Why we chose to homeschool our children

6 Oct

**OCU Assignment**

     Choosing to homeschool my children was a difficult yet very clear decision.  It was difficult in the sense that I knew that others would question my decision and incorrectly judge me and my children.  I knew that I would have to endure the comments, arguments, and ridicule of others.  I was choosing to go against the norm.  I made a choice that I knew was in the best interest of my children but few others understood that.  It was a very clear choice because my son was very ill quite frequently.  All it took was a simple cold and he went downhill fast.  That descent usually ended up in a monthly visit to the ER.  My son just couldn’t handle common germs.  I did what I could to wash his hands and keep his environment clean but to no avail.  When discussing school with his pediatrician, she suggested I homeschool and the right decision was totally clear – that’s what I HAVE to do for my son.  As a mother of a sick child, I was committed to doing everything within my power to help my son, so that’s exactly what I did.

As I began to homeschool, I realized there were also many additional benefits.  I was able to choose what online school we would enroll in and interact with teachers regularly.  If my kids didn’t understand something, I took the time to review it under they did understand.  By contrast, if they understood a subject well, I was able to move on faster.  This enabled me to customize their education to some degree.  I also found ways that they learned best.  For example, my son understood match best when we used blocks (individual, tens, hundreds) so we could literally see and feel numbers we were creating.

Most others I knew that homeschooled did so for other reasons.  One friend of mine homeschool her children because the public school they were assigned too had very poor ratings.  She knew that she could do a better job educating her children herself than to send them to school every day where they wouldn’t receive individual attention or be able to work at their own pace.  Another friend of the family pulled her daughter out of high school due to bullying.  Her daughter was able to complete her education online and even graduate early.  Others homeschooled for religious reasons.  They wanted to be able to shape who their children would become and what they were taught so they chose to that their education into their own homes.  Many also joined homeschool groups so that their children had plenty of opportunities to build friendships and interact with other children their age.

Homeschooling has gradually become more and more accepted as more options become available and more families choose to participate.  Although there will still be questions and debates on the subject, ultimately it is up to each family to decide what is best for their children’s education.  Families may educate their children at home for social, academic, family, or religious reasons (or in my case, health issues) but often receive ridicule for their decision.  However, studies have been done that prove that homeschooled children are receiving a quality education.  In fact, one study showed that half of a group of homeschooled students ranked above the 90th percentile.  Ultimately, it is up to families to decide what type of education is best for their children.

References:

Jeub, C (1994).  Why Parents Choose Home Schooling, September 1994, Volume 52,         Number 1, The New Alternative Schools Pages 50-52.  Retrieved     From: http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational- leadership/sept94/vol52/num01/Why-Parents-Choose-Home-Schooling.aspx

 

 

 

 

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Stand Up for Liberty by Respecting the Pledge of Allegiance

1 Oct

**Blog Article for OCU Assignment**

     As a child, I was taught about the importance of respecting my country by both my family and my school.  The flag that represents our great country, also represents our history, our foundation, and most importantly, our freedoms.  The pledge of allegiance is a tradition that also reminds us of these things.  By standing up and placing our hand over our heart and facing the American flag, we show respect and appreciation for all the privileges and freedoms that we have been granted as Americans.   In the article entitled “Stand Up for Liberty by Sitting Out the Pledge of Allegiance”, the writer, Erik Neilson, encourages others to protest this tradition by refraining to participate and encouraging their children to do the same.

Quite frankly, I find this act incredibly disrespectful.  To openly encourage others to protest the symbols and patriotic traditions of our country because you disagree with one word within it is a disgrace.  We do not come together and recite the pledge in order to force any particular religious belief on anyone.  We come together to recite the pledge as a remembrance of our history, a respect for our freedom, and a tribute to those who have sacrificed everything, even their very lives, so that we can enjoy the privileges we have in this great country.

The writer seems to believe that finding a statement that he doesn’t like that was written by the same person who wrote the pledge of allegiance can somehow discredit the pledge.  If we were to examine the words of anyone, you will find some things you agree with, and some things that you don’t.  That is a simple fact of life and the beauty of one of our many freedoms, the freedom of speech.  If we were to write off one’s statements and accomplishments based on a single statement that seemed inappropriate, what would be have left?  No pledge, no constitution, no laws, no government, nothing at all!

The author believes that the words “one nation, under God” are an attempt to “inject religion into the public”.  However, that is not true at all.  The pledge does not commit a person to believe in any particular religion.  It simply acknowledges the presence of a God whom they believed to be true.  To our forefathers, it was a fact just like saying “the sky is blue.”  Stating that “our founding fathers labored to establish a nation that kept the church and state separate.” shows quite clearly that the author did not study or even understand the history of this country at all.  The fact of the matter is that our forefathers fled to this country to ESCAPE religious persecution.  They were incredibly proud to have the freedom to believe in God when they had previously been persecuted for doing so.   In fact, they specifically created a limitation (separation) of the state’s rights to infringe upon their personal beliefs.  It’s  our most basic history and the very foundation this great country was built upon.  In fact, those few words are exactly the opposite of “injecting religion”.  They represent the FREEDOM of religion, not a forced belief.

After reading the article, it is quite clear to me that the author was merely grasping to find any reason to attack the pledge.  Personally, I find it comical that the author ends the piece explaining that he chose to “STRONGLY encourage our two young children to abstain from any part of the pledge of allegiance” [a.k.a.: forcing a belief onto your children with strict instruction, admittedly making them uncomfortable].  Then just a few sentences later the author wants their children to “think for themselves”.  “Strongly encouraging” your children to protest YOUR belief is not allowing them to think for themselves at all.  Did you even ask them how they felt about it?  If your primary issue is the words “under God” then why not suggest they simply don’t say those two words?  A parent who truly wants their child to think for themselves will explain their opinion to the child, then ask the child about their own opinion on the matter, and ultimately allow the child to make their own decision.  Forcing a child to do something they are uncomfortable doing is much like the “fascist regime” the author seems so bent against in the first place. In fact, forcing your beliefs upon another is a violation of their right to religious freedom.  I truly appreciate the freedoms we have in this great country.  I am proud to be an American.

In the great words of Lee Greenwood,

“I’m proud to be an American where at least I know I’m free.
And I won’t forget the men who died, who gave that right to me.
And I’d gladly stand up next to you and defend her still today.
‘Cause there ain’t no doubt, I love this land, God bless the U.S.A.”

Read more: Lee Greenwood – Proud To Be An American Lyrics | MetroLyrics

Refutation of the article “Stand Up for Liberty by Sitting Out the Pledge of Allegiance” by Erik Nielson   http://www.huffingtonpost.com/erik-nielson/the-pledge-of-allegiance_b_2991729.html

Romance in the air…

5 Dec

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The most popular time of year for engagement portraits is in the fall.  The trees turn into a beautiful array of colors and the beauty of nature is at it’s finest.  Each season bring it’s own new agenda.  New colors, new weather, and …new emotions.  Sounds weird, but I think it’s true.  The weather and season definitely has an impact on our mood and outlook.  What comes to your mind when you think of fall?  I think fall is full of romance.  🙂

I have gotten behind on my blog posts, but now that I plan to go back and share a few of the highlights with you.  Photos can do so many things, including totally change your mood.   Sara & Alex’s engagement is like that for me.  They clearly were very comfortable and happy together.  Their smiles are so big that their excitement and love were undeniable.  The excitement in their expressions is contagious and it always makes me smile.  🙂

I’m so excited for Alex & Sara!

A “Fairytale” Wedding

9 Nov

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Sarah planned a beautiful fairytale wedding at the gorgeous Darby House surrounded by fall colors and breath-taking landscapes.  Her fairytale wedding was even complete with a horse-drawn carriage that escorted guests from the parking lot to the front door. 

We work closely with our clients to assist them in planning their day and making sure that we understand their photography desires.  Sarah’s wedding was no exception.  Unfortunately, the timeline didn’t go as planned.  I always worry when this happens because I fear that the lack of photography time will have a very negative effect on the photos.  However, seeing their story through the thousands of photos, you would think that the entire day was totally flawless and went precisely as planned.  Their day looked very much like the perfect fairytale wedding.

We are so happy for Sarah & Matt.  They both looked their best, and came across so well on the camera.  It makes me smile to know what an impact their wedding photos will have on them as they go through their new lives together.  I always hope that each of our clients will not just appreciate their wedding photos now, but that they will gain more value as time goes on, and will be a priceless treasure (an heirloom) that reflects the story of their lives…the beginning of a new life together.  A story that can now be shared (moment by moment) with their children, and grandchildren.  Their “love story” can be passed on through endless generations!  What a heritage!  Who wouldn’t want a clear view of their family’s history?

Congratulations Sarah & Matt!

May you always remember this day and enjoy your photos as a priceless treasure!

Cherish Every Moment Through Professional Baby Portraits!

29 Aug

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I absolutely LOVE babies!  Whenever I see a baby it makes me sad that stage is long gone in my life.  No, I don’t miss the sleepless nights, or changing diapers.  However, I miss just about everything else – watching them grow what seems like daily, relishing all those “first” moments at everything, and the majical joy a babies smile provies to all.  I find it sad that the baby stage of life is gone so fast.  We need to cherish every moment of it, especially through photographs.  Basic studio sessions like K-mart, Walmart, and JC Penney are SO dramatically different than a professional session with on-site photographers.  The best place for a newborn session is right at their own home.

I was SO thrilled when I got a call from our past clients – the Martindales.  We photographed their wedding several years ago and they wanted us to capture the beauty of their son who was just over a month old.  As soon as I laid my eyes on him, we were fast friends.  Right away, he melted my heart with his precious toothless grin.  I had such a wonderful time talking and playing with him as we captured precious memories.

Although he wasn’t having the greatest day, you would never know it in the photographs.  He ended up crying a lot during our session, and required several breaks for a snack, and …well, cleaning up after potty issues.  The best part was, these memories will be great stories when he is older (we joked about dad telling everyone about the”potty issues” at his wedding!).

It is so awesome to build a personal relationship with a couple and have the opportunity to capture amazing images of their families as they change and grow.  It’s truly a beautiful thing.

Sami and Thomas Wed at Taylor Mansion

24 Jun

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Sami was relaxed and excited for one of the most memorable days of her life.  She and her mother had been working franticaly over the past several weeks to finish a variety of projects in preparation for this day.  She was so happy all the preparations were finally over and the day had arrived.  Rather than running all over town to have her hair and makeup done, she hired hair and makeup artists to meet them at the mansion that morning.  Everything was moving along well until it was time to put on Sami’s veil.  Her mother realized that the velcro had come unattached from the hair comb.  Luckily, I carry an emergency kit for times such as these.  We tried several options and ended up getting it reattached perfectly with small safety pins.  Having such a small item can make all the difference sometimes.  I was so glad we were able to resolve this “wardrobe malfunction” because it was one of the most beautiful veils I had ever seen.

They rented the house and grounds for the morning and chose to get married outside, in front of the mansion surrounded by beautiful landscaping, brick paths, and a unique rose fountain adorned with floating flowers.  Unfortunately, the wedding took place during a week filled with dreary weather and a lot of rain.  However,  they were blessed with perfect weather that morning.  Interestingly, the rain held off until just after we left the mansion and headed for their reception.  Then there was a total downpour.  Whew!  What timing!

It was a wonderful day filled with lots of love, laughter, and memories they’ll cherish forever.  I’m so glad we were able to freeze those moments in time through photography and videography.  No doubt, they will be viewing their memories for the rest of their lives and sharing them with generations to come.

Congratulations Thomas & Sami!