Character Trumps Academics

Posted on

Several happenings around our home for the past month have lead me to the conclusion that “character trumps academics.” I am so tired of interpersonal conflict. Can we please get through a day without somebody getting mad at somebody else?

Family in Abisko National Park

Our family five years ago, in Abisko National Park, Sweden, above the Arctic Circle

At the same time, I realize this is real life and not utopia. Conflicts will happen and tempers will flare. However, if we make a concerted effort to minimize such situations, we could probably make some progress towards more peace and peace-keeping. Blessed are the peace makers, right? Continue reading »

Beach Vacation

Posted on

We just got back from Myrtle Beach, SC. Almost a week spent at the beach does the body and mind wonders. Here is an opportunity to transform any vacation into a learning experience or field trip: just have a Socratic conversation about what they see and hear.

Family at the Beach

Our family in Myrtle Beach, SC

On the way there (a 7-hour trip by car), we stopped at a Cracker Barrel for lunch. In the parking lot, our daughter spotted something different in a palm tree. “What’s that?” she asked about these green berries hanging in clusters underneath the usual palm fronds. “We don’t know, but let’s look it up.” I took pictures and my iNaturalist app said it was a palm tree. Thanks a lot. So I Googled “berries on palm trees” and found out things we did not know. Continue reading »

Back to the Youth Symphony

Posted on

In 2006, when I first heard about the Knoxville Symphony Youth Orchestra, something told me this would be a wonderful thing for my children, if I had any. At the time, I did not have any, but I had recently been married.

Orchestra Rehearsal

Our children before the first orchestra rehearsal of the school year

Fast forward a decade and our children auditioned successfully for the youth symphony. For four years, between 2016-2020, we drove to Knoxville every week for rehearsals and concerts at the Tennessee Theater. The children made progress slowly but surely, advancing through the orchestra levels. Continue reading »

Keeper of the Lost Cities

Posted on

Keeper of the Lost Cities (KOTLC) is a book series by Shannon Messenger, written for middle school students. My children introduced me to the series in 2020. I got it for them for Christmas that year, but I only started reading it in 2021.

Keeper of the Lost Cities

Keeper of the Lost Cities volume 8, Legacy, has 789 pages.

Fantasy does not grip me. I have a hard time with elves, ogres, gnomes, and dwarves. However, the kids talked about it so much and showed me so many memes online about KOTLC that I realized I should read the series. If nothing else, it will give me a common vocabulary with them.

KOTLC Legacy

KOTLC Legacy, volume 8

There is something to be said about sharing a book or a movie or expressions and situations from a book or a movie with your children. It’s your family’s culture. Continue reading »

Homeschooling Is Like Tennis

Posted on

As I watch tennis, my favorite spectator sport, I can’t help but see similarities between tennis and homeschooling. Here are some of the ways in which homeschooling is like tennis:

Boy removes moss from outdoor carpet

Our son removing moss from outdoor carpet – another metaphor for homeschooling – a tedious combination of perseverance, effort and skill

Continue reading »

Planning and Executing

Posted on

Many homeschooling wars are lost because of the way we plan and execute the plan. Every homeschool mom is different. Some are more organized and others are free spirits. It works well as long as you keep at it.

LEGO Calendar

For me, I need a plan. Then, I need to execute the plan. Last but not least, I need to relax when things don’t go according to plan. Continue reading »

12 Rules for Life

Posted on

Jordan Peterson shot to fame a few years ago because of the gender and pronoun controversy. As a professor, he was living a quiet life until he refused to memorize different pronouns for different students.

12 Rules for Life

12 Rules for Life – this book will rock your world

Many interviews and several best-selling books later, Peterson now works with Ben Shapiro. I am reading “12 Rules for Life,” (not an affiliate link) his book about how to bring order out of chaos. Continue reading »

I Am School

Posted on

From self-help gurus to preachers and everyone in between, they all warn us to be careful what we say about ourselves after “I am.” Be careful how you end this sentence: “I am…” They call it a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Girl playing folk harp

Our daughter practicing the folk harp at home

A few years ago, when I was thinking about all the things that I teach the children and how I organize their activities, I realized that I was, in fact, their whole school. I was school. I am school. Continue reading »

The Last Week of Summer Break

Posted on

We start the new school year next week, which makes this week the last week of summer break. This has been an interesting break. We did not accomplish much from the list of goals we put down on paper. However, we have grown closer as a family by going through growing pains and challenges and by having heart-to-heart, honest conversations.

Teddybear admires bread

My teddybear, Tumble, is admiring the Dutch oven bread I made today.

It has become clear beyond the shadow of a doubt that my children are not children anymore. One of them is a teenager, the other one is a tween. Clearly, we have entered adolescence and there is no going back. My husband and I have to grow with them and adapt to this new phase. Continue reading »

Switching Musical Instruments

Posted on

After 6.5 years of taking piano lessons, our daughter has decided she would like to switch to harp. We said yes because of several reasons.

First Harp Lesson

First harp lesson

Every family is different and every child is different. These are our reasons for accepting her decision and supporting her in her new goal of learning the harp: Continue reading »