Friday, February 8, 2013


I am a homeschooler, I am a very proud homeschooler. I love what I do, I love all of my curriculums and I adore my student.

If you are not a homeschooler or if you are thinking about homeschooling let me introduce you to Classical Conversations. This is part of my love! It's all about classical education. I have and currently still pay good money for an education on education. I adored my classes and my teachers and everything I learned and did for my education. It all seemed great at the time. I then picked up Susan Wise Bauer's books the Well Trained Mind and the Well Educated Mind, and had an ah-ha moment in which all the expensive education that I continue to pay for never gave me.
What was that ah-ha... it's HOW we learn. Not how to teach, but hot to learn. Why don't we spend more time teaching the way children learn, because we don't know how children learn, we were too busy learning the newest methods in which to teach them we neglected learning how they (and all humans) learn.
Want to know the secret?

We learn in 3 parts.... We first need to learn the vocabulary, the definitions, the parts of what we are learning. Let's do a subject I love... Scrapbooking. If I started to teach you scrapbooking by just giving you my tools (I have a ton) and telling you to take the blade and put it on the inside track of the shape cutter and press down as you move it around, you might look at me crazy. The reason being you don't know what the blade or shape cutter are. However if I start by showing you the tools and really going over each one and  what they do then and only then can you move to step 2...
Now that you have the vocabulary then it's your turn you get to try things out. I can give you a page to "copy." You will make mistakes you will "argue" with the materials asking them to do what they can't or not fully understanding their capacity, but eventually you will be able to copy the page with the materials.
Last you will create your own, you know the materials you have pushed and pulled and really figured them out and last you can go and do.
Those are the 3 stages. This is a linear example, in reality you won't necessarily do these things in a linear fashion, in reality you may be in all 3 stages with different materials at any given time. Let's step back though and really look at the 3 stages in regards to children's development...
Childhood... children have an amazing ability to memorize things. Before they can read or write they have language through memorization. That favorite book... memorized! Random facts that interest them... memorized! Why don't we exploit that tool more? If they can memorize the Bill of Rights, why not? Do they need to understand it to memorize it? Could it possibly be of use in their adulthood to know their rights? This is what the classical education does, it gives children then information that one day will be useful. Classical Conversations specifically designed their foundations (memorization) program to be useful in the upper level classes.
Early Teens... what are these children known for? Arguing, stretching the boundaries, etc... That's what the next step in our classical model is. The child has the information they memorized, and now they are going to get dirty with it. The Bill of Rights is in their head now what exactly did the forefathers mean when they gave us that right. Did they really mean for us to always have that right? Your opinion is different than mine, let's debate or argue about this. Let the teens do what it is they are already so good at argue their points (they know it all anyway, right).
The final step is to take that information and now what could you do with it. Create your own Bill of Rights for your family. Because you know the Bill or Rights, you have argued it to really learn about it now you can take that knowledge and apply it to a new creation. Judges do this all the time, they write their opinions on cases.
That's the classical education, simple succinct and so obvious, but yet so neglected.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


Life is a funny thing, you can make great plans, but rarely do they all come through as perfectly as they are made.
I planned on having a second child when my 1st was 3. I planned on going back to teaching in the public school when both kids were beyond 1st grade. I planned.....
My plans are nothing.

You can call it what you like, but I say it's God's plans that matter. God planned for me to have one child. God planned for me to fall in love with homechooling. God planned for everything to happen as it is happening. If I can praise God for the God why can't I believe he also has a hand in the bad, or what I perceive as bad.

Bad things happen because we live in a fallen world. I am not saying that God wants bad things to happen to people. Let's put it in terms parents will understand...

Your child has been told 100 times not to rock the 4 legged chair. Your child is again rocking the 4 legged chair. You see the child is about to fall, but unlike the other 100 times, you decide to just watch. Their is a big pillow under the chair today, it's not going to fall far, but it will fall enough and possibly hurt enough to startle your child into understanding why you say don't rock the4 legged chair. The chair falls. The child cries. You comfort the child, and love on the child, but also admonish the child. I told you not to do that, do you understand now why I ask you not to? Hopefully your child is a quick learner. Maybe they aren't, but you allowed the pain to hopefully learn a lesson.

God doesn't like seeing His children injured. He doesn't like seeing us in pain, but he sees the bigger picture of what that can mean for us in the future. His Plan, not mine.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


Yesterday on facebook I posted "Overwhelmed with the possibilities in my life right now. Some good some scary, all potential for growth!" I think this sums up my life at this point. It seems like I have opportunities where I can choose to go down different paths and some I don't want to go down, but I travel as a sense of duty to family. Others I am excited about and want to travel, but also think it might be best to wait until the other paths show where they are going. 
In an effort to not say too much, but also not be too cryptic here's a little of what's going on.... 

My family member is having some memory issues and I have become the point person in this process of figuring out what is going on, is it strokes, is it Alzheimer's, is it reversible, is it permanent, is it ongoing, is it progressive.... So many questions and so many doctors needed to help understand this. Oh and the family member does not see the need for alarm that the family or the doctors see. 

My husband's family member's spouse is quite ill, we got a call this week he has lost his color. This might not seem like a big deal maybe a few days off to go to a funeral, but this spouse is the primary caretaker of one who has memory issues from a previous cancer. It doesn't help they are far from any family because the spouse has pushed everyone away. When the spouse passes away it will be a big mess of dealing with many things of the family member's health and getting her to a better location, probably without her wanting to move. Last time we visited because the spouse was going to die it was not a happy ending. 

In addition to the above I feel the need to care for others who are in my family when they have problems. My husband (wisely) says I do too much for them, but that's who I am the nurturer and caretaker. I do what I would want done for me. 

The other opportunity which I am excited about is I belong to a national co-op. This year I have tutored and I love it. I had thought last year that this next year I might take on a bigger role and try and direct at a campus. However, with the family stuff looming I fear taking on too much, but I also really want to do this. 

I love volunteering with the church on a regular basis. I have in the past done a little of everything, and since moving and getting to know our new church I am working on trying to find my volunteer positions that work for both me and the church. I had tried teaching at a special program on Wednesday nights, but the timing was different than the regular kids programs and became too much. In addition our co-op meets on Thursdays so Wednesday prepping for church and school was a little much. I am helping with an upcoming special event, and have been asked to help with greeting in the children's area on Sunday mornings. I like the idea of that as it takes no prep! I will check it out this Sunday and see if it works. 

Is that enough? I might have said too much in some places, but I need to share with people and bounce ideas and lament happenings. I am woman! I also like things with clear direction and the top two family situations are definitely without clear direction and I can't predict what will or won't happen next week. Prayer is the answer for now. I pray God will lead me in the right direction and I won't take on things that are not for me at this time.

Friday, January 18, 2013

facebook keeps asking me questions...

I have noticed recently the little questions facebook is asking me... How are you feeling, Donna? How is it going? What's on your mind? I realize these questions have been there awhile, but it has struck me this week as I stare at my empty status bar. Does anyone on facebook really care how I am feeling, how it's going or what's on my mind? If I truthfully answered those questions what would people think? You got a small piece of my crazy with my last post. Here are some of my status updates that never made it to facebook....

How am I feeling?  I am feeling kinda crappy because facebook is the only one to ask me how I am feeling. (By the way if you know me and I know you read this asking me how I feel anytime soon will not seem genuine even if you mean it to be)

How is it going? Well my car was totaled, a family member is sick and doesn't see it, another family member needs help, and I have done all I can but I don't think it's enough, my husband is neglected because of all of the above, and we have only done 3 math lessons this year.

What's on my mind? My mind is full, full of the what if's and the how do I, and the what have I done wrong questions that plague us when things aren't perfect, it's all a hug jumble up there.

I could go on all day with truthful answers to these questions, but they get more detailed and that's where I have to stop. That's why nothing actually makes it to facebook I filter the truth, because I am friends with friends of not only me but those I want to talk about, but it's not public information yet. Until then the filter must remain.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Straw that Broke this Camel's Back...

I am one of those that holds her emotions. I don't recommend it, but it's how I do it. In 1993 my Grandfather died on January 3rd, the next week I had reserved the dance room to practice my solo for my final. When I got in the room a group of girls were practicing in there. Not a big deal, but it was the straw that broke the camels back. I wept! It wasn't about not getting to be alone in the dance room, it was my grandfather had died, my sister went back to college, and it was almost finals week, and then on top of all that this little thing (and easy to fix) was what finally broke me down.
Today is my birthday. Saturday at midnight while my car was sitting in it's usual parking spot under the window of my bedroom outside my garage it was hit. Not in a normal easy way just a parking lot bump, the accident was labeled as major by the sheriff's officer. My car was pushed 3-4 feet from it's parking spot into the pilar which holds up my balcony, into the garage and also broke the outside wall around the garage door. Monday I took a family member to a doctor to get answers to some lingering questions about her health. I didn't get answers, but I got confirmation something's wrong now to figure out what and where to go next. Things are also crazy with a few other things, but I've already said too much. Just know that as I sit here tonight I feel no matter which way I look I see chaos.
My birthday is the straw that broke this camels back. I don't care about age, I'm 37 today I have no fear to say that. I have a dairy allergy and because of that I didn't get to have a cake or a special sweet today. I had plans last week to make something for myself, but because of my life it didn't happen. That's the straw this time. It's ridiculous compared to the way more important things happening in my life, but it's what sent me to tears tonight. Today it was the straw. Tomorrow I will go back to being strong and taking care of everyone, but today I am going to cry about not getting my birthday sweet. That's not really what I'm crying about, but it's what I'm going to say if you ask me, it's nothing, but really it's everything.
That's me being real...Don't feel sorry for me I am not in despair. I have Jesus, I know how the story ends, and I know I am an alien in this world. I have hope in Christ and I know I was not promised an easy life, the Bible doesn't tell me this will be an easy life in fact it tells me Satan will attack me. My hope is I know I must be doing something right because Satan won't leave me alone. I keep trucking on and praying for respite, but then again if Satan's not attacking you aren't a worthy enemy.
Just my thoughts now before I chicken out hitting publish....

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Nothing and everything to say.

I have stories. Life is happening this month! They aren't all my stories to tell. My life is intertwined with my sister's and my mom's but I don't have the right to tell their stories. Maybe sometime I will get permission to tell you all about my extended families lives. Until I can tell you their stories (if ever) all I can say now is life is happening.
I am an Aunt again, although it feels more like a first. My first niece is my husband's sister's daughter. She has been my niece since I got married. I didn't meet her until we went to visit his family in Missouri and then it was a short visit with them. I really don't know my first niece. She is expecting her own child later this year. I also have 2 nieces from my brother. I think I can claim them, I have never met them, they also are much older girls. My brother is really a step brother, and the girls are his step daughters. If they were closer I might claim them more, but it's hard when they are so far physically and distant from my bloodline.
My new niece is my sister's I knew of her 7 months ago. I saw her (from afar) on her birthday. I held her the first day she came home. She will be the cousin my daughter knows best. This is the part where I wonder what I should and shouldn't tell. She was born early, and although she and my sister were fine I was at the hospital and my sister's house to help/be company for my sister 4 days last week. This week I had to choose to limit myself. The help isn't not needed this week, but I needed to live my life and take care of my immediate family.
The stories are out there, but they aren't mine to tell. Next week I have another big one, but I can't say anything. Sorry like I said everything and nothing to say.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Still not here....

Well it's official again, I am not so great at this blogging thing. I love reading blogs where they post weekly little tidbits into the lives of the family and ideas and creations they have done. Me I am too busy living to write about it. I never was good at keeping a diary I have quite a few with 2-3 entries then a few months happened without and then 2-3 more entries then another few months or a year or more and then maybe one final entry. I have just never been that person to write things down. I want to be that person.
I want to be allot of people I am not. I want to be the homemaker with a perfect home anyone could visit at anytime with a home made snack ready with the floor vacuumed and the toilet paper full. I want to be the mom whose child(ren) always do amazing projects, science, art whatever just fun amazing projects. I want to the the homeschooling parent whose child does their lessons on their own because they are that smart and can learn on their own (with some parent teaching but mostly self taught). I want to be the family who has it all together, the parents are in love and the children behave with a look. Then again do I really want to be fictional?
I have done some looking at who I am this month. This past month I have had the opportunity to see who I am as an adult. I am the volunteer at church not afraid to do a job that is familiar, but uncomfortable. I am the daughter who climbs in the garage storage to find the Christmas stockings. I am the sister who when you break your foot becomes your taxi no matter what that does to her schedule. I am the granddaughter who decorates your house for Christmas, come over on the 22nd to set the table and make sure the dishes we need are easily available. On Christmas day I am Santa, I am the decision maker, I am the dishwasher, I am the cook, I am the one people ask for an answer. After Christmas I again am the granddaughter who makes sure everything is cleaned up and put the decorations away. I am the mom who likes to take her daughter places. I am the friend who makes sure when I am in the area I try and see you. I am me.
My house is not clean, my family is not perfect, my life is a mess at times, but I am me. I like that I am the one to call when you need something done. However I also need to prioritize and limit my time away from my immediate family.
Next month my husband comes first, I will ask if he thinks I should or should not do something for someone in my family.  I will look to see what doing something means to our school schedule. I will again be the parent/teacher I need to be for my daughter. One lesson we will be learning together is how to prioritize and make time for our necessities over others. It might mean school on the road, or saying no to something important but not more important than school. We will see who I will be next month...