May 2018 Piano Recital

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Our children have two piano recitals every year: one in December and one in May. The May 2018 piano recital was very exciting for us, because they received festival trophies after their performances. Let me explain.

May 2018 Piano Recital

Our children with their piano trophies – May 2018

The Federation Festival happens in March. The results get tallied every year and trophies are sent to the piano teachers, who can choose to award them privately or in a public ceremony, like at the end of a piano recital. Continue reading »


Kids U Summer Camps

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The University of Tennessee in Knoxville runs a program called Kids U Summer Camps every summer, i.e. courses for children grades 3rd-12th in diverse fields. From computers to arts and cooking, your child can study a new field or deepen her knowledge of a field she already likes.

Kids U Summer Camps

Our daughter on the first day attending App Attack

Kids U Summer Camps demand a lot out of me. I have to drive two hours both ways to get there. But we do it anyway. Kids U courses happen for one week, Monday-Friday for three hours every day. This translates to a five-hour day at a minimum for us. Continue reading »


Ways Children Can Spend the Summer Break

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Children can benefit from many summer break activities, but many parents, whether homeschooling or not, can feel at a loss as to what to do. So I thought I would share with you some ways that children can spend the summer break from schooling.

Summer break activities should include time outside

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You can still make it educational

While officially lessons have been halted, there are always going to be opportunities for children to learn. Summer break activities should not feel like a non-stop amusement park. Continue reading »


Cohutta Springs Youth Camp

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Our children attend Cohutta Springs Youth Camp every year – five days or one week, depending on their age. The 7-9 age group only stays from Sunday through Friday. The 10-12 age group stays from Sunday through Sunday.

Cohutta Springs Youth Camp banana boat ride

Our daughter (front right) enjoying a banana boat ride with friends

This marked our first year when our oldest, who is 10, attended the one-week camp. Of course, he loved it. He was also so homesick by Friday, he almost talked to his counselor (staff member in charge of his cabin) to let him go home. But then he prayed and decided to tough it out. Continue reading »


2018 String Camp

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Whew! What a week! Driving to Knoxville for one hour and 20 minutes every morning starting at 7:30am, sitting through two hours and 30 minutes of string camp every day, then driving home for another 80 minutes. After lunch, I gave them a break.

Knoxville String Camp

My children on the first day of String Camp

Late afternoon, they had to practice for 30 minutes to cement the skills learned that morning. It was not an easy week for any of us, but we made it through. They started String Camp rather reluctantly, but by Tuesday they were singing the tunes they were practicing in their respective orchestras. Continue reading »


Story of the World, Vol. 4, Chapter 13

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Although it is summer break for us, the kids keep asking for more history. We need to finish volume 4 anyway before the new school year starts back up, so I am glad to oblige.

Khachkar craft - Armenian carved "stone" bas relief

Khachkar craft – Armenian carved “stone” bas relief

Chapter 13 deals with the old-fashioned emperor of Brazil and Abdulhamid II, one of the last sultans of the Ottoman Turks. Ms. Bauer manages to explain causes and effects of historic facts very well. Continue reading »


Story of the World, Vol. 4, Chapter 12

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Chapter 12 is titled “Unhappy Unions.” My daughter lives and breathes unicorns, so when I quickly glanced at the title, at first I thought it said “unhappy unicorns.” For a second, I wondered what figure of speech Ms. Bauer had come up with this time. It helps to slow down when you read a title.

Irish potato stew and gluten free crackers

Irish potato stew and gluten free crackers

The unhappy unions in this chapter were between the English and the Irish in the first story, and the Boers and the British in the second story.

This volume opened up with the expression “The sun never sets on the British Empire.” Now, slowly but surely, problems are creeping into this huge empire. It starts to fall apart at the seams with every chapter we read. Continue reading »


Story of the World, Vol. 4, Chapter 11

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This chapter covered a bandit from Australia and the scramble for Africa between European nations. Very exciting indeed!

Textured map of Africa - craft

Gluing different textures to the map of Africa, representing different European countries.

The craft we chose was to make a textured map of Africa. We have never made a textured map of anything before. I was surprised the kids were so excited about it, as they usually shun anything that requires glue.  Continue reading »


Story of the World, Vol. 4, Chapter 10

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Story of the World volume 4 chapter 10 covered another war in South America, The War of the Pacific, and the building of the Suez Canal in Egypt. We are all over the place in this volume, but I like it. It keeps us on our toes and teaches the kids some geography.

Suez Canal Boats Activity

Boats in the Suez Canal, saving 6,000 miles on their way to Asia

My eight-year-old likes justice. Whenever we read about countries fighting over land, she wants to intervene and give everybody what they want. Why fight? Let us get these people organized and settled down once and for all. Her dedication to justice amuses me. Continue reading »


The End of Another School Year

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After 180 days of official learning, our school year has come to an end. This has been a tough year in many ways, with puberty knocking at our door unceremoniously. It has also been a tremendous year of growth and amazing achievements.

Family of four

Our family celebrating the end of another homeschool year

If we take the good that comes our way, we might as well take the bad as well, and work with it. Through it all, we have seen God’s hand at work, guiding our steps, giving us wisdom, and maturing our children so they can become adults who make good decisions. Continue reading »