Under Construction

I am in the process of migration from one host to another. Not much else will change, but until I figure it all out, the site may be a little chaotic!… Read more...

Homeschool Dad: Adjustments

These first few days are all about adjustments, and reflections on adjustments.

My nerdy persona requires that our curriculum be heavily reading based, ingesting books of the living variety*. I spent a great deal of last year committed to carrying out a plan, all the while observing what adjustments might benefit these precious students as we enter year two.

In the realm of literature, year one consisted of two components: We read numerous books at the table. Most often, I would read aloud and the children would narrate back to me the content of each chapter. The goal was simply … Read more...

Homeschool Dad: Another Day One

Six weeks ago, I had the privilege of officiating a wedding on the shore of New Jersey, a trip that included a day exploring the boulder field of Hickory Run State Park. The morning after the wedding, we drove 8.5hrs to deliver a few of our little ones to kids camp, where I spent the week serving as the cook.

Two weeks later, we were back in New Jersey for another wedding, a trip that included a day exploring Manhattan in the rain, sealed with garlic rolls from John’s Pizzeria.

Last week, my wife and I enjoyed 24hrs alone in … Read more...

Homeschool Dad: The 2018-2019 Curriculum

Homeschool Dad confession: I enjoy curriculum shopping.

Homeschool Dad clarification: I enjoy curriculum building. 

As I began my rookie year, I explored box curriculum options. But I have reached a point in life where my frugal side exerts unflinching dominance over my lavish and extravagant side. At the end of the day, curriculum building seems more budget friendly, and budget-friendly curriculum building makes for a satisfying online morning.

There are thousands of great books out there just begging to be implemented in an educational capacity. There are tens of thousands of average books that will get the job done in … Read more...

In Brief: The Underwater Welder

Sometimes, you log in to Amazon for the one moment a graphic novel on your wish list has dropped 75% in price. And in that moment, you buy The Underwater Welder by Jeff Lemire. Though Lemire dwells often in the superhero realm, Welder is the story of an ordinary man facing his past in order to face his future. It is an exploration of pressure crystallized on the black and white page.

The Artwork

The Underwater Welder is a story in ink mixed with grayscale watercolor. Damon Lindelof compares the story to an episode of the Twilight Zone in his … Read more...

In Brief: The Road

As I’ve read various everyman reviews for Cormac McCarthy’s celebrated novel, The Road, I’ve realized that it can be a polarizing story. There are those who see it as a marvelous tale of sacrificial love and hope. There are others who can’t stand the abandonment of punctuation and the repetitively repetitive nature of it all.

The Road is a post-apocalyptic story of survival featuring a nameless man and his nameless son in an ashen and dreary world. Without crops, animals, or even the sun, the world is on the brink of extinction. The two travel the road in search … Read more...

Homeschool Dad: On Chess

Having finished the first year, I’ve been preparing our portfolios for review and giving thought to next year’s curriculum and objectives. It makes sense, then, that I’ve also been reflecting on the year’s highs and lows and evaluating potential changes.

One last-minute subject that I never would have intended to teach were it not for a couple of well-timed blog reads is chess. I’ve long appreciated the game, even if I’ve never spent intentional time considering strategies. I can honestly say I learned alongside the kiddos, and that at this point it is only a matter of time before they … Read more...

In Brief: Pinocchio

Our literary quest through the homeschool year ended with a massive flourish as we enjoyed Carlo Lorenzini’s (better known as Collodi, his adopted surname which doubles as the name of his hometown) classic Pinocchio.

From a schooling perspective, our typical approach with any classic is to read the book, view the most popular version on film, and then write a reflection piece detailing the similarities, differences, and our personal preferences. In the case of Pinocchio, my children and I unanimously preferred the Collodi version.

My daughter preferred the suspense of the 1883 classic. My sons preferred the broader variety … Read more...

Homeschool Dad: Year One

To think I commented at having taken two weeks in between posts in October. Our school year was complete yesterday – year one is in the books. I cannot state in a sentence the magnitude of the blessing I’ve received this year in exercising the privilege of educating my children. I loved it.

A friend asked recently how we’ve enjoyed the year. After sharing some of my joy, I shared that I only blew up a few times. That is, I could only recall a few instances where frustration reached a boiling point. To be sure of this, I asked … Read more...

Homeschool Dad: Friday

Two weeks. I’ve taken a break of two weeks from posting. And yes, that was enough time for me to make yet another adjustment to what is now “normal.” Thankfully, I enjoy change and exploration, so I’ve relished the variety.

Perhaps the most exciting change is a new bit of furniture in our reading room. Three boys share one bedroom, two girls another. My wife and I have decided to use the attic as a bedroom, which leaves our smallest bedroom vacant. This has become our reading room… just another space to allow for learning.

07:45am – Wake kiddos
08:20am … Read more...

Homeschool Dad: Thursday

As I set out to make the schedule at the beginning of the year, I wanted there to be a day that offered the most flexibility, primarily to learn outside the home. The structure of our Thursday fits our lives well for this purpose.
Because #4 doesn’t have preschool, we are free to roam the town and learn in a different setting. We are free to head to the nature reserve to see creation, the museum to see history, the science center to uncover mysteries.

We sing hymns at night, so that subject can be flexed as needed. We can … Read more...

Homeschool Dad: Wednesday

Homeschooling while maintaining a work life outside the home presents unique challenges. Ministry, thankfully, is remarkably flexible and often operates during hours outside of school (especially when the focus of my particular vocational calling involves children, youth, and families).

Wednesday is a day of such challenges. Mentoring over breakfast, an afternoon staff meeting, and an evening study group are all specific challenges to the homeschooling day. However, this is why we’ve been given imaginations, is it not?

07:45am – Wake Kiddos
08:20am – Stretch
08:25am – Catechism & Prayer
08:35am – Family Walk
09:00am – History
09:30am – Reading aloud … Read more...

Homeschool Dad: Tuesday

I’m still new enough in the realm of homeschooling that, even as I share the current patterns of our days, I am evaluating and asking myself if there aren’t immediate improvements that could be made.

One thing I have noticed to this point in the year is that the schedule is a work in progress. While I have made changes, I have tried not to make constant changes. I know I will have time to fine tune adjustments. Here stands our current Tuesday:

07:45am – Wake Kiddos
08:20am – Stretch
08:25am – Catechism & Prayer
08:35am – Family Walk
09:00am … Read more...

Homeschool Dad: Monday

While asking what homeschooling might do to my life, I also began to seek out typical schedules from across the web. I don’t say this often, but as I carried out this search, I was thankful for the internet. I was able to peruse a great many week-long breakdowns, among which mine will now digitally rest.

Since I’ve already shared a snapshot of a “typical” weekday from my perspective, I wanted to share the same from the perspective of the kiddos. I’ll discuss each day briefly, and then if I remember, I’ll post the full week in PDF format.

07:45am … Read more...

Homeschool Dad: A Day in the Life

Among the wealth of questions that ran through my brain as we considered the shift toward schooling at home was, of course, the selfish one: What will this do to my life?

Ministry knows few personal boundaries (except those that are intentionally established, but that’s another post), and my wife has a very caring approach to her work as well, which means our lives are deeply intertwined at times with our vocational callings.

How can I work and teach? When will I find time to read? To exercise? To date my wife?These are all fair questions and worthy of consideration.… Read more...