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 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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Reenvisioning Me

Diana  Last month, I came to the realization that I had no idea what I looked like.  No, I am not talking about my nose or eyes or height. . .the mystery of my mien (def: person's look or manner) went a little higher.  The root of the matter, frankly, was my hair.  I knew the length, the texture, the style, but the original color had disappeared years ago.  My current color was the outcome of an advanced hair designer at an uptown salon, and though it was close to 30-year old Diana's haircolor—safe and predictable—it was definitely not the NOW color.

So, when I went to see Jacob a few weeks ago, I dropped the bomb.

"I've decided to let my hair go gray!"

Jacob is very cool, very professional.  His eyebrows stayed fairly close to his head, though I could tell he was shaken by this announcement.  Having vigorously perused the internet for "going-gray," I had some ideas of how others had accomplished this feat, and had ruled out a few.

"No pixie cut, no cold turkey, no hats. . . And I want about three inches cut off, so there's not quite as much to grow out!"

After a bit of discussion, his expert opinion was to do an ash blonde partial highlight. This would provide a bit of camouflage for those gray roots.

I have to say that I was definitely skeptical.  I have never been a blonde—though it had once been the secret desire of a certain freckle-faced junior-high brunette living in Miami. My comfort zone tends towards dark brown, so heading the opposite direction required a sort of J'en sais quoi attitude, a throwing caution to the wind approach.  If I was going to go gray, I figured I might as well dive in the pool.

As Jacob expertly turned me into a radio receiver (have you ever felt that way, with all of those foils hanging on your head?), he told me about one other client who had once tried to go gray.  I asked him how that had gone, and, with an amused glance, he said, "Well, after one month, she came back and told me she had changed her mind.  She has been dying her hair ever since."

Not encouraging.

However, once my hair was dried and cut and blown and styled, I was cautiously optimistic.  Not too obvious, not too blonde, not too much of a change.  Yet, the subtle weavings of silvery ash blonde and gray brought a new range of colors to my palette. 

Now that the die has been cast, so to speak, I am looking forward to the journey. And I'm sharing it with you as a personal incentive for staying-this-course, and, perhaps, helping someone out there to reenvision herself.

#MeGray?

Diana

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The Adventure of Betty Greene

Do you ever wonder how your life will turn out? Are there many things you love to do, but they seem impossible to weave together in one lifetime? Have you ever pondered the adventures that lie before you as you serve God? 

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then this woman's story will be an eye-opening discovery.  Join me as we consider the life of Betty Greene—a WWII WASP, the first woman to fly across the Andes Mountains, and the co-founder of Missionary Aviation Fellowship!

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Kids are NOT alike!

When my children were 10, 8 and 6, a friend wrangled an invitation for us to join her at a farm for a homeschool science field trip:  watching a butcher cut up a cow.  It was supposed to be a practical view of—as well as a fascinating glimpse into—the insides of a recently living creature.

My friend, who was of a scientific bent (she had already dissected a cow’s eyeball at the kitchen table with her kids), was a fabulous salesman for this event.

“Diana, your kids will love this!  It’s so cool to see things in person rather than just in pictures.  Several homeschooling families will be there, it’s going to be GREAT!!”

And you know, one of my kids did love it.  (That was the one who would one day do a stint as a hospital corpsman in the Navy.)  He was spellbound as he stood close to the butcher, happily holding every thing handed to him, regardless of how gooey.

On the other hand, one of my kids hated it.  (That was the one who would one day faint at the clinic when, as a college student, he was just trying to give blood.)  He took one brief look at what was happening to that cow, and then fled to the safe haven of our car.

Though I hadn’t realized it so concretely until that moment, what is one person’s delight may be another person’s nightmare—and vice versa!  We need to not only be aware of this, we need to honor these differences.  Why?  Because they were hardwired into our children by One who created them for His plans and purposes.

Allow for—and respect—the individuality of each one in your family.  That means, in case you missed it, not every child has to dissect the eyeball of a cow.  But then, not every child has to be kept at home when the cow is butchered. . .  Pay attention to what is good for your individual kids.  Relationally speaking, it’s the wisest thing you’ll ever do!

For more on the way our kids are wired to learn, check this out:

WatchVideoYellowButton-2

 

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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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