In Homeschool This Week (take 5)

Online Resources That I Love This Week:

Thug Notes (not for everyone and DEFINITELY for teens/High School): A very different take on literature analysis. My teens LOVE this.

ReadWriteThink: Excellent site with lots of free printables and ideas for reading, writing, and thinking!

Democracy Now: An independent, daily, global news resource that I find very valuable. I watch this daily with my kids for “Current Events”.

Crash Course: An insane amount of excellent videos on a wide range of topics. A must see.

Books That I Love This Week:

An Illustrated Book of Bad Arguments by Ali Almossawi
My teenage son LOVES to argue with me. The problem is, he doesn’t exactly use any LOGIC to win his arguments. This is an awesome book for all ages, even adults, to learn about that little thing called Reason.


Physics: Why Matter Matters by Simon Basher
This book is AWESOME. We found it at the library, and it is such a great introduction to all the different concepts in Physics. I might need to buy this one. Even my Kinder loved it, yet it still has enough information and detail to be appealing to the older kids. There are a whole series of these books — worth checking out.

On Thursday, the teens did their work for Math on Khan Academy and their Spanish on Duolingo right away in the morning while I was getting some of my own work done for our small business (i.e. accounting). Fiona did some art and imaginary play, and then we created special index cards with all of her school subjects and activities (along with some fun things like “do jumping jacks”) and put those into a basket so that she can pick them out throughout the day.

Then all three kids started a project I found on the website ReadWriteThink, which has some great resources! They created found poems! I set out a few books for this kids to pick from, without telling them what we were about to do. Then they selected a section of the text, and edited it down until they created a poem (essentially). The full instructions can be found here.  They turned out great!

During lunch we discussed poetry form a bit more and I read some poems aloud, which my teenage son promptly made fun of. Oiy.

After lunch, we continued our discussion about “Animal Farm” by Orwell. We watched the Thug Notes video on it (my kids love these….yes they are inappropriate, that’s why my kids love them).

After this, we were going to continue on with our movie-based Literature unit and start The Color Purple, when my son asked me, “Who was the first human?”

Well, that’s a big question. Let’s stop what we are doing and do some research about that. We ended up starting the Nova series “Becoming Human” on PBS (via YouTube).

Which leads to the next question from my son, “Who was the first white person?”

I responded, “Did you know that race is a social construct?”


Our research led us to the TED talk, “Nina Jablonski Breaks the Illusion of Skin Color”. Awesome video and explanation.

Side Discussion: Know Your Sources — how to sort through all the nonsense out there.

Also, Race may not be real, but racism is.

Question #3: “So what about the first ever life on this planet?”

OOOfta. They are hitting it hard today! We dipped our toe into the immense ocean of this discussion by watching a video on Crash Course – The Origin of Life. Obviously, it is a very short explanation but it started a discussion.

That discussion escalated very quickly into a heated debate between my son and I, where he used comedic tactics (and absolutely NO data or logical points of any kind) to try and win an argument with me against evolution. It was…..interesting.

So…we watched a little TED talk by David H. Cohen “For Argument’s Sake”, which was very interesting to me but my kids were still laughing so hard they didn’t pay much attention to it. Yeah, school was done after that.

However, I immediately looked up some teacher resources about LOGIC, and found this gem of a book, which I ordered immediately and cannot wait to dive into. It is called, “An Illustrated Book of Bad Arguments” by Ali Almossawi, and you can find the entire book for free on his website, or purchase the hard cover on Amazon.

Our afternoon of “Question School” was a success and a challenge. I want to continue doing this a lot, because I want to know what do my kids really think about and what do they want to know? If they are learning questions that they are asking themselves, they will definitely be learning and retaining the knowledge better!

In Other School….

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Fiona created a “twiggy hat” out of some found bits of nature

She also had fun at the Library this week, and played Blokus, I Spy, and read lots of books


And we’ve been playing a fun math game at home for adding and subtracting with dice and wooden shapes:


Most of all, I love it when my kids make music!


In Homeschool This Week (take 4)


Yoga with mom in the morning

We had a great week this week. Horseback and YMCA time on Monday. The teenagers are really settling into school now. They get up and start doing their work without being asked, it’s great.

We started a Khan Academy streak competition. If they can keep up their streak for 7 days (which means they have to remember to do it on the weekends), they get a little prize. Then I have some other prizes planned for if they can make it 30 days, 60 days, etc. They are super motivated!

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This week we went on a field trip to Eugster’s Farm with the Madison HEART homeschool group. There were a lot of other kids there and it was really fun! We did a hay ride, picked out pumpkins, did the corn maze, petted animals, and ate apples and cider doughnuts. Fall fun in Wisconsin is the best!


One thing I’ve really been enjoying is that my older 2 kids have been doing their writing assignments on Google Docs. Then they can send it to me via Google Drive and I can write in suggestions on the document. It works out really well for all of us!

We started studying the 1960s for Social Studies. It is such a great decade to study because SO MUCH HAPPENED. The first thing we did was watch episode one of “The Sixties” PBS documentary on Netflix. This first episode talked about how television was coming into age, and how the new media was affecting society. For example, the first televised presidential debate. Check out this link at that has amazing teacher resources and lesson plans.

We also watched some episodes of The Andy Griffith Show to put 60s TV in context for the kids. Low and behold, a quick Internet search led me to some lesson plans for Andy Griffith episodes. I revised them a bit, but they are great! We definitely plan on watching more 60s television as well! I grew up watching all those shows as reruns on Nick at Night, and they are still some of my favorites.


Fiona is really doing great with Kindergarten at home, and she is really enjoying being able to spend more time pursuing the things that she loves. This week, we practiced violin a lot. She has been playing for 2 years now, and is learning Lightly Row. I am a violinist myself and a Suzuki violin teacher. It has been really hard getting her started, but we have stuck with it. She is really starting to enjoy it again now, which is encouraging.


Fiona also started ballet at the local dance studio this week, and she LOVES it. She is such a natural. And she loves meeting new friends.



Family Game Night!

We had an A+ week!