Hiking in the Smokies

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We joined Wild + Free Great Smoky Mountains last August and it has been a great experience. These other homeschooling families may have different approaches and convictions, but we all respect each other and find common ground.

Mom and Daughter

Mom and Daughter at The Sinks

If nothing else, nature unites us. We can all find many things to discuss about the natural things we run into. Then, we talk about food. Some of them have older children, who have gone to college, so we talk about that. I always have lots of questions about scholarships, test prep, and the college atmosphere. Religion is another thing we can discuss, as long as we deal in generalities. We stay away from politics – it seems like this topic has gotten more volatile than ever in our country. Continue reading »

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Lessons from the 29th Week

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Lesson #1: getting out in nature is not overrated. After weeks of rain and snow, we were finally able to go hiking with our friends from Wild + Free Great Smoky Mountains. Super nice: the nature, the fresh air, the fellowship, the picnic. It was 46F, which is much better than the 36F we endured during our last hike in January.

Hiking

Looking for a picnic spot

The kids love being out in nature. They run around like lambs, staying on the path, but sometimes going ahead of the adults. We manage to keep an eye on them by sending somebody to run and tell them to slow down.

Face Paint

She loves to paint her face with rocks from the river.

We see the same usual friends, but now and then a family we have not seen in a long time pop into town and they come along. So we get a bit of a variety. This week we hiked the Alum Cave Trail, but only to Arch Rock. It was not a difficult hike up to that point. It gets steeper and harder from then on, but we stopped.

 

Birthday Girl

The other major lesson of the week was that children grow up. (Duh.) Even the baby in our family turned 10 this week. With mixed feelings, we prepared for her birthday party. She invited some friends over, we had pizza and cake, they played for six hours, and great fun was had by all. Sigh. They do grow up fast, don’t they?

Birthday Girl

Unicorn cake – and just like that, she is 10

Where is my baby girl? My kindergartner who could read but could not sit still for five minutes? She is in fourth grade now, participating in middle school events like Science Olympiad, earning a blue belt in taekwondo, playing with the youth symphony on stage at the Tennessee Theater, and giving me so much joy, it hurts.

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Family Activities For All Ages

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Making time for family activities isn’t always easy to do. If it isn’t prior commitments and the general pressures of modern life holding you back, it’s the sheer fact of having to find family activities which everyone will enjoy.

Driving toward mountains

Great Smoky Mountains in the distance are always a great family destination.

When your children’s ages cover a wide range, it is even harder to find something that everyone will be willing to give a go. If you can manage it though, your family time will benefit greatly as a result. The following family activities are guaranteed to raise smiles all round. Continue reading »

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