Art Classes

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If you can teach your children art, more power to you. I have tried. It worked for a bit, when they were younger, and we brought out the paints or the sculpting clay and went to town, not caring about the final project that much. The process and preparation was more important than the result.

Sketching a scene from Ender's Game

Sketching a scene from Ender’s Game

Then, we got older and wiser. We realized the art curriculum was just sitting on the shelf and we never got around to using it. Why? Because it had become obsolete. Or, it was too much preparation for me to teach. I have bought more art curriculum than I care to recount, but I do not regret it. It still sits there for us to use one day. Continue reading »

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 »

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 »

My Son’s First Book – The Knight of Asper

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My son has written a book. We published it through Amazon. The Knight of Asper is the first volume in a series he came up with all on his own.

The Knight of Asper

The Knight of Asper, my son’s first book

When he told me last year in October that he was writing a book, I smiled and said, “That’s nice!” Did I think he was going to stick to it? Nope. What 11-year-old do you know who has finished a book?

Did I check on him periodically to see how the project was coming along? No way. I did not want to discourage him, but I did not want to make him feel like a failure either, if he left it unfinished. Continue reading »

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.

Story of the World, Vol. 4, Chapter 36

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Story of the World, Vol. 4, Chapter 36 is rather dark, covering the assassinations of John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. On the bright side, we have the Civil Rights movement and the victory over segregation.

Pop art: comic strips and book cover

Pop art: comic strips and book cover

When the chapter mentioned Rosa Parks, we Googled it and found the famous pictures of her bus protest and subsequent arrest. Also, we pulled up a copy of Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous speech, “I Have a Dream.” I would start crying just reading it, so I let them do the reading to themselves. What is it with me and crying these days? Am I getting soft in my old days?  Continue reading »

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 »

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 »

Story of the World, Vol. 4, Chapter 34

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In Story of the World, Vol. 4, Chapter 33, we visit Argentina to learn about Evita Peron and oh, yeah, her husband, too. Later, we travel to the Belgian Congo for one sad story after another. The history of Africa has been such a source of heartache for us, but we are mere spectators. Africans have endured much injustice and cruelty during colonization.

Boy and girl looking up chemical elements

We get passionate about combining science and history.

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Evita” plays in my head any time we talk about Argentina and President Peron. I teared up while reading the story for the children because the story is so artistically ingrained in my memory, it touches me all over again.  Continue reading » Recommendation

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“Where do your children go to school?” the gentleman bagging our groceries asked my husband. “My wife homeschools them,” he answered, pointing to me. The man turned toward me and said, “If you can pull it off, I’d homeschool them all the way through high school.”

Pumpkin Patch Babies

Taken eight years ago. These babies have grown up too fast. Hard to believe we are planning high school.

We have accomplished a lot of things this year and I have blogged about most of them. But the most important message the Universe, or God, if you will, has sent me starting this summer is that I should homeschool through high school. Several people have suggested it, prophesied it, encouraged it, and provided guidance and products for it. They have come to me. I have not come to them. The grocery store man represents the latest example of such messengers.  Continue reading »