Homeschool Adventure

Being on the Right Track.

Few things are frustrating as realizing that you are not on the right track with homeschooling. For some people I’m sure that can mean switching curriculum or altering their homeschooling style. For me, it usually just means figuring out how to teach my son. He’s visual; I am auditory. He likes to move around as he thinks; I have to remind myself that he’s actually being productive. He struggles with grammar; I struggle with math. Basically, we are complete opposites. I get so frustrated trying to figure out what will help him absorb new materials, and I have a hard time seeing the random melt-downs coming.

Today I wondered if we were on the right track. I recently started adding spelling words to our weekly curriculum to help J deal with the more common sound combinations we run into when reading. So far we’ve covered ‘kn’, ‘th’, ‘ee’ and ‘sh’. I’m not really worried about spelling mechanics at this point as much as I want him to feel confident when he crosses these things in his own reading time. Anyway, as we approach Christmas break, I wanted to get away from all of the book work we’ve been doing lately (trying to catch up from my debilitating morning sickness).

So, today we introduced Spelling Word Hang Man. Instead of filling the words in haphazardly, he had to spell the words in order, but the other rules of Hangman applied.

He freaked.

I guess it was too much pressure.

It did not go well, and I was really disappointed.

Well, after our midday break, I capitalized on his excitement for our read-aloud book this week.


We were working our way through The Great Illustrated version of War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells, at a steady pace until I mentioned that there was a movie based on the book. I promised him we would watch the movie as soon as we finished. Well, our reading picked up at a feverish pace and we finished all 19 chapters in just 5 days! This afternoon we get to watch the movie, and the excitement over seeing this “cool book about aliens” in movie-form carried both kiddos through a serious, pre-movie cleanup.

I think my favorite part of the whole experience, though, was when I asked J to pick out what we would read next, and he asked if we could read The Call of the Wild again!

call of the wild

We finished that book last week and he loved it. He still talks about it all the time. It was in that moment that I realized we really were on the right track. Parts of school are really hard an frustrating for one or both of us, but parts of school are amazing and it makes all of the rest of it worth the effort.

Before The Call of the Wild, we read a collection of Edgar Allen Poe’s work.

tale of mystery

Apparently, the classics are making just as big of an impression on him as they did on me and millions of others. I am so proud that my little man will grow up with these amazing adventures in his mind and heart, just like I did. It’s something we connect about, and something that I hope never gets old.

Here’s what we plan to read in the next few weeks:

king arthur


oregon trail

I’m happy to say that I’ve only read The Last of the Mohicans, so this will be new for me too…Plus I can show him some silly movies about King Arthur’s Court and maybe even track down an online version of the junior-high classic: Oregon Trail!

4 thoughts on “Being on the Right Track.

  1. Our boys love those illustrated classics, too. Last year we did Kidnapped, Mutiny Aboard H.M.S. Bounty, Robinson Crusoe, Swiss Family Robinson, and In Peril On The Sea (we obviously had an ocean adventure theme goin’ on). With boys it seems, what makes a true classic is action, terror, and no small amount of blood 🙂

    • My dad goes to huge second-hand book sales once or twice a year with his wife and my young siblings. He picked up 10 or 12 for us and we get and doubles they pick up! We’ve never paid more than a dollar for any of them. My favorite is still Great Expectations…but more for sentimental reasons than anything else I think. War of the Worlds was pretty amazing.

      p.s. We read the full-length version of Swiss Family Robinson, and J LOVED it. It’s a pretty kid-friendly book to begin with. 🙂

    • LOVE them! I remember getting them from my Grandma as a little girl, and how the stories stayed with me. I also love the fact that they keep the integrity of the story by simplify the language. I can’t wait to read him The Call of the Wild’s full version in a year or two. London is a fascinating writer, but almost as wordy as Dickens…well, no one’s really that wordy but still great. 🙂

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