A Life Well Spent by Charles West Cope in 1862


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I have finally completed the long overdue update to my homeschool pages, and you can now find grades K-10 in the drop down menu under the Homeschool tab.

I’ve made a few changes to some of the other grades as well.

The biggest change is that we will be studying modern foreign languages instead of Latin. My four oldest have each decided on a language (Dutch, German, Italian, and French) and we are using Duolingo.com for their study. In addition, we are seeking out other websites and YouTube pages that have free learning programs in each language. Winter is using LearnDutch.org in addition to Duolingo. We may decide to purchase their paid content later, but for now, she’s just using the free program. She’s currently spending an hour a day on Dutch using both websites. We’re also using WordReference.com as our foreign language dictionary. I love that there are so many great free foreign language options available now. 

My 4 younger girls (all of the girls except for Winter) are watching some YouTube videos for French; right now we are using the free videos from Learn French With Alexa. They may end up choosing a different language later, but right now they are learning a bit of French this way, and Liberty (who is almost 10) is also using Duolingo. We watch the YouTube videos through the television. 

I did buy one thing for them to use with these free programs, which is a pair of earbuds with a microphone built in, to make it easier for the computer to hear them when they are speaking. With our large family, it’s not always easy for the computer to hear them saying words over the background noise.

My 5 oldest are also using the computer for typing, using the free program on Typing.com.

We’ll have to do some tweaking to the schedule to allow everyone to use the computer for these subjects (plus using the Saxon Math Teacher cds for my two oldest) until we get another computer, but in general, this is our school schedule:


8:00 Math

9:00 English

10:00 Spelling/Typing

10:15 Penmanship/Typing

10:30 History

10:45 Geography/Typing

11:00 Before Lunch Chores

11:30 Lunch

12:00 After lunch chores

12:30 Science/Art

1:00 Foreign Language

1:30 Quiet reading time/naptime



Reading HP The Prudent Homemaker

Reading Harry Potter and the Cursed Child the day it arrived.


Quiet reading time (aka nap time) is when they read the books I’ve assigned them, as well as books for fun. They also play in their rooms during this time.

Piano practice is done both in the morning once chores are done and before school starts, and after 3:30 when naptime; i.e quiet time ends. (I should note that it is often my two teenagers who take naps; all of the children know that if they’re tired they are welcome to sleep during that time).

Physical education comes in the form of outside playing (swings, merry-go-round, trampoline, scooters, running, outside games including races and badminton, and bike riding.) They play outside every day; in the morning before school, a bit after lunch (more so in the winter than in the summer when it is too hot to go out mid-day), and after naptime.

All but the baby have school. Ivory as been doing schoolwork since she was 3, as she wanted to be just like her older siblings. She will diligently accomplish her work right away almost every morning before she runs off to play.

Our evenings are free to spend as a family, except for the activities that the children attend: the boys have Scouts once a week (plus campouts), Winter has a youth group once a week, Liberty and Wren have a church activity every other week, and Winter occasionally attends the church youth dances in town.

In addition to these, Winter attends a seminary class every weekday. It’s an hour-long religious class for high school students that our church does. This year they are studying the New Testament. There are 375 students who meet in the same building each morning at 6 a.m. (the local high school here starts at 7, and seminary is before school). 

I do a lot of printing. We use a laser printer that prints in black only and toner cartridges that print 8000+ pages (I can usually get it to last another month by giving it a good shake when I get the message that the toner is low). This cartridge lasts me around ten months. 

We have school at the table, except for time on the computer. 

And that’s our day!



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  1. I wonder if the girls would be willing to review the new Harry Potter book. It apparently is receiving mixed reviews. Maybe a book report?? Just a thought, thank you for sharing your world and days.

  2. Thanks for the pointer to Typing.com. In my day it was Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing but these days I think this is the way to go.

  3. We [i]all[/i] LOVED it!

    How was that? 🙂

    The mixed reviews I saw were people who didn’t seem to understand that it was a play–but they should have known it was a script. They didn’t include all of the stage directions, so it’s almost all conversation.

    Within 2 days 5 of us had read it. I’ve now loaned it out.

  4. I am interested in why the kids have chosen the languages they have to study. I studied French and Greek in school, but if I were doing it now, I would choose Spanish immediately. The US is a melting pot, indeed, but it seems like Spanish is almost a second language in our country these days. I didn’t start Greek until I was in college and I think it’s a mistake to wait that late to do any language, so I never really learned it as well as I wish I had. However, it is immensely helpful for understanding origins of words, and I wish I had studied Latin as well for the same reason. I did take one semester of Spanish when I was working, as it would have helped in my job had I learned it well–but there was a registration problem which resulted in the second semester class being cancelled entirely. Very disappointing!

    I’m just curious, if you have time to respond. If you don’t, I fully understand!

  5. You’re amazing! I can’t imagine helping the kids to complete these tasks and getting everything else done. I wanted to mention that my local Costco refills ink cartridges for cheap. I think our new ones cost around $30 and they refill them for under $10.

  6. Ezrom really wants to go to Italy. I told Winter to pick a place she might like to see one day. Cyrus just told me he wanted German and Liberty has been wanting to speak with my friend’s daughter who is the same age as she is (and she is French). I don’t know if she’ll get that chance, but for a year she has already been picking up and using French phrases every day (after asking me what they were), so I strongly suggested she continue with French.

    Elsa and Ivory are interested in going to Paris, and Wren usually watches whatever they watch, so for now, they’re getting French, but they may choose something different when they are older (though I think Elsa will stick with French!)

    I took a semester of Spanish in junior high (and I already knew some Spanish from kids at school) but it wasn’t what I wanted to learn (the class was required). I took 3 years of French in high school and ended up going to France for a year and a half.

    So, knowing how I felt about learning Spanish in junior high, I told them they should pick what they like. I figured they would retain more if it was something they were really inclined to learn.

  7. Your day makes me tired just reading about it. I take care of little children all day, 4 all under 18 months. I also have the normal house hold duties to do. But gosh, you leave me in the shade wondering what is happening. I think it is amazing that your children are learning so many different languages. You are going to have a mini UN before long. God bless you and your husband. Your family seems amazing to me.

  8. My local library has online resources for language learning as well as many CD s and workbooks. Check yours out.

  9. I loved your comment about it’s the two teenagers that usually nap! Lol. Our quiet/nap time is 1:30-3:30 as well. My three year old grandson has started phasing naps out on his own so we switched from “nap” to quiet time. He is required to lay down for an hour because he will still often go to sleep but he can look at books or listen to audiobooks or music during that time and if he hasn’t fallen asleep within that hour, he can get up and play quietly in his room until 3:30. It gives me a break as well and allows me to get some things done while they are resting… If they both go to sleep, I can sometimes sneak a short nap in that time too!

  10. Hi Brandy, I think you have put a lot of effort into raising your lovely family. A single day like this would be hard to come by in most homes. Your children must have enormous respect for you both for it all to run so smoothly.
    I also love the flexibility you have given your children in their choices for learning. You’re a dynamic lady.

  11. Thank you for sharing your normal daily school schedule with us. It was very interesting to read how you set up your day.

    I read your comment above about why you let your children choose the languages they wanted to learn. I wholeheartedly agree with this. In Ontario, Canada, we are required to learn French as part of our school curriculum starting in grade 4 (there is also the option of putting your children into French immersion, in which they learn all curriculum in French, but you have to put them into it starting in grade one or not at all). I took French up to grade 10. Much later in life, when I attended college for the second time, I decided to take a conversational French class. What I learned is that I suck at speaking French. Although I can read and understand a fair amount of French, it’s not of significant interest to me. Had I been allowed to choose a language I wanted to learn, perhaps I would have been more interested and retained it more.

  12. Ours has a tiny selection of workbooks in French and Spanish (mostly Spanish). I know some libraries offer Rosetta Stone for free (also online through their websites) but unfortunately our district is not one of them. Rosetta Stone is very expensive, so it is nice that some libraries offer that.

    I have been using Duolingo myself and I am much happier with it than other programs and workbooks we have tried in the past. They can hear the words being pronounced and they also have to pronounce them correctly (or it marks it wrong). And it’s free, which is great!

  13. I’d recommend the YouTube channel “Easy German” once Cyrus progresses a bit with German! There are a ton of resources on the Deutsche Welle site as well! Look on Pinterest as wel, lots of instructors post good reference/instructional resources.

  14. I so miss our homeschooling days. My youngest is in college now. We had a similar schedule, but always kept things flexible enough we could run with life in the process. It sounds like you all have a wonderful year planned out.

  15. Hi Brandy, have you heard of future learn ? http://www.futurelearn.com. They have so many free on line courses – mainly aimed at adults but many suitable for teens. Just noticed today they have a free basic Italian course starting soon.

  16. I would love to know how you get everything done when this many children are studying. I am assuming that quite a few of your children are able to mostly work independently on their schooling. This is the part of homeschooling that is so incredibly overwhelming to me is how to just get the basics done while schooling. Like you know all the baking, cooking, laundry and just general pick up of the home. What time do your children get up to start their morning chores? And in regards to foreign language, here in Indiana, colleges require at least 2 years of foreign language to get into college. Thank you for all the information, it is very helpful.

  17. My native language is Finnish, which is spoken by about 5.5 million people. We are also required to study Swedish (it’s called ‘forced Swedish’ and currently discussed if it’s time to let it pass) which is one of Finland’s official languages. I have no interest in Swedish – – –

    I have always thought that speaking several languages is a form of wealth like no other. What ever happened, you’ll always have it with you and nobody can take it away.

  18. Jennifer,

    If you look at the bottom of my page, in the black section, there is a link to my schedule. It’s pretty close to that, but I have made a few changes and could certainly write an updated post.

    Thank you for the college reminder on years of foreign language. They should each have more than 2 years of study when we are done.

  19. This is fascinating! I love that there’s a set schedule, but school doesn’t last aaaaaaall day. I’m more of a fan of shorter, more frequent school hours. While I do think public school has its place, homeschooling seems like a great option that lets kids explore their interests in learning instead of forcing it. I’m not sure if I have the patience to do homeschooling, but it sounds like a great thing for the kiddos. 🙂

  20. It doesn’t have to last all day. There are lots of things I don’t have to do that take time in a classroom, like taking roll, handing out papers, etc. Also, the classroom size is smaller (only 8! 🙂 but smaller than 30-40 at school. I still have to tell people to be quiet, stop throwing pencils, focus on their work, etc.

  21. Hi Brandi,
    I would like to congratulate Winter on her foreign language choice! I am Dutch and always find it special when someone chooses to learn Dutch. It is not the easiest language to learn.
    I love your blog and really learn from your tips and tricks in the house. Some I cannot use due to country differences but anything I can use will be saved and used.

    To Winter: Ik wens je veel success bij het leren van Nederlands. Ik hoop dat je de kennis ook kunt gebruiken bij toekomstige reizen naar Nederland (Nederland is zo veel mooier dan Amsterdam alleen). Alvast veel plezier toegewenst.

  22. I’m a U.S. native. My (also U.S.) cousin and his wife became missionaries to one country in Europe, taking their very young kids (they later had one more while in Europe) with them. Their kids went to public school in that country, and now, as young adults, speak a minimum of four languages each, because it was taught in their schools from day one. (Funny aside — they learned English from their parents, of course, so their English has a southern accent because their southern-born parents both have one.) When I was a youngster in grade school, I so much wanted to learn a foreign language, but it wasn’t offered until high school, and class requirements forced me to drop it mid-way through high school; ironically, I had to drop it in order to take all my college-track honors classes, which makes no sense. I took a foreign language in college but our teacher didn’t care if we ever learned to pronounce it so didn’t teach pronunciation, nor much grammar, frankly. It was so frustrating that I gave up trying and dropped it after two years of struggle. I still want to learn — now if only I had time, because I’m sloooow at it now that I’m older. I’m going to keep trying, though. Congrats to Brandy’s kids for actually applying themselves to learning a new language and I hope they all succeed very well!

  23. You should try Duolingo. You can use it for 10 or 15 minutes a day and work on learning a language (or 2!). I don’t have a cell phone, but I have heard they have an app that you use the program on your phone, so anytime you have 5-10 minutes of waiting somewhere (or–[i]in the bathroom[/i] ;))you can work on the language.

    I served as a missionary in France and Switzerland. In Geneva, several languages are required for high-school-aged students. I knew a Kenyan girl who spoke Swahili and English when she moved there, and was then learning French and German.

    I also made some great friends with people I still keep in contact with who speak 8 languages each. One of those friends has added 2 more languages since then.

    I was told in France you can start a language in elementary school, then continue it and add another in high school as well if you want. I thought that was pretty fantastic.

  24. Thanks for your answer. It makes sense, and they can always practice their French by going to Canada—until they get to Paris!!

  25. Duolingo DOES have an app, and it’s great! Like Brandy said, whenever you have 5 minutes, you can open the app and learn. It’s easy, rewarding, and teaches so many languages. I’ve even used it to teach English to Syrian refugees! (There is an Arabic version that teaches English). Personally, I use the app on my lunch hour at work to learn Spanish to speak with my MIL. And I was thinking just the other day, it would be great to give your kids access to the duolingo app on your phone when you’re in a line-up and they’re bored, as opposed to entertainment videos. Screen time can be a positive thing! So yes, two thumbs up for the app. 🙂

  26. Hello Brandy. I’m new to your blog and just love it. I don’t know where else to ask this question but I’m wondering how you keep your lawn so green and lush. I live in Southern California (Inland) and it gets hot here but not as hot as Vegas. I struggle to keep the lawn decent looking because of the drought. I’m wondering if you would share your secret. Thank you. xo

  27. Hi Janet!

    I know where you are 🙂 I grew up in Southern California too, though a bit cooler and about an hour and a half away from you.

    Are you still under 36% water restrictions?

    Water in the early morning–before sunrise is very helpful. If you water when it’s hotter you lose more water to evaporation. Don’t water at night, as that can cause fungus problems.

    Use manure on your yard instead of fertilizer. I manure our lawn twice a year when I can; in fall before it gets too cold and again in spring. October is good, and then again in February. You should be about the same time. I use a manure spreader and then rake it in. It also helps reduce evaporation. Pictures here: http://theprudenthomemaker.com/blog?view=entry&id=86

    Watch the weather like crazy and turn the sprinklers off if you get rain 🙂

  28. Thanks B for your reply! Yes, still under restrictions and no sign of if being lifted. I love my garden and won’t let it die like a lot of my neighbors are doing.

    I’m so inspired by your gardening spirit and frugality. Thank you for the link on using manure, I will def be doing that this fall.

    I’m so enjoying reading all your posts B. You are amazing. xo

  29. Oh, an app! Now that would be great, because I can access that so many more times than a computer. Thanks for the encouragement from Brandy and Margaret both! My daughter gave me a smart phone, and I still forget that I can access things through it. I’ll give this a try. I was doing pretty well in Spanish in high school until I had to stop. I think I’ll try that again.

  30. Kudos to you for your bravery to home school so many kids at home. May I ask how this is more economical than sending them to free public schools or even free charter schools if they are in your area? It seems that you are buying all the books/art supplies and other educational material. Are there subsidies for parents if they home school so that they can afford all the necessary materials/books? I know that this decision is more than just a financial one but given that this is the home of the prudent homemaker, I am curious to understand the pros and cons…thanks and best wishes.

  31. There are certainly lots of reasons to homeschool, and the financial ones aren’t even on our list of reasons, but I do think it ends up costing me less 😀 So I’ll tell you some of the ways in which it does; not sending them to school I’m sure there are things I am leaving off the list.

    Here are some of the things I don’t have to purchase:

    Uniforms. A lot of the public schools here require them (especially the charter schools).
    Lunch boxes
    Prepacked stuff and bags or even bento boxes for lunch packing (Our lunches are usually leftovers or soup; it costs me less than $2 to make a big pot of soup for ALL of us)
    School lunches
    The enormous school supply lists that the schools require, including items for the classroom that are requested mid-year (my books and supplies each year are less than what this would be in the lower grades for all of my children).
    School fundraiser purchases

    Plus, I don’t need a second car to take my children to school. Most parents here drive their children to and from school. (I don’t know about all of the bus options here, but when I was in high school they charged us $75 a year per student to ride the bus).

    My children go barefoot almost every day, so it also keeps down on the wear and tear of their shoes and socks! (That probably seems small, but my children have wide feet, which makes for more expensive shoes, so less wear is very helpful to us).

    Most of our books are reusable each year, so I am mostly buying for the oldest child and then the books get passed down and reused. There are some things that aren’t reusable that I have to buy more than once (like equipment that is used for science experiments and art supplies) but my cost each year is pretty low. What I do buy (books, paper, supplies) is less than I would spend on lunches alone if I bought prepackaged stuff and lunch boxes or bags for my children to go to school.

    Our state recently passed a law that offers a financial subsidy to parents who homeschool, but it only applies if your child has been enrolled for at least 100 days in public school. Since I have homeschooled from the beginning and didn’t pull my children out of school, this doesn’t apply to me. (I have heard it is a pretty significant amount but I also read that it’s been stalled, so I don’t know if they are currently paying or not.) Every state is different, though; I believe Alaska has had a subsidy for years as many students are so far from the schools.

    Now, our state law does allow children who are homeschooled to participate in sports and other extracurriculars if they wish, and if we ever choose that we will have to pay for those things (such as uniforms). Right now we’re not doing any of those so I don’t have that expense, but if we ever decide to do that then we would.

    Of course, there are lots of other reasons to homeschool, and like I said, the financial reasons aren’t even on my list of reasons why. I have a lot of reasons, but if you looked at the state test scores alone that’s not a bad one (we are the 6th largest district in the nation, and test scores here for reading and math in 4th grade are all around 60% or lower; our state has been 49th in the nation for many years on scores). And I don’t mind the smaller class size! Yes, I have 7 of my 8 in school this year, but they’re not in a class of 35, and I love that.

    There are ways in which books can cost more (some people buy a “boxed” curriculum every year for each child and spend more per child per year than I spend for all of my children per year). There are also ways to spend less (K-12 is free in my state but not all states; if you like their curriculum that is free option and they even provide a computer; you check in with a teacher from the district every Friday). A lot of people I’ve talked to locally only know about boxed curriculums or K-12 and don’t know that you can choose your own books from the myriad of homeschool curriculums available (which, as far as expense goes, is definitely a middle of the way choice). Costs really depend on what you use, if you get it on sale, free shipping offers, etc.

  32. Plus, I believe there are 29 French-speaking countries around the world. It’s also one of the official languages of the United Nations and Olympics. It’s a great language to know!

  33. Hi Brandy,
    Thanks for sharing such wonderful blog! You have a great schedule Brandy. Thanks for sharing with us this will help new homeschoolers who are confused about how to make their schedule. When I started homeschooling I also found it difficult and then I let my children make their own schedule. This trick has helped me a lot.

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