2023 Spelling Bee

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Our co-op (Blount Home Education Association or BHEA) had the annual Spelling Bee today. It was a wonderful learning experience for all. I took it upon myself to coordinate the BHEA Spelling Bee about three years ago because I love spelling bees.

The spellers and judges

The spellers and judges

Everything went smoothly and I was not as nervous as in prior years. Our three judges were Angela Montoya (main judge, who has done it for a decade now), Preston Zoder (pronouncer, 9th grade, runner up last year, my son), and Lydia Griffin (buzzer manager, daughter of the first homeschooler of Sevier County, who is now homeschooling her own children). Continue reading »


SO Friendship Invitational

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Last week, our children and their Science Olympiad team competed in the Friendship Invitational, on the campus of Friendship Christian School in Lebanon, TN. This year, there were 24 teams competing, from Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, and maybe even North Carolina – very strong competition.

Cedar Springs Homeschool Team A

Cedar Springs Homeschool Teams A and B

Invitationals are the not-so-secret weapon of strong teams to prepare for Regionals – the event that qualifies a team to State, which is followed by Nationals, if you win State. Continue reading »


Book 3 of 50 – Possession

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Possession (not an affiliate link) by A. S. Byatt is a tour de force in many ways. At almost 600 pages, this book makes it difficult for anybody to finish in one week. Besides, by the time I read 25% of it, I was thoroughly confused.

Possession on Kindle

The cover of Possession on my Kindle

There is so much poetry and there are two timelines going on at the same time: 1990 and Victorian era. Metaphors abound and lots of British words and destinations. A. S. Byatt is, after all, a Britist woman. Continue reading »


Book 2 of 50 – How to Win Friends

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Dale Carnegie published How to Win Friends and Influence People before World War II – in 1936, to be precise. To this day, this book still stands as the best in the self-improvement, self-help category in any bookstore.

Lady listening to audiobook

Me, listening to “How to Win Friends…,” while waiting during my children’s Science Olympiad exams, at Friendship Christian School in Lebanon, TN

I read this book about 25 years ago and felt I needed a refresher. What spurred this on was the fact that my son, age 15, has found out about this book from Hamza, a YouTuber he watches. My son asked if we had the book. Well, I used to. I moved countries one too many times and left it behind somewhere in Sweden. Continue reading »


Book 1 of 50 – 12 Rules for Life

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Back in August, I blogged about 12 Rule for Life and read seven of the 12 rules. Life happened, i.e. the new school year started. I started reading parenting books. I homeschooled the kids. Oh, yeah, homeschooling, remember homeschooling?

Book Cover, 12 Rules for Life

My own copy of this title

Four months went by and this book waited for me in a drawer, patiently. Once I decided to read 50 books in 2023, as part of my New Year’s Resolutions, I knew I wanted to finish Jordan Peterson’s masterpiece. Continue reading »



The Power of a Praying Parent

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The Power of a Praying Parent is a book written by Stormie Omartian to help parents pray for their children in a systematic way. If you love your prayer habits, keep doing what you are doing. If you need some help in how to pray for your children, then this book is for you.

The book chapters cover different aspects of a child’s life: faith, friends, future spouse, healthy eating, secrets, relationship with other family members, money, future career, school, entertainment choices etc. Continue reading »


Five More Years

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I hinted in my post about 2022 in review that we have five more years with the kids before they both go to college. Actually, it is five years with the youngest. The oldest is in ninth grade, which means we only have three more years with him at home. I am not counting the next semester.

Christmas tree with gifts

Our 2022 Christmas tree with some of the gifts for the kids

When our oldest was eight years old, I wrote a post about having him at home for 10 more years. I re-read it recently and smiled. He is 15 now. Where have the last seven years gone? Continue reading »


Good Lessons, 2022

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This year, 2022, has been very difficult and stressful for me. Learning how to parent a teenager pushed me to the limit. It revealed things in my character which are not flattering. Starting high school as a homeschool parent – that was another difficult task. Last but not least, we started a new routine of driving to co-op, orchestra rehearsals, violin and harp lessons. That is a lot of time away from home and traditional academics.

Sunsphere in Knoxville, TN

The Tennessean Hotel and the Sunsphere in Knoxville, TN – we spend a lot of time in this city now.

In a way, I feel like saying, “Good riddance, 2022,” but that would miss the point. Instead, I should say, “Good lessons, 2022.” Homeschooling is not only for our children. We, the parents, learn plenty in the process, and not just about history, science, grammar, or math. Continue reading »


Merry Christmas 2022

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I hope you had a merry Christmas; #merryandbright, as they say in our social media world. We stayed home and enjoyed wrapping gifts for our children on Christmas Eve. When it is -2 F (-16.7 C) outside, you do not feel like going anywhere.

Teens building LEGO kits

Our children building their respective LEGO kits

Now that they are older, our teens give us a list of wishes. One of the wishes is that we also give them something they do not expect or know about. They like to be surprised. Continue reading »