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Monday, May 11, 2015

Homeschooling admist Criticism

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I had the opportunity to take my children to see the Mariachi Divas at the local theater in town.  The group was kind enough to do an afternoon show for a few elementary schools and homeschool families.   We enjoyed listening to this lively, 2 time Grammy winning band and being introduced to a type of music that we haven't listened to.

On the way home we talked about all the things we liked and didn't like about the show.  Top of the list was dislikes, my kids were not very impressed with how loud the public school kids were.  Some songs they had a hard time hearing over the noisy kids.

They liked the fast paced, toe tapping music and how energetic it was. They loved hearing all the different instruments.   We also talked about what a wonderful opportunity it was for us to be able to participate in this event.  If my kids were still in public school they would have missed it, as their former school was not part of the schools present.

We stopped at the grocery store, while in town, to save us a trip of running back in later.  While in the check out stand, an elderly lady in front of us asked if school was out for the day.  I replied no, we were just coming from a performance and are homeschoolers.  I could see her husband start to bristle and just shake his head.  Finally, it was just to much for him.    He turned and said "I guess you don't want your kids to learn anything." I was stunned and a little offended.  I asked him "What makes you think that I am not smart enough to teach my own children?" His response, "They won't know what the public schools are teaching and you will just teach them what you want."  My response, "Yes I will teach them what I want.  You can quiz them down and see that they are not dumb. I know better how to teach them than any teacher out there."

That was the end of the conversation, but I was seething and coming up with all kinds of comebacks such as:

No my kids won't know the same as public school kids, my standards are higher, so they will know more.

What makes you think my doctorate isn't enough to teach my kids (Don't have one of those, but I do have a college degree)

Do you know what they are teaching in public schools these days? I do. My kids have been there and I have put hours into researching Common Core.

No my kids won't know the same as public school kids, but they will know the United States of America is a Republic not a Democracy, they will know the founding fathers believed in God, they will know what the Constitution is, they will have a deep appreciation for America and it's history.

My kids will learn how to learn without being told what to learn.  They will learn to be free thinkers and they will learn how to find truth and sort it out from opinion.

I'm okay with my kids not learning the same thing as public school kids.  We've done that been there.  My kids learned wealth distribution, that only white people are mean to African Americans, that the only way for peace in America is to take away the 2nd Amendment.... They also learned how to make sure their cut out pumpkin looked exactly like the rest of the class.  That's exactly why I'm okay that my kids don't learn the same as public school kids.

I sat in on my kids classes and saw the time wasted due to the kid that was more interested in throwing his eraser across the room.  My child was told he couldn't go ahead with the assignment until the kid throwing erasers was ready.  At home he doesn't have to wait on any one, no kids throwing erasers here to hold him back.

Even though this experience kind of put a damper on our fun trip, I'm glad I had the opportunity to stand up for something I believe in deeply and my kids got the privilege of witnessing that.  Homeschooling may not be for everyone, but it works for my family and I believe in making my children the best they can be and giving them opportunities to learn and grow.

I don't have a problem with public school, it just didn't work for my kids.  I wanted to give them the opportunity to learn without having to sort opinion from actual facts.

I may not have a teaching degree but I know how to find information and I can learn right a long with my children.  I am passionate about teaching them and about helping them to gain a love of learning.

I would love to hear your comebacks and what you do in the face of critcism.

Monday, December 22, 2014

A Mother's Touch

A Mother's Touch

The role of a mother has been something that has weighed heavily on my mind for the last two years. I've taken my responsibility seriously but more so in the last few years as I have taken on the additional role of educating my children as well.  I worry over what my children are learning and if they are learning the right things. It has taken me a little while to realize it's okay if my set of guidelines look different from the public school guidelines.  After all I don't have the same values as the crew that put together Common Core standards. 

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Homemade Chicken Nuggets

My kids love chicken nuggets, but I hate store bought, pressed together mystery meat nuggets.  So I decided to try my hand at making homemade nuggets.  I searched the web for the perfect recipe, until I found the right one at Laura's Sweet Spot.  These are very time consuming, but delicious.


4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 lbs)
2 cups water
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup panko bread crumbs, crushed
2 teaspoons onion powder
3/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 large egg whites
4 cups peanut, coconut or vegetable oil


1. Cut and Brine Chicken:  Cut chicken into 1/2 inch thick 1 inch wide pieces.  In a large bowl, combine 1 tablespoon salt and Worcestershire sauce, stir until the salt dissolves. Add the chicken and refrigerate covered for 30 minutes.

Remove the chicken from the brine and pat chicken dry with a paper towel.  In a shallow dish, combine flour, bread crumbs, onion powder, pepper, garlic powder, and baking soda.  In a separate dish,  beat the egg whites until they are foamy.  Coat the chicken pieces with egg whites and then dredge in the crumb mixtures, press the crumbs onto the chicken to help them adhere.  Place on a dish or cookie sheet and let set for 10 minutes to allow the bread crumbs to soak up some moisture from the chicken.

Now it's time to fry: You can use several different methods.  If you have a fry daddy, use that.
No fry daddy, try the oven.  Adjust your oven rack to the middle position, turn oven to 200 degrees. Heat oil in a large dutch oven. I used coconut oil.  It kind of gave the chicken a coconut flavor but it turned out great. Before adding the chicken to the hot oil, coat second time with the flour mixture.  Fry half of the chicken until deep golden brown, about 3 minutes turning halfway through cooking.  Drain the chicken on a wire rack set inside a baking sheet to catch the oil.   I actually preferred to use my electric skillet. It was easier than checking the oven.  A wok would work as well, you just want something deep enough that oil isn't going to be splattering every where.

My kids  ate these up as quick as I pulled them out of the oil. They loved them.  The process is a little time consuming but making a bunch an freezing them would work great and save time later when the kids want to pull something out of the freezer and pop in the oven.  

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Christmas Cookies in a Jar

I love the Christmas Season and all the decorations that come out during the month of December.  Not only do trees and lights come out, but kindness and caring in people seems to be more abundant. I am more generous with my neighbors and look forward to sharing the Christmas spirit with them. My family started a new tradition a few years ago that we all look forward to sharing with neighbors. I will share that tradition in a future post as I think it is so fun and so do my kiddos. 

Friday, November 21, 2014

Thanksgiving Recipe Round Up

I am so looking forward to Thanksgiving. I love getting together with my brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, grandparents. parents and cousins.  Unfortunately because of the traveling distance that doesn't happen often enough.  

Thanksgiving is a big event for my family.  My mom has 10 brothers and sisters so as you can imagine when we get together with all of them or even a portion of them, it is a full house.  As none of my aunts and uncles have a house big enough to host that many people, for years we have rented the senior citizens center or met at the local church to enjoy our feast.  

One of my aunts and uncle purchased a store a few years back, the Soup Town Cafe, so now that is where we all congregate for Thanksgiving.  There is plenty of space to fit us all, barely. We are a big crowd.  Family and neighbors all join in for the feast with each bringing a dish to share.   Some dishes are great, some not so great like the pickled asparagus last year. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Classical Composers Monthly - Home school Supplies

Thanksgiving Fine Art Pages graphic

 I recently ran across a fun website called Classical Composers Monthly. This is a website that consists of fine art pages to help you in your homeschool day.  I love the above Thanksgiving link because it is filled with links to videos, crafts and Thanksgiving history.  My kids especially love to watch the videos.  This is such a handy site for a busy homeschooling mom.  It is nice to have so many great resources in one place so I don't have to spend a lot of time looking.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Finding Joy in the Journey

Water Color Painting by Connie, Copyrighted

I thought I would post something a little bit different today.  I have a very talented mother, she can do a little bit of everything, and if she can't she'll figure it out.  She paints, draws, sews quilts, does home repairs such as putting up sheet rock and laying tile, and she is an excellent writer. As you can see, I have an amazing mother that has figured out how to use the talents she has been given. One day I called her and she told me her head was sore. I asked why and she said because she was putting sheet rock up on her storage room ceiling and she had been using her head to hold it up while she screwed it onto the ceiling.  I love that my mom is willing to figure anything out and no project is to big.

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