Here we are at the beginning of a new school year and a new dimension in home schooling……HIGH SCHOOL!  Overall, we will have fifth, seventh and ninth graders.

Grade 5

Parks begins fifth grade.  Throughout the year, he plans to learn about tIMG_4123he ancient cultures, botany, anatomy and astronomy.  He also wants to work on his spelling and writing.  He made tremendous gains in his handwriting last year which means that he can focus a little more on content.  In years past, he narrated, I scribed, and he copied.  He will also continue with playing the drums in his band (The Beat Keepers), riding bmx bikes and riding horses.


Grade 7IMG_4135

Sawyer jumps into seventh grade studying the Middle Ages through the Renaissance, botany, anatomy and astronomy with Parks, and creative writing.  Sawyer also plans to continue sewing, singing in her band (5 Lives), riding horses and climbing.

Grade 9

Sims transitions this year into high school.  I am still not exactly sure why, but this makes IMG_4142me slightly anxious.  He has quite a load of academic studies, but he is excited about getting started.  He will study Algebra, Biology, World History (the early years including ancient cultures and the Middle Ages), World Geography, English 1 (he will be tying in English with history), and Forestry.  He will continue rock climbing throughout the year and is going to try out a local sailing team as well.

We are moving to a more traditional approach to schooling in response to the kids’ requests.  I love the Waldorf approach using stories and art to bring concepts to life.  Thus, I am trying to do a bit of traditional, Waldorf and Montessori.  For the younger kids, we are trying out Shiller math (a Montessori-based).  So far, they are both LOVING it.  The lessons are short and to the point.  They are hands on too.  The younger kids are also using Growing with Grammar, Soaring with Spelling, and Oak Meadow for the rest of their work.  The first two books are pretty straight forward and to the point.  I am splitting up the grade 6 Oak Meadow curriculum.  Parks will work through the first half of the book starting with the Stone Age and working through the Ancient Greeks.  Sawyer will start off with the Romans (a quick review) and work through the Age of Exploration.  Sims is using Thinkwell for Algebra, Oak Meadow for geography and world history, various sources for biology, English writing with mom, and forestry using 4-H materials.


Block 8: 2016/2017

Block 8!  I cannot believe we are getting close to the end of the year!  Not only was block 8 full of school, it was full of activities!

Grade 4: Norse Myths

This month, Parks finished up his study of the Norse myths.  He told me that the myths have been his favorite part of the year.  He loves the stories, which is good since he has heard them many times before.  We continued to use the D’Aularis book of Norse Myths.

Grade 6: Business Math

Sawyer LOVED this month (in fact, she is going to keep working on it through May).  For this block, I purchased the Bookstore curriculum from Simply Charlotte Mason.  She developed a logo, decided on her inventory, and began working through the book.  The program introduces real life scenarios, such as road construction occurred in front of your store; thus, you lost some of your sales.  Of course, these scenarios brought about a lot of discussions-especially about our small town that is going through quite a few construction projects lately.

Grade 8: Government and Civics

I originally planned on only going over US government with Sims, but our discussions turned us in another discussion.  This allowed him to learn about other types of governments and to compare/contrast them to the US government.  We also all fell in love with the game CIVITAS.  It is a quick card game that teaches about different government types.

Our month of activities!

Block Five 2016/2017

2017 started off a little rough emotionally, but school-wise it started off well.  The first block of the year was a lot of fun for everyone.


Grade 4-Local History

Parks’ block began by looking at the Native American tribe that inhabited our area before the European settlers came, which was the Catawba Tribe.  We visited the Charlotte Museum of History which had some information on the tribe (and a  TON of information on the beginnings of Charlotte, the biggest city that we are near and the where many of the NC history stories that we have read about take place).  He then looked at the town that we live in, Cornelius, and how it has changed over the years.  Our area was drastically changed in the 60s when the area was flooded to build a lake.  We visited the Energy Explorium for our area which had a terrific history of the area and pictures of the area before and after the lake was built.  He finished up the block with a study of his choice which was Blackbeard, a pirate who resided in NC.  Overall, I think Parks really enjoyed the block.

Grade 6- Economics/Business

Sawyer’s block focused on business using the book Striker Jones.  I am not a business person.  When I did this block with Sims, I used this book and Sims really enjoyed it!  Well, Sawyer did too.  Each chapter had vocabulary and insightful questions that got everyone discussing business!  During the field trip to the Charlotte Museum of History, the guide spoke about bartering and trading which was perfectly timed with her chapter.  She also interviewed several people about their jobs and what kept them at their jobs (she was pretty shocked to find out that money was not enough to keep people at their jobs).  She wrote a business letter to Jelly Belly about her love for their product!  We also went to watch the new movie, “The Founder.”  After that movie, she wasn’t so sure how she felt about being a part of a big business in her future!

Grade 8-US History 1910-Modern Times

I wanted to try to make history more relevant for Sims during this block, and I think it worked.  We did history backwards.  I had him look at 2016 (the year that he turned 13) and describe historical events and his life.  We then went back in 10 year increments to look at what happened during that decade.  He also interviewed people of different ages.  During each interview, he asked: in what year was the person 13? what and where were the activities that the person participated in? what big events in history does the person remember? what was an event that had a big impact on the person’s life? anything else that the person wanted to add?  Most people did not know what was going on in the country, such as the depression, the vastness of the wars, the economic ups or downs, etc.  Three of the four field trips tied in very nicely with this block for him.  The Charlotte Museum of History was filled with information on the area from the present time back to the 1700s.  The movie, “Hidden Figures,” went through civil rights, the cold war, and the space program (and many more historical events).  Finally, the Energy Explorium went through the impact of electricity through the US and many other changes in the US over the past 100 years.  Like Sawyer, we had SO many amazing discussions, looked through videos, and made so many connections during this block.  Sims also learned how to make a simple power point presentation during this block as a way to make an outline for the century.


I love it when all three blocks come together so nicely.  They all had pieces that tied them together.  We read about many business practices during our local history and US history blocks that put what Sawyer was learning into real life.  We learned how the small town that we live in was impacted by events happening around the US.

A Day in the Life 2017-Monday

For the past few years, I have posted our activities each day for one week.  I try to keep the week around the same period of time each year.  You can find 2014/2015 here.  And you can find 2015/2016 here.  I am not sure what this week will look like due to the craziness that the rest of the month held.  (You can read about our last couple of week here.)  We definitely have changed some since last year. So here goes:

645 I wake up, shower and blog.  I planned our week last night so we are ready to go.

730 Parks is up, feeds the cats, and empties his part of dishwasher.

750 Sims and Sawyer are up.  We all eat breakfast and discuss our dinner situation.  I am struggling with getting good, healthy dinners for everyone, and I need some help.  Everyone came up with one meal that he or she can make this week.  Everyone scatters before we begin the day officially.

840 We begin our 15 minute clean up.

900 We meet in the sunroom to do our lessons.  Parks works on a map of our town (which I learn that he only thinks of our neighborhood and the neighborhood beside us as part of his town).  I read aloud a chapter from Striker Jones and we discuss the chapter as a group for Sawyer’s business math block.  We discussed events in the US during the 1950s and 1960s for Sims’ US history (this was nicely timed with MLK, Jr Day today).

1000 Everyone begins his or her independent work.  I work with each child individually on lessons that they need.  Parks and I worked on math.  Sawyer and I worked on business math.  Sims and I worked on his presentation for US history and more discussion on history.

1140 I go for a walk while the kids eat lunch and finish up their work.  By this time, Parks is done with his work and is riding his bike outside. but the other two are still finishing up math.

1230 I head to the city to take the dog to the vet and to pick up my curtains that are at the alterations shop.  The kids hang out.  Sims rode his bike to the lake house to fish with his friends.


215 I come home ravished.  I ate lunch.  Lucky for me, Nick is home too so we got to eat together.  🙂  After lunch, I started some laundry and put up the curtains.

305 I head back out to run an errand and to pick up Sims and his friend from the lake house.

405 I drive by the house to pick up the younger two and we all head to Mooresville (two towns north of us).  Here Parks and Sawyer take music lessons, and Sims climbs.

545 I meet Nick to drop off Parks, so that they can go to cub scouts tonight.  Sawyer and I head to dinner and then to climb for a bit.

800 We arrive home.  I cooked dinner for Sims and chatted with Parks.  Since all five of us are together, we sat and worked on our 2017 goals as a family.  By 910, we were all fried and exhausted.


915 Parks headed to bed.  Sawyer headed to get a shower.  Sims headed up to his room and I began this post.  I plan to head to bed here in a bit!  That was an exhausting day of driving.  This is close to my usual Monday except for the driving to the city at noon and the errand at 3.  I am not usually in the car nearly that much.



Block Four: 2016/2017

I knew that December had the potential to get a little crazy.  I also know that a lot of homeschoolers take December off all together.  My crew still needs the consistency of a schedule so I planned a mini block that we did together.

Thus, our last block of 1016 was North American Geography.  We started the block off with a look at the continent as a whole, naming the countries and looking at their flags. Next we read a story about a family who lives in Greenland and watched several videos on the area.  Then we moved to Canada where we learned a bit about the history, the geography and the culture.  I also used this time to work in some cursive practice.

Wacky Wednesday-Old Salem

Today we headed to another NC treasure-Old Salem, North Carolina!  We started the morning at a Home Moravian Church for the school version of their Candle Tea.  WOW!  The church does an amazing job with the activity.  We began inside the Single Brother’s House learning about the Moravian Star.


Moravian Star

We then moved into the next room to watch candle making.  The candles will be used at the Christmas Service.

Then we moved into the kitchen to learn about the single brothers and some local history.

The final stop was the basement filled with an amazing replica of Old Salem and a nativity scene.


After the Candle Tea, we explored around the town and were awed by the beauty of the Old Town.


2016/2017 Block Three

Our third block filled November.  Parks worked through a man/animal block.  Sawyer worked through an introduction to Ancient Rome.  Sims worked through an appropriately timed Civics block.

Grade Four: Man/Animal

Parks’ third block started off by looking at the three parts of the body-the head, the body and the limbs.  He went over all of the activities that he can use his hands for and how he is different than other animals.  Over the next three weeks, he learned about three different animals that are all native to NC: the shark, the box turtle, and the opossum.

Grade Six: Ancient Rome Introduction

After some discussion, we decided to start studying Ancient Rome through a story.  We read through the book, “Our Roman Cousin from Long Ago,” and researched many of the ideas discussed throughout the story.  We have read this book once before, and everyone was excited to read it again.

Grade 8: Civics

Sims’ third block on Civics was purposely timed in November to go along with the elections.  We used the Oak Meadow Civics book, lots of websites and a lot of discussion throughout the block.  Sims went over the key values in the US, laws that affect his life, the Preamble to Constitution, the Constitution, Federalists and Anti-federalists, and the Bill of Rights.


Now we are onto a short block on North American Geography and Cursive!