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.

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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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Reflections on 2018

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In many ways, 2018 has been a crucial year for our homeschooling. Our oldest was 10 for most of 2018 and tackling fifth grade, which, where I come from, counts as middle school. I kept looking over my shoulder at the last five years (Where did they go?) since we started homeschooling. On the other hand, I also kept looking forward to the next eight (Can I do it? I think I can! I think I can!).

With Tennessee Governor and First Lady Haslam in Nashville at the Executive Mansion

My daughter and I got to meet Tennessee Governor and First Lady Haslam in Nashville at the Executive Mansion, where we had dinner with the Top 100 Readers of TN.

It feels like we are in the middle of our years with children at home. We have had children for 10 years (now 11) and we have another 10 to go to graduate our youngest, who is 8. If you cannot follow the math, it is my fault. My words fail me. The point is, I feel like we are in the middle of my homeschooling career, should I choose to accept this mission all the way through. Continue reading »

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Story of the World, Vol. 4, Chapter 31

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“Western Bullies and American Money” is the title of this chapter. To be more precise, the first story covers the Suez Crisis while the second describes the Marshall Plan.

Gatlinburg
Gatlinburg from the 12th floor of the Park Vista Hotel

Last year, I watched “The Crown” and they have an episode about the Suez Crisis and how the Queen had no idea of what the British Prime Minister plotted. So I felt like I knew something about this story as I read it to the children.  Continue reading »

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Story of the World, Vol. 4, Chapter 29

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Story of the World, Vol. 4, Chapter 29 covers the end of World War II with two stories: the war that stretched across the world and the atom bomb. Sobering events to be sure, albeit fascinating.

Boy carrying luggage

My son acting out “leaving London” like English children during WWII.

I made sure to point out that we live one hour away from Oak Ridge National Laboratories, where THE bomb was manufactured. My husband has cousins who work there. His uncle worked there all his life. We have yet to visit the place. We plan to do that in the near future. Maybe next spring, when we can afford a field trip day without wondering about book work. Continue reading »

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Story of the World, Vol. 4, Chapter 28

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Story of the World, Vol. 4, Chapter 28 deals with the three-war war and the Holocaust. So hard, telling these stories! I teared up as I read to the kids. The suffering that generation had to go through with the two world wars makes me heartbroken.

American Girl Series Molly

American Girl book showing how a girl would experience World War II.

Growing up under communism, they censored a lot of modern movies – a good thing, actually, because it forced us to read books instead. If they did show us a movie on our limited TV broadcasts, it would be about World War II, the Holocaust, or a musical featuring Fred Astaire. I feel like I have studied World War II forever or, at least, since age eight.  Continue reading »

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