Lessons from the 27th Week

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Oh, what a week! It started out with a dress rehearsal and then the actual concert with Knoxville Symphony Youth Orchestras. Our daughter plays in Preludium and our son in Sinfonia. Here are YouTube links to their concert: Preludium and Sinfonia.

SO Medals

2020 SO Medals – one medal for every event

They did well, as usual. It does not get old – that’s the first lesson. As much as we work with them in music lessons and driving them to orchestra practice, at the end of the day, it is worth it. If you can afford music lessons, it would probably be the best use of your money on extracurricular activities. Continue reading »


Lessons from the 26th Week

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Last week felt very stressful. It was crunch time for several things and I felt overwhelmed. My husband helped me through it, so I am feeling better now, but I was pretty stressed out. I know not to make decisions when I am discouraged. I just floated through the stress and tension and made it a point to question our schedule, but that was all. Lesson #1: do not make decisions when you are discouraged.

Alicorn in the snow

Alicorn in the snow

We tested more boomilevers, or booms, as we affectionately call them. This event is hard to watch. So hard, it makes me want to go the opposite direction when our daughter tests her boom. But I have to stand there and film, so we know how it breaks and what its weak points are. Tough. Lesson #2: do not talk while your daughter is testing her boomilever. Continue reading »


Lessons from the 25th Week

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Last week shocked us with a tremendous amount of rain, which kept us from going to piano lessons, for instance. The roads leading to our teacher’s house were covered by water. I turned around and called myself “aware of my surroundings.”

We can always reschedule and we did. The kids learned the lesson “Turn around, don’t drown” in a very real way.

Rube Goldberg Machine

Rube Goldberg Machine

Our hike got canceled because a lot of the roads in the county were flooded. So we went to the Community Center and let the kids swim with one of their friends from the hiking group. Thus we learned flexibility.

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Lessons from the 24th Week

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This was THE week we have been prepping for since August – Spelling Bee week. We also traveled to Nashville for TeenPact One Day, a political workshop for homeschooled children. In addition, we had another Science Olympiad practice in Knoxville, for Circuit Lab. Last but not least, the orchestra practice competition started this week.

TeenPact 2020

TeenPact 2020

Our son decided to practice a lot more than what he usually does. Well, when you go out of town for two days, you cannot meet practice goals. He is learning that our goals must meet the reality of the schedule. He has three more weeks when he can strive for the same goal though. Continue reading »


Lessons from the 23rd Week

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We spent three days out of the classroom this week. Even though I know learning happens, it makes me nervous to not have “school” done with books, at home, in our regular habitat.

One day, we went hiking with our friends from Wild + Free Great Smoky Mountains. Another day, I had to take my son to Knoxville for Science Olympiad practice (Write It, Do It). And yet another day, my husband drove all of us to Knoxville again, so that our daughter can test her latest boomilever with her coach, while our son met with his partner for Mission Possible to schedule the next move.

Icicle

Now that’s an icicle!

Lots of learning happened, of course, but, at my core, I am not an unschooling, carschooling, relaxed homeschooling type of mama. It makes me nervous that we are not progressing through our books.

We attend church in Knoxville, too, so this means we drove two hours round trip four times in one week. People commute like this every day for work, but I am glad we do not have to do it regularly.

The hardest thing we did this week (besides driving to Knoxville four times) was hiking in 36F. That’s 2 C if you are wondering. Just above freezing. We got warmed up as we went along, but the picnic was tough. We ate in a hurry and left.

Icicle Flag

My daughter found an icicle flag.

The kids have fun on these hikes and that’s what keeps me going for more. Also, I enjoy the fellowship with like-minded mamas. I won’t pretend I do not need these hikes for my own soul. All in all, we had a good week.


Lessons from the 22nd Week

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This week, we had time to take in the results of the Science Olympiad Invitational and catch up on other things. For instance, we have TeenPact One Day coming up at the end of the month and the homework needs to happen now. We also attended our first Science Class at Ripley’s Aquarium for 2020 and experienced mixed emotions.

Ripley's Aquarium Science Class

Aquarium Science Class for Homeschoolers – before it got really full

The room has now doubled in size. They opened up the partition wall between two classrooms to accommodate almost 40 students plus their parents and siblings. There must have been close to 70 people in that room. I teared up at one point, realizing how much homeschooling has changed since I got started seven years ago. Continue reading »


Lessons from the Twenty-First Week

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Last week, we started school back up, along with orchestra, violin lessons, taekwondo, and the Wild + Free Great Smoky Mountains hikes. We should have started piano as well, but what do you know? My car battery got drained mysteriously. The car would not start on the day of the piano lesson. We had to cancel and change the car battery first, before anything else.

W+F Picnic

Wild and Free group picnic, on the Gatlinburg Trail

It was really neat to be out in nature with our W+F group. The fellowship, the fresh air, sunshine, and relaxed pace really do the mind good. One of the moms told me about this book, “Mere Motherhood,” and later lent it to me. I am reading it and taking notes. It is that good. Continue reading »


Lessons from the Twentieth Week

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The most important lesson for me this week was this: we can fit 20 weeks in the first semester. I am glad I have been keeping track with the blog. This leaves us with 16 weeks for the second semester.

Girl with loom

Our daughter with her bracelet-making loom

When you are a homeschool educator, you make your own schedule. It helps to have a rule of thumb to divide and conquer the academic year. I knew we needed at least 150 days before our annual standardized test in mid-March. Now I know this also means 20 weeks before Christmas break. Continue reading »


Christmas Break 2019

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Last week, we dashed about with Christmas preparations and I imagine you all did the same. We receive so many emails over the Christmas season, I figured you would not miss one more, from this blog.

Mother and Daughter in matching dresses

Twinning with my daughter is always fun.

We had family in town for a few days before Christmas, then they left. When Christmas came, we celebrated quietly, with our family of five: me, my husband, our son, daughter, and cat. Can’t forget the cat!

One of the reasons we homeschool is because we are home buddies. We do not seek to be with crowds. Nothing wrong with crowds. If that’s what you like for a celebration, go for it.

Mother and son playing nerf guns

My son and I playing with nerf guns. He usually wins, but I won this time.

New Year’s Eve will also be a quiet affair for us. We do not usually stay up until midnight. One year, I think the kids wanted to stay up just to see the ball drop live in New York City, but they fell asleep by 11:30pm. Ha! Ha! Ha!

This friend of ours told us that, around 5-6pm, their family watches celebrations on YouTube from Europe or the Middle East – it’s midnight over there. Then, they go to bed at their regular time. Isn’t that a great idea?

As far as this break, we are taking it easy with everything. Still, we need to prepare a bit for Science Olympiad and Spelling Bee, which are coming up in January. We also need to touch the piano and violin now and then. But yes, a relaxed break is being had by all, including this mama.


Lessons from the Nineteenth Week

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We took ill again this week. My daughter and I started with a sore throat followed by a cough and general fatigue. We did as much school as we could until she said, “I am really tired. I think I have to go lie down.” My daughter never want to take naps or sleep, so I knew she was ill for real.

Piano Recital

Our daughter playing at the recital

I let her take it easy for the next two days, especially because she had a piano recital on Sunday. We wanted to make sure she would have most of her energy back. As it turns out, she and her brother did very well at the recital. Continue reading »