About a month ago, the kids and I were on the front porch when a very, very loud buzzing sound flew past my head. I thought it must be a cicada, but later that afternoon I discovered Figwort hiding amongst the tomatoes in our garden. He was easy enough to capture and the kids and I fashioned a makeshift habitat for him. The first task was to identify the little critter. After some searching through insect books and online sources, we discovered that he was a Fig Scarab, commonly found in Mexico and the Southwestern US. Yes, we do have fig trees in our backyard,Read More →

My kids and I are reading Winston Churchill’s History of the English-Speaking Peoples, having abandoned a text that turned out to be too multicultural and unfocused for our goals. Today we read about the East Anglian king of Iceni (and his wife Boudicca) who voluntarily and peremptorily surrendered to the Roman invaders and wrote Nero in as an heir to his kingdom and fortunes. In response, the Romans decided to sack his kingdom, kill him, ravage his daughters, and flog his wife. This seemingly senseless and malevolent act resulted in an uprising within Britannia the likes of which has not been seen since. The people,Read More →

Learning, when not hampered by the restrictive constraints of rigid education, runs its own course like a river that meanders into a brook, turns a bend, and becomes a mighty river. Yesterday the spray of the waterfall that erupted in our house positively soaked me. We do not specifically unschool in our home, as the Hub and I prefer a modified classical education style used in early per-revolutionary America (based on the theory that these men and women were stupendous human beings and we want our children to be equipped with the same educational tools), but my children apply the lessons of patient diligence theyRead More →

And there they sit, sprawled on the couches like a young man and a young woman. Laughing and chatting as they work on the day’s lessons. Talking about ghost sightings and card games while finding least common factors between scads of polynomials, learning word roots ‘sacr’ and ‘beati’, and writing epilogues to chrea exercises. My daughter is adapting her chrea writing assignment to convince our guinea pigs that, as George Washington cautioned in a speech before congress, being prepared for war is the surest way to ensure future peace (and plenty of alfalfa). The hub is canning figs in the yard and periodically comes throughRead More →

This morning we began the first day of the new school year. New things abounded. New markers, a new visit from a big brother, new lesson schedule, and a pile of new peaches from a neighbor (currently headed to a date with a pie shell). With all the newness of this new school year, the good, the bad, and the ugly all made appearances: The good: The children were engaged this morning and made it through a new level of demanding coursework that included first lessons in Chrea, factoring polynomials, and Francis Bacon’s Novum Organum and his undistinguished death from pneumonia as a consequence ofRead More →

The people at Supercharged Science are offering a free science lesson to be given in August to anyone who signs up at the link: http://www.superchargedscience.com/opt/free-teleclass-opt I have no experience with this group, but it looks very interesting and I like what Aurora says about science and teaching and homeschooling in her blog.  Read More →

My kids love Horrible Histories thanks to a friendship with a family from England. And thanks to Horrible Histories (the books and the videos), my kids know their Western Civilization better than they know the way to our local library (which is saying something if you knew how often we made the trek to the library for more books… The kids found a new (to us) Horrible Histories Prom (British for a musical variety show in a really, really big auditorium) on Youtube and we have been watching it over and over and over and over, ever since. The great thing about Horrible Histories songsRead More →

Sometimes patience is an insurmountable challenge for parents. We train ourselves to be there to help and guide our children. We are at the ready with tissues in one hand and disinfectant in the other. But I noticed as my kids grew and reached school age that parental dictates hardly worked. The Hub and I began treating our kids as little citizens in our own free market economy. We stopped assigning chores and handing out jobs. And we stopped handing out allowance. Instead we started a system of work-to-earn in our household. After all, in life we choose to work in order to make moneyRead More →