Breaking the “SCHOOL” Habit

Breaking the “SCHOOL” Habit

This is like breaking a bad habit.  This idea that I have to dictate what the kids are going to do.  And to think that for our entire homeschool career I had already been a Go With the Flow kind of mom. So this should be easy, right?

It is called de-schooling I believe.  A time where you pretend you are on vacation. We did this in this in December.  Just enjoyed the Christmas spirit.  I will keep this in mind while I am busy with stuff and wondering what is going on upstairs.  It is driving me nuts!

Deschooling.  “We are on vacation”


Our First REAL Unschooling Day

Our First REAL Unschooling Day

I have been wanting to jump into unschooling since my discovery of home education.  Now my oldest has moved away to go to college, his brother is preparing himself to leave the nest and my youngest will be the one.  The one who get’s the freedom.  

Today our morning started off like most of our days.  I had the news on and was researching about the Presidential Election.  My little one (11 years old) saw what I was watching and said “I’m voting for Trump.” This lead into us searching for information on the internet about what  Trumps plans were.  We talked about the debates, socialism, things we liked and didn’t like.  My son who is still at home looked up socialism and countries that are.

It wasn’t to long until my youngest announced that it was Chinese New Year and that he wanted to make Chinese Lanterns.  I asked him why the Chinese celebrate New Years today and he proceeded to explained it to me.  He also said he would make a Chinese dragon and we should have Chinese food for dinner. And by the way the dragon is entirely his design idea.

Noah, the oldest, told me that he might take an astronomy class because he really is interested.  He happened to watch an our long lecture on YouTube that made him start thinking about this again.  In the past I  mentioned astronomy classes because he was always talking about what he learned about it.

For being my first day of really letting them lead it went well.  I can’t wait to see how this week goes.  What was your unschooling day like?

P.S.  Noah just helped me with grammar!  AND he was right.

How to Get Back to Your Routine

How to Get Back to Your Routine

It has almost been a month since the holidays have ended yet I am still on Christmas vacation.  I actually had not planned on taking a prolonged time off from home school but that’s just the way it has been.  I am really feeling that we should get back to our routine.

Personally I prefer to take small steps and tackle the most vital first.

  1. Have a written plan of action for the day.  I can’t say enough about writing things down.  This is key for me.
  2. Get the kids up at a reasonable time, not noon.  This has also been hard for me because I have been enjoying the extra quiet time.
  3. Make sure everyone eats breakfast.  That might sound odd except when you have a family that likes to make a meal just as soon as you start anything.
  4. Take your time with subjects.  Instead of jumping into a full day of subjects we linger and take our time.  (I prefer this way of homeschooling)
Waldorf Grade 3 Forms 

For my family it takes a good week to get back into the rhythm of our days.  What are some ways you get back to your routine?



Creating a Joyful Day

Creating a Joyful Day

Experimenting with medium.
Experimenting with medium.

Every person is different, wouldn’t you agree.  With that, each child’s homeschool experience is different.  In our home, high school has been dedicated to focusing on the way he should go and building upon the areas that need firming up.  And today was a day of creation.

My son’s first project today was experimenting with letter’s in chalk.  I couldn’t tell you when or what inspired him to do this but in one moment he said he was cleaning his brothers old chalk board to discovering artful lettering.

The Floating Shelf
The Floating Shelf

Shortly after putting up the board he decided to finish the design project he began on Sunday.  To be fair this is not his idea but he did have to re-engineer the concept so that he could use what we had on hand.  What you see here is a shelf of video games that truly appears to be floating.

Wood Burning Experiment
Wood Burning Experiment

When we had a conversation about “things to do” this year I had mentioned wood carving.  We inventoried our supplies and I showed him the wood burner we had.  Remembering the wood burner that we had he set out to do another piece of art (so to speak).   He just keeps going.

If your like many of my friends you are probably wondering about his academic courses like History or Science. Those days happen. Just not today.  Today he is working on himself and nurturing his future.  I do believe he managed to squeeze in Algebra though.

Home Building Lesson Block / Unit Study

Home Building Lesson Block / Unit Study

Fort buildingThis month we are getting started on our Home Building Block/Unit study.  We will cover social studies, math and science. The less obvious academic subject covered is language arts.  It is important that he, my son, takes away from this project  the ability to work together and respect others ideas.  While the academic subjects are supporting these life values.

Through the year we have been casually talking about what types of houses people lived in.  These have been pointed out while reading books, watching a movie, anytime the topic arises. Some great books are Robinson Crusoe, Swiss Family Robinson, Little House on the Prairie to name a few.  I also may make up a story when a moment presents itself.

For this block/unit I have chosen 1 Kings 5 and Luke 6:48 to bring in biblical reference of character and  weight and measurements, types of wood used and stone cutting.  It will be read from the The Living Bible because of the contemporary language such as “gallons” verses “cors”. The story has detailed dimensions of the temple that Solomon built which will cover simple geometry.

After reading the story we talk about the details of how how the temple was built.  I ask him open ended questions to encourage conversation.  Depending on his mood I might have a great talk.  If not that’s fine too.  His father will ask him later on in the day about the story.

“How did you feel about the story?”

“What was your favorite part?”

Luke 6:48 is our backdrop for our drawings of a house standing on rocks and surviving the raging stream.  He will have an opportunity to create his own depiction of the story.  The verse makes for copy work and cursive writing practice.

Here are some words that are for your knowledge or you can use them as vocabulary for your child.

Math Vocabulary

  1. bushel: a unit for measuring an amount of fruit and grain that equal to about 35.2 liters in the U.S. ad to about 36.4 liters in the U.K.
  2. gallon: a unit of liquid measurement
  3. cor: an ancient Hebrew and Phoenician unit of measure of capacity
  4. bath: ancient Hebrew liquid measure corresponding to the ephah of dry measure (ephah is also an ancient Hebrew unit if measure equal to 1/10 homer or a little over a bushel.)
  5. area: the surface included within a set of lines.
  6. square: a four sided shape that is made up of four straight sides that are the same length and that has four right angles.

Luke 6:48

He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house, and could not shake it, for it was founded on the rock.

1 Kings 5:18

So Solomon’s builders, Hiram’s builders, and the Gebalites quarried them; and they prepared timber and stones to build the temple.

Now for Some FUN!

We move onto the more exciting part of this study, the fort building.  I will  bring out one of the books on tree houses for him to look at and a basic carpentry book.  This is when we brainstorm ideas on how we are going to accomplish building the his fort.

  • Write a list
  • Create a Mind Map
  • Draw pictures
  • anything else you think of . . .

A suggestion I read  is to visit Habitat for Humanity or a home building retailer.  Assist him to cost out the fort project.  It is also a challenge to find materials for free.  My friend built a chicken coup with free materials from Freecyledotorg.

Basic List of Woodworking Hand Tools

A. Measuring Tape (12′) they make measuring tapes that have the fractions labeled on the tape to make it easier to read especially if your child is just learning about fractions.

B. Ruler (12″) wooden ones are easier to read than the clear or colored plastic ones.

C. Hammer (7 – 10oz for smaller children, 16oz for older children with better hand eye coordination)

D. Screwdrivers: flathead and Phillips

E. Nail set

F. Handsaw (western or Japanese style)

G. Coping saw

H. Block plane

I. Brace Drill (Hand drill)

J. Rasp

K. Sandpaper (100, 120, 150, 180 grits)

L. Glue (white or yellow) water proof for outdoor projects

M. Screws and nails (a box each of 1 ¼” and 1 5/8″ drywall screws and a box each of 3d, 4d, and 6d finish nails will get you through most projects in this book).

N. Clamps (See the lesson on building the step stool for information on clamps).

O. Safety glasses (it may take some extra effort, but find a pair that fits your child. They will become frustrated quickly if every time they start to swing a hammer they have to push their glasses back up on their noses. Manufactures do make child size glasses it just might take some looking around to find them.)

P. Combination square

Q. Speed square

 Article Source:
The project was to be a simple fort but turned out to be a fun family and friend tree house raising.

KRISTINAS - WIN_20140604_180052

The tree house built with recycled fencing and left over paint.
The tree house built with recycled fencing and left over paint.


Additional Resources

Strong as the Weakest Link                  

Leaning Tower of Pasta               l How to Build a Survival Shelter

How to Build Treehouses, Huts and Forts by David Stiles available on



The Decision to Home School

The Decision to Home School

“In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing. The worst thing you can do is nothing.”

Theodore Roosevelt  

Our decision to home school was an easy one. I already knew that public school was designed for a minority of children not for the majority of children. When I was a child I knew that I had been apart of that majority and so had most of my friends. Having that knowledge made it difficult for me to send my children to public school, but at the time I thought that my only choice was the public school system. We were about to do nothing; until one day I discovered home school and that is what we were going to do, home school.

So far we are all very happy and content with the decision we made to home school but you are probably wondering what the motivation was behind the decision.

Freedom is probably the biggest reason to home-school.  But what does that mean, right?

Freedom to:

  • Be with my children when I choose to and now they choose when they want to be with me.  I’m happy to say they actually choose me often.
  • Instill our families values.
  • Be 100% responsible for who they are and what they become.  There isn’t anyone to point a finger at.
  • Choose the books or curriculum with them.
  • Be a family.

The part I love the most is all the wonderful glorious time we have had getting knowing each other.  I am going to get get corny here: the memories that we have collected over the years, the laughter about what ever the boys find funny. All of this has been incredible. I feel blessed that we have had this opportunity to know all three of my boys and to have had this time with them.  That is the best part of homeschooling.  All the rest is icing on the cake.

Take the time right now and write down what your purpose is.  What do you think?

The Perfectionism Cure

The Perfectionism Cure

I talk to a lot of home school parents that are frustrated, tired, or just wanting to through in the towel.  What I suggest is what I like to call an Opposite Day or a Yes Day.  This video was posted on a Facebook group and it is just about our need to create perfect children and to be perfect parents.  It does not say that but I saw it as a layer to Opposite Day.  This video says

“it’s good to make mistakes!”  

I challenge you to be free today and let yourself make a mistake or two.  I won’t tell.