Thoughtful Thursday Week 51 – Recitals and Jitters

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Why am I more nervous when my children have recitals than when I used to have my own? Why don’t I feel my feet when they have their annual testing? Thankfully, testing is only once a year. Recitals come around every six months.

And now that our church family is aware that our children can play instruments, they ask for a special music now and then. It has already happened three times this year, so I think we could probably plan on a quarterly special music performance by either one of them for next year.

Thoughtful Thursday

My children, being as young as they are, view music and practice as a chore. Maybe it’s my fault. I do not know how to make it fun. And, perhaps, I do not believe that practice or learning of any sorts should be all cutesy and fun. I believe in hard work and learning or practicing a musical instrument is hard work.

Realizing our need for an attitude change, I recently spent some time with them telling them about the power of music to soothe and comfort the heart in a way that a sermon or a Bible verse or a book or a movie cannot. I reminded them that people come to church (or to kids’ recitals) with their problems, with their worries, with their issues. Music helps lift their burdens.

The kids’ music is, in a sense, an act of service: they have worked hard and they will get nothing material out of it. More skills, yes, but no money or a trip or an award and not even a sticker. Only the satisfaction that they have touched somebody, somehow. Even that may be wishful thinking. We don’t get a real confirmation other than a polite comment here and there from those who care enough to say a kind word.

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Thoughtful Thursday Week 50 – Looking Ahead to 2016

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Do you have plans already for 2016? Have you started looking ahead? I have not, but I came across a wonderful planning workbook and thought I would share it with you. I saved it for myself and plan on filling it out in the next few weeks, before 2016 rushes in upon us.

Thoughtful Thursday - Looking Ahead

Some of you may be familiar with Live Your Legend, Scott Dinsmore’s community of people who want to do work they love. We homeschooling parents are doing work we love. So I think we fit right in. Even though this workbook is not specific to homeschoolers (or any other profession), it will help you define your educational (and otherwise) plans for the following calendar year.  Continue reading »

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Thoughtful Thursday Week 49 – The Sugar Plum Fairy Is Flexible

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Today we attended The Nutcracker Ballet in Knoxville, at the Civic Auditorium. It’s quickly becoming an annual tradition for us. This is our third year in a row. The children enjoy it very much. I love it. Ballet, like any art, is therapeutic. It healed some of the brokenness I was feeling after the terror attacks in Paris, San Bernardino, and the loss of our friends’ daughter last week.

Nutcracker ballerinas

The Appalachian Ballet Company has been performing The Nutcracker for 44 years.

On a funny note, my son told my husband, “Daddy, I don’t want to dance.” Poor guy. Mommy took him to several concerts by the Knoxville Youth Symphony Orchestra several years ago and, next thing he knew, he got a violin for his fifth birthday and started violin lessons. Now that he sees mommy keeps taking him to this ballet, he wonders if the next extra-curricular activity is dance.  Continue reading »

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Thoughtful Thursday Week 48 – Give Thanks

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To celebrate Thanksgiving, we went to Asheville, NC. The Omni Grove Park Inn serves a Thanksgiving Grand Buffet, plus one can take a look at the Top 10 National Gingerbread House Competition creations for 2015. Here are some pictures for you…

National Gingerbread House Competition

 

National Gingerbread House Competition

 

National Gingerbread House Competition Continue reading »

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Thoughtful Thursday Week 47 – Burning Books

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They are burning books in Don Quixote’s yard but it strikes me that they have been burning books throughout history. Different groups have been so scared of certain books, they burned them. It’s called biblioclasm or book burning. Look it up. It has been going on since the dawn of civilization.

You know what that tells me? Books have power.

Thoughtful Thursday - Burning Books

People burn books because they are scared of them, of what they can do to the reader.  Continue reading »

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Thoughtful Thursday Week 46 – Because I Can

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I am reading a lot these days because I can. I cannot do many things as a homeschooling mom, but reading I can do. Learning about one’s limitations is a fundamental lesson in life. Understanding your boundaries and communicating them to others is an extension of knowing your own limits. So many lives would be changed for the better if we only understood our own limits.

Homeschooling moms are busy creatures. A career is pretty much out of the question unless you are a force of nature like Susan Wise Bauer or Ann Voskamp. Going back to school cannot really happen unless your children are older and more independent in their study habits. Traveling solo (or with the family) is limited by time and space equations which have everything to do with hubby’s career.

What’s a homeschooling mom to do?

I read. While the kids play or take lessons outside the home, I read.

Thoughtful Thursday - Because I Can

The library saves me thousands of dollars every year, but I also like to invest in my own titles. Books help me lose myself in order to find myself. I travel and discover new destinations without having to pack a suitcase. Then I return Continue reading »

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Thoughtful Thursday Week 45 – Ten More Years

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As we were sharing cupcakes with my son’s friends in Adventurers, the program director said, “Mom, he is eight now. You have 10 more years with him…” I sighed and agreed with her. Ten more years. That’s it. I have taken care of him for eight years. I am staring down a not-so-long corridor of 10 more years. It really does not seem that long anymore, getting him to 18.

Thoughtful Thursday

And here’s the kicker: next year, it will be nine and nine. Nine years of past memories, nine more years to go. After that, the past will gain on the future. Ten years of memories, and eight more years of future memories. Now, if I can just maintain this perspective as things happen and I am tempted to lose my patience…

Life is short. It really is. Homeschooling can make it seem long because the days are long and the years are short. However, public school moms tell me they are exhausted too. They get tired and if they also have a job they feel like they are not doing either motherhood or their career 100%. When they are at work, they think about the children. When they are with the children, they think about all the things they still have to complete at work. As a homeschool mom, I have the luxury of only focusing on the children.  Continue reading »

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Thoughtful Thursday Week 44 – Government

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Here in the USA presidential campaigning is in full swing. One of the Republican candidates is a member of our denomination and has visited our church in Knoxville before. Of course, we would like to see him win the Republican nomination, but we are still 100 days away from the primary and anything can happen at this point.

Teaching the kids about politics, government and civics is an interesting challenge. Last summer, at a used curriculum sale in Maryville, I invested the impressive amount of $1 in a second grade Abeka textbook for history and geography. We read a few pages per week during our bedtime reading. As usual, we read books for my oldest’s level.

Thoughtful Thursday - Government

Our youngest complains at times that certain books are boring, so we alternate between books she proposes and the older books we read for our oldest. That way, she has no room to complain we do not take her wishes into consideration, while challenging her and serving the needs of our oldest.  Continue reading »

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Thoughtful Thursday Week 43 – Service

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Of all the things we do in our homeschool, nothing is harder to schedule than service. We visited a nursing home once. We attended a fundraiser for Sevier County Food Ministries. We sorted through toys and clothes and donated them to a Thrift Store nearby, for kids who could use them. Other than that, I am clueless.

Service

After a column I wrote for The Mountain Press about my Halloween dilemma, i.e. about not knowing how to avoid observing this obviously occultish holiday, one of my readers emailed me about an event at Brookdale Assisted Living in Sevierville, on October 29th. Children can come dressed up in different costumes, they get candy, and the residents get visitors. It’s a win-win. There will be snacks, too.  Continue reading »

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Thoughtful Thursday Week 42 – Mr. Lincoln

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Today we went to the Pigeon Forge Library for a program called “Meet Mr. Lincoln.” For about 40 minutes, Dennis Boggs told us the story of Abraham Lincoln from birth until his assassination. The costume, hair and makeup were perfect. The delivery was superb. It’s easy to overdo impersonations, but I am happy to tell you that this one is just right. One can tell Mr. Boggs has extensive theater experience.

Meet Mr. Lincoln with little girl

My daughter with Mr. Lincoln at the Pigeon Forge Library.

The whole point of this presentation is to encourage children to read and “stay in school.”

Mr. Lincoln

Mr. Lincoln comes to schools, libraries, conventions, homeschool groups and any other gathering interested in history and literacy. You can find all the information and rates on his website.  Continue reading »

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