RCM Violin Assessments

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They scheduled the Royal Conservatory of Music violin assessments for May 31, 2018 and we traveled to Milligan College again for the day, just like last year. We had less butterflies because we already knew what to expect.

Violinist boy with pianist

Before the exam, he went through his music with a pianist.

Last year, the kids scored the highest scores on their level not only in the assessment center (Elizabethton, where Milligan College is) but also in the whole state of Tennessee. What a shock! A pleasant one, but a shock nonetheless. Continue reading »


Story of the World, Vol. 4, Chapter 9

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Chapter 9 covered the Dutch East Indies in the first story and the fall of the Ottoman Empire through the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-1878 in the second story. The first story was totally new information to me, but not the second one.

Red and white ribbon traditionally worn in Eastern Europe in March - martsishor

Red and white ribbon traditionally worn in Romania in March – martsishor

Why? Because it was not just Russia and Bulgaria fighting the Ottoman Turks. The coalition was led by Russia and included Bulgaria, but it also included Romania, Serbia and Montenegro. Continue reading »


Story of the World, Vol. 4, Chapter 8

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Chapter 8 is titled “Becoming Modern.” What a simple yet beautiful title! I pointed out to the kids that for most of history people have not lived with electricity, cars, trains, or time zones. It was a new concept for them.

Gold and silver spikes to unite the two railways

Gold and silver spikes to unite the two railways

There was a brief explanation about time zones and about light bulbs. I supposed this would be the moment to stop and read a short biography of Thomas Edison but we must exercise self-control. This time around through the Story of the World, we will not read extra books.  Continue reading »


Elementary Science Olympiad

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Since 2013, when I started this blog, I have published 700 posts, which works out to be two posts per week and a bit – exactly what I promised and purposed to do back then. This is post number 701. Here’s to the power of grit and determination.

This year, we joined Cedar Springs Homeschool Group, a support group in Knoxville, which gathers motivated homeschoolers for different competitions: American Math Contest, National Spelling Bee, Science Olympiad, Scholars Bowl, History and Geography Bees etc.

Science Olympiad

They left the stage in a blur after winning their gold medals.

Every team is coached by a homeschooling parent. Since even Susan Wise Bauer confessed she did not do a great job teaching science in her homeschool, I decided I should look for outside support in that area. In the process, our children would become a part of a team and forge some friendships. Continue reading »


Story of the World, Vol. 4, Chapter 7

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Chapter 7 covered France and Prussia. The French are struggling between monarchy, empire, and republic as a form of government. The Prussians are trying hard to unite all German principalities into a Second Reich. Interesting stories indeed.

Pikealhaube Craft

Pickelhaube craft – helmet from Prussia

The kids are eager to get to Hitler. They have heard so much about the terrible things he did. I explained that he was in the Third Reich. Will that be in the next lesson? They wanted to know. Actually, we need to cover more decades before we get to him. Continue reading »


Story of the World, Vol. 4, Chapter 6

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Chapter 6 offers a strange combination of countries: Paraguay and Canada, but it makes sense because they both struggled for independence about the same time. The mapwork was challenging. We are still getting used to having to label things on the map.

Canadian motto activity

Canadian motto activity

We need to rise up to this new challenge though. It is teaching us a lot more than having to just look at a page and draw arrows from point A to point B or highlight a country or circle a city. Continue reading »


Story of the World, Vol. 4, Chapter 5

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We got to the Civil War in chapter 5. Both stories covered the topic: first the conditions in the country before, during, and after the war. Lincoln’s assassination is one of those events like the Titanic going down – you know how the story ends, but as you read the story again, you hope against all hopes that it would have another ending.

Juneteenth Feast

Juneteenth Feast to celebrate the emancipation of slaves

Walt Whitman’s poem was touching, but because of the drops of blood mentioned we will not memorize it. My eight-year-old was a bit disturbed by the expression and the mental image. Continue reading »


Story of the World, Vol. 4, Chapter 4

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For chapter 4, we traveled to the Italian peninsula and then to China. It was so interesting to really stop and think about the fact that there was no Italy in 1850. The small states on the boot-shaped peninsula were either ruled by Italian princes or by Austria. Talk about a mess that needs to be cleaned up.

Gluten free pizza - Scharr crust

Gluten free pizza – Scharr crust, my toppings

Garibaldi came into the picture, as well as the Young Italy Society, which reminded me of the Young England Society who tried to assassinate Queen Victoria over in England about the same time. I feel good when I start to make connections of my own as we study. Continue reading »


Story of the World, Vol. 4, Chapter 3

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Chapter 3 took us back to Great Britain. This time, it was about the great game between Russia and Great Britain regarding Afghanistan. The second story was about David Livingstone and his travels through Africa.

The Great Game craft

Britain and Russia needed a buffer represented by purple between red and blue.

We had just learned about the color wheel in our art class outside the home. Now, the history craft was all about colors and, in particular, how primary colors combine to create secondary colors. It was a great coincidence – though I do not believe in coincidences, friends. Continue reading »


Story of the World, Vol. 4, Chapter 2

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Chapter 2 deals with the re-opening of Japan for the West, as well as the Crimean War. It was fun to learn about Florence Nightingale and fill out the forms about patients’ basic health information.

Learning how to take the pulse

Learning how to take the pulse

I became our daughter’s patient and my husband became our son’s patient. They will probably not go back to that form to fill it out every day as suggested, but at least they got started and understood the concept of medical records. Continue reading »