2019 Science Olympiad

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This school year, our son joined a Science Olympiad team through Cedar Springs Homeschool Group. This is not a co-op, but a support group. Moms meet for monthly encouragement and to exchange ideas and insights. Then, their children have the opportunity to compete in different teams and events.

Boy with Science Olympiad medals

Our son and his two silver medals at Science Olympiad

Cedar Springs run a Spelling Bee and the winner goes to Regionals. For American Math Contest, they will arrange for a coach to help you teach your child and prepare for it. They can build a team if there is enough interest in the group. Continue reading »


2019 TeenPact One Day

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We attend a political science workshop every year, in Nashville. Well, the children do. We have to take them there the day before, as it is a four-hour drive for us from the house. The next day, they have courses from 10am-4pm, with a lunch break.

TeenPact Girl Participant

We get to sit in the back of the room and watch. They start with an icebreaker – the box game. They each get a booklet for the day. Continue reading »


Story of the World, Vol. 4, Chapter 39

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Story of the World, Vol. 4, Chapter 39 talked about my childhood. Our history book has finally caught up with me. It feels strange to read about one’s lifetime in a history book. We called it “contemporary history” when I was growing up but I see they only call it “modern” here.

Langar meal

First step in a langar meal: roast potatoes and cauliflower, chop tomatoes

The 1980s in the East and the Mideast took us to India after partition and Iran and Iraq. In all honesty, I did not know much about those places. I mean, I knew Indira Gandhi got assassinated by her own body guards but why I did not comprehend. Now I know. And I had never heard of the Bhopal disaster. So this was very educational for me. Continue reading »


Art Classes

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If you can teach your children art, more power to you. I have tried. It worked for a bit, when they were younger, and we brought out the paints or the sculpting clay and went to town, not caring about the final project that much. The process and preparation was more important than the result.

Sketching a scene from Ender's Game

Sketching a scene from Ender’s Game

Then, we got older and wiser. We realized the art curriculum was just sitting on the shelf and we never got around to using it. Why? Because it had become obsolete. Or, it was too much preparation for me to teach. I have bought more art curriculum than I care to recount, but I do not regret it. It still sits there for us to use one day. Continue reading »


Story of the World, Vol. 4, Chapter 38

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Story of the World, Vol. 4, Chapter 38 is titled Two Ways of Fighting, referring to Soviet invasions and the rise of international terrorism. Fascinating chapter, of course, for someone who grew up in Eastern Europe. We did not know much about the invasion of Czechoslovakia or Afghanistan under communism. So every new detail I learn or every new angle means a lot to me.

This way to Moscow signs

They made signs and I placed them in the wrong direction so that they would not find the toy.

The first invasion happened before I was born, so I cannot tell you what the communists reported in their highly controlled news at the time. But I do remember reading in the newspaper about the Mujaheddin in the early 80s, when I was in elementary school, and we had to prepare a news flash for a report.  Continue reading »


Story of the World, Vol. 4, Chapter 37

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Story of the World, Vol. 4, Chapter 37 has a funny title: Two Short Wars and One Long One. The Vietnam war represents the long war. Two wars in the Middle East appear as the short ones in the titles. After all, they only lasted days.

Apricot coconut rice cake for the Vietnamese Festival of Tet

Apricot coconut rice cake for the Vietnamese Festival of Tet

The Six-Day War lasted exactly six days, miraculously enough. The Yom Kippur War went on for 20 days or so. Of course, the Vietnam War went on for twenty years, with American involvement shifting from economic pressures to actually sending troops. Continue reading »


My Son’s First Book – The Knight of Asper

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My son has written a book. We published it through Amazon. The Knight of Asper is the first volume in a series he came up with all on his own.

The Knight of Asper

The Knight of Asper, my son’s first book

When he told me last year in October that he was writing a book, I smiled and said, “That’s nice!” Did I think he was going to stick to it? Nope. What 11-year-old do you know who has finished a book?

Did I check on him periodically to see how the project was coming along? No way. I did not want to discourage him, but I did not want to make him feel like a failure either, if he left it unfinished. Continue reading »


Goals for 2019

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If you do not write down your goals, you might not meet them. In no particular order, here are our homeschooling goals for the 2019:

Planner and laptop

I am using the Well-Planned Day planner in conjunction with Google Calendar.

  1. Science Olympiad – two events (first time on a middle school team); no matter what happens, we want to stimulate those neurons and new study habits
  2. TeenPact One Day – our fourth year
  3. Spelling Bee – our second year; see number 1
  4. Orchestra – two more concerts, lots of rehearsals still for the season
  5. Piano Festival – our fourth year
  6. Violin RSM assessments – our third year; preparation is more important than the results
  7. Keep up the taekwondo training, maybe go up one more level through testing
  8. Finish SOTW Vol. 1 – Ancient History; tackle more reading, less crafts
  9. National Standardized Testing – our yearly tradition and requirement
  10. Finish spelling curriculum with 5th grader, Logic of English Level C
  11. Finish spelling curriculum with 3rd grader, Logic of English Level A
  12. Put French and Latin firmly on the schedule; I feel bad about neglecting both
  13. Finish math curriculum in March with both
  14. Work through next year’s math curriculum in April and May
  15. Art classes in town – twice a month; I relax and they have fun; win-win!
  16. Violin lessons
  17. Piano lessons
  18. Son publishes his first book, maybe more
  19. Read, read, read – mostly classics for children, with some fluff in between
  20. More household chores to reflect and improve their maturity and skills

One last thought

There! I wrote mine down. Now you all can hold me accountable by the end of 2019. I have learned to be realistic in my goals. Finishing the math curriculum by mid-March will work. Why? Because we started this curriculum last year in April.

When we go to our umbrella school for testing, we want to feel confident. Consequently, we finish the math curriculum, then the kids feel prepared. So last year I hurried through and we finished it all before the test.

We took spring break for two weeks. Afterwards, we started on the next grade math, which began with a review of the previous material. This scenario works great for April and May, when everybody is sort of “done with school” mentally.

We also could pick and choose some chapters in random order, like “Money” or “The Clock.” So yeah, these goals are realistic.


Story of the World, Vol. 4, Chapter 36

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Story of the World, Vol. 4, Chapter 36 is rather dark, covering the assassinations of John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. On the bright side, we have the Civil Rights movement and the victory over segregation.

Pop art: comic strips and book cover

Pop art: comic strips and book cover

When the chapter mentioned Rosa Parks, we Googled it and found the famous pictures of her bus protest and subsequent arrest. Also, we pulled up a copy of Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous speech, “I Have a Dream.” I would start crying just reading it, so I let them do the reading to themselves. What is it with me and crying these days? Am I getting soft in my old days?  Continue reading »


Story of the World, Vol. 4, Chapter 35

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Story of the World, Vol. 4, Chapter 35 is titled The Cold War. The space race between the Soviet Union and the USA covers the first story. The second story takes us to Cuba during the 13 days in October, when the world teetered on the brink of nuclear war.

Boy weighs himself with books

My son weighed himself with a stack of books.

Once again, I teared up during reading because of my personal experience with communism. The kids make me laugh with their reactions to my tears, so I end up crying and laughing at the same time. Continue reading »