women in Science, which we read last year and will probably add into this year’s loop schedule at some point as well.

We are very close to wrapping up our review of the first 20 lessons of Coffee Break Spanish, although I am a bit torn on how to proceed. I feel that we are mostly ready to move on to lessons 21-40, yet as I pointed out in last week’s update we could always use more frequent practice, especially with conversation. For now, though, it seems to be our most successful attempt at foreign language learning so far.

Agent E {grade 8} has been working through the series Practice Makes Perfect Spanish, which is very thorough and will give her a great foundation for high school or even college level Spanish. Of all of us, she would definitely be the most prepared if we ever had to rely on our Spanish writing or speaking skills. 

Should be business as usual here the next few weeks, then a bit of travel planned for October. How was your week? Any exciting plans coming up?

Thanks so much for stopping by today. If you enjoyed this post, I would love to connect with you on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Pinterest.

0 Comments

Homeschooling Update {Week 11}

Another blogging lesson I have learned: If you plan to post something on Sunday, and you are going to be gone the whole weekend, you might want to have it composed in advance.

We spent the weekend at Disneyland—probably our last visit for a while—and I should know better than to think I am going to accomplish anything other than laundry and maybe feeding people the evening we come home from any Disney trip.

This was the first time we stayed “on property” at one of the resort hotels, and it definitely cut down on the amount of travel time. However, unlike at Walt Disney World, I wouldn’t consider it a necessity, because everything is much more contained to start.

The Grand Californian is a pretty sweet hotel {and expensive; we used DVC points for our room}. Unfortunately with just a two-night stay we did not have the opportunity to check it out as much we would have liked. The Agents have already requested a return visit so we can spend more time taking advantage of the amenities. 

Sharpened colored pencils in order from light to dark form a semi-circle.

We had a four-day week {we did school on Labor day, but left for Disneyland on Friday}. I like that with our loop scheduling this year we do not feel behind when we miss a day. 

One tweak I might make to our loop, however, is to rotate Spanish in twice. I feel that we need to bump up our lessons to every other or every third day. Especially if we are going to have any chance of practicing our conversation skills with an acquaintance we will see next month. 

Because we start the school year so early the Agents have already finished up a few workbooks and projects. So now I am back to my continual mission to find the best way to organize and store completed work. 

We have eight years for Agent E, six years for Agent J, and four years for Agent A. Right now it resides in a combination of boxes and plastic bins, which is not optimal. What kind of storage solutions have you come up with for keeping your students’ work? 

Thanks so much for stopping by today. If you enjoyed this post, I would love to connect with you on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Pinterest.

0 Comments

Homeschooling Update {Week 10}

So Long, Charter Option

We have decided not to continue with the Agents’ charter school this year. Last year we enrolled in a charter for the first time, and while the experience was okay, it really wasn’t worth the oversight and paperwork IMO. 

Honestly the only reason we stuck with it all year is because the Agents really loved their in-person drop-off classes, and they have eliminated those for the coming school year. So, we are back to submitting the forms on our own.

{If you are curious about what homeschooling is like in California, the California Homeschool Network is a wealth of information.}

Sharpened colored pencils in order from light to dark form a semi-circle.

This post contains affiliate links. I receive a small commission—at no extra cost to you—if you make a purchase. I only recommend products and services I have personally used and enjoyed. For more information read my complete disclaimer here.

Parenting Weirdness

A few weeks ago I shared a parenting dilemma in our weekly homeschooling update. The short version: When do you decide it’s okay to leave your kids home alone? 

Well, I am happy to report that after fretting over this we actually had to do it one day this week and everyone lived to tell about it. It still just seems so bizarre to me, though, that Hubby and I both left the house and all three kids were just there—hanging out, surviving without us. Parents of older kiddos: Tell me this gets less weird.

Foreign Language Fun

Do you or any of your kids use Duolingo? I have been doing the Spanish lessons for a few months, and this week I started Latin. Agent E also does Spanish, but her daily streak is much better than mine; she has been doing lessons every day for just over two years. 

I find it fun, and it encourages me to practice writing and listening, but I really need to improve my conversational skills. You would think this would not be too difficult given that we live ten miles from Mexico in a town filled with bilingual people {seriously; like everyone you meet} but alas, I don’t put in the effort I could.

Music Help

In other school-related news, we are a bit stuck on what to do for music. We find that a lot of the “music for kids” books tend to be too basic or cutesy, and the “history of music” books aimed at adults tend to be way overwhelming and detailed. 

Plus, you can only read about Bach and Beethoven so many times. We did enjoy Kathleen Krull’s Lives of the Musicians but we’ve already been through it twice.

So, if you have great ideas for middle school music I would love to hear your suggestions. I will add that one Agent {the oldest} does dabble in a few instruments, but the younger two are not interested just yet.

Thanks so much for stopping by today. If you enjoyed this post, I would love to connect with you on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Pinterest.

0 Comments

Homeschooling Update {Week 9}

This week we had our kitty to the vet {again} regarding his dental issues. {We adopted him at age 7, already missing multiple teeth.} Long story short, he will be seeing a veterinary dental specialist in September. 

Of course I had all three Agents with me at the appointment. Which several folks commented on, as the {year round} schools here went back in July. 

Sharpened colored pencils in order from light to dark form a semi-circle.

Interestingly, I rarely get even remotely negative or passive aggressive comments about homeschooling or socialization. Instead, I get a lot of “I wouldn’t have the patience” or “that must be so challenging” or “how do you manage with three” kinds of observations. 

I mean, how do you even answer that? “Well, actually, I am not a very patient person, it isn’t that hard, and I’ve had three kids for nearly nine years now so I’m kind of used to it.” 

When random people comment on homeschooling in your presence, how do you react? Do you feel the need to “defend” it? Or do you mostly shrug it off? 

Thanks so much for stopping by today. If you enjoyed this post, I would love to connect with you on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Pinterest.

0 Comments

Homeschooling Update {Week 8}

How often do you go to the library, and how many books do you typically have out at any given time? 

We went to the library yesterday {we normally do not go on Saturdays, but we had errands to run near a branch we do not get to often} and came home with 48 books. Combined with the ones we already had out, that brings our total to 114.

I have found that we prefer to go just once a month or so and check out more items each time. We tried getting into a routine where we visited the library once a week and took out fewer books, but the Agents like this method better. 

Sharpened colored pencils in order from light to dark form a semi-circle.

This post contains affiliate links. I receive a small commission—at no extra cost to you—if you make a purchase. I only recommend products and services I have personally used and enjoyed. For more information read my complete disclaimer here.

In the area where we live, we actually have access to four separate library systems, three of which have multiple branches. We have been sticking primarily with just two—because it is too confusing otherwise—but now apparently we are back up to three. They each have their own shelf on a separate bookshelf in the dining room.

Of course, only two of those books are mine. I find it difficult to go through books anywhere near as quickly as the Agents do. My current reads are Beyond Religion by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and Enough As She Is by Rachel Simmons.

Thanks so much for stopping by today. If you enjoyed this post, I would love to connect with you on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Pinterest.

0 Comments

Homeschooling Update {Week 7}

We now have 17 items in our book rotation {as part of our loop scheduling} and I can neither confirm nor deny that I am tempted to add more. 

After a few adjustments early on, we now have a cycle that includes math, language arts, Spanish, geography, American history {3 books}, world history, science {2 books}, health {2 books} world religions and mythologies {3 books}, art, and music. 

We have no logical reason as to why some subjects have multiple texts; we just found them interesting and added them and here we are.

Sharpened colored pencils in order from light to dark form a semi-circle.

On average we read 3-4 books from our loop each day. We used to go through more, maybe 5-6, but not read as much from each. We have found that we prefer to read more pages from fewer texts, even if that occasionally means finishing a few rather long chapters in one go and only getting to 1-2 books that day. It feels more focused. 

Our written work seems to be moving along at a speedier clip than in the past. The amount of time we spend on it seems to be about the same as previous years, so maybe the Agents are just getting more efficient? Most days, they work on “table stuff” {as they call it} for about an hour. Everyone does some written assignments for math, language arts, science, and social studies. Additionally, the older two {8th and 6th} do some written Spanish. They are also all working through this really cool human body coloring book. {Because who doesn’t love to color?}

Thanks so much for stopping by today. If you enjoyed this post, I would love to connect with you on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Pinterest.

0 Comments

Homeschooling Update {Week 6}

You might have noticed some changes around here. Earlier this week I moved my blog to a different platform. I am enjoying the fresh, new, sparkly-ness of it all.

It is still a work in progress, but I am hoping to remove any wonkiness soon. I enjoy the design aspects of blogging, and sometimes I need to remind myself to let go of perfection with how everything looks and return to the business of writing and publishing new posts.

Sharpened colored pencils in order from light to dark form a semi-circle.

Our week seemed to fly by, as they all have so far this school year. Actually, I feel like time in general is moving a little quicker these days. Every time we go to re-set the kitchen calendar, I marvel at how the previous month seemed to speed right by. 

I think a lot of it has to do with the Agents’ ages. Older kids, tweens, and teens simply do not need me to be hands on all the time the way they did when they were younger. I have breathing space and can do my own thing without worrying so much about their every move. Parenting is less physically intensive now, and so the day-to-day seems to move more swiftly.

Do you intentionally teach “life skills” in your homeschool? Or do you simply address issues as they come up organically? I posted earlier this week about some essential life skills everyone should learn, but truthfully we don’t really have a specific plan of any sort to work on them. And—to be honest—I’m a little wishy washy on a few of them myself. 

Thanks so much for stopping by today. If you enjoyed this post, I would love to connect with you on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Pinterest.

0 Comments

Homeschooling Update {Week 5}

Do you have a name for your homeschool? We never did until we moved to California two years ago, and had to register ourselves as a “private school” per the state’s guidelines. The form required we give the school itself an official name, and me as administrator an official title. 

Since we know we will only be here for a few years, and we will not be graduating any students in that time, we were not concerned how the name might sound on a transcript. So, we decided to go with something fun, and combine our love for our cat and humanism. 

That is how we became The Oscar Darwin Homeschool for Happy Humans.

Also, I may or may not have listed my formal title as Homeschooling Goddess.

Sharpened colored pencils in order from light to dark form a semi-circle.

This post contains affiliate links. I receive a small commission—at no extra cost to you—if you make a purchase. I only recommend products and services I have personally used and enjoyed. For more information read my complete disclaimer here.

This week we made it through a complete loop with the “extra” books I slipped in last week. Two of our new reads complement our American history spine, and so far they seem to be a hit. {History is always the subject where I feel we need to up our game.}

Right now we start with Everything You Need to Ace American History. Then we read the corresponding chapter in Howard Zinn’s A Young People’s History of the United States. Finally, we take a look at a few related pages from A Child’s Introduction to African American History, which is more detailed and thorough than the title implies.

For art we made our own oil pastels, another use for all those old crayons pieces. {We made play doh from them last week.}

I also took on the task of decluttering my digital life, which proved to be a much simpler task than I anticipated. I am still working on my social media accounts, but the majority of my files and photos and e-mails are now under control. 

Thanks so much for stopping by today. If you enjoyed this post, I would love to connect with you on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Pinterest.

0 Comments

End of content

No more pages to load