Why we chose to home-school our son...

Ah...the question I get asked a lot and I'm sure other homeschooling parents do as well...Why do you homeschool?  Many people seems to have very strong opinions on the subject, several without any experience or knowledge of what homeschooling actually does.  It get can be frustrating, can't it?  I did not homeschool when I was in school.  I absolutely loved school myself.  In fact I planned to never homeschool my children.  But, as life is different for everyone and we can't predict what will happen at any time, we have now chosen to homeschool our son.  Here are the reasons:

  1. He is on the Autism spectrum.  He was showing many signs of high intelligence before beginning kindergarten in 2011.  Even at the age of 2 he was way ahead of other children his age.  But when he started kindergarten he suddenly dropped to the bottom of class.  He literally was the last in his class as far as progress!  I would go into school and he would just sit there and stare off into space.  It took constant supervision to try and get him focused.  And he had to be refocused every few seconds.  This was not the son I had raised!  Something was off.  And when others finally gave into my insistence that he be tested, sure enough...he had Asperger's Syndrome.  That was only the beginning.
  2. Because of his ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder), he required one on one assistance.  I was not able to be there all the time, especially after I started working again.  The special education staff at his school was amazing.  I am so grateful to them for the help they gave him.  But...they weren't enough and they couldn't give him full time attention that he required.
  3. Teachers' hands are tired by government mandates on what they can teach in school and how they do it.  I don't know all the details and don't pretend to, but I know enough and have observed enough, to know that all children are taught the same.  No Child Left Behind?  It seems like these days all schooling is for, is to prepare students for tests so that they can get good scores and the schools can get more financial assistance.  Again...I don't know everything on this, but I've seen enough of the effects of it to know it was NOT working for our son!
  4. Bullying.  I was bullied in school.  I don't believe this reason is enough of one to pull someone out unless their life is in danger.  I learned how to stand up to the bullies and even got to the point they left me alone.  Now days though, if your child is bullied...it seems like the school staff try to blame it on the child being bullied.  That happened with our little man.  I was told "what did he do to instigate it".  All he did was be himself!  Did he ever do anything that bugged other kids?  Yes I'm sure he did, he isn't perfect.  But...did he deserve to be called weird?  Did he deserve to be tattled on every time he had his nervous little ticks and odd habits?  No he didn't!  No kid does!  And not only was it the "mean" kids who did it...by the time we pulled him out in the 3rd grade, even his previous best friends had fallen into doing it as well!
  5. At home we can give him the one on one education that is specialized to him directly.  We can teach him the way HE learns!  Not the way the government requires that ALL students learn.  Or the way that everyone else in the classroom has to learn.
  6. We can teach him real life skills.  I don't remember learning much in school that has helped me in real life.  Even the social aspects of school weren't what real life is.  I made some awesome friends, and I had a blast, but I can't say that a single social situation in school prepared me for today!  Instead of focusing on parallelograms and the exact date that the Great Wall was built...we can learn about the world around us and how to interact with it.  We can learn about meal planning and budgeting.  We can learn about the history of our town and state and how that affects us today.  Yes some of these things are covered in school, but they aren't the main focus!  And that's sad.
  7. Our son is learning to LOVE to learn!  He isn't forced to sit at a desk and follow instructions on a board.  He gets out and learns with his hands!  He doesn't have to stare at a screen and focus on reading lots of text to learn.  He gets to try things for himself.
  8. He is thriving!  Instead of falling behind, and not meeting expectations of government mandated tests, he is advancing beyond my wildest hopes!  He is still behind for his age at this point, because he fell about a year and a half behind in "normal" school...but he is quickly closing that gap.
I'm sure there are many other reasons that I haven't thought of just yet.  But let me ask you this...if you are a homeschooling advocate, what are the reasons YOU love to homeschool?  If you are against homeschooling...why?  Let's discuss!

What I Want to Cover This Year...

Hopefully everyone had a wonderful holiday season!  I know how stressful that time of year can be.  And busy...so so busy!  I barely found time to finish planning our new school year.  In fact, I still have a long ways to go as far as planning the whole thing, but I don't like to plan too much too far in advance anyhow.

That being said, I do like to have a general overview of what I want our son to learn.  Switching to homeschooling has been a challenge for us.  One of the biggest things I'm starting to realize is I don't have to stick to a specific grade level on every subject.  I can adjust each according to what level he is currently at.  I'll write more on this in a different post, but when we started homeschooling our son a little over 2 years ago, I was clueless on all the options there were.  We started him in the K12 program through a school in our state.  For 2 years we fought him to do work.  He hated it!  Finally, after struggling for the last 2 years and him not really learning much of anything because of it, I decided it was time to take matters into my own hands and create our own curriculum.  Because of that loss of 2 years, I have to back a few things down a couple of grades.  Mostly just math & science.

So that brings me to the purpose of this blog post.  I thought I would share exactly what I plan for him to learn over the course of 2017.  I hope to have him caught back up to grade level in 2 years time.  We shall see how that goes.  Allow me to present our curriculum plan for the following year:

Main Goal
Be caught up to 5th grade level math.
Things to Learn
(**NOTE:  I used a great web-source for what he should know for math, so some of this is copied verbatim.  You can find that source HERE.)
Be completely comfortable adding & subtracting up to 5-digit numbers, including borrowing.
Know the sum, differences & products of all single-digit numbers by memory.
Tell time efficiently.
Know how to make change (money).
Do math in head more efficiently.
Even vs. odd numbers. (not sure why this trips him up so badly)
Understand prime numbers.
Add, subtract & compare decimals & fractions.
Multiply 3-digit numbers by 2-digit numbers.
Divide 4-digit numbers by 1-digit numbers, including any remainders.
Identify points, lines, rays & angles in 2D figures.
Use basics of Algebra & Geometry (Up to 5th grade level).
Introduce the tesselation escalation.
Learn basics of coordinate graphs.
Learn basics of bar, circle & line graphs.
Understand measurements & properly use measuring methods for length, weight, capacity & temperature.
Sources to Use
Horizons Math books
Brain Quest Workbook

Main Goal
Learn about US History.
Things to Learn
Native Americans Unit
Early Explorers Unit
13 Colonies Unit
American Revolution Unit
Building of a New Nation Unit
Civil War Unit
Events after the Civil War until Present day...basics.
Sources to Use
Teachers Pay Teachers
Library books
Misc. Internet Resources

Main Goal
Learn the 50 states, capitals and facts.
Things to Learn
Cultures & features of the US vs. other countries.
Basic ecosystems such as deserts, mountains, etc.
Geographic features such as islands, forests, etc.
Read & interpret maps of the US.
Identify & locate all 50 states & their capitals.
Know the 5 regions of the US.
Name current key political leaders of the US & Utah.
Sources to Use
Teachers Pay Teachers
US Roadtrip Unit Study by by Confessions of a Homeschooler
Library books
Misc. Internet Resources

Main Goal
Be caught up to 5th grade level science.
Things to Learn
3 areas of science:  Life, Earth & Physical
Learn what scientists do.
Learn the scientific method & use it efficiently.
Life Science:  cells, ecosystems, 3 to 5 of the major kingdoms (plants, animals, fungi, protists, monerans).
Earth Science:  water cycle, solar system, earth's layers & surface, rocks/fossils/plates/volcanoes.
Physical Science:  3 states of matter (solid/liquid/gas), elements & periodic table, forms of energy, basics of physics, simple chemical reactions.
Sources to Use
Library Books
Misc. Internet Resources
Science Curriculum - still deciding what to use here.

Main Goal
Read LOTS of books!  Understand meaning of text.
Things to Learn
Discussion of materials read.
Using context clues.
Summarize & organize thoughts about reading.
Learn several different genres.
Understand conflict, climax and resolution of a story.
Relating stories to own life.
Understand characters, plot, settings & author's purpose.
Sources to Use
Books that involve subjects learned in other subjects.
Books to read for fun.

Main Goal
Enjoy writing.  Write 1000+ word long essays, etc.
Things to Learn
Planning a writing assignment & tools available to help.
Write reports as well as creative writings.
Learn the writing process.
Be able to write a full paragraph with intro topic sentence, at least 3 supporting details and a closing sentence.  Followed later by a well thought out & organized, multi-paragraph composition.
Start to find own writing style & personality.
Compose at least one basic research project.
Learn to edit writing.
Sources to Use
Still searching for a curriculum book to use.

Main Goal
Be at 5th grade level.
Things to Learn
Correctly use commas & quotations.
Correctly use prefixes, suffixes & root words.
Understand & use word endings.
Learn to use research tools such as the library, encyclopedias, the internet, newspapers, etc.
Sources to Use
Still searching for a curriculum book to use.

Main Goal
Understand spelling rules & be able to spell increasingly difficult words.
Things to Learn
Spelling words at 5th grade level.
Correctly spelling often misused words such as they're/their/there.
Sources to Use
Still searching for a curriculum book to use.

Main Goal
Be at a 6th grade understanding level of vocabulary.
Things to Learn
Use everyday lessons to find vocabulary words to learn.
Sources to Use
Still searching for a curriculum book to use.

Main Goal
Be able to write all letters intelligibly and correctly.
Things to Learn
Properly write & use all capital & lower case letters.
Sources to Use
Handwriting Without Tears

Main Goal
Be able to use the keyboard without looking at it.
Things to Learn
Just improve on typing skills
Sources to Use
Typing Shark

***From here down I am still working on this list, so will edit it later as I plan things***

Main Goal
Be able to speak, read & write basic phrases in Spanish.
Things to Learn
Basic questions & answers
Sources to Use
Not sure yet...

Nature Studies
Main Goal
Develop a deeper love of the great outdoors.  Have fun!
Things to Learn
Themed around the seasons
Sources to Use
Many beautiful books on Amazon

Main Goal
Learn the basics of coding.  Understand & use Microsoft Office for basic projects.
Things to Learn
Microsoft word & excel
Coding basics.
Sources to Use
Many useful apps on the ipad.
Books found on Amazon.

Main Goal
Explore different mediums of art.  Learn some of the famous artists from history.
Things to Learn

Sources to Use

Main Goal
Learn to play the piano at an intermediate level and improve singing to stay on key.
Things to Learn

Sources to Use

Health & PE
Main Goal
Learn basics of body systems.  Exercise 3 times per week.
Things to Learn

Sources to Use

Home Economics
Main Goal
Learn kid friendly cooking, how to keep room/area clean & other misc. chores.
Things to Learn

Sources to Use

Review: The Homeschooling Handbook

Two years ago now, we decided to start homeschooling our son.  I'll go into more details in a future post.  But suffice it to say, its been a journey to find what works best for him and for us.  Recently I have completely reworked our methods for schooling him.  I've been doing a lot of research (which I should have done long before we ever started).  This last week we went to the library and I found a variety of books on homeschooling.  I narrowed my choices down to 1, because our local library only allows so many books to be checked out at one time.  I'm not sure exactly what made me choose this particular one, but I'm SO glad I did.  I read it in just a few hours and well...let's just start from the beginning:

"The Homeschooling Handbook" is written by Lorilee Lippincott.  It was published in 2014 so is still fairly up to date as far as web resources go.  Although there are a lot more now than there were when this book was written.  But all of her advice and tips still hold true and will for years to come.  Lorilee writes in a way that is very easy to read, fun to follow and makes you feel like she's just talking to you.  Through reading this book I learned to forgive myself for not being perfect, realize I'm completely normal when it comes to our struggles, and found encouragement to keep on going with our homeschooling journey.  I am so grateful I found this book and plan to buy a copy for myself.  You can find it Amazon.

This book is perfect for any new homeschooling parent or for anyone who wants to try again after a previously unsuccessful attempt.  Even if you're a veteran homeschooling parent, this book can provide you with encouragement and new ideas.  I highly suggest it to anyone who in any way shape or form has ever considered homeschooling.  I even suggest it to those who are completely against homeschooling, to learn better what its all really about!

After reading this book, I feel much more relaxed and less stressed about where we are headed in homeschooling our son.  I don't need to be so regimented or obsessed in planning out every step.  We can just jump in and see what works and what doesn't.  And then we can grow from there.  Definitely give this book a read!  Check your local library first, especially if you're not made of money (as we aren't)...  It's an easy ready, and really helped me to clear my mind and see where we are heading.

If you have any specific questions about the book, please feel free to leave a comment on this post!  Thanks for reading!

Annnnnd...I'm Back...

I am a terrible blogger.  Honest.  I cannot set a schedule for my blogging because I get burnt out and hate feeling like I HAVE to do something. However, there have been may times over the last 3 years since my last blog post here, that I have wished I had a blog to share things.  Soooo...I'm back.  I can't come up with a better blog name, so I figured why not just stick with what I already have.  It honestly covers the way I blog anyhow!  I don't have any set ideas of what I'll be blogging about yet.  I would love to have that at some point.  But I want this to be for fun, not...like I said...because I HAVE to.  So here's to a fun blog!  Let's see what happens!

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What's For Dinner #2: August 23rd, 2013

So this time I'm going to try and combine all the recipes into one post.  It seems separating them is a bit too much, so I'll see how this goes instead!  I also need to learn how to make food look pretty!

In case you can't load the above photo, the items on the menu for dinner last night included:
~Braised Pork Chops~
~Spanish Rice~
~Dark Chocolate Butterscotch Brownies~

Other menu options that my wonderful Taste of Home cookbook suggest include:
-Green Beans

We were quite full even without the extra!  Although it would have made for a more well rounded meal!

Part 1:  Braised Pork Chops


  1. Gather the ingredients -
    • 1/2 tsp dried marjoram
    • 1/8 tsp onion powder
    • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
    • 1/8 tsp pepper
    • 4 pork chops (I chose to go with boneless)
    • 1 tsp olive oil (I used more)
    • 1/2 cup water (I used more of this too)
    • 2 tsp cornstarch
    • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  2. Combine seasonings.
  3. Sprinkle over pork chops.  Cook chops in a skillet in olive oil, until browned on both sides.
  4. Add water & bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 45 to 60 minutes, or until chops are tender.  Remove the meat and keep it warm.
  5. Stir the cornstarch & broth into the cooking juices.  Bring to a boil again, then cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.
  6. Serve over pork chops & enjoy!

Part 2:  Spanish Rice


  1. Gather ingredients - 
    • 2 cups vegetable broth
    • 1 can (14.5 oz) diced or stewed tomatoes
    • 1 cup uncooked long grain rice
    • 1 tsp olive oil
    • 1 tsp chili powder
    • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
    • 1/4 tsp garlic salt
  2. Combine all ingredients into a large saucepan.
  3. Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover & simmer for 20 to 25 minutes or until rice is tender & liquids are absorbed.  Enjoy!
(So easy, this one!)

Part 3:  Dark Chocolate Butterscotch Brownies


  1. \Gather ingredients - 
    • 4 squares (1 oz each) baking chocolate (I used semi-sweet)
    • 3/4 cup butter, cubed
    • 2 cups sugar (this is WAY too much!  Next time I'll use only 1 cup)
    • 3 egg whites
    • 1.5 tsp vanilla extract
    • 1 cup all-purpose flour (I added 2 tbsp extra since I live at a high altitude. Next time I think I"ll add 1/2 cup extra)
    • 1 cup 60% cocoa bittersweet chocolate baking squares
    • 1 cup butterscotch chips (I forgot to put all of these in the batter, so I sprinkled some on top while it was cooking and mixed the rest into the glaze)
    • GLAZE:
    • 1 cup 60% cocoa  bittersweet chocolate baking squares (I screwed up here too and didn't buy enough so used 4 semi-sweet baking squares instead)
    • 1/4 cup butter, cubed
  2. Melt 4 chocolate squares & butter in microwave & stir until smooth.  Cool slightly.  (I put mine in the fridge for about 5 minutes).  In a large bowl, combine the sugar & chocolate mixtures.  Stir in egg whites & vanilla.  Add flour and then bittersweet chocolate & butterscotch chips.
  3. Spread into a greased 13x9 baking dish and bake at 350 F for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  If you goof up like I did above, you'll have to cook it longer for it to be anywhere near done.
  4. Cool on a wire wrack.  For the glaze, melt the bittersweet chocolate & butter together, stir until smooth.  Immediately spread over the brownies.  Cool before cutting.
And that was dinner last night!  Very yummy...although I'll need to make changes next time I fix the brownies as they came out WAY too sugary.  Hope you enjoy!

What's for Dinner? #1: Chunky Pecan Bars

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Finally, dessert!!  And a very yummy one I must add...it turned out sooo delicious!  These are half gone already...that's how well we have enjoyed them.  They were quite delicious straight out of the oven...but they are even better now that they've chilled over night in the fridge.  Here we go:

Step 1:  Gather the ingredients.

Here is what I used:


  • 1 & 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar (packed)
  • 1 stick of butter


  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup of sugar
  • 3/4 cup dark corn syrup
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 & 3/4 cups semisweet chocolate chunks
  • 1 & 1/2 cups coarsely chopped pecans

Step 2:  Mix the flour and the brown sugar in a bowl.

Step 3:  (I seem to have lost my photos of these next few steps so will combine them)  Cube the stick of butter and cut into the flour & brown sugar mixture.  Press mixture into the bottom of a greased 13 x 9 baking dish.  Bake at 350 F for 10 to 15 minutes, or until golden brown.

Step 4:  While this is cooking, whisk together the eggs, sugar, corn syrup, 2 Tbsp melted butter & vanilla in a large bowl, until well blended.  Then add the chocolate chunks & pecans.  When the crust is finished baking, pour this mixture over it.

Step 5:  Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until it is set.  It took me longer than 25 minutes...about 35, before it was set...probably because of the altitude where I live.  Cool completely before cutting.  Store in the fridge in an airtight container.  Enjoy!!

I hope you enjoyed these 4 posts!  Watch for more!!  Subscribe to my blog if you'd like to get all updates.  Thanks for reading!