Math Options – Facebook Live

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After our camping trip, I found I had no time for the weekly Facebook Live event. Sorry I missed my weekly rendez-vous live with you all last week. So this week I spent over 20 minutes talking live. The topic? Math options.

Math Mammoth

Our favorite math curriculum, Math Mammoth.

Love it or hate it, math is essential. I happen to love it. My kids like math. Like reading, the more you do it, the more you love it. Continue reading »

Our Weekly Bread: 7 of 36

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The kids cannot get enough of focaccia bread, so they decided to make another one this week. However, we had run out of all-purpose flour. What to do? We still had whole wheat flour and bread flour, both organic. I suggested they make it using the two flours, half and half.

Focaccia with marinara

Focaccia with marinara

This is a great exercise in “real life” for the kids. Many times the pantry can miss an item and, as a parent, you have to improvise to put food on the table. Plus I wanted them to see the difference in texture when using different types of flours. Last but not least, whole wheat flour gives you extra nutrition. Continue reading »

Our Weekly Bread: 6 of 36

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The kids made focaccia bread by using the pizza crust recipe from last week. They used the bread machine, as usual. The dough cycle takes one hour and 20 minutes, so you set it and go do some homeschooling. But don’t forget it. The dough will keep on rising in the machine and it makes a mess, sticking to the lid and the sides. You don’t want that.

Focaccia Bread

Focaccia Bread

To avoid having to clean more than I want to, I usually set an alarm on my phone. The kitchen is pretty far from the school room and I cannot hear the beep on the machine when it announces it is done. Continue reading »

Why Communication is Key for Your Child’s Emotional Health

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Every parent wants to raise confident children with healthy social and emotional development. A crucial component of this is their ability to effectively communicate. Children must have the foundational speech and language skills to understand the world around them, develop strong interpersonal relationships, and process their internal emotions.

Unfortunately, nearly 8% of children grow up with some type of communication difficulty. This can affect a child’s social and emotional well-being in different ways depending on their age and condition. For example, younger children who are unable to clearly process and articulate their thoughts feel frustrated. This can lead to outbursts and behavioral issues.

Leanne Sherred, Expressable President

Older children may experience a variety of challenges. For example, children that stutter may fear being teased or ostracized by their peers. This leads to low self-esteem and isolation. Additionally, children that have a developmental language disorder often know exactly what they want to communicate but have difficulty articulating their thoughts and feelings. These children may exhibit short-temperedness due to their inability of having their needs heard and met. Continue reading »

Camping Trip

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We went camping last weekend, with some friends I had met 25 years ago, when we were in college together. It is so much fun to reunite with college buddies and catch up. Now we are all parents of (almost) teenagers. Such a new experience!

Catching Frogs

Catching frogs was one of the things they did in nature while camping.

My friends found a private campground called Blackberry Blossom, in Unicoi County, still in Tennessee. The campground is located 45 minutes away from Roan Mountain State Park and Cherokee National Forest, where you can pick up a part of the Appalachian Trail. In fact, the highest point of the Appalachian Trail happens to be there, at the trail head, and we took a picture in front of it. Continue reading »

Our Weekly Bread: 5 of 36

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This week, we made pizza. Is there a better skill in the kitchen than knowing how to make pizza crust? I think not.

Kids with Pizza

They are proud of their pizza.

We used the bread machine, because it is easy. Why complicate things? The recipe came in the book that accompanied the bread machine. Remember, this is my $5 bread machine, which I purchased from a neighbor at a yard sale. He said he had used it maybe five times.


Pizza Crust Recipe

1 1/2 c warm water

2 Tbl. olive oil

1 1/2 tsp. salt

4 1/4 c all-purpose flour

2 tsp. sugar

2 tsp. yeast

Select Dough-Only on your bread machine and watch it work for you. Well, you might not want to watch it for the full 90 minutes it takes for it to do its thing. This will produce a double crust. We roll it out on two different pans, because we do not want it to get too thick (like deep-dish pizza crust).

Heart-shaped pizza

We shaped one as a heart because why not?

The kids learned that “floured board” means just a little flour, not a whole lot of flour. The edges of their crusts got a little too tough, because they kept adding flour to the crust as they “played” with it. But those are the edges they do not usually eat anyway, so it worked out.

Measuring flour

Measuring flour

We added marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese. They did not want any veggie toppings for their very first pizzas. We made salad and decided this counted as a healthy enough meal.

The pizza was delicious, by the way. I have not tried it, because of gluten intolerance, but they said they loved it. We had some leftovers for the next day, too.

Our Weekly Bread: 4 of 36

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As you know, our weekly bread features a new bread-making experience every week. We chose to make socca this week. If you have never heard of socca, just know that it is a gluten-free flat bread that cooks in 10 minutes. The main ingredient is garbanzo flour. It originated in Provence and Italy.

Making socca

Making socca

To be clear, I am the only one in my family who must avoid gluten. As such, I will be the only one eating this bread. My children have no interest in even trying it. Like most people, they have a mental block when they hear “gluten-free.” Even though I make gluten-free pasta dishes or gluten-free pancakes and they love them, they have some reticence about other gluten-free recipes. Continue reading »

How to Change Music Teachers

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When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for a family to dissolve the bands which have connected them with a particular music teacher, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. Sorry for getting all Thomas Jefferson on you, but that’s what came to mind as I was trying to introduce our situation.

Siblings on a tree

Keep on hiking, no matter what life throws at you.

So what happened? We were not planning on changing our music teachers. Our children have been taking piano lessons from the same lady for five years. They were very happy with her methods. Continue reading »