Our Weekly Bread: 12 of 36

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We made garlic knots today. It reminded me that I have completely neglected this baking project for the last few weeks. You see, our November was super busy. It was one of those months that goes by in a flash.

Garlic Knots

Garlic knots

These garlic knots are super easy to make. I got the recipe from Chef Ani. She is quickly becoming my favorite online chef. Continue reading »

Thankful for Family? – Facebook Live

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As we close November and the Thanksgiving week, I reflect on the whole concept of “being thankful for family.” Homeschooling tests family relations. Many of us face opposition from our extended families.

Mom and tween children

After voting in the 2020 presidential election, we took this picture in front of the American Legion in Gatlinburg. Avoid politics with your extended family.

Ideally, you and your husband are on the same page. If you have that foundation, you can face your extended family. You can avoid them, too, until they calm down and respect your family’s values.

Your parents or siblings or aunts and uncles may look down on your children for being homeschooled. However, you know what is best for them. Therefore, you arm yourself with courage and strength in the Lord and homeschool. Come what may. Continue reading »

Present Buying Throughout the Year

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We all need to buy presents throughout the year. If you do not plan ahead, plan to spend a lot. By staggering when you buy things, as well as ensuring you keep a record of when you need to buy things, you can make your life easier and less of an impact on your wallet.

Birthday Presents

Presents for our son’s birthday

Using a calendar can help you to keep track of birthdays, anniversaries, and other important events such as Christmas, Thanksgiving, or Easter. In addition to this, making a note of when sales tend to occur at different retailers can also keep you informed.


Christmas Presents

Buying Christmas presents during the sales can be useful. You could also choose to stagger your purchases throughout the year. Some websites have set, lower prices year round, meaning you can buy a few presents each month without missing out. Others have sales on at different times of the year, which you may want to take advantage of. Websites such as wickeduncle.com allow you to search for presents by gender and age. You could buy things in advance that will suit the recipient when the occasion comes, even though it may not be suitable for them right now. Continue reading »

Learning an Instrument – Facebook Live

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Today I tackled learning an instrument and hopefully shared a lot of tips that you can use. For instance, I told you to buy a Yamaha Clavinova – the least expensive type they have. This will save you from having to pay a piano tuner for the rest of your life.

Girl playing piano

Our daughter playing piano in church

Also, I told you to buy a violin from Amazon. Don’t mess with rentals because it is just not worth it. Violins can be resold easily. Get on a forum for homeschooling parents and watch it for six months. Somebody will be selling a violin – guaranteed. Continue reading »

Science Olympiad – Facebook Live

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Science Olympiad does not equal Science Fair. Many people have never heard of Science Olympiad and they assume it is a glorified Science Fair.

Occupy Mars

His Occupy Mars hoodie reflects his interest in rocket science, which he can hone during Science Olympiad.

Science Olympiad is a national tournament where teams compete for prizes and trophies after they qualified within their state. Every state declares one winner. The winners meet at an annual event, usually on a university campus. Last year, for instance, they went to Cornell University in Ithaca, NY. Continue reading »

Decluttering the house to make room for your new dual office

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Creating a successful work-from-home and learn-from-home experience depends on the space available. For many of us, home feels a little small if more people in the family are at home for school and work. During a time of social distancing, there has never been a better time for taking stock of what is in your home and making space to create a dual office that works for both work and school.

Milk and cookies

Have a cup of milk and a slice of banana bread while you read.

Homeschooled students can provide solutions, making more space and realizing what they can live without. You don’t have to become extremely minimalist in order to make a major change to your living space. Here are some ways to get started.

Make Good Use of Built-Ins and Wall Space

If your home already has built in shelves or a space under the stairs, or you add some, these additions can help you make the most of small spaces. Home remodeling is very popular this year, as you might expect, according to the Homelight Q3 Survey of Real Estate Agents.

Consider nooks in a larger kitchen, the area under the stairs, or any unusual shapes in rooms around the house as potential places for a new desk that your kid or teen could call their own.

When teens and kids need a whiteboard for working problems, make space on the walls in order to save the space and clutter that easels would otherwise need. Even small spaces work you’re willing to do a little redecorating.


Get Kids and Teens Involved

Once you’ve made use of the space you have, it’s time to see what furniture, clothing, or items that your family could stand to donate or throw away. Rather than handing down a plan from above, get teens and kids to walk through the house with you, evaluating what isn’t being used and what would be helpful to someone else. Is there an area that always gets cluttered that needs a new organization system? Let them help design it.


Consolidate Items You Cannot Donate or Throw Away

Many of us are sentimentally or practically tied to our possessions, so don’t assume you can only declutter if you are ready to get rid of the things you own. It’s possible to take advantage of storage space through, for instance, better stackable boxes that allow the entirety of a closet or nook to be filled with items. By moving items you need to keep and organizing them to take up the least possible space, you give yourself a better chance at an excellent dual office.


Let Kids and Teens Have A Say

Let your kids or teens help design the dual office. Whether your budget is for one or two new office supplies or is big enough for a new desk or chair, you can let them do some of the fun shopping after the tough choices of cleaning and organizing the house with you. As a result, you both like the dual office much more as well, and look forward to the time you spend there.

20-minute Rule – Facebook Live

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Yesterday I spoke about a Charlote Mason principle which I call “the 20-minute rule.” Charlotte Mason was an English educator in the 1800s. Schools around the world still use her principles, thanks to the influence of the British Commonwealth. Homeschoolers love Charlotte Mason because it teaches gently and efficiently.

Soap Droid

We have been making soap for fun. Here’s a droid.

I am not 100% Charlotte Mason in my philosophy of education, but I like a lot of her principles. The 20-minute rule should not be taken literally and robotically. Charlotte Mason suggested 20 minutes of active instruction time as a great rule of thumb for teachers. Children can pay attention for 20 minutes. At least, we should strive to help them achieve this level of concentration. Continue reading »

Teaching Tolerance – Facebook Live

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Last Sunday, at 4pm EST, I talked about teaching tolerance. We have been losing friends over political issues left and right – all of us. On top of that, we have had to learn to simply not talk about politics to anybody.


Berries on a trail

The reason? Everybody tends to get upset and worked up about politics these days, unless you agree with them.

So here we are, just two days away from the most important presidential election of our lifetime – if I can take the liberty to say that. Do you think public schools teach tolerance? I doubt it.

Every time you turn around, you see an article in the press about some crazy high school principal who accepted a new crazy rule, but refused to accept an American flag T-shirt on a student. Public schools embrace liberal, left-leaning ideas all the time, while punishing conservative stances. Like, really, do you have to be a conservative to like and respect the American flag? This is the kind of times we are living in, folks.

Anyway, I will get off my soap box. I talked at length about what to do with the kids to teach them tolerance. Just because somebody disagrees with you, you do not have to get all bent out of shape. Listen. Listen. Just listen. Maybe you will learn something. They will not convince of their position, but at least you will learn why they accept the things they do. And that will help you help them understand your point of view, if they allow you to present it.

Fall Break

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For the first time ever, we are taking a fall break this week, for several reasons. Our son has a birthday this week. The rule is, we do not do school on the kids’ birthdays. This Tuesday is Election Day, in case you have been living under a rock. And we do not do school on Election Day, either.

Hiking with Friends

Two weeks ago, we hiked at Ijams Nature Centre with friends.

Then, my husband has a birthday this week, too, and it is a milestone birthday. That’s three days out of the week. The fourth day is our hiking day (our co-op, in a sense). So why should we do school for one day this week? I gave them a break. Continue reading »

High School Planning – Facebook Live

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The latest Facebook Live event dealt with planning for high school. My children are in 5th and 7th grade resepctively, but I am looking ahead and making plans for high school.

Boy Playing Piano

Our son playing piano in church – he is tall for his age, so he already looks like a high school student.

In all honesty, I planned for their college experience when they were preschoolers. Stephen Covey says, “Begin with the end in mind.” Why did I want to homeschool? To prepare them for college better than a public school would. This “end” determined my beginning. I had full confidence that homeschooling my children would prepare them for college more than sending them to a public school. Continue reading »