Thursday, March 27, 2014

Homeschool Update Spring 2014

I have not been a very good blogger lately! I have been immersed in paper organization and also in homeschooling planning.    I am putting a few of the details over at a learning-log or rather planning-log type blog:  Journeys through Bookland.    It's basically a new version of my old planning/logging site, Schola et Studium.    Hardly anything I put on that site seems to fit over here.  ... basically it's just for quick updates on the homeschool, resources we are using, and so on.

I do want to mention something that's working well.... at least, as well as anything can with a pre-teen who is sometimes diligent and clever and sometimes moody and bored.  I will not mention any names!   They do eventually seem to grow out of it.

Monday through Wednesday we loop through all our subjects (pictured above)


  • Math (Life of Fred)
  • Christian Studies 1 (Bible History)
  • Religion/ Catechism
  • Piano Lesson


  • Latin
  • World History (Story of the World)
  • Composition
  • Science

  • English Grammar
  • US History
  • Drawing
  • Nature /Geography/ Civics (alternate)
Every day he does some math practice, some memory work (from Classically Catholic Memory and from the recitation lists in Memoria Press's books), and (in theory) some writing or spelling.  He also reads some supplementary books connected with the main topics.   He practices the piano and does some chores.   We do a lot of Quizlet

Thursday and Friday are catchall days.   Basically I use them for whatever seems to be missing or to need some reinforcement.    Or they can just be "now for something completely different" type days, or sometimes days when I get very busy with errands or whatever and have to go to Plan B.

They don't HAVE to be on Thursday or Friday -- life isn't that predictable.  For example, this week Monday turned crazy with several places to go and some executor business connected with my parents' estate which soaked up lots of time, and yesterday, Wednesday, we ended up doing online games for most of the "skill subjects" and then the 5th grader in question decided he wanted to do a rather ambitious research essay on Greek mythology, which he tackled in quite an orderly way and worked on for "homework" in the evening.

So today we were doing "Tuesday's" work, and for whatever reason he was like a 5 year old with ADD.   I could hardly get anything covered the way I wanted to.  It's really hard to predict whether systems will be ON or OFF, with any of my kids actually, so I generally have a bucket list of things I want to get to and draw the most appropriate things from there.

My high schooler and my special-needs teenager don't have a loop like the 5th grader -- not exactly.   My high schooler reads from a stack of books on different subjects (pictured above), and we go over math and Latin together.    He does Chemistry at Khan Academy. 

My special needs teen responds well to Montessori type methods so I usually cover the same 3Rs with him every day but in different forms, pulling out a different type of activity if he doesn't respond to one.   I have a whole stack of Kumon workbooks and other resources we have had around the house for ages, I print out things from online and we cycle through the same topics again and again.    I am going to reread Simply Classical to see if I can pick up more ideas for working with him.    He's a very busy young man though, always helping around the house and organizing and carrying out art projects, so when we have OFF days I can usually count on him to be doing something worthwhile the rest of the day.

Oh, yes, and there is Meeting Time (we meet around lunchtime, so I can't call it Morning Time) .   Here are a few of the resources we're currently using for that. 

One more thing that is mostly working is that we don't get started until pretty late in the day.  Paddy and Kieron wake up relatively late and read for most of the morning while I get things done and work on "school" with Aidan (the special needs teenager).    We have our meeting about 11 am (or at noon, if I take a walk with my husband first), then I work with the highschooler for about an hour, then with the 5th grader.    So we are finishing rather late in the afternoon, but that doesn't seem too bad to me.  It means I can keep my momentum going into dinner prep, piano practice (I am taking lessons too) and beyond.   I am sure things will change when spring and summer come.  Right now it is snowy and so spending the afternoon doing schoolwork in front of the fire seems like a good plan. 


  1. I love your homeschooling planning posts. They make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside! Thanks for posting this and I love your Journey through Bookland site!

  2. Willa, it's me again! I was looking through your Journey through Bookland site and I saw the checklist pages you were doing for your high schooler using 'box'. Can you give me an idea of how to get started with that? I think that would really be a good system for us. Thanks.

    1. Hi Faith,

      Are you talking about the bookmarks? I think I got the idea from the Ambleside page. I just took the books I wanted him to read, broke them down into what I thought were reasonable reading sections for a week, and typed them into the table.

      Then I cut them up into strips and put them in his books -- that way he has both a bookmark and a guide on how much to read at a time. And I can cross-check his progress in the book with where the bookmark says he "should" be, and make adjustments accordingly.

      I also kept a copy of the bookmark page, not cut up, in my binder. That way I can check off easily where he is on different books.

      I suppose the bookmarks could be more elaborate, with asterixes to mark discussion times or papers to write, but I wanted to keep it simple.

      The hardest part was dividing up all the books into weekly portions and typing in all the page numbers. That took a couple of hours.

      Is that what you were asking? It not, please let me know.

    2. Yes, that was what I liked. I think Sean would like everything neatly laid out like that for him. So is the bookmark thing an app I can get on my laptop? I am sorry to be so clueless. Thanks for your help.

  3. Hi Faith, it was not an app. It was a table I made with MS Word. You could download mine from Box and erase my books and make your own. If you don't have MS Word I could convert it to rich text format and upload it that way.

  4. I guess I am so ignorant! So Box is just the program you use to share it on your blog? How do you make tables like that? I have microsoft word on my Mac laptop, but I've never made any table as pretty as that! I guess I just need to fool around a lot with the tables stuff and see what I can come up with. Thanks, Willa, for the info and inspiration!


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