Reading Between the Lines

Posted by Annie on Feb 9, 2010 in Education, Parenting

A young mother of three asked Diane the following question and it brought back very fond memories of my own son’s early years.


She asks, “I have a child who has already started school. I am considering homeschooling all my children, two of which, have not yet started school. How do you suggest I go about telling my child he will no longer be attending public school and that we will be homeschooling. Thank you.”

My son is a cute little redhead, who loved Blue’s Clues as a child. He would skidoo for anyone who would watch, and I do not recall anyone ever refusing to be entertained with his little dance.

When it was time for him to begin school, I was dismayed because The Magic School Bus was at its height of popularity and when he wasn’t “skidooing” he was playing with his large collection of miniature school buses. He could not wait for the day; he too would climb onto that big yellow bus and roll on down the road to school.

Going to school was not an option for our son. We felt that we are his parents and we knew what was best for our 6-year-old. There was no way, we were allowing our son to spend his days with total strangers, that we neither knew nor trusted. Disappointing our son was also not an option.

So, we took a vacation day and drove to San Francisco. We spent an afternoon riding the trolley cars, and then we took him on a boat tour to Alcatraz. He had a ball.

He loved his school buses and from time to time, we would take him on a bus ride, just to satisfy his longing to be just like other kids. In our case, it wasn’t school that was so important to him – it was riding the bus. Once that was checked off his to do list going to school was a non-issue. Sometimes parents just need to be good detectives in order to help meet the needs of their children.

Diane responded with some sage advice for the young mother.

Children are often happy to learn they will not have to go to school. If there is something your child dislikes about school, you can simply tell him that he won’t have to put up with that nonsense anymore when you begin homeschooling.

If he/she worries about their friends, tell them they can still see them after school and on weekends. HOWEVER, get connected with a homeschool support group and start going to Park Days IMMEDIATELY – so that you will all make lots of new friends and get support and encouragement from other homeschool families. In the long run it’s best to start fresh and surround yourself with like-minded individuals – other homeschoolers.

If your child doesn’t like the idea of homeschooling – then it may come down to this: Who has more life experience and wisdom to know what is or isn’t best for your child? Who is the parent? You simply exercise your parental responsibility to make sure that your child is educated in the best environment possible. You empathize with your child’s feelings and explain that they will just have to trust your decision as the mommy.

Again, get connected with other homeschoolers right away – It will make the transition much easier for all of you.


Diane Flynn Keith,
Editor, Homefires
Author, Carschooling
“Your Homeschool Coach and Mentor”

Sounds like terrific advice to me.

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Moving Away to Arizona

Posted by Annie on Jan 24, 2010 in Activity, Young Authors

Cierra is a 14-year-old homeschooler, she attended a full-time charter school in Michigan and currently is enrolled in an off-campus charter. She writes about her cross-country move from Michigan to Arizona.

The four of us kids didn’t know what to think, when our parents told us we were moving across the United States to live in Arizona. I guess you could say we were shocked and a little amazed about it. We had lived in Jackson, Michigan all of our lives our names are Cierra, Jordon, Chalsie, and Landon and our mom and dad Dennis and Angela. We had grown up there, went to school at Davinci and our family, friends and life were all in Michigan.

Getting it Together

Moving Away to Arizona

It was the beginning of February when we found out so we had to start packing up the house. We had to sell some things because there wasn’t enough room in the Penske for all of it. We put all our life memories in the back of that Penske truck. It was packed front to back, top to bottom. We still had to pack the things we needed, while we were on the road. We packed snacks and drinks for on the way, until we got to our hotel for the night.

We packed a mini fridge in the back of the truck, to keep our drinks cold; we had a mini TV in the middle of the van so that we could watch it and not be bored. We packed things to do for all of us kids; like coloring books and games. The last thing to go in the van other then us was the clothes we needed for the trip and our bathroom items.

Saying Our Goodbyes

Now all we had left to do was tell everybody good-bye; the hardest part of all. Our last day at school was the hardest part because we didn’t want to move and leave our life behind or our friends and family.

When we got up that morning to get ready for our last day at Davinci our parents could tell that it was hard for us to leave everything behind and start over. We wanted to cry but didn’t.

As we got to school my mom took Chalsie to class. Jordon and I went to class on our own. Right before I went into class I felt a knot in my stomach but I went in. All day my classmates told me that they would miss me and that I needed to keep in contact.

I would have to say that when I had to say good-bye to my ex-boyfriend it was hard. Even though we weren’t together he still didn’t want me to go. I gave him a hug with tears rolling down my face and said, “Don’t ever forget me.”

He looked me in the eyes and said “I’ll never forget you. I love you too much to forget you.”

I just stood there in his arms crying. I told him, “I would see him tonight when he came over for the last time.”

I hugged him as tight as I could and just walked away because it was hard enough to tell him good-bye. It was the end of the day and I gave everybody a hug and told them I would miss them all and that I would keep in contact. Then I got into the car with the rest of my brother’s and sister’s and went back to our now empty house.

Our Last Night

That night was the hardest night of my life, it would be the last time I would get to see the people I loved and cared for. As our family came and went, to tell us good-bye and that they loved us and would miss us, it was hard to look at them with a smile on our face and tell them that we were happy to move because inside we were dying of sadness. But after everybody left we went to bed in our house for the last time ever.

As me and my brother laid there we talked about all the memories and all the things we have been through there. We finally went to sleep knowing that it was the last night in Jackson, Michigan and that there was nothing we could do now to change our parent’s minds.

Hitting the Open Road

The next morning we were woke up early so that we could get loaded and pack up the last few things. We all got into the van except my dad and Jordon they got in the Penske truck. As we drove out of the parking lot of where we had lived, we kids just looked out the window. If you looked at us you could tell we weren’t ready to go yet.

We drove all day long until it got dark outside. We made it all the way to Indiana and stopped at a hotel for the night. Once again, we got up early, only to get back on the road. We drove and drove all day, which was boring. Chalsie, Landon and I, talked about how we thought Arizona was going to be, but none of us really knew. I said, “It is going to be nothing but desert and sand there.”

Chalsie said, “It’s going to be pretty.”

And Landon didn’t know what to say.

When we would stop for lunch we would use the bathroom. That night we stopped in Missouri for the night. I and my brother said, “It is so cool being able to go through all these states just to get to Arizona.”

I said, “We only have four more states to go through before we get to Arizona”.

The next few days’ driving got more boring everyday, other then we were on the road for my 14th birthday, which was a major bummer. We saw lots of different things and sometimes we didn’t see anything but wide open spaces of fields and farm land.

Finally, we had one state to go and we would be there. My brother was like “O-M-G we are almost there I’m never going to ride in a car for the rest of my life!” We all just laughed about it.

Arriving in Arizona

We finally got in Arizona, now we just had to get to our new house, even though we had been in Arizona for an hour or so, we still weren’t to our house yet. It took us forever before we got to our new house.

We pulled up to the house and we all jumped out, it was warm outside unlike in Jackson, Michigan, where was it was freezing cold. Our new house was huge it had four bedrooms and two bathrooms. It had a big back yard, two living rooms and a really big kitchen and of course a garage. We were all happy to get out of the cramped van and when we went inside we all said, “Wow this house is beautiful and big.”

We all decided whose room was whose; Chalsie and I got a big room. Chalsie said, “Our room is big sissy.” The boys got a decent size room and of course my parents had the master bedroom and my nana got the spare room. We knew next we had to unpack the Penske.

We opened the garage and my dad backed the truck into the garage. My mom opened the big Penske door and we all started grabbing things and putting them in the house. We stopped for lunch. We had sonic, which was the first time us kids had ever ate it and it was so good. After we were done eating we started unpacking some more of the Penske.

After unpacking the Penske for hours we finally had it all in the house now we just had to unpack all the boxes and put everything where it needed to go. So, we went inside and started unpacking the house. It took us like three days before we finally got everything in the right place. When everything was unpacked it felt a little more like home instead of just another house. All of us were actually excited to be in the new house.

After all the unpacking we needed to get settled in. We had to be enrolled in school; dad had to go back to work and all that stuff you have to do to get settled into a new place.

When we finally got settled into our new home, we didn’t mind living in Arizona so much, because it was beautiful here and the people here were very kind and welcoming to us. Other then the long ride we loved being outside in the sun and being able to swim all day long in our new pool and jumping on our brand new trampoline. We still keep in touch with our family and friends and we plan on going to visit them this summer.

Additional Moving Resources for Families

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Fireflies, Crafts and Grandma

Posted by Annie on Jan 17, 2010 in Activity

A little old fashioned creativity for a modern world.

I stumbled upon a unique website today, called The Homemaking Cottage, while search for something new to add to Annette’s Favorite Links. I’m browsing the site and posted a really neat link to a page called, Lingerie for Your Vegetables.

I found yet another short article on bugs, Bug Hunting Delights for Kids. I simply had to laugh when I read:

“When I was a child, I once filled a shoe box with lots of caterpillars, sticks and the food that they eat. I set it on my front porch that night. The next morning I came to find that one of them had babies and there were tons of little baby caterpillars crawling in the box.”

It brought back vivid memories of a not so sweet event from my own childhood that I hadn’t thought of in years.

My grandmother was old fashioned; she liked to do for herself. So, in keeping with her nature, she had a small garden, raised a few chickens and a hog to butcher in the fall. She made everything from scratch and used the privy out back. She also used an old wringer style washing machine that was kept outside on the back steps.

I was around age 8, when we went to stay with grandma on an extended visit. I was totally amazed with all the fireflies. I don’t recall having ever discovered them prior to this time period in my life and they were everywhere.

My sisters and I would catch them and put them in jars. We weren’t very nice to the little fireflies, I’m ashamed to admit. We tried to steal their lights and one night just past dark we decided to fill grandma’s wringer washer with them. To say she wasn’t happy about that decision was an understatement.

I know she made us clean the washing machine out, all the while lecturing us. Afterwards, she threatened to skin us alive, if we ever did it again. That was her way of saying we were very lucky this time. I have so many fond memories Grandma Patrick. Grandma passed away in 1984, she is sorely missed.

I still miss those poor little fireflies.

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