Age of Opportunity

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If you have reached the age of parenting teens, you know it is a whole new level of existence. Reading books about it seemed like the way to go, but I didn’t. Why? Probably because I was busy doing what homeschooling moms do: teach, cook, supervise house chores, parent, chauffeur them plus, oh yeah, the pandemic.

Age of Opportunity

Age of Opportunity

In 2021, I did buy a book called “Age of Opportunty” by David Tripp, at the recommendation of a friend. It sat on my night stand in a stack of about eight books and five magazines for months. Continue reading »

The Last Week of School

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It’s here, folks! The last week of school has finally arrived. As usual, I have mixed feelings. Homeschooling is my passion, so the end of the school year leaves me thinking, “What am I going to do with myself for the next three months?” On the other hand, I have been at this for nine years, so I know summer schedules can be even busier than the school year.

Mom and daughter holding hands

My daughter still wants to hold my hand while we hike. It’s sweet.

We have not finished all our textbooks, either. So this leaves us with a few things to wrap up here and there throughout the next 12 weeks. Actually, it is more like nine weeks, because three weeks will be spent in summer camps at different times. Continue reading »

Summer Camps 2022

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Now that summer camps have dropped mask mandates, we have decided to sign up for a few. Our daughter will attend Orchestra Camp, while our son will take an app-building Computer Camp. These two camps happen the same week, and our son chose computers over violin. He is 14 1/2 and we decided to respect his wishes.

Being silly

Silly moods allowed here

Then, they both will attend a summer youth camp in Georgia, through our church conference. It is called Cohutta Springs Summer Camp and it lasts a week. Our children have been there before and loved it. They have a lake and a pool, lots of arts and crafts, horses, paintball, BMX bikes, archery, ziplining, boating, and wilderness survival classes. The food is delicious, the counselors are selected carefully, and the worship services inspire the children to try to get to know God for themselves. Win-win-win. Continue reading »

Baskins Creek Falls

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Last week we hiked to Baskins Creek Falls. In short, never again. The trail boasts all kinds of terrain. You go up, down, left, right, and you see views and, of course, the waterfall at the end. Tough, but worth it. Once.

The National Park has really neglected this trail. We had to jump over or go under many felled trees in the middle of the path.

Baskins Creek Falls

Baskins Creek Falls

Both ways it is about three miles, so not too bad as far as time, even if you go slowly. Off the path, one could also hike a bit to see an old cemetery. Continue reading »

Fire Evacuation 2.0

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If you have been reading this blog for a long time, you may remember that we had to evacuate our house in 2016 due to extreme wildfires. Last week, a brush fire started five minutes from our house. We had to leave the house at midnight.

Girl on balcony

Our daughter on the balcony of the condo

The emergency alerts woke us up on the the cell phones. A policeman came to the door, too. The authorities evacuated our neighborhood and the one next to us – not the entire city of Gatlinburg. This brush fire started because of dry conditions, high winds, and downed power lines. Continue reading »

TeenPact – Four Day Program

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We have finally come to the age when our oldest could attend the four-day program from TeenPact. I thought we would never get here, but here it is. Ages 8-12 only have one day, on a Friday, and both our children participated in this One Day TeenPact several years in a row. Ages 13-18 have four days (Monday-Thursday) and then a fifth day (Friday) called Political Communication Workshop.

Reading his bill

Our son reading his bill on the first day of TeenPact

At TeenPact, students learn how a bill become law, how the government works, what politicians do, what lobbyists do. They also read the Constitution and learn about the political process. Call it civics and government, if you will. Continue reading »

Courthouse Rock Hike

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Our first hike this year with the homeschooling group happened last week. The weather has been so uncooperative, that we barely had any hikes this year. And when there was a hike, we were either ill or doing Spelling Bee or some other activity that had already been planned.

Mom, daughter, son, waterfall

By the waterfall

This trail amazed us. Located only 25 minutes away from our house, in the National Park, it offers everything you might want in a trail. Some flat areas, some vertical terrain, views, boulders, creek, trees, wild flowers, everything. The weather felt like summer. I dressed in layers, which helped, but it shocked me how hot it got – 75F! Continue reading »

2022 Spelling Bee

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We finally had the BHEA Spelling Bee. BHEA stands for Blount Home Education Association. This was my second year coordinating the bee. The judges pick the words from the list we received from the National Spelling Bee Organization.

I have two children competing in the bee, but I do not know the words they will get from the judges. We prepare the entire list, 450 words. My job as a coordinator is to communicate with all the parents, give them the word list and the book list, and make sure we have a building, sponsors, goodie bags, prizes, judges, and that the Board stays informed.

The BHEA Board suggested we postpone it for a month, from January to February, so that the pandemic numbers could go down a bit more. We had quite a few people sick – judges, participants, parents. January just was not going to work out.

Spelling Bee Family

Our family before the bee

By the middle of February, everybody was healthy again. The COVID-19 numbers in our area have gone down so much, that the Board even decided to switch masks from being “required” to “recommended” for indoor activities. Continue reading »

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Two weeks into February and the weather has warmed up considerably. We went from 26F to 62F in two days and it was a shock to my system. After dealing with flu-like symptoms for more than a week, the sore throat is back. The doctor says no antibiotics are needed. It’s just the weather.

So… more tea and home remedies and lots of rest. I am not complaining, but I would like more energy to accomplish everything on my list. Oh well. One cannot have everything in life. Continue reading »

Rescheduling Events

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We had to reschedule the Spelling Bee for February and TeenPact for March. January seems plagued with winter storms and COVID-19 outbreaks. So we learn to change the schedule and carry on.

Snow on shrub support

Snow in our backyard

Many years ago, I published a post about flexibility. One of my readers said, “Flexibility is easier said than done.” I totally agree. We packed and made plans for several weeks and, frankly, months, about TeenPact and the Spelling Bee. Continue reading »