September studies

We started our book learning early this year. With no garden to obsess over, I honed in on the kids, poor dears.

It took us a couple weeks to get up to speed, and we’re still not quite there yet. Workbooks are arriving in the mail every other day, and I’m eagerly awaiting my one big splurge—three different magazines from Cobblestone. I know I could check them out of the library but don’t want to bother. I want to read these magazines out loud at our leisure. So there went nearly a hundred bucks, ouch.

Our schedule is pretty full. I’m sure I’ll relax as we get into the year, start cutting corners and all, but for now, we need the structure. I’m being all sorts of strict, operating under the mantra that declares new teachers should never smile at first. Or something.

I’m surprised by how much I’m enjoying myself. I get bored sometimes, but I’m figuring out how to balance the tedious with the games (this one’s the current favorite), videos, and fun read-alouds. At the end of the day I feel like I’ve accomplished something important. It’s a nice feeling.

study breaks: he’s making a serious dent in the log pile

But for the details! Oh, the details!

What’s it like to homeschool four high-energy children, you ask? How do I juggle different grade levels and abilities and curriculums and minuscule attention spans and bad attitudes? How do I work in meals and cleaning and puppy training and blogging and business phone calls and walks and movies and a newspaper column? It’s simple, really—

a lesson in getting along


It’s not simple, not at all. Oftentimes, I’m like a not-funny clown in a really bad juggling act—the kind that drops balls and gets hit by balls and finally, in desperation, hurls balls against the wall. I get irritated and grumpy and then I bite my husband’s head off when it’s not even called for (sometimes it is), like yesterday morning when I came downstairs to discover that all the laundry he had folded was still sitting on the table in neat little stacks.

“How am I supposed to teach the kids when the table is covered in laundry?” I snapped. “If you’re going to do something, do it all the way. I’m sick of following through with the kids—don’t make me have to follow through with you, too!”

He, in turn, has been bemoaning the lack of anything edible in the house. The other morning, he asked, “Where’s all the food we canned this summer?” When I looked up from my writing, there he was, standing by the jelly cupboard, a confused, peeved look on his face.

“Um…in the basement?” My voice dripped sarcasm. “I haven’t had time to bring the jars up. Obviously.”

We’re not always at each other’s throats. Just sometimes. No need to stage an intervention. Yet.

Anyway, back to homeschooling. Where was I? Oh, right. The details.

studying up on his US history

They are as follows: studies all morning, lunch and rest time, a few more random studies, supper, reading, and bedtime, with play and chores scattered throughout.

Old Yeller, one of our favorites
(she’s not crying, just tired) 

I know, I know! That was entirely unsatisfactory. Maybe one of these days I’ll take minute-to-minutes notes of my day. It’d probably make me look ADD, though. Or schizoid.

our suppertime reading material

But maybe I’ll see if I can work it in.

This same time, years previous: whole wheat jammies, coffee fix ice cream, ricotta cheese, and pesto torte


  • Cookie baker Lynn

    Lovely to peek into your school day! It's hard to get back into the groove after summer, but it looks like it's going to be a great year for you and your family.

  • You Can Call Me Jane

    I'd like to hear about/see what specific books/workbooks you all use. I love hearing how others put their school days together- logistically and educationally.

  • Becky

    We are lucky enough to have a corner of the basement as our laundry area. Everyone has their own basket – when laundry comes out of the dryer, I insist on it being folded and sorted and thrown into the proper basket. That way, the fact that no one but me puts it away ever doesn't bug me as much. They rifle through their baskets and every few months when they break down and put it away, they find missing articles.
    I highly recommend the basket system if you have the space.

    Even those of us who don't homeschool might sound ADD if we took notes of our days. I just don't think I'm cut out to homeschool – for starters, my daughter's math skills have already surpassed mine.

  • the domestic fringe

    Ok, the part about the laundry still being on the table killed me. I fold all the laundry and stack it. It is everyone's responsibility to put it away themselves. Only, they don't see it. Ever. Even if they cannot eat at the table because it's piled high with laundry. HUH??????

    Am I the only one who sees a problem with this?

    You accomplish a lot in a day. I admire that.

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