The Key to Successful Homeschool


The key to accomplishing A LOT in your homeschool is actually staying HOME. 

When my children were younger we were always on the go - fun field trips, park days, and getting out "just because". 

Now that  Anna is in 7th grade, the work is getting HARD (more on her Challenge program in the next few weeks!) and we must stay home the majority of our time to give this beautiful program the justice it deserves. 

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This week we spent A LOT of time at home.

Confession: Staying home is hard for me. I am a social person and thrive on being involved and out in the world a lot. I am coming to see, however, that our homeschool runs most smoothly when I lay this desire aside and focus solely on the task at hand: homeschool. 

And, to be honest, it used to seem like a "sacrifice" to me, but now it's just what we do, and wouldn't trade it for anything.

Here's what our week looked like: 

Anna - Challenge A

Anna's days are quite structured, but the Challenge A program allows for HER to design and maintain that structure. (I am planning a series of posts about Challenge because you need to know what a great blessing it has been for our family.)

Basically, she has six "subjects" she is studying this year: Math, Latin, Rhetoric, Geography, Science, and Writing. Outsiders look at the program and wonder where the reading, grammar, and history come into play. I assure you; everything is so interwoven that it's all there.

Plus (and this is the most important thing) - God is at the very center of every subject.


1. Ok - so cooking isn't one of her formal subjects, but she loves it! This week Anna made Red Velvet Whoopie Pies for all of us. She makes good use of this whoopie pie pan from her granddaddy, too!

2. I had the joy of observing Anna's Challenge A class for the morning on Tuesday. One of the most impressive parts was science. Each child had researched the week's topic (bats) and prepared a report and sketch for the group, which they presented and fielded questions about. The children are learning how to take notes, ask good questions, and fine tune their presentation skills. Next week they begin systems of the body - I'm excited about that.

3. A big part of the Challenge Program are the discussions that occur between the parents and children. I have been reading Anna's two rhetoric books, Don't Check Your Brains at the Door and It Couldn't Just Happen. I LOVE the conversations that are happening about our faith and so many other things. In class, the children do more discussing and debating - and they are learning that in order to defend your own point of view you MUST be able to listen and understand the opposition's point of view.

4. Anna memorizes catechisms each week, which are essentially statements that help in defending their faith. So far she has memorized over 40 of them. I'm telling you - this is GOOD STUFF.

I had a chance to speak with the Challenge B tutor for next year and I do believe we will continue with the Challenge program next year. We've hit upon something that really WORKS, so I'm not going to make any changes!  

Grant - Foundations at Home Work

While we follow the Foundations manual and focus on the memory work each week, there is still a lot of room for that creativity I feel is so important during these younger years. 

Anna works through her Challenge A assignments in her school area upstairs, and Grant and I have school downstairs. A few times during the day we will meet for read-alouds, a science experiment, and Bible work. We've gotten into a good rhythm, but it took us a while to get there!

1. Saxon Math is always one of the first things on our schedule. This week Grant learned about multi digit subtraction (with regrouping) and division with remainders. I put a few problems on the white board and he said, "Oh cool!  Are we going to do these big subtraction problems? I LOVE these!" I assure you, he must have inherited the math genes from his father, because this statement would never have left my mouth at his age!

{Have you seen my video about Why We Use Saxon? I feel just as strongly now as I did when I made this video. Saxon is thorough, challenging, and not for the feint of heart.}

2. The artist for the week was Rembrandt. We printed a page from Notebooking Pages and watched a video about him online. Grant also created his own "Guild Drawing".

3. Science this week was the 4 states of matter - solid, liquid, gas, and plasma. We did an experiment turning milk into rubber that was fun. 

4. We are nearly finished with our read-aloud, Shoeless Joe and Me. We had several cold mornings, so we read aloud in front of the fire. 

5. Math memory work consisted of how many pints are in a quart, quarts in a gallon, etc....  At CC Grant's tutor had shown them this great drawing and Grant remembered it exactly and drew it for me each day. 

Other Resources

  • Ephesians 6 Copywork - I created this free download because I am leading our CC community in memorizing this chapter. We've been working on it diligently at home and will also be using this free Bible study I found. 
  • The Story of Ruby Bridges - we watched this on MLK Day - I never knew about Ruby Bridges and her story is moving - perfect for kids, too! 
  • The Story of Inventions - Grant has been reading the story of Eli Whitney and the Cotton Gin aloud to me this week. 
  • 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess - I actually read parts of this aloud to the kids, although it's really for me. This is an interesting book about one woman's decision to eliminate the excess in her life. It's perfect for our NO SPEND MONTH! 
  • Pleygo - ANOTHER set arrived this week. This has been such a wonderful subscription for Grant. If you have a LEGO lover you really might want to consider this LEGO rental service. 


I think that's it for our week... as I type this Anna is at the skating rink with a friend, Grant is playing football in the backyard with a buddy, and the French Dips are in the crockpot - just waiting on my hubby to get home for dinner. 

These quiet moments are rare and I treasure them!  

How was your week? Please link up and join us! 

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