Extracurricular Archives - Eva Varga

November 16, 2016

My daughter has started high school this year and with it comes numerous challenges – both expected and unexpected. In Oregon homeschool students have the option of participating on the local high school sports team, joining extracurricular clubs, and even taking classes (both core courses and electives).

With the encouragement of her swim coach, Geneva has decided to take on the challenge of swimming for the high school swim team. As a club swimmer, we have always aimed to swim 3-4 days a week, but have not felt pressure to compete or practice more often.

notsoccermom2As a high school swimmer, she is required to attend practices at least 5 times each week in order to swim competitively. There are many more meets and active participation is expected. This not only adds a challenge to our schedule but also increases the expectations upon her to maintain her grades and manage her time well.

You might be interested in a post I wrote previously, I Am NOT a Soccer Mom (or How to Avoid Child Burnout).

Jeffrey has also taken on an additional extracurricular activity through one of our local middle schools – FIRST Lego League. With a competition coming up on December 3rd and holiday breaks, in the month of November the team has been meeting two-three times each week.

As a result of their activities, I have less time to volunteer or substitute teach as I am required to chauffeur them from one activity to the next – sometimes criss-crossing town to get them to conflicting lessons. Yikes! I don’t know how families with more than two children do it!

finishing-strong-electivesWelcome to Finishing Strong ~ a weekly link-up dedicated to families homeschooling middle & high school kids. Each Wednesday, moms just like you share their best tips, encouragement, advice, and more for teaching older kids at home.

Finishing Strong is hosted by me here at EvaVarga along with my friends – Heather from Blog She Wrote, Megan and Susan from Education Possible, and Heidi from Starts at Eight.

I know you will find the posts that have been shared with us inspiring! Grab a cup of tea, kick back, and take some time to check out the wonderful posts shared below. What are your favorites?

Teens Volunteer HoursThe most clicked upon post last week was from Tara at Embark on the Journey, 7 Ways Homeschool Teens Can Get Volunteer Hours. I love her suggestions particularly, “let them start making phone calls. Let them be in charge of their volunteer work.”

High School ElectivesMy favorite post this last week was High School Electives – A More In-depth Look at Our Choices by Heidi at Starts at Eight. I love the 4 year plan she shares (a free printable!) and her statement,

High school electives go beyond the core classes of English, math, science, and history. Electives supplement the educational years with classes that interest your child and prepare them for adult life”

Creative High School CreditThe next post I would like to highlight is 4 Creative Ways to Earn High School Credit in Early Childhood Education by Vicki who blogs at 7 Sisters Homeschool. While not all high school students will pursue credit in early childhood education, I highlight this post because it is a great example of how we can be innovative and creative in our approach to high school credit.

As always, thank you for helping us to make Finishing Strong a key resource for families who are homeschooling through the middle & high school years.

What are you going to share with us this week?


  1. Link up to 3 posts from your blog. Make sure you use the exact URL to the post, not to your home page. You can add any post related to homeschooling middle and high school students. Posts unrelated to that will be removed.
  2. Please no advertising, individual Pinterest pins, Facebook, Twitter, or other link-up links!
  3. Grab our button to add to your post after you link it up. Each week we will be choosing our favorite posts to highlight on all 4 sites. If you were featured, we would love for you to use the “I was featured” button.
  4. The linky will go live on each co-host’s blog each Wednesday at 6am EST, and will be live until Tuesday at 11:55 pm.

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Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years

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Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years

August 25, 20141

Many will ask, “How do you juggle everything? How do you structure your homeschool day?” For our family, a routine is key to a successful homeschool experience.

Before I launch into what we do with our homeschool day, let me describe the constants – the routines around which we plan our week.

adayinthelifeOur Homeschool Routines

The kids have always participated in an ‘after-school’ sport in the evenings, first Taekwondo and now Swim Team.  The other constants that have always been in place are private lessons for Mandarin and Music (piano and violin) as well as Roots & Shoots and Sons of Norway (Barnesklubb).

Last year, I started STEM Club and Literature Circle which have both been a great benefit to our homeschool.  Planning hands-on science labs takes a lot of planning and preparation time. As I am accountable to others, I follow through rather than put it off for another day. Literature Circle, while significantly less planning time, provides the opportunity for the kids to have an audience for their writing as well as talk about literature with their peers.


Finding Our Groove

This year, there are significant changes to our homeschool schedule and routines.  The biggest change is Mandarin. In the past, we have met their teacher at his home for one-on-one lessons on Monday and Thursday mornings. But, a las no longer.

He and his wife have welcomed their first child just two week ago. As she will now be staying home with the baby, and he recently completed his doctorate, he accepted a full-time teaching position at Marshall University.  He is an incredible teacher and thus we have committed to continue working with him.

Marshall is in West Virginia, however, and we live in California. Thus, we will no longer meet at his home but via Skype. To further complicate matters, with the time difference and his course load, our lessons are now in the evenings.

We have also added Youth Symphony and River Oaks (a retirement home where my son volunteers weekly). I never anticipated that music would account for such a large part of our lifestyle.  I love it – I am just surprised.


fall 2014

As before, during the school year swim team is in the evening (whereas in the summer it is early morning).  Significant this year, however, is that my kids will be swimming in different age groups. Our evenings are now more intense than ever.

It has been a struggle to balance everything. We had to make tough decisions. Last week, I had signed the kids up for 4H and we were excited to bring archery back into our routines. When the dust settled, however, we realized we would have to let 4H go. Our mornings are free – we can still incorporate archery. It just won’t be in conjunction with 4H.

Our evenings our chaotic. We cherished our family meal times but I don’t know how to make that happen consistently anymore. We are even discussing adopting almuerzo estilo mexicano, with our mid-day meal as the large, family meal. Patrick’s work schedule is demanding, however, so it is not likely he will be able to come home consistently.

Our new schedule, which begins in September, will take some time for us to become adjusted. Until then, a day in the life of our family is anything but predictable.


Looking for more ideas for scheduling and planning your day? Check out the Big Book of Homeschool Ideas where you will find tips for:

  • Managing Your Home While Homeschooling
  • Managing Multiple Ages
  • Homeschool Time Management


You can take a peak into the routines of other homeschool families by visiting the Not Back To School Blog Hop from the iHomeschool Network.

This is the last week of the 2014″Not Back-to-School Blog Hop“.  Check back again to see the newly linked posts and grab a button so your bloggy friends can share their hard work, too.