Our First Year As Homeschoolers – Student Edition


Back in this post I talked about assessment, and I thought I would share the feedback I got from Brilliant B. Some of  it made me proud, some of it made me laugh, and a lot of it was surprising.


1. How did you feel about your first year of homeschool?  Did you like it better than [name of previous school]?

I love homeschool!  Sometimes I miss my friends, but I have more fun at home and learn a lot more than they do.

2. What did you learn this year?

  • How to multiply anything
  • How to divide large numbers
  • How to diagram sentences
  • A lot about the Civil War and Revolutionary War

3. What were your favorite things you did in school (don’t say lunch)?


4. What were your least favorite things that you did in school?

Writing and diagramming sentences

5. If you could change one thing about school, what would it be?

No writing!

6. What do you want to do more of next year?


7. What do you want to learn more about next year?

Finding Osama bin Laden

–> Note: That last answer really came out of left field, didn’t it?  Yes, I was as surprised as you are.  When I asked her about it, she said she just wanted to know more about how they figured out where he was and were able to find and capture him.  So, it sounded like she really wanted to learn more about spies and intelligence gathering.  Sounds like a dangerous mind in the making, huh?  *bites nails*





Our Month in Books


May has been an eventful month in our house.  This month marked the end of 4th grade for Brilliant B, which means we now officially have a middle schooler in the house.  Legohead L also finished 2nd grade at Catholic school and is now officially a homeschooled 3rd grader.  I officially received promotion and tenure at the university meaning that I now go by the title of associate professor.  I’m so excited about ALL of these momentous changes in our lives.

If you’ve been following along, you know that I also broke my knee at the university graduation ceremony.  I was in the hospital last week getting surgery on my knee.  Since I don’t really watch much television, I have read A LOT of books this month.  I’ve been couch-bound for the past 3 weeks (other than 2 days in the hospital) not feeling well enough to work or do much of anything else.  So, I basically just read and sleep.  That said, I’ll start out with everything I read this month.

First, I finished reading and discussing this book.

Also related to education and problems in our current education system, I finished these two books.

Brilliant B picked out this book as my Mother’s Day gift.  I really liked the book but strangely have no desire to see the movie.  I don’t think the characters in the movie can live up to how they were in my head.

I finished this whole series of books in just two days and loved them all.

I had gotten this as a Kindle daily deal a while back, and it was a fun read.

This was also a Kindle daily deal and the first of a series.  It was really interesting, and it definitely got me interested in reading the rest of the series at some point.


What Brilliant B Read in May

As part of our unit on the Civil War, B read and loved this book about Lincoln.

She read this book for her Duke TIP book club.  For the first half of the book she complained that she didn’t like it and didn’t want to read it, but she changed her mind towards the end.

B read the first of the Royal Diaries collection of books back in March while studying Catherine the Great.  She immediately asked for more.  So, this month got this book to read.

She also loves this series so much that we had this book pre-ordered.  She finished it the day it arrived.







BrainQuest Kindle Deals


If you’ve ever tried some of the BrainQuest trivia cards, chances are that you and your children like them as much as we do.  Plus, you might have figured out by now that I support making learning look a lot like games in younger children.  Well, if you have a Kindle and a child working between first and third grade level, Amazon has a great deal for you.  The first, second, and third grade editions are currently on sale for $2.99 each.


I just bought the third grade edition for Legohead L.  Go ahead and grab one now to keep the kids occupied and learning this summer!


Last Day of School



I can’t believe we are here already…the last day of school!  We survived and thrived in the first year as homeschoolers in spite of a lot of setbacks (including my current knee injury).  Brilliant B had a great year, and Legohead L had his last day in Catholic school today as well.  I have lots of posts to catch up on writing as I recover, but I am happy and looking forward to planning the year ahead of us.

Surgery Tomorrow


My knee surgery is scheduled for tomorrow, which has kind of put a kink in the plans for Brilliant B’s last week of 4th grade.  Still, I figure it’s all good since she’s likely doing more than her brother or former classmates in traditional school.  She has completed spelling, grammar, and math for the year.  Left to complete in the next four days: one Latin assignment, one literature assignment, her project on the Presidents, and her study of the Civil War.

Wish us both some luck!

Today Only: Great Book Deal!


This offer is only good today, so click right through and take advantage!

This book normally sells for over $15, but today only you can get the Kindle version for just $1.99!  I immediately downloaded it and was so inspired that I had to share it with all of you.  This is a fantastic book for all elementary school students.  There is a short introductory story about the artist followed by directions for a simple project in the style of that artist.  There are over 75 artists and 110 projects included in the book.  I can’t wait to start using this next year!


Teaching the Trivium – Chapter 15



This post concludes my discussion of Teaching the Trivium: Christian Homeschooling in a Classical Style by Harvey and Laurie Bluedorn along with the Classical Mamas Read group led by Amy at Living and Learning at Home.

Chapter 15 – The Finishing Level: Ages Nineteen and Onward

I thought about not writing a word about this chapter and pretending it did not exist.  I have done a very good job up until now about remaining open minded and accepting the authors’ different views on a lot of topics because we shared so many views related to the main topic at hand.  This chapter, however, made me downright angry.  A boy’s goal is to develop a livelihood and a girl’s goal is to be a homemaker?  Are we still in the 1800s?  I’m sorry, but I certainly hope that B’s dreams are bigger than that alone.  I am the girl that grew up never planning or imagining her wedding nor picking out the names of her future children.  I am the girl who dreamed of being an astronaut, jumping out of airplanes, and climbing mountains.

Then there were the “reasons for going to college” that really got twisted into “reasons you don’t necessarily need to go to college”.  Granted, there are a lot of kids in college today that don’t need to be in college at all or would be better off going a little later in life.  However, it is insulting to put down institutions of higher learning.  They are not perfect, but they serve a purpose.  I’m not even getting into their reasons for not going to college because those just come across as completely absurd.

1. College teaches discipline.  Yes, homeschooled students should have learned this already.  However, college gives them a chance to practice this without a parent looking over their shoulder.

2. College furthers your education.  Yes, you can learn by picking up a book and reading it, but have you tried learning a truly advanced subject like differential equations, econometrics, architecture, computer engineering, polymer science, etc. on your own?  Yeah, good luck with that.

3. College will get you a good job.  Corporations would welcome innovative hard-working homeschooled students?  Sure.  For better or worse, however, they are also going to want to see that college degree.  It’s just a fact of life.

4. College offers the best teachers.  Now, I will be the first to tell you that not every professor is great.  They are not all necessarily leaders in the field and not necessarily the best teachers.  Yet, there are many of us who are those things.  Don’t diminish the years of hard work it took for us to get here and the effort we put into research and teaching.

5. College gives you respect.  Credentials are extremely important in today’s society.  They are an initial barrier one has to pass.  No matter how much I knew about my field of expertise, there is no way I would be hired into my current position without a Ph.D.  The credential gets you in the door.  You stay there based on what you know.

6. College is the only way into licensed professions.  Two state bars allow you to practice law without going to law school?  That is supposed to be an argument in favor of not needing college?  Really?  Do you want to go to a lawyer, dentist, doctor, architect, or engineer who has not been to an accredited institute of higher learning for training?  I sure don’t.

7. College provides socialization.  I agree that this can be disregarded.  Have we not already made the argument that this whole “socialization” thing is irrelevant?

8. College provides an escape from a bad home environment.  I hope if you care enough to read this book and devote yourself to the education of your children that this is a moot point.  Unfortunately, I cannot say the same was true for me.  College was the first time I was free to just be myself.

9. College will find you a wife or husband.  Seriously?  Again, what year is this?  I actually do hear this thing from a lot of college kids in the South, and frankly, I don’t get it.  God will bring your husband and wife into your life at His time and in the place of His choosing.  Forcing it to happen in college could just equal heartache and disappointment.  Use that time to grow and become the person you are meant to be.

10. College will give you direction in life.  This may or may not be true.  I entered college totally set on getting a Ph.D. in geology and being a professor.  After a year that changed to geophysics.  By the time I graduated I knew there was no way I would survive a doctoral program in geophysics.  My heart was not in it.  College will not necessarily give you direction.  What it will do is give you the tools you need for the workplace and maybe help you discover what it is you don’t like and don’t want to do.  That is valuable direction too.