physical education for homeschooling

I used to think my family wasn’t very into sports. Sure, the kids do curling and swimming, but we’ve never signed them up for a summer baseball or soccer league. For the most part I figured that the kids were always outside running about so I didn’t really worry about physical education. I didn’t worry – until I signed them up for an eight week kids sports program. It was a great community program where the kids could do a different sport every week and what startled me was how clumsy my kids were with the balls. Even the basic stretches at Continue reading

Advice for Choosing Homeschool Curriculum

Homeschooling friends, are you starting to think about what curriculum you will be using next year? The Canadian Homeschooling Blogging Team’s blog hop for this month is about Choosing Curriculum, so I have decided to share my tips and commentary on choosing and using curriculum. I use good quality curriculum materials because I want my children to learn more than I know. I want them to learn math strategies that I’ve long since forgotten, and spelling rules I was never taught. At the same time the curriculum I purchase tends to be expensive. Someone put a lot of effort into making Continue reading

a big muddle of things that come together, sort of, at the end

Lots of things have crossed my facebook feed the last few days that feed somehow into questions I tend to dwell on. These are questions about how we know what we know, whether we can trust our own ideas, and whether telling someone they are wrong is inherently being mean. Thing one: a math fail My confidence in homeschoolers and homeschooling took a strange shake the other day when I saw a woman online offering some pizza pictures for parents to use to teach fractions. The problem was her pizzas were all cut into eighths in thin lines and then Continue reading

Homeschooling in Winter

winter fun

I love winter, as long as my car will start. Yesterday I ended up at the library with a dead battery, so I had to walk around asking people if they would mind boosting my car. I had booster cables; that was a plus but I have trouble asking for favors. Yesterday I could work on teaching the kids to stay calm in stressful situations and to not be afraid to ask for help. As long as my car will start, I can take the kids to the toboggan hill. My city has gone through a little crisis over whether Continue reading

School supplies for Christmas?


“Poor kids,” one of my brothers said to me on the phone, “they get a whole semester’s worth of schoolwork as Christmas gifts.” That wasn’t quite accurate. They didn’t get a whole semester’s worth of schoolwork. In fact, they don’t realize they got any schoolwork for Christmas. Certainly I didn’t get them any schoolwork – unless you count the lego motors I’m hoping they’ll practice some engineering skills with. They also received some science books, a blanket with the periodic table, some lego gears, and a cookbook. I received a trilogy of Star Wars books rewritten in quasi-Shakespearean style and Continue reading

preparing to teach a class exploring world history through pirates

exploring history through pirates

I haven’t been blogging much recently, because my free time has gone into preparing the course I’ll be teaching in January for the Gifted Homeschoolers Forum. Today I want to write a bit about what that preparation looks like. The main thing I’m doing is reading, reading, and yet more reading. I’m reading books that are directly about pirates, but I’m also reading books that are just about the history of the time. Some of the books are popular nonfiction, some are academic. With each book I’m taking detailed notes, and combining the notes together. Today I had the fun Continue reading

a Cinderella story, Ever After, and the history of some French royalty

Cinderella Story Ever After, and the history of a French queen or two.

A few days ago my kids and I watched the movie Ever After, with Drew Barrymore. It was interesting. It is a Cinderella story, rewritten to take out any mention of magic and referring to Cinderella as Danielle. Its primary focus is on folktale and not history and yet the movie includes a few tantalizing little details meant to try to suggest that the story could be historical. The story features Leonardo Da Vinci. It also identifies the king as Francis and the son as Henry, and the kingdom as France. Since Francis I of France did invite Leonardo Da Continue reading

Over Thinking Things and Community

overthinking things and community

The other day I saw on a favorite facebook page a picture with the text: “I’m indecisive because I see eight sides to everything.” My thought in response was: “I also feel guilty all the time, because I see eight sides to everything. There is always at least one side or point of view in which my actions are wrong.” Over thinking things can be paralyzing. Over thinking things can be guilt inducing. Over thinking can make it hard to interact with other people.  Over thinking can mean worrying that what you will say because you can see the many Continue reading

Pirate Course, dead ahead.

Register now for my online pirate history class.

It is official. I will be teaching another course through the Gifted Homeschoolers Forum. Hurray! This course is about exploring world history through pirates stories. We’ll be talking about a whole roster of pirates but also about the nations that created and/or fought with them. Reading about pirates has been amazingly fun. Every book I read I go back through my notes adding more notes, and it adds another layer of color and depth. I practice telling the stories to my children. I find myself constantly brainstorm questions we can discuss about the material. My course outline will list off Continue reading

continuing my homeschooling discussion of the Renaissance

Caterina Sforza

The Borgia family gives a “human face” to talking about the power balances. However reading about them in isolation of other Renaissance rulers can make them seem like some sort of anomaly: unethical, power hungry people in a world of decent citizens. In order to broaden my kids understanding of the topic and because my oldest needs a bit of practice in using workbooks I’m having them go through a workbook Renaissance by Patrick Hotle. I’m also sharing with my kids stories I read about other Renaissance families. Caterina Sforza has a particularly fascinating story. Her first husband was Pope Continue reading