Homeschool Programs

Homeschool Programs: Which is Right for You?

Posted Posted in Homeschooling

If you’re thinking about stepping onto the homeschooling path, it’s important to know all your options for homeschool programs. You do have choices, with varying degrees of freedom and accountability. It’s less about finding the best and more about finding the best path for your child this year. Affidavit Are you living in a yurt in the moutains? Homeschooling through affidavit would probably be your jam. Homeschooling through affidavit is the California lingo for homeschooling independently. You fill out an affidavit through the state to register yourself as a private school (which takes about 3 minutes) and voila – you’re […]

HACkschool: Owl Pellet Dissection

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“You know what’s been missing from our backyard friend play? Animal barf.” Okay that’s not exactly the train of thought that led us to owl pellet dissection. I figured hands-on animal science (in which no animals are harmed) would be a hit and I have to say, it was cool! We ordered our kits from here at a great price and it came with the owl pellet, bone diagram, tweezers, and pokey stick (technical scientific term). We supplied the trash bag table topper, paper plates, and latex gloves. I explained to the kids what an owl pellet is (Man, science can be […]

Lifestyle Design

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Homeschooling, Parenting

Step off the beaten path and into the promised land. Right now, at the beginning of our journey together, you are likely following in the footsteps of your parents and peers on a path well worn. The view is familiar. The walk is comfortable, sometimes painful, but predictable. You are hiking toward the trail’s end—the promised land—only, it’s never reached. What if I told you the bounty that is pledged as earned payment for a lifetime of sacrificing today for tomorrow never comes and it’s just more of the same until you die? Stop hiking up this trail. Part the […]

Mentorship: A Homeschool Gold Mine

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Sky, now 10, has really shown me the way with homeschooling. When I truly see him and honor his nature, we’re always led deeper into our bliss. Now that he is transitioning from a little kid into a young man, I am being shown a whole new world of potential in our life learning journey. One powerful lesson that is unfolding before my eyes is the gold mine of mentorship. With little ones, you are their guide in a more direct and hands on way. With a bigger one, it becomes more about expanding the connection your child has with the world beyond you […]

HACkschool: Whale Watching

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The adventure this time was on the sea in search of cetaceans. We took a 3 hour whale watching cruise and got to observe 2 gray whales and a pod of common dolphins (and a shark) in their natural habitat (vastly more educational than seeing captured dolphins or whales in a small concrete tank – I’m talking to you Sea World). These first couple photos were snapped by San Diego Whale Watch on our cruise, as they are far more skilled at capturing these moments than I (while I wrangle my 3 squirrely boys on a boat deck) We learned from […]

HACkschool: La Jolla Cave & Cove

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Perfect weather + gorgeous place + exciting exploration + good friends = great HACkschool. Nature is the most magnificent playground and the most perfectly designed classroom. Today we went to La Jolla and hiked up the hill to the Cave Store. Into the man made tunnel we go to access the sea cave. Looks safe enough, right? The dripping walls and calcified staircase made for an especially nice ambiance. Adventure beckons! So cool inside, though hard to photograph. They counted crabs living on the rocks and we talked about the sea taking bites out of the cliffs to form caves and cause rock […]

HACkschool: Ropes Course

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One of our favorite HACkschool adventures this wave ended up being the ropes course. We were harnessed in, introduced to all of the equipment, and set free in the tree tops to scale, scurry, climb, leap, reach, stretch, and zip. It required coordination with your mind, body, and friends. It was an especially valuable experience in accessing your rational brain, getting in touch with your bravery, and overcoming your fear. Everyone is encouraging you, but you have to make that leap on your own two feet. Bay (7 year old) Review: “It’s awesome and everybody in the universe should do […]

HACkschool: Mission San Juan Capistrano

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After reading Island of the Blue Dolphins for our book club, we wanted to learn more about the California missions. So we set up a HACkschool adventure to Mission San Juan Capistrano and read the sequel, Zia, to prepare. We loved the book, whose story is told from the perspective of a Native American, and through story was a very organic way to absorb more about the California missions before exploring in person. We did a docent led tour and ended up with a married couple, in full costume, who were clearly passionate about their work. So much history to take in. […]

HACkschool: Recycling Center

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Adventures through which we can learn about integral things in our world through experience are something I am always seeking. When I sent out the first wave of HACkschool invites, the recycling center is the adventure that got the most bites. Seeing first hand how we take all that trash from our homes and turn in into something new – what’s not to love? Urban Corps San Diego was the local recycling center who offered an educational tour so that is where we went. Turns out, it’s not exactly a recycling center. It’s a program that helps inner city adolescents […]

HACkschool: Rock Climbing

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Indoor rock climbing was something we had been wanting to try for a while and it seemed like a great activity to do with our HACkschool friends. Turns out, it was! We started with a lesson from an instructor. Eva was a brilliant rock climbing model. This was what I found to be the most meaningful part of the adventure: belaying. You have to trust your friend to keep you safe, which was a super exercise in bonding, focus, skill, and strength. A challenge like this can result in some frustration. Thankfully, good friends surround you with encouragement. And you scale […]

HACkschool: Dairy Farm

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For a fun, Autumn adventure we went to Van Ommering Dairy Farm’s Pumpkin Patch. We do consume dairy products so a behind the scenes look at how we get that milk is a great educational and fun experience for families with kids of all ages. Combining that with a celebration of pumpkins made for a perfect October adventure. First stop was the cotton seed hill, which I have to admit is my kids’ favorite part. It’s a southern California farm version of sledding. Then we gathered at the tractor ride depot for a lesson on pumpkin growing. I have to […]

HACkschool: Pioneerways

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For our Pioneerways adventure we went up to Smith Ranch in Julian. It was amazing. The family running this ranch clearly lives and loves what they do, which makes for such a rich experience. It was our favorite HACkschool adventure thus far. We arrived dressed as cowboys or pioneers. And were lead on a nature hike where we learned about edible plants, some local pioneer history, and even medicinal uses for the plant life. We learned how to use pioneer tools … and build ourselves a house. Of course we’ll need to grow food to eat … so the kids […]

HACkschool: Rendezvous

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This adventure was put on at the train park by the city. People live in the park as pioneers for several days and we got to come in and learn all about the way people lived. This guy hunted and traded the skins. They spent a lot of time in the saloon. Should we be worried? This game was a big hit with all the ages. My kids insist we use 2 drum sticks and a embroidery hoop so we can play it in our backyard. About this time, after we had spent probably a solid hour in this corner, […]

A Week in the Life of a Homeschooler

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My view while I write this post on my laptop while my 10 year old is next to me inside the nature center at the lagoon in a nature writing class with his friends. You can see the fingers of the lagoon reaching inland and the ocean is blanketed in Saturday morning fog just beyond.  One thing I enjoy about homeschooling is that I can take a broad view of our lives and learning experiences when leading our family (specifically through calendar management). We collaboratively discuss curiosities, cravings, and responsibilities to create a life in which we can all be […]

HACkschool: Queen Califia’s Magical Garden

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This HACkschool adventure was artistic in nature as we all met at a big park and walked up to Queen Califia’s Magical Garden, where a docent gave us a tour of this amazing mosaic tile art installation. We learned all about the artist, the process, and the technique. To build on this experience we later hooked up with a friend’s family and took a mosaic tile ceramics workshop where we created our very own mosaic tile art. Dive deeper in the Sage Homeschooling Book

HACkschool: Los Penasquitos Canyon

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This is Homeschool Adventure Club, or HACkschool, where awesome homeschoolers learn through living a radical life! We get together twice a month for a fun, educational adventure! It is one component of our homeschool life along with things like curricula, enrichment classes, extra curriculars, and book club. I’m sharing my HACkschool program with you in the hopes that it inspires families out there to dive into the world as their child’s classroom. Our first adventure was at Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve. We began the day with a docent-led tour of the historic Ranch House (Full disclosure: our docent no-showed! We rolled with […]

Do Sensory Bins like a Boss

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Sensory bins are a fantastic and easy way to stimulate your child’s senses, play, and development while also providing you some relaxing or productive time. Case in point, I am writing this as my 3 year old stomps a mommy and baby elephant through his mud bin. Pom Poms We love pom poms around here. They are the perfect restaurant companion to occupy your toddler while you wait for your food. They are the perfect solution for a toddler who likes to throw things (always keep a pom pom in your pocket and anytime s/he gets the urge to throw something, give him […]


The Bucket System

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Chore charts make me want to punch someone in the face. I know that is so not the peace and love juju you are accustomed to vibing on here. But it’s true. They are the epitome of top-down power. “I’m telling you what to do, when to do it, and how to do it. You do not care about it and you have no say in it.” I remember being mandated to dust the furniture and vacuum the carpet in the living room that I was not even allowed to go in (adults only). Help, I’m suffocating under the stifling repression! […]

The Playscape Purge

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Pick up your phone, go to the most cluttered, stressful corner of your home, and take a picture. Now take a deep, cleansing breath – the kind of breath you take when you are about to embark on an adventure, make a change, or otherwise step toward the person you want to be and the life you want to live. Commit to following through with The Playscape Purge and this cluttered, stressful corner will be the before picture that will only continue to exist as a memory. Are you ready?   Step 1: Trash everything broken or worn out. Move […]

A Day in the Life

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I’m sometimes asked what a typical day looks like for us. Things vary wildly from day to day, which is part of what I love about homeschooling. We have the freedom to take advantage of any opportunity for life learning through adventure. So I made some mental notes and took a few pictures the other day just so I could give you a snapshot of our lives. 9:00 Wake up under the weight of my 3 year old cosleeping nursling’s cuddles. Peacefully soak in that bliss for about a half hour until hubs kisses us goodbye for work. 9:30 6 year […]