October 7, 2016


Screamfree Parenting: The Revolutionary Approach to Raising Your Kids by Keeping Your Cool by [Runkel, Hal Edward]
Homeschooling has been a doozy. The first week at my mom's house wasn't bad. Cayenne had a whole lotta house to be in and it was A LOT easier.

Week 2 was our first week in the RV and it was awful. I can be honest here, right? Is this a safe zone? These kids were a challenge, to put it in the most PC terms possible. Distinguishing me as not only a parent but someone who is guiding them and teaching them and trying to keep them focused was a screaming and kicking kind of battle. Pretty sure I didn't kick anything- but yelling and screaming DID happen. It got ugly. I couldn't get them to listen or focus on anything. Enter a book I've had for a while and have been meaning to read. Luckily, I brought it with us. I must've known I might need it. Smart girl.

We chose an online curriculum that seemed good based on reviews and feedback in the fulltime families community. It's called DiscoveryK12, not to be confused with K12. K12 is through the state and has teachers and all the fancy stuff. Well, we couldn't do it because it would require that the kids come back for standardized tests 4x a year. Yeah, that wasn't going to happen. Another option was virtual school and I was super excited because that was also state-run and could've been great. Unfortunately, our kids weren't eligible because they had to be attending a FL school the prior October and February. Well we moved to FL in March so nix that option as well.
Regardless, Discovery K12 is what we chose. Initially, I really liked it because we didn't have to tote around a ton of books, the flexibility was there and I liked the way the curriculum seemed to flow and allowed parents access to everything for a small fee ($50). Well, we just wrapped up week 3 and it's still a work in progress. Spelling, Reading Log, PE and Math are all still the same as the DiscoveryK12 online curriculum. Language Arts, Social Studies and Science I have adapted to my own method. That method, I lovingly title the Figure This Out Now Method. You likey?

We do one essay a week in Language Arts. They choose the topic based on what book they are reading. It can be a character essay, narrative or opinion essay. We work on sentence formation, capitalization, spelling errors and more. I have them spend the first couple of days doing essay planning. They come up with a thesis statement, a grabber statement, a few topics, a clincher statement, summary of thesis and all that jazz. Then on Day 3 they write the essay adding in sentences and key points they might have missed. Day 4 they work on prepping an oral presentation to be presented on Day 5. They either have to do a power point presentation or use notecards and props.

Social Studies and Science are all based on our current location. In Gulf Shores they spent the week learning about Alabama, it's history, what it's known for and more. They also spent quite a bit of time on the history of Fort Morgan and Fort Gaines. In Science, they learned about estuariums, watersheds, bog plants and hurricanes. I created tests for Friday and that was that.

I'm still concerned about Math. I just don't think they are doing things that will keep them on track with a brick and mortar school. Believe it when I say I don't see this homeschooling thing as a long term option. We are in the process of looking at the standards of learning for both Florida and Virginia to come up with something new and more on target.They just aren't being challenged in the Math department of the Cortes Homeschool Academy. HA! That name still cracks me up.

We typically start by 7:30 and If the kids are consistently working we can get done by lunchtime. I typically try to break up the day a bit by taking a couple hours off in the morning to get out and explore. That's the ideal situation. They finish most of their work in the morning and then only have Social Studies and Science to come back to in the afternoon when Cayenne is napping. Most days, at least since we've been in TX haven't been so cut and dry. Some days we stay and they tackle it all and get done early. Other days we are out exploring all day and come back to the "house" exhausted.

There have been some tough days where it doesn't seem like I'm ever gonna get this right. The good days are usually the ones where we get out and have time to explore and engage them with hands on learning. Those days aren't always possible as we are realizing while staying almost an hour outside of Austin. It's not just a short car ride in. I reached out to my closest friends and I put a note out to the Fulltime Families Facebook group for help. I basically said that we are struggling a bit. When are the kids going to just get it? I'd honestly just like the kids to be cooperative and not piss and moan every time I say we are doing something. That's where my patience runs thin as I keep telling them how grateful they should be. I got an overwhelming response. Literally 99% of the responses (out of about 35!) told me to take a break and have fun with the kids and that they will learn when I least expect it. A lot of them told me to stop schooling for a few weeks to make learning fun again. F U N is what I need to get back to. I know I need some fun, too. I'm not going to take a break because these kids had the longest summer and the shortest school year ever. They need to get back on schedule. They need routine and so do I. Since that post we went into Austin a couple more times, met up with a friend I haven't seen in years and just tried to get out and it's definitely helped. We've had some really great days! So here's to having more fun!

All 3 working on their laptops

Hope this gives you some insight into what our schooling looks like. We need time to get adjusted and every single bit of this lifestyle is new to all of us.

Have suggestions for us? We are always open to them!

(Update on 11/9/16- We started using Khan Academy for Math and it is great! Highly recommend it.)


  1. Hahaha athis is amazing! More power to you lady!

    1. I love that you are reading. I know you can picture me about to lose my mind with these kiddos, too! :)

  2. You are a better teacher than I was!