A Homeschool Schedule Overview

School has technically started for the girls. We’ve decided to enroll in a Charter School for this year, which in California means we get to have access to some of the public school funds allotted for our kids to reimburse our curriculum/program expenses. In exchange we agree to teach to the Common Core Standards and having our children State tested each year. We also have the over-seeing of an Education Specialist who is a certified teacher. She looks over samples of our kids’ work through out the year and makes sure we’re reaching our family’s targets and helps us with curriculum choices if we need it. She lent us a child’s version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream at our first meeting, so she’s OK in my book.

We’ve spent most of the summer relaxing, in spite of my original plan to keep schooling part-time through the summer. Olivia has been successfully institutionalized by her 3 years spent in school-school, and she cried at my suggestion we skip summer. We can’t have any of that crying about learning stuff, so we took it easy and did a whole lot of nothing. I’m interested to see how the kids react when we jump with both feet into our full schedule coming up. It looks a little bit like this:

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Oh yeah. That’s a lot of stuff. Do you see that big block on Friday? That’s an awesome part-time enrichment school option for homeschoolers in our charter. They go to the campus for a whole day and take hands-on learning classes in multi-age groups. People who know me on facebook know I had been venting a little about how I wanted a part-time school. Well, I found it. Now I’m just waiting to see if it fills our needs the way I’m hoping. If not, we’re committing to try them out until winter break and then we’ll know a little more if it was the right fit for us.

I’m hopeful that they’ll love the on site classes because I have some plans of my own. I’d like to start teaching sewing classes for homeschoolers on my off day. I also have a few other goals for that time to myself. I can get some of my web design work done while I’m free and even just sit quietly by myself. I love spending this time with my kids while they’re young. But, I’m thrilled that I’ve gotten to schedule some me-time this year. I can’t give my kids my all, when I’m always running on empty and there’s none of me to give!


Way back at Christmas time Rob’s dad gave us their hand-me-down canoe which they kept at the Grandparents’ house in Virginia. We finally picked it up and drove it home to our garage over Spring Break.

On an angsty day in the late spring I complained that I never get to do anything fun, not even take out our own canoe because I’m always home doing the day to day stuff. So I named the canoe Barefoot-in-the-kitchen, and got a babysitter for the day and Rob’s sister Molly and I took Barefoot-in-the-kitchen out for a ride down the Cuyahoga River. We had a leisurely day out exploring the strip of wilderness which runs between Kent and Waterworks Park. There were deer with their fawns, herons, geese and goslings and groundhogs. There was quiet and peace, and moderate adventure. It was completely worth the trouble of loading Barefoot up and taking it  back down.

I hadn’t had the chance to take the kids out yet, so I brought it to an end of the year picnic with some Redeemer families. The river was flooded over the banks so it wasn’t safe to take the kids out, but I just couldn’t resist. We pulled it over to a section of the parking lot which flooded and canoed around the puddle instead. It wasn’t exactly an adventure, but at least I knew all my kids, even Cressida were sea ready. They followed the rules and stayed in their seats.

So when we left to go on our annual Mom/kid-only camping trip with our friends the Penns (Colleen from Clever Nesting), I brought Barefoot with us. We spent three days in Hocking Hills State Park. On the second day we took Barefoot out on Lake Logan. Two moms and 5 kids.

This guy saw us unloading Barefoot and said, “Where are your men?” I chuckled, “Our men travel for a living so we have fun without them.” The man chuckled back and said, “Ah, revenge.” It’s not exactly revenge… more like not giving up and being boring just because it’s hard. When you’re a kid, challenging adventures are worth doing because a lot of the things you have to do are already challenging, you might as well put up with more challenges so you can have some fun. Once you become a grown-up you know how to avoid the challenges and walk the easier route. There’s so much to do, you don’t always have time for the challenge. But I’m finding that the stuff my kids enjoy doing as a family the most are the things that take the most effort and patience on my part. Also, I’d rather be out on Barefoot-in-the-kitchen than be at home, barefoot, in the kitchen.

The challenge is worth it.

And then when we come home and spend the whole next day on the couch playing Minecraft, I don’t feel so guilty.

Octopus’s Garden

Halloween is my favorite holiday. I love it even more than Christmas. I think the reason I like Halloween so much is that no matter how much consumer junk there is available to just buy and be done with it, there is really no reason to accidentally spend $1000 on Halloween like there is for Christmas. Also, no matter how easy it is to buy a Halloween costume, it doesn’t discourage a ton of people from getting down with their creative self (even if they think they aren’t creative) to make a costume out of clothes from the thrift store or cardboard or fabric.

This year I spent the two weeks leading up to our school’s “Trunk or Treat” making a family’s worth of under the sea themed costumes. The girls all decided to be mermaids, so that was easy. We went online and looked at Google Images of mermaid costumes until they picked the one they liked the best. They settled on the ones that were the easiest to make, thank goodness, and I got them all done in one weekend.

Everyone say Hi to our neighbor, the fairy.

My original plan was to make a Cat Bus hoodie for my costume, but the girls told me I needed to be in the theme, so I changed my mind to octopus. I used 2 yards of fleece fabric (because it’s OHIO and it’s cold on Halloween every year) and draped it over my mannequin to make the pattern. There was no measuring, just guessing, because that is what knit fabric is for.

Notice I am not the only crazy person in this family.

I used jewelry wire to hold the non-sleeve tentacles in shape, and hot glued minkie fleece to the underside of the tentacles for suction cups.

Then we made a giant sand castle out of cardboard boxes and sprayed it with glitter glue. And put the whole thing in front of a fabric ocean scene hanging from the gate of our trunk. And for the whole event I played Octopus’s Garden by the Beatles on the van’s speakers. Can’t you tell everyone loved it?

Oh yeah. I never got a picture of it, but Rob wore a golden crown and carried a trident I made out of a hiking stick. And we passed out Swedish Fish.

I may have gone a bit overboard.