Category Archives: education

Expedition

There’s a new post over at www.reallyjennifer.com  Check it out!

Last week was spent on an annual field trip called The Expedition on Jekyll and Saint Simons Islands. We went with our youngest son’s home-school, school. It was my second time, but my husband’s 5th, since 2 of my older kids attended the same school several years ago.
I am still in awe at the mere production of this trip. There were 85 explorer students, then about 30 servant leaders (high school students), 20 chaperones, then a host of staff, and “Hanger On’ers”, which are family guests. I think the total head count was around 180. This group was active from 7:30AM until 10-10:30PM – give or take an hour or 2…
The activities included…   read more HERE

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Revisiting the College Preparation Blog…

Back in June, I blogged about helping my daughter prepare for college.  I re-visited that post this evening,  to see if I was still feeling the same, and if my Top 10 list held true through-out the summer.  I can testify that it did.  It is all true…every last one.

Tomorrow morning, we will unload my little girl, with a truck full of boxes, in the middle of a big city, and leave her there to start a new chapter in her life.   It will also be a new chapter in mine.

I’m sure I will cry, but that’s OK…Really.

Below is my blog from June… enjoy.

Yesterday, I took my only daughter shopping for dorm supplies.  She will be heading to college in August.  She is not my oldest, but she’s my first to go, and live on campus at a university, so this is new territory for me.

We had the 10 hour orientation last week – It was brutal.  I didn’t cry, and she didn’t pretend not to know me, so I think it was a win win.  It did however, make this all a tad bit more real for me.  She seemed totally chill with everything. She told me she wasn’t nervous at all!  It was all just too exciting for her.

I know she’s a great student.  She’s pretty responsible with things that matter… to her anyway. She has a relationship with Christ, and a heart to help others.  She knows what she wants, and she’s never been afraid to go for it.  She’s a leader, and knows how to follow when she has to – something that took her mama a while to learn… I know she will be OK, and I know she will miss me, eventually.  I must admit though, I will be anxiously awaiting that first phone call.  The one where she calls just to chat and hear my voice.  When my role as Mom will start to morph, and she will also call me friend.

Here is my top 10 for the week –

Top ten ways you know you have a kid about to go off to college

  1. You cry randomly…
  2. You have more bad dreams then normal
  3. You find yourself saying, “If you can’t blah blah blah here, how will you when you’re on your own?”
  4. You notice the “eye roll” has now been replaced with the “blank stare of don’t care”
  5. You will find anyway to bring up the fact that your child is leaving, in every conversation, even if it doesn’t fit, like when you order your lunch, (Waiter) “Are you ready to order ma’am?” (You) “well, I guess, ya know… I guess I need to get used to eating out more now that my child is going off to college”. (you will get a strange look and fake chuckle with this one)
  6. You will bring it up in every prayer group too… Try not to be to trigger happy with your request.. let other’s go first if you can.
  7. You will hear your child say “I love you mommy” and “leave me alone” several times in the same week.
  8. The intensity of your lectures about sex and drugs will escalate to un-godly proportions.
  9. Your personal prayer life will also intensify.
  10. You will decide that you have done the best you can do, and you will trust in your kid, and more in the God that created them, knowing that they will make mistakes, and you can’t fix everything for them… and that is OK… Really.

If you have any words of advice or would like to share your story or can add to this list, please do!


Yep… still a home school mom… Part 2

I started home schooling out of desperation, but I have continued out of conviction.

Right before I took my 7th grader out of public school all those years ago,  I had been substituting at a couple of middle schools.  My experiences in those schools were not pleasant. Things had changed drastically since my days of puberty, and it was not for the better.

I home-school because I want my son to learn without distraction.  I want his ears to be  sensitive to profanity and his heart to be soft to injustice.  I want to teach him that it’s God’s Word that matters most, not the most popular kids word…I want my son to know that God is in every single thing in his life, and it’s his very ability to learn that comes from Him.

I home school because I believe that all children deserve to learn in the way they were created and at the pace that their brains can keep up with.  I don’t teach to a test, and we don’t move on until there’s complete understanding.  The time will come soon enough when meeting the status quo will matter, but it’s not in adolescence.

I have learned that when you teach to a child’s heart, knowledge and understanding will follow.  Grades are just a way to see what we still need to learn.  They are not the defining mark of any child.  Their character is.

I have totally selfish reasons for home-schooling as well.  I love the schedule of it.  I love planning activities with my son, and going on field trips.  I love implementing life responsibilities in our education, and I just love being a part of the whole process… We rarely run out of time for the things that matter, because it all matters.

I believe that the public school systems do have the children’s best interest at heart.  I also believe, unfortunately, that their interest can only be diluted when you have the increased population in the classroom, and the varying, ever changing, opinions of those in control.  It is a government entity that has taken too big of an influence in our lives, in places where it has no business.

I choose to home school.  I take it seriously.  I don’t judge you if you choose not to, but I do admonish you to talk to your child about their day at school.  I implore you to be pro-active with your child’s studies. Get to know your child’s teacher.  They would probably appreciate your support!  Know what they are learning and be involved.   It’s your right as a parent.  You are your child’s best advocate, and their character development is up to you.

When all is said and done, and the diploma is hanging on the wall, the adult that your child becomes is really up to them.  We can only do what we can.  As I have said before…faith, hope, love and prayer will always be yours long after control and influence have expired.  Take comfort in those and know that God loves your kids more than you do. Really.


Yep… I’m a home-school mom… Part 1

I haven’t always been.  My oldest son went through public school, and then he even went to a boarding school… My second son went through public school until the 7th grade…then we home-schooled through 12th.  My daughter was in public through 5th, then home, then back to public for 9th through 12th…and then our youngest… he has been in public, private and home…  I have been room-mom, PTA officer, substitute teacher and tutor.  I’ve home-schooled with the help of a couple **home-school “schools” and I’ve created a curriculum all by myself… I like to think I am well rounded in the area of educational options.

I used to think that home-schoolers were “weird”.  At the least, they were crazy!  I always thought I would end up in prison for beating my children if I ever even tried it… I was one of those moms that counted down summer vacation and never, ever thought to challenge a teacher, a specialist or a curriculum…

My second child had always struggled in school.  He had all of the extra help the public schools could provide.  He even spent every summer in summer school.  By 6th grade he had figured out how to divert the attention from his lack of understanding by becoming the class clown.  He was popular with the kids, but no so much with the teachers.  He technically failed 6th grade, but, against our wishes, was placed in 7th grade.  Things got worse.  After 1st semester progress reports, I knew we had to do something drastic.  After extensive independent testing, we found out that after all of his education, our son was on a 4th grade level…but in the 7th grade.  How did this happen?  We had to do something, and quick.

We found out that he has Dyslexia.  His reading skills were minimal, and he had mastered the art of diversion.  We got him a tutor that specialized in dyslexia, and the Wilson Program, and then we enrolled him in a home-school “school” that focused on the children’s hearts and their spirits.  With the specialized focus, and lots of one on one teaching, he was on grade level in just over a year.

We opted to continue  home schooling through his high school years.  We enrolled him in The American School, which is an established correspondence school.  We were able to continue using the dyslexia tutor and exercises, as well as one on one lessons and group activities.  He received his diploma with a 3.4 GPA in just under 4 years.  It was not always easy, but when your routine changes, everything changes, including attitudes.

So, my motivation for home-schooling, began out of desperation to help my son, who had slipped though the cracks of the public school system.  They did their best, and it just wasn’t good enough, and that’s OK.  It’s not their responsibility anyway.  It’s mine.  Parents know their kids better than anyone, or at least, they should.  It’s the parents job to be the advocate for their kids, to make sure they are getting the services they need, even if that means to be in a different environment all together.  It might not be easy, but it will be worth it.  Really.

So, that is how I started… it’s not really why I still do it though….

stay tuned for part 2…

** A home-school “school” is a program that offers classroom teaching, with pre-packaged curriculum.  Most of these schools offer classes once a week in a block schedule.  The assignments are completed at home, with the help of the parents, then turned back in to the class teacher the following week.


A Serious Saturday Post… Discipline.

Reader beware: This a Serious Saturday Posting.. Stay tuned for more light-heartedness later in the week..

Discipline.  Wow. That’s not even fun to type.

I’m motivated to write about discipline today, for two reasons.  First, I had to punish my youngest son recently, which doesn’t happen very often, and second, I just watched Toddler’s and Tiaras.. I know. I swear to you, I watch it with an open mouth and I even pray for those kids sometimes.

The word Discipline, by Webster’s definition is; 1. Punishment 2. Instruction 3. training that corrects, molds, or perfects the mental faculties or moral character. 5. Self control.. Now that doesn’t sound too bad, does it?  At least it doesn’t  sound bad for you.

It is summer break right now and being so, my kids are not jumping out of bed in the wee hours of the morning, which is fine by me, but.. they are pushing 10:30-11:30 on some mornings.  Besides the new chill approach to the morning schedule, there has not been much reading or calculating or even music practicing going on.. Our poor canines have even been left to the way side, as their normal 6:30AM breakfast and outing is now a no-frill brunch to lunch with not even a scratch behind the ear.  Laundry has spent more time in the baskets and I don’t think the beds have been made more than once or twice.  What’s wrong with that?  It’s SUMMER for crying out loud!  It’s time for all school-aged children to relax. chill. take a much needed vacation from the daily grind of learning…  Not anymore in my house. A new morning routine has been implemented.  Complete with a chart.  Yes. I am one of those mom’s…

I haven’t found in any parenting books, or in scripture where it is a suggested practice to have your kids work hard to the best of their ability, be responsible, seek knowledge and discipline and develop good habits,  but then stop. Take 2-3 months off.  If anything, all of the parenting books I have read have preached “consistency” and stressed the importance of learning to be responsible through loving discipline.  A big part of parenting, from day one, is preparing them to leave.  I know that sounds harsh, but it is reality.   They are going to leave and have to be responsible for themselves someday.  How ready are they (and you) going to be? 26 is the new 18, as personal responsibility and self discipline are traits now avoided… These traits are missing so much in today’s culture, like the cult of pageants and team sports, Disney sit-coms and MTV.  When did parents start thinking that athletic, social and beauty “discipline” trumped character discipline?  When did kids start telling parents what to do and when to do it?  And when did kids start knowing what was best for them? Really?  Seriously?

It builds character to seek knowledge and serve others.  Education is a privilege in this world, but taken for granted in this country.  It builds character to take care of an animal and have chores that you don’t get paid for.  It builds character to do something you know is good, even if you don’t have to do it.  It builds character to be told no or to do it again.  It builds character to loose gracefully and to win with humility.  How is this implemented? It is taught and caught by the most influential people in your life, that love enough to discipline.

So, what’s the point and what do we do?  If we really want the best for our kids, we need to seriously look at what we hope for them.  One of my favorite pastors, Chip Ingram, says to make a “to be” list instead of a “to do” list.  Whatever you want for your kids (or they want for themselves) you have to make opportunities for. I don’t mean, “be the best baseball player”, I’m talking about character goals, like “I want to be a good friend”… Parenting should be deliberate and pro-active, not just re-active.  You also need to pray for your kids. I highly recommend the book by Stormie Omartian – The Power of a Praying Parent.  She gives my prayers words when I have none.  Then you need to sit back and relax in the hand of God and know He’s on it.  The outcome is not up to the parent.  Control is a fleeting thing, influence you will have most of the time, but prayer, faith and love are yours forever.

Now go make your kids clean something and read a book.