Tag Archives: homeschooling

John Gatto’s Dumbing Us Down

dumbing us down

I actually got rid of this book a few years ago, after I had put my children back in public school, because a friend of mine was starting to homeschool her kids. I was decluttering and getting rid of things that were no longer essential to my daily life. Annoyingly, she sent it back when she was done. I hate it when that kind of thing happens… like when I would go through my kids toys to get rid of things they no longer played with and they’d freak out over finding a McDonald’s Happy Meal toy with missing parts in the throw-away bag and all of a sudden half of the objects I thought I had gotten rid of were back in my life.

But I digress.

She returned it and I stuffed it back in the bookshelf that I keep in the basement that has all the books in it that I never, ever read but don’t want to get rid of. After the dust settled from pulling Eden out of the middle school I retrieved the book and re-read it this week. All my underlined passages and notes scribbled in the margins still there waiting for me.

I left a review on my Goodreads page.

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Memory Lane

(I can’t believe I used that as a blog post title. I seriously can’t think of anything else at the moment. Now taking suggestions.)

I pulled out the kid’s unused curriculum from a few years ago to see what I might be able to sell and found some pretty fun stuff. I’m horribly sentimental, so I’ve saved just about every workbook and assignment they completed. Here’s a couple of my favorites.Eden’s language art unit. 3rd grade.

Mike is going… to the game store. He needs to… eat a pill. I’m curious as to what kind of game store this is.

blog words

Apparently it’s a drag to be a grown-up.

blog younger people

… and you really can’t go wrong with this technique.

blog circles


This is Johnny’s… Alfred the Great playing the role of Star Wars Sith Lord.

blog sith lord

This is good stuff, people.

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Our First Week

My natural tendency is to dive into everything head first, but with just our science curriculum on hand we could only splash around in the kiddie pool for our first week of schooling. Thankfully our math showed up in the mail today. I cheered. She didn’t.

This week was pretty much science, reading and piano. On Tuesday she went to an art class with some of her good girlfriends. The instructor talked about color and shading and that sort of thing. She’ll get to do this once a month.

Meet Carl…


artclass 1

Friday she arranged to go ice skating with those same lovely ladies. I wanted to see if she would plan everything on her own, which she actually did. I was so sure she wouldn’t follow through that I slept in and then only had about 30 minutes to suck down some coffee and put my hair up in the messy mom bun. She called to see when the open skating was, how much admission and skates are, arranged what time we would picking her friends up, and paid for everything with her own money.


All I had to do was drive and freeze my bum on icy bleachers for an hour and a half.


We watched part of a PBS documentary on Thomas Edison. Well, mostly I took pictures of Peanut watching a PBS documentary on Thomas Edison while we ate lunch.


Peanut is hanging around a lot. I think she likes homeschooling.

edenpeanut edit

I think I do too.



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7th grade curriculum

Last time I homeschooled I had all summer to research books and choose our curriculum. This time I’ve had about two weeks. I pulled out all our old materials, of which I actually kept a lot because I’m ridiculously nostalgic. Going through it I was surprised to find so many unused A&O units. Then I remembered that they were great for my 2nd grader, but a terrible match for my 7th grader.

She is now in 7th grade.

So… pushed those to the side and pulled out the Apologia science. That book was AWESOME. Johnny used it in 8th grade and has great reading comprehension, so it will be a bit of a challenge for Eden. I’m ready to see what she can do though. If she is really struggling with reading the text it will only be an indicator that she needs help in that area. Next I found our Ultimate Grammar set. That was a life saver after the A&O language arts unit. I liked it a lot. I looked online at the 7th grade unit and realized that she is NOT ready for that.

What have they been teaching her in school???? I don’t think there has been any grammar going on at all.

Had to order her the 6th grade unit. She wasn’t too pleased to see ‘6th grade’ on one of her books till I pointed out that the work would be easier.

Didn’t even consider anything else for math besides Teaching Textbooks. That program was a life-saver for both my son AND myself. He did the pre-algebra in 7th grade so I gave her the placement test and she isn’t ready for it. I ordered 7th grade and then I’ll already have pre-algebra here at home for her next year.

I think spelling is essential and she hasn’t had regular spelling lessons since 2nd grade I think. I could be wrong because I’m so pessimistic right now. I found Spelling Workout and it looks like a good way for her to work on her own.

I want to use Focus on US History but let her choose the time period. I’ve read some really great reviews on this. We used another history book for Johnny in 7th/8th grade but it was a looooooooooot of reading and memorization of names. She is just not that kind of kid.

So, the breakdown…

Reading – lots of free reading. She came up with a goal of reading 3 books by the end of the school year. I crossed it out and wrote ‘6’. After a lengthy stare down we compromised at 5.

Spelling Spelling Workout grade 7

Math Teaching Textbooks grade 7

Science Aplogia Exploring Creation With General Science

History/Geography Focus on US History: The Era of Exploration and Discovery

Civics – This is actually kind of the Mr. and I. I want to read Dave Ramsey & Rachael Cruze’s Smart Money, Smart Kids and make some more concentrated efforts on teaching all the kids about finances.

Literature – Eh. We’ll just keep reading for this year I think. She wants to read The Hobbit and do a study guide like her brother did, but I’m not in a hurry.

Writing – We did these really fun writing prompts from the Unjournaling book last time every morning. She wants to do that again. I just want her to write SOMETHING everyday. I actually still have the book.

Grammar Easy Grammar grade 6 and the corresponding Daily Grams.

Can’t wait for everything to get here! (she can)

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I’m Baaaaaack!

Well, this place is a dusty mess. It’s been almost 3 years since I last posted to this blog because life got a little too nuts for me to keep up with everything I was trying to do. I decided to put both of my homeschooled children (one was already attending) back into public school in the fall of 2012. Johnny, my oldest, had successfully bypassed middle school and timidly started high school. He has excelled academically but still has great disdain for the social life. He says he likes the learning, but not all the kids. Eden started attending a new elementary school in the 5th grade and continued there through the 6th. She loved her teachers and classmates and did beautifully. I had no qualms about her attending the middle school like I had with her brother. She has always been very confident, happy and open about her feelings and I felt that we could handle any ‘teenage’ stuff that came our way.

Unfortunately, a couple weeks into the year, she started acting strange about going to school. I figured it was just going to take some time getting used to the big building, older students, switching classes and all that jazz. As time went by, however, it only got worse. She started having stomach aches and head aches and other random illnesses that would keep her home. She began spending nearly every waking minute in her bedroom and stopped hanging out with her friends. I took her to a psychologist who said that she is clearly depressed, but Eden didn’t like the woman very much and didn’t want to continue sessions. After Christmas break the anxiety had built up to the point of hysteria. She laid in her bed, sobbing, telling me that she didn’t feel safe at school, that kids are mean and she doesn’t like hearing swear words and kids talking about smoking and drugs. She is very uncomfortable with boy/girl stuff going on and has seen people kissing outside after class is over. She can’t believe how disrespectful many of the kids are to the teachers. It feels like no one is in charge, and it’s scary.

So, to make a short story shorter… we decided to pull her out of school and homeschool her for at least the rest of this year, and probably next year. At first I was reluctant, and, if I can be totally honest, a little annoyed. I didn’t plan on ever homeschooling again, but she needs mom & dad be the rescuers in this situation. I started looking at some homeschool blogs again and started to get excited and inspired. I had her finish out the rest of her required work for the marking period, we dropped everything off at school and cleaned out her locker.

And that was that.

IMG_5635So, here we are. No curriculum and no plans to speak of, but I do have a child that is starting to sleep again. After months of depression-like behavior she looked at me yesterday and said, “You know what? I’m actually feeling kind of… happy.”

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