Yale Art Museum

Recent trip to the Yale Art Museum.  Here we’re analyzing Vincent Van Gogh’s  The Night Cafe with a museum docent.


Yes, I’m your food blogger, but cooking is only one part of my day.  In an effort to mix this up a little, I’m going to be sharing some other facets of my life.  One huge part is parenting, and by extension, homeschooling.  Before I get into the technical aspects, I’ll give you a sense of our typical day.  We wake up when we wake up– most days by 7:30, although if we’ve had a few late nights of extracurricular activities, my older daughter might sleep until closer to 9.  We usually start school by 8:30.  We do our written work first, so on a given day, we may do 30-40 minutes of math, 20 minutes of spelling and/or vocab, and some journaling or a writing project.  By now, the kids are hungry, so we’ll stop for a snack, which they often prepare themselves.  Cooking is always a part of our schooling, so they can be found making banana bread, a salad, or even part of a meal.  Next we may do some reading about one of the 50 states (we’re studying US Geography this year) followed by watching videos about that state to learn about climate, topography, landmarks, and local culture.  At this point, it’s time to get outside, so we’ll take the dog for a walk, the kids sometimes rolling along on roller-blades, scooters, or bikes.  If we don’t have an afternoon activity or class to get to, we may do a science experiment, read some American History, practice typing, or have time for quiet reading.  It’s also worth mentioning that at some point, my little one will have wandered off to play with one of our pets, there may be a slew of dolls set up on the table as our “audience,” and we’re in our pajamas. There’s probably glitter on the table, craft supplies pilled nearby, and crumbs on the floor. If I work with my older daughter on a lesson, my younger daughter will set herself up to paint, create a slingshot with Popsicle sticks and rubber bands, or sew some fabric into a mini pillow or Barbie “dress.”  My older daughter is into architecture and fashion, and sometimes I’ll find her drawing families with intricate clothing, or mansions with an unending number of rooms of furniture. Sometimes one of my kids will help the other practice their vocabulary definitions and spelling words; other times, they’re fighting over who gets to sit on the yoga ball. They’re both learning piano, so anything from scales to Bach to wacky, made-up songs and lyrics fill the house.  Both girls take four kinds of dance, so this is typically accompanied by some dancing flair. We began studying foreign languages recently, so my little one likes to sit with French picture books and dictionaries, and practice along with the CD.  My older daughter just began learning Italian.   Sometimes we finish everything by noon; other times, we’re still going at 3 pm.  We often read on the weekends, either first thing in the morning, or as we drive to activities or visit friends and family.  I swear, my husband has learned a ton about history and science, and heard so many Newbery medal books, because he’s the weekend designated driver so that I can read aloud, or quiz the girls on spelling, or whatever.

Pez Factory

Tour of the Pez Factory.  We got a lesson in how it is made, and tasted Pez made right before our eyes!

If you’re reading this, odds are you’re either a parent/grandparent, or have someone in your life who is.  You may have heard of homeschooling, know someone who homeschools, or perhaps even do so yourself.  As the school year winds down and some families consider what worked, what didn’t, and what to change, this can be a good time to learn more about homeschooling.

Cooking class

Cooking class.  One of my girls made this by herself!

Using the simplest definition, homeschooling means doing school at home.  This can vary from  a traditional approach (following along pretty closely with what would be taught in school) to unschooling (learning through life, following the interests of the child, without using a formal curriculum).  For a better understanding of the most common types of homeschooling, Charlotte Mason offers a great explanation.  Our own family’s style is eclectic, in that we blend a variety of approaches depending on the subject we’re learning, my kids’ learning styles, the time of the year, etc.  We do use a curriculum for core subjects such as math, history, and science, but also learn through life quite a bit (field trips to everywhere under the sun, such as museums, farms, factories, businesses); time spent exploring the outdoors; constant discussion about the world followed by reading books, watching videos, and visiting places that further learning of said topics; and an apprentice-type approach to cooking, chores, and life skills.  Plus books.  Lots and lots of books.  Pleasure reading, academic reading, and I read aloud to them all.the.time. In the car, on the couch, cuddled up in bed. For us, homeschooling is a part of parenting, and we pretty much learn as we live. Homeschooling is a way to personalize kids’ education and help ensure that they learn to their fullest potential.  It’s not for everyone, but it’s been a good fit for our family over the past few years.  I’ll be sharing more in the future, and always welcome questions in the comments section below.