The Damage You Do

Everything we say or do has an effect. In fact, there is not a time where the very existence of you has an effect. So, what prompts tonight’s topic? You hear of that one person who finally got someone on the right track. Well, sometimes that one person is not a good thing.  In fact,  It was a teacher who was one of the biggest reasons we started the home school journey. It’s also why Mr. M struggles to this day when it comes to applying himself to certain things. What this teacher said and did in a single moment resulted in Mr M being afraid to write. Not only that, it made him think he was worthless. She affected him, and still does, in such far reaching ways that I feel this single person reduced his chances at success.

I remember how hard it was trying to communicate with Mr M when he was in early grade school. He had severe speech problems, a very high pitched voice, and great difficulty expressing himself as a result. Because he was at school I was not around to immediately know what was going on; such as the bullying he was suffering from other children. It was not until he got a terrific teacher who specialized in behavioral issues that we became aware of what issues were dragging our son down. She stopped the bullying and began to get Mr M to participate and flourish. It was amazing and I felt like this was it!

And then they shuffled teachers and classes around.

Mr M was placed in another classroom despite the fact this was the first time he was on target and had made progress. My request he stay with the first teacher was denied despite my phone calls and efforts. Now, to better understand the situation, Mr M disliked writing and this first teacher had him writing. In fact, He was writing beautifully. When the teacher change occurred, he even wrote for the new teacher. One time. Why just one time, you ask? Because, when he gave his paper to her, she looked at it, ripped it in half, and threw it away. She informed him it was “not good enough”. It was then he stopped writing all together and began the entire sitting there for hours on end not saying anything or responding. We also learned the bullying had returned.

I tried, as I had with every other teacher,to try and keep updated and know Mr M’s progress. As in previous years, information was hard to get and because of speech issues, Mr M was unable to fully share with us what was going on. I suppose I should count it a blessing this current teacher was so confident that he was worth so little, she felt comfortable telling me outright how annoying his voice was when he whined about the other children bothering him. At the time I felt powerless to help my son and my pleas for changes were largely ignored. Mr M became more and more withdrawn while falling further and further behind. Eventually,  things came to such a head; I thought there was no way home schooling could be worse than public school when it came to his education.

I was correct. It took a lot of time, but I was eventually able to stop Mr M from staring into space or looking at us blankly for literally hours on end. He even wrote a little off and on after quite a bit of effort. Despite the fact what he writes is always beautifully written, has terrific sentence structure and a very well understood topic with support, it’s never easy getting him to write. He believes his ideas are no good and will not write without a heck of a lot of pushing. I feel I can not force him to enjoy writing. The best writing curriculum in the world wont instill a love of writing to a broken-hearted child. Honestly, I’m not sure if he will ever appreciate the act of writing despite the fact that when he does, it’s very good.

What happened years ago still affects his confidence to the extent he would much rather not try at all. Just in case he fails. In fact, we just faced this exact same issue tonight.  It all ties back to that one teacher. He is  convinced it’s not going to be good enough. That he is not good enough. He knows we would never do what that teacher did to him in his head, but emotionally? He still pays the price of one person’s actions to this day. I know he has progressed, but I wonder if the battle will ever be over where he realizes how smart, creative, and good he is. Even at writing. Especially at writing.

In closing, I wonder if there are others out there that battle anything similar? Perhaps not with your child. Maybe it was you that was treated in such a way that it broke a part of you. Perhaps you were even the one that hurt another. I just want my son to know how amazing he is and strive for success. To stop being so afraid of failure he is afraid to even try. I see he has come along way, but that one incident hurt him so very badly that it still haunts not only himself, but the family as we struggle to help him overcome it’s effects.


The 5 Paragraph Blog: The Anatomy of a Guild

Guess what? I’m a gamer! Of course, you might have already figured that one out. What is it about gaming that brings me back time after time, though? Well, I am rarely ever seen in solo games. When I really get into a game, it is because I have connected with a group of people in that game. I happen to like people, but because of “life” I have found I prefer a certain quality of people. And the way people are in a guild affects it’s makeup, or “anatomy” if you will. So, what are the most important things I look for in a guild? How they treat those in the guild, how they treat those not in the guild, and their time table.

It’s not hard to believe I would be attracted to a guild that treats it’s members with patience and respect. Not only that top “uber” tank, healer, or damage dealer, but those that struggle. If I see a struggling player keep trying, work actively on improving, and are reliably available when they say they will be, I won’t care if they are “not the best”. Again, I am here for the people more than anything else. There are many guilds that treat it’s members as simply fodder to toss at game content so they can proclaim they “Beat the Game” and are “The Best”. They don’t care about the actual people in the guild. Only their reputation of being a top guild. My definition of a top guild is the positive relationship I have with those within the guild.

I’ve been in guilds where the inner workings are fabulous. The people are great! They work well together. The respect and camaraderie is amazing! But, then you see their disregard, their utter contempt for anyone not in their guild. I am not talking about disliking a guild known for treating other players badly. I am talking about them being that guild that treat others badly. Things like purposely killing a mob to prevent others from getting a special drop when everyone in your guild already has it. I believe this behavior is appalling and even outright ridiculous. This will not be a guild that keeps my interest if I see it is a regular thing.

Last, but certainly not least: When does the guild play? This is a tough one! This can happen within my own guild, CrossGuard. Activity drops off for various reasons, usually having to do with real life. Then, more and more leave simply because there is not enough on to play on when others log on. The people are great and it can be a really tough time for a guild at this point. I always wish people would stick it out at these times as good long term guilds will always go through these ebbs and flows. I’ve watched this happen so many times over the past 8-10 years I’ve been with the guild. I understand one of the biggest reasons people start playing in a guild is because their time table matches theirs. At the same time, if you are truly here for the people and you can still talk to them most days, then I think you would stay for the people.

I’ve only gone over the very basics of guild anatomy. For those that actively game and tend to play with a certain group of people, you know each guild can have all 3 of those things and still be quite different from one another. A guild has a personality. And while I did not cover that in this little essay, it will be the Philosophy a guild holds onto that determines it’s personality because it will attract certain people that treat it’s members a certain way, how they interact with those outside the guild, and the time of day they tend to play (Though that can be highly affected by time zones, of course!).


Until next time.

The 5 Paragraph Blog: Sir A Has a New Job (Wow!)

There comes a time in every parent’s life when they realize their “job” as a provider, caregiver…well, everything…. is starting to have some huge changes when it comes to what their children need from them. I am no different! It’s not that I did not see this day coming. It’s not that there has not already been changes. There has been. It started in little ways. Their sense of responsibility grew, the way they seek more independence, and even to what they will be doing with their life.

While the title signifies Sir A’s new job, I do not wish to neglect his elder brother. If you’ve been reading this blog, you know that Sir M has Asperger’s and that it was for his special needs I started on this home school journey in the first place. I feel, in many ways, that when it comes to maturity, both the boys are on a similar level. They have both taken more responsibility in things like personal hygiene, getting their schooling done, and helping around the house. We went through a period of time where I felt like I had to nag them over and over and over again to get these things done. While there is still plenty of room for improvement, I’ve seen immense improvement in their self-directing behavior in “taking care of business” in their daily lives.

The signs that change was coming my way really began this past winter when my 18 year old, Sir M.  began showing a strong interest in driving. This may not seem like much to many of you, but keep in mind he is 18 and showed no interest even after getting an *A* in Driver’s Ed. He honestly could not have cared less two years ago! Meanwhile, his younger brother was dying to take the class when it was his turn. I am happy to say Sir A is now taking Driver’s Ed and Sir M is working towards having a driver’s license. Not only that, Sir M made sure he was registered for the draft and got is ID card. I can see both boys taking steps to being more independent and not having to rely on us, their parents, for everything.

And now we come to the moment of truth. My baby has a job! To be fair, he is not the first child of mine to get a job. You wont hear too much mention of the eldest, Miss N, but she has been independent and working since her Senior year in High School, -She will be 23 this year!-, has been paying her way through college thus far, owns her own car, and is a delight to me. But, what is it about it being your youngest getting a job, even if only 15 hours a week, that really drives home – My life is changing as much as theirs is!

I’m very proud of all my children. There is always room to grow (and I am no exception just because I am “mom”), but I know my children are going to be alright. Seeing each step as they all enter into adulthood and working to achieve their dreams while taking responsibility of even the little things (Gotta do your laundry!) is an indescribable combination of joy and sadness. Joy in their accomplishments, sadness that some of the integral parts of my life are no longer necessary for their well-bring. You see, my children are not the only ones changing in order to lead fulfilling lives; This mamma has to make changes as well and learn new ways of finding and expressing fulfillment and joy.


I’m not afraid 🙂

An open letter to my readers

I just had to share this. It’s perfect ❤ We need one another and our communities. Being self-sufficient is one thing, but there is no reason (nor weakness!) in leaning and supporting one another!

just a jesus follower

open-letterI’m curled up under blankets typing this to you: my readers. This letter is long over due and my heart is literally bursting at the seams as I type this. If you were here, we’d be snuggled up on the couch, drinking coffee, sharing our stories. But, since the internet world is what connects us, this letter will have to do.

So, here you go. Here’s my heart.

This life is hard (can I get an amen??). Like gut punch kind of hard. Many of you have shared bits and pieces of your stories with me and there are times I sit behind my screen with tears streaming down my face. Because, I see the pain. I get it. I connect with it. I hear the struggle, the fight – and I want nothing more than to scoop you up in my arms and make it all better.

We need…

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Review: Yearly Membership (Affiliate Links!)

Well, good morning my fellow homeschoolers and bloggers! Today I have the great pleasure of sharing this review of the Yearly Membership for This is a product I could not wait to get my hands on as we have used it with our family more than once over the years. To be frank, the only reason we had not used it the last couple of years were two things. 1. The boys got older and much of what they had was still aimed at younger learners until recently and 2. I need to curb online education a bit since they were getting old enough to easily get distracted opening other web pages and the like.

As with everything in life, things change and/or needs have to be reassessed. The boys continued to mature and be more responsible and I could begin reincorporating online curriculum without worrying or needing to stand over them the entire time. This new maturity enabled me to pursue many things, including applying to become a 2017 Curriculum Reviewer on the Homeschool Review Crew and also caring for children/families as a “for hire nanny” to help earn a little extra income for our family. You see, I have yet to make money off this blog. Not even for the “Crew”. This may change, but until then…I have to earn money somewhere 🙂

High-quality, Self-paced, Online Homeschool Resources {}So, imagine my excitement when I was offered a free Yearly Membership in return for my review! Here was an excellent way for me to check things out again to see if there was anything useful for high school aged young men who are very independent at this point. This, of course, was offered smack in the middle of what is our Holiday Break (We take off from Thanksgiving until after the New Year so we can focus on quality family time and service to others) and ‘Lo and behold…I got some groaning from those teen boys when I asked them to peruse the site and pick one or two things that interested them and give it a go.

Don’t get me wrong, I used the site myself and got hooked on their free Silver Membership to Applecore. Oh..My..Gawd..I could not be more excited then when I realized this was part of the Yearly Membership! You also have the option to upgrade to Gold for Applecore.

  • The Silver Applecore Plan Includes: Course Tracker, Grade Reporting, Report Cards, Portfolio, Attendance
  • The Gold Applecore Plan Includes: Course Tracker, Grade Reporting, Report Cards, Portfolio Assistance, Attendance, Scheduler, Transcripts (recommended plan for high school)


Ok, enough about my own experience. As I mentioned, my boys did groan a bit, one more than the other! The eldest simply did not bother, but my youngest, the 15-year-old, was more willing and cooperative and tried a few things, most notably the Web Game Design course. Keep in mind I left it entirely up to them what they would pursue. They already have a full course load for this school year and are already independently completing work and I wanted them to explore interests on their own to continue helping them prepare for the world as an adult. There are so many courses available now to choose from and this is the result of his exploration. Keep in mind it might appear simple, but he made this using HTML5 in the ‘HTML5 Canvas and JavaScript’ section of the course in Lessons Three-Six. It was also completely on his own with no help from me.



Sir A’s Picture with HTML5 Code


While this product was offered to our family when we already have the 2016-17 school year figured out, I know where I will be getting 2017-18 curriculum from! The courses, information, help, and ideas for teenagers has improved tremendously since the time I was using it for spelling help in the younger years. Not only that, I found myself intrigued by their Just for Parents section under the resources drop down menu. There is so much available there for those new to the idea of homeschooling all the way to grandparents who support a new generation of homeschooling. You have everything from faith building links to special needs support available for your use!


List of the many subjects found on!

Yes, I know this is getting long for some of you, but I wanted to be sure you knew that right now New members can try a 1-month-trial offer; just enter the code: TRIAL at checkout to get your first month for just $1. I assure you, the resources you find there during that one month is worth far more than $1. Just check out the price of many other curriculum sites after you look over the courses for yourself and you will be amazed that you can get a Yearly Membership for as little as $90 a year until January 15th 🙂 Enjoy!


*Note* In mid-January, is having a price increase. The promotion is to LOCK IN NOW at the $9.95/month rate so that you save 50% on the NEW prices. In about a week and a half this same monthly service will be $19.95/month–approximately twice as much!

Until next time!

High-quality, Self-paced, Online Homeschool Resources {}Crew Disclaimer

The 5 Paragraph Blog: The Obligatory New Year Post

Yes! It is that time again! It’s a new year and so many of us are expected to talk about our resolutions and how we plan on accomplishing them. I’m really no different in that I look to better myself and my family. But, I rarely keep it to just this time of year. I am looking at it monthly, weekly, daily…and occasionally I am praying my hardest to “Just let me get through this moment without completely losing it!”. So, what is it I am always hoping to improve? I hate to say it, but typically it’s my health, being better at prayer and scripture reading, and trying to be a good person to those in my life.

Oh, my poor body! Always in need of more water and less soda. More exercise and less sitting on my bum. I think most of us reading this know this struggle. Oddly, the best way I have found for me, personally, of being in better shape is taking on active tasks. NOT an exercise program. Let’s take the fact I watch children for a living these days. Nothing has started putting me in better shape then doing that. Yes, there is lots of room for improvement, but it’s worked much better than that expensive gym membership! Of course, my body is not the only thing I need to work on….

If you have not figured it out just yet, I’ll put it right out there for you. I believe in God. The Maker of All. I am pretty good at having Him in my thoughts on a regular basis, but focused prayer, reading my scriptures, and regular and weekly church attendance sometimes escape me. I hear it a lot..just 10 mins a day! I could tell you lots of reasons why I miss out, forget, get distracted, or decide “not today”, but in the end it is something I tend to try and work on. It will probably be the way i am until my dying day. But, I do comfort myself one way….

I am constantly trying to improve the way I interact and view others. Always reminding myself I don’t know everything and I should not judge them. Only God knows them fully. My job is to love. To be a friend. To let others know I am there for them. I just hope others give me the same consideration. I admit, many times I feel broken and hurt trying to figure out how to be a good and loving friend to someone that has hurt me and others. learning where to draw the line has been one of the biggest battles I’ve ever had to deal with. It will be just like Prayer and Scripture reading. i will probably be trying to get it right until my dying day.

While I know this is not quite the typical “New Year’s resolution” post, I’m just hoping you will cut me a little slack. Heck, cut everyone else and yourself some slack, because as I recently posted on Facebook: I know it is getting late, but many times I am reminded of all the wonderful people out there. I know all to often we are shown the worst in people and society, but I want everyone to know, that most people are just trying to get through the day and honestly just wish the best for those they come in contact with. Don’t listen to the hype. Listen to one another, instead.


Until Next Time!