Lessons from the Twenty-First Week

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Last week, we started school back up, along with orchestra, violin lessons, taekwondo, and the Wild + Free Great Smoky Mountains hikes. We should have started piano as well, but what do you know? My car battery got drained mysteriously. The car would not start on the day of the piano lesson. We had to cancel and change the car battery first, before anything else.

W+F Picnic

Wild and Free group picnic, on the Gatlinburg Trail

It was really neat to be out in nature with our W+F group. The fellowship, the fresh air, sunshine, and relaxed pace really do the mind good. One of the moms told me about this book, “Mere Motherhood,” and later lent it to me. I am reading it and taking notes. It is that good. Continue reading »


Lessons from the Twentieth Week

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The most important lesson for me this week was this: we can fit 20 weeks in the first semester. I am glad I have been keeping track with the blog. This leaves us with 16 weeks for the second semester.

Girl with loom

Our daughter with her bracelet-making loom

When you are a homeschool educator, you make your own schedule. It helps to have a rule of thumb to divide and conquer the academic year. I knew we needed at least 150 days before our annual standardized test in mid-March. Now I know this also means 20 weeks before Christmas break. Continue reading »


Christmas Break 2019

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Last week, we dashed about with Christmas preparations and I imagine you all did the same. We receive so many emails over the Christmas season, I figured you would not miss one more, from this blog.

Mother and Daughter in matching dresses

Twinning with my daughter is always fun.

We had family in town for a few days before Christmas, then they left. When Christmas came, we celebrated quietly, with our family of five: me, my husband, our son, daughter, and cat. Can’t forget the cat!

One of the reasons we homeschool is because we are home buddies. We do not seek to be with crowds. Nothing wrong with crowds. If that’s what you like for a celebration, go for it.

Mother and son playing nerf guns

My son and I playing with nerf guns. He usually wins, but I won this time.

New Year’s Eve will also be a quiet affair for us. We do not usually stay up until midnight. One year, I think the kids wanted to stay up just to see the ball drop live in New York City, but they fell asleep by 11:30pm. Ha! Ha! Ha!

This friend of ours told us that, around 5-6pm, their family watches celebrations on YouTube from Europe or the Middle East – it’s midnight over there. Then, they go to bed at their regular time. Isn’t that a great idea?

As far as this break, we are taking it easy with everything. Still, we need to prepare a bit for Science Olympiad and Spelling Bee, which are coming up in January. We also need to touch the piano and violin now and then. But yes, a relaxed break is being had by all, including this mama.


Lessons from the Nineteenth Week

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We took ill again this week. My daughter and I started with a sore throat followed by a cough and general fatigue. We did as much school as we could until she said, “I am really tired. I think I have to go lie down.” My daughter never want to take naps or sleep, so I knew she was ill for real.

Piano Recital

Our daughter playing at the recital

I let her take it easy for the next two days, especially because she had a piano recital on Sunday. We wanted to make sure she would have most of her energy back. As it turns out, she and her brother did very well at the recital. Continue reading »


Lessons from the Eighteenth Week

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We arrived at the middle of the school year with a bang. The kids decided to be completely unruly toward the end of the week, so I could not teach them. I guess we all have bad days. Last Thursday was a bad day for us. I told them I would take one of their days during Christmas holiday to make up the school we did not do on Thursday. In addition to that, they received more chores and 0 screen time for the next few days.

CT7 Candy Cane Art

My son’s art will be displayed at Candy Kitchen behind The Pancake Pantry, along with other art. Some are for sale.

They are learning from their mistake and they are changing their attitude for the better. We have reconciled and used this as a teachable moment. They need to learn respect and this is the time to learn it. Continue reading »


Lessons from the Seventeenth Week

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Week 17 included Thanksgiving. That would be enough to make it a busy week, right? But we also experienced a mad dash to the Emergency Room, as my husband was suspected of meningitis. Also, we gave the kids three days off school. Last but not least, I decided to finally dive into the SAT/ACT/college admission universe. Let me take this in order.

Kids with fall decorations

Five years ago

First, I became fully aware that some people do not celebrate Thanksgiving. It amazes me, but as I delved more into this phenomenon, I realized it is based on historical revisionism and left-leaning positions when it comes to American politics. It’s a free country and people can do whatever they want. I am not stopping anybody from quitting or shaming Thanksgiving. Continue reading »


Lessons from the Sixteenth Week

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We have come close to the middle of this school year. Week 18 will happen here in a couple of weeks. In the US, there are 36 school weeks, or 180 school days, in case you did not know that. So here we are, starting week 17 and looking back at week 16. What have we learned?

Before the concert, mom and children

Before their concert at the Tennessee Theater in Knoxville

First of all, I have slowed down my Trello lesson planning. For those of you new to homeschooling and planning, this happens every year. Once you know what you are doing and what your daily goals are, you do not need to put it into writing anymore. Continue reading »


Lessons from the Fifteenth Week

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We got the first snow of the season, about four inches. The kids had enough to play in, but it was bitterly cold, 19F (-7C). Our county closed all public schools. Nearby counties functioned on a two-hour delay. I joked that our homeschool was on a two-hour delay. The flexibility of homeschool shines through on a “snow day.”

First Snow

First Snow

It is always nice to let them play outside and then do school. The brain functions better after physical exercise. However, I do not have enough faith (is that what it takes?) to trust this process on a regular basis. Maybe my children can implement that routine in their future homeschools, when they teach their own children: play outside first for 30 minutes, then come in for lessons. Continue reading »


Lessons from the Fourteenth Week

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The biggest lesson of this week was this: after you missed a week of classes outside the home due to an illness, check that everybody else is still doing the classes outside the home as planned. Check before you travel, that is.

Math in the car

Math in the car

We had two classes that got cancelled for one reason or another, but I did not know about it. I should have checked in with the teachers before. A simple text would have done the job. I even had the impression to text one of these teachers, but I did not heed that impression. So I am learning to listen to my own instincts. Continue reading »


Just Write Curriculum Review

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“Just Write,” a writing curriculum by Rachel Tolman Terry, provides 150 writing prompts for middle school. Such a book will make your life easier if you would like a no-prep writing curriculum.

Homeschoolers studying

My children using “Just Write” on a regular school day.

This curriculum is consumable. The pages are lined, so that it really functions as a workbook. Every two-page spread has a black-and-white picture on the left and the lined page on the right. At the end of the book, you can read briefly about the photographers.

Think about it: a school year has 180 days. We usually spend 30 days on field trips, illness, or concerts. Realistically, we can count on 150 days of active book instruction. With “Just Write,” you can plan on your child’s writing something every day. Meanwhile, you did not have to do a thing to prepare. Continue reading »