Learning Styles for Teens, and all ages

Having been a former elementary school teacher, it was stressed to us to present the material to our students in the ways that worked best for them. This may seem to be a "no-brainer" on an individual basis; however, in a classroom this was no easy task. Everyone has a different learning style and I found it so interesting as well as useful when, after teaching a lesson, a student may approach me privately and tell me they didn't understand it. Based on the way they learn best, according to their learning style, I was able to help the student in an individualized and personal manner, in their own learning style.

Totally confused? Don't be. http://www.metamath.com/lsweb/dvclearn.htm is the website I have used to best explain the concept.

Your learning style is the way you prefer to learn. It doesn't have anything to do with how intelligent you are or what skills you have learned. It has to do with how your brain works most efficiently to learn new information. Your learning style has been with you since you were born.

There's no such thing as a "good" learning style or a "bad" learning style. Success comes with many different learning styles. There is no "right" approach to learning. We all have our own particular way of learning new information. The important thing is to be aware of the nature of your learning style. If you are aware of how your brain best learns, you have a better chance of studying in a way that will pay off when it's time to take that dreaded exam.

Visual, Auditory, or Tactile/ Kinesthetic Learner.
To get you started thinking about your learning style, think about the way in which you remember a phone number. Do you see, in your mind's eye, how the numbers look on the phone? Or can you "see" the number on that piece of paper, picturing it exactly as you wrote it down? You might be a Visual Learner. Or, perhaps you can "hear" the number in the way that someone recited it to you. In this case, you might be an Auditory Learner. If you "let your fingers do the walking" on the phone, i.e. your fingers dial the number without looking at the phone, you may be a Tactile/ Kinesthetic Learner.

This way of looking at learning style uses the different channels of perception (seeing, hearing, touching/moving) as its model. This is a somewhat simplistic view of a very complicated subject (the human brain). However, looking at learning style from a perceptual point of view is a useful place to begin.

Match Your Learning Style and Strategies
While there is no "good" or "bad" learning style, there can be a good or bad match between the way you best learn and the way a particular course is taught. Suppose you are a Visual Learner enrolled in a traditional lecture course. You feel that the instructor drones on for hours and you can't pay attention or stay interested in the class. There's a mismatch here between your learning style and the instructional environment of the class. As soon as you understand this mismatch, you can find ways to adapt your style to ensure your success in the class. You might start tape recording the lectures so that you don't have to worry about missing important information. You might decide to draw diagrams that illustrate the ideas being presented in lecture. You might go to the Media Center and check out a video to help provide some additional information on course material you're not sure about. What you're doing is developing learning strategies that work for you because they are based on your knowledge of your own learning style.

Parents: Learning styles can best be applied in so many ways. Our children have a way that they best learn, and no matter what idea we are trying to get across to them, if we get that blank stare that kids can often give ;) before frustration hits all of us, think if we are communicating according to the way that they will best understand. It is so difficult to be in a situation, whether child or adult, where you are so lost that you don't even know what questions to ask! (been there!) Sometimes it's simple enough to fix just by changing the way you may present it. As teachers, we had to make sure, also, that we did not present things only in OUR learning style. The student is first, and it's easy to slip back into our own comfort zone. The same with our children.

Homeschooling and teachers: Teens, kids, adults all have a learning style. Do you find that you need to take copious notes? Do you learn best by listening? Combination of both? Do you need an experiment to make your science lesson come to life? Do you need an experiment to be done before you feel comfortable teaching? ALL different styles of learning and presenting.

I recommend all of us take the learning survey. If you are homeschooling, find out your child's learning style, as well as your own! Use them together so that your child can better understand your style as well. After all, we know he/she will not encounter people that only have their learning style. But to recognize it and be aware is enlightening for all. So on your leisure time (what?? ;) go to the website and enjoy finding out the ways your child best expresses herself. From early homeschool through teens, it can all be applied. Find your style also. Enjoy, and learn while knowing the style of those you live with, work with, and/or present to.

By the way: Before 50, that glazed look of one of my children might have driven me up one side of the wall and down the other (hah!) and now I can work with situations more effectively in dealing with them in the way that would better work for them. It doesn't come over night, but it works!


Another After 50 Lesson

Before 50, I seemed to be needing to just be on the move constantly. This could be literally or even in my head. Everything was racing. Now, things are calmer, even when I have the weight of the world on my shoulders with 1000 things to accomplish all at the same time. The world still goes on, and the sun still rises and sets. This simple concept has helped me listen better as well; yet, occasionally I miss something. When I do, it hits me and I can take time and think about what happened and go on. As Winston Churchill said "he who does not learn from the past is doomed to repeat it." I don't want to be in that category and probably won't because I tend to go to extremes in trying to figure out what happened.

In attempting to learn from the past with homeschooling, I asked both of my children what changes they would like to see in school as well as anything my husband or I may be able to change. They're teenagers, so I know upon asking this I am tempted to shrink in a corner ;) but I must stand tall. To my surprise, my oldest shocked me. (actually that, in itself should not be a surprise.) She usually would push me away when I went to see if she was on task with an assignment, etc. So when asked what she would like to be different this year, she immediately said "I want you to be more involved in what I'm doing." My initial reaction was to try to figure out who had abducted my daughter and given me a replacement that looks just like her on the outside. :)) That was ths absolute LAST response I would have expected, but I had a moment of pleasure as a mom, also. While I am working on granting her request, the all encompassing overwhelming feeling of being a mother of teens, working at home and homeschooling envelopes me. But it's a good thing, all of it. I want to look back and hope that God is speaking through my conscience and saying "well done."

However, I must look back and can't help but question....what did I miss? She seemed to push me away. Am I that out of it?? How can I avoid that from happening again?? Or, I may choose to attribute it to raging hormones (both hers and mine) and smile. I am after 50 now and respond to it differently. All of it.

How are you different now from your earlier youth, wherever you are at, in the way you respond and think of your circumstances?

Wishing you the best today-

Guest post---Organizing and Planning from another mom MT

Good morning- We can all get a little "picky", "obsessive", and all of the other buzz words about our plans and organization. Everyone, however, has different variables to work with as well, and needs to muster up the flexibility as well as the ability to prioritize. My good friend, Deanna, is coming on board today and other times in the future to share a little about her life and how she has to organize her day. She is also my BFF, :). I will share in a different post how we met, but trust me when I say that when she writes you will walk away knowing that you have become a little bit wiser, and are different after 50 than before 50. If you read this and you are before 50, you have gotten it that much sooner. :)

Working, homeschooling, mom, wife, mother, friend, all these titles we have and we wear them proudly. Another title I carry is caregiver. We just had, and we did not celebrate, the 9th anniversary of my daughter being diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. People get this very confused with type 2. My daughter came down with the flu, and her body's immune system went haywire and decided that the ilets, that we all have and that produce insulin in our bodies, were the enemy bacteria/virus in her and it killed her ilets. Therefore, her body does not produce insulin and every day we have to give her at the least, 2 shots. Oral medication does not work for a type 1, the only medicine is insulin shots or the insulin pump.

Many parents have no idea where it comes from, they know of no one in their families that have this autoimmune disease. We, however, knew what this disease is, because my mom also was a type 1 diabetic. She was 16 when she was diagnosed, her granddaughter was 5.

So our day is even more planned and organized. Breakfast is usually the same time, as is lunch, snacks and dinner, then bedtime. The endocrinologist who took care of my daughter at the beginning was thrilled that we homeschooled because I could watch her closer and be there if she needed me.

Blood sugars do funny things to you, you may feel lightheaded, dizzy, shaky, hot, cold, tired, and sometimes even mean. I can tell my daughter's blood sugars by her mood and also by her handwriting! Yes, if she is mean spirited I know she is high, as she is usually a very even tempered young lady and sweet natured, but when those blood sugars are high she can be very demanding! Oh her handwriting, I know her sugars are good when her writing is perfect, as with all of us, our sugars are in check and we are "us," but she has to watch and try to stay "her."

I think all the children with type 1 diabetes are the bravest warriors. They not only have to have shots every day or a catheter left under their skin and have a pump to wear 24/7, but they have to have finger pokes. Do you remember in biology in school where you got to see what your blood type was and you poked your finger to get a drop or 2 of blood? Well this is what we do, a minimum of 4-5 times a day to 10 or more a day. Pretty soon they get used to it, but you know it still hurts, whether physically, but emotionally.

Many parents have turned over the entire diabetes care to their child when they are 7 or 8, some later, but me, I told my girl, you be a child and I'll take care of the other, when you are older and are ready, you can take over, but until then we will be a team. We are a team, we spend time together, I listen and understand what she and her brother like, music, movies, tv shows. I take time to know their friends and just be there for them. I try my best to guide them in morals and teach them life, but be there to pick them up and dust them off like we did when they learned their first steps.


Time out-- 9/11

Living near New York City has put the events of 9/11 in my thoughts as we remember the 10th anniversary. As a family, we had been to the area frequently just in walks, visits, etc. New Yorkers, as well as all areas of the US, bonded in a way that we have not seen since then. This weekend recaps that bond in the hearts of many.

My children were little when this happened. They were out with my husband at a book fare at a library with a park right there, enjoying life innocently while I was home and happened to see the horror. I called them as I just wanted someone to be there to give a hug to....who better than hubbie and 2 daughters? We were advised as parents to be careful of how much coverage our little ones saw on TV.

Fast forward to this year. My daughters are 14 and 15. They were watching some and seemed interested and talking. It suddenly dawned on me. They are witnessing this as if it just happened in many respects. They are aware now, they SEE what happened. Their eyes and heart have lost a little more innocence that we like to think our kids continue to have for as long as possible. My youngest said that it seems as if it just happened. I needed to step back and witness this with them and meet them emotionally where they were, not in my heart as I have seen it year after year. I realized I had forgotten, but needed to remember. They not only saw the buildings crumbling and people running for their lives, they realized in a more personal way what those in Iraq are fighting for with such passion. They had grown. They took a horrific event and saw the intense fear and emotions of people involved. I stepped back and grew with them. It was a good thing.

If you have teens, I advise you to take some time with them and discuss this event. What seemed obvious to me as an awful even being remembered from all walks of life was now being incorporated into the hearts of my daughters. Walk through this with your children and look with them but through their eyes.

Experience your time out with them-

Teens and Self Image vs Body Image

We all are concerned about our children no matter what age, but I remember as mine were little, I constantly heard "wait, they'll be teens someday." If I wasn't afraid of this moment in my own head, these outside voices certainly tried to push me over that edge. Now they are there, but we didn't wake up one day and they were suddenly there with all of these new issues. It was a process, beginning from birth.

There is a controversial kids book that has come out that can do damage to not only little ones, but teens (who are often little ones in a more developed body :) as well. The main character sees that she is overweight by looking in a mirror and she goes on a diet. She successfully loses the weight and goes from being made fun of to soccer star and a popular one at that. Great to lose weight? Absolutely. Great to become a soccer star and show hidden potential? Certainly. However, in this society where there is so much "thin is in", the messages can be conflicted. I believe that parents need the book and need to read it when their children are toddlers. There are two issues. The first one is making fun of a child who is different. A child who is obese, although possibly in the majority now, is still considered different and with a problem. We, as parents, need to work with out children to encourage kindness and simply put, the fact that no one is better than anyone else. Why couldn't the main character be encouraged by friends to participate in school activities, and to find her potential strengths while she is still heavy. I know, this does not happen often but society has done this. Each one of us can work with out children at young ages to show kindness. Not an impossible task. The book would have been entirely different.

Why did the main character have to lose weight to be welcome and popular? Is that our main purpose of losing weight? Yes, she was heavy but I'm sure there were potential health issues. The second issue should be that the main character needed a life style change in eating habits and exercise, gradually so that she could handle it. She had excellent motivation, but a support group would mean so much to her! And I'm sure she felt better, pure and simple. Add that with the fact of fashion, confidence if you must, but the main issue? It doesn't have to be. We all need to be conscious of what we feed our children, and early detection is the key, even with childhood obesity.

Our kids have so much to deal with in this difficult world and these trying times. If they are obese, there is still a special person there, deserving love and kindness. Self image is wrapped in this and just as important as body image, no matter what our age. Right?

Tasteful Thursday--Enjoy

Fall is in the air. One of my favorite smells and tastes of fall is when I decide to make pumpkin bread with cream cheese filling!! Enjoy this recipe. I don't follow it exactly and often I will double the filling, sweeten the cream cheese to taste, etc. I've often made it for Christmas gifts and wrapped it nicely, and even given it to people when they are new in the neighborhood as welcome gifts. Always a hit!

•1 package (8 ounce) cream cheese, at room temperature
•1/2 cup granulated sugar
•1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
•1 large egg


•1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
•1 teaspoon baking soda
•1/2 teaspoon salt
•1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
•1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
•1/4 teaspoon ginger
•1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
•1 cup pumpkin puree, canned or homemade
•1/2 cup vegetable oil
•2 large eggs
•1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
•1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts, optional

Preheat oven to 325°. Lightly grease two 8x4x3-inch loaf pans. In a medium mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon flour, 1 egg, and the orange peel; beat until smooth and creamy. Set aside.
Into another bowl, sift 1 2/3 cup flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and nutmeg; set aside. Put pumpkin puree, vegetable oil, 2 eggs and 1 1/2 cup sugar in a large mixing bowl; beat well. Stir the pumpkin mixture into the flour mixture just until combined. Fold in the pecans or walnuts, if using.

Pour half of the pumpkin bread batter evenly into the two prepared loaf pans. Spoon cream cheese mixture on top of pumpkin batter layer and then pour on the remaining pumpkin batter.

Bake in preheated 325° oven for 60 to 70 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into center of the loaf comes out clean. Cool bread in pans for 10 minutes; remove to a rack to cool completely.
Pumpkin bread recipe makes 2 loaves.


Wordful Wednesday---HOP

The word for the day is Hop! We all want to build our traffic. Join this Welcome Wednesday blog hop. I'm on it as well. :) Getting to know other people is always a good thing in itself. People love to talk about themselves (come on, we all do ;) and there is something to learn from anyone we speak or write to. Everyone has a message.

So take this day, and increase your traffic. Visit the Welcome Wednesday blog hop, increase your traffic and remember to follow others as well. We don't want to increase peoples' bounce rates, so let's all purpose to leave meaningful comments and truly look at their sites. They've worked hard just like we have. Let's try to go the extra mile and have people that we follow on a day to day basis as well. Getting in the habit of following others can seem overwhelming but once we're in the routine it really does not take long at all and is worth it in the long run.

Have a great day!

New Beginnings

I must start out saying I have been MIA for a bit. Sometimes we just have to take a little time and get off the "roller coaster" and experience things in a different way. Refreshed now, I am ready for new beginnings for all of us.

The first days of school seem so filled with hope and excitement. A feeling that cannot be explained but just must be lived. For me, it's quite similar to the feeling I get after New Years and even Easter. I can mess up, but I am a part of something great out there, and have times I can start again. After Easter, the hope is compounded with the fact that there is a God who loves me enough to send give his son, but that's a whole different post. :) Plans are made for school, schedules done, with the knowledge in her heads that we will have times where all organization will fall by the wayside for a day or so, and that is where God often works in magnificent ways. We have hopefully figured out what worked last year and what didn't, and made all of our necessary tweaks. For homeschooling parents, we have planned, adjusted curriculum choices, all new beginnings. For those of us who work at home, the routine changes when the children are in school or homeschooled. MORE new beginnings. Excitement. Possibilities.

Guide your children and encourage their areas of strength. Challenge yourselves as I'm challenging myself this year (another new thing!). Take their area that may seem like a weakness to you and help your child use it as a strength. For example, the child who may seem to take a long time with work and be very detail oriented may exasperate a parent in this rush-rush society; yet, there are many professions where a detail oriented person is considered to be of extreme importance. We must help our children see these things as we prepare them on the path they will ultimately choose.

This day, or whenever you are starting, take time to be thankful for your child, no matter how little or even a teen. You gave birth to an awesome person there and now they are relating to you. They have opinions on things from fashion to politics and everything in between. Think of your favorite qualities about your child. Even share them. One of my daughters is able to see the humor in anything and will often bring a smile to our face in the midst of what we might think is a mess. The other one is a deep thinker and often challenges us. Something good for a parent, also! I'm thankful for them and can laugh with my husband that we gave birth to awesome kids!! God is good.

So, send your kids off and in school knowing they are loved for who they are, and they have qualities that we really find endearing. Enjoy this time of new beginnings and possibilities.

Enjoy your new beginnings in work, life, and allow God to work through you-

Teens Growing Up

I remember, both before and after 50, being a teen. The frustration was there where you're too young for so much and too old to act a certain way. The expectations almost seem to vary according to the situation. I didn't like it, and my daughters are no different. Our word for today, however is growth, as I saw it first hand in my oldest. We teach our kids so much, and only hope it's getting through. I had the joy of watching her and sitting back, knowing it got through. We had a tough year in homeschooling this year, but tough that really made all of us stronger as we were blessed to learn from each others' trials. I saw her try and persevere in a course that was really difficult for her. She never gave up and worked with such a tenacity that it inspired me to work harder. And this was my daughter. I was pleased. We came to a point that the hard work was not bringing about the desired results. Time for mom to step in. She worked more. I always told them to do their best and not give up. To her, this was giving up. New lessons. She took it well, and we are re-doing some areas and retaking this course. But lessons learned and character qualities developed? Priceless. Watching your 15 year old inspire you? Also priceless.

Continuing to grow as always-

Fitness after 50

Yes, I'm speaking just about us today. Some of you have started school already, some of us are busy getting ready. It reminds me of New Years resolution time. Actually I've come to think of it as "school years resolutions." We all make them.

Let's make one together, (or at least one). I'm going to start, this year, to really be fit even during the school year. It is a blessing to have a job and work at home, while homeschooling. Those on the outside might think it's perfect. In many respects it is! However, perfection often can have its pitfalls also. Transcribing, homeschooling, helping teens, it all involves one thing that was different before 50. Sitting. Sitting before 50 does not have the same power that sitting after 50 takes on. Especially the frequent sitting. Yes, in transcribing I have acquired knowledge of a DVT that I do not want to have. Basically, that is a blood clot in the leg from sitting too long. One should always get up and walk around in those cases. More within my reach, though, I want to feel well, be healthy, and not look like I have what is often referred to as "middle age spread."

So, in planning for homeschooling, time to work with my daughters, cooking, and transcribing, I can stretch the planning just a bit more and plan my exercise time in. For whom? For me. Plan this just for you as you make this "school years resolution." You will feel better. Start small, aim big, join me.

Have you started school? Have you planned for you? What are your school years resolutions?


Word-ful Wednesday

Memories--Yes, remember through all of our experiences we are making memories. We had a tough homeschooling year last year; however, we made memories and we all came away learning things that we could not get anyplace else. That is priceless. :) The memories of a great summer, the memories of celebrations along the way, and making learning worthy of special memories. That is one of the joys of homeschooling. Through it, we also make memories that bond us as a family, while something as important as education is being accomplished.

Don't be afraid to change, especially with teens. Keeps them on their toes! They enjoy it also. Enjoy teaching them. They know it and you have made a lasting impression of joy and passion for learning that they can even pass down to their children! So go this day, every day, and make memories no matter what you do.


Choices and Options For Any Day

There are days when we need to face the sad truth--we're human. As women and mothers, we tend to try to prove that we're super-human, but even within that all encompassing term, we are still human. That can also serve to show us we will not have it together every day. Our kids might, our spouse might, but for us?? It might not be there. Depending upon the nature of your responsibilities your options are there before you and waiting for you to choose. (yes, it's always a choice). You can tackle the millions of things that could be calling you by name (not including people) and not do well at any of them, thereby frustrating yourself. You could pretend you are superhuman, but have that gnawing unfulfilled feeling deep inside the pit of your stomach and want to lash out at the world. (been there!) You could decide you will prioritize and take the days like this to accomplish the bare minimum. The rest will be waiting for you, and you will do better with a clear head. (this works the best for me, although it involves making some tough choices at times). The fantasy option is to stop everything and just go outside on a perfect sunshine day with no humidity and enjoy the weather, be with yourself and those whom you love, or even if you need some time away from those you love, take it, regroup and rest, get a good night's sleep, and tomorrow is a new and busy day waiting to be unwrapped. (Now there is the choice we all pick).

Hopefully you're into it today and hummin' along smoothly. If not, how do you handle it?

Your Saturday Humor

Sometimes we just have to realize that we can't be so caught up in getting it right, for me, getting the most lines in when I transcribe, making the money, getting the kids through all of their subjects in a day, that we then miss those moments of cuteness, and for whatever reason, the moments that demand our attention.

In transcribing today, a sentence was dictated to me by a doctor, "the patient fell back striking her head on the back of the door before it landed on the floor." What landed on the floor, I asked myself? The head?? Hopefully the rest of the body was following and hopefully as well, the patient was not being referred to as "it." Did the door then land on the floor? Time for a handyman as well as an ER trip as the house needs work. Many meanings can be extrapolated from this sentence! My response after a smile and fixing the sentence was "time for more language arts work in writing with my daughters!"

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Options For Homeschooling Teens

Throughout the years of homeschooling my daughters, many were quick to give me their concerns of not enough social contact, awkward, academic qualifications of my teaching, etc. For me, homeschooling has worked well. First, there is the support of my husband (a number one consideration), and my children made friends easily from their days of going to parks and play grounds. From the times they could barely speak, they could often be heard asking children, "do you want to be my friend?" So we had that conquered. Academic qualifications? I follow our state requirements and I am a former elementary school teacher. (check to that one). But beyond that, it is what I knew was right in my heart and worked well, especially when I was able to start working from home so the financial area is possible as well.

The years calm down and then there is the "you're going to homeschool through high school?" Yes, I am the type of person who wants to see something all the way through and not give up without a fight. This has been a wonderful decision; however, I have noticed that many homeschoolers are "phobic" of the highschool teen years. My children are active in music lessons, church youth group, etc. We live in a very expensive area, so I work a lot of hours and this caused me to look into some options as well. Time, actually more than finances, was becoming an issue as the workload increased for my daughters, as it should. I know the importance of their education and did not want that to suffer due to my increased need to transcribe. Therefore, we enrolled them in a Christian online school this year. I do not look at this as a cop-out at all. It worked out as what I needed to do to be more effective. It is still homeschooling. I am right here with them and the parents are considered the main teacher/supervisor. However, tests and lesson plans are done by the teachers. The school is accredited and my girls will graduate and not need a GED to get into college as homeschooled children! (a big praise for them!). There is a guidance counselor, and I am there to assist, help teach life lessons of planning, good time management, etc. But the grading and the paperwork is done, allowing me to be here, but work with them when necessary to guide them and continue a foundation for them that will be laid for college and lessons learned to be used beyond college.

Through this, we feel that we are blessed in many ways. We homeschool, we are here seeing what they do in each subject. We can still do field trips, etc. We receive all correspondence from their teachers and know the curriculum. They have met many very nice online friends, and have worked on a school yearbook, chat with their friends, and one is actually coming near our area with her parents and we look forward to meeting.

Options? Yes. Fear not. Do what works for you and is the best for your loved ones. We varied it and it worked perfectly. (and there is help for the math I may have forgotten when necessary ;)

Explore all options, pray, and fear not!

Teens Plan and Mom's Plan- Part II

To make a plan work we have to figure out the limitations of the plan before starting and then work from there. For our family, we start out knowing the order of our subjects has to be arranged with dad's subjects first. He is Mr. History and Science, as well as PE, and he leaves for work at 1:30pm. Limitations can be used to help, because, in our case the plan starts to work itself out. Combine that with mom working at home and that part of the day is taken care of. During dad's time with our daughters, I am free to do some transcribing, cook if I need to. I try to save major cleaning for the weekend, and cook ahead of time or use my slow cooker. (notice I say try as there are exceptions and we cannot beat ourselves up over them. We're not good for our family when we're black and blue :) So now we are ready to operate with the school morning plan and I am able to combine this with my own plan and digest it. I try to take on easier work, or transcribe for a company that will allow me to have my own hours so that I can work and still be free to be involved if necessary. For our state, I need to be considered the "supervisor" over homeschooling as I have the teaching degree.

It's important for me to take the time and take a few days to just live with the plan we are working on and think the morning through before I continue. We stop and eat our main meal (dinner) at about 12:30pm, so that hubby gets a main meal before going to work. (it helps with cooking and budgeting also, so that he doesn't have to have his main meal at work. He then can take either sandwiches or leftovers to work).

The time to digest the plan is also necessary for my own sanity as well. I leave you with the reminder that we are not helpful to others unless we have taken care of ourselves, as we can all think of the flight attendant saying to put on your oxygen mask first before helping others.

Have a great day-

Word-ful Wednesday: Process

Before I explain the after 50 lessons of the word process, I must confess that in teaching my daughters, I would periodically have what I think of as "FTC" days. Federal Trade Commission? No. ;) Forget the curriculum. Necessity being the mother of invention, I started this when I taught elementary school. There were days where the kids needs were just more important than following my exact time/plan/schedule. And those days, we often accomplished more than on a carefully planned out day. I did this in teaching and in homeschooling. There are times I need that as well. I'm leading up to the fact that I need to continue on with part 2 of my posts on planning, but not until I interpret the word process as I see it.

Our lives are a process from actually in the womb right on through. We are not in the womb and then suddenly one day we are ready to come out on an instant and be born. (many mothers would rejoice were this the case). We don't suddenly walk without holding on to the furniture first and making many wobbly attempts. We don't suddenly ride a bike without training wheels without more wobbly attempts. I taught first grade one year. The first day of school I saw these little people coming in and I realized they are really big kindergarteners, not first grade yet. I was able to relate to them along their own process, meeting them where they were.

Before 50 (but a process, remember, no clear cut day), I had extremely high expectations of people. That is not necessarily a bad thing, but when we are rigid in our expectations it is. I still have the same high standards now, working with my children especially to guide them in life, but again, a process. Working to be a more understanding wife, but seeing my husband where he is in his process. We can reach high, and before OR after 50 I am hoping to continue doing that with God's help; however, after 50 I have possibly "mellowed" a little as I see the process more clearly. Our children, our spouses, every person we come in contact with--take this day to remember that they are all at a different place in the process.

Let's all take this day and in the word process remember we are traveling and not always smooth, but it is a process. We are not "done cookin'" yet. Remember that with every contact you have, positive or negative, it is a process for the other person and a process for how we respond. I have days of total failure in this area; however, it is my process as well and as I work to understand family and anyone I may impact is not "done cookin", I can only hope they understand the same about me.

Options in Planning and Homeschooling

Before continuing on in my discussion of planning with my teens and preparing for homeschooling a new year, I will take a moment to share about the necessity of input from our kids. From about age 8 on up, we told our children that we had 180 days of instruction to do, and we worked with them on starting, finishing, and discussing where any breaks would be. This has been good for them (as well as a good math lesson) as we went from the general of starting and finishing the year, to each specific break and how long.

As one is in high school and the other one will begin it this year, we now work on planning our day from the general (of when to get up and when to end school) to the specific of how long we will allow for each subject. Count it a privilege if you are homeschooling your children at any age to work with them and teach them the life skills that we as adults often do not grasp for a very long time. Teach them work before pleasure in their time management skills. Guide them, so that they will come to these conclusions with our help and not be mini-adults. Let them learn and fail but within the safe environment of their home. Time management and being able to do a plan for the week has proven to be one of the most valuable skills my daughters were mastering this past year. They fought it initially, I watched, (not happily, but I pulled it off :) and they are actually looking forward to doing working according to their weekly plan this year. It worked well for them.

These skills can be taught to students in public/private schools as well. As best you can, work with your children. Integrate life management skills with their academic skills. It's a joy to see it work, and we all learn when it doesn't.

Teens Plan and Mom Plans- Part 1

What a stretch of the imagine it would have been from my college days and the "all-nighters" as well as even teaching and often finding myself the last teacher to turn in any lesson plans that the principal might want to see. Now, here I am planning my own life and helping my teens plan their year for school as August rolls around. Our lives certainly do change after the arrival of children.;)

I can't help but emphasize how important communication is for us all throughout the year, and for the month of August as we "think out loud" and get ready for a new year, full of hope and promises of things we will learn, both inside the curriculum and especially outside of the curriculum! We find that we are far enough removed from the last school year and any emotional issues, and looking forward to the new and possibly getting some things in a new way, so that we have some productive "family meetings."

However you need to do it, whatever works in your situation, home school or not, I can't emphasize enough to communicate and be involved. For us, my income is vital to what we're doing so I need to work a lot of hours, but even higher priority now is school and life lessons that go with it. No matter how insignificant the change may seem, it may mean a lot to a family member. Talk with them, share, and tweak your schedule wherever you may need to. Before discussing how to improve the past year, praise them for work done and the spirit is much more ready to hear ways to improve.

Enjoy these teen years. If we think of them as the "dreaded teen years" then something is going to spill over into our teens' heads and they will see this. They are smart, and their spirits will be crushed instead of built up. Encourage and communicate for the things that can be accomplished. Work together. We are all a team within our families and even within the blogging community. Again, if we home school or not, we ARE guiding them through our example and now teaching them valuable lessons. How great to impact the life of a child. Especially our own. These thoughts have to be clear before we actually plan our tasks.

Enjoy building them up-

Confessions from a Reforming Control Freak

Ah, yes. God works with me in many ways by having children. And I would have it no other way. It is good for me to admit, even now, that I can be somewhat of a control freak given the right opportunity. The Before 50 person within me was truly a controlling person. Marrying late, I was used to things the way they were "supposed to be" and felt the need to keep controlling. Sharing my life and my "control" with God first of all and then a husband has been an ongoing process that has good days and tough ones. We have babies and what am I tempted to do? Control..when they eat, when they sleep, even upon potty training, what happens? I'm trying to control when they "go!" I had a blank slate of 2 people to control! God has worked hard with me, but as my daughters have become teens, the lessons are there and waiting to happen.

My "inner control freak" wants to tell my daughters at times "you should wear your hair a different way, it will be prettier." There is nothing wrong with it, just possible they may look back and say "oh, it would have looked better this way." What woman, especially, does not look back at teen pictures of ours and think that? But no, the controlling person comes out and rears its head. Age-appropriate decisions. That is what I need to remember. I need to guide them, nudge them gently, and not control. Two daughters, two different personalities. Now growing into wonderful young ladies. I am truly blessed. Every situation seems to be a teaching opportunity. I cannot put them in the playpen if I'm stressed and give them some toys for awhile and control the circumstances. Work, guide, and communicate. If they learn a lesson the hard way, I must remind myself, "who hasn't?" and let them learn the lesson within the structure of home for now.

A well-meaning person? Yes. But controlling is not the way I need to show it. I must be there for them, guide them in Godly principles, and make sure that is a top priority. My children are a work in progress, and I often tell them they're "not done cookin' yet." I am too, and prayerfully am just ahead of them enough to be the example they need to see, guidingem, and knowingt to pull the reins too tight, using God as my example. Every day has to have time for this, time that cannot be scheduled. It is seen and the teaching moments are ours, a gift from God. They cannot be controlled, organized, but are some of the best parts of our day.

Before 50 and Now

Life is so much different now than before 50. I feel the same (thank God) as when I was probably 20, much like when my kids were about 7 they thought they were 17 (in their cute little heads). My whole style of living changed after having children, and watching them grow into people needing to be trained for the world in front of them. Now, I need to not only talk with them, I must be an example. Before, in my 40s even, I had children and wanted to show them, lay the foundation, but now the rubber meets the road. I must be an example. In teaching them and homeschooling them, for example, NOW I need to show them how to plan what they need to accomplish and prioritize, guiding them so that they can see how to do this on their own. It's no longer changing diapers, it's not 1 plus 1 either. A great joy to teach them to read and all of these milestones, but now it is a different process. For me, it's life before 50 and life after 50.

My own life before 50 was fraught with the typical last minute thinking, inability to prioritize and many poor choices. I like to think I still turned out okay, and my children will be free to make mistakes as well, but hopefully the foundation is laid and some poor choices can be avoided; however, I need to be practicing their foundation as they watch me. I cannot be the person in my 20s and leave everything until the last minute with no goals or vision in mind while telling them to have goals and priorities. I was well known to pull many all-nighters in college before papers and exams. I may be blessed to feel physically well enough to pull that off, but I'm hoping my children will outdo me in that area. Working, blogging, homeschooling, being a wife and mom to teens who need to share and be involved also; life after 50. I do not have the luxury to behave as I did before, especially in the unorganized manner. I would have it no other way. Our children may be quiet, maybe not; however, they are watching. Prepare them well.

Word-Full Wednesday

As you get to know me, you may see that sometimes I like to go "against the grain." (LOL). Many people have wordless Wednesdays, so I will have "word-full Wednesday." This will consist of a word, a phrase or a "charge" that we can all think about this day as we juggle that will remind us to stay centered, focused, and calm.

Our word for today is breathe. Something so simple, something we take for granted. Take 10 minutes once or more during the day. Breathe. You're probably saying "you have teens, you can do that." Yes; however, you will see from future posts that teens are quite time consuming in themselves and will often come in thinking they need to share at that very second. (different issue). Don't worry. When we juggle, the good times with our kids and family can be guilt free and much more special as we are so happy to be with them. Quality, not quantity. To do it all, and do it effectively I need my times to breathe. If you have a baby that is crying, take the baby and just hold her, but sit quietly and think of nothing else. When my teens ask me what I'm doing, they know when I say I need to breathe. They know the times like that, whether sitting and reading a magazine for a few minutes or just existing, help me to be a nicer mom, :) better equipped to deal with what the day has in store. Enjoy your day and breathe.

Organizing in menu planning

Homeschooling teen girls does not end in June, nor does it end during the summer. It's a lifestyle, with a goal of equipping them as best as we can to be "out there" and not be totally thrown. (like I was LOL). One way is through meal planning and knowing how to cook, what to cook, and in our case, what will work in the lifestyle of working, blogging, and just trying to be organized. Enter, the slow cooker. It is my friend. I've been married for 17 years and just have started my second one. My first slow cooker was a wedding gift. I graduated to the deluxe model, still parting with my old friend. There are so many recipes out there! My daughters are becoming experts as well.

I will be starting a weekly Slow Cooker Sharing Day to share ideas and recipes. Join in. It's a great feeling to homeschool, blog or work, and know that you have dinner being prepared all at the same time.


The Word for the Day

Every so often, we all need a word. A word of encouragement is always necessary from God, and then we often need just a word to help us get on our way. When we have teens and work at home, AND need to homeschool, we must delegate. The simplest task can become overwhelming when you are in the middle of transcribing a report, have a question from a daughter that may not be easy to tackle in the high school years, and need to cook, clean, or anything else that may otherwise be simple. Our teens and our husband need to know that they are doing their part to support us in our efforts to help with income, serve others and share wisdom that we have gained. The act of service is important for all.

Delegate to your teen--even if she needs to check the slow cooker that you are hopefully using, wash a dish, as well as maintaining her own part. My husband works 3pm-11pm, so he is home during our school time. Yes, I'm spoiled. He is a wonderful help. I'm not saying it's easy. That's why even washing a dish or making a bed can be overwhelming with countless other things to do. Therefore, cry out to God daily, do not hesitate to cry out to your teens or husband for help, and delegate whenever you can, and praise those who help you!

Medical Transcription

When I have been blessed with anything, I feel an overwhelming desire to turn around and want to help others feel just as good. The same thing happened to me with medical transcription. As stated in a previous post, the friend I met through selling products walked with me on my quest to learn. It was not an easy beginning, but definitely worth it. She sent me practice tapes to transcribe, some medical reference books to use, and I worked on my own with unstoppable focus until I was able to pass a test and start working. The blessing? I did it without having to get a degree. I am a self-taught medical transcriptionist. I saved thousands of dollars because one person invested in me. I will be forever grateful to her, and we have remained friends for the last 9 years, sharing the joys and trials of working at home, homeschooling our teens, and juggling our lives. :)

I have many books, tapes, and some new medical knowledge that has come in very handy in parenting and wearing one of the many hats of "medical doctor" in our home. I would be interested in mentoring. Are you interested? There are many companies still willing to take people with no experience. It is consistent income, and you are able to control the salary once you progress. Budget what you need to make and go for it. I will be offering my services of mentoring, and reference books that I have used and since have purchased new ones. Do you have a computer? Interested?

Homeschooling Your Teen and Working

Homeschooling is yet another way to watch our children grow. It's the best when we see them meet their milestones physically. We rejoice when they roll over, crawl, walk, and many other things in between. The homeschooling process allows us to rejoice with them when they meet certain milestones such as reading, math facts, and many other universal things that we all must know. What a blessing to have a part in this as parents, knowing that we taught them, worked with them, and help them find their strengths and guide them toward future career and life choices.

Many people who homeschool fear the high school years. Fear not. There are options. If you have a husband who is helping, have him teach the subjects that are his strongpoints. My husband is our expert at science and history, and an excellent artist. I'm a musician and did well in language arts and math. We do what works for us. Your high schooler works well independently, and for that fact I work an unscheduled job where I can make my own hours during the day, and schedule my "heavy-duty" transcription for evening hours. Online schools are also an option. There are many Christian schools that are accredited, thereby making the choices for college easier. You then have help with teachers in each subject and you are still involved but in a supervisor capacity, yet still homeschooling your child. Plan well, choose what works for you in your situation, and by the time they are teens you will know their learning style and what works for them. Continue on with confidence.

Organizing After 50 Compared to Before 50

Organizing After 50 not only involves my own organization, it involves working with my husband as well as passing down the years of wisdom that I can now give my teens. Before 50, actually even before 40, my organizational skills were weak at best as I was well known for the universal college "all-nighter." Not a good practice, and most emphatically not good for the after 50 set! :) Passing this wisdom down that I seem to have gained by years of experience is necessary, and I must confess I can often become obsessive until I am reminded, either in my head or from my children, I learned this the hard way! This reminds me I may need to ease up, and possibly even let them learn some things the hard way while I am prepared to help them as well as sit back and smile in my heart while pondering the teachable moments that will be ensuing. Oh joy, they are still there! :)

What better way for me to organize myself than to have a God-given desire to be an example. My girls as pre-schoolers and early elementary students will watch us, but life skills are not first on their mind. As I'm tempted to allow procrastination become the thief of my time, I now am forced to think of how I'll explain this to my children and everything takes on a whole new spin. God does use our children to make us better parents, and overall better people.

Family, Homeschooling, Transcription, and Me

Yes, there we have it. The ultimate juggling act as I see it in the life of a homeschooling, work-at-home mom. I have two teenagers who have days that they are very helpful, and days that we work at it a little more as they will need a little reminding. Remember, as I must, they are teens and a work in progress also. To make the act work and not to drop anything while juggling is key; yet, something that does not always happen. When the proverbial ball is dropped, however, we all assess and move on. No regrets, but we work as a team.

1. Key to organizing myself is first clearing my head a bit. My heart starts to move towards organizing and planning usually in late July. I am a former school teacher, and the calendar is engrained in me, not to leave. We use it for the good, and my first task towards planning the year is actually to start, but only when my head is clear. I may have many hospitals to transcribe for that day, cooking to be done, but during those times I must simply leave, even for 10 minutes, and clear my head. Depending on the day I've had, this is not always a difficult process. ;)
2. All through school, college, in doing a plan we know we must always go from the general to the specific. In planning I cannot work the homeschool plan until I have a general overall plan. My work is often scheduled, at least in part. I have 2 teens, so I am also able to delegate some chores. As we will see and I will share with you, the slow cooker is our friend. How great it is to be transcribing and/or teaching our children and smile from the inside knowing that "I'm teaching and cooking all at the same time."

To sum it up, the key to organizing starts early and just may be in the back of your head. It doesn't have to be written immediately. Clear our head and have a general plan of how it will work. And know in your heart that it will work!

It's already getting to be late July, and it seems as if it was just Christmas. What happened? Hope you had a great year. Let us know one thing you will be doing different as you assess and evaluate a new school year, work, or just finding time for you.

From Financial Necessity to Medical Transcription

No one could have been happier than I was upon having children. Imagine your happiest moments in life and I believe the joy that I felt inside surpassed all that I could imagine. There was one issue, however, now starting to rear its ugly head. The need of money; more simply put, bills to be paid and food on the table, now for four people, not two. Granted, we did not wake up one day and realize this. It was a very gradual process, but one that could not be ignored. The need became more and more evident as we were the time to begin a formal education for our daughters. Having been a former elementary school teacher myself, I had a strong desire to homeschool them. (you will see many posts on homeschooling as I have been homeschooling for 15 years as technically I believe the educational process starts with the family at birth). I knew I had something to offer, having been a teacher myself. It all made so much sense as I had the experience that I could now use on my children; however, determination and experience did not pay for books, classroom equipment, etc.

Now with the need quite clear, my search had begun. I truly believe that God knew what he was doing when he gave us money. Money in itself is not evil, but the love of money can be and they ways that we use it can lead to trouble. With two children 17 months apart, we knew the need must be met quickly and in the process I started to become an expert on every work-at-home scam that was out there. Through that, I also was learning to be cautiously skeptical as well as the principle if it seems to good to be true, then it is. It was a unique process, expecting to stuff envelopes, or do beading where if one piece of thread was missing, suddenly there was reason that I would not be paid. The lessons were flying fast and furiously.

I then decided to try selling natural products and worked for a company advertised in a homeschooling magazine. The person who mentored me in selling was so very kind, and we became friends quickly, amazed at all we had in common. She frequently spoke of typing early in the morning before her kids got up. When asking her what she was doing, she proceeded to tell me about medical transcription. (knowing that I was not doing well selling products also). I had a really good feeling about this. I loved typing and had found medicine very interesting from childhood on up. I will explain medical transcription in another post, but know it is a consistent income and I have been transcribing for 9 years. It is not a scam, and I was able to receive on-the-job training and now had a friend to mentor me. As Christians, I believe that we are to give back in any way that God allows. If any of you are interested in finding ways to work at home, or actually interested in medical transcription, I have seen a lot and would be willing to be a resource. Comments are welcome. I would love to hear from you.


Biological Time vs. Calendar vs. Clock

Fairly early in my youth I came to the conclusion that I wanted a family, specifically a daughter, as many children do.  I had it all planned out and as I would "play house" with my dolls and with friends, I just knew that would be me.  I thought of finding a husband as an event, not a process, where one would truly ride on his white horse and find me.  That was life before 50.....along the road of life, career pursuits were coming first.  Why?  Because I allowed them to.  In my mid 30s, I came to the conclusion this was not going to happen.  Who needed it after all?  However....the biological clock was ticking and I wanted a daughter.  Prayer was not dropping that magical husband out of the sky either.  I investigated adopting as a single mother.  I suddenly felt that I was late for everything.....TIME.....We're all given the same 24 hours, no more, no less.  It extends for no one.  I had suddenly found myself thinking I was late for marriage, late to have a child, and late to pursue the dreams of my childhood that stayed with me.  Time can be our enemy or our friend.

Yes, my clock was ticking.  However, upon attending church I spotted my then-to-be husband and about a year later we were married.  Our pastor gave me away and as I walked down the aisle with him during the rehearsal practicing, he seemed to be going quickly.  Time again.....however, now I had control.  I did not want to rush this moment, both in rehearsal and at the actual wedding.  I told him I waited 39 years for this moment and I did not want to rush down the aisle!  That dream came true.  Years of life experience and hopefully wisdom had made me see that this was not a fairytale.  What is?  But I was not late.  Yet, in the world's eyes I "married late..."  I was blessed with not one daughter, but two a short time after and they are 17 months apart.  I was 40 and 42 upon giving birth.  Was I late??? Not in my eyes.  I had two daughters.  My whole universe had changed.  My children are 14 and 15 now, and as I teach them about using their time wisely it brings me back to the use of time and how relative it is in the big picture.  I was thrilled to be pregnant, change diapers, and the whole process.  Late?  So what.  I had no clue about being high risk due to my age, and no one used the term with me that we hear about now.  I was blessed, not late. 

Many issues I will share about will be things that can be related to as 30, 40 and 50 comes and goes.  I am not late, high risk.  The biological time did not win.  I feel 25 inside, so for all intents and purposes the calendar is not winning.  We will deal with the clock as we walk this journey, and as I work with my teens to deal with it as well as the rest of us.

Old, Young, or all of the Above

In what feels like a previous life, I can remember going to the doctor, and looking at the doctor as an older person, respected, no matter what age the doctor was....that was life before 50. (possibly before 40 ;) Move to after 50.......my husband recently had an in-office procedure done. As I went with him for a consult, we were in the waiting room and the receptionist quietly said "that is the doctor" thereby reassuring us that we would not be there all day and the doctor was arriving. I looked around for my memory of someone who had a "doctor look." All I saw was a person go bounding into the back where the offices would be. She had a ponytail and looked a lot like my daughter used to.............at 10!!

They say that you are truly old/older when the president is younger than you. I refuse to give in to that rule passed down from "them". We simply have a very young president. :) The calendar is one thing. What helps you keep young in Spirit?


Lessons Learned, Like it or Not!

It is my belief that life is a process.  We continue along the process all throughout, leveling off at times, learning at times, and even refusing to learn at times.  The lessons of life may be learned and benefited from, laughed at, or sometimes taking us down kicking and screaming before we give in and possibly cry "uncle."  There seems to be a change after hitting 50 for me.  Possibly I don't kick and scream as much, possibly I don't have the *energy* to kick and scream as much.  Every lesson now seems to always present an opportunity to pass down to my daughters.  At 14 and 15, I can only pray that will benefit from my process thus far.

Yes, I am over 50 and seemed to be late with everything; however, I have come to learn (yes, a lesson!!) late according to whom?  In medical terms, I had children late but they are doing well and have actually succeeded in keeping me young in spirit and hopefully I will share with you lessons learned at 50 and over, but possibly dealing with subjects that you can relate to whatever age you are chronologically. 

Come journey with me as we proceed together and we will laugh, cry, and share together.  I look forward to comments from you and learning from you as well.  We will take questions and answers weekly and guests will be posting as we learn how to have true quality of life no matter what our circumstances are and to live our best life.