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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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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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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Story of the World, Vol. 4, Chapter 38

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Story of the World, Vol. 4, Chapter 38 is titled Two Ways of Fighting, referring to Soviet invasions and the rise of international terrorism. Fascinating chapter, of course, for someone who grew up in Eastern Europe. We did not know much about the invasion of Czechoslovakia or Afghanistan under communism. So every new detail I learn or every new angle means a lot to me.

This way to Moscow signs

They made signs and I placed them in the wrong direction so that they would not find the toy.

The first invasion happened before I was born, so I cannot tell you what the communists reported in their highly controlled news at the time. But I do remember reading in the newspaper about the Mujaheddin in the early 80s, when I was in elementary school, and we had to prepare a news flash for a report.  Continue reading »

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Story of the World, Vol. 4, Chapter 37

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Story of the World, Vol. 4, Chapter 37 has a funny title: Two Short Wars and One Long One. The Vietnam war represents the long war. Two wars in the Middle East appear as the short ones in the titles. After all, they only lasted days.

Apricot coconut rice cake for the Vietnamese Festival of Tet

Apricot coconut rice cake for the Vietnamese Festival of Tet

The Six-Day War lasted exactly six days, miraculously enough. The Yom Kippur War went on for 20 days or so. Of course, the Vietnam War went on for twenty years, with American involvement shifting from economic pressures to actually sending troops. Continue reading »

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Goals for 2019

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If you do not write down your goals, you might not meet them. In no particular order, here are our homeschooling goals for the 2019:

Planner and laptop

I am using the Well-Planned Day planner in conjunction with Google Calendar.

  1. Science Olympiad – two events (first time on a middle school team); no matter what happens, we want to stimulate those neurons and new study habits
  2. TeenPact One Day – our fourth year
  3. Spelling Bee – our second year; see number 1
  4. Orchestra – two more concerts, lots of rehearsals still for the season
  5. Piano Festival – our fourth year
  6. Violin RSM assessments – our third year; preparation is more important than the results
  7. Keep up the taekwondo training, maybe go up one more level through testing
  8. Finish SOTW Vol. 1 – Ancient History; tackle more reading, less crafts
  9. National Standardized Testing – our yearly tradition and requirement
  10. Finish spelling curriculum with 5th grader, Logic of English Level C
  11. Finish spelling curriculum with 3rd grader, Logic of English Level A
  12. Put French and Latin firmly on the schedule; I feel bad about neglecting both
  13. Finish math curriculum in March with both
  14. Work through next year’s math curriculum in April and May
  15. Art classes in town – twice a month; I relax and they have fun; win-win!
  16. Violin lessons
  17. Piano lessons
  18. Son publishes his first book, maybe more
  19. Read, read, read – mostly classics for children, with some fluff in between
  20. More household chores to reflect and improve their maturity and skills

One last thought

There! I wrote mine down. Now you all can hold me accountable by the end of 2019. I have learned to be realistic in my goals. Finishing the math curriculum by mid-March will work. Why? Because we started this curriculum last year in April.

When we go to our umbrella school for testing, we want to feel confident. Consequently, we finish the math curriculum, then the kids feel prepared. So last year I hurried through and we finished it all before the test.

We took spring break for two weeks. Afterwards, we started on the next grade math, which began with a review of the previous material. This scenario works great for April and May, when everybody is sort of “done with school” mentally.

We also could pick and choose some chapters in random order, like “Money” or “The Clock.” So yeah, these goals are realistic.

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Story of the World, Vol. 4, Chapter 35

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Story of the World, Vol. 4, Chapter 35 is titled The Cold War. The space race between the Soviet Union and the USA covers the first story. The second story takes us to Cuba during the 13 days in October, when the world teetered on the brink of nuclear war.

Boy weighs himself with books

My son weighed himself with a stack of books.

Once again, I teared up during reading because of my personal experience with communism. The kids make me laugh with their reactions to my tears, so I end up crying and laughing at the same time. Continue reading »

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