Kari’s homeschool day in the life ~
Written by Kari Patterson of Sacred Mundane
As soon as I wrote the title on this post my newborn started crying and the 2-year-old “comforted” him with a smothering hug and a sloppy kiss, so I sprang from my seat to save my smallest son (Benjamin).
Then the toddler (Justice) asked to read Never Touch a Porcupine for the 900th time today, complete with the ritual where he reaches out to touch the rubbery porcupine and I exaggeratedly gasp,”Oh no! Don’t touch it!”
Our 11-year-old (Heidi) is at the kitchen counter completing her art lesson, and our 14-year-old (Dutch) is on his way home with my husband (Jeff) from his teen homeschool co-op.
They’ll burst through the door in fifteen minutes and I’ll hear all about their respective adventures.
These are the characters in the unfolding drama that is my day-in-the-life!
In many ways, we’re just now getting in the swing of things this year because fall was pretty rough. We had wildfires in September, I got injured in October, had a baby in November, and we all know school is sort of a wash through the holidays of December.
Add some personal struggles and a 2-year-old who quit sleeping and the whole season is a blur of exhaustion and tears.
So yeah, 2021 here we go! Thankfully, through the various challenges of fall some things remained constant: Dutch’s Monday school (for homeschool teens) is fabulous and he completes his homework on his own, and both kids were great about doing their math and literature every day.
I basically cheered them on and tried to survive.
Here’s how things are rolling now:
Dutch (14) is just dipping his toe in high school credits and workloads. He’s taking Speech & Debate, American Government, World War I, and PE through his homeschool co-op, Algebra on his own (Life of Fred & Teaching Textbooks), and literature (Total Language Plus).
He does best working at his own pace, without me hovering too much.
He’ll join us for literature but the rest of the day he’s on his own—in his free time he loves studying absurd physics (all things Randall Munroe), economics (he’s developing an economics board game), Creation Science (we gave him the Is Genesis History DVDs (afflink) and these six Creation Apologetics courses for Christmas), Tolkien trivia, politics, and bizarre biblical controversies (i.e. Who were the Nephilim?).
And of course, updating his blog.
Heidi (almost 12) has had some struggles with anxiety this year, and discovered that she does best with a more structured day. She can become so fixated on doing something perfectly that it will keep her from completing the rest of her tasks.
She needs to be forced to keep moving forward, so she has time allotments for her various subjects through the day.
She does math (Life of Fred & Teaching Textbooks), literature (Total Language Plus), essay-writing (IEW Elegant Essay lessons), free reading, creative-writing, art tutorials (she loves Creative Bug), and piano practice.
Just last week she was able to restart theater classes in person (yay!) once a week. She also has a regular time each day of taking care of Justice so I can actually accomplish something. (smile)
Highlights of this year: Seeing both big kids selflessly serve our family through difficult seasons. They have joyfully stepped up to take care of Justice, hold Benjamin, and do extra chores.
This blesses me far beyond any academic achievements!
I’ve also loved our read aloud literature studies so far: The Hiding Place and The Giver. They’ve prompted great discussions and questions for writing and reflection. Highly recommend!
Weaknesses of this year: Dutch’s real love is science, but his fabulous science teacher from last year is no longer at his co-op. We’d love for him to study this subject in person (but I’m not that person), so we’re still searching for a good option.
Similarly, Heidi doesn’t have a solid grasp of or love for history and geography. We’re currently re-reading The Story of the World, because those are the only history books she’s really enjoyed. I welcome suggestions on both of these issues!
Overall, it’s been a great year, despite the difficulties. I wouldn’t trade these days for anything.
Thanks for joining us today!
My, how the days have changed:
- 2020: Kari’s homeschool day in the life (with a 1-, 10-, and 13-year-old)
- 2019: Kari’s homeschool day in the life (with a 5-month, 9- and 12-year old)
- 2018: Kari’s homeschool day in the life (with a 9-and 11-year-old)
- 2017: Kari’s homeschool day in the life (with a 7- and 10-year-old)
- 2016: Kari’s homeschool day in the life (with a 7- and 9-year-old)
- 2015: Kari’s homeschool day in the life (with a 5- & 8-year-old)
- 2014: Kari’s homeschool day in the life (with a 4- & 7-year-old)
What’s Your Homeschool Mom Personality? Take Jamie’s quiz now and receive a free personality report to help you organize your homeschool based on what your personality type needs most!
Re: Dutch’s science; we have found Outschool to be the best resource for this. My son also loves “absurd physics” (hah! I loved that) and took a great 10-session course on Outschool for teens called “Space Science: From Astrophysics to Exobiology ” and he said the teacher was really engaging and the material was new to him (so hard to find that).
It’s not ideal as it’s another online thing, but even though my kids *hate* online school- he is ready to take another class from this guy or someone else with more science-related classes….definitely a win!
Sarah Mast’s latest post: Cumberland Vacation // 2020
Awesome, thank you so much Sarah! I have friends who have loved Outschool as well but I haven’t checked it out. I definitely will!
I don’t know if it would be up Heidi’s street as it’s largely British history, but the Horrible Histories series at pretty brilliant (they don’t leave it the gory bits, so you may eat too vet… I don’t know) and very funny and the BBC TV series of the same name (available on BBC iplayer) is amazingly funny and so informative. Worth a look as my daughter lives it.
My daughter had the same feelings about history as well and is also 11. She hated anything to do with it and it was a huge bummer for me personally as it’s my favorite! We discovered Beautiful Feet Books this year and it has completely changed our homeschool. My daughter is also my artistic child and I’ve encouraged her to be as creative as she likes with the notebooking parts, her history journal is full of drawings, quotes, mini “essays”, and her feelings and reflections on the readings. The book choices are top notch and we are both enjoying it immensely. It’s our favorite part of our homeschool day!