Update August 2016

I completely forgot to update last August because I was hugely pregnant and trying to cool off at the pool or cram as much school as we could into the few months before the baby came. Ezra came October 25th so we have an adorable new chaos-creator in our family. Right now his nine-month passion is standing up and pulling books off any surface to fling them to the ground. School will be thrilling this year!

I’m still homeschooling my ten-year-old daughter (5th grade this year) and my 7-year-old son (1st grade this year). And Ezra of course will join in the fun. My 12-year-old is at a small private Christian school which we love and is a great fit for him.

What school will (maybe) look like this year at home:

Well, last year was very traditional, workbooks & textbooks, which were awesome in that new-baby season and made things easy for me. It made school kinda boring but we sort of needed boring last year just to make it through. No thought or planning.

This year I’ve been up to doing a little more hands-on stuff, and I am excited about it but also nervous, hoping I can fit in all the mom-intensive lessons I want to.

First Grader
Reading: All About Reading (I LOVE  this program and wish I’d been using it all along)
Handwriting: A Reason for Handwriting
Math: Hands-on lessons with mom following Waldorf Grade 1/2, Saxon worksheets
Science: together with sister, lots of reading & art pages for main lesson book
+ CC, Read Aloud time, Awana

Fifth Grader
Math: Saxon
Spelling: All About Spelling (LOVE LOVE)
Writing: IEW Medieval (through Essentials)
Science: covering CC topics with BJU and other science texts, art for MLB
+ CC, Read Aloud time, Awana, History with CC and Reading

I’m planning to do the skill work (their checklist) in the morning, science reading & art during the baby’s first nap, and read-aloud chapter book during the baby’s second nap. We’ll see!

And I’m hoping and praying to enjoy this sweet season of chubby arms & legs climbing and exploring and not worry so much about the baby “interrupting” us. He’s a delight and we’ll get school done as best we can while we’re enjoying him. : )

Update August 2014

This year my oldest will attend 5th grade at an actual, not-in-our-house school, which is pretty weird for us. I’ll have my other two at home. We’ll see how the year goes.

My daughter will be in 3rd grade and my youngest will be five. If it were only him I’d probably just let him play, work with me around the house, and learn naturally from life. Since I’ll be doing school with my daughter, however, my son will tag along and do preschool/kindergarten-ish things with us.

Because I just have two at home this year and they are relatively easy kids (they don’t abhor the whole idea of school, unlike some other children who may or may not belong to me), we’ll do some fun things. We are also doing Classical Conversations.

I’m doing less traditional things (ie. workbooks) and more hands-on (projects, stories, songs, games) this year than before, which means more work on the front end for me. But we also sit around and read for entire days at a time. Since I just have these two amenable kids to worry about and no toddlers running amok trying to poke their eyes out or color their entire bodies with markers, I was able to do the prep work. You do what works for you.

I’m going to post some of what we do on Facebook, but take it all with a grain of salt. It looks fun, and it is, but it’s a lot of work so if you have babies crying all night, or four other children to worry about, or if this is your first year homeschooling and you understandably want to pick the easiest thing to start, just enjoy an idea here or there and feel confident doing what you’re already doing.

Happy learning!


You probably already know this, but Charity Hawkins is a pen name. Because I’m a Super-Secret Superspy. Oh, and also, to protect my family’s privacy, because I don’t want to be famous, and because no one can spell or pronounce my real name!

More About My Life

I attended the University of Oklahoma where my transcript shows least 5 majors over the course of four and a half years, including English and International Business. Finally I had to pick something, and ended up graduating with two degrees: Management Information Systems and Environmental Design. (Yeah, I don’t really know what that means either.)

Following college graduation, I joined an oil and gas company in a software support role, where I quickly learned I hated supporting software, and if we’re being honest, wasn’t too fond of computers either. I worked with natural gas trading for a year, and then moved into website design and development, which was much more fun. Over the next four years, I dabbled in project management, branding initiatives, and application support, all of which, surprisingly, have been very helpful skills in my latest
venture—writing and promoting a novel.

My husband and I were married in 2001. In 2004, one month before the birth of my first child, I came home. I have been a stay-at-home mom ever since, enjoying the creativity and freedom of life at home with my three children.

Usually. Except for those days when I wanted to go back to work. Because in corporate America, if people disagree with you, at least they don’t try to kick you and then fling themselves wailing to the floor.

I briefly did some freelance web design from home but decided if my baby was sleeping, many other items were higher on my priority list than designing someone else’s web site. Things like a shower. And eating lunch.

In 2008, I embarked on the adventure of homeschooling my then-four-year-old son. It was such an adventure, in fact, that I kept looking for fiction books about homeschooling. Surely someone must have written them, right? But they hadn’t. I have enjoyed writing ever since childhood and always thought I might focus on being a writer someday, but never pursued publication, other than a few occasional articles.

I had been wanting to share this story of the wild, hilarious, hard, beautiful world of homeschooling, and God gave me the idea to write it in the form of a novel. I have always been an avid reader who studied plot lines and characterization for fun, one who sighed with rapture at a perfectly chosen word. Writing fiction seemed to come very naturally. As if I had been unknowingly oxygen deprived, and had finally begun to breathe.

Very quickly (and with my husband watching the children every spare minute), the first draft was complete. The revisions and editing took another eight months.

I was thrilled when Todd and Debbie Wilson of Familyman Ministries agreed to publish the book. I am awed and amazed at what God has done.

We are currently in our fifth seventh eighth year of homeschooling. It is getting easier. Some days no one even cries.

My prayer is that the blog and book would encourage you in these hard but precious years at home with our babies. Like Todd Wilson says, “The hard things are good. The good things are hard.”

And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.  Galatians 6:9

If you enjoyed the book, I’d love it if you’d be willing to leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads. The number of positive reviews does seem to be a factor in whether a mom decides to pick up the book or not, so if you think it would be an encouragement to someone, that’s a great way to let them know. And it really makes my day to read your kind words!

Feel free to email me at Charity@TheHomeschoolExperiment.com .  Thanks friends!