Welcome to my homeschool blog, which offers insights into loving learning, loving your family, loving history, loving homeschooling, and enjoying your life! With your cup of coffee in hand, take a break to laugh with me, to have your heart refreshed, to be reminded of how cool your kids really are, and to consider the amazing adventure of being a homeschool mom. AND, if you are interested in the History Revealed curriculum, be sure to check out my Teaching Tips!

Today I choose WHY to be a Doodle

Today I choose why to be a doodle

Being free to be who you are is liberating. And it reflects the amazing creativity of the One who designed you.

It is easy to talk in generalities, isn't it?

Be yourself.

Embrace your identity.

Wear your uniqueness.

Big talk. But what does it mean? As you and I both know, being yourself can be a pretty scary proposition if you don't look exactly like everyone else in your circle. Especially if there are rules of conformity that push you into a cookie-cutter mold, shaping your looks, your behavior, your activities.

In 1755, when Yankee Doodle was written to express condescension of American colonists, the British military had rules and expectations. Some were necessary, like "Obey orders." Others were culturally derived, like precision marching and red coats (important in European wars, disastrous in the French & Indian War). The Americans, however, had a different culture. It wasn't "less than" the British, it was simply different. It fit the Americans, just as red coats fit the British.

So, bringing this home for today, let me tell you a story.

I like to talk.

That has been a problem for me much of my life, as the cultural expectation in the schools of my day was, "Be QUIET!" My report cards reflected this—I often received a "C" in conduct for talking too much.

When I was seventeen, an older woman looked at me as we were working together in the kitchen, and scathingly remarked, "Don't you EVER shut up????"

Despite the constant crushing disdain, the simple fact is that I was designed as a communicator.  And, when I stumbled into the joy of speaking before audiences (teaching gourmet cooking classes for a community program), it all suddenly made sense.

Just like American colonists who went to war in their homespun clothing, with their finely honed musket skills, I found satisfying success in simply being me.

As a speaker, I am a DOODLE. Though it did not fit certain group norms, it was who I am. . .who I am designed to be.

Now it's your turn. Despite the naysaying of those around you, what kind of a DOODLE are YOU?

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Today I choose HOW to be a doodle

Today I choose how to be a doodle

Face it.  All of us will encounter disdain at some point in life, whether at home, church, school or work.   But, disdain need not define.

Being a DOODLE means that we accept who we are, embracing our strengths, even celebrating our uniqueness—just as those early Americans celebrated their victory in 1781 with Yankee Doodle!

This is a good lesson to learn early on.  So, for the children in your life, look for evidences of their unique strengths and then encourage them there.  It might look like a ten-year old chef spicing up Ramen Noodle soup with unidentifiable herbs, a budding musician picking out melodies on the piano when her feet can barely reach the floor, a basketball-playing teen who shoots (and makes!) rim shots on the garbage can with a tangerine. . .

Sometimes, when confronted with these marvelous talents, we have difficulty distinguishing genius-in-the-making from making a mess. That’s why we we’re talking.  By encouraging kids to discover their strengths, they will be better equipped to withstand disdain.

Today’s assignment:
Choose to be a DOODLE, then help the kids in your life learn how to be a DOODLE.

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Today I choose to be a DOODLE

Today I choose to be a doodle When Yankee Doodle was originally penned, it expressed the arrogance of certain British officers who looked down their nose at the local-yokel colonists. These colonists had come to support them in the French and Indian War, but their informal dress, lack of polish, and ignorance of the rudiments of marching made them appear foolish to the British.

That happens today, too. In fact, I happen to have my very own DOODLE story. When I went to college as a vocal music major, I was assigned a voice teacher.  Sue was a classically trained soprano, delighted to display her prowess with operatic arias. When I walked in, as a long-haired, folk-singing hippie chick, she regarded me with a chilling haughtiness.  My attempts to sing classical music must have been a whole lot like the colonial militiamen trying to march in military step. . .not impressive. I will never forget when she said, with disdain, “Don’t quit your day job, Diana.”  It was a humiliating moment in my life.

The colonists knew what it was to be mocked by those who considered themselves superior. When it came to fighting in North America, though, what had seemed weakness turned out to be strength. With a gutsy humor, the Americans changed the words of Yankee Doodle in the early days of the Revolution. With wonderful irony, it was also played at the surrender of the British in 1781.

It became obvious I would never sing opera. But then, singing opera is not the only way to be a vocalist, is it? I joined three other musicians to create America: American history through folk music. Our homespun, toe-tapping approach to music is the very reason AMERICA is successful.

Many people have had a DOODLE experience—being told that they “couldn’t” accomplish something, but now excel in that field or another. What is your DOODLE experience?

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At Monticello with Jim and Randy Weiss

Life happens.

I'm sure you know what I mean. There you are, with good intentions and great ideas, and suddenly, POOF! All your time, energy, brain-power, and effort evaporate into nothingness.

Happens to me every year during the homeschool convention season!! But, now, it is August and the 2013 conventions are over ...

Time to get back to work, back to the joys of blogging, Facebooking, weeding, and cleaning the house.  Well, at least the first few sound like fun. smiley

Before I launch back into the "How God Made You Smart" thread, I wanted to share one of the most delightful experiences of this convention season. Through the years, my husband and I have come to know and appreciate Jim and Randy Weiss, of Greathall Productions. But getting to know other speakers at conventions is incredibly limited, so, at the Great Homeschool Conference in Cincinnati this year, when Randy said to me, "Diana, why don't you come stay with us for a few days before going to the HEAV convention in Richmond?" I was thrilled. It sounded like such fun, and, believe me, it was even more delightful than I had imagined it might be. They are wonderful hosts and fascinating people, generously warm and compassionate friends that we are privileged to know. And, Randy is a fabulous cook—a woman after my own heart!!

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In the planning of our time together, Randy suggested a trip to Monticello, home of Thomas Jefferson. I had never been to this historic site, and, you know me, when a place is dripping with history, I am as thrilled as a robin with a worm, a fox with a henhouse, a climber with a mountain, etc. However, I had not realized that Jim had actually done research at Monticello for one of his story-telling CDs, Thomas Jefferson's America. What amazing anecdotes he whispered as the guide took us through the house! He pointed out fascinating items, told us stories of Jefferson's life that I had never heard, and made it an absolutely riveting walk-through. As we all strolled through the gardens, Jim described the unusual setting for Monticello, as most plantations of the time were in the valleys, not on the hilltops—where obtaining water would be far more difficult. As Jim talked, the reality and challenges of day-to-day living became increasingly visible, even as the wisps of Jefferson's great accomplishments continued to float across my mind. And for that, I am incredibly grateful.

History, it seems to me, is so often something "out there"—something unattainable, done by those few IMPORTANT people—and it has no real impact or bearing on our lives.  And, yet, when history comes to life, with brilliant color AND drab mundaneness, it has a power to challenge us, to change us. Tom Jefferson's curiosity was one of the take-aways for me. He nurtured his curiosity, asking questions, investigating possibilities, spending time to discover, writing down his observations. Instead of seeing him solely as President of the United States (a job I will never hold), if I disover that he was a person who remained curious his entire life, I can allow it to challenge my life, to change my life. Rather than being content to just make it through each day, I just might give myself permission to follow the rabbit trail when it looks interesting!

I would love to hear your thoughts about learning history.  And, in fact, if you want to share how Jim Weiss and Diana Waring have made learning history memorable, challenging, even life-changing, we will enter you into a contest to win one of Jim's Thomas Jefferson's America CDs.  On August 21, we will randomly choose five winners from those who have left comments on this blog.

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