Lessons from the Sixth Week

Posted on

We lost somebody to cancer this week – an acquaintance from Romania, who was actually married to my sister’s sister-in-law. He suffered from a rare and aggressive form of cancer. Tragically, he went from diagnosis to death in three months. Only 52 years of age, he left behind his wife, now a widow at 49. An avid hiker, he loved nature and traveling in general.

Walker Sister's Cabin Sign

They loved this hike to the Walker Sisters’ Cabin.

When we hiked to the Walker Sisters’ Cabin for our weekly meet-up with the Wild and Free Great Smoky Mountains group, we thought of him. He loved mountains, hiking, and the great outdoors. A citizen of the world, he had traveled from Iceland to Japan and to many countries in between. May he rest in peace. Continue reading »


Lessons from the Fifth Week

Posted on

Not sure how this happened, but today we start week 6 of this school year. It seems this year will go by even faster than last year. As I look back at week 5, the incident that jarred me the most was witnessing the aftermath of a horrific wreck when I drove to pick up my kids from art class.

Cardinal Flower

Cardinal flower we spotted in our neighborhood.

It must have happened a few minutes before I got there. Several police cars, two ambulances, and one fire truck took care of the accident and the victims. Two cars had collided at the intersection of Glades Rd. and Hwy. 321 in Gatlinburg. Continue reading »


Lessons from the Fourth Week

Posted on

The fourth week went by smoothly. The children had auditions for Knoxville Youth Symphony Orchestras on Monday. The results came in on Wednesday and, sure enough, they reached their goals. Our daughter wanted to stay in the same orchestra, but move from Second Violin to the First Violin section. She did. She instinctively knew the next orchestra would be too hard. Well, not just instinctively. She also knew from experience.

Mom and Kids at Clingmans Dome

Clingmans Dome, Observation Tower

Last summer, during string camp, she tried the next orchestra level up. She kept up, but barely. She prefers a more relaxed environment and we respect that. In fact, her violin teacher said this shows a rare form of insight for a nine-year-old, and also recommended we let our daughter go at her own pace. Continue reading »


Lessons from the Third Week

Posted on

Last week was nothing short of revolutionary. Have you heard of The Wild and Free community? We joined a local group. Also, we had our first outing with them – at the Knoxville Botanical Garden. I have been praying and hoping for more time outside.

Outdoor exploration classroom

Botanical Garden, Knoxville

The answer came in the form of this group. Another homeschooling mom introduced me to them. This means that I will only get four days of instruction at home with the children. We spend the fifth day exploring nature in our area, at local gardens, hiking trails, zoos, and parks. Continue reading »


Lessons from the Second Week

Posted on

This is the beginning of Week 3 already. As I look back at Week 2, I can see improvement already. Our attitude is more professional, and we approach homeschooling with purpose. We can even take walks and reap the benefits of nature study by discovering plants and animals in our neighborhood.

One of my children finished her school work at 11:11am one day this week. This has only happened once before in our homeschool.

USA puzzle

Putting together a USA puzzle helps with learning the 50 states.

The other child finished his work around noon one day on the first week. Finishing this early may be rare, but it proves that it is possible. When you stay focused, and do not take a ten-minute break after every subject, and do not stop to pet the cat every two minutes, you can finish it all early. Continue reading »


Lessons from the First Week

Posted on

We started on August 5 this year because we needed to have 150 school days before their nationally standardized test in March 2020. That is how I know when to start. I give myself 150 days of instruction not because I have to, but because I want to.

Why send them to this test unprepared? It would only demoralize them. As I have written here before, we do not think the standardized test represents the benchmark of our success in homeschooling. However, it is a strong indicator of our level right now. Continue reading »


Our Son’s Third Book

Posted on

A lot has happened for us since school ended in May. Among other things, our son finished the third and last installment in The Adventures of Stickgamer135 series, The Strike of Era17. An unofficial Minecraft series for children ages 9+, the series opens up with Book 1, The Knight of Asper, and it continues with Book 2, Battle with Herobrine. The series ends with Book 3, The Strike of Era17.

Unofficial Minecraft Novel

The Strike of Era17

For their own sake, we limit the time our children spend playing Minecraft. Moreover, they do not play against other players. Also, we talk to them on a regular basis about video game addictions. Technology in general has a way of pulling people in. We want to make sure our children know the risks of screen time. Continue reading »


Our Son’s Second Book

Posted on

Our son continued writing after he published The Knight of Asper. He came up with a second book in the series: Battle with Herobrine. The series title is “The Adventures of Stickgamer135” and it is an unofficial Minecraft novel series for children age 9 and older. You can purchase it on Amazon in either paperback or Kindle format.

Unofficial Minecraft Novel

Batle with Herobine, our son’s second book, another unofficial Minecraft novel

So many things have happened in the last two months, I have not had a chance to even blog about his second book. For your information, my children do not play Minecraft with other players, and we limit their time on the computer drastically.

Continue reading »


Homeschool Consulting

Posted on

Recently, it became evident to me that some homeschoolers and potential homeschoolers would like to receive more personal attention than just reading my blog. I love homeschooling and started this blog to help others thrive in their homeschool, but everybody is unique. Besides, your questions may have some personal information that you do not want on the Internet in the form of a comment on a blog.

Adriana Zoder, homeschooling consultant

Adriana Zoder, Homeschool Consultant

Sometimes all you need is a little pep talk from somebody who is in the trenches with you. Other times, you have specific questions about how to implement the schedule or which curriculum to use.

The passion for our children, for giving them a great start in life, is common to all homeschoolers. But, at the end of the day, homeschooling is different for everybody. We all have different ways of teaching. When a consultant can answer your questions in an individualized way, it really helps.

In order to fill this need, I am offering three homeschool consulting packages: Continue reading »


101 Tips for Second Grade Homeschooling

Posted on

It’s finally here, the book I wrote about homeschooling second grade: 101 Tips for Second Grade Homeschooling. I dedicate it to my husband and children, without whom this book would have been published 15 months ago. Yes, I got this funny saying from The Language Nerds.

 

There are two formats available, paperback and Kindle. This is volume 4 in my series titled How to Homeschool. After writing books about Preschool, Kindergarten, and First Grade, I took some time to put on paper 101 ideas or tips for how to teach second grade.

101 Tips for Second Grade Homeschooling

101 Tips for Second Grade Homeschooling is now available.

The format is the same: 10 chapters with 10 ideas or tips in each, followed by chapter 11, with Tip #101. I have a son and a daughter, 28 months apart from each other. They are very different learners. They have taught me a thing or two about second grade. Continue reading »