4/9 Education and the S-Word

Education & the S-Word (Private/Public/Charter/Home/Un)

The subject of schools is a complex one. As a parent, you have a choice to make when your child reaches 4 or 5 years old. What are you going to do about school? If your child has been attending preschool or daycare, the transition might not be as major. It’s still not an easy answer, because you can’t be 100% confident that you have the right plan. How can you know whether your child will have a good experience overall? What about safety… Curriculum… Emotional well-being… The other kids… The germs… The teachers… The drills…  If you’ve been the primary caregiver and instructor in your child’s life, the jump to a full-day school program, 5 days a week will be truly be a life change.

I had a conversation with my husband about it last night, which may have been the 40th discussion we’ve had about sending the boys to school. We talked about the pros and cons of private school vs. public school. We talked about the benefits and negative aspects of homeschooling and unschooling. We talked about charter schools and the government and common core and PAARC tests and tutors and and college and just about everything else under the umbrella of formal education. I asked him if I could record our conversation for my blog. He said no. So here I am a day late, with a recap. (Note: my writing style on this post is free flowing, so do not hold the run-on sentences or the fragments against me. I won’t even promise to spell-check myself today, which is ironic given the topic of this post.)

Back to our conversation:

He asked me hypothetically, that if I had all the money in the world, would I hire a tutor in place of sending them to school. I said yes, hands down, but that I wouldn’t stop there. I’d also start a co-op- an alternative to school- which would provide organized field trips, workshops, competitions and team-building exercises, and classes focused on teaching LIFE SKILLS (More on this in the following paragraphs). I feel strongly on the subject of elementary education and high school because my own experience was very eclectic. My mom also felt strongly on the issue of education and school, and struggled with the difficulty of choosing the right plan. As a result, I’ve been sent to a laid back Christian school, to a military-style private school, to a creativity-driven charter school, and I was also homeschooled and for a few years technically unschooled since I was motivated enough for a self-taught method of learning. (The best part is, I made and retained friends from all of these experiences. Network building, to the max!)

I’m not claiming to be the authority on education, but I can objectively provide input on the vast array of education styles that I have experienced. The truth is, I loved ALL of them… except for the one military-style private school (although I’m STILL pen pals with the teacher I had in third grade). I loved the family environment of the Christian school where my son now attends Kindergarten. I felt right at home in the charter school with the block scheduling and the theater arts classes. Being homeschooled was amazing because I had the freedom and flexibility to focus on my natural interest and develop my skills as an artist and pursue my interest in legal studies and mock trial, while taking advantage of the outside world in all of its glory. PLUS I still had friends. Don’t buy into the hype.

Now that I’m a mom, I don’t know what to do.

Homeschooling would require so much of me and I’m not sure I’m up to the task, even thought I would love to give my children that luxury. Freeing up the schedule and using a child-led learning style and direction is the biggest draw for me, on behalf of my kids. The six hour days, five times a week, ten months a year schedule is designed for the convenience of working parents. I don’t believe it’s necessary or preferable for elementary grade students, and I’ll just say it: we’re robbing kids of their time. Not cool. It doesn’t get any better for adults.

Private school is expensive, and while I’m blessed with this option right now for Caedyn, I’m not sure if that’s going to work in the long term, especially when my younger child joins the group next year. I also don’t love the concept of teaching Bible as a subject in school. Before I get attacked for saying this, I’ll clarify by saying that I absolutely believe in God and support what’s written in the Bible, and I’ll teach my kids that I believe it and I’ll take them to church where they will learn more. But I don’t think teaching Bible as a subject in school is ideal because it’s not about education it’s about a lifestyle. What I appreciate most about Christian school is that the environment is faith-friendly and that the kids are allowed to pray and talk about God without being discouraged or dismissed.

Charter school was awesome. Still long days, but it provides a more student-guided experience and it doesn’t seem as politically correct as public school- at least that was my observation at the time.

Public school….makes me cringe. (And it’s not because I never want to a standard public school. And it’s not because I think public school is evil.) Years ago, sending my kids to public school was the obvious choice in my mind, but the more I learn and read about public school practices and curriculums, and the more teachers I speak with about their roles in the classroom and the situations they deal with regularly, the more convinced I am that choosing one of the other options would serve my family better. I understand that public school is the most feasible option for many people, quite possibly even myself. Still, something in my mom-intuition makes me hesitate to enroll my sons. It’s my opinion, and I’m speaking in very general terms, that most public school environments are not family-friendly (read: parent-friendly) and the information being pumped into the kids is not presented without bias. On the other hand, I went to a liberal arts college with no hesitation whatsoever, and while taking it all in with a critical eye, there were only two classes I had that were conducted with questionable underlying agenda. The deal-breaker for me and public school system was the brief stint we had at the public preschool down the road. But I’ll save that situation for a different post.

Returning back to the daydream that I’m having about starting a co-op, here is an idea based on what I believe would be ideal for my family. This isn’t some fail-proof plan I’ve spent years developing, but just a collection of thoughts thrown together with a big “WHAT-IF”.

If I could, I would start a co-op elementary classroom that served to instruct students on life skills and to provide a variety of applicable information: basic math, money management, grammar and reading, research and writing, scientific theory, diet/food prep and personal hygiene, geography and maps, nature and animals, and maybe a few others that I’m not thinking of at the moment but you can leave the other important ones in the comments for me.

Envision classes being held 1-2 times a week, for a couple of hours. The learning wouldn’t start and stop in the “classroom” but the co-op would be effectively preparing the students to take the reigns of their own unique learning process. They’d be encouraged to take what they learned in the class and apply it by doing independent projects, visiting galleries, interviewing industry professionals, volunteering, etc.

Co-op for grades 7-12 would be broken up into smaller groups and provide specialized education and training in areas of interest to the particular student (business or biology or journalism or art or healthcare or engineering, etc.) Additionally, the upper grades would provide education on social issues taught without bias and would teach world views and cultures, but instead of reading about it and having a test, they would be taken to museums, travel, volunteer in different cultural fairs. They would be encouraged to volunteer and work as interns to gain real life experience and be laying the foundation for a career path.

I’m sure I’ll have more to add on this but for now, I’m going to close this blog so I can get back to work. Real work in the real world. 😉

What do YOU believe is the best education plan?

Thanks for visiting TurnoversBaby on WordPress! Leave a comment and let me know what you think! Check out a few other VEDA videos by clicking the link below and show some love to the other vloggers that joined my challenge>>>


4/7 My top-secret, styled wedding ceremony

SO I filmed this yesterday (despite the fact my eyes were barely open but yay for the sunny day!) and I didn’t get around to posting it until now… Which means I’m skipping today’s V.E.D.A topic and justing posting about The Wedding that Planned Itself: >>>>>>>>>READ THE FULL POST <<<<<<<<<< Don’t miss this one- Quite possibly the best blog post that I’ve written yet.

Thanks for visiting TurnoversBaby on WordPress! Leave a comment and let me know what you think! Check out a few other VEDA videos by clicking the link below and show some love to the other vloggers that joined my challenge>>>


4/5 Easter, springtime, goals this season

Happy Easter guys. It’s starting to feel real, finally, after a long, cold winter. The sun and flowers and birds have got me feeling motivated to GET. STUFF. DONE.

What are your goals this spring? I’m working on decluttering my home in preparation for our big move. Also I’m newly committed to exercising for 30min a day, EVERY day, without exception, unless I’m deathly ill. No turning back.

Are you a parent having trouble finding time to exercise with kids in your care? Check out this handy chart that I made and get some realistic ideas!

Enjoy the new season and have a happy Easter.

Thanks for visiting TurnoversBaby on WordPress! Leave a comment and let me know what you think! Check out a few other VEDA videos by clicking the link below and show some love to the other vloggers that joined my challenge>>>

4/4 Bringing back the bartering system

Today is Day 4 of my V.E.D.A Challenge, where I’m posting a 2-3 minute video on the Turnoversbaby Youtube channel daily through the month of April.

The topic is BARTERING= trading and swapping products or services instead of using traditional currency. There are many benefits to bartering which can be a resourceful and eco-efficient practice. Upcycling clothing and household items, locally sourcing baked goods or art, growing your own products and trading with neighbors for other types of food- all of these are budget-friendly practices and can help to unify a community. The act of trading something or swapping services cuts out the middle man. Why pay cash or use a credit card when you can do an even exchange?

Bartering is fantastic at the business level, too, because it doesn’t hinder the cash flow. If there are products or services you have that another business needs, negotiate a deal so that both of you can benefit from a trade.

How can you incorporate this old-school style of commerce into your routine? Do you have a neighbor who sells eggs from her chicken farm ? Do you know someone who has a housecleaning service? What do YOU have to give or offer? Brainstorm and develop a few ways you can implement this approach.

Thanks for visiting TurnoversBaby on WordPress! Leave a comment and let me know what you think! Check out a few other VEDA videos by clicking the link below and show some love to the other vloggers that joined my challenge>>>

4/3 Clutter, Cash, and Charity

Today’s Topic: An Overabundance of THINGS and How to Streamline

Do you have a lot of material things in your home? You probably have far more than you THINK and 500% more than you NEED. I say that balance is the way to go, but minimalism can work too for those especially committed to freeing up space in their lives.

The key to determining whether something is a keeper vs. clutter is to answer yes to one of two questions. 1. Does this serve a functional purpose in my life? 2. Does this hold aesthetic beauty that I find valuable? If not- DITCH IT!

The best three ways I de-clutter my home are

  • yard sales (both online and physical)
  • charity/second-hand (if it’s worth giving to someone else)
  • trash/recycling can (last resort!)

The inspiration behind the mindset I currently have was a presentation I heard last year at my mom’s group meeting, by Becky Banks of Organizing Essentials- Residential Organizing for Women. Becky has a compelling story of her experience working at a mission, and she advocates for homeless women who need essentials like socks, bras, and sanitary products.  Becky has a knack for organizing and for creating order in chaos. I actually met her during the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy (a destructively swept through our beach towns in 2012), where Becky was organizing hundreds of cans into an overflowing food pantry.

I hope you feel encouraged to purge your closets and find new homes for clothing, toys, CDs, DVDs, craft supplies and electronics that you don’t need any longer. The spring weather is FINALLY here and the windows are begging to be opened. Free up space in your home and fill it up with fresh air, so that you can sit back and enjoy the wellbeing that comes with clean space and organization.

Thanks for visiting TurnoversBaby on WordPress! Leave a comment and let me know what you think! Check out a few other VEDA videos by clicking the link below and show some love to the other vloggers that joined my challenge>>>

4/1 Kid-Friendly Jokes (April Fools)

Happy First of April. Hope you’re ready for Easter and springtime weather. I’m still racking my brain trying to think of a good prank to play on someone tomorrow. Meanwhile I was looking for FUNNY (not lame) JOKES for KIDS. If you know any, post them in the comments because the good, clean jokes are few and far between.

My silly boys love to laugh which means I tickle them daily, and every once in awhile I’ll break out in dance, unexpectedly, which throws them into fits of giggles every single time. After all, LAUGHTER is the best medicine, and we took turns with the stomach virus last week. So briinnnnnng it on.

There are a few fun pranks mentioned on this fellow momma’s blog that I may borrow from at the last minute!

I hope you watched my video above. This is my FIRST of the 30-day Vlog Every Day in April challenge and I’m double-dipping by incorporating my youtube channel and my wordpress blog. (I still have my business blog but I didn’t want to slow down my website with embedded videos!)I’m trying a scientific approach to SEO (Search Engine Optimization) which means I have to be very careful and can’t have any duplicate info. Plus I need to write a text file for everything I said in my video. Tricky stuff. If I say UMMM and SOOO more than 5x per video, I’m going to lose it!

Enjoy! Play Nice. And please avoid the Knock-Knock jokes unless they’re groundbreaking. Happy April!

Photo on 5-22-14 at 1.31 PM #5

Thanks for visiting TurnoversBaby on WordPress! Leave a comment and let me know what you think! Check out a few other VEDA videos by clicking the link below and show some love to the other vloggers that joined my challenge>>>

Everyday blogging challenge, plus youtube videos

I was a brand new entrepreneur with a tight (read: nonexistent) marketing budget and was  hunting around for ways to build up my webstore, when someone HOOKED ME. That’s right- a successful Youtuber with a cute name introduced to me the term V.E.D.A and I was sold. I joined the challenge to post daily videos through the month of August and I’ve been trying to do so every A*Month since! Now I’m an old pro: I can edit my videos, pace myself, stop myself from saying “SOOOooooo” as a filler, and I’m writing my own daily prompts. A few friends are getting in on the fun too, so if you’re a blogger/vlogger or you know someone who is, the invite is open to all! Just add your URL to this post and we’ll subscribe and follow along with you.

Browse the list below that I literally just threw together. I’ll stick with these for the most part but may deviate if I’m not feeling the topic that day. You can subscribe to my Youtube channel or check back here for the embedded videos. See ya in April 2015!

  1. Kid-Friendly Jokes (April Fools)
  2. Fighting fears of the dentist
  3. Overabundance of THINGS and how to streamline
  4. Bringing back the bartering system
  5. Easter, springtime, goals this season
  6. The top-secret, styled wedding you wish you had thought of
  7. Household chores and paying allowance: Do’s and don’ts
  8. All things FREE that I could think of
  9. Education & the S-Word (Private/Public/Charter/Home/Un)
  10. Smoothies: Nutribullet is great but I still love pizza best
  11. Meal Solutions: My love/hate relationship with cooking
  12. The highs and lows of my Teens and Twenties
  13. My day job. My night job. My never sleep job.
  14. How motherhood finally grew on me
  15. Knowing what sets you off and what calms you down
  16. Me time. 30minutes, twice a week
  17. The condition of my spirit. Plans for hope and a future.
  18. Business Expo. Using what I got from that public speaking class
  19. The community in my little corner of the world
  20. Why I’m afraid for New Jersey. Pros & Cons of my state.
  21. Being a “mompreneur” and what the phrase means to me
  22. Made in USA- does domestic fashion really matter?
  23. Internships! Volunteering! This is how you get started.
  24. Advice from my Grandmother. (For better or worse
  25. Parenting Pt. One: Bragging because my kids are perfect
  26. Parenting Pt. Two: Just kidding: here’s how we survive
  27. Ten wishes I have that may make me old-fashioned
  28. Random Thoughts of the Day
  29. Why being a freelance designer ROCKS, and how to do it
  30. ??? (this will be interesting…)
Thanks for visiting TurnoversBaby on WordPress! Leave a comment and let me know what you think! Check out a few other VEDA videos by clicking the link below and show some love to the other vloggers that joined my challenge>>>

VEDA Challenge 2014

VEDA Challenge 2014

I committed to Vlog Every Day in April, and you can subscribe to my Youtube Channel https://www.youtube.com/user/TurnoversBaby and follow my posts.

It’s not to late to jump on board if you want to take the VEDA challenge yourself! Just post your link in a comment here: http://turnoversbabyshop.com/blog/april-2014-veda-challenge

It’s no joke. But Happy April Fools Day just the same! 😉