Begin Anew needs teenage homeschoolers to volunteer!

Begin Anew empowers individuals to overcome the obstacles caused by poverty by providing education, mentoring, and resources. The program provides three curriculum tracks for students: High School Equivalency test preparation, Computer and Job Skills, and Life Skill English. Enrollment in our services is open to persons of all faiths and culture. Begin Anew serves the Middle Tennessee area through five locations in Nashville, Madison, and Franklin, Tennessee.

Begin Anew is looking for teenage homeschoolers who would want to volunteer with our organization. We are also in need of childcare volunteers. If you're interested in either volunteer opportunity, contact Laura Flemming by emailing: volunteer at beginanew dot org.

Home Alone with Kids by Jennifer Smeltser

January brings continued cold weather in Tennessee and the only thing many of us want to do is just stay home. That may seem like a good idea, and I am sure it is, unless that leaves you with a house full of stir-crazy children. Although you may be tempted to send them outdoors to play, your mom instincts will probably set in reminding you of the frigid temperatures. So, what do you do?
Cooking is probably the last thing on your mind. Kids in the kitchen can become a very messy situation. Believe it or not, it is a sure way to engage your children (regardless of their age) in an experience they will enjoy. Your choice of creation does not have to be a full course meal, but instead can be a fun food project. Depending on the number of children you have, allow each one to choose a cookie flavor and let them bake a batch. Another idea is to let them bake a gingerbread house and decorate it. Yes, I know Christmas has passed, but the yummy taste of gingerbread and houses covered in candy is a year-round treat for children.
School may already be in session, but take a break for one day and enjoy a themed movie day.  The Star Wars saga is a favorite in our home. I grin and bear it, because my children love all of the movies. What movie series do your children enjoy? Ask them! If nothing comes to mind, have your movie day focus on a theme or pick a favorite actor and watch all of their movies. Put on your comfortable clothes or keep your pajamas on after waking up in the morning, make some popcorn and settle in for a day of movie entertainment. Something else to make the movie day more fun and yummy is to prepare some sweet treats (veggies too) and other munchies to eat and enjoy. Plan to have enough food to keep stomach full, so there will be no need to pause the film for you to cook.
Homeschooling is all about learning, so keep that rhythm going. Life skills never get old. In fact, those skills will carry with your children far into adulthood. You can conduct an all-day “seminar” for your children at home. Do an overview of some life skills like cleaning (ex: washing down furniture, wiping off doorknobs and light switches, etc.), doing the laundry or washing windows. Some other ideas are teaching individual skills from how to sew on a button to the proper way to floss and brush their teeth.
If you have book readers, allow your children to read whatever they have an interest in, all day long. If reading is not preferred, there are a number of books on tape or CDs they may listen to and enjoy. For those of you who have children that need more than just someone reading a book consider audio drama adventures. You may have seen old time pictures of young children listening to radio adventures in days gone. The children appeared to be silent and intensely engaged in whatever radio drama that was playing. You may be surprised to see the same expressions from your children when they listen to an audio drama. Although many older radio dramas are still entertaining, in recent years, newer audio dramas have been produced using improved technology as well as seasoned actors.
Audio Dramas
Although it is fun and can sometimes be a relief to get outside and away from home, there are so many ways you may enjoy your children while being “trapped” indoors with them.

Jennifer Smeltser writes for HomeLife Academy. HomeLife Academy is an official private school serving thousands of home educators. For more of Jennifer's articles, visit the Homeschool Roster.

Homeschool discounts at Carnton and Carter House

The Battle of Franklin Trust (Carnton and Carter House) is offering special deals for homeschoolers. Currently, homeschooling families can get into both houses for the price of one. It does not matter the size of the group, all they have to do is make a reservation. Contact Sarah Falck, Education Coordinator for The Battle of Franklin Trust at (615) 794-0903 or (615) 791-1861 or e-mail sarah at boft dot org. For more information about Carnton and the Carter House, check out The Battle of Franklin Trust's website.

British Swim School now hiring Swim Instructors

British Swim School of Williamson-Smyrna is a new swim lesson program opening in January 2018 in Franklin. We are currently hiring for full-time and part-time swim instructors. We are looking for outgoing, reliable individuals who enjoy working with kids and can teach children and parents in a fun, dynamic environment. No prior swim experience is necessary.

To apply, email Paul.garboczi@ at britishswimschool dot com.

Lifeguard Certification Training to be Offered this Fall

Summer is over, but it is not too early to start preparing your teen for summer job opportunities. The typical place teens seek a summer job is in retail or fast food areas. Although many skills may be learned, that is the whole summer - the time to be outside and enjoying the sun, spent usually indoors. If your teen is seeking a different opportunity where their job speaks summer and sun, they may want to consider becoming a lifeguard. With that decision comes the need for lifeguard certification training and they may become certified through the Williamson County Parks & Recreation Department.

A job as a lifeguard is typically viewed as a summer job, but did you know lifeguards are employed throughout the year? Along with public recreation facilities, lifeguards are hired at private pools and event locations with swimming pools. The lifeguard certification will also cover First Aid/CPR/AED, so participants who successfully complete the course will be able to use those skills in other jobs that require that type of certification (ex: babysitting). The certification is also good to have for general life skills and could also count towards the Health requirement for high school graduation.

A lifeguard certification course will be offered during the fall break Wednesday through Saturday, October 11-14, and held at the Indoor Sports Complex (920 Heritage Way, Brentwood, 37027). Students must be 15 years old or older on the day of or before the final day of the course. Those interested must register in person and registration is limited to 10 people. A pre-course swim test is required.

Pre-Course Swim Test
All participants must complete and pass both swim tests prior to starting the class. There are three skills you must successfully complete.

• Three hundred (300) yard (six laps) continuous swim using the front crawl, breaststroke or a combination of both and demonstrate rhythmic breathing. Swimming on back or side is not permitted. Swim goggles are allowed.

• Tread water for two minutes without stopping, using only the legs and hands must be placed under armpits.

• Ten pound (10-pound) brick test: swim 20-yards using front crawl or breaststroke, when the brick is beneath you in the water, surface dive feet first or head first in seven to 10 feet of water to retrieve the 10 pound brick, return to the surface and swim 20-yards on your back with both hands on the brick back to the starting point, exit without using a ladder or steps. Goggles are not allowed.

Students must be able to swim 300-yards without resting; complete the 10-pound brick test in one minute and 40 seconds and tread water for two minutes without stopping. All of the classes are mandatory, so students must be able to attend all four days. A $125 fee is due the first day of class after the student completes the pre-course swim test. Although the time may become more flexible, plan to attend from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. all four days of the course.

Registration is currently open and will remain open until all of the spaces are filled. Contact Kristin by e-mail at kristinp at williamson-tn dot org or telephone (615) 370-3471, ext. 2122. 

Jennifer Smeltser writes for HomeLife Academy. HomeLife Academy is an official private school serving thousands of home educators. For more of Jennifer's articles, visit the Homeschool Roster.

University of Tennessee Extension and Williamson County 4-H Offer STEM Classes

The University of Tennessee Extension and Williamson County 4-H are offering several STEM classes in the evenings. Classes are currently available for 6th to 12th grade students interested in Robotics, Engineering, 3D printing or Raspberry/Python programming. Fees are very reasonable just to cover supplies.

Class registrations are first come first serve and classes will start the second week of next month through April 2018. Classes will meet 13 times for 2-hour classes (Robotics are 1 ½ hour classes).

Students/families can call (615) 934-1291 with any questions.


For more information, check out the 4-H STEM Program brochure.

Guitar Lessons Are Awesome by Marty Keith

What do Taylor Swift, The Beatles, Chris Tomlin, and Steven Curtis Chapman all have in common? Three things actually. They play multiple instruments, they each started learning at a young age, and I teach their music to my students.

I love music. I love the guitar… and bass… and ukulele. I love teaching these instruments. There is satisfaction in knowing that I get to pass on to a new generation of students all of the wonderful things I have learned as a professional musician. I am a recording artist and have toured all over the United States for 20 years. I will do so as long as the Lord allows me to. But eventually, I will not be able to do it any more and neither will Taylor Swift or Chris Tomlin. Someone will have to fill that position. My goal is to help students
reach their musical aspirations so they can be a confident worship leader or the next major pop or country star, if that is their desire. 

Currently, I have students who have what it takes to get there and my job is to bring out the best of their abilities so they can make those dreams come true. Some want to have a general knowledge of an instrument or music theory. Some just want to play along to songs on the radio. I want to help each student find out what their musical goal is and help them achieve it.

Studies have proven that learning a musical instrument helps enhance brain development/function, concentration/attention, coordination, and pain relief among other things. Plus, there is hard proof that students who learn a musical instrument develop a better memory than those who do not learn one.

Being the father of a homeschool student, I understand the importance of time with your kids. Sports, homework, and life in general are always pulling at your schedule. I offer time slots throughout the day for homeschoolers so you can have the evenings free for other activities.

I am also a licensed retailer of musical instruments and accessories. Some music stores will sell you anything to make a few extra dollars, but not take into account what the student actually needs. It is important for me as a teacher to make sure that each of my students has an instrument that best fits their body and hands. For example: the strings on a guitar need to be high enough that they do not buzz when you pick an open string, but low enough that you do not have to push down on it so hard that it hurts your fingers to play a chord (especially for younger students). The height of the strings from the fretboard is called the “action.” This is not something that a lot of salesmen are going to make sure is addressed for your particular student. I will talk through all of the dynamics that make an instrument a good fit for your student, whether you choose to purchase instruments through me or not.
Instrument lessons are once a week for 30 minutes. Homeschool students get their first lesson FREE when you pay for the first month of lessons. Be sure to mention this article or the sidebar ad to receive your free lesson. You can read more about guitar lessons on my website.

Marty Keith is the owner of Edenbrooke Music. Edenbrooke Music strives to improve the quality of musical entertainment by improving talent though teaching, by improving sound through production, and by improving the career of the musician through performance and recording opportunity. Edenbrooke Music offers guitar, bass guitar, and ukulele lessons, instrument sales, live sound for special events, booking for touring artists, and music production services.

Marty grew up in Paducah, Kentucky. At age four, he began learning how to play the guitar from Herb Chapman, father of GRAMMY and Dove award winning artist Steven Curtis Chapman. The way Steven Curtis and Marty learned to play guitar is how Marty teaches his students to play.

Learn more at Edenbrooke Music and to learn more about Marty’s music visit his artist website at John Martin Keith.

You may contact Marty Keith by phone at 615-415-1942 or by email at johnmartinkeith at hotmail dot com.

New Sewing Classes for Homeschoolers

Learn hand stitching and sewing machine skills in classes offered by advanced teen seamstress, Abby Gustavson, in her Primrose Sewing Studio on the west side of Franklin. Classes, special events, workshops, and camps are offered throughout the year. For more information, visit the Primrose Sewing page on Facebook,  send an e-mail to primrosesewing at gmail dot com, and/or call (615) 506-7171.

Middle Tennessee Monarchs Homeschool Baseball

The Middle Tennessee Monarchs Homeschool Baseball Camp is right around the corner. This year the camp will be Friday, Sept. 8th from 6pm - 9pm and Saturday, Sept. 9th from 9am - 4pm. Early Bird price for the 2 day camp is $50. The price is $60 if you pay the day of the camp.
This baseball camp is open to middle school and high school homeschool boys ages 11-18.
We're looking for athletes even if they've never played baseball before.

The Middle Tennessee Monarchs Homeschool Baseball Camp : Location: Joel Cheek Park
Address: Claude Yates Dr., Franklin, TN 37064

To go ahead and get registered for the camp go here:

If anybody needs any more information or would just like to speak to one of our board members with specific questions they can contact: Barry Young at barry.young at healthstream dot com

Music City Archery Offers Homeschool Class and Discount

Every Wednesday at 2:30PM, Music City Archery offers an archery classes for homeschool families at a reduced rate. The classes are one hour long and include all equipment for $18 plus a 15% family discount with two or more family members. They also have classes Fridays at 10:00AM. Visit for more information.