Sunday, April 28, 2013

In Which Quilts Were Seen, A Lot of Work Was Done And Pants Were Not to Be Found.

Sorry for the lack of updates folks.  My hands have been keeping busy; it's just that they've been busy no where near a computer.

We had our first days of really nice weather after the other weeks monsoon season.  Very glad that I didn't plant anything in the garden in the few days before my backyard became a lake.





My front yard was doing it's best impression of a waterfall.



This weekend was spent admiring other peoples work and getting my hands a little dirty.  I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.  (p.s. everything in the quilt show was hand quilted - much of it's machine pieced, but all hand quilted!)





















And of course it wouldn't spring without Sans-pants Sunday!



More updates on little projects to come this week!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

5 Favorites - Literary Librarians for National Library Week

Linking up today with Moxie Wife 5 Favorites to bring you my 5 favorite Literary Librarians. 

1.
 

"Library Lil" by Suzanne Williams and Illustrated by Steven Kellogg

"By the time she was eight, Lil had read every children's book in the library and was working her way through the encyclopedias. So it's no surprise when she grows up to become a librarian. When a storm knocks out the town's electricity one night, Lil knows that's her one chance to turn the townspeople into readers again."

2.

"The Library Dragon" by Carmen Agra Deedy and Illustrated by Michael P. White

"When Sunrise Elementary School advertised for a thick-skinned librarian with a burning love of books, Miss Lotta Scales knew she was perfect for the job. Who could guard books better than a REAL dragon?"

3.


"Library Mouse" by Daniel Kirk

"Sam’s home was in a little hole in the wall in the children’s reference books section, and he thought that life was very good indeed. For Sam loved to read. He read picture books and chapter books, biographies and poetry, and ghost stories and mysteries. Sam read so much that finally one day he decided to write books himself!"


4.


"Tomas and the Library Lady" by Pat Mora and Illustrated by Raul Colon

"One morning, while his parents pick corn, Tomás visits the imposing town library and meets a kindly librarian who gently coaxes him inside. Throughout the hot days thereafter, she offers Tomás cool drinks of water and adventurous escapes into books; on slow days he teaches her Spanish until it's time to return home to Texas."

5.
 

"The Library" by Sarah Stewart and Illustrated by David Small

"Elizabeth Brown doesn't like to play with dolls and she doesn't like to skate. What she does like to do is read books. Lots of books. The only problem is that her library has gotten so big she can't even use her front door anymore. What should Elizabeth Brown do? Start her own public library, of course!"


Here are more Favorite Stories About Librarians 

*If you interested in these books, the pictures are Amazon Affiliate Links*

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A Bookish Home.

Monkey see, monkey do is the old adage and one I believe applies nicely when it comes to encouraging reading and love of literacy at home.  Showing children that you love reading can only help inspire them to discover what's so great about it all.  As I mentioned in my series about Education, we put a lot of emphasis in creating a home that models and encourages literacy and learning; the following is a glimpse at how we encourage this in our home.


This first thing you might notice in our house is that books are everywhere, in every room.  Even the laundry room, as it is the entrance to the garage, often has a straggling book that coming from or going to the car and yes, there are even books in our car.



Books are accessible to everyone in the family.  Books for little ones are on the low shelves in on the bookshelves, in baskets and on counter-tops.  Save a few delicate or sentimental tomes, that are high up out of reach, we make every book in the house accessible.  I like knowing that our kids are learning from a young age not to be shy about books.



Beside every bedside books are stacked.  On every shelf and in every basket books are varied; we do our best to keep books that we know are interesting to our son mixed in with books we hope he'll like.



Within the house books are read in many different places - beds, couches, adult sized chairs and kid sized nooks.  Reading can happen on the kitchen floor, outside or in the car.  In our house books are read out-loud and a lot; often by us, but occasionally by "friends" as we choose audiobooks over T.V. time.



In our house books are used - sometimes a little abused as little fingers learn how to properly care for their new friends.


What does this have to do with National Library Week?  I'm glad you asked.  As wonderful as our libraries are or can be, nothing beats a literacy encouraging home to help them with their work.  Libraries provide the tools, but we have to provide the foundation.

Do you have a bookish home?

Some Great Links About Literacy Encouragement In the Home

Monday, April 15, 2013

Library Week - Getting the Most Out of Your Library!

Did you know it's National Library Week

In order to celebrate this momentous occasion properly I want you to stop what you're doing, bundle up the kids and get thee to the library!

Explore every nook and cranny of your library.  Pick up ever calendar and pamphlet.  Go down every aisle.

And you when you've come home with sleep kids clutching new library cards and mountains of books in the back seat take a moment to peruse this weeks series of posts - all about libraries and books!

To start off with a little blast from the past.

Some of us have it good, some of us not so much, but all of us can agree that a library is an indispensable tool to a community and I stand by that statement even facing the future of digital books.  The right kind of driven and supported library can be more than just place to borrow a book it can be the center of great community life, especially for those of us with young children.

Like anything in life we can be disappointed.  Maybe you hate to see a huge DVD collections of popular movies rather than non-fiction or documentaries, or the latest soft-core "paranormal romance" geared towards adolescents pushing out the classics or maybe you're a mother of young children who wants a better selection of materials than "Dora" and "Spongebob" or deal with meager selection of adult fiction or non-fiction.  It can get frustrating when we feel like our needs aren't being met, but there are ways to get the most out of your community Library.

These are a few suggestions of my own; any librarians out there please pipe in if you agree or disagree!

  • Volunteer - This is one of the best ones I can offer, particularly for those of us with children.  Shelving books for an hour or two a week or even a month frees up time for your Librarian to focus on things like book orders and planning activities.  It also helps the Library staff become more knowledgeable about the people they're catering to and is an easy way to gain feedback, criticism and praise.  
  • Make Friends - Not all of us have the time to volunteer, but start getting to know the staff particularly if you're a regular and if they know your name (or your kids) you should know theirs.  Talk to your Librarians!  
  • Share Your Contacts - Does your family know traditional Chinese Dances, or play a the bagpipes; is your office mate a member of the local orchestra ; does your retired father have a selection of vintage trains he'd love to show off?  Do you know someone who was in WWII or met the president or climbed Mt. Everest.  Even if your Librarian politely declines your offer it's worth a shot to say "Hey, I know someone who..."  
  • Use InterLibrary Loan - InterLibrary Loan is an amazing program that most local libraries can participate in.  It's a way for them to give their communities the books they want with out the price tag and a way for you to subtly let them know what the community wants to read.  I have more than a couple ILL books I've requested show up as a "new purchase" the day I went to collect them. 
  • Participate - Go to the book clubs and children's nights.  Even if they don't sound too interesting to begin with bring a friend and go out for coffee later; again, the only way for the Library to met the needs of it's community is to know the needs of it's community.  If the only folks participating in Book club are the little old bluehairs who think enjoy whodunnit's about a very curious cat, then that's all you're going to get!  
  • Make Your Voice Known - Let me first state that this gives no one the right to get nasty; do the following with courtesy and respect.  If there's an issue you just can't solve on your own make your voice known.  There are no guarantees what can come of it, but a nicely worded letter or email to the Director could help change things for the better and you don't know until you try.  On the flip side, they need to know what you like just as much as what you didn't!
  • Use More Than One Library - If your needs still aren't being met at your Local look to near by communities.  If you live in a city with a suburb or vice versa there will often be ways you can get a limited Library Card to a different library.  
  • Ask For The Right Kind of Help- A librarians brain isn't hard wired with the card catalog, take a moment to check on the computer to find out ahead of time if something is in or where it should be located. In fact, many larger libraries have their catalogs online so you can search from home during nap time or bed time.  Our Local even has a reserve system that allows us to put 5 books on hold from our home computers, and then emails us when they have been collected and are ready to be picked up from the front desk.  And do not say to your Librarian "Do you have that one book?  You know about the frog?  I think it had a green cover or maybe it was red."  
  • Ask The Right Questions - The above is the wrong kind of question.  Asking the right questions is often key at getting good help.  Ask for help once you've attempted to find what you're looking for yourself.  Ask for suggestions, but don't expect a miracle.
  • Be Polite - Help your Librarian be the best he or she can be by starting off on the right foot.  Your Librarians are human being who have good days and bad days.  Don't expect them to know everything or be able to keep everyone happy - they have to juggle their own bosses, schedules, budgets and patrons desires and they can't do it all!  Remember that these are people with Masters Degrees who, on average, don't make a lot of money - they've gotten that degree and taken that job out of a love of books and learning and deserve respect.  And we all know just how much a sincere thank you or a little extra patience can turn a day around!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

In Which the Garden is Built and Cornbread is Made






{Learning to Make Homemade Cornbread}


{Almost There}


{Ready to Tumble}


{So Excited}

We spent today hard at work building beds, assembling a tumbling compost bin and doing a lot of general yard work.  It was amazing - my in-laws and father all pitched and now we don't have to a scrap of yard work until it's warm enough to plant in a week or two!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Why I Would Homeschool Quicktakes - A Postscript

Thank you to everyone who contributed to my discussion about schooling options.  I really love being around so many amazing families who are fiercely committed to insuring a quality education for their children no matter where it takes place or who does the teaching.

I feel just as, if not more, confident in our current decisions for the coming years, but for the sake of argument I thought I'd share a few of  the things that could change my mind as part of this weeks 7 Quick Takes.  If you haven't already, please feel free to peruse "I'm NOT Homeschooling... And It's Not the End of the World"  Parts One, Two and Three.

Right now we plan on starting a public or private school when we reach Kindergarten, but we are still committed to evaluating progress year by year and child by child, but here are a few things that could change my mind.

  1. Poorly Funded or Supported Schools - If the funding suddenly dropped from our district and it couldn't afford to maintain buildings, purchase curriculum, support extra circulars, etc.
  2. Uncooperative Teachers - There are some great teachers out there, and there are some duds.  If we ever ran into a dud that we just couldn't work with we might change our mind.
  3. Bullies and Social Pressure - A little social pressure and bullying isn't a bad thing - children need to learn to navigate the social sphere, but there will always be a limit.
  4. Square Peg/ Round Hold - If I had a child that clearly wouldn't not fit into a regular school environment and non of the private options fit either - it's true some kids aren't made to excel in a regular school.  Currently, with our experience with our daycare this doesn't seem to be the case yet.
  5.  Extraordinary Interests - If I had a child who's dream in life was to be an Olympian or just wants to be a farmer - anything that requires dedicated time and effort outside of the school day.
  6. Junior High - I won't lie if there's one time I dream of being a homeschooling Mom it's the Junior High years.  They're tough, really tough for just about everyone no matter how your schooled with all those hormones and changes.  I have a long term goal of being able to be part-time or a SAHM for the junior high years just to be present if nothing else.
  7. Last, but not least I could just change my mind.  At any point I could look around at what we're given and what we have and feel called to to something else - but we're not there yet.
 In the end it's about the kids - what will suit them best, not my own personal desires.  If they want to be in public school when I want to home-school we'll do public school.  If they want to be home-schooled when I want them in public school we'll do the same.

See more Quick Takes @ conversiondiary.com

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

We're Not Homeschooling Series Part 3





Thank you for joining me on my last day musing on education.  For those just joining I’ve already shared my personal experiences and local learning scene in Part 1 and a few counterarguments of popular homeschooling arguments in Part 2.  But today I get to my point.

I purposefully left out a few counterarguments and didn’t touch on a few subjects in Part 2 because I feel today covers the rest of the issue.

 "As parents we know our child the best. We need to help foster the creativity in them."

I believe I owe my positive educational experience largely to my family.  It was because of them that even when bored with a subject I understood that what I was doing each day was worth while.  It was because of them that I never felt sad to be away from the home during the day.  It was because of them that I got through the worst my bullies could give me.  It was because of them that I understood that it was okay not to follow “the norm” in my actions and my opinions.  It was because of them that I understood that learning was not something that started at 8 a.m. and ended at 3:30, Monday thru Friday and only from September thru May.  

 "Every day is an opportunity to learn. I am teaching when I am cooking. I am teaching when I am putting on my make up. I am teaching when I folding laundry. Children ask tons of questions listen to them and try to answer them because they are always wanting to learn!"


Involvement, particularly from parents/guardians, is key.

Even though I know we will be using the public system I don't believe that my responsibility ends at the bus stop - rather, the school is a place I utilize to teach my child certain things and my home is a place used to teach the rest.  I believe the core responsibility for preparing my children for the world lies with me and my husband - a school, no matter in the home or outside of it, is just one of the many tools we'll use to attain this goal.
Knowing that we will be using our local public or private schools allows us time to prepare to be such parents.  There are many risks that we take with this decision – the public school system still has some big problems and needs a lot of work to meet the growing needs of a changing student population, but we understand that being involved and concerned parents is part of the process.  We understand that as public schooling parents :
  • We have a responsibility to provide a home environment that encourages creativity and learning.
  • We have a responsibility to model and explain our personal beliefs, morals and expectations.
  • We have a responsibility to be available and supportive as our children experience difficult situations and a variety of opinions, beliefs and actions.
  • We have a responsibility to make every moment available for quality family time count.
  • We have a responsibility to be aware of our children’s needs and whether or not they’re being met in whatever grade or school they are in.
  • We have a responsibility to support good teachers so they can continue to do their work to the best of their ability and be whistle-blowers when they’re not.
  • We have a responsibility to keep our children busy enough to stay out of trouble and challenged, but not so busy that they have no time to be children.
  • We have a responsibility to encourage imagination, creative thinking and a love of learning.

We might be deciding to send our children to be educated by others, but that does not mean our job is complete – far from it in fact.

 "We do interpretive dance parties when I am cooking. We have a giant map above our couch and the girls are always asking where a country is, where an animal is from, how long would it take to get some place. After dinner we have been playing a game where we act out an animal and everyone has to guess what it is. I love it."

    Just because our children will go to public school it doesn't mean we can't make our home an educational one.  We can do Waldorf crafts on weekends, set up Montessori inspired practical life stations at home, take Charlotte Mason booklists to the library, supplement learning with online resources,  do afterschooling in creative ways, and participate in educational clubs and camps during the summers. We organize vacations so we maximize our children's exposure to culture and history.  We can get out into nature and just be at home with no obligations.  There are so many ways to make sure that we are educating at home even if we're not home 100% of the time.

    What does this mean for our family? - It means we're going forward in our preschool years with confidence that public school, if it is right for our children, will be a good experience.  We're confident that we know our own goals and aspirations for our children and feel comfortable that a public or private school experience can be a part of all the grand things we hope our children achieve in their lives.  In the next year we'll be entering into the preschool time and will be using our daycare which adds preschool to it's daily routine as the children age, but not seeking out a more formal preschool experience unless we feel it's necessary.  At home we plan on utilizing a basic preschool curriculum (like Twenty-Six Letters to Heaven: A Catholic Preschool Curriculum ) to inspire our from home learning and exploration - our biggest plan for the coming years is to solidify our home as a place which fosters a love of learning in any form.  I look forward to taking advantage of half day kindergarten to ease our transition into formal school and after that, who knows?  I look forward to updating you as we go along.

    In the end, as many commenters have said over the last few days - involvement is key when using a public or private school system; in fact, the teacher want you to be involved!  If you have come here because you feel alone in your choice of education or you find yourself in a situation of choosing public school even if it's not your first choice - don't worry..... It's Not the End of the World.


    *All quotes are from a great correspondence with my dear friend Jamie over her experiences with her oldest daughter in public school*

    This post contains an Amazon Affiliate Link.

    Monday, April 8, 2013

    We're Not Homeschooling and It's Not the End of the World Part #2 - The Big Questions




    Today I want play a bit of a devil’s advocate.

    Knowing so many great, gungho homeschooling moms I’ve seen many list’s of “why we’re homeschooling” and many of them rehash many of the same concerns about the public school system and I want to respond to some of those in my own way.

    Now, please, before you get out the tar and feathers everything I say is with respect that you have chosen the best for your family based on your own comforts and concerns.  Please take a step back and remind yourself that even if I offer a counter-argument I am not saying that your beliefs, experiences and decisions are without merit – far from it. I actually believe in many of those "Why We're Homeschooling Lists", they are filled with ideas that I'll be accessing as my children grow older to assess and reassess our educational choices.  

    In the end the point of this exercise is to ease the minds of mothers like me, who either have the desire or need (planned or unplanned) to use public school, that the local school system is not a death knell for our children's intellect, creativity and beliefs.

    In the interest of time and space I’m keeping my arguments short and to the point - please know I understand there are always exceptions to every opinion I state below.  Please feel free to ask for clarification via the comments or via email if you're looking for a longer discussion.

    Since I am taking our education decisions a step at a time so these are my thoughts as they pertain to the K-3 and at most K-6 years - I don't know a thing about how to approach these questions as they pertain to teenagers.  Educating teens and pre-teens is not something I feel qualified to discuss at all until I'm much closer to that point.   

    Also keep in mind that these are my arguments for why we will be starting with public school - my children's education, health and safety is of the utmost importance and we will evaluate each child's needs year by year and child by child to find exactly what suits them best.  I am not anti-homeschooling in anyway and this is not meant to be a defense of the school system, which I believes still stands to be improved upon.

    Public School Concern #1 – BoredomA concern that too much time will be spent on subjects that are not interesting to a student, or at too slow a pace and therefore a waste of valuable time.
    • I believe that boredom is nothing to be feared.  Boredom in play allows us to stretch our imaginations and a little boredom in school helps us know what does and does not interest us.
    • That being said, when we make the final decision on education the teacher's ability to engage and excite his or her students will be a key factor.
    • Boredom can be a good signal to an engaged parent that a child is struggling with a subject or perhaps is surpassing his/her current grade - both issues to be addressed before they become a problem.  

    Public School Concern #2 – Bullying, Socialization and Diversity– A concern that your child will experience bullying, social situations that you might not approve of or diverse opinions and beliefs that you do not share.
    • Sadly bullying and negative social situations are not exclusive to public school.  It can happen during after school clubs, church groups and even come from the neighbor kids.  Keeping my kids from public school will not keep them from ever experiencing bullying.
    • It can be good to learn how to navigate these social situations (within reason of course).
    • Any debate student will tell you that to make a good debater you must understand your opponents reasons and rationale as well, if not better, than your own.  This does not mean that you must agree with every differing opinion, but that you can grow in your own beliefs by experiencing the opposite.

    Public School Concern #3 – Destroying Imagination – A concern that public school will destroy a child’s imagination or teach a child to think within the parameter’s of a small box.
    • Anytime you desire to limit a child’s world or experience you risk destroying their imagination – this can happen in public school, but also from too controlling of a home environment.
    • More educators understand the importance of creative outlets in order to appeal to and encourage a variety of learners, particularly in the lower grades.
    • Imagination is not just developed in endless hours of free play on ones own - it can be fostered and encouraged at recess, in art class, and during storytime.
    • Imagination is not just about fairies and dragons it's also about problem solving and critical thinking - in fact even the scientific method must involve the imagination or else a lot of physicists would be out of a job.

    Public School Concern #4 – Overwork and Time Spent – A concern that time spent in school or with homework will get in the way of other interests or activities.
    • The homework and time spent in school is a concern for me, but it a bridge we’ll cross when we get there.  We plan on utilizing 1/2 day kindergarten and specifically search out teachers/schools with low to no homework for the K-3 years as I do agree it is rarely necessary at that age.
    • The average school year is around 180 days; that leaves almost a full half year to allow your child free play time, religious education, sports, clubs, family time, etc. not count the free time before or after school.
    • What occurs in the time afterschool is largely up to the parents – if a child is spending x-amount of time a day in school their free hours should be divided up with care. 
    • It is not necessary for a child to be involved in everything.  There are 18 years for you child to experience music lessons, sports, extra language lessons, or anything else you or they might desire. 

    I would also touch on the subject of "bad schools" and "bad teachers" by saying you can't judge a book by it's cover.  While neither "bad schools" or "bad teachers" should be tolerated as long as other options are available it is wrong to judge a teacher on a hand-me-down opinion - that teacher may be just what your son or daughter needs - just as it is wrong to judge a school by it's boundaries, age and student population.  A friend who chose to send her child to her neighborhood school, which is a SINA (school in need of assistance), instead of the next school over testifies that the schools ranking according to NCLB rules doesn't show the quality and dedication of her daughters teachers or the wonderful diversity of her daughters friends - a true testament not to judge a book by it's "No Child Left Behind" Cover.
     
    While our public education system has many flaws it is still a gift to many.  I think we loose sight of this because few of us know what it's like to have an education of any quality or depth withheld from us because of our economic or social situation, our race or our gender.  It is not enough to just pull our own children out of troubled schools declaring "My children deserve better!".  We must also look to those left in the classroom, whether from a desire to learn in that environment, out of necessity or from no other options and tell them "And so do you."  I hope that even if you decide to educate your children outside of the public system you are still committed to improving it for those who need it. 
     
    These are just a few of the concerns I hear often about a public education and my response to them.  However, in each category I left out what I believe to the key to making a public school education work for your family.  Check in tomorrow for my answer and a peak at our current educationrelated plans!


    So what do you think?  

    Let's keep thing civil and polite - remember that everyone who reads this is different and please be respectful of their choices.  This is one post where I will be quick to remove any comments that do not add to a constructive discussion of this subject.

    Spring Has Sprung

    A few days of warm temperatures and a nice rain and things are looking green... and muddy.



    A small hope that my raspberry bushes might have survived the draught.



    Mud, Glorious Mud.

    P.S. Have you shared your educational horror story over on the first part of "We're Not Homeschooling... And It's Not The End Of The World."?   I'll be uploading Part 2 soon!

    Sunday, April 7, 2013

    We're Not Homeschooling And It’s Not the End of the World – An Education Series Part 1



    Education is one of those big decisions that you have to make as a parent and what you decide really has the ability to affect your children’s lives.  Even though my son won’t be “school aged” for another 3 years it’s something that is on my mind a lot.

    We already know that we'll either be taking advantage of our local public schools or a range of private schools that are available in our immediate area.  This is partly because it is likely we’ll still need to be a dual income family at that time and also because, at the moment, I have no desire to homeschool during the K-6 years.  Junior and High School are a different matter – but that is quite a bit in the future.  Even in my years spent as an education major and then while working for my Theatre for Youth degree I always focused on the older ages, it’s where any of my strength as a potential educator lies.

    Now, I know many wonderful families who have or are choosing to homeschool and that’s great - I think they're all great and each of them have fantastic reasons for doing so.  Nothing I write here is meant as a judgment toward those who have found that that style best suits there strengths and goals as a family.  Rather I wanted to delve into some ideas about education as approached by someone who knows they will be taking a different route.   

    There are many families like mine out there who, whether from circumstance or personal strengths, know or may find themselves using the public education system.  Because of the rising popularity of homeschooling there seems to be a wealth of information and opinion against public school that can be frustrating to a parent trying to choose the best education for their family.  What follows in this series is simply my experience and opinion on a similar matter.

    Today I just want to share my personal educational experience and a little bit about our local learning scene so that you can better understand where I’m coming from.

    *************

    I loved going to school.  I loved school supply lists and picking out schedules.  I loved anticipating my report card and bringing home projects.  There was even a time when I really liked homework.

    I attended public school from Kindergarten thru College and generally look back on the experience well.  I was a good, but not remarkable scholar – a solid 3.5 (B+/A-) student during most of my educational career.  There were some subjects (math) that I struggled with and some subjects (art, theatre and some English classes) that I did well and even excelled in.  I was fortunate to spend most of my years in well funded, mid sized schools that were close to a variety of other schools and cities that helped round out my education.  I will admit that I do not know what it’s like to have to use a poorly funded, generally poorly staffed, extremely rural or inner city school.  My whole experience is rather middle road and for that I’m thankful.  Not everyone has those opportunities. 

    I had some good teachers, a few bad ones and a handful of excellent teachers.  Sometimes a teacher would be only middling in the classroom, but turn out to be a supportive, crucial adult in my life and sometimes it would be the reverse.  I had teachers who stuck to strict curriculum's and those who just seemed to wing it.  I had teachers who toed the line and teachers who were the bane of the school districts existence.

    I had classes that were boring and class that were fascinating.  There were times when my after-school days were wide open and times when I bit off more than I could chew. 

    I feel like I had a variety of experiences in my K-12 years.  From being part of the student editors for our high schools literary magazine or planting trees and a butterfly garden in elementary school – each grade brought unique teachers and subjects.  I had a 5th grade teacher who used Charlotte Mason’s Nature Journal method, a 7th grade science teacher who wanted us to direct our own education unschooling style and a 9th grade English teacher who believed that Story Time, complete with animal crackers, was still an important part of the educational experience.

    I had teachers who barely remembered your name day to day, but I also had a 8th grade teacher who opened her classroom up to a bunch of misfits so we'd have somewhere to sit for lunch.  I had a Math teacher who wasn't afraid to get the principle to step in directly when I couldn't stand up to my bullies.

    I had times in my life were I had plenty of friends and times where I went home crying because I had no friends and this oscillated from Kindergarten until my last day of High School.  There were times I was bullied and there were probably times I was a bit of a bully myself.  There was even a time when I got suspended for slapping a kid (in my defense he was about a foot taller and touching me in ways I knew, as a 4th grader, I did not like).

    I’m not trying to paint a perfect picture of my education – it ran the gamut.  There were the years in the Montessori Charter School that I excelled in and my first two years back in normal public school that were atrocious.  I spent a good amount of junior high eating lunch by myself.  There were times when I got the attention I needed (including threats of holding me back a grade twice) and times that I didn’t.  But in the end I’m content with my experience.

    While I try to prepare myself for the reality that my children might be anything from scholastic prodigies to completely uninterested students it seems safe to assume that they'll be rather similar to their parents and so I feel safe basis my decisions on my middle of the road experiences.  We'll cross the bridge of "bored super genius" or "struggling student" when and if we get there.  While I want my children to excel academically I also know that academics are not everything - but more on that later.

    ************

    I’m lucky that were I went thru the majority of my education is where I currently live.  In fact we chose to move back here because it is one of the best districts in our state.  Within 10-15 miles of my house in our school district there are:
    • Almost 20 public Elementary Schools - each wtih a 1/2 day kindergarten option and the chances for open enrollment
    • 3 Junior High Schools
    • 2 Public High Schools, which will probably be 3 by the time we're ready for it.
    • 1 Alternative High School
    • A K-12 Catholic School
    • 2 Private Christian Schools
    • A Montessori K-6 Elementary
    • A Montessori-inspired Private Elementary School

    We live in a town with a major university and a local community college – both schools work with the local high schools to offer college classes to high school students, as well as junior/high school aged summer programs.  We are centrally located to easily drive to major cities like St. Paul/Minneapolis, Chicago, Omaha, St. Louis, etc   Many of the teachers I grew up with still teach, and I even have a few classmates who are now teachers in our old schools.  We are immensely lucky to live in a such an area with great educational opportunities no matter how you choose to educate. 


    Coming Up Next - Tackling Some of the Best Reasons to Homeschool from a Public Schoolers perspective.  Go Here For Part 2 and Part 3

    Friday, April 5, 2013

    7 Quick Takes

    Hey - I'm not a poseur in this link up anymore!  Not that it's totally exclusive of course, but hey it's fun!  My first officially Catholic Quick Takes!


    1.  One of the best things that happened since last Saturday was my first "in-person" blogger friend meeting.  Elizabeth from That Married Couple came up with her husband on a business trip just for little ol' me!  We had a great play date with the kiddos.  It was great to finally put a real voice to this person I've known for about 3 (or more?  I've lost county) years.  Elizabeth was one of the first people I reached out to with questions about the Catholic Faith so she's got a special place in my story.

    2.  Did you see my amazing rosary collection?  I forgot to mention that though 3 out of the four came from either my mother or grandmother in law, one of them came from Abbey @ Surviving Our Blessings .  You're amazing friend! I hate to say that I still need to learn more about properly praying the rosary - but I'm excited about the challenge.

    3.  The guy I let marry one of my favorite people in the world starred in a film that just got accepted to the Cannes Film Festival.   How awesome is that?  Go here to check out the short film!  (Chris is the one with the beard!)

    4.  It was a whopping 62 degrees out the other day - we've been soaking up the outside as much as possible.  Am I the only one who feels that their house is bigger when the outdoors is open for play?  Using that back door just gives me another view point of the house.

    5.  I recently discovered that our library has an e-media section.  I can download audiobooks to listen to at work.  In the last few weeks I've "read"  "The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy", "Ella Enchanted", "The Book of Three", "Sundays at Tiffany's", and "A Beautiful Blue Death".  I'm currently working thru "The Long Earth" and "The Fellowship of the Ring".  In the world of real books I'm working thru "A Girl of the Limberlost".

     
     
    6.  I'm currently working thru "The Long Earth" and "The Fellowship of the Ring".  In the world of real books I'm reading "A Girl of the Limberlost".

    7.  I'm putting some finishing touches up on a small education series to hopefully start next week.  If you are a public/private school (anything other than homeschooling) family (or are planning to be) and have any tidbits to share about why it works for you or what you do in addition to the school days I'd love to hear from you.  Send me a message @ mollymakesdo@gmail.com or leave a comment.

    (the links above are amazon affiliate links!)

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