Friday, August 22, 2014

7QT: Austin Adventures Cont'd


~1~
I never finished telling you about the rest of our Treeschooler's adventure. One of the deciding factors in making this commitment was that the day of the shoot was the day before my grandmother's 92 birthday… and in the same city! We hadn't seen Granny since Cupcake was about a year old. We surprised her by showing up at the restaurant where she thought she was just meeting her adult children. I think she was pleasantly surprised, don't you?

~2~
My aunt had displayed some family photos and I was so delighted to see this one. I don't think I've ever seen a picture of both of my grandparents looking so young before. That little guy is my dad, I think. I'm pretty sure because he looks just like my brother did as a kid. Although, it could also be my uncle.

I have always thought my oldest son looked an awful lot like my PawPaw, but also thought maybe that was just wishful thinking on my part since I loved my PawPaw so tremendously. (I'm tearing up just typing that.) This picture and the comments of some dear friends on IG made me believe that it wasn't just my imagination.
~3~
Afterwards, we headed to the Texas Memorial Museum because they promised DINOSAURS and a paleontology lab with a real, live paleontologist to talk to. Well, they delivered on the dinosaur bones part…
...and some really beautiful rocks and gems. But the Paleontology Lab was closed, much to BigBoy's dismay. :( Oh well. It was a pretty sparse museum, but it worked for us since we weren't trying to kill a lot of time there.

~4~
The next day, we headed over to Sean's sister's house to meet up with family and squeeze in a little baby cousin love.
This little guy was fussy with a capital F but so squishy and delicious to kiss!
It was a crazy busy kind of weekend but good. It made us think that we really need to plan a family vacation. I know summer's over, but we are thinking a nice fall vacation somewhere cold.
Anyone know anything about Missouri? ;)
{To clarify… this is not a reference of any kind to recent troubles in MO. We really and truly are planning a trip there to see some (we hope) beautiful fall colors!}

~5~
Now, it's back to grind of daily life. Some of the online classes the oldest two are signed up for start next week but The Professor's Latin 3 class has a translation due before the first class begins. (High school is hard!) I think we will be easing into the school year a little at a time instead of just jumping right in. Right before this picture was taken, The Professor walked through the kitchen, smiled and sighed saying, "It's good to be doing Latin homework again!" He's such a cute little classics nerd!

~6~
 On the feast of the Assumption, we attended the Ordination Mass of this young man, the newly minted Fr. Justin, O. Cist.. He was beaming!
We couldn't hang around for his reception so we waited to give him a gift at his first Mass.
Cupcake was so excited to give him a present. She insisted that she had to give it to him and watch him open it. I think she thought it was his birthday. It was so sweet and beautiful that even the professional photographer who was there came to take pictures of the scene. So I was only hugely slightly mortified when she asked why we gave Fr. Justin a necklace. It was a rosary. 


~7~

And speaking of rosaries… I was playing around with taking pictures "off auto" on my big camera the other day and thought this one turned out pretty good. This is a quote that I love (from the movie Shadowlands) that I had asked Kendra to go all "Picmonkey Crazy" on but knowing that she's got lots of little ones, I decided to play around and see what I could do with it. Of course, Kendra came through and even posted hers today. (I never should have doubted.) Thank you, Miss Kendra! Her printable prayers are really just amazing… all free and beautiful too. 

Whether it's the first of your school year or the last of your summer, have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Theme Thursday: Google Me

Cari is doing something fun for her link-up this week. Do a Google Image search for your name and post the first picture that comes up. Knowing that my married name is very common, I opted for my maiden name…

Yeah… that's not me. 

Cari said, "Bonus points for a screen shot of all the results."

OK then….
Nope… none of those are me either. Although it was fun to learn a little bit about that awesome lady there with the medals who is a bum-kicking Special Olympian! (I said "bum" because she's British.) She could run laps around me, that's for sure. And that formidable black and white lady in the corset (also British… apparently I had a very British name) was a Crimean War Nurse who Florence Nightingale once described as " a kind, active, useful nurse and a strictly sober woman."  I'm pretty sure that would sum me up too in most people's eyes. 

So, how about I try my first name and then my blog name? Is that cheating? I don't know. Only Miss Cari can decide. Her circus. Her monkeys.

Oh, that's better. Still not me but at least I recognize the faces and the pictures.

Except…
this guy.

BTW… in the interest of full disclosure, my married name brought up no pictures of me either. I guess I really am a behind the lens kind of girl. I'm good with that. If you feel like having a little fun, just google yourself and then head over to Cari's place.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

My favorite treeschoolers!

So… remember yesterday when I just casually mentioned that everyone loved Katherine's Blossom Tee that Sunshine made... even television costume designers? Here is the rest of the story…

It's no secret that we are huge fans of Signing Time. We've been buying their products supporting their efforts for years, but most specifically, supporting their latest project, Rachel and the Treeschoolers. We have enjoyed these shows deemed "too educational for TV" so much that when the opportunity came up to be a part of the show, we jumped at the chance. It happened that one of the filming locations was in the same city and on the same weekend that my grandmother would be celebrating her 92nd birthday. The perfect opportunity for some family fun! Since they only film ages 2-10, both Cupcake and BigBoy were able to participate.

 
First up, BigBoy played the piano for them and filmed quite a few lines. He was really good at delivering lines on the first take. He might end up in multiple episodes. While he was being filmed, they decided on an outfit for Cupcake. We brought the Blossom Tee that Sunshine made for her with a little skirt. They loved it! The costume designer even went upstairs to chat with Sunshine about it, she loved it so much. The crew had already filmed so much pink on other children earlier and they like to have a color variety in the show, so putting her little green dress over it was a perfect compromise. They tried to get some solo shots of the Cupcake, but the boom (mic) was really bothering her so I'm not sure how successful those were. Then they moved on to some brother/sister scenes. One of them was with a paper airplane. The one you see being filmed below was doing an experiment with oil and water.
 The tall guy is Rachel's husband, Aaron Coleman). He is really tall!
 That's Alex's mom in the white visor. She was the director for the shoot and such a nice lady. 
 The lights didn't bother Cupcake as much as the microphone. 
 And then came play time! Rachel put on her Signing Time gear so the little ones would recognize her. She talked to everyone and took pictures. It was such a great experience. These people are the nicest, most down to earth people! Everyone was so friendly and helpful. It couldn't have been a better experience. So exciting!
 
Just a little souvenir from the scenes he filmed.
 Exciting and exhausting...
We can't wait for these episodes to come out. I think they will make excellent Christmas presents, don't you? (Hope everyone in the family thinks so too!)

Monday, August 11, 2014

A Knitting Post from Sunshine

I'm turning this post over to my knitting girl, Sunshine. She has been working as a test knitter for Katherine, testing out this adorable Blossom Tee pattern. It is beloved by her littlest sister and just about everyone else who sees it including costume designers for television shows (more about that later). There were many adults at a family party yesterday wanting one in their size! Katherine is offering a giveaway on her blog for the pattern if you are a knitter or know someone who is.

Now, I'm going to let 15 year old Sunshine tell you about her experience with the pattern…

 I had been knitting for a little over six years when Miss Katherine asked me to test knit the Blossom Tee pattern for her. I had knit one of her other patterns before, the Martinmas Sweater, and I was thrilled to test this one as well. I tested size 4 in Cascade Yarn's Ultra Pima Fine in Primrose for my little sister, Cupcake.
 The pattern itself is very clear and precise, perfect for a beginner knitter who is ready to move on from scarves and such to their first sweater. The yoke increases and the flower detail at the bottom of the sweater also introduce the knitter to very basic lacework. Very simple, yet at the same time, pleasingly challenging. 
 It did take longer than I would have guessed to knit this sweater, but only because of my gauge. I cannot stress enough how important it is that every knitter knows how to check their gauge before knitting on a project they want to turn out well. A friend of mine commented on gauge once, “Gauge: the bane of a knitter’s existence that miraculously saves sweaters from turning into tents,” and I whole-heartedly agree. It is crucial to check your gauge before, and even during, your project, because your tension might not stay consistent throughout your work. Checking your gauge will keep your tension in check and prevent you ending up with a garment that’s too big or too small. (Need I tell you about my first sweater that was much too wide in the middle with the sleeves hanging way past my wrists? I thought not.:) So, it took me longer to finish this project because I had to start over and pay closer attention to my gauge throughout, but it was worth it to get it right.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Q & A Interview about Homeschooling


I'm slowly going to make my way back into blogging again. I figured an easy way to do that was to post on someone else's blog. What? Well, it makes sense in my head.

Actually, Micaela over at California to Korea was looking for homeschoolers with children who span the ages to interview for her How I Homeschool blog series so I answered her questions and figured, I should let people know about it.

If you'd like to read what I wrote (and what The Professor had to say, too) you can click over and read. It's long. Sorry about that. I can't shut up when I'm nervous and answering questions makes me kind of nervous. As I said in the interview, I don't like to give advice because what works for my family, won't necessarily work for someone else's, but I don't mind telling people about our specific experience so that they can decide for themselves what might work and what might not.

Check the bottom of the post for Micaela's links to all of her other interviews. I think it's a great idea to get a basic idea of what homeschooling looks like for all different kinds of homeschooling families including us older moms. Older moms? That sounded awful. Um… how about… "more experienced"? Still cringing. Oh well… I give up.

I've been doing a lot of thinking about this big crazy blog world with all it's changes and what not and how to make my way through it. I need to sit down and start writing some of them. I admit that I'v enjoyed my time away. It has been enlightening. But I also miss recording the fun stuff that we've done.

So, check out Micaela's post for now and I'll be back later.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Announcing: A giveway over at Emily's place...

Just popping in to let everyone know about this sweet giveaway from a dear friend to celebrate the little life of her sweet baby Matthew. It's been 5 years since his life touched ours and Emily wants to celebrate by giving away a gift. Please help spread the word!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Please help a family in need!

Jessica is asking for help to cover the financial burden of a family who just lost their sweet little girl, Julianna.

Jessica writes:
On Sunday, July 13th, our friends lost their toddler, Julianna Snodgrass (the fourth of their five children), in a tragic accidental drowning while visiting family in California. In addition to our prayers, the family is in need of our financial help and support. Julianna was air lifted to the hospital during the attempts to resuscitate so the medical bills will be extraordinary. With the funeral expenses on top of those and all of the grief too, this family will be suffering tremendously. If you can help in any way, no matter how small, it would be greatly appreciated. Together we can at least help lighten the financial burden on their family as they grieve this tremendous loss.

{Just popping in to help spread the word.}

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Taking a break...

Totally random picture...

{Please note: I'm not feeling sorry for myself or depressed or fishing for compliments. Just addressing a reality of my online life right now and how I am going to try to deal with it. If you have any other suggestions, I'd be happy to listen! Comments are closed below, but you can always reach me via email by clicking the pretty envelope button in the corner.}

I first turned to the internet and blogging to help break me out of a pattern of seeing the negative everywhere I looked. I was so focused on the ugly, I needed to shake it off and force myself to focus on the beautiful. Nowadays, I know I need a break from the internet when I start seeing the negative everywhere again. Hmmmm… maybe I'm one of FB's lab rats. Although, most of the negative I'm seeing isn't coming from FB as much as it's coming from the blog community that I used to know and love. The promoting, the back-scratching, the business disguised as blessing, the marketing, the selling, the cliques.

Recent online conversations have lost me friends. I'm pretty guarded about who I agree to friend on FB and IG… I have to feel like I really know someone. So, not having public accounts, it's pretty obvious when I get "unfriended". Anyway, I'm sure that sort of thing wouldn't bother most people. I myself am tempted to just write it off as immaturity. But it still stings when you thought you knew someone. And you thought someone knew you. And liked you for who you were, warts and all. 

You see, I'm not the kind of person to see one argument or disagreement as a reason for ending a friendship (although too many arguments and disagreements might be justification for letting a friendship end naturally). In fact, I usually go out of my way to try to learn more about people I don't understand… like read their autobiographies and ebooks. Some of my best friends are people that I have had some intense disagreements with because we took the time to work through our differences of opinion instead of just clicking "unfollow". But this time, I'm thinking that maybe this needs to be the catalyst for something that has been brewing for a good long while. Not quitting, just stepping back.

Melissa Wiley was hosting a discussion about social media vs. blog communication, pros and cons of both. That conversation has inspired Lissa to take a new look at her blog and ask what people would like to see more of from her. For me, it's kind of done the opposite. Maybe it's time for less. But that conversation alone is an interesting read (especially the combox) if you are the kind of person who likes learning about other people's perspective.

That is the one good thing I still love about the internet. The things I've learned… did you know that some people find NFP really burdensome and that their obedience is a huge effort? I didn't until I'd heard it talked about on the internet. Did you know that some single people in the Church get really annoyed at all the "oh NFP is so hard, why can't the Church supports us better" or "I'm so fertile I'm neck deep in babies" kind of posts. I never thought of that before reading some comments on a post just this morning that addressed all of the above. So, maybe that's what I need to focus on. Just reading and learning. I have no set plan here. No time of sabbatical in mind. I'm just giving myself permission to take a break. 

Happy Independence Day... especially to those who have fought for our freedom and continue to do so!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Final thoughts...

You know, it wasn't that long ago that I remember being a young mom and being worried and troubled over what to teach my kids, how to help them learn best, which was the right formula to follow (Charlotte Mason, unschooling, boxed curricula, Montessori, etc…) and worried that I was royally screwing it up every hour of every day. And having (mostly) gotten through that, I can see that it's a natural response to want to save anyone and everyone we can from that kind of burden. We want to shout out, "Over here! I can save you a lot of heart ache, just follow me."

Isn't that what we mom's want to do? Save people/our kids/everyone from pain, from struggle, from hitting every single bump in the road. But we have to realize that just like our anxiety, our struggle, our sufferings were all growing pains on the way to the peace and understanding that comes with maturity, we have to let other mom's travel the journey they are on. We can try to warn them off with a little helpful advice, but ultimately, we have to let them go their way. A child learns to walk step by step, one foot in front of the other but they also learn balance in the wobbling and determination in picking themselves back up when they fall. Those are all necessary lessons too. We have to let them learn.

We are forming souls. But in life, body and soul are linked. Only death can separate them. Our children are made in the image and likeness of God and while that means treasuring their precious eternal souls, it also means feeding and caring for their intellect. Because the two are linked. We are made in the image and likeness of God body and soul. We can't forsake one for the other.

And if you want to read an excellent analogy of homeschooling and cooking, go read Melanie's post.

I definitely approach homeschooling like I approach cooking. I like looking at a bunch of recipes to get inspired in the same way I like looking at a variety of curricula. But what actually ends up at the table is a bit of this and a bit of that, what suits my own tastes, my family’s tastes, the ingredients I actually have on hand, my skills as a cook, and how much time I have to cook. Often the final product of my schooling bears about the same resemblance to the curriculum as the dish does to the recipe: you can recognize the various ingredients, mostly.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Teaching From Rest :: A Review

{I received a free copy of Teaching From Rest, from Sarah although she did not specifically ask me to review it.} 

I've been a long time reader of the blog Amongst Lovely Things. I've watched Sarah's family change and grow (exponentially it seems) over these past, what... 5 years?

Sarah has recently compiled her blog series, Teaching from Rest, into a book with an Audio Companion and printable Companion Journal. It's a lovely looking book with a deep message that really does come from the depths of Sarah's heart. And it is a message that I think a lot of moms want to hear and need to hear. Find peace in your homeschool by resting in the knowledge and understanding that you are forming souls with the strength of God's grace to strengthen you. That means letting go of your preconceived notions about what success looks like or what a well-rounded day or even year looks like:

Surrender your idea of what the ideal homeschool day is supposed to look like and take on, with both hands, the day that it is. Rest begins with acceptance, with surrender. Can we accept what He is sending today?

This is an invaluable lesson for homeschooling moms to learn because frankly, most days aren't going to meet our perfect ideal. We are humans dealing with other humans who are all dealing with life. There are illnesses, broken machines, dogs with digestion issues and a myriad of other things ready and willing to get in the way of your perfect day. Sarah's advice is do less, integrate more, don't hold yourself slave bound to a published resource, stay focused on your purpose, major on the majors and then enjoy the beautiful wonder that is your children's childhood.

Through this journey, from steamrolling through the checklists and curriculum to focusing on the relationships she was building with her children, the peace that was so elusive to Sarah previously has been found and that is quite an accomplishment considering the crisis mode of life that she's in right now with a toddler and infant twins. Peace, just like children, comes in varying shapes and sizes and temperaments. It's easy to say "surrender to God your fears and anxieties and try to embrace His plan for your children, your family, your home"... but when people start asking "can you tell me specifically how to do that" you might have to acknowledge that His plan is different for every child, family and home.

Sarah's definition of "rest" comes from Andrew Kern who says, "The most important thing a homeschooling mother can do is to teach from a state of rest." and Sarah's interpretation of that statement is that "we ought to enter into God's rest and then serve Him wholeheartedly- not out of anxiety, but out of love and trust." What a beautiful place to start.

Now, in the practical application, that is going to look different for everyone. For Sarah, it means surrendering and accepting what God has in store for your day, going at a slower pace and trusting God with your children's education. Sarah says to honor the relationship you are building with your children and place that above all else. She counsels against rushing through the schoolwork with a steamroll frame of mind, and even feeling the need to finish a book of curriculum in a school year's time frame. She says on her blog,

 "First I look at what I want to teach my child (for example, grammar) and how much time I can give (1/2 hour, three times a week, for 1/2 a school year)- then I look at my resource and plug in the chapters. This means that it often takes us 2-3 years to get through what other homeschoolers try to cram into one. " 

M&M Math!
While I might disagree with this in practice and with the negative connotation behind the word "cram", I think this approach can work for some subjects, just don't forget the benefit of teaching your child diligence, perseverance and self discipline. Those are admirable and worthy skills that most children aren't inherently born with. Sarah's approach might be a good way to tackle what I consider elective subjects, but not core subjects like math. (For all the reasons Elizabeth Foss already mentioned.)

See, I believe that we have a responsibility to our children to make sure that we aren't the cause of them missing out on the skills they need to successfully launch into the real world. Are we going to do it perfectly? Probably not, but I refuse to let it be for lack of trying.

Instead of sitting down and asking how much time you are willing to give to your child on any given subject, ask yourself how much time is a reasonable amount of study time to be expected taking into consideration how much reasonable forward progress you can expect. And then maybe, ask yourself where you are giving of yourself too much outside of your family, or heck, just pursuing your own desires and passions too much. Because as much as we can be honest about the fact that homeschool moms know how to work hard, we also have to acknowledge that self-discipline can be a struggle for us too. We, especially us creative types, know how to indulge our pleasures and interests and we sure know how to justify it too. I'm not saying that mama doesn't need a break now and then, but maybe mama does need to ask herself how much personal indulgence is enough?

We need our children to see us choosing to pray first, then do our work and then go play if we want them to someday be adults who choose to have a healthy prayer-work-life balance as well. We are forming their souls for Heaven but first, they have to survive this world. That means holding down jobs, paying bills, meeting deadlines, working hard, playing too, dating people, and managing all different kinds of relationships on a daily basis.

Sarah goes on to say that, "I’m teaching to mastery, we only move on when we know that we know that we know the material. I’m not teaching according to the book’s timetable..." Now, I admit, I'm not that familiar with Benjamin Bloom's educational philosophy of mastery learning or it's various previous and post iterations, but a little bit of looking into it tells me that it was a response to the typical institutional school philosophy that everyone moves on at the same time without any consideration for children who might need more time to grasp the concept. Frankly, this doesn't happen in my homeschool when it comes to skills that need to be learned.

A very young Professor in his "study carol".
He loves secluding himself so that he can focus
 better even today. 
Reasons of faith aside, the main reason I choose to homeschool my children is so that I can tailor their education to them, to suit their interests and maximize the effectiveness of their learning styles for ease and enjoyment. But maybe there are homeschoolers out there just desperately trying to cover as much ground as possible and raise Little Einsteins.

While there are certainly some subjects that can be quantified as mastered based on skill sets learned, off the top of my head I can only think of math, grammar, handwriting and phonics and most of those are usually mastered in the early elementary years. I can see skills that could be considered mastered within the study of science, but science itself is a subject like history and literature, not a skill. Skill levels can be measured for sure and Sarah did clarify that her idea of mastery is in reference to skills only so that makes more sense to me. The problem I have with the formal idea of mastery learning within a homeschool is that it depends upon multiple layers of assessments that just aren't practical for every concept and sound like a lot of extra busywork for mom and student. It also seems like there will be a lot of repetition for a child who has trouble mastering a skill which could lead to the idea that "schoolwork is boring". For some children, complete mastery comes later with maturity and understanding.

I also don't expect my children to master to a 100% level every skill or concept they are introduced to. Learning is a lifelong project. Mastery in the early grades of things like reading, multiplication, spelling... sure! But there are still grammar rules that I am learning or rather, trying to remember, and historical connections I am making for myself. We learn new things about history all the time.

Sarah agrees with Dr. Perrin who espouses the opinion that "true breadth is achieved through depth. Our children get a broad education when they go deep into a few carefully selected subjects, not when they dabble in ten." I agree that no child needs to be pursuing to a full degree ten different subjects at one time, but I don't agree that diving deep into subjects is the best kind of education for young children. It depends on the child and the age. I prefer to give my young children a survey of different subjects and then narrow down the ones they want to dive deeper into. For example... choosing Astronomy for my space and weather minded oldest son but choosing to study Botany with two little girls who loved flowers was a no brainer. We chose to go deeper into the subjects that they were passionate about after they had already enjoyed a shallow survey of the other physical sciences. So, cut down on the number of areas that you focus on unless it's something that you or your child has a passion for.

And that's where I have some concerns about Sarah's practical applications (and I am not the only one if you read the combox). Perhaps it is just my perspective as a mom of older children. Her message is a beautiful one but I shy away from anything that tells other moms "how to do it"… and yet, it's what young mom's want, isn't it? Just tell me how to do it so I don't get it wrong!!! One mom might interpret Sarah's directives to mean that there is no need for her stress over that art appreciation curriculum sitting dusty on her shelf and she will breathe a sigh of relief. But for the mom who loves art history and can't wait to share it with her children, where is the encouragement she needs not to give up on that opportunity? Maybe suggest she put it off until she's out of survival mode (because you will get out of survival mode, I promise Young Mom!) Maybe ask her to ask herself if there is an easier way to help her children to explore this subject she loves. Maybe give her options that she hasn't considered on her own.

What about the child who has a passion for a subject that doesn't fit into the lesson plans that Sarah thinks should be tracked? Encourage his mom to stretch herself a little bit. Let go of an ideal, but still try to engage his natural interest and curiosity. Maybe encourage her to give him the skills to learn about the subject on his own. Maybe mom needs to stop thinking of herself as "The Teacher" and needs to start being the guide, the counselor, the director, the facilitator.

If you teach your young children the skills they need to explore a subject on their own in the middle grades (with a little of mom's guidance) and give them a proper understanding of diligence, perseverance and self-discipline balanced with freedom and creativity, they will embrace their education as their own and hold themselves responsible for accomplishing it to the best of their ability in the high school years. That's what my experience has been so far.

I don't want to limit my children's choices for the future by not doing enough now but I think I'm realistic in my expectations and so do my children (right kids? :). My first and primary focus was to teach them to read well, to read independently and most importantly to enjoy reading. Foreign language is not a subject we require until high school. Music study is piano lessons once a week for as long as the child is enjoying them. Art appreciation comes in the form of pictures and prints on the dry bar at home or trips to a museum. I do insist that my children work hard enough to be considered on or close to "grade level" in their math skills because those are vital to their options for college in the future (provided none of them has any kind of learning disorder which they don't… learning disabilities are a whole different ball game). My kids have been pushing themselves to "catch up" to that grade level target regarding math, not because we let them take 2-3 years to finish one math book, but because the program we were using was sorely lacking in academic standards. They know first hand how much hard work it takes to catch up and are thankful that we made the switch before it was too late. Vocabulary is a part of literature. Literature is a part of life. Poetry… meh. I admit it's not important to me but when Rain desperately wanted to explore it, we did it. I found a resource for her to use. She ran with it and made it her own. Writing is communication, not a formula, and vital to every day life but I don't push it in the early grades when handwriting is still a skill that is being learned. This is what has worked for us.

So, I think there is a balance to be found between checking things off a list just to get them done and taking a too leisurely stroll through just the things I want my kids to know. I don't feel like I am steamrolling over them or damaging my relationship with them in the process because they understand why they are working so hard, how it will pay off in the end and because we make sure to take breaks when we need them… that's why we school year round. They know that I am here to help them but they also want this education for themselves. That is something that maybe is unique to some children. My kids want to learn and we listen to them tell us what they want to learn. We give them all the resources we can to learn whatever they want to learn whether it's latin or poetry or knitting but also the encouragement to persevere through the subjects that don't intrigue them but do fulfill certain requirements. Most importantly, we focus on teaching them how to learn. Teach a child how to learn and there won't be anything they can't learn if they put their heart and mind to it.