Orchestra Camp

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Since 2016, our children have been attending the Knoxville Youth Symphony Orchestra summer camps. We had to skip in 2021 because of the mask mandate and there was no camp in 2020.

Orchestra Camp

Our daughter on the first day of orchestra camp

This year, our daughter really enjoyed her time at orchestra. Our son, unfortunately, had a conflict. He attended a computing camp at Southern Adventist University and it happened on the same week. However, he was able to attend the concert on the last day of camp, to support his sister from the audience.

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Studying for Baptism

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We were excited when our son told us he would like to get baptized sooner rather than later. During a recent church service, the speaker made an appeal and our son felt called to respond. Not wanting to make a show of himself, he kept it to himself until after church, when he told us about it. I gave him the pastor’s phone number so that they can set up a schedule for regular Bible studies.

Our son at Clingmans Dome

Our son at Clingmans Dome

They have already met via Zoom several times. The pastor said the baptismal study series is about 15 lessons. If they study once a week, which is the plan now, we are looking at a fall date for our son’s baptism. Continue reading »


Summer Break Goals

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Our summer break goes on for 12 weeks or exactly three months: from mid-May through mid-August. We will take it easy, but we don’t just idle around. Besides camps and camping, we have some academic goals to accomplish. Rule number 1: write your goals down. If it is not in writing, it doesn’t exist. Or, as the Romans used to say, “Verba volant, scripta manent.”

Rollerblading

One of her goals is to learn rollerblading.

Here are some things on our list of goals: Continue reading »


Night Hike at Clingmans Dome

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Once a year, our hiking club goes to Clingmans Dome at night, in May. The leader chooses a day with a full moon. This year, it just so happened there was also a lunar eclipse. We arrived at 8:10pm and stayed until about 11:30pm, when the clouds eclipsed the eclipse.

Full moon at Clingmans Dome

Full moon at Clingmans Dome

As we left the higher altitudes and got back into Gatlinburg, the moon became visible. No clouds covered the event anymore. Thus, we were able to see the most exciting part of the eclipse as we drove back home. I did not take any pictures of the eclipse, unfortunately. It was very difficult to do so from a moving car. Continue reading »


Age of Opportunity

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If you have reached the age of parenting teens, you know it is a whole new level of existence. Reading books about it seemed like the way to go, but I didn’t. Why? Probably because I was busy doing what homeschooling moms do: teach, cook, supervise house chores, parent, chauffeur them plus, oh yeah, the pandemic.

Age of Opportunity

Age of Opportunity

In 2021, I did buy a book called “Age of Opportunty” by David Tripp, at the recommendation of a friend. It sat on my night stand in a stack of about eight books and five magazines for months. Continue reading »


The Last Week of School

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It’s here, folks! The last week of school has finally arrived. As usual, I have mixed feelings. Homeschooling is my passion, so the end of the school year leaves me thinking, “What am I going to do with myself for the next three months?” On the other hand, I have been at this for nine years, so I know summer schedules can be even busier than the school year.

Mom and daughter holding hands

My daughter still wants to hold my hand while we hike. It’s sweet.

We have not finished all our textbooks, either. So this leaves us with a few things to wrap up here and there throughout the next 12 weeks. Actually, it is more like nine weeks, because three weeks will be spent in summer camps at different times. Continue reading »


Summer Camps 2022

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Now that summer camps have dropped mask mandates, we have decided to sign up for a few. Our daughter will attend Orchestra Camp, while our son will take an app-building Computer Camp. These two camps happen the same week, and our son chose computers over violin. He is 14 1/2 and we decided to respect his wishes.

Being silly

Silly moods allowed here

Then, they both will attend a summer youth camp in Georgia, through our church conference. It is called Cohutta Springs Summer Camp and it lasts a week. Our children have been there before and loved it. They have a lake and a pool, lots of arts and crafts, horses, paintball, BMX bikes, archery, ziplining, boating, and wilderness survival classes. The food is delicious, the counselors are selected carefully, and the worship services inspire the children to try to get to know God for themselves. Win-win-win. Continue reading »


Baskins Creek Falls

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Last week we hiked to Baskins Creek Falls. In short, never again. The trail boasts all kinds of terrain. You go up, down, left, right, and you see views and, of course, the waterfall at the end. Tough, but worth it. Once.

The National Park has really neglected this trail. We had to jump over or go under many felled trees in the middle of the path.

Baskins Creek Falls

Baskins Creek Falls

Both ways it is about three miles, so not too bad as far as time, even if you go slowly. Off the path, one could also hike a bit to see an old cemetery. Continue reading »


Fire Evacuation 2.0

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If you have been reading this blog for a long time, you may remember that we had to evacuate our house in 2016 due to extreme wildfires. Last week, a brush fire started five minutes from our house. We had to leave the house at midnight.

Girl on balcony

Our daughter on the balcony of the condo

The emergency alerts woke us up on the the cell phones. A policeman came to the door, too. The authorities evacuated our neighborhood and the one next to us – not the entire city of Gatlinburg. This brush fire started because of dry conditions, high winds, and downed power lines. Continue reading »


TeenPact – Four Day Program

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We have finally come to the age when our oldest could attend the four-day program from TeenPact. I thought we would never get here, but here it is. Ages 8-12 only have one day, on a Friday, and both our children participated in this One Day TeenPact several years in a row. Ages 13-18 have four days (Monday-Thursday) and then a fifth day (Friday) called Political Communication Workshop.

Reading his bill

Our son reading his bill on the first day of TeenPact

At TeenPact, students learn how a bill become law, how the government works, what politicians do, what lobbyists do. They also read the Constitution and learn about the political process. Call it civics and government, if you will. Continue reading »