One Week

This post is sponsored by Green Works

Today marks the end of our first week of school. We’ve been fairly low-key as we get in the swing of Ella going to kindergarten, but I think it’s been a big success.

Originally, I’d assumed she’d go to specials in the morning and then we’d do homeschool in the afternoon, but when I went to register her, it turned out that specials take place in the afternoons.

Also, two days in, the district alerted the school that the policy is that she has to be there at least half the day to remain on the records, so I drop her off just before lunch and then pick her up at the end of the day with all the other students.

I’ve been really happy with the school and how easy they’ve been to work with and how they haven’t made me feel at all like our unusual set-up is a giant pain for them.

And Ella loves going (although, after the first day, she told me, “there is a lot of standing in line at school”).

So now we do homeschool in the morning, which I actually prefer because it makes for a much more laid-back and unrushed morning.

Bart and I wake up before the girls and get ready, and then they roll in around 7:00 or 7:30 and eat breakfast while Bart and I make lunches. They get dressed after Bart leaves, we clean up the house a bit, and then start school around 8:30.

We do about two hours of school (Star usually naps during most of this, and Ani is really good about playing by herself while I work Ella, and then I do letters and numbers and reading with Ani while Ella does some school work on her own).

Every day we do math, reading, spelling, and handwriting (and next week, we’ll be adding in geography and memorization) and then we do history twice a week and science twice a week and music or art once a week.

And they seem to love it. On Monday, when Ella got home from school, she asked if we could do MORE school.

My interests, of course, tend to skew toward the liberal arts (hello history major and library degree), and Ella certainly loves nothing more than a good book, but she’s also always been really interested in math and science.

For the past two years, she’s picked working through her math book on her own rather than coloring during quiet time, and it was only once she finished the kindergarten math book last summer and we didn’t have the next one that she was very interested in working on learning to read.

And her absolute favorite part of school has always been science, which I’m really motivated to foster, even though it’s definitely the most work for me.

Two weeks ago, I sat in on a Twitter chat hosted by Green Works and the AAUW with a bunch of female scientists talking about their careers and how to get more women into STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) fields, since currently only 1 in 1,000 girls go into science.

I don’t particularly care what fields my girls go into, but I want them to pick something because they love it, not just because they feel like other doors are closed to them.

I want them to feel like they are equally strong in STEM skills as they are in liberal arts skills, and to know what sort of options are out there for careers and jobs in various fields, as well as what working in those fields would actually look like, what the opportunities are, and how the pay is. (Bart and I joke that one clue that Ella has an MBA dad is that her favorite game to play with him over breakfast is “careers” where he picks a different job and she acts out what that would look like).

Choosing to homeschool puts a lot of responsibility on me to make sure all of my girls develop the skills they need, but it also gives Bart and me the chance to expose them to all sorts of different opportunities and possibilities for their future. I love this video from Green Works about the importance of mentors in a child’s life to help them develop their potential and nurture an interest in the sciences.

And if you come over to my house and the kitchen is a disaster, you know I’m going to pretend it’s a science project.

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  • Reply Chaun July 31, 2015 at 12:04 pm

    I love that you're doing a combo of both homeschool and public school. I'm leaning a lot towards homeschooling, but I do want my kids to be involved in a fun atmosphere with new friends. Also, I love alone time 😉 This post definitely is posing some consideration to do a mix of both for our littles. So thanks for the insights! I'm looking forward to more of your experiences 🙂
    -Chaun from

  • Reply Sarah July 31, 2015 at 12:17 pm

    My daughter will be 4 in December and I feel like she is fairly advanced academically (of course I do, I'm her mother! ;)) She goes to preschool but do you have any recommendations of workbooks I can do with her at home? Most of my current stuff comes fro the dollar spot at Target! If you have any suggestions I would love to hear them!

  • Reply Tina's Blog July 31, 2015 at 12:33 pm

    Have you heard of This past year our district had all school librarians teach coding to all students using I could write a dissertation on how I feel about this being considered a part of the library curriculum, but despite that, the website is good and it is a great STEM activity. I did use it with kdg. and most of them really enjoyed it.

  • Reply Michelle July 31, 2015 at 12:48 pm

    I would love to hear your curriculum picks (and any other homeschool tips)! I'm just starting my first in kindergarten (we wanted a half-day option but couldn't quite work out a good solution, so it's all homeschool for now!). My 3 kids are the same ages as yours, so I'm excited to glean ideas from you. Good luck!

  • Reply Paige Flamm July 31, 2015 at 4:48 pm

    I'm so excited that you guys are having a great experience so far! Also, I can't believe school starts in July in Arizona! We never started until September in NY! Was it the same for you guys in Vegas?

  • Reply Ashley July 31, 2015 at 9:19 pm

    That's great the school is letting you do that. I've never heard of anyone doing it that way. Glad to hear everything's going well!

  • Reply Ashley July 31, 2015 at 9:19 pm

    Also…you were homeschooled?! Just read that.

  • Reply Jessica Pieper July 31, 2015 at 10:50 pm

    I would also love to be added to the "How Janssen Homeschools Like a Rockstar" mailing list!

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