What We've Been Up To Lately: Life Skills & Culture

I think the high school years might just be my favorite of all the homeschooling years.

The lightbulbs that constantly went off when my children were little were certainly gratifying - and often times extremely cute - but watching my kids learn and achieve BIG things is exciting. Additionally, being able to learn WITH them and cultivate interests together is super fun.

The key to this age is understanding how to reach their hearts.

(Let’s just not talk about the fact that my oldest will be going to college in the fall, ok?)

This week found us in the kitchen a lot (a good thing), and also filling our time with CULTURE.

Did I mention how much I like this stage of life with my kids?

What We’ve Been Up To Lately: Life Skills & Culture

Life Skills in Our Homeschool


We can all agree that laundry is not glamorous or exciting - or cultural for that matter. It does, however, have to get done, and I’m NOT doing it for my kids anymore.

My oldest has been doing her laundry since middle school, and with the turn of the calendar year I decided to have my son take charge of his laundry, too. So far, so good.

I love that both of my children will leave this house knowing how to do their laundry.

And, my daughter has a great laundry hack: she uses an Expo marker to write on top of the washer what DOESN’T go into the dryer. Clever, huh? No more dress shrinking up to a shirt because it was put in the dryer accidentally!


Because Anna’s schedule is lighter this LAST semester of high school we are using the time to hone in on some skills for LIFE.

She has been making a lot of meals for us - healthy meals in particular.

This week our favorite was One Pan Healthy Sausage and Roasted Veggies.

We served it with some quinoa & wild rice. Perfection.

Each week she also picks one recipe from a new cookbook I got for Christmas.

Chicken Fajita Pasta was a hit in our house - and I can’t wait to have her try more!

Part of me wants to have her stop cooking (because what will I do when she goes to college?!?!), but she enjoys this so much and it is such a practical, useful skill for her to have. In an age of fast food and anything EASY I feel like our kids aren’t learning the basics of how to cook a healthy meal.



Because I write a music appreciation curriculum I try to go to as many performances as I can. This year my husband and I subscribed to a series of concerts with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.

Saturday night we heard an all Bernstein program, which was quite fitting because in SQUILT LIVE! this month I am teaching the students all about musicals.

Something I didn’t quite realize was what a great JAZZ composer Bernstein was. Listening to his Prelude, Fugue, and Riffs got me VERY excited for February in SQUILT LIVE! - Jump into Jazz! (You can join me at any time for live lessons - we have so much fun!)

We also enjoyed dinner out together - Lebanese food (yum!) - before the symphony.

When you have big kids it’s easy to go out for date night. Bonus.

Date Night at the Symphony


I started reading The Lake House by Kate Morton this week. I love everything she writes.

Being in a local in-person book club has been a lot of fun for me. Last week three of us from the book club met to talk about our book goals for the year. I know that I want to read more non fiction this year, and in particular I would like to focus on more religious and education non fiction. (Did you see the most recent post I wrote about C.S. Lewis?)

I put the question to our private Facebook group, Equipping Homegrown Learners, about starting a book club on the page - with the first book being Beauty in the Word by Stratford Caldecott.

Come join our FB group, by the way - I think we have great discussions and encouragement.

I also really enjoyed the latest episode of What Should I Read Next? - and seriously wish I had a little one so we could do a 1,000 books challenge like the mom in this podcast!


My 14-year-old is odd.

He loves Latin.

I think it is the challenge of solving a big puzzle as you parse a sentence that intrigues him the most. As he is working through Henle Latin in Challenge B this year I am starting to think about adding a second language in high school next year.

The National Latin Exam is taken in March of each year and I coordinate the testing for our Challenge community. This morning I spoke to their class about the test and what we will do to prepare, and then I stayed for the hour of Latin they had afterwards.

They were talking about the quality and quantity of adjectives and the endings that go with them. It was at this point in my daughter’s Latin studies that I remember jumping ship; I think I might try to make it a bit further this year.

What We’ve Been Up To Lately: Latin

I love the discipline and precision the study of Latin brings to our homeschool. I love watching a room full of eighth graders seriously discuss how to approach translating a sentence from English into Latin.

It isn’t hard to learn Latin - it just requires commitment and patience.

That’s what we have been up to.

I’d love to know what YOU have been up to in your homeschool lately.

Leave a comment below!

Learn About C.S. Lewis: A Parent's Guide to Self Education

For parents, the gift of homeschooling is self-education.

Reclaiming my own education has been a tremendous blessing. I love discovering with my children - discovering authors, composers, artists - I could go on and on!

If you are like me, you weren’t exactly immersed in the life and thoughts of C.S. Lewis when you were young. I vaguely remember reading The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. Beyond that, I thought Lewis was for intellectuals - certainly NOT me!

I was intimidated by all things C.S. Lewis for many years. I wish I would have started this sooner, but I have to believe NOW is the perfect time for me.

What a gift it is now to dive into his world now and discover for myself so many of his writings - to learn about one of the greatest Christian thinkers in history.

It all started with one of my favorite books last year…

Learn About C.S. Lewis - a Parent’s Guide to Self Education - includes book suggestions, and how to learn alongside your children

A Gentle Beginning to learn about C.S. Lewis

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I need to slide into a deep subject gently.

There was a lot of buzz about Becoming Mrs. Lewis - the story of Joy Davidman and C.S. Lewis’ unlikely friendship and eventual marriage. I listened to the book and was drawn into their world.

A logical place to go after listening to this book was to read A Grief Observed - this was the book Lewis wrote after his wife died. The book is short, but is so full of wisdom. I read it through quickly the first time, and then really sat with it a second time - highlighting and making notes in the margins.

I love how books just “find” you sometimes, don’t you?

After A Grief Observed I kept hearing about A Hobbit, A Wardrobe, and a Great War , which is about Tolkien, Lewis, and the influence their involvement in World War I had on their faith lives and ultimately the Christian world of the 20th century (and beyond). This book was an EXCELLENT listen for both my teenage son and me.

A Plan to Learn More about C.S. Lewis

After this enjoyable introduction into the life and thoughts of C.S. Lewis, I found myself wanting to know more.

I get easily bogged down by too much “intellectual” reading (just being honest).

I have to keep it short and interesting.

First, a comprehensive biography about C.S. Lewis.

Second, the box set of C.S. Lewis signature classics (these are SO approachable - and the covers are beautiful, too!).

Third, Surprised By Joy - the shape of C.S. Lewis’ early life.

(If you want to include your children in this endeavor, I HIGHLY recommend C.S. Lewis, Master Storyteller - one of the Christian Heroes Then and Now biographies. We listened to this on a long car trip last year and all learned so much! )

Don’t you love this quote from A Grief Observed - “The best is perhaps what we understand the least.”?

I’m not trying to “understand” all of C.S. Lewis’ writings - I’m simply trying to immerse myself in his world and let the Holy Spirit work in me.

If you’d like to join me in learning about C.S. Lewis, here are the books I’m using:

Becoming Mrs. Lewis: The Improbable Love Story of Joy Davidman and C. S. LewisA Grief ObservedThe C. S. Lewis Signature Classics (8-Volume Box Set): An Anthology of 8 C. S. Lewis Titles: Mere Christianity, The Screwtape Letters, Miracles, The ... The Abolition of Man, and The Four LovesA Hobbit, a Wardrobe, and a Great War: How J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis Rediscovered Faith, Friendship, and Heroism in the Cataclysm of 1914-1918C.S. Lewis: Master Storyteller (Christian Heroes: Then & Now)Jack: A Life of C. S. LewisThe Complete Chronicles of Narnia ( Boxed Set 7 Books )


Do you know much about C.S. Lewis?

Tell me in the comments below!