September 29, 2011

Why I Was Homeschooled.

     Recently I have noticed that I have never come across a blog post written by a homeschooler giving their thoughts on the whys, the hows and the effects of their chosen method of education. So, I've sat down to attempt giving a testimonial of sorts, on homeschooling, from a homeschooler's point of view.

     I make no attempts to convince anyone homeschooling is for them, I simply relate to you the story of my education.

     Two issues that often come up when speaking about homeschooling are the following:

1. Having no other option and/or
2. Having never experienced 'real school'

1. People have implied in conversation to me that my parents make me be homeschooled. The truth is, Victor and I have been raised and taught to choose, not follow. We are taught right from wrong and then encouraged to make wise decisions. Our parents fully support my decision on being homeschooled, yet I have no doubt that, if I were to choose to switch to public school, they would be any less supportive of me in my life. They advise rather than force, and it works. :)

2. Another thing I have overheard skeptics say as they stare at me from the corner of their eyes and confront my parents about their choice of educating their children is "but they've never tasted 'real' school; that's why they 'choose' to be home-schooled." Again, the truth is I have tasted public school for two years. My first two years of education were public, and in both I enjoyed the 'school experience'. I experienced socializing with other children, did I enjoy it? Yes. Have I ever missed it?

     I'll be raw and honest with you–not really. It was different for me. I knew I  was different. I didn't eat what they ate, I didn't wear what they wore. I had my little friends and we had fun, but it was companionship, not friendship. When my parents took me out of public schools, they also took me out of the city. I was put on a ten-acre lot of land where I got over fears of grasshoppers, tall grass, and becoming me. There, I was free to grow up and be myself, because honestly, society likes to say they are pushing kids to be themselves and say it's 'ok' to be "different" because everyone is unique, yet, it's ok to be a certain type..of different, their accepted type of different. In Terrell, I had homeschooled church friends, and from the beginning of my homeschooling education to now I have never looked back with regret at being taken away from public school.

And then, come the doubts on everybody's mind, 'Homeschooled kids aren't social enough,' and 'don't they ever get lonely? Will they be ready to face the real world after being so sheltered?'

     Everyone needs friends, so, what do we do to keep social? For deep friendships we have each other. I believe nothing has brought our family closer together as the ability to eat all of our meals together, pray together and work together. We have learned that our parents are our friends and that everything they do and tell us is with our best interests in mind.
   
We have church friends, family members, neighborhood kids, and friends met during extracurricular activities. Also, because our schedules are much more flexible with homeschooling, we get to travel much more often and meet people from diverse cultures, backgrounds and have friends scattered across the globe with whom we then keep up with via internet, snail mail and phone calls.

     Sure, there are many home-schooled kids that are extremely introverted, but are there are no introverts in public schools? Is it wrong to be an introvert? Is it a bad thing? Does it need to be "cured". Introverts and extroverts are born, so just like there are introverts in public schools, there are several extrovert home schoolers.

Peer pressure. An assumption people often make is that, if home-schooled, a child is sheltered and won't know how to cope with the outside world.

     If only it were that easy to make sure children are never tempted to do wrong. Wouldn't that be nice? To home-school and know that your children will never feel peer pressure or come into contact with evil. Oh peaceful bliss!

      But that isn't the case. No matter if parents seclude their kids, at one time or the other, they will come into contact with peer pressure and things parents hoped they wouldn't have to face. The only thing parents can do, is prepare them for it. The way I see it, no better way than homeschooling to show your children an environment that can result because of the right choices–your home. You can't protect your children forever, but you can, however, offer them a safe environment where they can grow and premeditate what they will do when faced with temptation.

     Daniel, when his parents taught him the Truth, didn't teach him by sending him to Babylon, or throwing him to the heathen hoping he would there become a faithful man. Instead, they taught him at home, and when the time came he was ready to face the King of Babylon, ready to face lions.

'But, do homeschoolers get the same academic advantages as people in 'normal schools'?'

      When applying to a university, home-schoolers have the ability to stand out in the fact that they are homeschooled meaning: they have exercised self discipline, push themselves and are committed to their studies. With the program we use we get full credits, and a transcript after graduating.  If we want to finish early, we have the option of pushing ourselves to finish faster. Victor and I can stay home and learn fundamentals of what builds a family while also receiving an education with standards perhaps even higher than those of public schools. [edited to add: As a university freshman in a university known for its high standards, I am so immensely grateful we used this program. I felt so prepared and homeschooling prepared me to commit to my studies on my own without having someone to spoon feed everything to me or badger me that assignments would be due soon. I finished my first semester (all that I have completed so far) with a 3.95 gpa and made it on the Dean's List while taking 16 semester hours). I fully attribute my preparedness to homeschooling and the program my parents chose for us.]

      Homeschooling isn't for everyone. It's a family effort. Homeschooling is one of the things that brings our family closer, but it takes work. Parents need to be very involved in the correcting and overseeing of their child's education themselves, as well as be willing to pay for their education from their own pockets. It's a hard task, but it's not impossible and in the end, it's worth it!



Summer Videos.

                     Porumbacu Baptism of approximately 35 souls, (they were baptized in rows of five.)

video

South African Brethren singing at the park one afternoon.


 A glimpse inside the stadium....



On our way to the conference building from our sleeping quarters, these people...appeared.


That's it for now...If I find any more I'll post ...

September 28, 2011

'Tis the Season.

It was the beginning of September and I was singing Christmas carols. Everything from Dean Martin, Mariah Carey, and Handel to the Reformation Hymnal. I washed the dishes, to Christmas carols. And frankly I was looking to the skies and begging for snow. Yes, I know, I'm a little early. So I've been told it's not yet, Christmas Season, it happens to be, however, the end of Wedding Season. Which, of course, brings to my mind a certain wedding that took place on March 11 of 1990.
 These two kids, see, got married at the ripe old ages of twenty and nineteen, thus beginning a journey together. A journey that has lasted through thick and thin over a span of, so far, twenty-one years and will last for many more. A journey that has resulted in a family, which I can only describe as perfect.
He was her first boyfriend. She was his first girlfriend. They met, they corresponded, they dated, they became engaged, they got married. I describe it as a fairytale, they describe it as pure blessing and Providence.

                                                                The Civil Wedding.


                                                          Wedding Invitations. 

At the church. And I won't go into the blue suit or the puffy sleeve details. After all it was the early nineties!

            The ceremony was held by Bro. Davi P. Silva at my mother's childhood church in Sorocaba.


                                                                I think, they were happy.

            
                                                   Aaand, they live happily ever after.
                                       

And that was it, and that was all. For now anyways because as soon as their twenty-fifth anniversary rolls around I'll be planning. Oh, and let's just say there won't be any puffy sleeves or blue suits...

September 24, 2011

Bucov.

The day after Balea Lac, we left Porumbaco in the early morning and headed to Bucov, more specifically to Ploiesti. We stayed there to await our flight which happened to be leaving at dawn from Bucharest. As Ploiesti is closer to Bucharest than Porumbaco by many maany miles, we stayed there to make things..less hectic.
At the house we were staying for the day, there was a beautiful garden with flowers and grape vines. We spent the day mostly catching up with the outside world, (we had had no Internet for two weeks!) and simply lounging around waiting for three o'clock to come about. We went to sleep early and I, unfortunately,
didn't take many pictures.

Grape clusters.


Roses.
Eventually, 3a.m. arrived and so did we (at the Bucharest airport). That morning we boarded a plane to Paris, and believe it or not I had no time to stop for anything there! We were late as it was and missing a flight was not on our itinerary. As we looked out our windows from inside the plane we caught glimpses of the Eiffel tower and France, but that was about it for keepsakes, glimpses and fractions of memories.
No time for souvenirs, no time for trying new French gourmandises. Au contraire, we hippity hopped from one gate to the next, and off we were to Seattle.
I couldn't help stopping to at least take on photo on French soil.. ..figuratively speaking. 


From Seattle, we got back into our little Volvo and drove back home. I drove back home too..According to the Seattle airport security I was allowed "as long as you abide by all traffic laws and your permit limitations"...so I was about the only one on that side of the border driving along with a bright red plate with a big fat "L" stuck on the back of the car.
Well, that's it folks, my next post will probably be on the public meetings, and a few videos of the time we spent there...but, that's it for adventures in Romania. That was our summer summarized in a few short posts. I hope you enjoyed it, I know we thoroughly did.

September 20, 2011

Balea Lac.

I don't even know where to begin a post on this trip, so I shall begin at the beginning, because, of course, "it's a very good place to start". On the day we went to Bran and the castle and forts, it was also on the schedule to go up to a different mountain and spend the day there close to the lake. Unfortunately though, between forts and castles we ran out of time. So, the next day a group of ten packed ourselves into a funny little van and headed up to Balea Lac. A gorgeous place with a hotel and a few cabins, and of course, souvenir stands, and a lake. This emerald green lake, freezes up during the winter, and I was told, they build an ice hotel on it every winter. HA! Now wouldn't that be an awesome place to go to for winter break! Anyways, after you reach the lake, there's a steep trail leading up to another lake and, I cannot explain how beautiful! the view is from up there. I scrambled up and was rather proud of myself for making it, in might I add, a skirt. Mother, Victor, Sis. Silva, and Sis. Merlos , stayed shopping, and enjoying the view at the beginning of the trail, and the rest of us climbed up to the top.

This child. is adorable.

All smiles as we stopped on our way up to take pictures .

This, was the way up. Whoot, if you get car sick, ai...fortunately nobody did, and we just ooh-ed and ahh-ed over the views...

So you can ooh and aah too, although, pictures aren't the same thing...


Cute ain't it?


These little mountain flowers beside a small waterfall were so pretty!



These guys were awesome! From left to right, Our Guide, who patiently (with a teasing grin of course) climbed up the mountain with us, at our snail like pace. His son Raul, who dove into the cold mountain lake. Johnson Sureshkumar who made us all go around the lake for the spectacular view. And the "One Moments", Hispanic brothers that Johnson and I dubbed the "One Moments" for their incessant need to stop every five steps either to take a breather or to take photos and film.


As we  walked back down we caught a glimpse of a flock of sheep on the mountainside.

Then we followed the sun back down to the valley.

I know that was alot of pictures, but I wanted to post so many more. It was a gorgeous experience and a perfect ending to our Romanian trip.

September 17, 2011

Bran Castle.

So as I said in the previous post (on Rasov and the fort and all,) the photos we took of Dracula's castle are quite astoundingly similar to all tourist's photos of that castle. And although the castle proved to be loads less than what I expected (so many doors were locked, which increases my curiosity to a level of despair) it was still interesting, and I'm glad it happened:

Castle entry ticket, and a shield with a family emblem, I wonder what family that belonged to..

This was by far the best room in the castle. The library. Full collection of Poe's works, John Brown's Body and other titles I couldn't help but drool over, crowd the tight shelves. That were, might I mention, locked! *groans*

Bear rug. Poor, fluffy, soft and luxurious thing....

I wouldn't mind waking up to a view of a tower...depending the circumstances, of course.

View from the top of the castle...

Ok, I LOVED these doors, and the roof timbers. They.were.hand.painted.and I fell in ecstasy.! I mean, who hand paints their roof timbers now a days? Exactly no one..! does.that. anymore!

Ceiling....

Victor...seriously this kid is way too cute. *--*
I loove that parasol :)

Cute people...
There's this room, where they set up a projector screen onto which they projected actual clips of some of the more recent royalties that lived in the castle. The room also had a giant dresser, with a scratched mirror, and empty (yet notice it had paper lining) drawers. (Which I had to open and satisfy my curiosity, that's how I know they were empty, and yes, I did check for false bottoms.)
I finished reading Austen's Northanger Abbey on this trip, and I felt very happy at being able to feed my imagination, and tried to see things in Catherine's perspective. Unfortunately though, my imagination isn't quite as vivid as hers. That was our trip to the castle, leaving only one more excursion before our journey home.

September 15, 2011

Probably the best city in the world.

What is probably the best city in the world? I had my guesses, but last month, I was told. in writing. in big green letters. that Brasov is probably the best city in the world. (We spent a whole Monday walking around in Brasov and Bran seeing old forts and ancient castles and what sticks to my mind is an outdoor restaurant umbrella's stenciled sentence. Oh well.) Anyways, most of the castle pictures we took, are exactly the same. exact. pictures that every tourist that goes to Dracula's castle takes, but I will be posting some of them in a later post. However, we also visited a fort in Rasnov which is what I'll be posting about today:
Romanian Beetle. :P in Porumbaco..

Brought me giggles


Flags on the tractor + cart that took us up to the fort + ticket.

The fort, on a hill of course.


An old photo I found from one of my teleportation trips.
WWII reinactors
With Victor!


Ticket for the fort, and a bullet from the reinacting, that Victor found.
The view from the top hill of the fort.


Victor being silly with the canon trash can...
From here we headed to Bran to visit Dracula's castle but, a post on that later on... 

September 9, 2011

Friday Ponderings.

The moon here in Abbotsford has been making some wonderful appearances lately, which brought to my memory moon phases from a few science classes ago. And as often happens one thought leads to another and soon I'm back tracking thoughts to see how I ended up on this particular one. This being, stars. I think I've already mentioned that in Porumbaco, the night sky was like a planetarium. Far away from city lights I looked up and for the first time made out the shape of Orion, and the big dipper, (or was it the little dipper? I don't know the difference) and looking up at the stars, I kind of wondered at the fact that you can only see the stars when you're looking for them and far away from brighter, more assuming lights. You see, stars are like some people. Stars look cute and quiet and fit so nicely into nursery songs describing their twinkling, when in reality these stars are far superior to any light humans can imagine. Their shine and the heat they produce is incomparable. Some people are like that. So quiet and unobtrusive that when we're surrounded by more assuming lights, we fail to recognize these people's existence. But their shine when brought out can be unimaginable and their potential incomparable. Most people love looking at stars set on the outstretched black blanket of the night sky, but maybe few of us have been looking for the people in our lives that are quiet and unobrtusive, that shine on even when we're not looking. And if you're a star out there in the outstretched black blanket of life, keep on shining, Someone's watching.
Happy Friday, y'all!

Lily pad.
P.S. I just liked this lily photo, totally post unrelated, but it's Friday so cut me some slack!

September 8, 2011

Pack rats.

This morning I awoke with a terrible urge to subtract material belongings from our house. Those mornings have got to be taken advantage of because I don't feel that way to often. For you to fully appreciate how amazing and extraordinary this feeling is, I feel I must explain that our family is somewhat of a pack rat family. We keep just about everything! After hundreds of moves we still have belongings from years and years and moves and moves and town and town and countries and countries (you get the idea yet?) ago. We can't take this out because our aunt's cousin's sister's uncle' friend's distant relation gave it to us, and we will someday, in the future, desperately need this other thing! And we're absolutely sure that as soon as we throw that away, there will be a deficiency for it in the world or we will desperately need it. This morning I did., have the feeling of "let's get rid of everything" that is. So mommy and Victor were dragged into a subtracting frenzy. Boxes were moved from their comfortable situations and their contents' hearts quivered every time my shadow passed over them. We listened to variations of CD's and, wait for it! old cassette tapes! my mom still has and cherishes. We then finished up watching a Andre Riu DVD while packing up the boxes again. In the end, I'm quite satisfied with our little subtracting results. Less things to transfer to Virginia, more room for new additions! While we were unpacking a few boxes, Victor, the daaarling made us a smoothie with the blackberries we picked on Sunday. I'd say today was a good day :)
Xpecially (when you forget how to spell a word instead of looking it up or using the ever present spell check you must come up with another obviously wrong way to spell it,) because we left all the windows open, and the fresh, warm Indian summer air is amazing!

September 6, 2011

Back to Negoiu.

We're back! Ok, where was I? Oh yes, had just left off at the base of Negoiu after our Tuesday hiking trip. Well, it's Thursday and we went back up. Or rather, I went back up. Victor was absolutely disillusioned with hiking (or maybe it had something to do with Andrew and Jared having already left and therefore wouldn't be hiking, therefore producing no interest in another day of walking for him), and mother, had blisters on her feet. *cringes* But I was most definitely going up there while I still had the chance, according to my walking-on-flat-ground legs I was not even sore...

Hi-Ho Hi-Ho Back up to Negoiu we go!

This is Grace. She is Korean and went with her parents to Romania for the conference. (About this time on the trail, my walking-on-steeper-ground legs started screaming at me and apprehending my choice of spending the day.) Anyways, by the side of the trail grew luscious raspberry bushes with ripe berries free for the taking. Just careful to not step off the cliff (berry bushes are such evil things. more on that later.) So, we scrambled into the bushes' awaiting branches to munch on the berries. But Grace didn't. Why? She'd never seen raspberries before! So we picked a few and made her try them. She took pictures, because obviously it's cool to try new foods. *makes mental note*

We took a detour! We went to the waterfall for lunch, and a siesta.  We had time to scurry on the rocks, wade in the mountain icy water, and eat. That day, I think, was the day I ate the most in Romania. Everything was absolutely delish!


Like I said, wading in the water. Oh but it was nice! And beautiful!!

Our little group, Grace (Jaikyung Hyun), Mihaela Raileanu our guide, Sister Hyun (Grace's mom)

Radu, Silvio our second guide, and Irina!


When we got to the Cabana, we visited the donkeys. And this little guy, (of course I named him Eeyore! Sorry couldn't help it.) followed us around, until we got to the opening of the trail to the other waterfall.


Lastly, a few pictures of the mountain view.




And, a Porumbaco sunset. Peaceful....
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