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This Week at Home: 3R’s and More

The highlight of  this week is that we’ve had no frost yet!  A few times it’s been close enough that we had get up early and sneak outside to see if there was frost on our deck. If the deck had been slippery, we would have bundled up and sprayed the entire garden with water to thaw everything before the sun came up, a very helpful trick we’ve learned from Farmer Boy.  Tonight, however, the frost danger may be serious enough that we need to cover the plants. 

Formal Schoolwork—The Three R’s


OK, so getting the children to read is never an issue around here.  They read when they’re supposed to be doing schoolwork, they read when they’re doing chores, they read when they’re relaxing, they read when they are sick, and they read when they are well….  One of our big goals is to get them to do other things.  However, reading is important, as long as the books are worthwhile, and we try to allow only worthwhile books.  Sure there’s a bit of fluff like Nancy Drew and such, but we avoid books containing horror, sibling bashing, teen romance, and other wrong and foolish ideas. 

As for reading instruction, the Little Misses are working with narration to help them understand the gist of a passage.  Miss 8 still struggles with the actual mechanics of reading, although she has improved a lot over the summer. The older ones are steadily plugging through How to Read A Book, taking notes and, hopefully, learning a lot about serious reading.


Mr. 15 spends his spare time working on his website, Teen Geek:  Free Help and How-to Tutorials for Your Computer.  Miss 12 loves playing with words.  Miss 10 needs to concentrate on spelling and handwriting before she can become a fluent writer.  When the mechanics constantly bog you down, it doesn’t matter how great your ideas are!  Miss 8 made a beautiful birthday card this week.  She values correct spelling, and is eagerly learning cursive.


Mr. 15 successfully finished his stint with Algebra 2 in ALEKS. Now he’s studying Jacob’s Geometry, full of cartoons, silly exercises, and rigorous logic.  It’s one of the best high school math books available. 

Miss 12 took over her brother’s ALEKS account eagerly and is now studying Algebra 1. (I was a day too late to cancel his account and set up a new one for her, but this seems to work.)  For her the work is mostly review, very helpful for the year’s formal math. 

Miss 10 decided that she did not want to work with Math Galaxy’s Decimal Fun right now, but wanted to move right into Key to Decimals.  I think it was an excellent choice and am letting her do this. 

Miss 8 is reviewing odd and even numbers with Miquon Math.  She’s moving at a slow pace this year.  I’m only requiring one page a day rather than two, since this causes us both much less agony. She understands the concepts, and that’s what counts; it’s the interaction with pencil and paper that seems to cause the problem, just as the Moores suggest in Better Late than Early.  Perhaps I’ll try to figure out a way to do her math orally, which she would love.


I discovered that this year I can putter around the kitchen while Miss 8 does her schoolwork at the kitchen table.  I have the energy, and she’s able to work on her own.  What a difference that makes!  Perhaps in a few months the kitchen will be totally fall-cleaned.

We’ve started going through our clothing boxes, finding warm outfits for the winter.  Other than that, we’re slowly falling further behind on our inside tasks because we’re trying to get the schoolwork going and the garden harvested.  Soon, however, we’ll be able to fall-clean to our hearts’ content, and maybe even paint our baseboards.


We have been enjoying the sweetest muskmelons you can imagine.  Luscious fall raspberries are ripe although the bees still buzz everywhere, pollinating new flowers.   I think we have picked the last of our cucumbers.  The broccoli side-shoots provide us with a meal or two a week.  And everywhere there are other things to harvest:  tomatoes, watermelons, bell peppers, hot peppers, cauliflower, kale, chard, beets, parsnips, carrots, rhubarb, Japanese greens, basil….  It’s almost overwhelming, but as long as the frost stays away, we should be able to manage.  Once the frost does come, however, we’ll be able to see how our squashes and pumpkins are doing.  That garden is so over-run with vines that we just stay out of it, waiting and wondering what’s under the green canopy of leaves.

To see what other families have been up to, visit Canada Girl and Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers.


  1. Tina says:

    I am envious of your together blog post…I have had such a small amount of time to blog. I did get photos up and I am working on doing a daily diary blip in word so I can post more effectively in this busy season.
    Your kids all seem to be way ahead in math. I had one of four like that but the rest are average and we seem to struggle a bit in Alg forward.
    Your garden sounds fabulous. Especially the raspberries!!!! And the hidden treasure in the pumpkin / squash patch! I love finding out what has grown. We grew gourds one year and had to wait till the vines were completely dead to harvest. It was so much discoving all that we had.
    Sure can identify with the reading! We do the same here. I am going to check out How to Read a Book. Who is the author?
    Hope your week is amazing and blessed.!

    1. Annie Kate says:

      I’m being so detailed these weeks so that Miss 17, who is away from home, can keep up with us. 🙂 Otherwise I’d be spending more time in the garden.

      How to Read a Book was written by Adler and Van Doren. It’s become a classic by now and cannot be recommended highly enough. Ambleside Online and Susan Wise Bauer have both recommended it.

      Annie Kate

  2. kympossible says:

    Kids who read rather than do almost anything else – what a delightful “problem” to have! Sounds like me, my mom and my aunts… my kids love to read too, but not to that extent.

    I’m checking out your son’s teen geek website – it looks great. Good for him!


    1. Annie Kate says:

      Sometimes reading too much can interfere with real life. I wish I hadn’t read so much when I was a child.

      Annie Kate

  3. LarabaK says:

    I agree that reading can be a problem; in my case, I was using it to “escape” real life when I was a child. Our older 3 like to read a lot, but they do other things as well. I also applaud being cautious what they read. We are very careful in that area also…I don’t want inappropriate romance, books where the kids are smarter and wiser than the parents, and as you said, horror is right out.

    Your garden sounds great, wow. We didn’t have a wonderful year and it is almost done. Part of it was that my dh didn’t have as much time to work on it as usual. And I used being pregnant as an excuse for staying out of the garden (I don’t enjoy gardening.)

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