Checking In On Goals

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Writing goals down is the key to success in achieving them. There is a second key. One must check in on one’s goals on a regular basis. Success coaches recommend you read through your goals daily. Some say, copy them down. Every day? Yes, every day.

Teenager with cat

Our son holding one of our cats, OC – a reminder to not take ourselves too seriously as we review summer goals

This way, you stay with your goals and your goals stay with you, in the forefront of your mind. You remember where you are supposed to go and you stay on track. Also, you find ways, means, and solutions for your challenges.

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Cohutta Springs Teen Camp

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Our daughter attended Cohutta Spring Teen Camp last week, with an emphasis on Mountain Lore. That’s code for Arts and Crafts.

My daughter and I

My daughter and I on drop off day at Cohutta Springs Youth Camp

Every day, the campers go through four rotations, of different activities. However, they have one main emphasis and you can choose which one you want. This year, our daughter wanted to focus on Mountain Lore because she really enjoys making candles and crafts. Continue reading »

Black Bears Rock

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We live in a mountain resort and many black bears live here with us. They visit our neighborhood daily and go by our house at different hours of the day. There is no routine, so I do not walk around our neighborhood that much anymore.

Black bear on patio

Black bear on our patio – a daily occurrence

I miss walking through our neighborhood because it is so hilly and wooded, it is simply a beautiful walk. But these bears are everywhere these days, at all hours of the day and night. They trigger our cameras at odd times so we cannot detect a routine or a pattern. Continue reading »

Summer Down Time

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When your homeschool is on summer break, you should also be on summer break. These are the dog days of summer, when you can take it easy and schedule some fun things for yourself.

Woman posing in the field

Posing just for fun

Taking Care of Mamma must be a mantra you repeat to yourself throughout the school year and especially during a break. Put your oxygen mask on first, then assist your children. It is basic training for survival. Continue reading »

Cohutta Springs Paintball Camp

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Our son chose to attend the paintball camp at Cohutta this year. So far, he has gone there eight times, we think. He started going when he was 7, but missed a couple of years because of the pandemic and then one year he just did not want to go.

Mom and teenage son at Cohutta

My son and I at Cohutta Springs this morning

This year, he decided to try not a regular camp, where they rotate through different activitie, but a rad camp. A rad camp at Cohutta specializes in only one thing, which you choose. It could be wake boarding, arts and crafts, wilderness survival, paintball, you name it. Continue reading »

Forest Bathing

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If you have never heard of forest bathing, you should probably look into it. We humans living in the Western Hemisphere, spending most of our day indoors, in front of a screen for legitimate work, are suffering from Nature Deficit Disorder. The solution? Spending time in a forest, also known as forest bathing.

Teenage boy on a river rock

My son sunbathing on a river rock, Old Sugarland Trail

While simply hiking will bring you physical benefits, it also helps with your mental state. Forest bathing implies that you engage all your senses while in the forest: you see trees and plants and animals and birds. You hear squirrels scuttling nearby or birds singing. Or you can touch different tree bark textures or run your hand through a rushing mountain river. And, naturally, you can breathe in amazingly clean air and absorb the sunshine. Continue reading »

TeenPact NatCon

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Our son just returned from a week in Cleveland, TN where he participated in TeenPact NatCon. The National Conference for TeenPact, this camp prepares teenagers to become leaders and to understand the political process, while strengthening their Christian worldview.

TeenPact NatCon Audience

TeenPact NatCon Audience

This conference brings together 1,000 homeschoolers from 50 states and it happens only two hours away from our house. So many have to fly in or drive for umpteen hours to get here.

For the past eight years, our children have attended the TeenPact State Class in Nashville. Our son wanted to participate in the National Conference but our daughter did not show an interest. Continue reading »

Summer Break Goals

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Without a vision, the people perish. Unless we write down the vision, the goals we have for our homeschool, we will not accomplish them. So I hope you are writing down your goals for every school year and every school break you have.

Teenagers at Cumberland Gap National Park

My children having fun with a sign which said “trail” twice, at Cumberland Gap National Park

Here are some of our goals for the summer:

  • we finish the US History curriculum;
  • we work through a few lessons in Algebra II, which should be done
  • harp lessons continue
  • children work at dad’s business as needed (Zoder’s Inn and Suites)
  • children work at mom’s business as needed (Smoky Mountain Soaps, LLC)
  • son attends two camps (TeenPact NatCon and Cohutta Springs)
  • daughter attends one camp (Cohutta Springs)
  • children read five books (mom chooses one title)
  • we reorganize the garage
  • one camping trip
  • one trip to Romania
  • weekly hikes

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11 Years of Homeschooling

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And that’s a wrap on this school year, my friends – our 11th year homeschooling. Speaking of a wrap, it is hard to wrap my mind around the fact that my youngest just finished 8th grade. My oldest just finished 10th grade and in just a few months, in the fall, he will take the PSAT.

Cumberland Gap National Park

My two children on an overlook near Cumberland Gap National Park

You have to understand something: the PSAT represents the Holy Grail of my long-term planning this whole homeschool adventure. When my children were preschoolers, I read in the local newspaper about the National Merit Scholarship and thought, “THAT! That’s what I want for my children.” Continue reading »

The Digital SAT

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As you might know, the SAT is now strictly digital. There is a software one must download called Bluebook, not to be confused with other blue books out there.


Bobcat at my house the other day, while we were preparing for the digital SAT

Bobcat walking in the grass

The College Board will give you more details about it on their website. I can tell you we are finding it easy to use and navigate, but everybody is different. Continue reading »