Words for Your Weekend

fairytalecastle

Giving Thanks

thankful

 

This year is a very special Thanksgiving for me. I am overwhelmed by how much I have to be thankful for and I am so happy to have such a blessed life.

This will be the first Thanksgiving that we are celebrating in our new home. Moving to this house changed our lives. Not only did we gain the room and storage that we so desperately needed, but we moved to a neighborhood where we truly feel at home. My kids have friends here, my husband and I have friends here, and there is so much to offer our family that is has brought us all closer together.

Moving here also brought us to the area where we found a homeschool group that has also changed our lives. The community and support that we find with Stafford Homeschoolers has made all the difference in our homeschool journey. It has also become home for us – a community where we have found friends and can be involved with others without having to explain our choices. I have made some dear friends within this group and I am so grateful for that – I know that we will be a part of this community for years to come.

But above all, I am so very thankful for my beautiful family. That the four of us are together and healthy is all I ever ask for, so I am grateful every day that I have them. I am blessed to have a supportive and loving husband – someone who has the patience and understanding to deal with my craziness and love me anyway. And I cherish the two greatest gifts I could ever be given – my beautiful babies who are growing up way too fast. Every day I look at them and I am in awe of how they are growing and changing. They are my life, and as long as we are together I am the happiest person on earth.

This past year has been full of ups and downs, but overall it has been a beautiful year – probably the best year of my life. I finally feel like I have it all – my “all” – a family, a home, and a passion and purpose in my life that truly satisfies me. It may have taken me 40 years to get here, but it was worth the wait. I finally feel some peace in my heart and no longer have that feeling of not fitting in anywhere. I can hold my head high and say, “This is my life and I am proud of it.” And for that, I am so very thankful.

 

I wish you and your family a very Happy Thanksgiving and I hope you have much to be thankful for as well.

Homeschoolers in America

Homeschooled: How American Homeschoolers Measure Up

Words for Your Weekend

readinggirls

Words for Your Weekend

sunrise frost

A Moment of Thanks

veterans day

 

As the wife of an Iraq veteran and daughter of a Vietnam veteran, I have a special place in my heart for this day. I am thankful for their service, and even more thankful that they came back home to their families. The sacrifices our members of the military make extend beyond their own personal safety – their families make an even bigger sacrifice of losing valuable time with their loved one and carrying on while worrying about their safety. My husband missed his daughter’s first birthday as well as the birth of his son and countless other precious moments while he was deployed. We understand the importance of his service, but it’s still so hard.

If you see a member of our military, say thank you, shake his hand, let her know she is appreciated. They don’t do it for the recognition, but a small moment of thanks could mean the world to someone.

Happy Veteran’s Day! Hug a Vet today!

Words for Your Weekend

overdressedwilde

Opting Out

optoutMore and more public school teachers have started encouraging parents to allow their children to opt out of the standardized tests that have overtaken the public school system. As a former public school teacher and home educator, I am following this recurring push closely and with great interest. One of the things it has helped me realize is the empowerment I feel by making the decision to not only opt out of standardized testing, but out of the public school system as a whole.

In education, whether public school, homeschooling, or any other kind, the critical key to success is the support a child gets from his parents. As a teacher, I never saw that more than during the “back to school” or “meet the teacher” nights that were held at the beginning of every school year. The parents whom I needed to speak with the most, those whose children were struggling or having issues in my classes, would never show up to these meetings. On the opposite end of the spectrum, my honors level classes would be standing room only. And that was it in a nutshell – the parents who showed up versus the ones who felt the education of their children was solely the responsibility of the teachers. This went beyond one night of course. There were countless times when I would call home to discuss an issue with a student’s grades or performance in class and the parent would tell me that it was my job to get him to do the work. Or there were the ninth grade students who told me they couldn’t do their homework because they were out until 2 am the night before. Lack of parental involvement directly correlated with student success.

The purpose of these “opt out” movements is another call to get the parents involved in their children’s education. Teachers understand what standardized testing is doing to our system and our students, but they are not being heard. Their hope is that parents can send a louder message by refusing to participate in the system. As a homeschooler, part of my decision to take that path stemmed from the state of the public school system and the effects of standardized testing. Yet instead of simply opting out of the tests, I chose to opt out of the system as a whole. I know how hard teachers work, and I know that most of them truly care about the success of their students; but I also know that teachers are handicapped by the system and the system doesn’t care. No one will care more about my children or be more concerned about their education than me.

And so, I watch with interest as this issue unfolds. I wonder if enough parents will care about their own children’s education to make a change. The public education system is in desperate need of a complete overhaul. No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top were not answers, they were band aids that did not work. While I have taken my own children out of the system, I know that isn’t an option for every family so I still do what I can to stay involved in education reform and finding solutions for an issue dear to my heart. Let’s hope the necessary change will happen sooner rather than later.

As a homeschooler, do you follow or care about the public school issues? Do you think the system can be improved? Let me know what you think in the comments.

Words for Your Weekend

bugcuriosity

Spooky School!

Halloween Family

Happy Halloween friends! To be honest, I’m posting today mostly because I had so much fun making Halloween photos at picmonkey that I had to share them! My kids had a ball making head shots of themselves look completely gruesome.

We had co-op today and they also had fun learning about gravity and momentum in science and busting the pinatas they had made in explorers. I love our co-op because it gives them a great balance between homeschooling and the positive aspects of a public school type setting that I’m glad they can partake in. They loved wearing their costumes to school today and seeing their friends dressed up as well. Now we’re off to trick or treat and try to avoid the sugar overload that seems to start today and lasts until the new year!

halloween bookshalloween library

 

Halloween card