We had to reschedule the Spelling Bee for February and TeenPact for March. January seems plagued with winter storms and COVID-19 outbreaks. So we learn to change the schedule and carry on.
Snow in our backyard
Many years ago, I published a post about flexibility. One of my readers said, “Flexibility is easier said than done.” I totally agree. We packed and made plans for several weeks and, frankly, months, about TeenPact and the Spelling Bee. Continue reading »
This Christmas break and the beginning of the new calendar year 2022 have been rather emotional. Long story, but it’s the story of burnout, too. A lot of family details have pushed us together more than ever. I suppose it is part of the process as the children grow and we all change accordingly.
Relaxing by the fire
Burnout appeared among us back in October, but we kept it together through November and December. By the middle of December, when we took a break, I realized how much I needed to space out of my surroundings. So I escaped into books and on demand content I view online. Continue reading »
If your children take music lessons, at least twice a year they have recitals, programs, and concerts. Typically, in December and in May. The pandemic messed up that routine, of course. We have had to do Zoom recitals at home and skip going to nursing homes. But we kept on going with our lessons and did our best to monitor the progress of our children.
Playing in church with friends motivates children to practice.
One week before Christmas this year, the kids played violin to accompany our church’s choir for the beautiful “How Great Our Joy” by Craig Courtney. What a piece! Such a refreshing sound from the usual round of Christmas carols. It was only one piece, but a new experience to give them a taste of what it is like to accompany a choir. They enjoyed it and said they would like to do it again if called upon. Continue reading »
After three months of studying writing with Andrew Pudewa of the Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW), my children and I have decided this curriculum rocks. We decided this after three weeks, but I wanted to wait a few more months to blog about it. We got Level 1B, which is for grades 6-8. Since my daughter is in sixth grade and my son in eighth, it is perfect for us.
My daughter building puzzles – a metaphor for learning writing
You should know that Andrew Pudewa used to teach Suzuki violin. If you know anything about the Suzuki method, you know that it teaches step by step, in a very systematic way. Pudewa took the Suzuki method and applied it to IEW. This incremental approach to writing helps children and teens understand how to write. There will be no expectations beyond their ability. Continue reading »
We only take three days off for Thanksgiving. For my nonAmerican readers, Thanksgiving always happens on a Thursday – the fourth Thursday of November. I cook a lot on Wednesday and Thursday, we have our family luncheon on Thursday, and then on Friday they decorate the Christmas tree. Thus commences the Christmas season at our house.
This year we had a cozy Thanksgiving, the four of us, and it was wonderfully relaxing. Besides, I came down with a bug the Sunday before, and spent Sunday-Wednesday in bed. No fever, no coughing, no sore throat, just a general fatigue that kept me in bed. So… the children took care of their own schooling on Monday and Tuesday. Continue reading »
Every year, Cedar Springs Homeschool Support Group organizes a Thanksgiving Feast at the Sam Houston Historic Schoolhouse in Maryville, TN. It happens on a Tuesday a few weeks before Thanksgiving, but the menu reflects the holiday. It starts us celebrating early.
Sam Houston Schoolhouse
The children get a tour of the schoolhouse, historical details on the life of Sam Houston, and demonstrations on how to make butter, candles, cornmeal etc. After the workshops, we have the meal, and then they play capture the flag. Some of the parents and coaches used to bring their children many years ago, so this tradition has been going on for years. Continue reading »
Last week, I had the privilege of meeting one of the co-founders of Ambleside Online. Lynn Bruce worked with five other homeschool moms more than 20 years ago to put together a Charlotte Mason curriculum for homeschoolers. They fought in court to keep it free. Details, details, details. You don’t want to know. But trust me, the world of homeschooling curriculum creation can be as brutal as the business world.
Lynn Bruce and I, at Seven Islands
By the way, have you seen the Ambleside Online website recently? It is new and improved. Totally worth a visit.
When my children were younger, we followed Charlotte Mason and principles, guidelines, and recommendations. Many evenings, I would go to Ambleside Online to get guidance and book titles for my children. Good times.
Our son is in 8th grade and taking Algebra I for high school credit. He has always found math easy to understand. Our curriculum of choice was Math Mammoth since 2nd grade. We tried Singapore Math and found it too easy.
Thunder, our cat, used to keep us company before he disappeared.
Then we tried Right Start Math Level B and found it so great, we ordered Level C for the following year. Level C proved too weird for me to teach. I do not understand math in that way. So we had to ditch that and tried Alpha Omega Publishing’s math textbook, which we found too colorful and printed too closely together on the page. Picky, aren’t we? Continue reading »
Once a week, we go hiking with a group of local homeschoolers. It helps that we live five minutes from the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, but we go other places, too. Last week, it was Panther Creek State Park. Next week, it will be Seven Islands Birding State Park.
Fern Branch Falls
The thing is, the National Park is so immense, some of the trails are still an hour from my house. So even if the destination is in the Smokies, we still have to drive for 30 minutes or longer. What can I say? America is big. That’s what this Israeli family told us last week, when we were at Grotto Falls and started chatting with them. “America is big.” They could not believe how long it would take them to get from point A to point B. Continue reading »
October looms large and what have we learned? Lots. For one, we love middle school. Our children are in 8th grade and 6th grade respectively. Maybe they are more mature or maybe I am more relaxed, but things are going smoothly.
Hiking the Grotto Falls trail
With the pandemic, nobody is living their Plan A, and we are no exception. We wish we could do orchestra again, but alas, they require masks. My children cannot play violin for one minute with a mask on, let alone one hour. This is our second year of not doing orchestra and we miss it dearly. Continue reading »