Happy Thanksgiving 2022

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If you live in the USA, you probably celebrated Thanksgiving last Thursday. For me, this year was different because I did not even attempt to engage my teenagers in a turkey craft. It did not even cross my mind. That ship has sailed.

Thanksgiving Plate

What I made for Thanksgiving: veggie turkey, cranberry salad, dressing, mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, creamed spinach, green beans, corn, stuffed eggs.

I am enjoying this new phase, don’t get me wrong. As I browse through curriculum options and different classes available, I cannot believe PreK-8 does not apply to us anymore. Continue reading »

In Search of Lost Time

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Marcel Proust, French novelist, one of the most influential novelists of the 20th century, passed away 100 years ago today: November 18, 1922. As I reflected on Proust’s reach across cultures and his influence over the human experience in the last 100 years, I felt inspired to make Madeleines.

Madeleine cookies

Madeleine cookies

Alas, I forgot all about the linden tea which he dipped the Madeleines into. In case you do not know, Proust’s magnum opus is “In Search of Lost Time,” a seven-volume novel, which showcases over 2,000 characters. Continue reading »

Dodgen Invitational, Science Olympiad

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Last week, our children participated in the Dodgen-Walton Science Olympiad Invitational, together with their team, Cedar Springs Homeschool. This invitational happens at the Walton High School in Marietta, GA. We compete against teams from public schools, private schools, magnet schools, charter schools, and there was another homeschool team, as well.

Cedar Springs Homeschool Team

Cedar Springs Homeschool Team for Science Olympiad

Invitationals are tough competitions which we attend in order to learn. We build on this experience. By the time we go to Regionals, State, and (hopefully) Nationals, we feel prepared. Continue reading »

Feeding The Mouth That Bites You

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With 30 years of experience as a clinical psychologist, Dr. Ken Wilgus specializes in adolescent therapy. In 2015, Wilgus published a book which he titled “Feeding The Mouth That Bites You.”

Feeding The Mouth That Bites You

Planned emancipation

Wilgus describes a “Planned Emancipation” – a plan on how to prepare teens to become full adults. Continue reading »

US History Curriculum

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Next year, the children will both take US History for high school credit. It is hard to believe this fact as I type it out: our daughter will be in eighth grade and our son will be in tenth grade.

Exploring America, a Notgrass US History curriculum

Our umbrella school allows us to take three high school credits in eighth grade and we took advantage of that with our son last year. He took Algebra I, French I, and Physical Science in eighth grade. Continue reading »

Learning Self-Motivation

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The other day I was doing math with my son and noticed that my daughter was practicing violin outside. The weather was nice and sunny, but I wanted to know why she chose to be outside: just for some vitamin D? Or was there anything else?

Violin outside

Playing violin outside

Well, it turns out that she felt completely unmotivated to practice her violin. She knew she had to do it while I did math with her brother. That is our routine. And then we switch. I do math with her while her brother practices his violin. Continue reading »

Sick Again

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Have you ever gotten ill three times in two months? It seems like this upper respiratory virus keeps targeting our son, then it moves to our daughter and me. Thankfully, my husband never gets it.


Our daughter likes to create different characters. Meet Humphry.

Our son spent the week in bed, getting behind in all his school work. He barely had enough energy to check Slack and emails every day for communication purposes with his co-op teachers and Science Olympiad coaches and team partners. Continue reading »

Saxon Geometry

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We are one fourth of the way into the school year. It may be premature to write a post about our geometry curriculum, Saxon. I will just state a few things here for the record, nevertheless.

Saxon Geometry

Saxon Geometry

Let me start with the overarching feeling we have towards it: we like it and it feels comfortable. I was not sure how I would handle American high school math, but so far so good. In Romania, where I grew up, we started algebra and geometry in 6th grade, combined. My math teacher for those grades expected us to have a really clear understanding of the concepts he was teaching. Continue reading »

Character Trumps Academics

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Several happenings around our home for the past month have lead me to the conclusion that “character trumps academics.” I am so tired of interpersonal conflict. Can we please get through a day without somebody getting mad at somebody else?

Family in Abisko National Park

Our family five years ago, in Abisko National Park, Sweden, above the Arctic Circle

At the same time, I realize this is real life and not utopia. Conflicts will happen and tempers will flare. However, if we make a concerted effort to minimize such situations, we could probably make some progress towards more peace and peace-keeping. Blessed are the peace makers, right? Continue reading »

Beach Vacation

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We just got back from Myrtle Beach, SC. Almost a week spent at the beach does the body and mind wonders. Here is an opportunity to transform any vacation into a learning experience or field trip: just have a Socratic conversation about what they see and hear.

Family at the Beach

Our family in Myrtle Beach, SC

On the way there (a 7-hour trip by car), we stopped at a Cracker Barrel for lunch. In the parking lot, our daughter spotted something different in a palm tree. “What’s that?” she asked about these green berries hanging in clusters underneath the usual palm fronds. “We don’t know, but let’s look it up.” I took pictures and my iNaturalist app said it was a palm tree. Thanks a lot. So I Googled “berries on palm trees” and found out things we did not know. Continue reading »