Calendar Math

Our 3 1/2 year old likes to count but he keeps skipping over fifteen. And he’s been asking questions about what we will be doing in the near future. So I decided it was time to pull out the magnetic¬† calendar I previously used, several years ago, with his older siblings . Little did I know the thrill this would give him. He loved putting the number magnets in counting order (and didn’t mind when I Continue reading Calendar Math

Homeschooling During a Hurricane

One of the things I love about homeschooling is the freedom to set our own schedule based on our own priorities. This freedom is so important when disaster looms.

This past week, the meteorological tracking models predicted that Hurricane Matthew was about to strike very close to our home in south Florida–so close that if they were wrong by even a few miles, we’d be at ground zero. We’ve been through a few hurricanes previously. When Wilma hit, we had furniture piled against the front door and we pushed against that furniture for what seemed like forever as we battled to keep the storm from pushing our front doors open; we later discovered that a couple of our neighbors had not been able to prevent theirs from flying open. During Frances, a huge tree in our backyard was partially uprooted and hung over our house, threatening to crash into it until we found a neighbor Continue reading Homeschooling During a Hurricane

What A Preschooler is Expected to Learn

There’s a site I’ve recommended for years when new homeschoolers want a list of topics that they “ought” to cover. I just skimmed over the listing for preschoolers again as I was comparing their lists to what my three year-old already knows. I was rather surprised to find it now contains a section called “technology.” When I first found this list, long before my now 15-year-old was old enough to officially be homeschooled, there was no such section. I don’t believe preschoolers need to know how to do any of the things listed. I think technology can wait. But then again, if the preschooler is the youngest in the house, and you need to keep him quiet sometimes while lessons are happening with his siblings, the preschooler will definitely be more familiar with technology than his older siblings were at even in their elementary grade years. Sometimes practicality trumps theories.



A homeschooling mom tried to explain to another how to manage to cover all the various subjects by showing her a copy of a detailed spreadsheet. It had lots of columns and too many rows to see at once; I think it even had color coding on it. I’ve been homeschooling for years and that spreadsheet looked intimidating; I can’t imagine how scary it looked to someone just starting out. Well, maybe I can. I rather imagine looking at that as a new homeschooler and thinking, “Forget this. There’s no way I can keep to that list. Maybe I do need to just put my kids into school.”

Honestly, many of us veteran homeschoolers don’t follow insanely-detailed lists and yet our children are still getting a balanced education. Continue reading Scheduling…

Setting Up Our Portfolio

It’s that time of year again.

Summer 2016 031
A general subject log

Time to set up my children’s portfolios for the new school year. By Florida law, their portfolios must include titles of reading materials, a log of educational activities, and samples of work–though the law dictates little beyond that of how much detail to keep, how to organize it, etc. Over the years, I’ve worked on finding ways to simplify our record-keeping so I can keep track of what we’ve done without it being a burden. Fast and easy is what I want, and I’ve found that the key to fast and easy is putting in some time to set it up, so that it’s fast and easy the rest of the year.

Continue reading Setting Up Our Portfolio

What Counts for P.E.?

Could I count Zumba classes or maybe even walking as P.E.? How about bowling or swimming?

I see questions like these online periodically. Perhaps they are followed by responses that declare that they won’t count unless instruction is involved or that give some other warnings of what it would take to actually count for a high school credit.

Perhaps it’s because I spent quite a number of years attending and later teaching in a wide variety of schools. Maybe it’s because my husband still works in schools. Whatever the reason, these sorts of questions always make me think Continue reading What Counts for P.E.?

The Freedom of High School

Or:  Thinking About Science Next Year

“What kind of labs are you going to do next next for chemistry?” a mom asked me.

“Uh? Hmmm….” I hadn’t thought through yet what science my kids were going to take next year for 10th grade.

“I assumed Chemistry came next after Biology,” she added.

I thought about that. No, actually, when I was in high school, Continue reading The Freedom of High School

A Day of Homeschooling

What does a day of homeschooling in our house look like? Every day is different. So I’ll share now and then about a recent day.

Today’s learning was driven by two things: Our writing club and getting ready for the county fair. While we generally work on math (high school geometry for my teens) daily, we did no math at all today. Since we school year-round, I don’t worry about skipping days here and there. I’d rather them miss a few days here and there than take a two-month vacation and come back having forgotten all they learned.

Instead, we began the morning with writing. My teens began with editing some pieces written by others in the writing club. Continue reading A Day of Homeschooling

You Only Did Science Once This Week?

Don’t freak out. It’s really okay. Some weeks we might cover science only once. I know; most schools cover every subject every day, and some might worry when we don’t do the same. But the truth is that not every school follows a schedule that covers every subject daily. Some have block schedules where classes meet for longer lengths of time for fewer days each week. Others have even less common schedules–like the Florida public school that I once taught in where seventh graders had no science for half a year and no social studies for most of the other half; they did this because the students were, on average, four grade levels behind in math and reading and the school decided to focus on their most pressing educational needs and skip certain subjects. If a public school can do it, Continue reading You Only Did Science Once This Week?