Max (age 9) and Mason (age 5), who are homeschooled, started their new school year on Monday and we are having SO much fun! While they learn traditional subjects, we try to make their lessons more fun by ensuring they revolve around a central theme each week – something they are very interested in. This week, it’s sharks! Ever since we moved to Florida, they’ve been wanting to go shark fishing and they’ve been watching endless shark nature videos on YouTube and Netflix. Richard even rented Jaws and Jaws 2 for Max and I watched those with him last week, which was a hoot. At one point, Max asked, “Why did guys wear such short shorts back then?”

So, how do we make each theme fit all the major subjects? Well, it’s actually pretty easy. Mason is learning to count (he can already get to 49) so I printed rows and rows of shark clipart for him to count (math). He’s tracing the capital letters S, H, A, R, and K this week (handwriting). I found lots of shark coloring pages online so he’s been working really hard at staying in the lines (art). I found stories for children about sharks and other sea creatures for us to read and discuss this week (reading). Max reads to Mason, which gives him lots of reading time. We printed lots of different cartoon sharks of different colors and cut them out, gluing them to index cards. Mason is using those to practice his colors. We’re also studying shark populations off the coast of Florida (science) and record shark catches in the waters around Florida (geography). My dear friend and author Maggy Simony (Bridge Table Or What’s Trump Anyway? An Affectionate Look Back At Sociable Bridge & Ladies) mailed the boys two awesome books about Florida (History). One of their assignments this week will be to send her a handmade thank you card.

Max is practicing his cursive this week by writing the letters s, h, a, r and k. To help Max read “big words”, I printed the entire Wikipedia page on how they made the movie Jaws and he LOVES it! He is so into it that I’m afraid he’ll fall into a deep depression when he’s finished, just like I do when I get to the end of a good book. Max reads it aloud to us while Mason is coloring and I help him with the more difficult words. I also found an article on the 10 worst shark attacks. He loves that stuff (maybe he’ll be a journalist someday?!) but rest assured his is NOT reading that aloud to Mason!

Max has a tutor who works with him on Algebra and they’re at a point now that I am NO help in that department whatsoever so his math lessons won’t be on the shark theme – or any other theme. He loves math, however, so he doesn’t mind. Sometimes when I listen to him talking to his tutor, my brain starts to go numb and my eyes glaze over. Math was always my weakest subject – by far.

Today, Max and Mason started a new, fun project. I told them their assignment was to make a homemade (pretend) “shark aquarium”. In my mind, I saw a small piece of cardboard with maybe a Ziploc bag full of blue water glued to the front and some laminated pictures of sharks floating in it. Max and Mason had other ideas, however. Max went out to the garage and got a huge, empty box from our move. They cut out three sides and printed ocean scenes to glue down for the background and ocean floor. They’ll be getting back to work on that tomorrow so I’ll try to post a picture of that next week.

Below is a picture of Max and Mason’s first day of school (that’s the formal dining area, which we converted into the “school room”) and there’s also a picture of Frank’s on his first day of college!

This week’s Masonism –

Max found an old photo album last week, and was showing it to Mason. Mason walked into our room later and said, “I saw a picture of you in the photo album when you were really younger. But, you’re not really younger anymore…”

Hugs to all,


Using Angela’s MEMORY TRIGGERS, recall memories that have been dormant for years, and record those memories in chronological order in your memory notebook. Using the memory notebook as your outline, write your autobiography! **Also works for biographies and memoirs.**