Stories from a Homeschooling Newbie


It’s October now, and, like many others, I’ve been homeschooling my 6- and 8-year-olds for over six weeks. My partner and I made the decision to homeschool when it became clear that the public schools would be all online for at least a few weeks. Although we love the elementary school teachers, we did not feel that a remote learning setup would be the best for our children — or us. We’re a low-tech household and wanted to keep it that way. Our current plan is to send the kids back to school as soon as they physically reopen, but I am dreading that day. I’ve fallen in love with Charlotte Mason.

I Never Thought I Would be a Homeschooling Mom

Given that I have a full-time job, I never thought I would be a homeschooling mom, but I was always intrigued by it. Contrary to the stereotype, I always found homeschool kids to be really normal — serious, hardworking, and seemingly interested in learning. Since COVID-19 asked us to do more than we ever thought we could, and since I have the privilege of working from home, off I went into a summer of planning and prepping.

My partner and I came to an agreement: I would homeschool the kids every weekday from 9 am to 1 pm, then give them quiet time (together or alone, their choice) from 1-3 pm, and then my partner would take them for some outdoor PE/nature adventure from 3-5 pm. I am still able to work full time, which currently takes the form of writing a book.

For a curriculum, I chose the Charlotte Mason philosophy, which is less of a full curriculum and more of a style of teaching and learning. Mason believed that children are whole human beings, worthy of respect — and good literature. To this end, most of our school day revolves around reading.

I also bought them a math curriculum for the year (Math Mammoth, although next time I would make sure I not to order the International edition, whose last chapter’s focus is New Zealand currency). We also read the Hebrew Bible, do art, copy work, typing, and practice listening, comprehending, and speaking. We are a dual-language household, so on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Fridays the lessons are in Spanish, and on Wednesdays and Thursdays, in English.

A Look at Our Schedule

Our schedule looks like this, and in future blog posts, I can elaborate on each piece. The times are approximate (aside from the 9 am starting time).

8:30-9 am: Baseball outside

9 am: Deal with whatever scuffle baseball has produced 🙂

9:05 am: Biblia/Bible (15 min)

9:15 Math (15-30 min)

Mondays: Art appreciation (5 min)

9:45 am: History Reading and Narration (15 min)

10 am: Avena y Cuadernos / Oats and Notes

11 am: Literature Reading and Narration

11:30 am: Kindle (M/T/F Spanish; W/Th English)

12:00 pm: Eat

12:30: Read more (Aesop/Esopo, Cuentos en Español, baseball books, Artist biographies, etc.)

1 pm: Siesta

3-5 pm: Outdoor play/nature study

Homeschooling is challenging and sometimes frustrating, but when else will I get to watch my kids fall in love with learning? Until next time-



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Mariana loves sandwiches best, although going 95% vegan two years ago means having traded in ham and swiss for eggplant and roasted red pepper. Her boys, Santiago (5) and Sebastian (3), agree that sliced bread is the greatest thing since sliced bread. The boys are native Spanish speakers despite the fact that neither of their parents is, which has made raising them in Spanish a labor of love. Her commitment to raising bilingual children was made possible by being a first-generation Chilean-American born and raised in New York City, and by having spent two pre-kid years living abroad in Mexico City and Salamanca, Spain. Mariana moved to the RGV in 2010 and never wants to live anywhere else. While the kids are at school, Mariana is a full-time Assistant Professor of Philosophy at UTRGV. She has written for the New York Times, Womankind Magazine, and Yahoo Parenting.


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