Post No. 835 and the Blog’s 7th Birthday

Posted on turns seven on August 4, 2020 – that’s tomorrow. This is post no. 835. As we look at these two milestones, we want to do something special for our readers. How about a series of broadcasts on Facebook Live?

Homeschool Pets

Our son is holding Thunder and our daughter is holding Smoky.

We will cover three themes, which summarize the bulk of your preparation to homeschool: the 3 Cs – confidence, connection, curriculum. Without confidence, nobody decides to take the education of her children into her hands. We will highlight ways in which you can build your confidence to homeschool. Continue reading »

Ready, Set, Go!

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We start the new school year next week. I know. It’s early. Two weeks earlier than our local public school district. There are many reasons why we start now.


Enjoy summer and hydrangeas while they last.

First, we need 30 weeks of instruction until the nationally standardized test they take in March of 2021. I add Christmas break, Thanksgiving break, sick days, and count back to a date in early August. Continue reading »

More Book Ideas

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We borrowed more books from our library, to continue our quest to finish the Great Words, Great Works book list put together by the National Spelling Bee. Anna Porter Public Library in Gatlinburg, TN may be small, but it is mighty. When they do not have a title, they will get it for us through ILL.

Selections from Great Words, Great Works

Selections from Great Words, Great Works

I have learned to send about five title requests, especially if we are talking chapter books. Picture books require 20 minutes to read. A chapter book written for a third grader can have 188 pages. They may be small pages with seven pages of illustrations total, for instance, but it will still take about three or four hours to read out loud. If you have to take these books back in 14 days with no renewal possible, then you have to really hurry up. Continue reading »


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Paddle-to-the-Sea by Holling Clancy Holling is a classic children’s book about the region of the Great Lakes between Canada and the USA. If you are looking to learn social studies through literature, this book should join your list.


Paddle-to-the-Sea is a children’s classic about the Great Lakes.

Through this book, the kids and I have learned how to memorize the names and the shapes of the Great Lakes, for instance. We also learned new vocabulary (e.g. Davy Jones’ locker, the Soo) and more about the geography of the border between Canada and the USA. Continue reading »

5th Grade Curriculum

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My youngest will be in fifth grade this coming school year, 2020-2021. Here is what I have set aside for her school work:

Bible – – Primary

We also read Young Disciple Magazine for our family devotional.


Three stones

Stones by the river bank in the Greenbrier section of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Language Arts – Wordly Wise 3000, Book 4-5 (vocabulary);

Logic of English Essentials, Level A; this represents mostly spelling, but there are grammar and vocabulary concepts, as well as punctuation rules being taught here. We hope to move from level A to level B and finish all lessons. We will see what kind of speed we can adopt. Spelling is a growth area for this student and we just take it at her pace.

Spelling Bee (word list and participation in our “school” level bee at a local homeschool group);

Writing with Ease (Book 3);

Rod and Staff Grammar;

Mensa for Kids Reading List for grades 4th-6th (so not the entire list, continuing on it and pacing ourselves through it)

Continue reading »

Seventh Grade Curriculum

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My oldest will be in seventh grade this coming school year, 2020-2021. Here is what I have set aside for his school work:

Family on a Hike

Our family on a recent hike. As you can see, my 7th grader is taller than I.

Bible – Junior PowerPoints

We also read Young Disciple Magazine for our family devotional.


Language Arts – Wordly Wise 3000, Book 7 (vocabulary); Logic of English Essentials, Level C; Spelling Bee (word list and participation in our “school” level bee at a local homeschool group); Writing with Skill (Book 1); Rod and Staff Grammar; Mensa for Kids Reading List for grades 7th-8th (so not the entire list, just starting on it and pacing ourselves through it)

Continue reading »

Hiking in the Smokies

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We joined Wild + Free Great Smoky Mountains last August and it has been a great experience. These other homeschooling families may have different approaches and convictions, but we all respect each other and find common ground.

Mom and Daughter

Mom and Daughter at The Sinks

If nothing else, nature unites us. We can all find many things to discuss about the natural things we run into. Then, we talk about food. Some of them have older children, who have gone to college, so we talk about that. I always have lots of questions about scholarships, test prep, and the college atmosphere. Religion is another thing we can discuss, as long as we deal in generalities. We stay away from politics – it seems like this topic has gotten more volatile than ever in our country. Continue reading »

Registering for the New School Year

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In Tennessee, one must register to homeschool either with an umbrella school or with the local public school system. Umbrella schools typically cost around $50-$110, while the Superintendent’s Office is free. Some umbrella schools will ask you to test with them once a year. The public school will only make you test in 5th, 7th, and 9th grades.

Painting Clocks

The kids painted seven wooden clocks for newly remodeled rooms at Zoder’s Inn and Suites.

Our umbrella school is Berean Christian School in Knoxville. We can register by mail because we have been with them for at least three years and do not have a rising Kindergarten student. Continue reading »

Time Warp Trio Books

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When the National Spelling Bee recommends a book, I take it seriously. They know good vocabulary and plots. Therefore, I want to be right there with my children, learning, learning, learning. So when the Bee people said, “Read these three historical fiction titles,” I paid attention.

Time Warp Trio Books

Eight of the 13 books we read in this series

Amazingly, my local library actually owned one of the three titles, “See You Later, Gladiator.” We read it, laughed a lot, and realized this is a part of a book series called The Time Warp Trio. Three middle school students, all boys, travel through time and space, encountering different adventures. Continue reading »

Summer Break Goals

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Our summer break has started. As I look at the stretch of two and a half months of break from homeschooling, I know from experience it can still be intense and busy. Due to COVID-19, I suspect a lot of the camps my children normally attend will be canceled. We have no confirmations yet, but I expect they would not happen. They will let us know by June 1 for sure.

Identifying butterflies

Identifying butterflies during our last hike

In a way, I like it. We will save money and energy by staying home and reading more books from the library. This brings me to my list of summer goals. In no particular order, here it is: Continue reading »