Category Archives: Homeschooling

Everything I find out as I embark on something I never thought I’d do.

Homeschooling isn’t wrestling, either.

“Imagination is our greatest gift and our greatest curse…” -Max Landis, from his short film Wrestling Isn’t Wrestling

I’ve been on a Max Landis kick. Ever since I listened to his episode of the Nerdist podcast a few years ago I’ve been intrigued by the way he tells stories. After seeing his recent tweet about his mom and the Jeopardy question about costumes for Indiana Jones, I ended up finding, and reading, his entire treatise on Carly Rae Jepsen, watched The Death and Return of Superman, and then Wrestling Isn’t Wrestling.  [Fair Warning: his stuff, including the above linked tweet and video, tends to be NSFW]

Two immediate reactions:

1) He shared that the first thing people say to him about wrestling is, “You know it’s fake, right?” It reminded me of the way people react when I announce that I homeschool. It’s frustratingly predictable, and coming from someone who has no experience of it, a response like this almost feels designed to make you feel bad about yourself.

2) Max Landis isn’t going to feel bad about himself, and neither am I. His contention, quoted above, is that people need drama and stories because our infinite imaginative capacity can leave us bored, and wrestling fills that gap for him. “We love watching people grow, change, struggle. Good people; bad people. We don’t care. We want to see it, man.”

This is closer to what wrestling looks like at our house.

Reading and writing, homeschooling, and even falling down the Max Landis rabbit hole all charge up my imagination in different ways.

Max Landis probably isn’t for everyone. But the stuff that is “for everyone” tends to get bland and watered down anyway. So if you’re feeling daring, check his stuff out. Maybe you’ll find a new favorite source of entertainment to satisfy your ever-hungry imagination.

Happy doing-whatever-it-is-you-like-to-do-best-ing!

Wrestlers photo by Martin Kníže on Unsplash
Panda photo by Jackson Ingraham on Unsplash

6 Reasons we use @ABCmouse for #homeschooling

6 reasons we use ABCmouse

We’ve been using a program called ABCmouse to supplement our homeschooling efforts. We use it more on some days than others, and it certainly doesn’t replace the work we do in workbooks or with hands-on projects. However, there are many reasons why we love the program.*

1) Good for both kids

Both kids (6 and 3 years old) can use it — in fact, I was surprised at how quickly the 3-year-old picked up how to navigate the program!

2) Age-appropriate activities

With different levels to choose from, the activities that each of the kids receives in their respective lessons are age-appropriate, so they don’t get frustrated.

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3) High production value

The graphics are great, and the whole site has a very high production value. For example, the ABC videos are super cute. I literally can’t get some of the songs out of my head (“Bobby Bugsby had a Bike. A Birthday present from his Brother Mike…”), and the videos are engaging. The three-year old recognizes more letters from these than from my drilling with him.

In fact, if you don’t want to pay for the whole program, it would be well worth it to just get the ABC videos (available on their own in an iPad app).

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4) Wide variety

There are so many activities that there’s something for each of them no matter what mood they’re in. Puzzles. Mazes. Books. Letters. Fables. Pets. Reward tickets. And so many more!

5) Provides an activity when you don’t have any hands available

It’s good for the 6-year-old to supplement math and reading, but there’s also a side-benefit: sometimes when I’m trying to work on a specific project with my 6-year-old, this is a good way to get the 3-year-old involved in something that he enjoys and that keeps him occupied for 10 or 20 minutes.

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6) iPad-ready

We just got the kids iPad minis, and the full version of ABC mouse is available as an app (it’s called Early Learning Academy) — you just sign in with the UN and PW you created on the computer. That makes it even easier for us to use when we’re traveling. Also, no more fights about who gets to go first. 🙂

So, in my humble opinion, ABC mouse is worth a look for anyone who has younger children, particularly if you’re homeschooling.

Happy homeschooling!

*To be clear, ABC mouse didn’t tell me to write this post, didn’t give me anything for free, and probably doesn’t even know who I am other than a name in a database. I just really love this resource and wanted to share.

A fun way to learn the #calendar in #homeschool

A friend gave us this really amazing calendar (she found it at a garage sale, but it would probably be pretty easy to make one like it). It’s made with velcro so it’s easy for the kids to use.  As you see, it has the day, date, month, year, weather, and season.

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It has become our first-thing-in-the-morning ritual, and really helping my 6-year-old to understand how days, months, years, and seasons work. Plus, it’s fun.

Happy homeschooling!

People keep telling me not to… #homeschool

Remember when you were expecting a child, and you learned the first set of questions that every single person would ask you? They were something like this:

“How far along are you?”

“What’s your due date?”

“Is it a boy or girl?”

You came to expect those questions, and in fact you were almost disappointed if someone congratulated you without asking them.

Similarly, I’ve discovered that when I tell people I’m homeschooling my kids there’s a set of regular questions that almost always come out:

“Have you thought about their socialization needs?”

“How is that going?”

And most commonly, “Why?”

I recognize that the people asking are usually either genuinely curious, or sometimes genuinely concerned. However, it does get a little bit old answering them over and over again. In case you were thinking of asking me any of these questions, in order to save some time, here are the answers.

1) First of all, thanks for asking.  😉  Yes. I’ve thought about it a lot, just as I thought long and hard before embarking on this journey. I do have a plan in place that involves classes outside of the home and regular trips to the library. No need for you to worry about it on my behalf.

2) First of all, thanks for asking.  😉  It’s going fine so far. If you know me well, you know I love teaching, and I love my kids, and it turns out that the combination of the two has been fine so far. Is there a chance it won’t always be? Sure. That’s why I’m open to considering other schooling methods if need be. But for now, we’re very happy.

3) First of all, thanks for asking.  😉  Like you, I live in a century and decade where I can be fulfilled working from home (I’m a proud WAHM — that’s Work At Home Mother for the uninitiated) and also take advantage of the golden opportunity to spend time with my kids. They will only be small once, and this is a key time when their ideas, opinions, fears, and hopes are being formed. I want to be a big part of that. I have the opportunity to give them this gift — the gift of my time and help — and I want to give it.

Some of the benefits: We get to take field trips whenever we want without having to sign permission slips. We can study anything my kids are interested in without worrying about whether the rest of the class is caught up. We can use every day to learn something new, rather than restricting the bulk of our learning to a traditional school year.

I totally recognize that this is not a viable choice for everyone. And the public schools in my area ARE great schools. My choice isn’t a condemnation of anyone else’s choices, it’s just the best choice I can make for my family at this time.

When it comes right down to it, I’m excited to be living in a time and country where there are so many available resources to make sure that my kids — and yours — get a great education. Thus, I wish you well in whatever educational choices you make for your family, and I hope you wish me well in mine.

Happy learning!

Homeschool help

A couple of links that have been very helpful to my homeschooling journey:

The Pioneer Woman
While her children are different ages than mine, I LOVE reading Ree Drummond’s stories, and her success at homeschooling while still having a life and doing super-cool stuff is totally inspiring! Plus, my daughter and one of hers have the same name, so…. obviously soulmates.

ABC Mouse
I was hitting a bit of a roadblock trying to convince my daughter that learning to read was fun. ABC Mouse made it fun for her again. Both kids love this site!

Super Teacher Worksheets
If you love worksheets, this site has them in spades! No, I definitely don’t believe in worksheets all the time, but sometimes they can be magical.

Homeschooling is a work in progress so I’ll certainly post more links when there’s a free minute. Or rather, IF there’s a free minute…