Wednesday, July 11, 2012


I don't know where I got the idea that life would slow down once summer got here. I must be crazy or something. I have been crazy busy with driving the kids to swimming lessons, tennis lessons, music lessons, etc.  We just got home from our week long vacation in Door County. We had tons of fun, but I'm still catching up on laundry. Considering that I did laundry - twice! - while we  were there, I can't figure out how we never seem to have enough clothes and yet there is always laundry to be done. There is some kind of paradox here, I think.

Anyway, summer is almost half over (how can that be??) and I'm going to post some summery photos now.

Cave Point County Park

Whitefish Dunes.

We have more swimming and tennis lessons and college visits coming up later this summer. And then I have to prepare for next school year.

One more beach photo to hold on to:

Can you say "fish boil"???

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Is all that Latin study worth it? (Yes!)

As a homeschooling mom, I have always had a slight worry that I'm not "doing it right". At certain times of the year I'd get these "What if" thoughts. What if we didn't  do enough science this year, or math or the kids didn't learn enough - you know, the usual kind of things moms worry about. But because we homeschool, who could I blame but myself? And the kids - eventually they get old enough that you really can't blame yourself anymore because you can't do the work for them. You can't make them learn - you can give them every opportunity and resource available, but you can't make them learn. I've had faith in my choice of classical homeschooling for several reasons: 1) this is the kind of education I would have chosen for myself if I had been able to; 2) this type of education stands the test of time; 3) the resources I consult are quite thorough and provide a similar education as some pretty impressive prep schools. These are only some of the reasons, but they are as good as any.

Now, to test the theory! My oldest is in eleventh grade this year and we are right in the middle of all the college testing. What fun that is! I haven't done a lot of testing for him and I was a little worried. We gave him test prep practice, strategies, etc., but basically put faith in the overall education we have tried to provide for him. After seeing his first attempt at the ACT, I have to say I am quite pleased. He easily exceeded the benchmark scores for all subjects. His English and Reading scores were 99%. I feel that this is due to his Latin studies and all of the Great Books reading he has done over the years. He stopped studying Latin after 9th grade, but he had worked through Latina Christiana I and II and about half of Henle I  before we switched to Latin for the New Millennium  from Bolchazy for high school. I feel strongly that any Latin is better than no Latin.

My daughters are currently working through Latina Christiana I and First Form Latin from Memoria Press. I plan to continue their Latin studies through at least 9th grade using Latin for the New Millennium. I hope they will continue on to Latin for the New Millennium Level Two. The description of Latin for the New Millennium from the website:

This new complete introductory course to the Latin language, suitable for both high school and college students, consists of two volumes, each accompanied by a teacher's manual and students' workbooks. The strategy employed for teaching and learning incorporates the best of both the reading approach and the more abstract grammatical method. The choice of vocabulary in each chapter reflects ancient authors commonly studied for the AP* Latin examinations. There are exercises designed for oral use, as well as a substantial core of more conventional exercises in each chapter. The readings, pictures, and supplementary inserts on cultural information illuminate Roman life, civilization, Roman history, and mythology, as well as the continuing use of Latin after antiquity and its vigorous literary tradition in such periods as the Middle Ages and Renaissance. Each chapter also includes derivatives, the influence of Latin vocabulary on English, and selected proverbs or common Latin sayings.
This will be my high school choice for the girls because it so much more interesting and we found it to be quite fun to read some of the readings for translation and recognize the story -- from Shakespeare! (He borrowed heavily from the classics, you know.) But again, any Latin is a good thing, in my opinion. My kids have learned more grammar through their Latin study than through their English grammar curriculum. The enrichment materials are great too!

 I loved From Romulus to Romulus Augustus

and The Original Dysfunctional Family.

Other favorites were/are:

The enrichment books helped to make life in ancient Rome interesting and accessible while studying the hard stuff - Latin grammar.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

My Guides and Inspirations for our Classical Homeschool

I don't know that I would ever have thought that I could homeschool if I hadn't found The Well Trained Mind by Susan Wise Bauer and Jessie Wise. This is the book that got me started and the one I refer to every single year when I plan out our year. I used to attempt to do everything suggested, but I have since gotten over that need. This is my "homeschooling bible".

The Latin-Centered Curriculum by Andrew Campbell is another of my favorites. I love to refer back to this book when I forget why I'm doing this.  There is a lot of information about a true classical education and the reasons for striving for this type of education. The format is nothing like TWTM - it doesn't follow a four year cycle, but it has some great ideas and curriculum suggestions. I tend to try to blend suggestions from both books for our school plans. This book is available at Memoria Press as well

Climbing Parnassus by Tracy Lee Simmons is a great resource on classical education and is quoted extensively in The Latin-Centered Curriculum. If you want to learn the history of classicial education and some well researched reasons for following it, this is a great resource. This book is available at Memoria Press as well as

Norms & Nobility by David Hicks is another great resource on classical education. This book tends to deal more with high school education rather than applying classical education to elementary age students. This book is available at

I have also used Ambleside Online for book lists when my kids were younger. Ambleside is Charlotte Mason inspired, but is quite useful for schedules and book suggestions.  I think that Charlotte Mason and classical homeschooling work very well together, especially in the younger years.

The Baldwin Online Children's Literature Project is a wonderful resource for classic children's literature. I have used so many of their books over the years, especially for children's versions of greek and roman stories. I highly recommend this site.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Where does the time go?

I can't believe that it is already April! Our school year is just zooming along. Have I mentioned that we school year-round? Well, we do. In our first year of homeschooling I followed the local school calendar and we took off the two and a half months of summer break. And guess what? We had the issue of my son forgetting "everything he learned" from the year before - just like the public and private schools have each fall. Sooo, after that first year we have gone year-round. But don't worry, we take breaks throughout the year to relax and re-group. Since my kids are involved in music and ballet, we have a lighter schedule during their busy months and it all works out.

 Despite knowing that I have all summer to make sure the kids complete their work and are ready to go on to the next grade level, every spring I feel the anxiety hit -- will they be ready before the school year ends? This is typically when I start planning for the next school year too.

We have had such a nice spring so far. Everyone wants to be outside. My herbs and flowers don't seem to remember that we are bound to have more cold and frosty nights.

 The catmint looks nice.

Next up will be lessons outside. The younger ones love to take all their books and papers and sit outside and do their work in the gazebo. I used to be skeptical that they would actually do their work, but they have proven me wrong for the last several years.

Friday, March 16, 2012

The Homeschool Mother's Journal

In my life this week…
I'm feeling overwhelmed right now. So much going on with the kids and their schooling and activities and oldest's job. The whole fourth grade to eleventh grade spread is really taking a toll this year. 

In our homeschool this week…
I am trying to catch up on my grading. This is a never-ending task for me. I need to re-group. I am doing some reassessing of what we've done this year with the idea of making changes.

I am inspired by…
literature - always.

My favorite thing this week was…
finding out that my daughter made it to state for piano competition.

What’s working/not working for us…
Not sure exactly what threw us off this year -- looking at everything to figure it out.

Things I’m working on…
As stated earlier --- grading, grading, grading.
I’m reading…
The Thirteen by Susie Moloney. Just finished Hide Me Among the Graves by Tim Powers. Looking forward to reading The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.

A photo, video, link, or quote to share…

Our new puppy, Watson.