Tuesday, June 24, 2014

It's the Carnival of Homeschooling!

Welcome to the Carnival of Homeschooling!

I'm glad you're visiting here at SmallWorld at Home. Let me introduce myself for those who are new here. We have just finished our 14th year of homeschooling and will have two high schoolers—our last freshman {gulp} and a senior {triple gulp} in the upcoming year. Our oldest son—who was homeschooled all the way through— just graduated magna cum laude from college. {And the question always is: what's he doing now? I'm happy to say that he is now working for an airline for two years so that he can have FREE flights. Like, everywhere in the world. His goal? See the world and then settle back down into graduate school. He is living the dream!}

But enough about me; you're here for the Carnival! We have a little something for everyone on this homeschooling journey with this carnival, from preschool to college. Grab a cup of something cold (it's really hot down here in the South, folks) and start reading!

• Summer vacation from homeschooling is wonderful! For about two weeks. Then comes the chaos, the restlessness, and the mess. Creating a schedule or a routine actually makes you more free because all of the necessary stuff gets done and then you can go play without any lingering guilt. Michele of Preschoolers and Peace shares how to Create a Summer Schedule for Peace, Productivity, and Purpose.

• And while you have a little more free time this summer,  Marie-Claire shares Quick Start Homeschool's  31 Days of Homeschooling Series that you can read through at your leisure or bookmark for later on. Lots of great stuff here for new homeschoolers!

• In Teaching Handwriting in Your Homeschool Preschool, Heather of Golden Reflections provides a detailed description of how basic handwriting skills develop in young children and then gives some fun, easy, and hands-on ideas on how to teach handwriting to preschoolers!

• Amy from A Journey of Purpose shares her little guy's perspective through the camera and with his commentary with Homeschool: View from a First Grader.

• With Homeschool Preschool PreK Curriculum Ideas, Lara of Lara's Place and a Cup of Grace shares a list of the books and curriculum she used for her PreK homeschool year. There are lots of ideas and suggestions to make learning fun for everyone! 

• Nicole has lots of great Money Saving and FREE Resources For Homeschoolers at her blog, Mama of Many Blessings.

• Franklin the Turtle was a favorite character in Heidi's house at Starts at Eight. She created free Franklin the Turtle Notebooking pages to go along with some of their favorite stories. These stories would make great summer reading along with some writing practice using the notebook pages.

• Have you ever wondered if you were partly to blame for your child struggling with math? Sam of Sam's Noggin says, "I had to raise my hand to that one, and I was right." She shares her failings in hopes that others can avoid them on How To Get Your Kids To Hate Math.

• And Michelle shares a tongue-in-cheek post full of suggestions for How to Get Your Kids To Hate Learning at The Holistic Homeschooler.

• Mary of Homegrown Learners suggests that when you narrow down your resources and don't fall victim to "shiny new curriculum syndrome," you are able to go deeper in your homeschool! She shares ways to Deepen Your Homeschool Through Simplification.

• Denise of Let's Play Math reviews the book  Playing With Math: Stories from Math Circles, Homeschoolers, and Passionate Teachers, a great resource for homeschooling parents, group leaders, and anyone interested in encouraging children's joy in learning.

• Since vampires have taken over bookshelves, television, and movies, why not explore the book that started it all? Susan shares Exploring the Classics with Dracula by Bram Stoker at Shelf Discoveries.

• And more classic literature: Carol of journey & destination shares a schedule and resources for covering Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare over nine weeks.

• At last I finished my series on What College Professors Wish Freshmen Knew? These posts stem from a fabulous panel of four local faculty members talking about their experiences with freshmen—and what makes them successful.

• And finally, our Carnival director, Henry Cate, shares a look into homeschooling with My sister's impressions of homeschooling.

That's it for this week's Carnival! Thanks to the Cates for organizing this fantastic resource each week and for all the bloggers for participating. Submit your blog article to the next edition of carnival of homeschooling using the carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on the blog carnival index page.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

In the Smokies: Andrews Bald 2014

It's been a couple of years since we hiked to Andrews Bald in June to see the flame azaleas. I looked back at a blog post from two years ago and can't believe how much older the kids look.

The day was beautiful. You can read all about the logistics of the hike—how to get there, how long it takes, etc— on this post. There isn't much else to say about a day in the mountains with the loves of your life, surrounded by rhododendrons, flame azaleas, mountain laurels, and the kind of grass that you just want to curl up and sleep on.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

In the Smokies: Abrams Falls

Astoundingly, I've lived just outside the Smokies for 15 years, and this was my first trip to Abrams Falls. Randy has been lots of times, and the kids have been there, but somehow I never made it until this past weekend.

It is lovely to wake up on a Saturday and realize that you have absolutely nothing that must be done and nowhere to go. Naturally, we had to go hiking. We wanted some water to play in on this hike, so we chose Abrams Falls.

We usually try to avoid popular tourist spots on Saturdays in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, but you have to go through Cades Cove to get to Abrams Falls. To get there, you drive about halfway around the cove, and there will be a dirt road on the right that leads right to the Abrams Falls parking lot. (There is a rustic bathroom there if you need one.)

Strangely, the Cove wasn't bumper-to-bumper traffic, and we only hit one short traffic jam. The parking lot at Abrams Falls was packed, though, and the trail was busy. It's a nice 5-mile hike roundtrip, not too strenuous but with lots of ups and downs. Much of the trail is rocky, so pay attention or you may twist an ankle or trip. Along the way there is plenty of water to play in, in case you only want to hike a short way and then do river play.

Within the first few years that we lived here, there were a couple of drownings at Abrams Falls. In particular I remember a middle-school boy on a field trip drowning there. So very tragic. There are strict warnings posted by the falls that it is EXTREMELY DANGEROUS TO SWIM at the base of the falls due to strong currents and an undertow. Nonetheless, upon arriving at the falls we had to witness at least a dozen people jumping off the falls, including a man who took his kids (10 and under) up to jump. All you can really do is shake your head and say "What is wrong with people???"

We spent a good hour or even two just wading, skipping rocks, and snacking. And, well, also watching people. The water was lovely and not too cold, and the falls, while not one of the more majestic falls in the Smokies, is just so pretty.

The hike took us an hour each way at a moderate pace. Actually, I'm pretty sure Randy would say it was a leisurely hike, but for me, it was a moderate pace. We will definitely be going back; this is a great hike for families with slightly older kids who can hike 5 miles.

Just please: don't jump off the waterfall.