• homeschooling

    Making the switch to homeschooling – again

    You wouldn’t think that pulling a child out of school to homeschool would be hard for me. After all, I’ve done it before, multiple times. I was homeschooled for six years as a teenager. My oldest has only ever been to school for a month and my second oldest for only a year. My daughter came home in the middle of the year her grade-one year.  She returned to school in grade two of her own free will. In the summer before grade three she’d like to homeschool again, and we pushed her back into school because we had seen the fun she had the year before. She’s really not…

  • This picture shows a Minecraft village built in the style of Catal Hoyuk
    history,  homeschooling,  politics,  religion

    Searching for Justice and Equality in Ancient Times

    One of the classes I’m teaching these days is a secular Bible study class. I treat the Bible like a work of literature. We discuss the different historical periods and the theologies within the Bible, but I’m not trying to convert them. I use the textbooks I had from university to help me, but simplifying stuff for children. I’m having wonderful fun with the class. Then on a different day of the week I teach an ancient history class that is looking more at other ancient cultures of the Middle East. So from this study of ancient times, what fascinates me is the frequency in which the different texts and…

  • homeschooling,  minecraft

    My Minecraft Classes

    I’ve had some people asking recently what my Minecraft classes look like. What do we do in them? What are they like? So I made a little video to explain more about them. My Minecraft classes are taught through Cobblestone Academy and  Outschool.com.   Related posts: Cobblestone Academy Open-ended questions to ask your Minecraft loving child. My son is proud of how I’m learning with Minecraft, and so am I More fun, easy ways to do math with Minecraft

  • goals,  homeschooling

    Year End Review

    The school year in Canada stretches for a few more weeks, but we’re ready for summer here. The two children I’m homeschooling are doing just our minimal amount of schoolwork for the day, and my one remaining child in school is wishing and dreaming of summer holidays. I’m thinking over the schoolwork and other projects we did this year, and wondering that never-ending question – is it enough? Did we do enough? Did we make good use of this year? This year my six year old learned to read. She learned to count, to add and subtract. Yes, she was a little late learning to count. As a toddler she…

  • homeschooling

    Truth Time: School or homeschooling?

    It has been a year of transitions here. All three of my children went to school for the first time in September but only one is still registered there. My oldest returned to homeschooling after only a month at school and my youngest returned to homeschooling after Christmas. You can read about the decision to send them to school here and about bringing my oldest home here. It has been a very strange year with so many transitions. Sending the kids to school and then bringing them home again forced me to confront the serious questions about why we were homeschooling and what I want. We started homeschooling in the…

  • homeschooling,  minecraft

    My son is proud of how I’m learning with Minecraft, and so am I

    Today I found myself writing an email about why I recommend people buy Minecraft for PC/Mac. The reason I recommend it is that Minecraft is a game that can grow with a person. It’s easy enough for a small child but complicated enough that even an adult can continue learning with it. My six year old can build and play on it. She greets others on my multiplayer server with the few words she knows how to type and she makes a huge effort to read what others type back to her.  My older children have been learning about mods and config files. They’ve learned about json commands and the…

  • homeschooling

    stopping the (home)school work struggle

    One struggle I’ve faced homeschooling – and I know others face it too – is getting a child to do schoolwork when the child would prefer to whine, fuss and procrastinate. I’ve seen it discussed on homeschool forums and noticed a number of people suggesting two things: switching curriculum or going to unschooling. I want to talk about why those aren’t great solutions and what I would suggest instead. Switching curriculum is not a solution because although the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, it isn’t magical. Curriculum is a bit like a relationship. In the excitement of falling in love with something new, we…

  • activism,  homeschooling,  politics

    the day after the American election

    I started blogging right after Stephen Harper was re-elected. Back then my blog was called “Another Step to Take…” I was sitting in shock, staring at election results, and feeling horrified that Canada could re-elect someone so blatantly bad. I had been out knocking on doors during the election. I had helped drive people to the polls. Blogging was something I started doing as another step, started the day after an election, for trying to work for changes the next election. I started off blogging about politics. Since then my blog has shifted. I’ve blogged more on homeschooling. I changed the name of the blog to “Houseful of Chaos” reflecting…

  • accepting criticism,  communication,  homeschooling,  how do we know what we know is true

    Someone’s judging a homeschooler! Call out the troops. Or maybe, don’t.

    Sometimes I read something someone else writes, and I recognize in it something that connects with other issues. Today I saw a post titled “Maybe we haven’t been critical enough of our fellow moms….” I saw it posted on facebook, and in most of the comments on facebook people were being very critical of the blogger, saying that people need to mind their own business and not judge. For my part, the post and discussion threw me into all sorts of confusion. The sense I had from the article was not that someone wants to stick her nose into other people’s business willy-nilly, but that someone was trying to tease…

  • homeschooling

    doing schoolwork while thinking out of sync

    Being out of sync with the world can make school work hard. I think back to the time I was a teenager homeschooling through a correspondence type program where I had to fax my test and assignments to a teacher far away. I hated multiple choice tests so I wrote commentary all through my social studies multiple choice test, explaining why none of the answers were entirely correct. That particular teacher agreed that I could just write essays instead. I was relieved. Essays I could understand. I watched this past month as one of my kids struggled with an assignment. His class at school was studying biodiversity, and how life forms are…