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!

What We've Been Up To Lately: Re-Entry

Re-entry after a restful holiday break can be hard.

Or, it can be a welcome return to the routine.

Ours has been a little of both. There may have been some groans and sighs as everyone headed back to their respective classes and homeschool groups, but there has also been a certain comfort in the familiar routine and productivity that naturally follows.

Our homeschool word this year is intentional - so I’m keeping tabs on myself through these blog entries. Have I been INTENTIONAL about everything in our homeschool and life in the past week?

What We’ve Been Up To Lately: Re-Entry

I have been relentless about claiming reading time for myself. I consider it therapy and education all wrapped up in one!

Sunday afternoon (after church and some house cleaning), I sat down with my latest read, Harry’s Trees, and relaxed a bit. My husband was doing the same thing, and we chatted while we relaxed. Having that time to strategize for the week was extremely helpful.

(Harry’s Trees is the selection for the Modern Mrs. Darcy book club this month. I love my book club membership!)

I’ve decided that little things can bring me a lot of joy - I bought this mug at a cute coffee shop and it just makes me happy.

What We’ve Been Up To Lately: Re-Entry

Sunday evening we had company for dinner.

I would like to be a better at hospitality in 2019 - not anything fancy - just opening my home and heart to others.

Interestingly enough, a sweet reader of Homegrown Learners sent me The Turquoise Table: Finding Community and Connection in Your Own Front Yard, and the book has been inspiring me.

We had simple baked tacos for dinner and enjoyed a lovely evening. (Plus, inviting people over gives me a kick in the pants to clean things up a bit!)

If you want the recipe for these EASY and YUMMY tacos, you can find it in my Plan to Eat.

What We’ve Been Up To Lately: Re-Entry

Back to “school” Monday morning consisted of all of the usual subjects.

(I won’t talk much about my senior because she is cruising through to graduation and pretty much controls her own schedule now!)

Grant is preparing for a piano competition in March, so he’s back to his regular practice schedule each day. Piano has been one of my homeschool requirements for both children. I know it builds concentration, attention, discipline, and musicality. It is a gift they will always have with them - and I just love having a house with the sound of music.

What We’ve Been Up To Lately: Re-Entry

A reader asked me last week about what our morning time looks like with a middle schooler.

One thing we ALWAYS include in our morning time is reading aloud. Our current read-aloud is Jefferson’s Sons. I had read Sally Hemings and America’s First Daughter last year and was intrigued with Thomas Jefferson’s story. Jefferson’s Son is the YA version of that story and we’re both enjoying learning about Jefferson - who was great in the eyes of men - but maybe struggled with being great in the eyes of God because of the slaves he owned.

What We’ve Been Up To Lately: Re-Entry

One of the most difficult subjects in Grant’s Challenge B coursework is Intermediate Formal Logic.

He began reading, highlighting, and creating a Quizlet set this week. The key to success is going to be staying on top of the assignments, memorizing the vocabulary, and not giving up!

(Do you know about Quizlet? It’s one of our favorite online flashcard tools!!)

What We’ve Been Up To Lately: Re-Entry

A cute aside - Grant has always loved the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books, and I have nothing against them!

He began reading them in Kindergarten, and shortly thereafter starting writing in his own journal using dialog! I was amazed at how such a little boy could use quotation marks and punctuation appropriately, and then I realized he was imitating the writing he was seeing in Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Brilliant.

He owns every book and I gave him the new one for Christmas. You will often catch him rereading them for fun.

I’m sure some people would call them twaddle, but I don’t care - I believe there is room for a certain amount of twaddle in our lives, don’t you?

What We’ve Been Up To Lately: Re-Entry

Finally, we’ve been back to our basketball schedule.

Nearly every afternoon or evening (other than Wednesday and Sunday) contains basketball. It’s a good thing the private school where he plays is close to our house, and that he LOVES this team. We’re fortunate to have found a school that welcomes homeschoolers!

I can’t imagine what Grant’s attitude would be like if he didn’t have this physical activity each day.

He plays HARD and it’s been fun to watch the young man he is on the basketball court. Of course the emphasis is on playing good basketball and winning games, but the greater emphasis is on playing as a Christian.

I am thankful for this opportunity. We waited many years for an organized sports group with this focus.

What We’ve Been Up To Lately: Re-Entry

All in all I think re-entry is going well.

Only one more semester and I will have a HOMESCHOOL GRADUATE (yikes!) and a high school freshman. Where DOES the time go?

What have you been up to?

Are you back to the routine after the holidays?

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