Technically, we have been homeschooling throughout the summer, and subjects have been worked in throughout the month of August, but this is our first week of full-on homeschool with all subjects.

We tried embracing the full-on unschool philosophy: just follow your bliss and school will happen, but that was an abject failure. Weekly goals also didn’t work–everything was left until the end, and then there was a mad panic. So, we had a talk and agreed that an actual school schedule would be best. She needed class periods and daily assignments. So I went to work to figure that out.

Since I am a college professor, I think in terms of how college classes are laid out, so we have a MWF set of classes (US History, Algebra, and Literature) and a TR set of classes (World Religions, French, and Physical Science). On Tuesdays, there are music lessons, and on Thursdays, we are going to try to learn some Chinese. This way, there is some balance between types of classes.

In addition to planning the classes, I also created an actual schedule with daily goals or assignments, so, for example, US History is 7:30-8:30, then a 15 minute break before the start of Algebra, and so on. When 8:30 hits, that class is done, so any work that is not completed goes into the Overflow times right before lunch and in the afternoon.

For today, at least, it worked splendidly. She finished all her work on time, then we had lunch and took a 15 minute walk before instrument practice. After practice, we went over some past assignments and talked about the first 150 lines of Beowulf, which was her literature reading today. I read some of it in Old English; we looked at some pictures of the Sutton Hoo ship burial; we talked about how Tolkien’s scholarship on Anglo-Saxon literature found its way into his fiction–all the things one thinks off when they think “homeschool.” We even got in an episode of TV while we were eating our lunch.

Right now, I think she is watching cat videos. Considering how well today seemed to go, I think that is OK.

My daughter is a big Percy Jackson (PJ) fan, and she was excited to start the sequel series, The Heroes of Olympus, of which The Lost Hero is the first book. While PJ characters do make guest appearances, the focus of the book is three new characters: Jason, Piper, and Leo. My daughter connected with them almost right away, especially Piper, and we enjoyed reading the book together. She also thought Leo was particularly funny. The plot format is familiar–heroes get discovered, find their way to Camp Half-Blood, and have to complete a quest to more or less save the world. I won’t go into too many details here so as to not spoil anything!

My only concern is that it might have been a little too mature for her. She never complained, but there is a lot of emphasis on dating, relationships, and kissing, especially when the point of view shifts to Piper. Amazon ages the book at 10 and up, but I might make it a little older. The many references to various characters’ hotness made me uneasy, if that’s the right word, and since I was the one doing the reading, that mattered! The violence level was not a concern, however.

Now, I must add that I am not prudish about such things. Personally, I think our attitudes about sex and violence in this country are completely out of whack. But that’s another conversation. However, my daughter is nine–almost ten–and I just don’t think she needs to have these concepts on her radar yet. Had I known about this aspect of the book, I might have had her hold off for a year or so–we’ve also begun spacing out the Harry Potter books to also let her mature a bit, so she can better process some of the plot lines.

On the flip side, she didn’t seem at all phased by these elements, so maybe it is all in my head. We’ll see how the second book goes–just pre-ordered the paperback, so it will be Fall before we get to it. When did parenting become so hard!

Kim Harrison

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