Lessons from the Eighteenth Week

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We arrived at the middle of the school year with a bang. The kids decided to be completely unruly toward the end of the week, so I could not teach them. I guess we all have bad days. Last Thursday was a bad day for us. I told them I would take one of their days during Christmas holiday to make up the school we did not do on Thursday. In addition to that, they received more chores and 0 screen time for the next few days.

CT7 Candy Cane Art

My son’s art will be displayed at Candy Kitchen behind The Pancake Pantry, along with other art. Some are for sale.

They are learning from their mistake and they are changing their attitude for the better. We have reconciled and used this as a teachable moment. They need to learn respect and this is the time to learn it. Continue reading »

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Lessons from the Seventeenth Week

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Week 17 included Thanksgiving. That would be enough to make it a busy week, right? But we also experienced a mad dash to the Emergency Room, as my husband was suspected of meningitis. Also, we gave the kids three days off school. Last but not least, I decided to finally dive into the SAT/ACT/college admission universe. Let me take this in order.

Kids with fall decorations

Five years ago

First, I became fully aware that some people do not celebrate Thanksgiving. It amazes me, but as I delved more into this phenomenon, I realized it is based on historical revisionism and left-leaning positions when it comes to American politics. It’s a free country and people can do whatever they want. I am not stopping anybody from quitting or shaming Thanksgiving. Continue reading »

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Lessons from the Sixteenth Week

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We have come close to the middle of this school year. Week 18 will happen here in a couple of weeks. In the US, there are 36 school weeks, or 180 school days, in case you did not know that. So here we are, starting week 17 and looking back at week 16. What have we learned?

Before the concert, mom and children

Before their concert at the Tennessee Theater in Knoxville

First of all, I have slowed down my Trello lesson planning. For those of you new to homeschooling and planning, this happens every year. Once you know what you are doing and what your daily goals are, you do not need to put it into writing anymore. Continue reading »

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Lessons from the Fifteenth Week

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We got the first snow of the season, about four inches. The kids had enough to play in, but it was bitterly cold, 19F (-7C). Our county closed all public schools. Nearby counties functioned on a two-hour delay. I joked that our homeschool was on a two-hour delay. The flexibility of homeschool shines through on a “snow day.”

First Snow

First Snow

It is always nice to let them play outside and then do school. The brain functions better after physical exercise. However, I do not have enough faith (is that what it takes?) to trust this process on a regular basis. Maybe my children can implement that routine in their future homeschools, when they teach their own children: play outside first for 30 minutes, then come in for lessons. Continue reading »

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Lessons from the Fourteenth Week

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The biggest lesson of this week was this: after you missed a week of classes outside the home due to an illness, check that everybody else is still doing the classes outside the home as planned. Check before you travel, that is.

Math in the car

Math in the car

We had two classes that got cancelled for one reason or another, but I did not know about it. I should have checked in with the teachers before. A simple text would have done the job. I even had the impression to text one of these teachers, but I did not heed that impression. So I am learning to listen to my own instincts. Continue reading »

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Just Write Curriculum Review

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“Just Write,” a writing curriculum by Rachel Tolman Terry, provides 150 writing prompts for middle school. Such a book will make your life easier if you would like a no-prep writing curriculum.

Homeschoolers studying

My children using “Just Write” on a regular school day.

This curriculum is consumable. The pages are lined, so that it really functions as a workbook. Every two-page spread has a black-and-white picture on the left and the lined page on the right. At the end of the book, you can read briefly about the photographers.

Think about it: a school year has 180 days. We usually spend 30 days on field trips, illness, or concerts. Realistically, we can count on 150 days of active book instruction. With “Just Write,” you can plan on your child’s writing something every day. Meanwhile, you did not have to do a thing to prepare. Continue reading »

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Lessons from the Thirteenth Week

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The title could also be changed to “How to Homeschool While Your Entire Family Has the Flu.” Yes, we had the flu all of last week. It started the weekend before that, but we had no clue. We thought it was just a sore throat due to seasonal allergies.

Orchestra portrait

Every year, they take official portraits for the youth symphony.

Then our son started coughing badly on the way to orchestra. He stayed for the photo session, happening only that day, but not for the rehearsal. The next day, he was running a fever. A visit to the doctor confirmed he had the flu. By now it was too late for anything other than rest and lots of fluids. I made tea and heated up soup several times a day. Continue reading »

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Lessons from the Twelfth Week

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We are 1/3 of the way through the school year. Just like that. I am excited about the progress we are making. Also, I am happy with the changes we have made so far to our schedule.

Last week included two days away from home: one preparing for Science Olympiad with two different coaches in Knoxville, and one hiking with our Wild and Free Great Smoky Mountains homeschooling friends.

Seven Islands Hike Board

My kids on one of the hikes at Seven Islands

As such, I had to do some more adjustment in my head about book learning. In the end, I know we will finish our goals for the year. It’s just that I have to allow for weeks like this one to happen. In conclusion, I find it gets easier over time. Continue reading »

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Lessons from the Eleventh Week

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One thing I forgot to mention last week: the Science Olympiad coaches invited my children to try out for the Write It, Do It (WIDI) event, to represent their team. Each team has 14-16 members and they all participate in 2-4 events each. There are 35 or so events. Each event has two team members. Since my children only signed up for 2 and 3 events respectively, the coaches wondered if they would be interested in WIDI.

Black bear in our yard

Black bear in our yard

Science Olympiad organizers set up the schedule of events. So, our coaches look at the schedule and decide which kids could fit the slot for this or that event. This happens after every child has suggested them 5-10 events they would like to participate in. Continue reading »

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Fourth Grade Curriculum Choices

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One of my readers wanted to know our curriculum choices. As I browsed through my blog, I realized I have not actually spelled out much for 4th grade. Before I give you the list, let me just say this is what I am using this year with my 4th grader. It is slightly different from what I used with my son, who was in 4th grade two years ago. Here we go.

Reading – Mensa for Kids, 4-6 book list Also, the National Spelling Bee Bookshelf titles. They change from year to year. User discretion is advised. We have had to skip some titles because of their political or occult content.

 

Spelling and grammar – Logic Of English Essentials – Level A

Story of the World Volume 2

Story of the World Volume 2

 

Writing – Writing with Ease, Level 1 – if your child is not yet writing well, do some more copywork. Alternatively, you can make your own sheets online. I had a book for cursive copywork with nature facts and Bible verses, titled Cursive Copywork. Continue reading »

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