Posted in Homeschooling Corner

10th Grade Homeschool Curriculum & Schedule


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September is here and for us that means the start of a new homeschool year. We follow the traditional school calendar (September thru May) because of the awesome distance program we use for Marcus’ core subjects.

This school year got off to stressful start because of driver’s ed. Sigh. To avoid dual-enrollment, I put Marcus in a seven-night driver’s ed. course which began last week and just ended last night. It’s a shame he couldn’t have taken the only other summer course which was in June, but that coincided with a youth camp. Honestly, if I’d known it would be this time consuming with the four-hour classes from 5:30 to 9:30pm, and the hours of homework assigned for each class (he basically rewrote the driver’s handbook), I would’ve made him trade his summer camp for driver’s ed. And, he’s still not finished because he has all the driving-with-instructor time to get in. One is scheduled for this afternoon for four hours, another for next Thursday, and then two more need to be scheduled after that.

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The book on the left is for history; the rest are for our own unit study. He’s studying Doctrine & Covenants this year in Seminary.

So, up ’til last night his schedule looked like this-

  • 6:40am wake up, get dressed
  • 7:10am leave for Seminary (20 min. drive + traffic)
  • 7:40-8:30am Seminary (this is a four-year scripture study program for youth)
  • 9:00am breakfast, set up for class
  • 9:30ish-am online American History II (1860-present; live-streamed)
  • 10:25ish-am online Earth Science (live-streamed)
  • 11:25ish-am online English (live-streamed)
  • 12:25ish-pm online precalculus (live-streamed)
  • 1:30pm lunch
  • 2pm-5pm driver’s ed homework (at least two solid hours worth); math or chores as time allows or sometimes we snuck in a quick devotion/scripture study; quick dinner
  • 5:15pm leave for driver’s ed
  • 5:30-9:30pm driver’s ed class (carpool home)
  • 10pm second dinner because he was hungry, even with snacks at driver’s ed
  • 10:30pm shower, brush teeth, get to bed
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English books: The Bronze Bow; The Hiding Place; The Screwtape Letters; The Merchant of Venice. His grammar comes from The Good and the Beautiful.

Driver’s ed. made us feel sorry for the public high school kids taking it. We know two girls in band, and band practice is after school for an hour and a half and then they had driver’s ed for four hours. These girls were at the school from 8:30am to 9:30pm! We were wondering when in the world they found time to do their driver’s ed homework? Or just breathe? We are so glad we homeschool. One morning we skipped Seminary for some much needed extra sleep. We can do that when we need to and to make up the absence, Marcus completes a worksheet the teacher emails him.

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Math book.

I don’t have any science books to show because all the resources will be provided by the teacher.

Aside from the time and stress of driver’s ed, which I realize is both necessary and temporary, we are excited for this homeschool year. Even though I don’t personally teach Marcus’ core subjects, we still make time to do other types of learning together, and I read all of his novels for English with him. But on our own this year we plan to make time for:

  • an early Church history unit study
  • a unit study about C.S. Lewis, including much of his poetry
  • fieldtrips to museums
  • hiking, biking, nature walks
  • art lessons
  • poetry tea time
  • meal planning and dinner prep
  • finishing six merit badges and his Eagle project
  • visiting his dad in Montana at least once a month

♥ Are you homeschooling a teenager this year? Thanks for taking the time to visit my blog today. Are you seeing signs of fall where you live? Here, not so much. Not yet. ♥

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Posted in Homeschooling Corner

Homeschooling the High School Years (Bonus- Using a Distance Program)

This post will complete my series, Homeschooling the High School Years. As in any years with homeschooling, every family’s methods and experiences will differ because every family is unique. I have mentioned that we use an online distance program for most of my son’s courses. I wanted to further explain how this works for us. Even though our distance program has some unique features compared to others out there, I’m sure the general idea and the pros and cons are pretty much the same for homeschoolers who high school this way.

The distance program we use is through a private Latter-day Saint based school called, Liahona Preparatory Academy. We love this program for the following reasons:

  • Our faith is woven into each course. God is welcome and our values and beliefs are embraced and taught. Each teacher is also LDS so our values and beliefs match theirs, and that is important to us because we strive to live our beliefs every day.
  • There is no Common Core, which I am fully against, and no state testing.
  • There is an accredited track, which includes a transcript for college. This makes my job a lot easier as they take care of the transcript for me.
  • They prepare students for the ACT test.
  • It’s homeschool-friendly. By that I mean it’s flexible by offering options to work for each family. Also, there are no classes on Fridays, and there are no worries if we take time off for a vacation or just-because day (there’s no attendance, etc.)
  • Homeschoolers are welcome to visit the school, and attend school events, such as prom and super trips (super trips are summer trips to historical sites, etc.).
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The best part is learning in the comfort of home.

In a nutshell, Liahona offers four high school courses online- English, science, history, and math (there are choices for the math and the other subjects are in a four-year rotation). These classes are actual academy classes which are filmed and streamed LIVE. Students simply log onto a streaming site to watch their classes.

If the student watches live, they have the option to instant-message their teacher throughout class. The teachers are great about answering homeschoolers’ questions and comments on camera. This helps the homeschooled student feel a part of the class. Teachers may also be reached through e-mail.

If the actual class time is inconvenient for the homeschooler, they simply watch these classes recorded, anytime of their choosing. Assignments are submitted through a sharing platform site or by email.

Accredited students take a proctored exam for each class, per semester (so twice a year).

I won’t go into the details here, but there are options for homeschoolers who wish to add additional credits to their transcripts, and to earn a state high school diploma (Utah, in this case).

PROS to using a distance program:

  • Someone else does the planning and teaching for subjects the parent may feel are beyond them. For me, this is math, science and history. I do miss teaching  English, but I still proofread his essays, read his Shakespeare with him, and reinforce what he’s learning.
  • The student gains experience with other teachers. Good preparation for college.
  • The student gains experience with online learning.
  • The student learns how to manage their own education. I’m not saying homeschoolers don’t do this if they are using another method, but in our case, each of my homeschooled teens have taken the reigns of their distance education.
  • If the program is accredited, it looks great on a high school transcript.
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On the Freedom Trail (part of a Liahona super trip), in front of Paul Revere’s midnight ride.

CONS to using a distance program:

  • The curriculum is chosen by the program and there is little parent involvement. This is the flip side of #1 from the other list. I admit, I have struggled with this one. On the other hand, I actually love Liahona’s history and English curriculum, and I still teach my son life skills such as cooking, money management and good work ethic.
  • There is a set calendar, which could be similar to a typical public high school year. For example, Liahona films classes for 32 weeks, beginning in September and ending in May. These classes are Monday through Thursday, with breaks for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and spring.
  • It could feel like “school at home”. In our case, this is a program offered through a private school so there are public school aspects, such as block time subjects, teachers lecturing while students take notes, etc.
  • There is little person-to-person interaction. Liahona does a good job including homeschoolers in activities such as youth conference, which is held every fall. (Youth conference is a type of camp, featuring uplifting speakers and workshops.) Marcus has also met his distance teachers in person.
  • It could be heavy on the online/screen time. This is the case for us, but we balance it out in various ways. For example, my son does have one class outside our home with peers both public schooled and homeschooled.

♥ Overall, we are very happy with our distance program. Does your homeschooled teen use a distance program? If so, I’d love to hear about it. If you have any questions for me, ask away! Thanks so much for taking the time to visit my blog. Have a wonderful day. ♥

Posted in Homeschooling Corner

Homeschooling the High School Years (Part 5- Student & Parent Advice)

Welcome to part five of a five part series focusing on our experiences homeschooling through the high school years. This series will tackle what high school learning looks like at our house, the benefits of homeschooling the high school years, the curriculum we use (plus activities outside the home), how we prepare for college, and our advice for both the child and the parent.

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When I first started homeschooling my son, he was only 6-years old. Now that he is 15, I look back on those early years and I’m so glad I didn’t treat them the public school way, which is advancing children from grade to grade with a pre-determined set of skills. I’m so glad I let my son have many “school years” full of carefree days, where he learned primarily through play and exploration. We had so much fun together! We spent a lot of time outside on nature walks, observing frogs in their natural habitat, riding bikes, meeting up with friends at parks, etc. We created our own unit studies based on whatever my son was interested in, and we read a lot of fun storybooks together.

No matter where you’re at in your homeschooling journey- the early years, the high school years, or somewhere in between, find enjoyable activities to do together with your child, often.

It’s the time we spend together with our children, at any age, that matters most. Now that Marcus has started his high school years, I’m no longer a part of his formal schooling because his distance teachers have taken that over (so that his classes are accredited), except for offering him encouragement and direction as needed. So, our time together is extra meaningful to me. We continue our bike rides, hikes, and read-alouds, and have added more cooking/baking time, and a lot of discussions.

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One of the reasons we homeschool the high school years, is so our teens can still have a childhood. I know high school life today, and in my humble opinion, it’s crazy busy, high-pressured, and high-stress. A lot of teens play competitive sports. Other teens take college courses to get a jump start on their future, and that’s great, but it’s also a LOT to take on. I’ve seen teens burn out and I’ve seen teens grow up faster than might be healthy for them.

It’s important that teenagers have TIME. They need time that is their own- to relax, to play, to daydream, to create, to sleep, to read for pleasure (not for English class), to be with family, to be with friends… 

Now, for the fun part! I asked Marcus, to give some advice to other teens who might be homeschooled through their high school years:

“First, it is good to realize that school is not the only place to make friends. I have met too many kids who do not want to homeschool just because they think they will never see their friends or never make friends. There are other ways you can make friends- In Canada, I met some really good friends at a park. I have also made friends at church. And if you think you will never see your friends if you aren’t at school, you’re probably not very good friends; just meet up somewhere. It’s not like you really have a ton of time to do whatever you want at school anyways.

When homeschooling, it can be really easy to learn things fast. So, if you want, you can push yourself to go farther faster.

Eat lots of Doritos.

Sleeping in is more fun than public school.”

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I’m going to paraphrase what my daughter, Darcie, now in her early twenties (and in her last year of university as an English major) advises to homeschooled teens:

Don’t pay any attention when other teens say you are “weird” just because you are homeschooled. The truth is, we are all a little weird, whether we are homeschooled or public schooled, and there is nothing wrong with being weird anyway! I liked being homeschooled because I could be myself. My true friends, who were all public schooled, accepted me just the way I was, and when I started homeschooling, I saw them just as much because we made time for each other. They knew I was happier spending my last two years of high school at home. I didn’t miss public high school one bit! I didn’t miss the homework. I didn’t miss the profanity. I didn’t miss the drug solicitations. I didn’t miss the popularity contests. I didn’t miss the lock-downs. So, if you think you are missing out, on prom or anything else, just remember all the things you are not missing.

♥ I hope you’ve enjoyed this series, but it’s not over just yet! Stay tuned for a bonus post where I explain more about the distance program we use and the pros and cons of homeschooling that way. If your teen is homeschooled, I’d love to hear their advice for other homeschooled teens, and as a homeschooling parent, what advice would you give to other homeschooling parents? ♥

Posted in Homeschooling Corner

Homeschooling the High School Years (Part 4- Preparing for College)

Welcome to part four of a five part series focusing on our experiences homeschooling through the high school years. This series will tackle what high school learning looks like at our house, the benefits of homeschooling the high school years, the curriculum we use (plus activities outside the home), how we prepare for college, and our advice for both the child and the parent.

When we first started homeschooling, my husband’s main concern was how our kids would earn high school diplomas so they could get into college. We have since graduated three kids from high school- one the traditional public school route, one the homeschooling route with a state issued diploma, and one the homeschooling route without a state diploma. All three got into the universities of their choice. My daughter, who graduated as a homeschooler (no state diploma), met her university’s requirements for homeschool applicants. In her case, she submitted 18 accredited credits ( I believe only 15 were required) and her ACT scores. She was not required to take a GED.

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Once we let go of the idea that a diploma was necessary to get into college, my daughter was able to have more of a childhood during her teen years.

We have absolutely no experience with scholarships so I don’t have any advice to share in that regard. We did search out scholarships and we tried to apply for financial aid, but everything was denied to us based on my husband’s salary. So, in the end, we paid for tuition ourselves and lowered our costs a bit by having one daughter live at home and attend the state university and having our other two kids attend church universities (BYU). Their part time jobs have covered the cost of books and other incidentals, and my son was able to pay his own apartment rent. We do hope that our youngest son can earn a scholarship if we do some things differently, but that’s a post for another day.

However, what I can share with you is that a state high school diploma is not necessary to get into college, and taking that pressure off of my youngest daughter was the best choice for her. I believe our teens need responsibility for sure, but I also believe we put too much pressure on them. They are still kids! Here in Utah, we have one of the highest rates of teen suicide in the nation. Isn’t that sad and scary?

 

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Marissa spent part of her high school years in Peru, and Darcie took a year off between graduating high school and starting college to volunteer at an orphanage in Lima.

I also have no experience creating a high school transcript, and that is because the online private school we use, Liahona Preparatory Academy, does that for us. I think I’ll include a bonus post in this series to further explain Liahona’s distance program.

Having three children with college experience, I know the basic skills I taught them at home have come in handy. These skills include: time management, organization, balance of work and play, frugality, proper cleaning (dishes, bathrooms, floors, laundry), money management, and basic cooking. I know I wasn’t taught most of these skills at school so I’m glad my kids have had more time at home to learn these by parent example and teaching.

♥ My girls felt well prepared for college life as homeschoolers. For example, they had already been managing their own time schedules quite well. Unlike public high school, college classes are not neatly held back to back, and in one long block of time. Every college student has their own unique class schedule, and most classes are held two or three times a week instead of every day. Classes are held anywhere from early morning hours to evening hours. Mondays usually look very different from Tuesdays. Etc. Also, they were used to being around people of all ages and backgrounds. They always found it funny when people would suggest that college would be this huge adjustment for a homeschooler, when the reality is that college life doesn’t resemble public high school much at all! ♥ Thanks for reading! ♥

Posted in Homeschooling Corner

Homeschooling the High School Years (Part 3- Curriculum & Activities)

Welcome to part three of a five part series focusing on our experiences homeschooling through the high school years. This series will tackle what high school learning looks like at our house, the benefits of homeschooling the high school years, the curriculum we use (plus activities outside the home), how we prepare for college, and our advice for both the child and the parent.

♥ In our homeschool, we use online classes for the base subjects of English, history, science and math. These courses are offered through an amazing private school here in Utah, Liahona Preparatory Academy. Liahona has been a true blessing to our family. I’m not going to explain how Liahona works here, but I wanted to mention it because when you follow someone else’s program, the curriculum is usually chosen for you, and that is the case in our situation.

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English/Language Arts curriculum- This year, Marcus has read and studied The Magician’s Nephew, by C.S. Lewis; Homer’s Odyssey; Shakespeare’s King Henry IV Part 1; and he will end the year with A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L’Engle . In past years, my daughters have read and studied Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte; Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury; Stone Mage Wars, Journey to the Fringe, by Kellie Swofford Nielson, and various Shakespeare works, just to name a few. ♥ There is also a grammar book Liahona uses, which is their own, but this upcoming fall, we will be using a special curriculum designed by Jenny Phillips. I am excited for that!

History curriculum- Liahona publishes their own history curriculum so there isn’t much to share here. However, on our own, Marcus and I have thoroughly enjoyed the Rush Revere Adventure series, on audiobook, and I would classify these as historic fiction. Even though this series is geared for younger grades, we feel we’ve learned a lot in an entertaining way.

Science curriculum- This year, Marcus is studying Biology and using the Holt Biology 2008 Student Edition, which we purchased through Amazon. However, his teacher doesn’t have him read much of this textbook. Instead she uses it as a reference while she teaches with videos, slides, experiments, and discussions.

Math curriculum- We’ve been using Saxon math.

♥ Marcus also takes a Seminary class which is a scripture study program through The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This year, he is studying The Book of Mormon, which is one of our books of scripture. In future years, he will study The Old Testament and The New Testament in depth.

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♥ What I love about homeschooling these years is that there is more time for my teen to read for pleasure and for us to continue our read-alouds which is cherished time together. Currently, Marcus is reading the Tennis Shoes Adventure Series, by Chris Heimerdinger. Together, we are reading the third book of Jason Segel’s Nightmares! series and listening to The Inventor’s Secret, by Chad Morris, on audiobook.

♥ As for activities outside our home, Marcus participates in Boy Scouts through our church and he is on his way to earning his Eagle later this year. He participates in the Young Men’s program in our church as well, and has a youth activity with boys and girls his age once a week. He’s been skiing with friends this winter, though not as often as last year due to a lot less snow this year.

♥ Stay tuned for part four of this series when I will share how we prepare for college. Thanks for reading! ♥

 

Posted in Homeschooling Corner

Homeschooling the High School Years (Part 2- The Benefits)

Welcome to part two of a five part series focusing on our experiences homeschooling through the high school years. This series will tackle what high school learning looks like at our house, the benefits of homeschooling the high school years, the curriculum we use (plus activities outside the home), how we prepare for college, and our advice for both the child and the parent.

♥ We have several years experience with public schools (within the U.S. & Canada), private schools (within the U.S. & Peru), and homeschooling. My oldest son graduated from a public high school. My oldest daughter spent one year in public high school and then was homeschooled the rest of her high school years. My youngest daughter was homeschooled all the way through her high school years. All three have gone on to further their educations through universities. ♥ I am currently homeschooling my youngest son for his high school years, and we love our days together. ♥

So, why do we homeschool through the high school years? Here are our top ten reasons:

10. Because we’ve made it this far so why not take it to the finish line? Plus, I’ve seen high school life today. No, thank you!

9. Because learning can be family-style. Bonus- People of all backgrounds and ages attend college together!

8. Because when I was in high school, I was like a walking zombie! I functioned on very little sleep (Thank you, Mr. Homework) and high stress. I always felt as if I was clueless to something important going on at school. I ate poorly and burned out half-way through the year.

7. Because I believe teenagers need their parents’ love and influence more than ever. These are confusing years for them.

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6. Because home is where love abounds, where morals and values are instilled, and where a teen feels automatic acceptance and security. In other words, home is a natural and nurturing environment, conducive to learning. Bonus- pajama days and hot breakfasts.

5. Because my teen is one-of-a-kind and deserves an education that fits him. Bonus- college life is also tailor-made!

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It looks like they raked the last of the snow to make this snow-bear, haha.

4. Because teenagers are still kids, and kids need time to play, daydream, create, and read for fun. Bonus- impromptu snow days!

3. Because it’s so freeing to be on our own time schedule and calendar. Bonus- this actually helps teenagers prepare for college life!

2. Because having a confident teen who values being a child of God over popularity, is priceless. Bonus- God gets to be a part of his school days.

1. Because my time with my teen is too precious to settle for the tired bits left over after each long school day, punctuated by hours of homework. Bonus- I get to share in his school days, even when I am not directly involved.

On a quick, serious note, the things my oldest two experienced at their public high school constantly tested their moral character. While they remained strong in our values, they admitted it wore them down physically and mentally to be exposed to that kind of worldly environment every single day. It was so much nicer to keep my youngest daughter away from all that and watch her flourish at home.

♥ Have you homeschooled or are you homeschooling your teen through their high school years? What would you add to this list? Thanks for reading. ♥

Posted in Homeschooling Corner

Homeschooling the High School Years (Part 1- A Day in the Life)

Welcome to part one of a five part series focusing on our experiences homeschooling through the high school years. This series will tackle what high school learning looks like at our house, the benefits of homeschooling the high school years, the curriculum we use (plus activities outside the home), how we prepare for college, and our advice for both the child and the parent.

♥ I have four children; three are now young adults in their twenties. Our experiences with their K-12 years include public schools, private schools, and homeschooling, within the United States, Canada, and Peru. My oldest son was never homeschooled. My two daughters were homeschooled through their middle and high school years, and my youngest son has been steadily homeschooled since he was 6-years old. ♥ Now that you have some background on us, let’s begin with what homeschooling high school looks like at our house. Homeschoolers often call this a “day in the life”:

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Our Mondays through Thursdays are pretty much the same, and I’ll admit, a little dull to document! However, having my son home during his school day is priceless to me:

6:50am- I drag myself out of bed (I am not a morning person!) to take Marcus to his Seminary class, which is from 7:40 to 8:30am. We leave the house by 7:10 and drive to an LDS meetinghouse two towns over. Seminary, by the way, is a rewarding four-year in-depth scripture study program (awesome training for our missionaries) for youth in grades 9-12 in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Marcus is following the footsteps of his dad, his mom and his three older siblings, who are all Seminary graduates.

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♥ To make the most of our car time together, we listen to audio books. Today we finished the Rush Revere adventure series. We have thoroughly enjoyed these books, which are both entertaining and educational. We highly recommend them! It’s kind of sad to say goodbye to Liberty and his friends, but we are excited to start a new series tomorrow- Cragbridge Hall.

9:00am– We arrive home. Marcus eats breakfast and then he has some time to finish up math work from the day before or read for history or English. If he’s caught up, he reads for fun. He also has daily chores to do, such as taking out garbage and recycling. I use this time to do a workout in my gym.

10:30am– Marcus’ first online class, science, begins. After science, he watches his math class, and after math, he watches his history class. These classes are filmed and streamed live, through an LDS-based private school, Liahona Preparatory Academy. We love, love, love Liahona! I will explain these online classes further in part three of this series.

1:15pm– The three online classes end so Marcus goes downstairs to the gym for a workout. He is currently working on his personal fitness merit badge for Boy Scouts.

2:00pm- Marcus has finished his workout and makes him some lunch. We usually eat lunch together, but we don’t always eat the same foods for lunch. Today I’m having left-overs from dinner last night, while Marcus is having mini corndogs.

2:30pm- Marcus has one more online class to watch, which is English. He can’t watch English live because it’s on at the same time as math. To be honest, he doesn’t always ideally watch English every day (I wish he would!) so we sometimes end up having an English marathon together, where he and I watch previous English classes in a row until he’s caught up. That is actually fun for me. I like to watch English with him so I feel a part of his education, and I often check off that he’s accomplished any assignments given. I have watched history and science with him as well, and I’ve even taken my own notes!

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♥ That concludes the formal part of his school day. The rest of our day is the normal stuff- some housework, occasional errands, maybe a science experiment, mixed in with some goofing off and downtime, all leading up to dinner which we try to eat as a family between 5 and 6pm. On Tuesday nights, Marcus has a youth activity at church. We end our nights with family scripture study and prayer, and Marcus and I read-aloud together. We just finished the second book of the trilogy, Nightmares! which we both enjoy.

♥ I have two of my adult kids living at home. One is a full time student at the state university, with a part time job at a retail store. The other works full time at an ice cream factory. He works graveyard, which means he usually sleeps during the day. So, they are both in and out, and it’s a lot of fun for Marcus to have these older siblings around. His sister, Marissa, is currently serving a mission in Peru. She’s been out three weeks now and is doing great.

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David, Darcie, Marissa, Marcus, Camie, and Zach

Our Fridays are a pretty free as there are no online classes (Liahona is a Monday thru Thursday school), but there is Seminary. So, we go to Seminary and then we come home and tackle whatever needs to get done. We were using Fridays as a nature club day, but we quit nature club in November because we were the only mother-teen duo and we felt completely out of place among all the cute younger families. But, a couple Fridays ago, Marcus went skiing with some friends, while I babysat two adorable littles.

♥ I just want to end by noting that although these three series I’ve mentioned are targeted for middle schoolers, we think they work for most ages, including 15-year olds and adults! To see other books we have read-aloud, check out this series of posts. Thank you for your likes and comments. Let me know if you have any questions about homeschooling through the high school years. ♥