The Home School Journey

I have home-schooled our children for 10 years now. I even home-schooled our oldest son all the way to college. When you home-school you never know what the day will bring. There are so many things going on in a life the day could change in an instant.   

One thing you do as a home-school family is study.  

And, boy do you study many, many things. Through the years my kids and I have studied: IchthyologyTheology, Economics, all the maths, Nato, English for 10 years now, American Literature, World Literature and the list just goes on and on and on.                     

~ But ~ 

Do you want to know what my favorite subject to study in school is? 

 ~ reading ~ 

This year my girl has started 5K. Now that she knows all her letters and their sounds  ~ it’s time to put them together to create words. Real words! and we couldn’t be more excited. The journey continues   

the Economist in my house

Okay, It’s time you knew. I have kept this secret long enough.  I have to come clean on this one.  You are my friends right? You won’t judge me to harshly.  

Will you???

I mean you put up with my bad spelling, my poor grammar and my rambling thoughts. So I thought I should just tell you.  

I have this son that’s, well. . . a little strange.  

He likes. . . lectures A LOT! He likes economics as much as he likes lectures. Strangely enough, he likes lectures and economics together. . . at the same time. 

Okay, yeah, there is more. 

He like lectures and economics enough to  win a scholarship to study economics in a lecture setting for. . . 12 hour days. . . for a week. 

I know! 

A  whole week. 7 days . . . 12 hours a day.

I have tried with this kid, I really have. But, he thrives on lectures and economics. . .at the same time.  He tells me, “because I have home schooled him he knows how to think. . .for himself.” 

 “Wait a minute!” “I did that?” Huuu???

So here we are, I have an economist in the house. Not just any economist, we have an Austrian Economist.  Most particularly, I am talking a Ludwig von Mises Institute school of economics economist. AND that’s a mouth full! 

I am telling you, Matthew studies and studies and studies this thing. He reads books that are bigger then. . .I don’t know. . .a dictionary about this stuff.  He really finds it all very interesting. 

He fills me up with the things he has learned. I listen and think. . .could he be right? Does he really know what he’s talking about? and then I hear the things he says on the news about: the way things are going in this great country of ours and what needs to be done and why our government won’t do them.  

It’s quite overwhelming. 

And I think. . . well, maybe an Economist in the house is not so bad. There are days I get to call him “my son sunshine” because of the gloominess of his tone. “My Son Sunshine” tells me all about why the FED is bad and what really needs to be done in our government. . .to make things work again for all of us and why our government won’t do them. 

And, sometimes I just have to say to him. . .


“I can’t take it anymore!” I know! Doom and Gloom. The FED is bad. . . Our government is corrupt, Congress violates the Constitution with nearly every new bill they enact.   We all get it! ” 

 Ron Paul rules! “

and then I’ll lovingly say: 

“Matthew tell me this?  
Why did you have to learn so much about the constitution?” 
“Why didn’t you just pretend to read it like the other kids do?” 

So,  my oldest son, Matthew, the son I home schooled for nine years, won a scholarship to the  Ludwig von Mises Institute at Auburn University with an essay that he wrote. The scholarship paid for everything from his food, to his room and board,  to the lecture classes that was all about economics. All Matthew had to do was get to Atlanta Georgia the very same weekend Mark got out of the hospital. 

His bag were packed and Matthew and I  drove the 176 miles to the Atlanta Airport. 

We talked about how very nerves he was about going to a place where he didn’t know a soul. We talked about how proud his father and I are of him for doing this all on his own.  We talked about how excited he was to meet his idols and learn more about this subject that he loved. . . and maybe, just maybe Ron Paul would be there. 

Matthew went to Auburn and the school of economics with the hopes and dreams that only a 19 year old could. He learned, and he studied , and he studied and he learned. He called  me three times a day to share the things he had learned and to tell me how excited he was to be there. He told me who he had met and how brilliant the “average” person was  at the institute that week. Matthew talked about what was said and what he already knew to be true. He talked about his hopes for the future. . .if only the government of today would listen.  .  . and stop thinking about. . .well, themselves and who’s pockets they are in. 


When Matthew came home, he was not only a week older and wiser,  he was “intoxicated” from the all the knowledge that was swimming around in his head. He was tired from the long week of lectures and note taking. He was full from his week of listening to arguments and debates from the people he had only read about and admired from afar.   For weeks now, Matthew has been filling us up with von Mises  ideas for the world and the things he wants to become. He told me how he wants to fight for what is right. . .and how he can’t wait to go back to “the Institute” next year and learn and study and listen for a week  and those 12 hour days   of more studying, learning and growing. AND just maybe just maybe Ron Paul will be there. 


“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” 

Benjamin Franklin 

Playing along with: 
Unknown Mami
 Ni Hao Yall
Fresh Mommy 

In The Studio of our Lives

 On this Fabulous Friday we are redefining the finer things in life while we embrace every moment in the Studio of our Lives. . .

  ~ as we discover when you put the letters O and  Y  together ~ 
they make this wonderful sound “OY”

As in:  Boy and Toy

Before you know it,  you have added two more words to the growing list of things you can read. . . and write.  

And much to our Joy and Delight our world opens up to endless possibilities.

Playing along with: 

In The Studio, The Finer Things in Life and 

. . . I did???

So the other day, I was talking to one of the kids about something in the kitchen. I can’t even remember now what the conversation was about. Matthew sidled up to me, tucking me into his arm.  

He said very sincerely, “Mom, I would just like to thank you for home schooling me.”  I said, “What???” He said, “I just want to tell you: home school is the best thing you could have done for us. I know it was a lot for you to home school me. I just wanted to thank you. I realized when I was talking to someone the other night, you not only gave me a great education, you taught me how to think.”  

I said in Awe. . .

~  I did? ~ 

Playing along with:

The Brutal Days of Home School

This home school thing really gets tough sometimes. There is so much to learn and study some days I just don’t know how we get it all done. Like, a few weeks ago the kids and I headed back to Furman for another Debate Lecture about the United States Policies towards Russia. 

I am not sure if my older three are learning much from these trips but I know Liz and I are learning a lot! 

We have already learned the Swans really like us. When they see us standing by the pond they come right over. 

We studied Puddle Jumping 101 

There was a cloud class. . .and strangely enough, we did really well in that one. It was even a little relaxing. . .  But promise you won’t tell anyone. We don’t like to brag about how smart we are. Sometimes people find these college classes really hard. 

Even though we did really well in the cloud class, I think we smoked the stopping to smell the roses class 100. 

These Home School days at Furman are brutal I tell you!  

So brutal, we had to stop for ice cream. 


Did I say Furman was brutal? 

Gee, I thought Furman was tough. . .but it has nothing on Clemson.  The debate club took our little class to Clemson last week. 

There were more Lectures about Russia that we had to attend. There was a lesson on how to use the college  library and a tour of the school. Clemson is a great big school! The lecture was tough. 

Kathryn seemed to love this school and fit right in. 

After the lecture, tour and library class Matthew and Stephen visited with friends toured the school and talked about the future. 

Liz and I attended a journalism class and  interviewed the Elite.  

They shared their thoughts on the war and how tough things were for them. We took some time to really ponder things and then we went back to our brutal home school life. 

There was little time to waste. The leaf  throwing class was about to begin and these Clemson Tigers don’t mess around. When it is time for class it IS time for class. 

There was a final run the grounds 


It was time to call it a day. Yes! Sometimes these home school days can be brutal. But don’t worry, we try to take it easy and enjoy each other every now and then. 

So SHE can feed the ducks

Stephen and I went to Furman University the other day.   There was a talk on Human Rights in Russia or something like that. He needed to go to the lecture for his debate class.  

You see, when your a home-school debate mom, like me,  you get to do these things with your kids. You get to go to lectures about Russia and learn things you just didn’t know like: what the United States Sanctions are regarding Russia and whether or not the U.S. should change our policies towards Russia.  And all kinds of interesting things.


If you have younger children you get to go feed the ducks your stale French Fries instead.

This is really good for me. 

Sometimes with these lectures, I have to ask my kids: “What did he say?”, “Huuuuh”, “That word means WHAT again?” and  “Does Russia have one “S” or two?”
So feeding the ducks with Liz is a really good cover for me. 


When the lecture was over Stephen wanted to walk around the lake and the school. We sat and talked about Non-Russian things and I tried to get a few good pictures of the two of them looking at the camera at the same time.   

When Liz looked, Stephen looked away. . . at the ducks.


When Stephen looked, Liz looked away. . . at the ducks. 

I  just couldn’t get it right.  

Until Stephen decided to change things up and be the amazing big brother we should all have.

Next week, we have to go back to Furman for another lecture on Russia. Kathryn as well as Stephen will be going to this one. We will not only learn more interesting facts about the policies the United States Government holds towards Russia, we are going to learn how to use a college library and take a tour of the school.  It should be really great and quite a learning experience for us all. I just love Furman.

Gee, I sure hope the ducks are still hungry and Liz wants to come with me. . .   You know, so SHE can feed the ducks.  

Just Close Your Eyes and Paint!


Well? What do you think??? I have been working so very hard on this. 

My new decor! 


Okay, Simply Sweeter and One of my many Cuzzins’ BREATH! 

It’s okay. 

I really didn’t do this to my house. 

But, It was done to one of the rental houses.

This house is a beautiful 100 year old house just a mile from down town Greenville.  This charming little house has all the  authentic touches: wood floors, original doors and beautiful open windows for natural lighting. This house did not need an “artistic” touch.

Soooo, your not sure what your looking at huuu? 

Maybe you should take an aspirin before we start the tour. 

I’ll wait. 

Really you might need it. 

Okay, ready? 

Come on in. . . It’s okay . . . Well, it will be.

Let’s start this little tour  in this room. It is one of the front rooms in the house. 

See, this room is not too bad. I was kind of impressed the lines were so straight and no drips. The only thing was. . .((okay, one of the many things was)). . . the paint used here and in all the rooms was for outdoor use. The paint is very heavy and thick and was VERY hard to cover.  

I think it would be best to move on directly up stairs to one of the bedrooms. 

 This process will ease us into the house. There is no need to send anyone into shock right away. 


I have absolutely NO! idea what the thought process was here, all we have are pink and purple messy lines.  

That’s it. 


Moving right along, we should go back down the stairs into the kitchen. 

Here is where things really get confusing. Try to focus your eyes really good in here.

Hard to see I know.

Your seeing it right. . .little tiny brush strokes. . . all over the walls, in the drawers  and even behind the refrigerator. The molding IS painted black and where the molding stopped a stripe continued. 


WE just don’t know?

Hold your breath. . . We are just getting warmed up. Now we will carefully go into one of the main rooms. You will see one of the three fireplaces. 

Notice the mantel. 

Now, aren’t you glad you took that aspirin?  

Your dizzy right?

I am sure by now your eyes just don’t know where to look. Notice, in the third picture. . . the painter went around the pictures that once hung on these walls.  

Do you remember in the kitchen I told you “the decorator” here moved the refrigerator and painted behind it?  

I just don’t get it. 

Maybe she was tired. 

Do you do this when you paint? 

I’m just wondering.  Maybe there is a technique here I just don’t get.  You know, I am just  a home school mom. . .not an artist or even a decorator for that matter. 



I saved the best for last.

. . . The Pantry. . . 


Thought I would run through this again just in case you missed it. . .

. . . the ceilings. . .

Did you realize the ceilings were painted too.  Did you realize this person painted a “molding stripe” where there was NO molding with thick, shiny outside paint?  

I had to keep going back in to see if my eyes deceived me or not.  

It was a not


What did we do? 

First we took pictures. 

Then we got our crew together by hand picking only the most qualified personal. 

 and had lunch.  

We had a system that really seemed to work.  First we primed to cover . .  EVERYTHING!  and we really tried to listen to our leader. 

But, then we decided we should throw her out and find a new one. . .Like maybe the person who decorated this cake. 

Ohhh! Cake! 

Sorry. . . back to the house. . . But, Oh! That cake. It was very yummy and so pretty! AND Since we were on the subject of decorating, I thought I would show you what Stephenie can do.

Hey!!!!  What a minute! Maybe we should have asked her to help paint?  

We put Stephen to work on the ceilings for obvious reasons and NO! he is not standing on anything. It’s all him. 

Matthew worked on all the trim and all the high corners. He’s no shorty. 

However, it all didn’t go smoothly. . . 

I don’t want to mention any names or anything. BUT! There was one person who kept telling us she was very tall and could easily reach all the high places. 

We were like “WHATEVER!!! ”  “Just close your eyes and paint!” 

She did clean all the floors! and that made us all very happy. 


There were times that other things needed to be done.

Some of us worked on our City of Troy research papers that were due the very next day. There are NO! excuses in this home school. . . If you don’t want to study there will be plenty of on the job training for your life time career.  

Study, work and then Study “More Harder”!!!! That’s our school motto. 

We learn all kinds of things here! 

We learned Reiner is a happy painter. 


We learned 

Mark would yell and growl at us. When he came in to help he looked around and told us we had too many drips. He also said we were very messy. He said a lot of other things too but we have NO idea of what it was. 

We were like “Laaa, Laaaa, Laaaa” “WHATEVER!”  “ Just close your eyes and paint.” 

Like Margaret

I will tell you this, Mark did not yell at Reiner. Reiner came by to help us the next day.  What a minute? Is that why Reiner was so happy?  

Was he laughing at us? 

Stupid Mark! Stupid Reiner! 

Close your eyes and Paint! 

And Another Celebration

It is October 30, 2009. Today it has been one month.

One month since. It is still so hard to believe.

I can’t tell you how many times I have gone to pick up the phone, headed up stairs or even started to go back to my parent’s bedroom to visit with my dad. Hearing the side door open and close by the garage always gets my attention. My first thought is Oh! Good, he is home…….And then I stop, take a breath, sigh and turn away.

I know, for my mother these feeling are a million times more.

Last Friday my mother and Stephen paid a visit to the mortuary and picked up the urn that holds my father’s ashes. It seems to bring my mother comfort….just having him home again. I know it brings me comfort.

The Urn could not be more beautiful. It sits on my mother’s dresser while it waits for its final resting place by the pool. For now, Just seeing it gives us great comfort. We can walk out of our way, touch it gently and softly whisper….”I love you.”

Last Saturday Auntie wanted to have a little party. She thought it would be nice if we all got together to just have lunch and celebrate. Reluctantly, we all said….”okay”….but thought… What in the world could we be celebrating?

Everyone made something for the lunch. Karen and Mary Elizabeth set the tables with decorations.

Auntie came in with Jim along with their big smiles and all types of goodies she had wiped up . When we asked what we were celebrating……. Auntie said “Fall” It is a beautiful time of year here in the country and we should celebrate Fall.”

In good old auntie fashion she knew……We needed a party. She knew the thoughts of celebrating Thanks Giving, Christmas and even Halloween weighed heavily on us.

She knows we celebrate life. We will celebrate almost every occasion. “If you can bake it we will come.” That is our family policy…

She knew we needed her to have the party, to let us know it was okay. She knew we needed her to show us we could do this.

I hope she knows just how much we all think of her.

She supports. I guess it takes times like these to understand there are doers and there are talkers. I have learned this month…..these past months….If your “friends” don’t support you through the bad times…through the worst times in your life….Who needs them to come to the party?

I have a lot of great friends and even more wonderful family members…Like Auntie.

We have been busy in school this week studying. We are trying to get back into a real school grove. But, it is very hard…..We are trying.

Thank goodness we have debate….This years debate topic is ~ Should the US Environmental Policy be Reformed. This is not a simple question….Stephen has taken an great interest in coal slurry and how it is poisoning the water supplies and killing the people of West Virginia. It always amazes and out-rages me when I learn making money is allowed to get in the way of peoples health.

To think this is happening in this country is just mind boggling to me.

Kathryn has had to research Health Care Reform Bill, cash for clunkers and the dangers of cell phone use while driving for her speech class. I think we are going to actually learn something this year in spite of all that has happened.

Matthew is studying so very hard ~ When he is stressed, upset or just confused he reads. He is taking the loss of his grandfather very hard. He does not cry…I just see him with his head down and his face tight…He handles stress just like his father.

Matthew tells me when he goes to “the” house he feels lost….He walks around looking for something to do. So he and Stephen work on the fountain and other pool related things. Just like there grandfather has taught them to do.

Today we celebrate a Mass for my father given by the woman at the co-op and the “Little Flowers group Kathryn belongs too. For some reason I am worried about this one too…Just the thought of hearing his name makes me want to cry. I hope I don’t.

Tomorrow we celebrate Halloween. Margaret and I will take the little kids out for their Trick or Treating fun and then we will all go to Bill’s house for a bonfire…and a Halloween party.

Next week we have Stephen’s conformation and then of course another celebration.

…I need to start taking more pictures again…

I know we can do these celebrations. Auntie showed us it was alright…She showed we can.

Thanks Auntie ~ What would we do without you?

My Favorite Days with my Grandpa

I have discovered the beauty of the Blog:

When I first started this blog I really did it for my mother. She was after me for years to start one. I “yessed” her about it for a very long time until last year ~ Finally, I just did it. She was delighted! and so was my father. They loved the pictures and stories and I figured it was nice enough they both seemed to be happy with the whole thing. So, I have tried to keep it up.

You see ~ I have never been the writer in the family. I have never kept a diary. For that matter, I have never even kept a shopping list. I have always been to worried about my terrible spelling, not hearing the difference in the sounds of “W” and “Wh” and ‘wh’ere to use them, not knowing really where the coma should go and let’s not mention my difficulties with the computer……All this held me back. It has kept me from being a writer, blogger or even organized enough to keep a list. To tell the truth my sister is the one who I always thought to be the writer and list keeper, and really knows her way around the computer.

Over the past weeks……The weeks after losing my father….our Father….I found the beauty in looking back at an organized “book” of our life. I have discovered this blogging “thing” is wonderful. My family and I can go back and see the beautiful times we have had together. We can see the laughs we have had, the birthdays, births , all our celebrations and how do we forget the tears we have shed….This blog has evolved for me…..It was just something I did for my mother and now it is a simple story about a family in Good times and in Bad.

Looking back I can see “It” has brought me so much joy, driven me to tears and is always a comfort. I love the fact that friends I know and friends I have never meet are generally sorry about “Our” terrible lose, rejoice in our joys and love to see pictures of our family.

What a comfort this is.

But……..The thing is……..My mother was right when she asked me to do this “thing”….My only wish is…….. I obliged sooner.

Shhhhhhh……….Let this be our little secret….Don’t tell her I said so……She will never let me forget it.

With this said, I am delighted to see that my son Stephen has been writing too:

I want to keep this little paragraph he has written forever……What safer place then here:

My Favorite Days with my Grandpa

One of my first memories of working with my grandpa is when I just learned to drive
the lawnmower. I think I was 8 years old. I was not heavy enough to keep the lawnmower running. The machine would not run unless there was a certain amount of weight holding the seat down. To hold the seat down …Grandpa hooked bungee cords to the seat to keep it down that day. We cleared the yard of limbs. He would cut the limbs and I would take them away with the lawnmower and put them in a pile to Burn. When I would drive away I would turn around in attention to solute him and he would solute back to me. One of the times I turned to solute I hit a trailer that was parked in the middle of the field. The next day I learned how to fix a lawnmower bumper. That was the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

By: Stephen

Because of home-school there have been so many wonderful days like these for all my children. …Days of joy and learning they ((We)) could have lost if they went to school. …….An irreplaceable relationship grew between my father, my mother and my children these past years. These are the lessons of life, gifts of relationships and love they could never learn in school.