Archive for September, 2017

Week In The Life (Belonging)

September 30, 2017

We have officially¬†flipped to “funschooling”.

While writing my last school post, I realized the reason we took the summer off. We all hit burn-out (like a brick wall).

It should be no big surprise to announce that I have OCD. Not only do I suffer from anxiety and depression, I also have obsessive thoughts. So much, to the point of major insomnia (like for weeks at a time). I can go days without sleeping. How I can get so much reading in. ūüėČ I have successfully¬†been caffeine¬†free now for three years. Caffeine, at least for me, was not helping with my struggles. I also need to watch my sugar and simple carb intake.

My problem is that I tend to get lost in information. (The internet is not always my friend.) Once I discover something of interest, it is hard for me to think or do much else (I am not just talking about a little bit here either. This is a serious problem that has interfered with my daily life.). Journaling helps to clear the clutter of my thoughts.

I had become obsessed with making sure I knew everything there was to know about homeschooling high-school. In some ways, it was just like when I had first discovered homeschooling. I wanted to make sure that I wasn’t¬† going to screw up my daughter’s future. I pushed aside everything that I had learned over the years of educating my girls, once again, to listen to the advice of what worked well for other families.

After all, high-school was all new territory for me. It is not the same as the early years.¬†Well to make a long story short, I added a tremendous amount of stress to Sky in doing so. It is not an easy thing to admit that I played a major roll in my daughter’s mental health problems. I did though.

Not to mention that I belonged to a social media homeschooling group where everyone’s child was heading to MIT at 10 that did not help matters.

I don’t know what the future holds for my children, but there will be no more pressure coming from me. I have never been a follower, why on earth would I ever think that my children would any different? We create paths.

Anyways, funschooling.

  1. So this year, I asked the girls what they wanted to learn.

Little Sis: drawing techniques, cats, fashion, hair, make-up, nails, baking, cheer, pilates, Cleopatra, read Emma, slime, yoga, sewing, bowling, swimming, travel study, and outer space.

Sky: drawing techniques, pets, art history, sociology, psychology, film study, entrepreneurship, small business, screen printing, book binding, baking, travel study, sewing, yoga, wolves, animation, bowling, and swimming.

Both girls want to finish Microbiology. We will pick it back up after our Spain study.

2. Find a Thinking Tree journal(s) that works for their needs.

3. Go to the library and find resources to help learn these topics.


I purchased binders for the girls, to hold all their finished projects to help create a learning portfolio.


Every morning we start our day with a journaling page while we eat breakfast and discuss any current events.


This is what the girls want to do.


We talk about what is excepted of them for the week (I find our mornings flow better if I already have this typed and printed out for them.) and they take their own attendance.

I find our days flow better when alternating between math and writing days (the two things that I require).

Some things they do every day, like reading,  their choice (related to their current study or not),


A Sentence A Day,  drawing,


(Pictured: Learn How to Draw Journals from The Thinking Tree and DK Encyclopedia of Cats. Sky follows petTubers.)



(Pictured: The Thinking Tree Spelling Journals along with our writing resources that we use twice a week. Not pictured: Mad Libs.)

and yoga.


For creative writing, Sky is creating illustrated stories. She works on this everyday too.





For Mathematics (3 days a week).


Along with XtraMath.

Topics of interest.

History and Travel Studies. The next few weeks we will be learning about Spain, with the help of Rick Steves. This week we read about Queen Isabella 1 of Castile.

(On writing days, the girls journal about what they learned.)


We also read September’s issue of Science in the News from Science A-Z. The girls wrote a paragraph about one of the topics they learned about.


Sky wanted to draw Pennywise from Draw So Cute to get ready for our Halloween themed lessons.


Sky and I read and discussed chapter 1 of Braving the Wilderness. We both are journaling our thoughts about each chapter. We also watched Crash Course Sociology episode 1.


For her Film Study this week, we watched Blade Runner. She is excited about seeing the sequel in theaters.

We watched: Blade Runner from Lessons from the Screenplay on YouTube and read the excerpt from the DK Movie Book. We had a great discussion about AI and the current debate going on currently. This movie also went really well with our Sociology study this week. There is SO much more to this movie than just great cinematography.


She also learned about Ridley Scott.

Little Sis learned about Betsey Johnson for her designer study this week and designed a dress inspired by her. She made snow slime and edible cake dough slime. Then, of course, there was cheer practice. Her team is getting ready for stunt clinic this weekend.

Oh, and she also participated in our city’s local parade.



I still have a few kinks to straighten out, but the girls had a lot of fun this week. Yes, fun. Everything is what they want to learn about.

Happy Fall Y’all and Peace for the journey.


At The Moment

September 26, 2017

I thought I would pop in and list a few things I am really enjoying at the moment.

My discovery of funschooling, for one. It has turned our whole school upside down, in a good way. This interview with the author Sarah Janisse Brown was just what I needed.


(How could I forget, my coffee chat mornings with Free Homeschooling 101?)


Second, Sky and I have been in deep discussion about Braving the Wilderness.


I actually purchased this one because it is not a book to be read through quickly. I am using it for both Sociology and Psychology.


Lastly, I just started Sleeping Beauties by Stephen and Owen King. I can’t wait to see how this collaboration of father and son turns out. (100 pages in and I am really enjoying it.)


Other than that, the girls have been busy with lots of bowling, slime making, and drawing.

Peace for the journey.

Week In The Life (“Watch Out For That Tree”*)

September 16, 2017


Our second week back to school and all hell broke loose. “Where is the drawing?” “Where is the baking?” “What happened to our learning being interesting?”

Not to mention, while on a walk around the block the girls saw two small dogs almost get hit on our very busy street. The girls have no patience for ignorant pet ownership.

The girls and I had lots of long talks this week. Talks about their future, what they wanted to learn about this year, and what they didn’t like about our school schedule¬†now.

I just won’t do it, can’t anymore. I refuse to recreate the same bloody system that I didn’t want my children to be a part of in the first place. So after lots of thought, I’ve decided to follow their interests and translate their learning into school language for transcripts.

I don’t want to define us as unschoolers. I don’t want to box us inside of any label. I will still require mathematics¬†and writing. Though, both girls actually want this anyway. Both girls have always enjoyed creating their own stories and playing games.

Sky and I are getting ready to start reading Braving the Wilderness by Brene Brown (when our hold becomes available) because she wants to. The girls want to learn. They just take too much after their parents.

How will all this work out¬†in the end? Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a sh**. I am done worrying¬†about putting learning into a time-frame. Little Sis is thinking about getting her GED and going to beauty school instead of high-school. She wants to do hair, make-up, nails,¬†and be a cheerleading coach or aerobic instructor. If Sky wants to take two more years before she decides what she wants to do, so be it. She wants to work with animals or children, and sell her artwork. I feel both girls are capable of achieving¬†these goals. Both have the option of taking community college classes whenever they want or they can get their GED.

I used to work for Sallie Mae. I know first-hand stories of the stress student loans cause. I will not allow that option for my girls. If they can’t get scholarships into a university, they won’t go. As of right now, the girls are not interested¬†in attending any university. However, I will have a transcript ready if they happen to change their minds. One that is made from following their interests.

So, that means making sure the girls have everything they need to feed those interests and “strewing” interesting items that might spark some some new ones.



Something I am going to start doing this school year to help keep track of the girls’ work is have them keep a¬†journal to make a portfolio. I got the idea from The Thinking Tree (Fun Schooling) journals. I really liked the idea of their journals a lot but feel the pages are a little restrictive. So, I thought I would just create my own journal pages. I already was doing that for our history lessons anyway.


Language Arts:


New Mad Libs ūüėČ

I love the Absolutely Essential Guides for Kids. Don’t be fooled by the title, these books are not just for kids. They have everything you need to know, in a nutshell about grammar and writing. The Writing Guide even has a chapter on poetry.

Sky likes her new Spelling journal from The Thinking Tree.


She is slowly working her way through it.


The back of the page is left blank so you can use gel pens. I love the way this journal is set up. Sky likes how this journal is set up.

Here is the thing about Sky and spelling, she has a very hard time memorizing words. No matter what I have tried. Spelling just doesn’t come naturally to her. So, if she could just at least get this list of the 150 most misspelled words, I would be happy. (She would be too.)

Both girls wrote out a summary of their week. Well, Little Sis will finish tomorrow since her cheer team is in our local town’s fall parade. I will be changing up these journal¬†pages throughout the year.

Little Sis created a short story








and Sky worked on her graphic novel.



Both girls warmed up using I have noticed a huge improvement in speed while going over the first chapter of Learn Math Fast. I know this is because of XtraMath. We are almost finished with chapter 2.


World History/Geography

Sky watched Crash Course: The Spanish Empire and the Columbian Exchange videos on YouTube. She honestly likes both of the Green brothers. She watches their videos in her free time. Yes, without me asking.

Both girls enjoy watching Rick Steves and want to watch more of his videos too. ūüėČ

I printed off a map that highlighted Christopher Columbus’ voyages. I also printed off a map of the Carribean Islands. Little Sis’s best friend has family in St. Kitts and was worried about the hurricane. (They are okay.)

We watched Geography Now’s The Bahamas and Cuba videos on YouTube.

I ditched Zinn’s History of the U.S. for Young people. Just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse (read last week’s tangent), it did. The girls literally cringed every time I read “the blacks” and “the whites”. I can’t take you seriously as a legit history source while writing that way. Not to mention, “the whites” did not resort to slavery because they couldn’t capture “Indians”. Slavery existed because of the dehumanization of different cultures. I don’t care what “age” range this book was designed for. That is just plain out garbage. Thank goodness I checked it out from our library first.

We will continue with the “Who Wa”s or “What was” books. Little Sis really likes them.




We will continue reading the Basher books because the girls like them. I will be creating journal pages for them to fill out after each chapter to summarize what they learned for their portfolio.


I mentioned feeding an interest? Little Sis wanted to try to make clear slime.


It worked. We watched bad scientific information about Borax from Steve Spangler on YouTube. Contact solution contains Borax.




Sky is excited to see the new IT movie.



We plan on seeing IT at our local Drive-In, in October. They will be having a Halloween “spooky” month countdown. They are a small family business and we love the atmosphere (we can bring our dog). Until then, she has been busy creating.

We watched PBS’s new Origin of Everything series video about the origin of fear for clowns on YouTube.


Film History:


Sky and I watched The Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari and I read the excerpt from the DK Movie book. This is an example of a journal page for her portfolio. (I will show the back next week.)

We watched two CGI animated shorts about beauty, called Reflection, and art censorship called None of That on YouTube.

Peace for the journey.

*George of the Jungle

Week in the Life (In 1492 Columbus Sailed the Ocean Blue.*)

September 10, 2017

Welcome 2017-18 school year!

This was our first year taking summer off. Well, not really off. I mean learning never really takes a break. I guess I should say that our summer was less academic looking.

I took the summer to really think what I wanted our¬†school to look like this year. ¬†What did the girls want our school to look like? It helped a lot to type up Sky’s course descriptions (that is not all of them). It gave me examples of what she still needed to work on and what she didn’t. Both girls agreed that they wanted more table work and fewer documentaries. (In other words, they just want to check off boxes so they can have more time to pursue their own interests. School kills natural curiosity. I am so thankful I am able to see the difference.)

We are busier socially now that the girls are older. We have more outside commitments now too. This means the bulk our academics need to take place at the table. It also means I need to narrow topics and follow a more structured schedule. Something that will require lots of discipline on my part.

There is SO much available to homeschoolers today. Homeschoolers that have finished their journey are publishing curricula. Teachers are uploading their lessons online. Publishers are seeing homeschoolers as a wonderful asset to their business and releasing more books. Podcasts, YouTube videos, information at our fingertips, and man I am beginning to feel overwhelmed. Not to mention that I have two very different children with complete opposite learning styles. So, I picked out my favorite spine resources and wrote out my plan.

I have always preferred¬†to work out of a book for my spine and then add resources for deeper study with the girls notebooking, or journaling information instead of taking tests. This creates a portfolio and lets me see the girls’ progress. I purchased 5 subject spiral notebooks for mathematics and language arts courses and the girls will continue to add journal pages to their timeline binders for science and history.

I decided to finish our Scandinavia studies over Christmas School. It just seems more fitting.

Language Arts:


English Vd: Parts of Speech YouTube. We watched Nouns.

Little Sis read about Nouns from The Absolutely Essential Grammar Guide for Kids.

Sky read about Nouns from The McGraw-Hill Handbook of English Grammar.

Both girls completed the nouns daily exercises from Daily

The girls had A Sentence A Day.



Little Sis is continuing her work in The Critical Thinking Co. Word Roots Beginning workbook.

Sky started The Thinking Tree LLC. Spelling Time: Master 150 Misspelled Words journal.

This is a small example of how differently the girls learn. Little Sis wants clean workbook pages.

Sky needs color and doodles. Spelling lists and memorization do not work for her.



subjugate, nautical, perseverance, carvels, masts, evocative, psychoneurosis




Reading: Seize the Story Chapter 8: Plotting and Scheming. Both girls worked on writing their stories for at least 10 minutes a day.

Sky received her first essay assignment for the school year. What does it mean to be an American?

She watched: Thesis Statements from 60-second Recap on YouTube and read Developing a Strong Thesis Statement from

She brainstormed ideas for her thesis.




The girls started Learn Math Fast Volume 1 chapter 1.

The author suggests starting the math series from the beginning. This volume starts with adding and subtracting numbers up to 5 and ends with multiple digit multiplication and long division with decimals. This is a full curriculum with tests and the problems are worked out to see the answers.  I hope to be done with this volume by the end of the year.




Sky did a brief review by watching the 3 Crash Course A&P Immune System videos YouTube.

Sky kept up with the progress of the pups at Wolf Park.


Yes, we made a projection of the solar eclipse, only 90% where we live. We watched NOVA: Eclipse Over America and NASA’s live coverage.




I am using Zinn’s A Young People’s Guide to the History of the U.S. for Little Sis this year and will be adding Crash Course and Tom Richey videos for Sky.

I don’t know how I exactly feel about Zinn’s book yet. I like that history is told from a Liberal perspective. I did think it would be a bit more politically correct though. I doubt they call People of Color, blacks. So why still call Native Americans, Indians? Even the girls were getting frustrated by the constant reference. Indigenous or Native anything would have been better than Indians. I will continue using it, for now. Hopefully, it gets better.

We read Chapter 1.


We read Who Was Christopher Columbus.

I was impressed with this being it was geared towards young children. It didn’t give gory details but allowed for certain topics to be introduced by parents. Oh, and it was politicly correct. Native Americans. ūüėČ


History Summarized: The Mayas, Aztecs, and Incas from Overly Sarcastic Productions and Water and Classical Civilizations from Crash Course on YouTube.



Walks around the block.





Film Study:

Sky watched Crash Couse Film History episodes 5-7. We will be watching German movies these next couple weeks.

We watched Diabolique (French).

Clouzot was one of those directors that worked for German cinema.


Art History:

The girls learned about Edvard Munch.



Edvard Munch Biography Goodbye Art Academy

Edvard Munch The Scream Art History Online

Let’s Create The Scream Artrageous with Nate


Both girls found Instagram over the summer. Slime and slime videos are all the rage. Little Sis has been making fan signs for her followers.


She made over 20 of them.

It feels good being back in the swing of things. I think all of us needed the exhale of summer break. However, as Sky likes to quote “Winter is Coming”. Time to inhale.

Peace for the journey.


*Annonomus history jingle.