Canning Salsa and Starting our School Year

My pause in blogging has been due to being very busy in the last few days! My tomatoes are starting to ripen up thanks to a beautiful stretch of hot sunny days. I’ve gotten about 45 to 50 jars of salsa made. I have another big bowl full of tomatoes and am hoping to get some more over the next few days and have enough for spaghetti sauce. I also canned up another batch of zucchini bread and butter pickles. Here is a pic of some of my salsa and the pickles..

You can find my salsa recipe here: 

On Monday I was trying to decide if we should start the school year or wait another week. So I asked Sierra and Isaac (my only two students this year :) if they wanted another week off or if they wanted to start. To my surprise they were both ready to jump in and start the year. And that is what we did. This year begins my 24th year of homeschooling.. hard to believe it has been that many years. 

For Isaac (8th grade) this year I decided to give Switched on Schoolhouse a try. I tried it several years ago and liked it a little but there were things about the program I did not like. I researched it this summer and found that they have made a ton of changes to the curriculum and addressed a lot of the issues that I did not like (apparently others did not like it either).. we are only a few days into the program but so far I like what I see. I am using it for English, science and history. Math for Isaac is still Saxon.

Sierra is in 10th grade. I am using SOS only for World History. I have another science curriculum I’m trying with her ( ) and she is doing American Literature (my own program) , Saxon Algebra 2, Art (she takes a weekly art class in town), and PE is running. She and a friend have started running together each morning. When the weather turns bad we will see where to go from there.

Today I do believe the plan is to pick all my beets in the garden and can up pickled beets. I’ll let you know how that goes!


  1. Crystal,
    I have a question about homeschooling. My kids started school at a DODEA (military overseas school) school while we were stationed in Italy. This year we are back stateside and I am homescooling. I am using the ABEKA program and we finish really early. I have two kids and it only takes them each about 1/2 an hour to finish everything they need to do for the day. Is this a normal time for this age? We are stationed in Oklahoma now and their only requirement is 180 days of school for the kids, so I am not on a timed schedule each day.
    Sarah L.

  2. Sarah,
    What grade are they in? For younger grades, that might be enough. My kids (8th & 10th) take about 4 hours to do their work. If they are older I would question if the work is challenging enough for them as it should take a bit longer than that. Also is this for a full curriculum.. such as math, English, science, history? If it is then this means they are doing each subject in less than 10 minutes.. that is pretty quick..

  3. I'm so glad to hear someone else cans beets. My mother and I canned them this summer. We canned some just plain and some we pickled. I love them. Thank you for your wonderful blog, I enjoy it so much.
    It encourages me to hear other women starting the day with the Lord and putting their husbands and family first.
    God bless

  4. Year 24! Congratulations! Blessings on you all as you dig in to schooling!

  5. So great! The salsa looks yummy! I remember reading your literature list a while back and it is so impressive! Way to go!

  6. We are trying SOS this year too. The full curriculum for my 5th and 8th grader. I love how independent it makes my 8th grader, but am finding it can be frustrating sometimes for my 5th grader. Just into our second full week though so I'm hoping we're just working out the kinks. :) Is your Literature List posted on your site?

  7. Kristie,
    I have a list of most loved books my kids have read (or I've read to them) over the years: I have not updated it in a long time! I have more books I could add to the list.

    For my daughters American Literature this year here is her book list:

    Rifles for Watie by Harold Keith
    All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque
    The Trumpeter of Krakow by Eric P. Kelly
    David Crockett Scout by Charles Fletcher Allen
    Up From Slavery by Booker T. Washington
    The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
    The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane
    A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemmingway
    The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
    Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
    The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood by Howard Pyle
    To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

  8. Crystal,
    My oldest is in 2nd grade and my younger one is in 1st grade. Each of them have the arithmatic, language, and spelling that they do each morning. Mondays we do history, tuesdays we do science, and wednesday we do health and manners. We do those along with our regular subjects. This is what is taking them an hour each to do. I work on reading with my first grader in the afternoon as she is still learning to sound out words. I also sit and have my 2nd grader read chapter books to me. Our youngest has been using the hooked on phonics games to learn her alphabet and I bought her the abeka writing tablets so she can learn to write her letters and numbers. We use the tablets when she is interested in it so it goes smoothly. Since this is my first year I had only planned on doing the bookwork because I thought it might take them all day to work through them. It looks as though I will have to add some more stuff into our cirriculum to beef it up a bit.
    -Sarah L.
    Here is my email if you wish to reply that way.

  9. Wow, thats alot of salsa!!! Looks great Crystal!!!

  10. The salsa looks fabulous. We used some of the SOS programs with our son (who is now in college) and it worked really well for his learning style. Then we used it for our daughter (who is now in 10th grade) but it didn't work well for her with exception of the Bible course which she thought was a fun "computer" game equivalent.

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