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Kids Are Always Learning (Even on the Weekend)

Kids Are Always Learning Even on the Weekend

The other day my six year old asked me what we’d be doing for school that day. 

“No school today,” I reminded her. “It’s Saturday.” 

With a delighted sigh of relief, she found a comfy corner of the couch and started reading Life of Fred: Butterflies

Side Note: If you’re not familiar with the Life of Fred series, it’s a quirky but effective math curricula adored by many homeschooling families. We’ve used it as a math supplement over the years and all three of my kids love it. 

When her brothers picked up other books in the Life of Fred series and proceeded to read math books for over two hourson a Saturdayfor fun… the inspiration for this post was born.

Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW) Core Writing Curriculum Review

IEW Core Writing Curriculum Review

(There are affiliate links in this post – click here to learn more. IEW® and Structure and Style® are registered trademarks of the Institute for Excellence in Writing. L.L.C.)

Writing is one of those subjects that puts fear in the hearts of homeschooling parents everywhere. After all, it’s been enshrined as one of the historic “3 R’s” so we’d better not mess it up, right?

Even if we aren’t aiming to raise the next Dickens or Tolkien, at the very least we want our kids to be able to write a professional cover letter or a college application essay.

Our Homeschooling Family’s Experience with Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW)

Our Homeschooling Family's Experience with Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW)

(There are affiliate links in this post – click here to learn more. IEW® and Structure and Style® are registered trademarks of the Institute for Excellence in Writing. L.L.C. Fix It!™ is a trademark of the Institute for Excellence in Writing, L.L.C.)

We started using Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW) products four years ago when my oldest son was in 4th grade. Since then, there hasn’t been a year we haven’t used at least one IEW product! 

Up until now, I haven’t had a chance to collect my thoughts and share about our IEW experiences. But that’s about to change! 

If you’re searching for a high quality language arts or writing curriculum, or if you’re wondering if IEW is the right choice for your family, you’re in the right place so read on!

Our Experience with CTC Math Homeschool Curriculum: A Mini Review

Our experience with CTC Math homeschool curriculum - a mini review

If you’re like me, you read more than one review when considering a homeschool curriculum purchase. 

And, if you’re like me, you get frustrated when the first half of every review repeats the same basic product info. 

So, in this review, I’ll skip all the basics. This won’t be “All You Need to Know” about CTC Math. And it won’t be the  “Complete Ultimate Comprehensive Guide” to homeschool math curricula. 

In this CTC Math Mini Review, I’ll assume you’re already semi-familiar with the program and you’re just trying to decide if it will work for your family. (If that’s not the case, check out the CTC Math website to see what it’s all about or read Cathy Duffy’s review for a quick summary. Then come back here for my two cents.) 

Our Homeschool Summer Break – Year 8

Our Homeschool Summer Break Year 8

Years ago, I started writing about our plans for summer breaks. I shared the educational and homeschool-y things we did over the summer each year. If you read those posts, you might remember that each year I seemed to bounce back and forth between too academic and too relaxed. 

By our 5th homeschooling summer I’d found a good balance. (Yes, it really did take me five summers to figure it out…)

But just when I was getting the hang of things… the pandemic reared its ugly head. 

Homeschooling in the Chicago Suburbs: Co-ops, Field Trips, & Family Activities

homeschooling in the Chicago suburbs: co-ops, field trips, & family activities

As I’ve written this post, all of my family’s belongings were loaded onto a 26’ moving truck and taken to our new home in another state! 

After searching online for co-ops and extracurricular activities near our new home, I realized firsthand how helpful it is when bloggers share their favorite local homeschooling resources!

So, before my family leaves the northwest Chicago suburbs, I want to post a “brain dump” of all the northern Illinois homeschooling resources I’ve found over the years. We’ve been parenting and homeschooling here for over a decade and have collected a list of awesome co-ops, support groups, nature centers, field trip ideas, and more! 

A Tale of Two Subjects: Why Homeschooling Parents Succeed (Even If They Aren’t Experts)

Why Homeschooling Parents Succeed Even If They Aren't Experts - A Tale of Two Subjects

Have you ever questioned your ability to educate your own kids? Are you scared to teach math or science (or any other subject) because you barely made it through those subjects yourself?

Or, have you wondered how homeschooling parents can teach their own kids when they aren’t certified teachers?

The “parents-can’t-homeschool-since-they-aren’t-certified-teachers” criticism is (unfortunately) still a common homeschool myth. I debunk it pretty thoroughly in my book, Think About Homeschooling: What It Is, What It Isn’t, & Why It Works, so you can check that out and put that myth to rest in your mind. 

But, for now, I’d like to address those of you who are genuinely concerned that you won’t be able to teach your kids _______ (fill in the blank with your weakest subject). 

Homeschools Are NOT Public Schools (and That’s Okay!)

homeschools are not public schools and that's okay

Today, my 7th grader did his math lesson on a laptop in my parents’ dining room, his spelling on the living room floor, and his history on the couch.

Yesterday, we planned a last-minute field trip to a children’s museum since grandma was available to join us.

Last week, when all the public schools were in session, we took our Spring break because it worked better for our family’s schedule.

A month ago, my 4th grader and I decided to switch to a different math curriculum. We transitioned mid-year to a program that worked better for him.

We’ve got no school desks, no bulletin boards, no interactive smart whiteboard, and no lockers. Some days we start school at 7am and other days at 10am. Our homeschool is a far cry from a public school classroom. 

But it wasn’t always so.