We start the new school year next week, which makes this week the last week of summer break. This has been an interesting break. We did not accomplish much from the list of goals we put down on paper. However, we have grown closer as a family by going through growing pains and challenges and by having heart-to-heart, honest conversations.
My teddybear, Tumble, is admiring the Dutch oven bread I made today.
It has become clear beyond the shadow of a doubt that my children are not children anymore. One of them is a teenager, the other one is a tween. Clearly, we have entered adolescence and there is no going back. My husband and I have to grow with them and adapt to this new phase. Continue reading »
A few years ago, a friend of mine raved about this book written by a homeschooling mom of many boys. Curious, I read the book. So disappointing. This mom was making mistakes left and right, in the name of an idealized homeschooling lifestyle.
That is why I am not going to tell you the title of the book. A lot of people have found that book helpful and respect the author as one of the early pioneers in the homeschooling field from the 80s. The point is, one of the mistakes she made was that her boys never learned to brush their teeth. She joked about it, too. Continue reading »
It used to be really hard. Seven years ago, when we started taking our children to camp in Georgia, it was rather strange. Now, it is not as strange, but it still makes you stop and wonder, “Why am I doing this?”
Inside her cabin, just before dropping her off
As soon as we returned home without our daughter, only with our son, the house felt empty. Playing cards with our son made it feel much better, but it still made me stop and think, “Where is she? What is she doing right now? Is she having a good time?” Continue reading »
We are in the middle of a 21-day fast from screens. Inspired by “Reset Your Child’s Brain,” the book by Dr. Victoria Dunckley, and spurned on by some of the attitudes of our children, my husband and I put a stop to screens in our home for the past 10 days. We are smack in the middle of this screen-free time.
The book will tell you everything you need to do:
how to prepare for it (one week or a long weekend during which you read most of the book, print out a monthly calendar and mark activities on it, and order books, toys, activities, supplies for offline living),
how to announce it to your children (don’t get into arguments),
how to meet their objections (sweetly),
how to frame it (experiment, not punishment),
how to actually do it (clean sweep of laptops, tablets, cell phones, old equipment forgotten under the bed, Kindles – everything with a screen must be put away),
how to inform your children’s friends and other caregivers,
how to keep your own sanity through the process etc.
Since 2016, our children have been attending the Knoxville Youth Symphony Orchestra summer camps. We had to skip in 2021 because of the mask mandate and there was no camp in 2020.
Our daughter on the first day of orchestra camp
This year, our daughter really enjoyed her time at orchestra. Our son, unfortunately, had a conflict. He attended a computing camp at Southern Adventist University and it happened on the same week. However, he was able to attend the concert on the last day of camp, to support his sister from the audience.
We were excited when our son told us he would like to get baptized sooner rather than later. During a recent church service, the speaker made an appeal and our son felt called to respond. Not wanting to make a show of himself, he kept it to himself until after church, when he told us about it. I gave him the pastor’s phone number so that they can set up a schedule for regular Bible studies.
Our son at Clingmans Dome
They have already met via Zoom several times. The pastor said the baptismal study series is about 15 lessons. If they study once a week, which is the plan now, we are looking at a fall date for our son’s baptism. Continue reading »
Our summer break goes on for 12 weeks or exactly three months: from mid-May through mid-August. We will take it easy, but we don’t just idle around. Besides camps and camping, we have some academic goals to accomplish. Rule number 1: write your goals down. If it is not in writing, it doesn’t exist. Or, as the Romans used to say, “Verba volant, scripta manent.”
Once a year, our hiking club goes to Clingmans Dome at night, in May. The leader chooses a day with a full moon. This year, it just so happened there was also a lunar eclipse. We arrived at 8:10pm and stayed until about 11:30pm, when the clouds eclipsed the eclipse.
Full moon at Clingmans Dome
As we left the higher altitudes and got back into Gatlinburg, the moon became visible. No clouds covered the event anymore. Thus, we were able to see the most exciting part of the eclipse as we drove back home. I did not take any pictures of the eclipse, unfortunately. It was very difficult to do so from a moving car. Continue reading »