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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Rescheduling Events

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We had to reschedule the Spelling Bee for February and TeenPact for March. January seems plagued with winter storms and COVID-19 outbreaks. So we learn to change the schedule and carry on.

Snow on shrub support

Snow in our backyard

Many years ago, I published a post about flexibility. One of my readers said, “Flexibility is easier said than done.” I totally agree. We packed and made plans for several weeks and, frankly, months, about TeenPact and the Spelling Bee. Continue reading »


Christmas Program

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If your children take music lessons, at least twice a year they have recitals, programs, and concerts. Typically, in December and in May. The pandemic messed up that routine, of course. We have had to do Zoom recitals at home and skip going to nursing homes. But we kept on going with our lessons and did our best to monitor the progress of our children.

Strings

Playing in church with friends motivates children to practice.

One week before Christmas this year, the kids played violin to accompany our church’s choir for the beautiful “How Great Our Joy” by Craig Courtney. What a piece! Such a refreshing sound from the usual round of Christmas carols. It was only one piece, but a new experience to give them a taste of what it is like to accompany a choir. They enjoyed it and said they would like to do it again if called upon. Continue reading »


Here Comes August

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We start homeschooling in the middle of the month. I am spending the first two weeks of the month taking it easy. However, here and there, I am getting ready. For one, we will do IEW for the first time and there is a bit of a learning curve for me, even though we got the forever streaming. While Andrew Pudewa will do the teaching, I need to understand the philosophy behind this curriculum. With the downloads, I got these audio presentations Mr. Pudewa gave at homeschool conferences. They are inspirational.

HS Meme

The more I homeschool, the more I want to homeschool.

I am knee-deep in middle school, so I need a sense of humor more than ever. Memes to the rescue. If you ever get tired of homeschooling, or angry at the kids, just Google homeschool memes. Of course, you will have to toss out the memes created by public school teachers and students… who totally misunderstand homeschooling… For the most part, you will find many memes that will make you laugh and appreciate the journey further. Continue reading »


Jarring July

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This July was a jarring month for us. Two friends died and Smoky – our tuxedo cat – went missing. I supposed it could be worse, but it was pretty shocking to go through all of this. The kids are learning that life is fragile and we should not take anybody for granted.

Smoky

Our cat who went missing – Smoky

We kept reading through July. Our daughter is going through the Mensa for Kids reading list for grades 4-6. Our son is going through the same list for grades 7-9. He likes to read to himself. My daughter enjoys listening to me read. I like reading to her because I have not read these books. It’s a good way for me to find out what the American classics for kids are all about. Also, we enjoy talking about the characters, laughing and crying about the situations, and generally having a bonding experience.

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Summer Break

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We have been on summer break for a month now. Every day, we do what we want to do, but we also have certain goals to reach this summer. Many homeschoolers use their summer break to finish up a history book that they did not finish, for instance. We are doing the same thing.

Andrews Bald

Andrews Bald picnic with friends

Do you have academic goals for the summer, in order to avoid the summer slide? You probably should. Many libraries have a Summer Reading Program going, with workshops and activities, prizes and craft projects. I am finding out quickly that tweens and teens are not interested in those programs though. Continue reading »


Let’s Go Geography Curriculum Review

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Let’s Go Geography is a curriculum for grade K-5, which teaches geography country by country, through online interactive activities. The author is a homeschooling mom. By buying a subscription, you will have access to digital materials like PDF files of craft ideas and patterns, links to YouTube videos, and printouts meant to be colored. You also get a list of books you could check out from your local library, which cover each country.

Newfound Gap

Newfound Gap – the state line between TN and NC

My children were in 5th and 7th grade when we went through this curriculum and it was still relevant to their ages. We did not do the crafts, but we watched the YouTube videos and learned about different countries. From some of the “field trips,” we followed some other inquiry-based learning paths of our own. That’s the beauty of homeschooling. We can take time to answer questions that hit us as we study. Continue reading »


2021 Spelling Bee

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My children have been participanting in the BHEA Spelling Bee since 2015, I think. BHEA stands for Blount Home Education Association – a homeschool support group in a county other than our own. But, such is life. There is no homeschool group in Sevier County that runs a spelling bee, as far as I know.

Spelling Bee 2021

Spelling Bee 2021 Participants

We are also members of the Cedar Springs Homeschool Support Group in Knoxville. They used to run a Spelling Bee, but not anymore. They have shifted their focus to science. Continue reading »


Our Weekly Bread: 15 of 36

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This week, we made dinner rolls. Just like that, I got tired of buying dinner rolls from the frozen section. We do not usually get them anyway. But for a big celebration like Thanksgiving or Christmas, we like to have dinner rolls on the table. We buy wheat rolls, which makes us feel like we make an effort towards health. However, I feel like we should step it up a notch.

Dinner Rolls

Dinner rolls, fresh out of the oven

Enter this recipe for dinner rolls I shall tell you about. I have had this recipe in a cookbook somebody gave me when I graduated from college. Ah, the good old days when people gave me cookbooks for a graduation gift. Continue reading »


Our Weekly Bread: 13 of 36

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The garlic knots were a success. The kids wanted to make them again the following week. This time, my daughter insisted we make them into “croissants.” What you do is you get the dough split into several pieces. Then, you rub them into long “snakes.” As you twist the long, thin pieces, you bring them together into a circle. They look really good.

Dough

Our daughter shaping the dough into “croissants”

I wanted to at least provide a variation on the same theme. Therefore, I proposed we use bread flour instead of all-purpose flour. They came out delicious.

The crust got a bit more crunchy, but the inside was still fluffy. That’s a nice contrast to have in a pastry, of course.

Croissants

Our garlic “croissants”

This time, I chopped the garlic instead of crushing it. It made it easier to spread over the croissants.

I read that you can freeze the dough or the finished product. Here’s the thing: we eat this whole recipe in one sitting. What has leftovers to freeze? Maybe I should triple the recipe and then just freeze the dough. But we are not that kind of family. We make it, we eat it, no leftovers.