Algebra Going Well

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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 on book

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 »


Hiking Our Hearts Out

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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

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 »


There Goes September

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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.

Grotto Falls

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 »


New School Year

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And… we’re off! Grade 6 and Grade 8 (with three high school credits), here we come! I am so much more relaxed this year because we do not have that March exam looming over our heads at the old umbrella school. It was good while it lasted. That achievement test gave me a calendar and a benchmark. I am glad I don’t have that anymore though. We have entered a new era.

Mom and students

Mom and students before 6th and 8th grade

With our new umbrella school, we do not have to take a test. If we test at all, it is because we need to figure out if the kids like the ACT or the SAT better. Once we have decided, we only prepare for that one test as we look long-term to college admissions. Continue reading »


Here Comes August

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We start homeschooling in the middle of the month. I am spending the first two weeks of the month taking it easy. However, here and there, I am getting ready. For one, we will do IEW for the first time and there is a bit of a learning curve for me, even though we got the forever streaming. While Andrew Pudewa will do the teaching, I need to understand the philosophy behind this curriculum. With the downloads, I got these audio presentations Mr. Pudewa gave at homeschool conferences. They are inspirational.

HS Meme

The more I homeschool, the more I want to homeschool.

I am knee-deep in middle school, so I need a sense of humor more than ever. Memes to the rescue. If you ever get tired of homeschooling, or angry at the kids, just Google homeschool memes. Of course, you will have to toss out the memes created by public school teachers and students… who totally misunderstand homeschooling… For the most part, you will find many memes that will make you laugh and appreciate the journey further. Continue reading »


Jarring July

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This July was a jarring month for us. Two friends died and Smoky – our tuxedo cat – went missing. I supposed it could be worse, but it was pretty shocking to go through all of this. The kids are learning that life is fragile and we should not take anybody for granted.

Smoky

Our cat who went missing – Smoky

We kept reading through July. Our daughter is going through the Mensa for Kids reading list for grades 4-6. Our son is going through the same list for grades 7-9. He likes to read to himself. My daughter enjoys listening to me read. I like reading to her because I have not read these books. It’s a good way for me to find out what the American classics for kids are all about. Also, we enjoy talking about the characters, laughing and crying about the situations, and generally having a bonding experience.

Continue reading »


Summer Break

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We have been on summer break for a month now. Every day, we do what we want to do, but we also have certain goals to reach this summer. Many homeschoolers use their summer break to finish up a history book that they did not finish, for instance. We are doing the same thing.

Andrews Bald

Andrews Bald picnic with friends

Do you have academic goals for the summer, in order to avoid the summer slide? You probably should. Many libraries have a Summer Reading Program going, with workshops and activities, prizes and craft projects. I am finding out quickly that tweens and teens are not interested in those programs though. Continue reading »


Let’s Go Geography Curriculum Review

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Let’s Go Geography is a curriculum for grade K-5, which teaches geography country by country, through online interactive activities. The author is a homeschooling mom. By buying a subscription, you will have access to digital materials like PDF files of craft ideas and patterns, links to YouTube videos, and printouts meant to be colored. You also get a list of books you could check out from your local library, which cover each country.

Newfound Gap

Newfound Gap – the state line between TN and NC

My children were in 5th and 7th grade when we went through this curriculum and it was still relevant to their ages. We did not do the crafts, but we watched the YouTube videos and learned about different countries. From some of the “field trips,” we followed some other inquiry-based learning paths of our own. That’s the beauty of homeschooling. We can take time to answer questions that hit us as we study. Continue reading »


Finishing Strong

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Here we are, at the end of another school year. Pandemic craziness notwithstanding, we have managed to get it done. The kids have had taekwondo practices since September, taken violin and piano lessons via Zoom, participated in Science Olympiad and Spelling Bee, and read numerous books.

We have attended church, as well, but not as often as we would have liked. Nevertheless, they managed to get on the schedule for special music to perform up front both in violin and piano. It’s a form of serving others, sharing their musical skills.

Rhododendron

Rhododendron

Overall, I am pleased with this school year. Clearly, some things have emerged: our son started algebra I, got a really nice score in his first ACT, and is clearly into computer technology. Continue reading »


Debt-Free Degree

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For the past month, I have gotten back into listening to the Ramsey Show. There is a podcast, a YouTube channel, and a website you can listen to the show on. I don’t listen to it on the radio.

Debt-Free Degree

Debt-Free Degree

Many years ago, I used to listen to Dave Ramsey and read a couple of his books. When I was in college, I took a course in financial principles from Crown Financial Concepts. Ramsey teaches the same biblical principles. Continue reading »