“I can learn stuff on my own!”

A penguin drawn recently (in about a minute or so) by my artistic daughter.

Those were the words my daughter said to me this morning that made me think. They made me realize that we have strayed far from the path on which we originally began our homeschool journey a few years ago. “We are unschoolers!” I proudly proclaimed a few years ago to another homeschooling mom. (See my article: Yes, I am an Unschooler) As a young momma working with a then five year old, I felt perfectly happy to proclaim our unschooling ways. After all, my ‘kindergartner’ was happy to explore bugs and  ancient Egyptian mummies at will and I was happy to let her do so, confident that her reading skills would continue to improve from their rudimentary beginnings. I felt sure that within a few months, the ‘need to read’ would set in and she would see the benefit of reading, begin to love words and word meanings (just like I do) and be reading chapter books for fun by age six.

I was confusing my own journey with hers. As we went on, I began to be concerned that her reading skills didn’t seem to improve as rapidly as I expected. Why was she struggling with symbol recognition? Why is it still hard for her to understand that the word she read on the last page is still the same word on this page?

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Check out Hammock Tracks Home School

Savannah McQueen author of Hammock TracksThe lovely Savannah McQueen over at Hammock Tracks has posted an interview with me about our homeschooling journey. You can check it out here: My Hammock Tracks Home School Interview. While you are there, be sure to check out all of her other great posts which include the first three in the interview series, “Who Home Schools?” It is always interesting to see who else homeschools as well as why and how. :-)

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My Momma’s Newest Blog

101 Creative Writing Exercises by Melissa DonovanMy mom has always been a fantastic writer. I love to read her stuff. Most recently she has been doing a lot of blogging for our website at Journal in a Box. Her most recent blog over there is about a new book she has been reading (and learning from) called 101 Creative Writing Exercises (Adventures in Writing). Written by our friend Melissa Donovan over at Writing Forward, this book is a fantastic way to get started with almost any kind of writing you want to do. I wanted to repost this particular blog, because one of the subjects my mom picked to use for an exercise from the book is a subject near and dear to my heart – the way that my grandparents met. I wanted to share this story here because it is such a heartwarming story! So, here is my mom’s blog:

My Experiment With Melissa Donovan’s New Book, 101 Creative Writing Exercises (Adventures in Writing)

If you’ve been searching for a goldmine concerning all-things-writing you need look no further than Melissa Donovan’s, 101 Creative Writing Exercises (Adventures in Writing) Continue reading

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Why I’m Not a Sean Hannity Fan

Liberal and ConservativeI often post on Facebook my thoughts on the political news of the day and any one of my friends over there can tell you that I am about as conservative as they come. Some of them might call me a right-wing nut job. (In love of course! Ask my long time friend, Andrea.) But, I will defend the right of every other one of my friends to post their own political posts all day long. And I absolutely can’t stand Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity or any other of their ilk who lower themselves to name calling and ridiculous crap-throwing just to stir the pot.

From the time I was very young right up into when I was an adult my grandparents lived in the same house as myself and my parents. The reasons are numerous and they are better saved for another blog, but suffice it to say that the arrangement, though sometimes hard on all the parties, was actually good for all five of us in many ways.

My dad and my grandfather were, for all intents and purposes, best friends. They enjoyed the same games, much of the same music, many of the same pastimes and they shared the same morals and values.

My grandfather, a card carrying member of the Carpenter’s Union, was a died-in-the-wool, straight ticket voting, liberal democrat until the day that he died. My dad followed Ronnie Reagan right out of the democratic party and to this day lives on a steady diet of Rush Limbaugh. He probably needs his daily dose of Rush just as much as he needs his several packs of cigarettes a day. And, I feel that his smoking and my grandfather’s voting were probably about equally destructive to my health when I was young and living in the same house as the two of them. (Excuse me for a moment while I remove my tongue from my cheek. Okay, back to the blog.) Continue reading

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Random Thoughts

Laying next to my daughter tonight, holding her and helping her calm down after a day filled with excitement, my mind raced. My head was filled with what my mom calls popcorn thoughts. I just wanted to note a few and share them here.

The first thing that made me smile was something that happened right after I lay down next to her. After reading a bedtime story to her and her brother, I crawled into her bed and tucked her in and held her and asked how she felt about her fun day. She and her Nana had hosted a tea party here at our home today and we had loads of fun. After she excitedly told me how much fun she had had with all of her friends, she then decided to make my heart burst. She said, “I loved the tea, Mama. Can we do it again sometime, just the two of us?” Oh, man. All the years I watched my mom and Gramma live together and be such close and good friends and all of the years that my own Mama and I have spent as best friends – well, I’m so grateful for their example! :-)

The next thing that I thought of, as my mind raced by the face of my amazing Gramma was the fact that when I picked up my crochet tonight my hand told me that the weather is changing. My Gramma always used to say that her joints were much better than the weatherman at predicting such.

Last, but not least, Continue reading

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Got Support?

Some of my homeschool mom friendsI’ve been a member of a couple of online communities of homeschoolers for about a year now and one recurring theme I hear spoken of in the forums is the lack of support felt by homeschooling families. As the daughter of a couple who began homeschooling when it was still fairly unheard of, I have seen firsthand how tough it can be to step out into the unknown and defy the words of both friends and family.

I don’t feel the same pressures or fear the same unknowns that my parents did. My husband and I agree completely about our homeschooling philosophy. My parents are 100% on board with our decision (obviously,) my husband’s family are supportive and believe in our heartfelt care for our children enough to set aside any doubts they may have. That alone is very freeing and uplifting. Knowing that you have the support and understanding of those closest to you is so important. My heart aches when I read on certain forums of moms who want to homeschool, but don’t have the support of their husbands. Or families who have made the decision and stepped out in faith only to be slammed by their immediate family members.

That is one reason why I am a big advocate of finding a local group of homeschoolers with whom you can connect and on whom you can lean. Many of them have been in the same boat as you when they first made their decision. Continue reading

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How to Go From Public School to Home School in 12 Easy Years

Yvonne and Tonya 1998

Mom and I in the year that I graduated

As the holidays approach and traditions and family time are often the topic of discussion, I am so excited to be able to introduce my very first guest blogger. This blogger is particularly close to my heart. As a homeschooling wife and mom and loving daughter to two beautiful people (including one with multiple health issues,) this woman juggled various responsibilities with aplomb for many years in her homeschooling days. These days, she keeps up her busy schedule with a full time ‘day job’ as she works overtime to make her latest business venture successful. The truth is that this pioneering homeschooling mom taught me pretty much everything I know about how to homeschool successfully. You may have guessed by now that I am talking about my own dear Mama! Now, without further ado, here is the blog by Yvonne Root:


Somewhere around here we probably have the video supplied to us by the television station that sent a reporter into our home to discuss the then new idea of home school. We were in our first year of playing school at home. Notice the wording – playing school – I’ll get back to that.

We were in the news!

What an exciting day that was for us. We had answered yes to the reporter’s request to come see our school, to see the one and only student and to see the teacher. The room that had once been our family room had morphed (seemingly overnight) into the school room. The student’s desk and the teacher’s desk, the shelves filled with books, the bric-a-brac of a well stocked school room were all there awaiting the reporter. The one and only student and the teacher were dressed for school. The principle had been called away (poor guy had to work his day job) and was unavailable.

The reporter asked the usual questions concerning – hum, I don’t remember most of what she asked. The only thing I do remember with certainty was the question concerning how we went from being at home as a family to being at school. I could have shown her the door frame and said, “That way is the kitchen and that is home, this way is the school room and this is school.” Instead I offered an even more disgustingly silly answer. I told her that I changed hats. In one hat I was the mom and in the other hat I was the teacher.

This is one of those moments I look back on and think, “Could I have really been that naive? Could I have really been so clueless?”

The education begins

Because I absolutely love the process of learning, (there is a bit of irony here) I borrowed or purchased every book I could get my hands on concerning home school. Not only the why of home school but the how of home school, the what, where and when of home school became my major focus, became the one concept about which I was determined to learn. (Remember this was before the internet was available to the likes of me and mine – books were where I turned.) Also we were blessed to find a home school support group within a few months of our adventure into playing school and I began to get an education.

But the school sputters

Perhaps because I had only one student I wasn’t as bad as a friend of mine who confessed that in her early days of home school her children students, all 3 of them, were required to raise their hands if they desired to ask a question or add a comment. Yet, in so many other ways I brought my experience of public school into the setting which would be our home school. Continue reading

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