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.”

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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 »

Our Weekly Bread: 17 of 36

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When January 6 rolls around, I want to bake a Kings’ Cake or King Cake or galette des rois. We do not celebrate Epiphany, but it is a French thing. I teach my children French and many things about French culture. A few years ago, I posted about a galette des rois on this blog.

Galette des rois

Galette des rois – our 2021 homemade version

Louisiana has a version of this cake, but it is not puff pastry. Plus, they eat it all the way until Mardi Gras, which is sometime in February. The French only indulge in this after Christmas and, maybe, until the end of January. Continue reading »

Hacking Socialization – Facebook Live

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Today I discussed hacking socialization. How do you socialize homeschoolers in a pandemic? I tell the story of what happened to us last Thursday.

Table covered with snow

We got a dusting of snow.

The night before, I had experienced a lot of stress, unrelated to homeschooling. By Thursday morning, I was feeling drained emotionally, but I was going to push through it. Luckily, I did not have to. A friend texted me to invite us to the Community Center for a pool play date. Continue reading »

Goals, Productivity – Facebook Live Event

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We started a new year, you say? Huh! What do you know? 2021 has arrived. Just kidding. To wake up those who have been living under a rock, we kicked off the new year with a Facebook Live Event on goal setting, productivity, and motivation.

Woman sitting in front of bookshelves

Wishing you a happy new year

I presented five books which have impacted my level of productivity. You can find so many books to get in the groove. I just grabbed five titles from my shelf because they have helped me. Continue reading »

Our Weekly Bread: 16 of 36

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Last week, I made cinnamon rolls from scratch. My KitchenAid stand-up mixer comes in handy for this particular recipe. Be forewarned, there are typos and grammatical errors in this recipe. However, they will not mess you up. It’s just a warning for people like me, who are sensitive to such things.

Cinnamon rolls

Cinnamon rolls

My family loved these rolls so much, they asked me why I do not make them more often. Not sure what the answer should be. Not even sure what the answer is. I suppose I will put cinnamon rolls on the imaginary cooking schedule in my head – about once a week, like pancakes. Continue reading »

Planning for 2021

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I hope you had a happy Christmas. We did. It snowed the night before, so we had a white Christmas for a change. The children do not remember another white Christmas in their lifetime. Many of my friends in Tennessee said similar things.

Siblings playing in the snow

They were so happy to play in the snow on Christmas Day.

This year, 2020, cannot finish fast enough. But the artificial line between two years does not change the status quo. The political situation in the USA is still up in the air, no matter what the mainstream media tells you. COVID-19 seems to be growing – though many people think the statistics are inflated and erroneous (on purpose, to frighten and control the population). Last but not least, winter will send us some cold fronts for the next three months, for sure. This will lead to disruption in traffic, power outages, cancellations of different programs etc. Continue reading »

Our Weekly Bread: 15 of 36

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This week, we made dinner rolls. Just like that, I got tired of buying dinner rolls from the frozen section. We do not usually get them anyway. But for a big celebration like Thanksgiving or Christmas, we like to have dinner rolls on the table. We buy wheat rolls, which makes us feel like we make an effort towards health. However, I feel like we should step it up a notch.

Dinner Rolls

Dinner rolls, fresh out of the oven

Enter this recipe for dinner rolls I shall tell you about. I have had this recipe in a cookbook somebody gave me when I graduated from college. Ah, the good old days when people gave me cookbooks for a graduation gift. Continue reading »

Our Weekly Bread: 14 of 36

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For this baking project, I went back to gluten free baking. I have to stay away from gluten as much as possible, you see. And I found this amazing website with great recipes that are both vegan and gluten free. It belongs to a friend of a friend.

Gluten free bread

Gluten free bread

Check out this gluten free bread recipe. Mine did not look exactly like it when cut, but it looked and tasted great. Of course, there could be many reasons why you don’t get something to look exactly like the picture in the recipe. For one, I replaced guar gum with xanthan gum.

Bread Pans

One large bread pan, one medium

Not sure if that had anything to do with it. Then, oven temperatures vary. Gluten free baking is very fiddly. You keep something in the oven five minutes too long and the result can be disastrous. Continue reading »