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Homelife, Homeschooling

Parent Guide to Studio Ghibli Films

When most English speakers think of an animated movie, they usually think of Disney and Pixar. While these powerhouses deserve their fame, in Japan you’d get a very different answer: “Studio Ghibli.”

Adults and children alike enjoy these creative anime films, but here in the United States, many parents have no idea what to expect when it comes to Studio Ghibli films.

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Intentional Homeschool Planning with Put Your Year on Autopilot

It’s time to plan another year of homeschooling. This will be round twelve.

Twelve years of homeschool planning. TWELVE.

You would think that I could do this with my eyes closed, but this process is rarely cut and paste.

I change every year. I have new commitments, new interests, and new outlooks on education and life.

My kids change every year. Probably a lot more rapidly than I do. They have new interests, new strengths and weaknesses, and new goals for their time.

Curriculum options change every year. There are new local classes, online classes, and resources being offered. Sometimes we stick with what works and other times we find something that will meet our needs in a better way.

And frankly, sometimes I am just sick of something that I have used a bajillion times even if it would be new to child number four.

This means that every year I have to step back and take inventory of the changes in myself, my kids, and the world around us so we can plan an effective routine for learning.

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Geography, High School, Homeschooling, Literature, Math

Homeschool Year in Review 2019 (10th, 8th, 6th, and 4th grades)

I gotta be honest. This was a tough year. I felt the pressure of being pulled in too many directions with a high schooler, two middle schoolers, and an elementary schooler.

It was too difficult for me to homeschool the way I normally like to do things. I like to create my own curriculum by pulling ideas from various sources. I hunt for ideas on Pinterest and from fellow bloggers. But that was too hard for me to accomplish this year and meet everyone’s needs while working a part-time job.

Looking back, I should have selected more “open and go” curriculum this year.

But what can you do?

Despite the difficulties, it was a successful year and everyone made progress in academics and life.

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Homelife, Homeschooling

Our Homeschool Journey Continues with Big Changes

Nothing is the way I thought it would be when we began this homeschooling journey. 

Despite my plans in those early years, no one entered school in 4th grade. No one continued with a classical education. And we didn’t keep going with our memory work.

No one has learned Latin….yet. Our history doesn’t cycle consistently or follow a predictable pattern at all. I rarely reuse the curriculum for younger kids. 

My philosophies changed along the way. Our curriculum varies every year. Nothing remains consistent other than our love for learning and doing life together.

Over the years we created a family life that revolves around the idea that education is simply part of everyday living.

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Why Homeschool? Our Family’s Story

Homeschooling wasn’t something I was familiar with growing up. My first real encounter with someone who was homeschooled was in college. One of my college friends and her siblings were homeschooled until 4th grade.

She was grateful that she and her siblings learned to read and do basic math with confidence before entering the school system. They were also given more time to play creatively, relax at home with each other, and learn school skills at their own pace.

Her description made it seem pretty ideal. And clearly, she was a fully functioning college student so it didn’t appear that homeschooling for a few years harmed her too much. HA!

I had no idea at the time, but our friendship planted a seed that would later blossom into our own family’s decision to homeschool.

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Homeschooling, Parenting

But What if my Child Doesn’t Have a Passion?

It happened for each of my homeschooled girls around the age of 12.


They began to lose interest in the activities that made their childhood full of wonder and delight.

Playing at the playground. Making crafts. Hanging out with siblings. Playing pretend. Exploring science museums.

At the same time, they weren’t sure what to do with their free time and they didn’t want to fill it with more schoolwork.

Go figure.

I know that “they” say boredom is good for kids. And I am sure it can be. But that doesn’t mean that a bored teen is going to suddenly find new interests and passions simply because they were left to be bored.

Sometimes it takes more effort than that. And that is where I found myself.

At home with bored tweens. And they weren’t finding their passions through boredom.

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