Archive for the ‘Homeschool’ Category

A Week in the Life (Block 1, Woodworking)

September 8, 2018

This post could be titled: “That in which I insert foot into mouth.”

It seems only fitting that since we started out our journey of homeschooling with Waldorf education, that I finish Sky’s last year with it.

Tuesday was our first day back to school. This year I have a 7th and 12th grader. I spent the summer deep in planning and came up with this year’s plans.

I have thoroughly been enjoying Betty Staley’s book Between Form and Freedom. Honestly, I couldn’t have found it at a better time.

Instead of creating their own main lesson books, the girls will be working in their Thinking Tree journals. I gave each of the girls new binders to keep any extra papers in, along with their attendance. I decided to start out our new year gradually with a short, 2 week, woodworking block. Most Waldorf main lesson blocks last 3-4 weeks.


Since Little Sis has never colored with block crayons or played the penny whistle or stitched anything before, these next two weeks’ extra lessons are kind of a “crash course” introduction.

The girls copied the first stanza of a Michaelmas poem (They will recite the poem from memory for Michaelmas on September 29.)and worked on their first form drawing.


Since Little Sis is between the ages of 7-14, she falls into the “heart” stage of learning, that means she learns best through stories. One of her math blocks this year will cover business math. So, I have come up with a story that our family owns a bakery. This will be the theme running throughout her year.

It is hard to explain how Waldorf education is different from mainstream education in a paragraph, but what I will say is it meets the individual child where they are developmentally. The stories should feed their hearts. Though the subjects may be the same (like business math), the lessons will look different for each family.

Little Sis loves to cook. We have been watching all kinds of different baking shows this summer. She has been coming up with her own recipes, trying this, making that. I think using baking as the theme for her lessons this year is going to work out for her.

Sky, on the other hand, falls between the ages of 14-21. She is ready for more intellectual thinking (head). One of her history blocks this year is History through Architecture.

Being that Little Sis never had a”shelter” block, I thought a good woodworking project would be to build a dollhouse. I mean, a “bakery”. Sky is learning how to design a structure, then build it.


These houses will be the center of the majority of our handwork projects this year.

Speaking of handwork projects, our first project this week was to make our own handwork bags to hold our current project.


We learned the notes B, A, and G on the pennywhistle. The girls’ first assignment was to write a song using those notes. Sky picked up right where she left off like she had never stopped playing.

For our block crayon lessons, we worked using the three primary colors to make orange, purple, and green.


Little Sis has been working on some of her own art projects.



We still have a morning rhythmic routine like our circle time before the main lesson, just now that the girls are grown, we perform brain gym movements and Bal-A-Vis-X exercises. The girls also have a critical thinking challenge. This week’s challenge was Animal Crossing from the book Family Math.


For Little Sis’s read aloud, we are reading The House at Pooh Corner. (We loved the new movie.)

Sky’s interest in Skyrim has sparked an interest in mythology, so mythology will be her first literature block. We are reading Dante’s Inferno, and actually really enjoying it.

Next week I will add journaling, spelling, and vocabulary back into our lessons.

Though we encountered a few bumps in the road this week. I am feeling positive about our year.

Peace for the journey.


Month(s) in the Life (Playing Catch Up)

August 27, 2018

I am going to attempt to play catch up. A lot has happened between June and the last week of August, so I know there is no way I will be able to remember all of it. I think I did manage to capture most of the important stuff though.


for starters, we did continue with lessons to bring our school year to an end.

After watching clueless for Little Sis’s 90’s movie (for her Thinking Tree Fashion Dreams history journal), there were a few other videos Sky watched to try and help get a feel for what was happening historic wise. One was on the Oklahoma City bombing. The other was on the Waco Texas standoff. She also watched Crash Course: American History, Clinton, and the 90s.

For Little Sis, we read about Hillary Clinton in the book: America’s First Ladies.


She wrote her report on America’s first female Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright.


Continuing with Little Sis’s Thinking Tree Spelling journal, her list of words started with the letter R. She learned about raccoons,


the recorder, and Russia.


Sky watched the Crash Course video about Russia.

Little Sis and I read the Diary of Anastasia.


This took us backward in her Thinking Tree Fashion Dreams History journal to the years of 1910-1920.


She chose to watch the animated movie, Anastasia. She also wanted to add her to our Princess collection (now that she is a part of Disney) thanks to Dramatic Parrot.


A lot of history happened between those years, Little Sis chose to write about the Titanic.


(Which fit in perfectly at one of our vacations, but more on that later.)




I chose Woodrow Wilson to read as a bio, even though Taft was still president during the sinking because he was president during the Russian Revolution.



This brings us to the letter S in Little Sis’s Thinking Tree Spelling journal. We already learned about Sweden during Christmas, so Little Sis learned about skunks and the saxophone.


She finished her drawing and research lessons about the octopus.


We read a biography of Julia Child


and watched the movie, Julie, and Julia. We also watched a few of her cooking shows on YouTube.


Sky and I watched Crash Course Film History and Production videos 13 and 8. We watched the movies, Alien, and Aliens, John Oliver’s video about genetic engineering (CRISPR), and Lessons From the Screenplay’s video about using theme to create character.

We also watched a video about string theory, thanks to Sky’s Rick and Morty interest.


We spent the summer swimming, playing lots of games,


and hanging out at our local drive-in, including a date night for Papa and I.

They had a weekend of monster movie classics hosted live by our locally known Sammy Terry, which made Papa’s night( ahem, I mean ruined it ūüėČ ).



I also took each of the girls out separately for a mother-daughter date.

Little Sis had her cheer nationals competition in Chicago.



Then, we met my sister in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee (where we went to the Titanic museum).




I read a biography of Dolly Pardon before we left.


Little Sis’s fall season of cheer started an I have been busy planning out our upcoming school year.


Sky’s last year, I can’t believe it!

I have been watching a lot of lectures from Betty Staley on YouTube (All of them are very worth it!). I only have a few months before my last baby becomes a teenager. ūüė¶

Our 7th and 12th grade will begin after Labor Day. Until then,

peace for the journey.

Personal Finance

July 17, 2018

Credit 1


Understanding financial management concepts is an important life skill. From credit to insurance to taxes, it is imperative that the student understands the consequences of their choices. Wisely managing their money, the student becomes a citizen that is more responsible. A thorough understanding of financial concepts, with practical application through activities and projects, will enable the student to leave this course with applicable, useful skills for life. This course surveys the basic personal financial needs of most individuals and emphasizes the basics of budgeting, saving, checking, investments, credit, the wise use of insurance, and paying and preparing income tax returns. The Student will design personal and household budgets utilizing checking and savings accounts, gain knowledge in finance, debt and credit management.

After high school, the student faces a world filled with possibilities, and the more knowledge they can acquire, the higher the probability that their financial future will be secure. The student taking this course will learn to better prepare for their financial future.


Two Cents videos (PBS program on Facebook)




Week(s) in the Life (Clueless)

June 9, 2018

I am finding it hard to want to write. It is beginning to feel more and more like a chore.

When I started my blog, many years ago, it was to keep track of lessons and serve as proof if I ever needed it. With the girls filling out journals, my job has become much easier. The journals do the tracking for me. Sky lists all the videos she watches and takes notes. Little Sis fills out her pages. Both girls even take their own attendance. If I need to write a description of what the girls are working on I just need to look in their journals now.

I enjoy being able to look back over posts. I still believe I am the biggest reader of my blog. I guess I feel like it no longer serves a purpose.

When I first started writing, homeschooling was kind of a new thing. There really wasn’t much out there to help other homeschoolers. Blogging became a community. Now there is YouTube, Pinterest, and more homeschooling sites than you could ever read. You can follow homeschoolers on Facebook, Instagram, and Flickr.

I’m sure I will continue recording our journey. It just might not be as much.


Sky filled out her film pages for the movies Emma (Film as Literature)


and Bonnie and Clyde (Movie History).


Sky and I watched the movie Alien (Movie History) and we all watched the movie Clueless as a modern retelling of Emma.

The girls hated it. You would have thought I made them watch some boring documentary. In fact, I think they would rather have watched a boring documentary. They are products of a different generation I guess ūüėČ .

Sky and I have been watching the new BBC Sherlock series (Film as Literature) and she is really into Rick and Morty. Papa and I watched the three seasons with her. I can see why she enjoys it so much. She has been busy creating worlds and stories from both shows.

Little Sis and I have been watching America’s Next Top Model (which has been great for geography and fashion history) and Riverdale together. We still are watching Hell’s Kitchen together as a family.

Sky has been reading Red Sparrow by Jason Matthews and Little Sis and I read Who Was Julia Child. We also read about Dolley Madison from America’s First Ladies by Kathleen Krull. I am reading The Outsider by Stephen King.




Sky watched the war of 1812 on Crash Course American History. Little Sis read about it in the DK American History encyclopedia.

Little Sis learned about area and perimeter


and recreated her dream home on Minecraft. We compared the area and perimeter of our home to the one she created.


This week Learn Math Fast was all about percents.

The girls have started their own workout routine using videos from Amazon Prime and I have started one of my own (I have lost 5 pounds so far).

The pools opened over the holiday weekend and we were able to attend our favorite one with friends. The girls had their last homeschool gym until after summer vacation and Little Sis’s cheer team is practicing for Nationals.

We spotted a groundhog in our backyard the other day, so this week we learned all about them. I have never seen one in person.


We also learned about the quokka. I never even knew they existed.

Little Sis learned about sea turtles,



the panpipes, and the quene flute.

We learned about Poland from Rick Steves


and Qatar from Geography Now.


Little Sis is using the movie clueless as her fashion guide for the 90s.



Another productive week in the books.

Peace for the journey.

A Week in the Life (China)

May 26, 2018

Considering that Papa was on vacation this week we still managed to squeeze in a few lessons.

We also managed to play a few games too. We are still watching Hell’s Kitchen together as a family. This has inspired Little Sis to create her own Hell’s Kitchen in Minecraft.


We still have Minecraft on our laptop but I thought I would purchase a version for the Playstation too. While Little Sis has been busy creating her little world, Sky picked up a new game she has been busy playing too. She loves Sky Rim. It reminds her of Game of Thrones.

We have been enjoying playing Monopoly on the Wii and Yahtzee at the table as a family. I really missed our family game time.

We finally have our garden planted.

Little Sis started her Fashion through History journal this week inspired by Jane Austen.


Since her spelling words started with the letter p, I decided to take a short detour by learning about China


and panda bears.


She will continue with the rest of her spelling list next week.

Since learning about the giant panda bear this week, Little Sis and I decided to draw one from Art for Kids Hub on YouTube.


The girls attended homeschool gym and Sky and I watched the movie Cast Away as a modern retelling of Robinson Crusoe for her Film as Literature course.

Little Sis keeps an ongoing list of vocabulary words from the books we read. When the list is complete she will look up the definitions.


She finished her lessons about the tiger shark


by summarizing her discoveries.


The journals Little Sis used this week for her lessons.


She is really happy with her selections.

I discovered that Little Sis prefers reading nonfiction over watching videos as a way to learn (I am the same way), which is the complete opposite of Sky. Sky would prefer to watch a video any day over reading. Sky gets bored while reading, Little Sis gets bored by sitting and watching movies. I am glad we are at a place in our learning where both girls can learn the way that works best for them.¬†With summer quickly approaching I think we have settled nicely into our new groove. I know we are on the right path when we are constantly changing things up. Change is our normal. ūüôā

This September will mark the last school year for one child. I can’t believe I will be graduating my first homeschool student. It feels like just yesterday when the two of us journeyed down this road together. I have learned SO much since then. I may not know what her future holds, but I feel confident knowing that I did my absolute best to prepare her for the journey ahead.

Peace for the journey.

Week(s) in the Life (On a Binge-Watch)

May 19, 2018

Well, here I am again. Weeks behind, so much happening I have no clue where to even start. I am sure this post will be as jumbled as my mind feels.

We had just settled into our new rhythm quite nicely when the girls came down with another viral infection (and not at the same time either). So our lessons were more scattered.

It was during this time Little Sis and I became engrossed in America’s Next Top Model, and all of the family started watching Hell’s Kitchen on Prime. I don’t get as surprised anymore at all the many learning trails these shows inspire. Little Sis and I watched a video this week on the history of Japanese fashion and The Origin¬†of Everything’s episode¬†about the history of high heels.

Little Sis was the first to be inspired by Hell’s Kitchen to plan out a day’s meals. She chose a completely vegan menu.


She chose tofu scrambled breakfast burritos with spinach and mushrooms for breakfast,


and vegan “Philly steak” sandwiches with regular¬†and sweet potato fries for dinner.


She made vegan pumpkin pie with homemade vegan whipped cream for dessert.


Everything was delicious. She is becoming quite the chef.

She also made vegan brownies and cookies and cream mug cake (not vegan).



Since on the subject of Little Sis, she had her cheer state competition. Though her team did not place, they were so close in points with the third place team that they won the wildcard bid to attend Nationals in Chicago this summer. She is very excited.

There was the usual homeschool gym and having friends over.

Sky took a CPR class and passed the certification test. She has been continuing with her independent studies.


We went to see Infinity War twice, once at the theater and once at the Drive-In with A Quiet Place.

I had a birthday and celebrated Mother’s Day by being able to read the second installment of the Roxane Weary novel series(that just happened to be¬†released on my birthday) What You Want To See by Kisten Lepionka, in one sitting. Yes, it was that good. I will try to wait patiently¬†for the next installment.

Sky and I watched Crash Course movie history episode 12, film production episode 7, and sociology episode 12 on YouTube.

We also watched the 1967 movie, Bonnie, and Clyde.

Violet’s spelling words started with the letter o, so we watched videos about opossums, the oboe, and Oman.


Little Sis and I read Who Was Jane Austen and she took notes.


Sky and I watched The School of Life video about Jane Austen on YouTube.

All of us watched the BBC 2009 adaptation of Emma.

The girls are almost finished with the fraction portion of volume 2 of Learn Math Fast. I added in grocery circular math lessons to help the girls learn how to give change without the use of a cash register.

I think that about sums everything up.

Peace for the journey.

Week(s) in the Life (Busy as a Bee)

April 23, 2018

I had every intention to post regularly again, life has just been crazy busy for us.

For example, in one weekend alone, Little Sis had tumbling, from there we headed out to attend the Columbus Pride Fest, that same evening Little Sis went to a parents night out open gym with some homeschooling friends. The next day she had cheer practice.

This weekend was no different, the girls attended a tie-dye party



and Little Sis had regionals.


Her team placed first.


They are headed to state.

This then leaves me to play catch-up with everything that gets pushed aside, writing being one of those things. I personally don’t like falling behind on my blog (my OCD), because that means I have twice as much to write about and I usually forget most of it (which was the point of writing my blog, to begin with). Oh well, the girls are learning, that is what’s most important.

Little Sis’s spelling words started with the letters M and N, so she learned about monkeys.


(Art for Kids Hub YouTube.)

I should mention, now that we are kind of, mostly unschooling again. I want to point out that Little Sis is choosing to continue with the journals and is picking out the YouTube channels she wants to use.

Sky is picking out which journals and videos she wants to continue with too. Honestly, she has the majority of her core credits finished and is working on finishing up electives right now anyway. She chooses to continue with basic mathematics for personal financial reasons because she wants to. She has no plans of going into science or engineering fields, so I am not worried about it.

Both girls have different goals. I am taking the back seat and as their partner making sure those goals get met.

Anyway, monkeys, Mozambique,


(7 Facts by Sebastian Loan YouTube)

and the Mandolin. We watched music videos from Bill Monroe and Ricky Skaggs as well as Medival mandolin music. Sky still joins us for the videos and discussion to finish her Music Appreciation credit.

Little Sis chose a new drawing journal about sea creatures. So she watched a video about dolphins and we read the Magic Tree House Dolphins and Sharks guide,


and she chose to draw an orca from Art For Kids Hub.


Then, she learned about nutrias from Wildlife Facts on YouTube, watched a couple music videos about the ney instrument, and learned about Nicaragua from 7 Facts and Riveting Trip on YouTube.



We read Who Was J.R.R. Tolkien and she added notes to her core journal.


Little Sis has also been on a baking spree lately.

She made vegan no-bakes,


and Tuna Melts from the Teens Cook cookbook.


They were both delicious.

For the most part, we try to eat vegan as much as we can. However, it would be near impossible for us to be complete vegan or vegetarians with as much traveling as we do. Being able to pick up a fish sandwich in a pinch sometimes happens. The fact that our dairy and fish consumption has reduced greatly, and I mean a lot, is what truly matters to us.

Speaking of vegan, I purchased a new cookbook from one of my favorite food blogs.


I have yet to make a recipe from her blog that we have not enjoyed. As much as I like using online recipes, I like to have a collection of cookbooks on hand to plan meals from. This one has officially been added to my favorites. Honestly, it is the only vegan cookbook you need as it contains everything you would want to eat.

Little Sis wasted no time in making the chocolate chip cookie recipe.


Another hit added to the list.

Since we read the biography of Tolkien, Sky joined us for a Thug Notes summary about Beowulf and Grendel.(Film as Literature course)

Sky has been working on her own projects as well. She has been taking notes and keeping track of all the resources she uses. She too chose a new drawing journal that she likes.




She also chose a new Thinking Tree journal, like mine, for her own personal use and still using the spelling journal.

She has been keeping busy with some new art projects.




She has been playing around with a collage app too.



Peace for the journey.

Introduction to Two-Dimensional Art

April 20, 2018

Credits: a 1-semester course for 1 credit

(Fine Art or Elective)


Introduction to Two-Dimensional Art is a course where the student taking this course engages in sequential learning experiences that encompass art history, art criticism, aesthetics, production, and integrated studies and lead to the creation of portfolio quality works. The student explores historical and cultural background and connections; analyze, interpret, theorize, and make informed judgments about artwork and the nature of art; create two-dimensional works of art, reflect upon the outcomes, and revise their work; relate art to other disciplines and discover opportunities for integration; and incorporate literacy and presentational skills. They will identify ways to utilize and support art museums, galleries, studios, and community resources.




Instagram for “art criticism”










Culinary Arts 2

April 17, 2018

Elective, Credit (2)

Culinary Arts 2 prepares the student for occupations and higher education
programs of study related to the entire spectrum of careers in the food industry, including (but not limited to) food production and services; food science, dietetics, and nutrition; and baking and pastry arts.

Major topics for this advanced course include basic baking theory and skills, introduction to bread, introduction to pastry arts, nutrition, nutrition accommodations and adaptations, cost control and purchasing, and current marketing and trends.

Instruction and intensive laboratory experiences include commercial applications of principles of nutrition, aesthetic, and sanitary selection; purchasing,
storage, preparation, and service of food and food products; using and maintaining related tools and equipment; baking and pastry arts skills; managing operations in food service, food science, or hospitality establishments; providing for the dietary needs of persons with special requirements (such as vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, and low fat); and related research, development, and testing.  Advanced Culinary Arts builds upon skills and techniques learned in Culinary Arts 1.


Many different resources, such as Pinterest, blogs, and cookbooks to put together a complete meal.

Recipe Rehab





(Chili crusted tilapia with oyster dressing and roasted asparagus)


(apple pie)


(baked salmon, roasted red cabbage, and dill potatoes)


(Scandinavian Kringle)

Music Appreciation

April 12, 2018

Fine Art credit (1)

Music Appreciation is a semester course providing the student an approach to perceptive listening in order to heighten student appreciation of Western art music from the Middle-Ages to the present, NonWestern and American music, and the most recent from independent and commercial sources.

1. The student will gain an understanding of basic music concepts.

2. The student will develop listening skills and attend a variety of live music performances.

3. The student will study style periods of Western art music: Middle-Ages and
Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, Romantic, Twentieth Century.

4. The student will explore American (Folk, Religious, Pop, and Jazz) and Non-Western Music.

5. The student will become familiar with specific composers and representative works of each style period, discuss in cultural context, and conceptualize relative to history, painting, literature, philosophical ideas.

6. The student will explore the various internet and/or electronic sources of music.

By first learning about the history of instruments, starting with the accordion and working their way to the zither, the student will learn the origin of the instrument as well as how that instrument influenced music today.


Several YouTube videos instructing how each instrument is played, then watching music videos of how that instrument is being used in music today. For example, The mandolin was used during the Middle Ages but also is still being used in Bluegrass music today.

Several online resources to research the instrument’s origin. Various compact disks of recorded musical artists from Johann Sebastian Bach to Bruno Mars.

Example of work.