Category Archives: 2013

The Second Week

Our second week (and first full week) of homeschooling is complete! So, what did Lillia do this week?

— She learned about the different types of clouds, and how to identify them.
— She learned about number sets from our math book, Life of Fred: Apples by Stanley Schmidt (highly recommend!). Can you think of a set with seven numbers in it? {The days of the week}!
— She studied world history from the Precambrian through the Triassic using her history book, Voyages Through Time: The Beginning by Peter Ackroyd.
— She learned how to make and use drop-down webs to organize what she learned in history.
— She learned how to make the letters A, E, I, O, U, Y, B, & C in cursive!
— She learned what a sentence is, and how to identify one of its parts (that of which we speak — the subject).
— She reviewed the concepts of latitude and longitude, and started plotting hominid fossils on a map using coordinates.
— She finished her first literature book, Children of Time by Anne Weaver, and used two column notes to help her remember all of the different characters.
— She participated in many extracurricular activities, including Phys Ed and Art at the school, and Hip Hop and Ballet at Moco!
— And, she had lots of time to play!

This afternoon, Lillia spent a couple of hours creating character studies for some wolves from her imaginary city. She typed up all the pages by herself, and then she used Photoshop to create illustrations for them!


All in all, this week went really well. Looking back at her list of accomplishments, I feel pretty good about homeschooling! There were a few moments where things were difficult, but each of those moments offered valuable insight into how Lillia learns, and what types of activities interest her/bore her/stress her out. I feel like it will probably take a couple of months for me to really figure out what I’m doing, but there is marked improvement just since last week.

One thing I noticed is that we don’t really follow a schedule. I had originally planned to do things in twenty-minute increments, but that has gone completely out the window. We don’t really follow a particular order, either. Every day is different. It certainly keeps us from getting bored. I’m curious how others deal with the schedule issue, and I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Leave a Comment

Filed under 2013, Weekly Update

The First Week

Phew! It’s Friday afternoon, and we have officially finished our first week of homeschooling. And, what a week it was! I have read that, when it comes to homeschooling, kids often teach their parents more than the other way around. After the week we’ve had, I couldn’t possibly agree more. But, the things I have learned were so valuable, and I know they will really shape our homeschooling journey in the months to come.

First of all, I learned that all of my agonizing over curriculum design and planning was, though not entirely pointless, a fairly big waste of time. Our school day looks very different in real life than it does on paper! Sometimes there’s a cranky baby. Sometimes we’re inexplicably starving an hour after breakfast and need a break. With one car, we’re on the road more than I thought we would be. And, Lillia’s extracurricular classes at the school use up the entire morning twice a week.

But, this is good for me! I hate ambiguity — I need to know what’s going to happen. This is a real exercise in persisting despite not knowing, and I think that will have long-term benefits for me.

I also learned that my daughter HATES to write. I didn’t know this! That might surprise some people, but how would I know? The problem is not her writing skills. In fact, she’s actually a very good writer (most likely because she is also a very good reader). However, my plan to have her write daily in a literature journal has been tossed out. The first attempt ended in tears, the second attempt ended in laying on the ground moaning, and I didn’t even try a third time. I’m not homeschooling her to torture her. But, I am homeschooling her because her teachers and guidance counselors were not able to help her deal with her debilitating perfectionism, and it has become a real obstacle to her academic success. Writing seems to be where her perfectionism manifests itself in the homeschooling environment. I’m going to try and separate the literature study from the writing, and see if that helps. I found a program called WriteShop for “reluctant writers,” which I think describes my daughter perfectly. Writing isn’t always fun, but it shouldn’t be torture, either!

Once the pressure was off, she wrote extemporaneously about an imaginary place she created called “Miriloo – City of the Wolves.” She wrote an entire page! The next day I typed it for her, and she created a map of Miriloo, complete with a legend/key (during which time we got to cover some Geography stuff), and then the following day she created a travel brochure for her imaginary land. All in all, a great project that was mostly child-directed and completely unplanned.

wh miriloo

Here’s what else we accomplished:

Independent Reading!

wh reading

Discovering the thickness of the Earth’s atmosphere using an apple!

wh apple experiment

Writing in her science journal!

wh science journal

Seeing how long it takes for a drop of water to evaporate!

wh evaporation experiment

Re-creating the Water Cycle!

wh condensation experiment

And, much more!

After a terrible start, most of the week went smoothly. I was temporarily paralyzed with fear that we should start with US History instead of Ancient, but in the end it probably doesn’t matter. There are arguments from both sides, and both seem equally valid. Since I’ve already bought many Ancient History books, I figure we should just stay the course. I may write more about this later, and I’m open to feedback on this issue!

I’m looking forward to next week!

1 Comment

Filed under 2013, Weekly Update