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Introducing Father & Son Camp East (in Western PA) -- coming up this October 3-6, 2013!
Heidi Strawser from 'Homeschool Mosaic' blogsite, quoting from Kellie Crowe, 9/4/2013

Last summer, I had the opportunity to use and review a Monarch butterfly kit from Crowe’s Nest Media.  It was through that review process that I had the pleasure of becoming acquainted with Kellie Crowe.  Over the past year, we’ve corresponded from time to time; and, recently, she reached out to me to share about a special opportunity for Fathers & Sons – right here in my home state of Pennsylvania!  I thought this sounded like a great opportunity for ALL DADS, so I wanted to share it with our Homeschool Mosaics audience . . .

Kellie says:

As a mom with three young men (16, 14, 3) growing up in a world that devalues manhood in particular and godliness in general, it’s a privilege to tell you about  the“Father and Son Camp East” — a camp that casts a vision for both manhood and godliness while giving fathers and sons a weekend they’ll remember for the rest of their lives.

kc1What is the Father and Son Camp East?

This is a camp (held October 3-6, 2013) for Dad’s who want to keep the “hearts of their sons.”  As such, it’s also an opportunity for fathers who are new in their faith to catch a vision for biblical manhood and the importance of being a Godly father … for the sake of future generations.

This four-day camp (Thursday afternoon through Sunday lunch) has been created specifically for the purpose of helping Dads develop strong, biblical relationships with their sons, equipping them to be men of value and principle.


Why is this weekend so important?

As our sons grow and the world’s influence becomes greater, we find that there are so many “voices” calling out to them.  These voices often drown out the influence of godly wisdom from Dad.

The only way to lessen the influence of these conflicting voices is for the son to “know” the voice of his Dad, and for his Dad to hold his son’s heart.  The only way for a son to know his father’s voice is for him to spend time with him.  And, I’m talking about one-on-one time together — talking, playing, laughing, discussing the Word.

Some dads attend the Father and Son Camp with a solid vision for biblical manhood and the importance of his role.  For that father, the camp merely reinforces his vision. For other dads who may be new in their faith, it’s an opportunity to learn the importance of investing time in keeping the hearts of their son(s)....


Comments: 8

Homeschool grad moving on to international living.... a mom shares the story
Ellen Stewart, 8/16/2013

Editor's Note from Susan Richman: Ellen Stewart of Johnstown PA is the mom of many children, all adopted (many internationally)-- she is no stranger to traveling to China or Russia or Korea to meet and welcome her new children. Now she's experiencing having her 4th child, Molly, move on to living abroad-- and shares thoughts that I'm sure will resonate with many of you. I definitely encourage you to check out Molly's wonderful blog-- I thought I'd just read the opening entry, but found myself moving through every post! It's actually really surprising -- and gratifying! -- to me just how many homeschool graduates have chosen to spend extended time living abroad in their early adult years. I have another blogsite to share in a few days from a graduate who spent time working in a medical mission in Africa, one of her dreams since childhood. I know other students who lived abroad in Taiwan teaching in preschools, or who are teaching US history in mainland Chinese high schools, or who've made their home in Uganda, and as many of you know our older daughter has now lived in Israel for over 5 years. What's that we all used to hear that by homeschooling, our kids might never 'leave home'??? Maybe the old saying about 'giving them roots, and giving them wings' is true-- we've done both! 

I held her as closely as I could for as long as I could.  She still had the same smell that I remembered when she was a baby.  Molly had grown up in to a lovely young woman and was preparing to board a plane for Bolivia for her first teaching job in an international school.  She was tired.  I was crying.  I gave her a kiss on the cheek then released her.  She was free.

When I began homeschooling over two decades ago, the days seemed long, tedious, redundant, and tiring.  We had many fun times, but there was always the daily rhythm that carried us from math to English to history like a wave through the day.  The water was finally crashing on the shore.  Molly had graduated years before and secured a teaching degree along with her master's in English as a Second Language (ESL).  She had lived in town and would pop in for frequent visits with her family.  She had worked for an insurance company for a few years before landing a job as a therapeutic staff support (TSS) person in the local school system.   Now she was going to a new continent on the other side of the equator.  She would learn to speak Spanish.  She would teach ESL to the other teachers in her English speaking school.  She would learn to manage classrooms of junior high students.  The curriculums would be built with her own hands.  

It was interesting to get an email from Molly mentioning that she would be speaking with the Social Studies teacher.  She wanted to coordinate her work teaching Language Arts with the history lessons the children received.  That's what we used to do around our kitchen table.  Now that experience would be transferred to a school in Bolivia.  

Molly was always a great writer.  I once told her that I didn't know what she would be when she grew up, but she would write whatever profession she might choose.   She began a blog about her experience entitled Something New 22 http://startofsomethingnew22.blogspot.com/.  In it, she describes her ventures into a new world, learning how to establish authority in a classroom, and wrestling with self-doubt during her bouts of homesickness.  

This would be a great blog for home schooled students to read!  It might give them a flavor for adventure, an appreciation for other cultures, and gratitude for America.  It might be a new door that they will walk through themselves one day.


Comments: 10

Thanksgiving thoughts while cleaning up my side of our home office....
Susan Richman, 11/22/2011

I never go shopping on 'Black Friday' after Thanksgiving... instead for the last several years I've set aside the day for a major cleaning up or re-organizing day in my home. You know, those jobs most of us rarely 'get to'... like a huge overhaul of the attic storage area, or repainting woodwork, or re-organizing all my bookshelves. This Friday my plan is to really, really work on blessing our home office, one of the busiest rooms in our home right now-- and one of the most cluttered I'm afraid. 

So... today I'd finished the work I'd planned to do for my AP US History class, and I just couldn't wait to get started just a bit *early* on our office. I thought I'd just begin a little, by clearing off the top of my desk and my file drawers. I already have boxes and bags of old unnecessary papers to recycle or burn-- but one of the piles to sort through made me stop and linger. And here's where I come to the Thanksgiving part. One of the things I always save is *thank you* cards and notes from the many families and students that I've worked with over the years. They are all in a nice brass box on a shelf just to the left of my computer-- and the container was overflowing and filled above the brim. I had no thoughts that I'd toss any of these  treasures... but I did decide to reread them all. And my heart is so full now, of gratitude for all these people who have touched my life over many years of working with homeschooling famlies in so many ways. 
thank you cards 2011.jpg
There were letters from my AP US History students, thanking me for the way that the course had helped them stretch in new ways and see our nation's history from different viewpoints. Some specifically thanked us for hosting our annual year-end AP Party at our farm, where they had the chance to really meet many of their virtual classmates face to face-- kids from Texas, California, Washington, Virginia, Georgia, Pennsylvania, and more. Others thanked me for being ready and willing to write them needed college or scholarship recommendation letters. Rereading these cards and notes made me realize, once again, about the many lives all of us leading our AP Online classes have touched. It's so special to be able to help these wonderful young people move on in their lives. And just today....


Comments: 15

Konkle Quartet-- homeschool brothers from Pennsylvania singing barbershop quartet music!
Williamsport Sun-Gazette, July 9, 2011-- Kristen Nuss, 7/21/2011

Editor's Note from Susan Richman: One of the delightful student performances at our PHAA Central Pennsylvania Homeschool Graduation Ceremony this year was the Konkle Quartet, singing original arrangements of gospel music in barbershop quartet style-- Hunter Konkle, the eldest son, was one of the graduates. I spoke with the family afterwards, asking how the boys had developed their amazing skills, hoping to share their story with all of our readers. I was so pleased to receive in the mail this week both a professionally made CD of the quartet, and the following newspaper article from the Williamsport Sun-Gazette about the mission of the boys. If you might like to inquire about purchasing one of their two CD's, please call the family at 570-368-7577. I know their amazing music will be an inspiration to many homeschooling families! 

Though barbershop music has waned in popularity, four Montoursville brothers, ages 10 to 17, are keeping the genre alive in the name of the Lord.

Known as the Konkle Quartet, Hunter, Walker, Rider and Parker Konkle have spent the last four years singing together at area churches and events.

"Conservative music for a conservative generation" is how Hunter Konkle, 17, described the group's material of older spiritual style hymns such as "I'll Fly Away," "Be Thou My Vision" and "For the Beauty of the Earth."

All of the arrangements the brothers perform are four-part harmony and sung a cappella. Together, the brothers perform an average of 30 to 40 times a year.

The group has produced two CDs, one in 2008 and the second in May. The latter is available at the Hallmark store in the Loyal Plaza.

"We just love doing it," Hunter Konkle said. "We love seeing people's faces. It's a blessing.".....


Comments: 5

26th Annual Greater Pittsburgh Homeschooling Workshop and Curriculum Fair-- pre-registration deadline March 1st!
Sue Ann Means, 2/28/2011

The pre-registration deadline is March 1 pre-registration for the
26th Annual Greater Pittsburgh Homeschooling Workshop and Curriculum Fair
is March 1( must be postmarked by).
There is still plenty of room to register at the door the day of the conference, fees will be slightly higher.
Date: March 12, 2011
Time: 8 AM until 3 PM
This year's theme:  FREEDOM & JOY in HOMESCHOOLING
Todd Wilson author and founder of Familyman Ministries
 will be the keynote speaker http://www.familymanweb.com/
Book Vendors confirmed:
ABeka Books, Boy Scouts of America, Classical Conversations, Commonwealth Connections Academy, Cornerstone Christian Prep, Creation Science Fellowship, Erie County Homeschoolers Diploma Assn, Familyman Ministries, Fantazier Writer Illustrator, Gideon Study Center, Grace Christian Dance, Heaven's Family, Honey Tree, Lengue-Learn Communications, Little V Books, Math U See, Pa Homeschoolers, Snapology, Usborne Books,
Zeezok Publishing
Fifteen different workshops to educate and inspire both the novice and experienced homeschooling parent. For more details on workshop titles:
Download pdf for brochure with registration form here:
KEYNOTE ADDRESS: Lies Homeschoolers Believe - Learning to live the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Your house is a disaster, your kids seem out of control, and you wonder how you'll ever make it through another day of school. Your "get up and go" has "gotten up and went". You used to think homeschooling was the best thing since sliced bread, but now you’re feeling like burnt toast. Take heart - you're not alone! No one homeschools because it's easy....


Comments: 26

PHAA 2010 grad, Hope Pasztor, at NYC Fashion Week as special blogger!
Susan Richman, 2/17/2011

Editor's Note from Susan Richman: I was delighted to receive a note from PHAA 2010 grad Hope Pasztor's father about this article from their local newspaper, The Sentinel from central PA . Hope, who took part in many of our AP Online classes, was chosen to attend this week's big 'FASHION WEEK' extravaganza in NYC as a special blogger for the fashion website Chictopia.com. She has maintained her own fashion blog site for many years-- and is such a good writer on many topics that last year several of her essays written for her AP Economics online class (led by my husband, Howard Richman) were accepted for publication on national conservative opinion websites. Hope also gave the closing student speech at the PHAA Graduation Ceremony last June 2010, and gave talks at several sessions at the 2010 PHAA summer High School at Home Conference.

Hope in NYC having a wonderful -- and stylish! -- time!

Here's a section the article from Hope's local newpaper in Carlisle PA:

She hasn't reached her 19th birthday yet, nor has she made it through her sophomore year of college.

But for Hope Adela Pasztor, the world is at her heels.

Vintage heels, that is.

With her fashion blog - Pink Champagne - attracting more than 550 followers and her landing a coveted gig reporting on Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in the Big Apple over the next few days, the Carlisle teen seems to be well on her way to the fashion industry career that she's always dreamed of.

‘Pursue your dreams'

"I was just kind of looking back on my life....


Comments: 7

"Stories for the Homeschool Heart" -- voting going on now for www.about.com Readers' Choice Awards!
Patti Maguire Armstrong, 2/14/2011

Editor's Note from Susan: I just received this in my inbox this morning, and thought many of you might want to cast your vote for this uplifting book on the About.com section on Catholicism.  Sounds like a book that many would find very encouraging, and it's exciting to see it doing so well in this awards program. See: http://tinyurl.com/46jhq5b to vote today!

My co-author and I are appealing to the homeschool community for support.  "Stories for the Homeschool Heart" is one of the finalists in the about.com Readers' Choice Awards. We've overcome great odds becoming a finalist and were told it's a long shot that someone so small as us could win. However, my co-author, Theresa Thomas, cancer survivor, Catholic columnist, and mother of 9, and I are going to give it our best shot.

This book is about God's inspiration, faith, and educating our children (all children regardless of where they go to school) for eternity. Homeschooling is the theme, but most of the stories are uplifting and interesting for anyone. As a matter of fact....


Comments: 5

26th Greater Pittsburgh Homeschooling Workshop and Curriculum Fair-- Saturday, March 12, 2011
Sue Means, 1/30/2011

Editor's note from Susan Richman: We are so pleased to announce the Greater PGH Homeschooling Workshop continues to be a great resource for regional homeschooling families. This Fair draws hundreds of families, and features a wide range of workshops on topics for all ages. Hope to see you there-- PA Homeschoolers will be there with a table in the vendors exhibit hall, and Howard and I will both be leading workshop sessions. For continuing info on this great day of learning, check out: http://familyinstructors.blogspot.com/

March 12, 2011
8 AM until 3 PM
26th Greater Pittsburgh Homeschooling Workshop and Curriculum Fair
Todd Wilson author and founder of Familyman Ministries will be the keynote speaker http://www.familymanweb.com/
 KEYNOTE ADDRESS:Lies Homeschoolers Believe - Learning to live the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Your house is a disaster, your kids seem out of control, and you wonder how you'll ever make it through another day of school. Your "get up and go" has "gotten up and went". You used to think homeschooling was the best thing since sliced bread, but now you’re feeling like burnt toast. Take heart - you're not alone! No one homeschools because it's easy. You do it because you believe it's best. But there are times when you need to be reminded once again why it's best. Join me as we do just that. You'll laugh and be encouraged in the toughest job you'll ever...love.
Dream BIG and Fan the Dreams of Those Around You
Everyone has dreams - you, your spouse, and your children, but for every dreamer a dream killer lurks in the shadows. They're the ones who....


Comments: 17

Math Games-- great for holiday gift giving! here are some ideas.... some free!
Susan Richman, 12/8/2010

Have you ever added math games to your homeschooling program?? Many families only do math textbooks day after day-- and often by sending their kids off to 'do their math work' all by themselves. Then they wonder why their kids 'hate math'! If you look at the families where math is really enjoyable, often you'll see at least one parent who enjoys math learning-- and someone who is ready to introduce their child to a wide range of intriguing math games. I'm not just talking about games that 'drill' math facts either-- but games that require real thinking, evaluation, strategy, and fun... along with math skills.

Check out our online store for some good choices-- the game TWENTY-FOUR has always been a real hit with kids, and I've rarely seen groups of kids having such a good time thinking fast as when playing SET. And 'Rat-a-Tat Cat' is great fun even for the 'younger crowd'-- my grandkids loved this one even at the pre-school stage, but elementary kids can really play it well. Full descriptions of each game in our store. Games can be nice 'stocking stuffers'-- and most homeschool kids won't fault you for buying an *educational* game for the holidays! And by the way-- in this photo of '24', the object is to make the 4 numbers on the card equal 24-- by adding, subtracting, multiplying, or dividing. You must use each number once. Can you figure this one out?? Let's see.... 5 x 4 = 20... plus 5 = 25, minus 3 = 22... oh, doesn't work. But do you get the idea? Can you solve this one? Post your solution below as a comment!

And here's a new math game called QUADSUM that is sort of like a more mathematically challenging version of Sudoku-- it's played on computer (for just $7.95 you can download the game-- a bargain...), and there's a demo game online that's free to try....


Comments: 310

Taking part in the 'Baby, Think it Over' program-- as a homeschooler!
Kiki Levine, 11/23/2010

Many of you may have heard about programs, usually offered in schools, where students are given life-like babydolls that they must 'care' for as if they were real infants. I was delighted to find that homeschool families can now take part in this activity, too. We welcome Kiki Levine to Pennsylvania, and hope she shares about further activities of her family and their active hands-on learning! -- Susan Richman, Editor PA Homeschoolers

We are a new homeschool family to Monroeville that has recently participated in a very unique program called "Baby, Think It Over".   The program uses baby simulators to educate teens about the life of teen parenting.  We have always been concerned about teen pregnancy and were thrilled to have been told about this program being offered to homeschool families by www.HomeSchoolBabies.com.... 


Comments: 14

Top Ten Things Not to Say to a Home Schooling Parent
Carol Fielding, 11/19/2010

Carol Fielding is a long-term homeschooling mom of three wonderful daughters, a happily married wife, and a free-lance writer, leaving in northwestern PA-- her writing on household organization will be included in a book to be published this fall from Revell. I know Carol from working with her on setting up our Corry PA testing site each fall-- and I was delighted to learn she just started up her own blog at http://livingtheblessing.wordpress.com . I hope you check it out regularly! Carol gave us permission to reprint this wonderful entry-- thanks, Carol!-- Susan Richman, Editor, PA Homeschoolers

When doing the research for this blog, I asked a number of home schooling parents to share with me the things people have said to them when they mentioned that they home school.  The response was overwhelming, and for a while I thought I might have to turn this into a top twenty!  I even received some responses from kids and teenagers about what people have said directly to them.  Keep in mind that the top ten list contains actual real-life comments–none are made up.

If you aren’t a home schooling parent, you may not at first understand the implications of each comment on the top ten list.  However, as a socially responsible individual, it behooves you to read the list, and the following explanation of each item, if only for the purpose of educating yourself.  I hope the result of this list will be three-fold: Firstly, that home schooling parents everywhere will get a chuckle and, secondly, realize they are not alone.  Thirdly, that those who don’t home school recognize that their comments, while possibly well-meaning, run the gamut from not very nice to just plain mean and/or ignorant of home schooling in general.

So, here we go, in typical David Letterman fashion:

The Top Ten Things Not to Say to A Home Schooling Parent

10.  “I’d shoot myself if I had to spend that much time with my kids!”....


Comments: 15

Dance in Celebration of Life!
Marion Gorman, 10/25/2010

Editor's Note from Susan: I was delighted to receive this fun article about encouraging families to enjoy folk dancing (and improvised dancing!). Some of you may know that my husband Howard is an old-time fiddler and square dance caller, and we've been calling square dances for homeschoolers for many years. We just recently led a delightful evening of square dancing for a large choir of homeschool students in Lancaster County, while we're on our current testing trip. And just a couple weeks ago we called a square dance in a homeschooling family's dairy barn in western PA, with at least 6 squares going. The enthusiasm of these groups is always such fun to see-- kids of all ages jumping in, parents taking part, teens enjoying wholesome socializing, and more. I've also been delighted to see a growing number of homeschoolers taking part in 4H square dancing contests, often taking part at the annual Farm Show held in Harrisburg. Enjoy Marion's to integrating dance into your family's life-- and know that this is definitely a great form of *exercise* for all ages, too, besides being a wonderful way to celebrate special life events.

            Gather a group of children, turn on selected music, and observe the reaction. We are created to respond to music. Dance is simply a structured way of using a natural reaction as a means of expression. What an enjoyable way to communicate! Folk dancing is a way to celebrate, express ourselves, learn of our heritage, exercise, and have fun.

Dance in Biblical Times

From the beginning of time, dance was recorded in the Bible. Psalms 149:3 says, “Let them praise His name with the dance.” Ecclesiastes 3:4 allots, “a time to mourn and a time to dance.” When the Prodigal Son returned home, the celebration included dancing. Dance was part of the formal Christian service and liturgy until the 12th century A.D., when theologians felt it was too distracting and worldly.

Origins and Purpose

The origins of these timeless folk dances are mostly unknown.  They have been passed down through the generations. The full spectrum of human emotion and.... 


Comments: 8

Make Foreign Language Learning a Full Part of Family Life--f rom early on!
Christine Pritt, 5/24/2010

Christine Pritt is a busy homeschooling mother of six children, living in Maryland. Several of the family students have already graduated from homeschooling (one moving on to Harvard!), and many of her older children have taken part in our AP Online classes over the years. I was always amazed to learn of the high level of foreign language ability all the Pritt kids had-- they were often taking multiple AP foreign language exams, doing extremely well on all of them. I wondered what the Pritt family 'secret' was-- and I was delighted to find out how Christine learned right along with her children, by starting early and immersing them in a world of active language listening and learning. I hope this article inspires many of you to think 'outside the box' about language learning-- and to gain confidence that you too can help your children really develop enjoyment in gaining this window on the world. And if you might be wondering what 'French comics' her kids might be addicted to-- you might want to take a look at this linke to a TIME Magazine article on the creator of the very popular Asterix cartoons http://www.time.com/time/arts/article/0,8599,1931169,00.html . My kids loved these when growing up  learning French, and we had them in both book form and in video cartoons. I had to laugh, too, when Christine mentions that all of their 'kids' films were in foreign languages, as I remembered how my own daughter Hannah's first introduction to The Lion King cartoon film was via the FRENCH dubbed version she received as a prize for her fine showing one year in the National French exam for the early elementary level! (see www.frenchteachers.org/concours for info on this great program)

Many aspects of homeschooling have brought us pleasure and joy, but none so much, I think, as learning foreign languages with our children. 

Some people think our success in teaching our children languages is due to our own backgrounds, but this is not true.  I spoke a little German before I homeschooled, but I never really learned the grammar until I taught my children.  Anyone can do this with consistency, patience, and most importantly, interest.  Learning with our kids is one of the best fringe benefits of this job!....


Comments: 5

Nature-Deficit Disorder??? Interesting topic to think about during this beautiful weather....
Susan Richman, 3/17/2010

Susan Richman is the Editor of Pennsylvania Homeschoolers, and the mother of four homeschool grads (fourth one graduating from college this spring!). She's also a Pennsylvania home education program evaluator, and serves on the PHAA Board of Directors, and is the AP Coordinator for the PA Homeschoolers AP Online program.


*Our dog Sadie-- my current hiking companion about our farm... she's always ready for an outing!* 

I hope many of you have had a chance to get outside with your kids over these last few glorious days. I'm in awe that just a week ago our rural driveway was still full of ice and snow, and parts of our yards were still 10 inches deep with the white stuff from the February storms. Now, the daffodils are peeking up bravely, even developing buds. I took a wonderful one hour hike about our farm property yesterday with our dog-- and remembered many walks and hikes I used to take with our kids when they were growing up.

So, when I was looking at the website from the National Environmental Education Week email I just received, to see if anything might be of interest to homeschoolers, I came upon this fascinating little section of their website....


Comments: 4

Timís Top Ten Tips for Teaching Teen Testosterone
Timothy Anger, 2/18/2010

Timothy Anger, M.S. is a parent, Christian school principal, and homeschool evaluator in the Lehigh Valley. He can be reached through his website, www.lveval.org . I know many parents will be able to identify with what Tim writes about here-- especially moms who just don't quite have a clue about how different their sons can be from their daughters. I think that so often in our society today, being a normal boy is frowned upon and considered a problem-- just when boys need to be doing manly important work and feel appreciated for the new skills and abilities they can be gaining at this point in life. Tim's story reminded me of all the very useful work our two sons did regularly about our small farm growing up-- from milking goats to tapping maple trees, helping fix tractors or computer or roofs, or digging out our septic system the night before 30 little third graders were arriving for achievement testing (and my husband was out of town!). I always had many things to thank my sons for doing-- and this probably helped them maintain a generally positive attitude towards homeschooling in their teen years.  Thanks, Tim, for all the wisdom you share here! 

“I used to enjoy homeschooling my son, but when he turned 13 I suddenly felt like we were in a tug-of-war,” a mother recently confided in me.  I’ve heard similar comments from other parents when their boys hit the teen years....


Comments: 2

Valentine's Day Special: Adventure by the Sea, part 6.... The Aftermath
Cassandra Frear, 2/14/2010

Cassandra Frear, homeschool mother of two graduates, and inspirational speaker and writer, concludes with her reflections on all this lovely trip meant. We at Pennsylvania Homeschoolers hope you've treasured your special relationships this week, along with us!
We drove home with sand in our shoes. I even had some in my hair.
While I sipped a cup of coffee and listened to a recording of the Renaissance music from the concert, my husband quietly and deftly maneuvered through evening traffic. At one point, I reached over and rested my hand on his shoulder.


Comments: 0

Valentine's Day Special: Adventure by the Sea, part 5....
Cassandra Frear, 2/12/2010

Cassandra Frear continues sharing her 25th anniversary adventure. If you missed the 'lead ups' just scroll down and you'll find them. I hope you are all now looking forward to Valentine's Day with your special someone! Candlelight Shabbat dinner for two at home for us tonight-- our true 'mini-vacation' each and every week! -- Susan Richman, Editor PA Homeschoolers
My beloved spake and said unto me,
Rise up, my love, my fair one,
and come away.

For lo, the winter is past,
the rain is over and gone;

The flowers appear on the earth;
the time of the singing of birds is come,
and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land.

- The Song of Solomon, KJV

The next morning I awoke, and we were still there. My husband was sleeping beside me. I was not dreaming.
I slipped out of our tall, canopy bed and went into the kitchen to make coffee....


Comments: 0

Valentine's Day Special: Adventure by the Sea, part 4....
Cassandra Frear, 2/11/2010

Cassandra Frear is a homeschool mother of two graduates, and an inspirational writer and speaker, leading two wonderful online blog sites to offer support and encouragement to women. She has been a keynote speaker two times at our PHAA High School at Home summer conference, and her husband has been a keynote speaker at the PHAA graduation ceremony where their older son graduated.
After turning my face to the sunshine, I found the sunshine waiting for me, tumbling over the hills and melting snow, bouncing off the dripping icicles on mountain ravines. It snuggled against my storm-driven soul and seemed like a happiness too good to be real.
But it was.
It was my life. For there I was, driving to a place of dreams, as calmly and matter-of-factly as I run my weekly errands. We drove quietly out of the ice and snow and windy ledges of bare hardwoods into rolling fields and pines....


Comments: 0

Valentine's Day Special: Staying Connected
Kurtz Cockley, 2/11/2010

Kurtz Cockley is a homeschooling father of two wonderful kids, and a marriage and family counselor at the Alpha Center in Landisburg PA. Some longtime readers may remember our special issue of our print newsletter honoring the dad's important role in homeschooling-- Kurtz's wife Pamela wrote a wonderful piece about what a sport her husband was to take part enthusiastically in their special homeschooling projects (including being willing to dress up in a toga, if required, for a simulated Roman feast!)

It’s getting close to Valentine’s Day.  Time to think about relationship, togetherness, love… all of that warm fuzzy stuff.  The problem is that a lot of folks, after spending more than six months together, just don’t feel very warm and fuzzy any more.    Most humans are just pretty difficult to deal with.  Being one (a human, that is), I can attest to some of this difficulty, and my wife and children could give you the details.  Since I am also a marriage-and-family therapist, however, I also spend time thinking about and working on and finding remedies and prescriptions for dealing with our innately cantankerous selves. Here are some basic nuts and bolts that can really be transformational if you take the time to practice, practice, practice. 

The first foundational piece is this:  It is not good for man to be alone.  (Check out Genesis on this).... 


Comments: 0

The Fabric of Life-- our homeschooling journey and beyond....
Sally Fehrs, 2/10/2010

Sally Fehrs is a longtime homeschooling mother from Pennsylvania, who's found a moment to reflect on the meaning of this journey when one of her children meets a new milestone in life. She has had two daughters graduate through PHAA (Pennsylvania Homeschoolers Accreditation Agency) and one son still in high school at home.


     Certain moments in our life journey are cause for reflection more than others.... the birth of a baby, death of a beloved family member, or a move to a new location or home suggest a few.  These occasions provide us an opportunity to take stock of where we have been and possibly where we are headed.  Recently in the life of our family we have experienced such a season of pausing and remembering.

      For our family, it came in the form of our daughter graduating from college in mid December and then getting married the first weekend in January of this year...two wonderful events marking the ending of one phase of life and the embracing of an entirely new journey with the other.  There is a sense of the surreal when confronted with change of this magnitude because you know that you are experiencing life at the crossroads.  Taking the time to step back and reflect a bit before going on again with “business as usual” can be a good and comforting decision.... 



Comments: 1

Valentine's Day Special: Staying in Love Even While Homeschooling
Bonnie Gonzales, 2/9/2010

Bonnie Gonzalez is a homeschooling mother of three, the teacher for one of our AP Psychology online classes, and an experienced longterm family and marriage counselor. You'll be hearing from her soon about the research projects her online AP students have completed as part of their course work, and where to find helpful resources for psychology study.

It’s 6:30 in the morning.  The alarm goes off.  Your feet hit the floor and ever so briefly you look back at your husband who is still curled up under the covers.  You think to yourself, ‘wouldn’t it be nice just to spend a few minutes of cuddling time with him?’

But, alas, you have a full day ahead of you.  The kids are already up eating breakfast, your lesson plans for the day are still waiting for their final touches, or rather they haven’t been done at all, and you haven’t graded the math papers from yesterday.  So, off you go to a day of English, math, social studies, history and science.  And, as if that wasn’t a full meal, you sprinkle it with volleyball practice, a dentist appointment – or two – and your weekly co-op.  Perhaps you will have time for your husband later, after dinner.  It might happen, but it’s not likely.

Does this sound like you?  The harried homeschooler always thinking of the kids, rarely thinking of your marriage.  Well, you're not alone.  As a marriage and family counselor and a homeschooling mom of 14 years, I can definitely tell you – you are not alone....



Comments: 0

Valentine's Day Special: Adventure by the Sea, part 3...
Cassandra Frear, 2/9/2010

Cassandra Frear continues her story of her 25th anniversary trip with her husband... even though times were rough, and the future was uncertain. Cassandra is a homeschooling mother of two graduates, and an inspirational speaker and writer and mentor. Do check her website link on our side bar for 'Apple Pie for Moms.'  

Behold, we know not anything;

I can but trust
that good shall fall

At last -- far off --
at last to all,

And every winter
change to spring.

- Alfred, Lord Tennyson

I could be sad.
Over disappointments, over the way life has stalled, over our current situation. I could despair over not having more, not being more. I could look at how much we might have been able to do at another time. I could compare our present reality to the ideal.
Or I could just be grateful.
I've wanted to go to this place on our anniversary for years. Here we are, in the midst of hard times, actually doing it. Amazing.
I could kneel down in awe. Who can fathom the ways of God?....


Comments: 0


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