365 Snap Shots of Life: Day 147

The home school prom was last night and it went better than I anticipated. I don’t know why I was so surprised that it centered around family and not just kids. I went to mine 25 years ago and having gone to public school for 12 years, you learn that adults are the enemy and to be avoided at all costs. Last night the scene was beautiful. I chaperoned my girls and they both had dates; 2 boys they are good friends with took them. I gave my girls space and before hand I told them this night was about them. That they deserved it and to forget that I’m even there. That took both of them by surprise. I know we live,work and play together and they needed that time and space away from me.

Once we arrived at the venue, I took a seat way in the back away from the dance floor. I love to dance and I figured I’d stay back there an dance by myself. Then my friend, another home schooling mom came by and I asked her if I could dance. Again, I was unsure of what my role as a chaperone was. She laughed, telling me to relax and just have a good time. Not too long after, the music was bumping and I worked up the courage to join the rest of the party goers on the dance floor; which consisted of kids and adults dancing up there and not caring what anyone thought.

I went to order a set of pictures and I overheard the man in charge of taking the orders say something quite amazing. He was telling my friend that he does many school proms and that he’d never seen a prom where it’s all about family;it was one big family party last night and he commented he’d never seen anything like it. Ladies and gentlemen, I’m proud to say that home school parents are instrumental in taking back America’s families from the brink of destruction. It was evident last night that when you home school, it makes for a close bond between parents and children. The best part of it was that I had a chance to see my daughters having so much fun. And they sang when we came home,” I had the time of my life,and I never felt this way before, yes I know it’s true and I owe it all to you.”

One more quick note. I  hear that in these times we live, in Prom is a very expensive deal;it’s all about spending money to impress. Well last night my girls were laughing over the ridiculously low amount of money we put into their special night. Then I remembered how hard I worked so I could go to mine. 25 years ago I spent a little over $150 on my Prom. By today standards that is very inexpensive. The girls were proud of looking amazing and not breaking their parent’s bank account. I even overheard my oldest tell a woman who was complimenting her on her beautiful dress that she found it at a second-hand store.Most of the young men didn’t wear tuxes but they came wearing what they felt comfortable in and maybe what their parents could afford. I smiled because from watching most of the young people in that room, I could tell they weren’t there to impress but to have a good time and make great memories as child hood winds down for some of them. Prom 2012 was definitely a success and I’m glad I was part of it!







365 Snap Shots of Life: Day 101


Last night my oldest  daughter was working on one of her last essays and she  said this,” I can’t remember when I started school.” WOW! My job is accomplished here because I set out to make life long learners of my kids and this statement proves to me beyond a shadow of a doubt that I have accomplished one of my main goals in my home schooling journey. Just think of it, most kids remember their first day of school like this: Johnny with his cute back pack waiting for the dreaded yellow school bus that would take him away to a place where his real learning journey would actually end instead of begin. In the first few years of his life, his parents or main care takers were his main teachers and they allowed him the freedom to explore and learn on his own. Now as he rides the yellow dog he’s about to embark on  12 years of in the box learning where his natural abilities to soak up knowledge like the sponges they are at that age, will be curtailed if not squashed. So today I am a happy, happy teacher knowing that my kids love learning and they will carry that hunger with them to serve them well in their lives.

My daughter then went on to admit that as her home schooling journey wraps up, she will miss it because she can look back at all the ups and downs we’ve faced together and her heart aches because she knows from here on out it’s up to her to make her life the way she wants it. We both teared up

Funny, I told my daughter that on my last day of high school when the last bell rang and all the seniors let out a happy freedom cry, the last thing on my mind was whether I was going to miss 12 years of compulsory education. No way, I told her I was so glad my time was done. And here her sentiment was so different and my heart ached a little.


365 Snap Shots of Life: Day 87

Education Requires Conversation

Education is not always  about opening textbooks, taking tests where you regurgitate the information you had to memorize in order to get a passing grade. Education is also not just having an instructor who shows you a new skill. Education requires conversation.

I can look back on the teachers I had when I went to school and the ones who are still with me, are the ones who didn’t always make the class crack the book open. In 1oth grade I had Mr. Griffin for World history. He was an eccentric man. He was in his 60’s, dressed impeccably and told the best stories. He had been a quarter back in high school ,went on to play in college; served in the military, I think he went to Korea. After the war he came back and became a commercial airline pilot.  If  Mr. Griffin would have said he ran for president, I would have believed him. He interacted with us on a daily basis. Don’ task me what I learned about world history in his class. I did learn that he was a deeply caring human being who liked his students. I never saw anyone sleeping in his class either.

When he would assign reports and students asked him how long or short did the report have to be Mr. Griffin always said,” Like a ladies’ dress: Long enough to cover the subject and short enough to keep it interesting.” I chuckle because I’ve used that same line on my kids in the past.

Mr. Griffin also hated  PDA which was always common in the last few second before the bell rang. Often I’d see him step out  and yell at the couples making out in his hallway,” Stop swapping slobber will ya?!!!”

True education requires conversations where both the teacher and the students interact and share ideas as well as argue points. Mt. Griffin shared and at times he’d let us do the sharing. Great teachers ought to also be able to learn from the students. My kids have taught me so many lessons along the way. Just today I had a conversation with my almost 16-year-old daughter where she helped me see something in a new light.

Last year I held a writing group in my home. The group consisted of kids my kids knew. I’d open up with a free write;  a time to let them unleash whatever they wanted on paper. Afterwards they had the chance to share if they were comfortable. At first, the idea turned them off because they thought it would be like regular school. Once they saw that they had the choice whether to read their writing in front of others or not, they became bolder. Pretty soon every writing session was amazing because these kids had somewhere they could come to where they would be heard. We all learned from each other and that’s what’s most important. Our writing time turned into sometimes deep, other times hilarious conversations. I miss those times because I met some exceptional young people.

Talking about education is like learning to dance by reading a book. You might get the basic technique down but you won’t really be dancing until you actually get on the floor and risk making a fool of yourself. Education requires conversation because that’s how you as a teacher, know that your students are learning and your students will know you care about them;because you value their views and opinion. After all, the teacher isn’t always right.

Love requires relationship. – Unknown

Great Credentials Do Not a Great Teacher Make

This blog is a follow-up to the one I posted yesterday:https://evasantiago.wordpress.com/2011/12/06/noah-webster-defines-education/

NOTE to all of my GREAT teacher friends: This EXCLUDES YOU! So if the shoe doesn’t fit, please don’t wear it :)

I have observed this particular phenomenon for a while now. My youngest daughter attends a dance studio here in town. She’s been taking  dance classes for 5 years now and we’ve changed studios twice. I see in today’s topic  a disturbing trend and one that not too many people want to discuss. Did you know that as teachers we have the potential to mentor our students? Let me define the word mentor-

MENTO’RIAL, a. [from Mentor,the friend and adviser of Ulysses.]

Containing advice or admonition.


When I went to school there were a few teachers that I still remember well. They were not only interested in doing their job to impart knowledge to me. They went a step further and  mentored me. Yes, I understand that in the large classroom sizes of today, that is difficult.  Back then, our class size  ranged around 25 kids per teacher, and some of these fine teachers I had took the extra time with me .

The one characteristic that stands out the most of my teachers that I remember with great affection is that they were there to set the right example for me. So naturally I was under the notion that a good teacher can be a great role model. And  I see this quality lacking in a lot of the teachers at my daughter’s dance studio.

The students are required to adhere by a strict dress code and yet the dance instructors shows up in whatever they felt like wearing to class that day. Many times I’ve wondered if they even ran a comb through their hair before they left the house. Why bother with the dress code then? That was what all 3 of my daughters asked me when they were all taking classes. I could hear the frustration in their voices and I saw how the teacher not following her own rules demoralizes her students.

Another great quality that all of my favorite teachers possessed was that they respected me not only as their student but also as a human being. They never talked down to me or made me feel less than the child I was.  I have lost track of the times my girls have come home from a dance class, completely discouraged because of a callous tongue, icy disposition or indifferent attitude from their dance instructor. When I addressed this issue with the owner of the studio, she just blew it off and assured me that my girls needed to “toughen up” because this is how it goes in the the dance world!

I laughed at that because my girls are pretty tough cookies already who can hold their own. The owner proceeded  to tell me about the credentials of the teachers there and that they were “lucky” to be trained by  professionals with such clout. Really?

So it’s acceptable to be a nasty teacher with a mean temper just because you trained at Julliard and danced with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater? I was far from impressed and I let her know it. Folks, how can teachers demand respect from their students when they are not setting the right examples for them to follow. Children look to their superiors for guidance and if non is offered they turn a deaf ear.

Teaching is not just another job you  show up to  so you can collect your paycheck . If you don’t care a hill of pinto beans about children, if children repulse you and if you have zero tolerance for them, then perhaps you need to find your true calling. Teaching is a higher calling like that of being a parent; that’s why it’s so undervalued and under paid.

This post is dedicated to all the wonderful teachers I had throughout my school years:

Sister Margaret- St. Francis School- 1st grade

Ms. Mary  Ellen McClellan- St. Francis School-3rd Grade

Ms. Molly Gillard-St. John’s- 6th Grade

Mrs. Carol Kane-Bitburg American Middle School (BAMS)-6th Grade

Mrs. Reece- BAMS-7thGrade

Mr. James- BAMS- 8th Grade

Mrs. Betty Meyers-BAMS- 8th Grade

Mr. Griffin– Marshall High School10th Grade

Ms. Andermatt- Marshall High School-11th Grade

Mr. Walter Collis- Marshall High School- 11th,12th Grades

Thank you for all of your hard work and dedication! I never forgot how much you cared.

J.O.W.K. (journal of an over worked kid)

J.O.W.K. (journal of an over worked kid)

August  5, 2005

Dear Diary,

 I’m starting this journal as a way to speak out for some of my peers who can’t speak for themselves. As a kid I see a lot of  my friends and class mates stuck doing things that they don’t want to do. Take for example my bf James; he has to play baseball because his dad was a ball champ all through his high school years and into college. The only reason he didn’t make it to the majors ( and he will tell EVERYBODY he meets about how close he came) was because he screwed up his shoulder pitching those 98 mph fast balls.

James’s dad Ron is a trip! He makes James get up at 4am and jog with him every morning and that’s during baseball season when it’s not baseball, James has to pick up another sport to keep him in the game ( that’s what Ron says anyways). James also has go to the gym everyday regardless of whether he’s playing sports or not.

James and I have stayed up late at night and texting back and forth about how much he hates all the sports he has to do. My dream is to be a fashion illustrator and as we text, I’m always sketching my ideas. James has even said that he envies me for the fact that I’m not being pushed to be the next great anything in my family. He says I’m lucky to have parents who let me be a kid and dream my own dream. I don’t know about any of that; what I do know is that I don’t envy Jame’s overly busy life style. More to come because I have to speak for a lot of kids I know at school who have to deal with this everyday of their lives.

Thanks for listening as usual… –Carla