Archive for home school

Tuesdays With Mooch & Fuss: Settling Into Self-Direction

If you follow me online at all, then you know I follow my girls. Whatever they’re into is what they’re into, and we just provide the support. This season has been one of creativity and strategy. Both girls are settling into self-direction quite nicely. In a surprising turn, Mooch has become attached to her Rainbow Loom and she has a crochet playdate this Wednesday. In the past, she would go weeks without asking to draw, color, or craft, but now she is drawing her own comic books and writing the stories to accompany them. She loves following directions from Lego pamphlets and YouTube videos regarding building and inventing. Her love of literature, of course, is still thriving. She’s personally reading the third Harry Potter book, and Hannibal is reading Gathering Blue to both of us each night. He does the best voices. We’ll have to record him.

Fuss is Imagination Lass. Dolls, dolls, and more dolls occupy her mind and space. She uses the tree blocks to build elaborate homes for her clothespin dolls. She has set up a nursery for the “baby dolls,” and the American Girl doll, that her aunt bought her, is her sidekick. Her name is Lalah Brittni. She finds adding and subtracting in everyday life situations (forks on the table, people in the car, etc.) extremely fun. She brings that up quite often, but she hasn’t selected addition from the shelf in a long time.

The moveable alphabet has been her main agenda for the last couple of months. She makes words and word families, and she asks me to spell things for her. Since she got Hannibal’s hand-me-down first generation iPad, the “real” hundred board hardly sees any use. She does many math activities, including the hundred board, on the tablet. Montessorium makes some great apps.

Here are pics from this past week in “homeschool:”

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Tuesdays With Mooch & Fuss: Year End Wrap Up

I haven’t updated about the kids in a while. Wow. In an effort to not bore you, I’ve made this into a photo blog (mostly). You’ll see stuff from the past month regarding homeschool, play dates, and the like, but I’ll try to start from the beginning of the year.

This has been a challenging year for the girls, as they watched their father enter the hospital and return a changed man in many respects. Mooch endured bullying and exclusion at her previous school, and our family moved to a new house, again, for the third time in four years.

They came out of it all smiling with that Tabu tenacity that I know too well. Mooch fell right back into homeschooling like we’d never stopped. She studied cultural geography, Shakespeare, engineering, and language. Time for Kids Magazine and National Geographic became her go to places for politics and science.

Fuss soars above and beyond in math and continues to be just as interested in stories and reading as her sister was at this age. She has a huge imagination and her favorite activity is dress up. Trash trucks still get her amped up in the car, and Hello Kitty is her obsession. Gymnastics, piano, and ballet are her favorite things to do. When I need a little time to myself, I throw on some classical music and let her twirl in the living room for thirty minutes.

We joined a couple of Meetup groups, and we spend most of our days at parks, beaches, museums, and exploring our world.


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Tuesdays With Mooch & Fuss: The Language Arts, Piano, Behavior Update


Michael Clay Thompson rocks! I’m not being paid to say this. I do not monetize this blog in that fashion. Honey, let me tell you, it is an amazing Language Arts curriculum and it’s a perfect fit for Mooch.

I wouldn’t recommend it for the child who struggles with comprehension or falls behind in English, but if your kid loves literature, words, and everything that has to do with grammar, drop every thing and spend a hundred bucks on this program that has my child engrossed in Latin roots.

It covers spelling, grammar, diagramming, etymology (Latin and Greek), and poetry. I accidentally bought Grammar Town instead of Grammar Voyage, which probably would have been a better fit for her, but she loves it so much, she didn’t want me to send it back and wait for the correct one to arrive. Anyway, that’s my two cents on that.

Everything else with the eldest is going well. She’s finally gotten all of her extracurricular practice down to a science. She waits until our neighbors leave in the morning and practices drums, piano and voice. Then she starts her journaling and academics. I’m happy to see her finding self-motivation, and I’m thrilled to offer the space to work at her own pace, which is often slower and more in depth than me and her peers. She’s very analytical. I do hope she speeds up at some point, but I want her to do that on her own time as well.


This little one nailed her first commercial and her second audition. She said she was nervous on the way, which I’m not used to, because Mooch never says that. I was happy she articulated it, so we could downplay it, act natural, and make her feel secure. The pretend mommy and daddy, who auditioned with her, said she did an amazing job. She hasn’t auditioned in a long time. She just asked to do it again after this recent shoot. I guess she has caught the bug.

This past Saturday was my first time taking her to piano, because Hannibal usually goes. I was very impressed with her. She answered all the questions on the rug, while the other kids remained silent. She read C,D, and E correctly and played them with the correct fingers. I couldn’t have been more proud.

Her reading level remains about the same, but with far more mastery and interest in stories with more words on the page. She is asking a lot of science questions, like “What’s under the dirt in the middle of the earth?” and “Why do my fingers get wrinkled in the tub?” Those are areas we hope to expand on in the coming weeks. We’re currently reviewing metamorphosis. I think it’s time to move on to paper money. She has mastered the coins. I just haven’t had a chance to put the activity together. She also wants to tell time, but even though she can count by fives, I may wait until after Kwanzaa, because I plan on buying her a Hello Kitty watch. 😉

Her behavior has gotten sooooo much better. Bedtime is quicker, I hear “Yes!” more than “No,” and she’s working on getting frustrated less. She is the opposite of Mooch. She processes things very quickly, and does everything at the speed of a thousand cheetahs. She can be impatient with people and even with shirts (if they don’t come off quickly enough). Fuss is just like me. I use every ounce of energy all day to be patient and calm with her, so she learns from that model. Sometimes I fail, and when I do, it’s interesting to see her model the good behavior right back at me. “Mommy, that was an inappropriate reaction. I think you should apologize, but it’s your choice.”

For photo updates on what Mooch and Fuss are doing daily, you can always click on the unschooling tab to find both of their imported Tumblr accounts.

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Tuesdays With Mooch & Fuss: Japanese in Los Angeles (VIDEO)

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Tuesdays With Mooch & Fuss: My Life in One Day

Things I did today:

Had my heart checked with a Fisher Price stethoscope
Helped Mooch set goals and organize her work
Cooked imaginary Strawberry Soup
Helped my Fuss sled in a laundry basket on the living room area rug
Watched Fuss vacuum the living room rug
Cheered while Mooch did straddle jumps on the trampoline
Relearned how to subtract pounds, so I could teach it to Mooch
Pushed Fuss and her friend on the swing (AKA worked out)
Sang with my children
Ate a full meal prepared by Mooch
Soaked in Mooch’s enthusiasm as she learned her Shakespeare lines
Drummed with Mooch on the kitchen table
Practiced multiples of twelve while driving
Read to Fuss
Listened to Fuss read
Laughed a lot
Hugged a lot
Made mistakes

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