Planning for the School Year

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On my week without children, because they spent this week at camp in Georgia, I decided to tackle planning the school year. Over the years, I have tried different planners and even made my own. This year, some homeschooling moms told me about a digital conference which, so far, has been worth every penny.

Trello Board for Homeschooling

My daughter’s first week of homeschooling as laid out in Trello.

One of the workshops dealt with planning your entire school year in Excel. I tried to do what she wanted us to do, but it just never seemed right. What if Lesson 46 does not get done in math one day? Well, you put it on the right side and move it to the next week. Then, you build in make up days. It just seemed too difficult.

The other thing that did not work for me was how fiddly Excel is. The presenter offered some free forms and logs, but they all got changed by the time I opened my Excel file. Then, I had to mess with cell formatting and that’s just not something I enjoy. Continue reading »

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Gardening with Children

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One of the most important things you can do for your children is to help them connect with nature. We live in an era of nature deficit disorders due to technology’s influence on our lifestyles. In my own experience, I have had to be intentional about the time we spend outside.

It is easy for me to say, “Well, they are inside and reading. They are watching educational videos or building with LEGO bricks and other building toys. So, they are learning. Why go outside and deal with gnats, ticks, sunburn, and mud?”

Girl pulling weeds in garden

Our daughter helped pull many of the plants out of the garden bed.

Besides, we live five minutes from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and we get black bears in our yard. Also, coyotes, raccoons, deer, and opposum. We feel so much safer inside. Our windows are large, so we can see all these animals, plus birds and insects galore – almost like a National Geographic video right here in our backyard. It is so much safer and easier to stay inside. Continue reading »

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How to Avoid Summer Slide

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Everybody needs a break, including homeschooling moms and students. While you should take a few weeks off to relax, you should also consider the perils of summer slide. Sorry for shoulding all over you, but I figured we all need a little encouragement in the right direction now and then.

Baby Turtle

Our son found a baby turtle in our backyard. We left it alone after taking a picture.

We have taken two weeks off after finishing the school year. Now, it is time to get back into a relaxed routine of educational activities like reading and practicing the violin and piano, alternating with physical activity outside, chores, and some screen time. I even make them do a bit of math and writing or spelling now and then. Not every day though. Continue reading »

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The End of Another School Year

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You know you have homeschooled for more than five years when you stop making certificates for your children. Ha! This year, I have no interest in making these end-of-the-school year diplomas for my children.

American Flag

Let freedom (to homeschool) reign!

I have a folder full of them for each child from previous years and they just sit there. Nobody will ever look at them. Berean Christian School in Knoxville, our umbrella school, safely stores our cumulative files. That’s what counts.

These certificates I make at home represent a period at the end of the sentence for 2018-2019 and nothing more. The kids don’t care about them. I needed them more than the kids. Continue reading »

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The Best Graduation Gifts for Homeschoolers

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Homeschoolers, like any other students, deserve only the best gifts to celebrate their graduation. Therefore, you should make it more memorable by giving the perfect present for reaching an education milestone. No idea what to choose? Read on for the best gift ideas to consider.

Shutterfly Photo Book

Shutterfly Photo Book I put together about 2017

 

Cash or Gift Cards

Do you know your graduate’s favorite store or restaurant? Get them a gift card for that particular store. Do you  trust your graduate’s ability to spend cash wisely? Then simply write them a check. It’s easier on you and they will have the freedom to personalize their gift according to their own desires. Everybody loves cash or gift cards. You just added to their financial freedom a bit. We all love freedom.

 

Photobook

If you are looking for sentimental gifts for homeschooling graduates, a photobook will be the perfect option. It is a great way to remind the graduate about happy times before graduation. This is a perfect way to reminisce about fun times during one’s younger years. If you are looking for a photobook as a graduation gift, check out Shutterfly.com. Continue reading »

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Happy Mother’s Day!

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My first Mother’s Day with a child taller than I am makes me feel a bit wistful. Where is my baby boy? My son, age 11, is now taller than I am. When he starts talking about rocket science, I have a hard time following what he is saying.

Mother and Children at the Beach

In Florida, May 2019

My daughter is not far behind him, either. She will probably not grow as tall as he will, but she will certainly get to be taller than I am. I certainly hope so. It should not be that hard any way. I am barely five feet tall. Continue reading »

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Beach Vacation Becomes Field Trip

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Children learn so much when the family travels. Last week, we spent a few days in Butler Beach, Florida. Just outside of St. Augustine, this area has plenty of wildlife and history to qualify as a full-fledge field trip.

Gopher tortoise

Gopher tortoise on the beach dunes.

We observed gopher tortoises and lizards in the conservation dunes – the 30 yards or so between our condo building and the beach. Gopher tortoises burrow and are endangered, so we kept our distance and took pictures from afar. Continue reading »

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Gridopolis Game Review

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Gridopolis is an award-winning 3D strategy game which teaches STEM principles through a fun and engaging board game. When it comes to STEM activities, I am all ears. My son loves science and technology. He knows a lot of things that I still cannot wrap my mind around, like how to get a rocket into orbit and the differences between SpaceX rockets versus Blue Feather rockets.

Gridopolis Game Box

Gridopolis Game Box

I took note when I heard about Gridopolis, a board game that teaches STEM principles without screens. Think of it as a cross between chess, checkers, and a strategy game, all in 3D. Continue reading »

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Fiber Arts Festival

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Last Friday, we attended the 10th Annual Fiber Arts Festival in Townsend, TN. The Townsend Art Guild organizes this program at the Smoky Mountain Heritage Center on “the quiet side of the Smokies,” as Townsend is called.

Boy holds angora rabbit

The joy of cuddling an Angora rabbit

One of our homeschool support groups, Blount Home Education Association, put together a field trip for no more than 10 students. We signed up for it as soon as they announced it. First, I wanted to finally make it to the Heritage Center in Townsend. I had heard so much about it.

Continue reading »

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Strawberry Vinaigrette Recipe

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Strawberry vinaigrette will make you want to have salad on the table every day. Even if you do not like salad or cooking, this strawberry vinaigrette recipe will help you a lot. It is easy to make and it will save you money. You will not want to buy a salad dressing from the store ever again.

Strawberry Vinaigrette

Strawberry vinaigrette over a simple salad

Just so you know, I pour it over steamed veggies, as well. I suffer from multiple food allergies, which restricts my use of cashew sauces, vegan mayo, or soy-based ranch dressing and the like. This strawberry vinaigrette has saved my culinary life in many ways. It is so hard to make food taste well when you cannot use onion, garlic, celery, lemon, etc. Continue reading »

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