Debt-Free Degree

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For the past month, I have gotten back into listening to the Ramsey Show. There is a podcast, a YouTube channel, and a website you can listen to the show on. I don’t listen to it on the radio.

Debt-Free Degree

Debt-Free Degree

Many years ago, I used to listen to Dave Ramsey and read a couple of his books. When I was in college, I took a course in financial principles from Crown Financial Concepts. Ramsey teaches the same biblical principles. Continue reading »

Teaching Grammar

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My son took a practice ACT test here at the house. We discovered he was stronger in math and science than in English and Reading. As a result, we started doing Daily Grams, which is not as boring as Rod and Staff. I really like Rod and Staff in general, but it is a bit drill-and-kill.

Daily Grams

The cover of Daily Grams for 7th grade

Personally, I love grammar. My children, on the other hand, do not find it as enthralling as I do. Over the years, I have found myself caving in to their requests for more history and less grammar and the results are showing. Fortunately, they can learn grammar skills quickly. Continue reading »

Spring Break

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Pandemic or not, we do not like to travel during spring break. This is a time for me to reorganize the school room, my records and curricula, and make plans for next year. The kids love their free time and extra play dates with friends. Besides, who wants to go to the beach when everybody else goes to the beach? We like going to the beach in May or September, when most people cannot go.


One of our cats, Thunder, waiting impatiently at the vet

Unfortunately, I had a cold during spring break. I spent half of the break in bed, while my husband and the kids took care of themselves. It happens. Continue reading »

IEPs – Facebook Live

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Individualized Educational Plans work well in any school. Homeschooling provides the best setting for individualized instruction. Every child is unique, so the education of every child should follow the personality and strengths of the child.

Unicorn Robe

My daughter wearing her unicorn robe. I have had to adopt my teaching style to accommodate her playful nature.

In this Facebook Live event, I talk about how to do it. We break it down into Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic – the 3 Rs. An IEP does not have to be too formal, as long as you understand what you are doing. Continue reading »

Bible Curriculum – Facebook Live

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In this Facebook Live event, I present different Bible curricula for children as young as preschool all the way through high school. Some of these options are from big publishers or from small ministries run by homeschool families.

Children on a hike

My children on a hike at Tremont Institute

I have used each one of these curricula, so I speak from experience. Nothing is perfectly suited for each homeschooling family, so prepare to adapt some of the content for your needs. Continue reading »

Homeschool Dads – Facebook Live

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How can homeschool dads help and contribute to the overall homeschool? I spend about 15 minutes talking about this very important subject.

Dad and Son

My husband working with our son on a project

Just as dads help with the pregnancy and the birth of the child, they can also help with educating them at home. We are assuming that dads are working full-time as the main bread winners, of course. I do know some couples who have reversed this order of things, simply because the wife is a medical doctor. Continue reading »

Our Weekly Bread: 19 of 36

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Puff pastry filled with savory delicacies like spinach and cheese or veggie meat crumbles? Yes, please! I use frozen puff pastry from the store. The cheese and spinach quickly come together if you have frozen spinach and shredded cheese. The veggie meat also comes together quickly, whether you use dry TVP or frozen Morning Star crumbles.

Veggie meat pie

Puff pastry filled with veggie meat

You see, you have to wait about 40 minutes for the pastry to thaw. That gives you time to prepare your filling. For the spinach, you need to also thaw it, then drain it well. I have noticed that block cheese you shred is much tastier that the cheese that comes already shredded. So, take your pick. Do you have more time (to shred cheese) or more desire for convenience (and can compromise on taste a little)?

I made the “meat” puff pastry this week – shall we call it “meat pie?” It was so good, it was gone in one meal. Everybody ate their fill and then some. The kids have requested we put this one on a regular rotation.

Our Weekly Bread: 18 of 36

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Half way through the school year and I found yet another winning recipe: flat bread. My family loves this! One recipe makes eight flat individual size flat breads and they consume them in just a few hours.

Flat bread with plushie

Flat bread with Tumble, one of our stufties

I got this recipe from my mom’s husband, who is a wonderful home cook. My mom also used to make this flat bread when I was growing up, so I am very familiar with the taste and texture. I asked them both where they learned to make this bread and they smiled and said, “From our parents and grandparents.”

Continue reading »

Creating the Perfect Home School Environment

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Homeschooling children has become very popular in the United States, having originally appeared rather niche a decade ago.

It is estimated by the National Home Education Research Institute that there are around five million homeschooled students in grades K-12 in the US. That equates to around 9% of all school-age children, making it very much a mainstream method of education in the modern era. With the pandemic still raging on, it is even believed that number could have rocketed higher across the US entering 2021.


Bananagrams create learning fun.

How that manifests itself at the delivery end of the issue is interesting. How do you go about creating a viable school environment for your children, and what extra steps should you be taking to ensure the process is both enjoyable and effective? In essence, how do you create the perfect school, at home?


School can be the first real taste of structure that a child has to their day, and you should be looking to offer them that same experience at home. That starts by having a single location in which they are to receive their schooling. It may be a home office, it may be a repurposed room, but each lesson should be in the same place. This signals to your children that school has started and that despite being at home, they should behave and pay attention in the correct manner.


Make sure any room you work in is well insulated and cozy, because as we explain in our article ‘Planning for 2021’ poor weather is a strong feature in many US states, particularly over the winter months. You can protect your children by ensuring drafts are blocked out, and in extreme weather maybe even using thick drapes to help keep the room warm. If you are schooling from home for the long term, consider insulating rooms, too. A feature on how to save energy by HomeServe, states that something as simple as loft insulation can save a quarter of the heat from your home, making the classroom environment far more bearable for your children.


It is so easy to be distracted at home, not just for your child, but for you as well. Make sure tablets and mobile phones are put away. Televisions and radios should be turned off, too. You do not have to insist on complete silence. A classroom would be noisy and full of life. Choose the right type of noise. You might even have to remove pets from the room. Remember to adhere to your own rules. Whilst a child would not watch television during a lesson, a teacher would not play on their phone, either.


Do make sure your child sticks to a routine, which plays into the regular location theme. Have a set start time, as well as regular breaks, which the children know they can work towards. Try to mimic a regular school day as much as possible, having a morning break, lunch, and maybe an afternoon break. Stick to those times, so your child has a clear idea of when the work stops and when it must start.

Do Not Stress

Finally, try not to stress. Remember, homeschooling should be a relaxing and focused period in your child’s life. Therefore, you need to project that whenever you are teaching. If you cannot get the environment exactly right, then focus on content. If your child is learning, it does not matter if they do it all from the sofa. The calmer you are, the better they will react and interact.

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 »