About Kris

Kris Bales is the quirky, Christ-following, painfully honest voice behind Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers. She and her husband of over 25 years are parents to two amazing teens and a homeschool grad. Kris has a pretty serious addiction to sweet tea and Words with Friends. She also seems intent on becoming the crazy cat lady long before she's old and alone.

How to homeschool home ec

Written by Kris Bales of Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers

I’m getting ready to show my age. Back when I was in junior high (See? The age-showing is happening already because middle school wasn’t even a thing back then), we took our first elective class in 8th grade. Except it wasn’t really an elective.

All the boys took shop and, directly across the hall, all the girls took home ec. (See? More age showing with all that “boys build things/girls cook and sew things” stuff.)

I still remember proudly making biscuits, as I’d learned in home ec, for my dad one weekend.

(He was either being exceptionally kind or I have totally forgotten those 8th grade lessons because I can’t make biscuits worth a flip anymore.)

There is still an embroidered, apple-shaped pillow somewhere, and the latch-hook rug I made for my grandmother still hangs on her bedroom wall, even though she passed away many years ago.

What is home ec?

We’re long past the “boys take shop/girls take home ec” days, but that doesn’t mean we should be past teaching the skills of home economics.

Home economics encompasses all the skills needed to maintain a home such as:

  • Preparing healthy meals
  • Sewing (at least enough for simple repairs like replacing a button)
  • Housekeeping
  • Basic household repairs
  • Menu planning and grocery shopping
  • Budgeting and money management
  • Balancing a check book/finances
  • Laundry
  • Lawn care
  • Making appointments (Some people hate calling to make a doctor’s appointment, but it’s something we all have to do at some point.)

Basically, what was once called home ec is what most of us now refer to as life skills – and it includes skills that both boys and girls need.

[Read more…]

Homeschooling high school without driving yourself and your teens crazy

Written by Kris Bales of Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.

Teenagers are pretty insightful beings. About midway through his junior year, my son made a profound statement. He said,

“You know, I think the last couple of years of high school should focus on getting me ready for what I want to do after graduation.”

Um, yeah. They should. Really, all four years probably should.

Sometimes we first-generation homeschool parents get it wrong. We can get so focused on what our public school experience tells us the high school years are supposed to look like that we forget this simple truth. [Read more…]

Note-taking tips for homeschoolers

Note-taking tips for homeschoolersWritten by Kris Bales of Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers

Homeschooling has many undeniable benefits. It offers one-on-one personalized instruction, flexibility, and an unparalleled opportunity to tailor courses to each student’s needs. However, there are some areas in which it can fall short if we’re not intentional about creating opportunities.

Public speaking isn’t the most effective when the audience is your mom, your siblings, and the dog. Backyard versions of playground games like Red Rover leave a lot to be desired.

Note-taking is another skill most of us need to be intentional about teaching. After all, it’s not like most homeschool moms stand in the middle of the living room or dining room and lecture the kids all day.

Unless they “forgot” to do their chores. Again.

When they go off to college, attend meetings at their future jobs, or even while doing their independent work while still homeschooling, kids need to learn to take good notes as part of developing good study habits. [Read more…]

How our mini co-op is holding me accountable


Written by Kris Bales of Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers

I heard this rumor that homeschooling families like to hear about what’s working well for other homeschooling families. So I wracked my brain trying to think of what I could share with you.

There’s Teaching Textbooks, which makes me so happy because I don’t have to teach algebra, but that would be a pretty short blog post. There’s the fact that my teens are now working mostly independently, but I’m not sure that would help moms of younger kids.

Then it hit me – our small weekly co-op!

If I had to pick just one thing that’s worked exceptionally well for us this year that could work just as well for other homeschooling families, it would be our mini co-op.

[Read more…]

Kris’s homeschool day in the life (with a 15-, 17-, and 21-year-old)

Kris's homeschool day in the life (with a 15-, 17- & 21-year-old)

Written by Kris Bales of Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers

After I turn off the alarm (usually by 7:45 at the latest), I turn on my phone. As soon as it boots up, there’s a text: “Up yet?”

I smile. That means that our new addition, a puppy, has not let her person sleep much – or woke her up too early.

“Let me take a shower, and I’ll watch her,” I reply. Because it’s not much easier to take a shower with a new puppy than it is with a new baby. At least the baby won’t eat your shoes while you wash your hair.

This is how our days have been starting out lately, though Belle, the shepherd/husky mix pup is getting better at letting her person, my 21-year-old, sleep until at least 7:30 or 8. Funny how that would have been an ungodly hour a few years ago.

A homeschool day in the life

This is the kid who liked to stay up until 2 or 3 in the morning doing her school work so she could sleep until nearly noon the following day. I was warned that she’d never be able to adjust to “normal” hours. She has. Unless a puppy keeps her up half the night.

By 8:30 or so, I’m on puppy-sitting duty as I sip my morning Spark, a vitamin/energy drink that’s my alternative to the coffee for which I never developed a taste.

Puppy-sitting isn’t a bad deal. Belle is very smart and already whines at the door to go out. Mostly, I just keep an eye out to make sure she’s playing with the big dogs instead of chewing up something she shouldn’t or terrorizing the cats.

I work from home as a blogger, writer, and social media manager. Now that I have late-sleeping teens, I spend the first couple of hours of my day working. It’s much easier than when they were younger. I don’t even have to be exceptionally quiet. No one is going to wake up until I force them out of bed.

[Read more…]