The Cast of Characters

JMJ 2  *Who are the cast of characters in your family?  Let me introduce you to mine, as they will be reappearing in my school year narrative every day!  A reason homeschooling works for us, as well as many others, is the fact that no one knows their cast of characters better than you, the parent.  And, let’s face it, you are the one on this Earth that cares about “your cast”, the most.

John, Sarah, Melissa, Sabrina, Annette, and the Pacific Ocean

John is a hard-working husband, who is supportive of my homeschooling and other crazy endeavors.  He also keeps us all aligned properly.  (He is a chiropractor)  He loves to travel, and hopes one day we can travel to Italy, his place of heritage.

Melissa, our 6th grader, is super social, industrious and compassionate.  She gets up as early as I allow her to, to finish her schoolwork before noon, sometimes much earlier. Homeschooled since kindergarten, she loves spending her afternoons playing piano, getting together with friends, and creating art.  She adores her bunny, Suzy, although she is allergic to the fluffy animal.

Sarah spent her early childhood years exploring the bug life in our backyard as well as watching science documentaries instead of the Disney line-up.  She is consequently our go-to science resource in the family.  Our 9th grader is also a meticulous artist, cook, and all-around cheerful person.  She was the first to be homeschooled in our family.  Because of her lingering severe allergic reactions to all sorts of foods as a youngster, she would have spent more time recovering at home, than attending kindergarten!

Sabrina, is a 12th grader who enthusiastically loves to live in the moment, and is looking forward to an exciting senior year, with the anticipation of finding the right university for herself.  Homeschooled since the 4th grade, she also loves interior decorating, sewing and playing piano, a skill which she shares with younger children.

Me- A little about myself, which is expanded on in “My Road to Homeschooling”.  I graduated from Indiana University, let’s just say decades ago, with a BS in Business/Marketing.  I had a hard time finding my niche in the business world, and after a few jobs, landed a temporary substitute-teaching job in Los Angeles.  I was so intrigued and enamored by the children, that I decided to pursue my elementary teaching credential in the evening while still working.  I had found my calling, and I loved it.  I recollect feeling that I would stay in this profession even if it didn’t pay a dime.  That sentiment actually realized itself as I eventually became a homeschooling parent!  I enjoyed 10 years as a classroom teacher, in grades kindergarten through 2nd grade, and finally settled into my favorite, preschool.  As I just mentioned, the classroom was eventually replaced by the contemporary one-room schoolhouse, (also known as homeschooling!) where I am still teaching after 13 years.

Our loving pets include: Princess and Leia (cats), Tiki and Little Man (lovebirds), and Suzy (a dwarf Rex rabbit, that grew to be more like a full-size bunny!)

See the fluffy bunny?

          One of the major reasons I chose homeschooling for our family, is I wanted choice on a budget. There are so many ways to cover the state standards!  The options are endless:  hands-on field trips, software-based learning, science center classes, one-on-one tutoring with mom or professionals, televised programs, fine arts studios, and of course, the textbook.

When planning my course of study for the school year, I rethink my personal strengths and weaknesses.  What do I, personally, enjoy learning about or what am I good at?  What would I rather delegate?

I practically failed geometry in high school, and never knew if I should partially blame my emotional teacher, who would routinely break down in tears, with her chalk in hand out of frustration of our classroom’s lack of ability and unruliness, OR if I just wasn’t capable of learning geometry.   I was curious. I decided to re-challenge the class with my middle daughter, Sarah, and Chalkdust Math, with Dana Mosely as the instructor.  Chalkdust math, a program which includes DVDs and a companion textbook,  wins my vote for all upper-level math, including algebra, geometry and calculus.   I guess this is kind of an endorsement!  Geometry proved to be an entirely fascinating subject that, yes, was possible for me to learn and enjoy.

I tried to repeat Chemistry class in the same way, but unfortunately I still don’t “get it”!  Figuring science out in general is not my strong point.  Therefore, over the years I have delegated science to “cool” library books when the kids were young, discovery science videos, workshops at the science center, and numerous field trips.  I didn’t want my shortcoming in science to affect my children.  And you know what?  The result of this effort paid off.  Sarah developed a fascination for all things scientific and several years later chose a college major of geography and earth science!

Sarah slicing up apples for our dehydrator

          It’s still a shocker not to be on summer vacation anymore; no more endless summer days, although the weather begs to differ.  Today I began watching the Algebra 2 DVDs with Sarah.  I would love it if we could have a math tutor to take care of all our math needs, but as many or most homeschooling families, we have a limit on what we can spend.  We decided to budget in some piano and fine arts lessons for the girls instead.

And so, “math tutor” is one of my many hats around here.  My secondary school math skills are decent and I have always been intrigued by mathematics.  The problem is I also easily forget what I learn.  So to be useful to my children, I  watch the lessons which are presented by the afore-mentioned professor, Dana Mosely aka Uncle Buck,  then I help the girls to get through the problem sets as needed.

The day went well again, as did the first day of school, with everyone following their planners and with me helping as needed.  Sarah sliced apple rings for our dehydrator in the afternoon.  Yum!  Suzy bunny, as well as the lovebirds Tiki and Little Man, came to join us indoors today as the weather was unbearably hot again, over 100 degrees.  We have 5 new bunnies arriving soon, but more about that later!

In the afternoon we stopped by John’s office, my husband, so he could straighten us out.  Don’t worry, he is a chiropractor, and that is what he does.  An aligned spine makes for optimum performance and that is what we need in our modified “one room schoolhouse”!

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** Note to the Reader- Today’s narrative is an excerpt of our family’s school journey from a few years ago, during my eldest daughter’s senior year in high school, a rather emotional year, with its many ups and downs.

May God shower blessings on your family as he has on mine.    Annette





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