Organizing for a New School Year


Organizing the school year has been quite fun! This year we have four students, grades K thru 12! It is a BIG year for us, so I wanted to be more than ready.

Hunter is completing his last year, so we are tying loose ends and filling in the holes.

Parker is officially a freshman and could not be more eager to start! He sees college in his future and wants to be extremely prepared.

Natalie is starting 2nd grade (though in elementary, we do not focus on what “grades” they are in). She is most interested in gymnastics at this stage.

Lila is super excited to continue to learn how to read and write. She has officially joined the homeschool ranks with her siblings and couldn’t be more proud!


I have assigned each of the kids a binder (from Dollar Tree). In each binder, there is a monthly calendar. On each calendar, I label each school day & hours, as well as insert in any extracurricular activity, such as gymnastics, homeschool gym, art, music, playdates, field trips, volunteer work, etc.

On a magnetic white board (from, I have the family activity calendar, to make sure all of the outside appointments, classes, and field trips are remembered. Everyone’s calendars are married into this main one.

Now, from there we split off.

The boys have weekly class sheets that I print off from an original copy. I hand them one on Monday and they hand it in when all classes have been completed at the end of the week.


I look over their homework and discuss what we need to discuss. They make corrections on the weekends, and the loose sheets and notes get put into a separate binder.


The girls get daily boxes (from Costco). I put the hands-on work/ideas for the day into one of these boxes. Each day they get a new box of things to do.


All of these assignments and classes for the four kids, do not encompass everything they do for “school”. They are also learning outside of the home, as well as with one-on-one projects with us. They are involved in astronomy clubs, library volunteer and planning boards, music lessons, art lessons, gym classes, sports classes, gymnastics, youth groups, multiple field trips, etc. within several communities through the park districts and the YMCA, as well as through churches, museums and community events.

It will be a big year and we couldn’t be more excited!

This has to be a short article, so PLEASE shoot me any questions you may have on detailed planning ideas. What ideas have you put together? Please share!


I’ll Raise My Own Kids, Thank You

I’ll Raise My Own Kids, Thank You

I have helped many families pull their kids out of public school, as we did with our kids eight years ago. The reasons vary, but most often they stem from bullying and over-testing, causing children to have ulcers, multiple doctors’ visits, hospitalizations and even suicide attempts.

What comes next, never fails to happen. The persistent whining and protesting against the parents’ decision to teach their children from the safety and love of their home, comes from the closest relatives of these said parents, even from spouses and ex-spouses, fathers and mothers of these children who are not the full-time caretakers. It never ceases to amaze me. These horrendous protests are trying to push these kids back towards hospitalizations, nightmarish victimization from both peers and at times, abusive teachers (the exceptions-the bad apples who shouldn’t be there), as well as straight into suicide. Is that their intention? No. They think that they are “saving” the children from a life of sheltered, Bible thumping, communes. The picture that they get of homeschooling in their heads, is not a realistic one. They have no idea how very well these students do. Homeschooled kids have graduated from Ivy League schools, as well as from other top colleges and universities. They go on to have great careers, or to simply fulfill needed jobs in the job sector. Are there those kids who do not succeed? Of course! Are there kids in public schools who don’t succeed? Do I need to answer that?

Kids are all very different. All kids learn differently. If they are not homeschooled because of bullying, or as a result of stress-induced medical issues, or due to other more serious medical issues such as cancer, then they are often taught at home for this reason. Not every child fits in a square box and succeeds. Home education can adapt and grow with the child and succeed brilliantly with the one-on-one instruction given. Actors, actresses, high-performing gymnasts, ballerinas, singers, Olympic-bound ice skaters, and those living in rural and abroad places, must homeschool if they are to succeed in their lifestyles, careers, and education. This is just a short list of reasons we take our education into our own hands.

I am preaching to the choir.

When relatives (and other nosey know-it-alls) fight a parent’s decision that they have agonizingly made (with floor pacing, nights of no sleep, discussions with close friends, much research, tears, heavy hearts, endless questioning of this decision), from a place of a parent’s endless love, it is just the end of a very long struggle in their parenting adventures. It is the beast at the end of the movie that we need to put to its demise.

Here’s how it is done.

Arm yourself.

Know your state laws (by searching on the internet, “my state’s homeschooling”, inserting your state’s name, or U.S. Abroad, and also the country’s name that you are staying in). If you are staying abroad, not just for a short vacation, know the laws there as well. Boldly, knowingly, tell your nay-sayer that you are following your state’s laws to the letter.

Arm yourself with factual statistics, and the books and articles that quote them. Make sure that they are current, because our numbers are growing rapidly and the success rates are phenomenal! Children are becoming healthier, more self-sufficient, and much more confident! Colleges and universities are quickly adapting new standards and separate homeschooling requirements for the admissions processes. The University of Wisconsin, Madison, is one such amazing university that is doing just that! We homeschoolers are actually being RECRUITED by some of these brilliant schools! Check them out!

No, I am not going to link these books and articles for you here. They need to be current, and if you do your own research, you will learn more. Duh! It is the golden rule! This is how our own kids learn best! Hop on this progressive train of self-motivated, independent learning! Have FUN doing the research! Yes, it is fun!

What’s next?

DON’T ARGUE with these ignorant fools!.Hand, send, and write to them; the articles, the statistics, the book titles, or better yet, the books themselves. Tell them to EDUCATE themselves.

STAY CALM. LOOK like the educated, sophisticated, mature, outstanding parent that YOU ARE.

BLOG. Present your blog to the Facebook world, the email world…SHOW them YOUR child’s world by giving examples on your blog, of what you do on a weekly basis. Pictures of science experiments, art, music classes, gym classes, sports, library activities, field trips, papers they write, lists of books read, etc. At least POST these things on Facebook. They will get “slapped” in the face with wonderful, wholesome learning experiences and see for themselves, how unsheltered and fantastic your children’s lives REALLY are!

That is all you have to do.

Remember to TELL YOURSELF, daily, what a wonderful gift you are giving to your children. Then, READ those articles and books that you have shared with your naysayers, over and over again. SEE the work that you have done and that your kids have enjoyed on your Facebook posts, or blogs. LOOK at your daily journals, or schedule books to remind yourself how much your kids are learning. Often times, we need to combat the doubts that the unsupportive beasts have put into our heads, with the armor of education.












How I Homeschool with Four at Home

One of the most frequently asked questions in the homeschooling world is, “How does one homeschool with multiple children at home?”

I do not have many children at home, but if four is considered “multiple”,  then I will be game for answering that question.

Currently, I have 2 teens, a 7 year old, and a 5 year old. Oh, and a dog. Yes, a dog. No, he is not a child, but he is more needy than a child. He disrupts our learning environment at the worst possible moments. He needs to be let out on a leash to potty every hour it seems. We are working on a schedule for him….because most of the time….he just wants to ingest rabbit scat.

Okay. Onward.

Times change every year, twice a year at least. The dynamics and needs of the kids change. When we started, I was pregnant with #3, and the teens were 6 & 9. If you were to categorize them like items on a grocery shelf, they would have been in the 1st. and 3rd. aisles. Life was quiet, homeschool was a foreign country, and we were trying to duplicate public school at home at the dining room table. Oh, don’t worry. For a change in scenery, we duplicated a classroom setting in the basement and took them to the backyard for recess.

When the baby arrived, we waved the white flag. We watched documentaries, a ton, and fit in desk work and reading while the baby napped. If we had not hired a housekeeper at this time, the toilets would have molded; everyone would have ran around naked; and we would have slept in filth. Really. Homeschooling is a full-time job. Childcare is a full-time job. Having a newborn is a full-time job. Whomever doubts this has never had more than a full-time-out-of-the-house job. Believe me. It is much easier to go to work, than to be home 24-7 with children. Debate with me. I’ve done both. Hands down. You will lose this debate.

If you work outside of the home, or from home, and homeschool, do all of the laundry, grocery shopping, bill paying, cleaning, errands, clothes shopping, etc., etc., then take care of the children, cook, and do the dishes, you win! Hands down! Let’s move on…

When baby #4 was a few months old, the 2 year old was running around, and the boys were just turning 9 and 12, we laid off the housekeeper and sh** got real.

Here goes…

I created “busy boxes” for the toddler. Under-the-bed storage boxes with lids were filled with rice, oatmeal, Cherrios, and small (watch for choking hazards-not too small) toys that could be “hidden” in the cereal. This was an indoor “sandbox”. Other smaller boxes, without lids, were filled with building blocks, gears, dinosaurs, dolls, and other categorized toys, each having their own box. I had a paint mat, that only needed water and a paint brush to paint on. It laid on the kitchen floor and when #3 painted with water, the mat would change colors. There were fat, washable crayons and coloring books to color on. I also had easy, wooden, Melissa & Doug puzzles available. Sometimes, #3 would sit in a high chair; at other times she would sit on the living room floor and play. This allowed me to have time with #1 and #2. Most of our one-on-one work was done while baby #4 slept.

One topic that has never changed throughout the years, is housework. Housework needs to be done before the kids wake up, during breaks, and after learning hours. It is very distracting to do housework during teaching and learning times, and it sends the wrong message to your kids. Education should be top priority. They should be top priority. They also need to see how setting a schedule works.

(Unschooling, relaxed homeschooling, and facilitating learning opportunities for OLDER kids, works differently however. Schedules are not as rigid. They are set differently for each kid as well. See later articles on this from me, in the near future.)

Believe me, I am the last person who likes to adhere to schedules. I find them very confining. I also do not like rules. I have tried it the other way though. I have flown by the seats of our pjs and done housework all day, while facilitating learning opportunities for the kids, and it is just chaotic. It feels like running a hamster wheel, and at the end of the day, everyone is frustrated and nothing gets truly accomplished. Your kids lose in this game every single time. The feeling is awful, even if your living room gets cleaned and the towels are put away.

HOWEVER, when the students get older, the game changes yet again.

Today, I still complete housework only before and after “school” hours. What has changed, is how much time I have to spend with each kid and how I schedule the day. The older teen has completed all of his core classes, so he unschools on his own with “electives” and meets with me to discuss what he has learned, and what further materials he may need from me to continue his education. The younger teen takes up the majority of my time. We meet in the morning, at 10am, to discuss his assignments and materials needed for the day. He leaves me to complete his work at his desk, or on his computer, or simply from the couch. He may also physically leave the house to go to classes. Then, in the afternoon we meet up again to go over his math assignment, complete a science lab, work on writing his paper, and discuss his reading assignments in social studies and language arts. We may talk about his electives as well and discuss his progress, challenges, and future class needs. I also drop him off and pick him up from his outside classes at the YMCA, library, community building, lake, art building, or music lessons. Those are my teens.

The younger two take up my time in the morning. I still have to feed them when they can’t help themselves. I have to make sure that they get dressed and brush their teeth. Then, we wait until after I meet with their brother at 10am. We may complete workbook pages, read, watch documentaries, play games or puzzles, perform or create art, or work on the computer on sites such as,, or They attend classes in art, gym, soccer, dance, swim, and preschool type classes (such as Passports, which is for cultural studies, ABC Fun, Lunch Bunch, and Music and Me) at the library, the YMCA, and at the community center. They also have been taking gymnastics at Gymlingo for years. We end our time together in the afternoon when I meet with their brother, and they go to play outside, or inside, and wait for their neighborhood friends to come home from public school. Our youngest, who just turned five this past month, has signed up for public school kindergarten next year. She is excited to attend school with her friends from her outside classes!

Okay. My time is up! It is 7:30am and time to start the day with my kiddos, after the laundry gets started…







Typical Tuesday With Teens and Tots


Sitting in the nail salon, trying to convince the stylist for the umpteenth time that I did not want gel on my nails, I heard two young moms discussing their tots. It was homecoming weekend and they were not looking forward to when their toddlers entered high school.

“Heroin is so popular in high school now. Drugs are everywhere. When I was in high school, I didn’t even know what Heroin was. It is going to be so hard to raise our kids when they get to be that age!”

I totally get it. I worked with those teens that were in the webs of drug addictions and drug sales and drug productions. That was in the 90’s. Today, it is a tricky deal too. Now drug dealers are handing out addictions in the form of  “candy”. The drugs look like pop rocks and suckers. I was personally drugged with the “date rape” drug. My boyfriend put it in my Gatorade. I never knew what hit me until I woke up with bruises, a lack of clothing, and a bad headache. I slept for days on end, missing my classes that week at college.


So, the typical Tuesday in my house, looks like a lazy Saturday.

My 90’s teen is in his room unschooling. He researches topics on his computer, reads encyclopedia-type books for fun, or watches a documentary on his Blueray. My other Millennial offspring sits on the couch, plugging through Algebra. He sits thigh to thigh with me, stretching out every last bit of childhood and mom-son time. Meanwhile, he works on the math that I so struggled with years ago. He is three years ahead of where I was at that age, in math and science.

My tots are growing up. They are now 6 & 4. We don’t categorize them into grades, but if we did, they would be in 1st. and 4K (a Wisconsin term I find ludicrous). The girls don’t realize that we “do school”. They just love to learn. It happens on a Saturday, as well as on a Tuesday. It happens during the public school holidays, as well as during the summer. They work in workbooks for fun. They read. They watch documentaries. They play on their learning websites, such as Starfall, Jumpstart, ABCMouse, DiscoveryKids and PBSKids. In-between facilitating learning with my boys, I play board games, gears, science kits, and crafts with them.

Who am I kidding? This rarely happens. They are very headstrong and self-sufficient. They kick me out of their play and out of their science “experiences”.

More about home-based learning in the following articles. It is 7 o’clock in the morning and I hear the footsteps coming down the stairs.  Time to start our home-based day!

What do your Tuesdays look like?  Please throw me a comment, and a cup of coffee….