March and April 2016 MusingsĀ 

And it’s already April… I’m not sure how time flies so quickly. It must be because we’re having so much fun. šŸ˜œ

At the end of March, Madison enjoyed taking a homeschool class at the Dallas Museum of Art that focused on Egyptian Art. They had a learning session in the exhibit area and then went back to the classroom and played an ancient Egyptian game called Senet and made hieroglyphic art. She sketched hieroglyphics into a styrofoam plate and then they filled it with plaster and when it dried she had her own piece of Egyptian art. It was really cool!

Also, at the end of March, Madison had a blast at the iCan Create Filmfest with North Texas Mensa Youth through NuMinds Enrichment. If you haven’t heard of NuMinds, check them out. They offer tons of enrichment for gifted kids. She created her own stop motion movies. You can check out one of the movies she made HERE. And the other one HERE.

In the beginning of April, we attended homeschool day at the Dallas Zoo. We have gone to the homeschool day at the Fort Worth Zoo the past couple of years and wanted to switch it up. It was AWESOME!!

They had educational booths set up and a scavenger hunt that was very educational.

These guys were rock stars at the animal classification booth! Madison had a blast! 

Madison LOVED feeding the birds!
She made a ‘seed bomb.’


And rode on a pony.
Fed a giraffe.

She loved the Dallas Arboretum booth and is very excited for their upcoming homeschool day!

The bald eagles were beautiful!

  The highlight for Madison was the Hillcrest Foundation Nature Exchange at the zoo. She brought her items in and traded them for some very special treasures. She also saved points for her next visit. The gentleman who helped her was full of knowledge. He scraped off one of her rocks and showed it to her under the microscope that was attached to a screen on the wall. He also showed her the reaction when he put acid on one of her other rocks and why. She learned so much from him in a short period of time. I was amazed!


Madison’s treasures that she traded her items for.

   Madison also enjoyed her Spring nature science class at LLELA. I am grateful for all of the wonderful homeschool programs in our area!
As for curriculum, I was struggling with finding an ‘outline’ to go by since I have decided to piece together our curriculum. I have friends who use Ambleside Online and really like it. It looked really cool, but I haven’t been able to use a ‘Christian’ based curriculum, because we are Catholic and there are some defining differences. Then it hit me. (I’m not sure why it took so long.) I googled and found a Charlotte Mason based site called Mater Amabilis that is for Catholics! It was a very exciting moment. I am not going to follow it directly, but it is an excellent resource. I will outline exactly what we are doing in my next post.


Support and EncouragementĀ 

It’s amazing how support and encouragement can mean so much. It means just as much from those that ‘get it’ as it does from those that may not, but genuinely want to support you and your child regardless.

I have been blessed by total strangers whom I have become close with, that understand from the Raising PoppiesĀ group on Facebook,Ā but I am also blessed by those who I call friends in ‘real life’ for supporting us. I can’t even express in words how much it means.

See, when you have a child who you are proud of that succeeds, you want to shout it out to the world!

If it is sports related it is acceptable. I have also found that if it is art or music related that it accepted as well.

But, if it is academically related then it isn’t supported as well. It is considered bragging.

Madison learned early on how to ‘fit in.’ I also have noticed that she can be herself around those she truly trusts.

Sometimes in life you can pretend and play along to be accepted, but to be liked for who you are and to be able to be yourself is priceless.

I know that friendships are important to my daughter. I have walked on eggshells to ensure that she would have the friendships that she wanted to have. However, things are becoming clearer for her.

She is grateful for the close friendships that she has. She is learning they won’t always be perfect and that it is ok.

But the most important thing that she is learning is that genuine friendships are hard to come by and that you cannot take them fore granted. They are the diamond in the rough and that you cherish them.

Sometimes I wish it was easier for her and for me. If she were normal, we would totally fit and it wouldn’t be hard.

But it’s not. And everyone doesn’t understand. And it’s hard and it hurts. It really hurts. It’s lonely. Very lonely.

But, it brings more appreciation to those who do understand and to those that don’t, but love Madison for who she is.

That is a blessing in itself and one that is truly cherished.

What does this teach me? What do I take away from this experience? To love everyone’s children for who they are and to embrace them regardless of their strengths and weaknesses. To support all parents, regardless of their success and Ā struggles, because we all have them. We are all in the same place. We all need support each other in one way or another. We should never judge.


Family is so important. But, unfortunately some don’t realize what the true definition of family means. There are apparently different definitions for everyone.

So I am going to base this post off of what family means to me. What I was taught and what I believe in and what I instill in my children. 

Unconditional love. Not narcism.  Family is what you can do for others. Not what you do that makes you feel good about yourself. 

Family is truly loving someone for who they are and wanting to be part of their life no matter what. Not judging them. Loving them. Respecting them, even if you don’t understand them. 

I’m my opinion, anyone who judges someone is not a true Christian, because it is not their place to do so. They if they do judge,  they are only self-righteous and selfish. 

You only have one shot at your time on Earth which was given to you by sacrifice. Why would you spend that time judging others because they are not just like you?!

Why would you not love them unconditionally for who they are? 

If you do not, you are essentially a hypocrite. 

Loving family should not be hard. It should be innate. ‘Your way is the the right way’  is not the only way and is a self righteous view. One that is not true and that will not rise above in the end. 

I’m in a HurryĀ 

I debated if I should write another post that is based off a song since it’s kind of cheesy, but then I realized it’s a phase I’m in and so I hope everyone can bear with me. šŸ˜‚

Madison and I had a blast the other day listening to music and I decided to introduce her to Alabama because she’s lived in Texas since she was 18 months old and she should probably know a couple of country songs.

I had her listen to I’m in a Hurry (and I Don’t Know Why) by Alabama. After listening to it I told her it reminded me of her (and her self-set goals.) She gave me one of those looks with a smile…. I stopped in my tracks realizing that the song describes me too. And at that moment I realized we were a lot more alike than I had ever realized before. šŸ˜³

So this spurred some soul searching and is what lead me to the decision to homeschool with more living history books and hands on projects. My idea was that we would dig deeper and slow down and spend more time enjoying what we are learning instead of moving faster….

Well, it’s going very well, but it’s going a lot faster than I anticipated, because she loves it! That is great, except it also requires more planning on my part so I am going to have to make sure that I am always a step ahead. Ha! Regardless, this week was awesome and I hope it continues! I am sure it will slow down more when we start some projects.

I decided we would start with U.S. History. I went through all of the books we already own and categorized them in chronological order. Then I researched living history books. The majority of the additional books I chose came from 123Homeschool4me.

I decided to start at 1585. Madison hasn’t been too interested in the time period of exploration, so I will revisit it later.

We do have some overlap with the books I chose, but between them all we are getting a great amount of information and so far she doesn’t seem to mind…

I am reading to her out of two books throughout our U.S. History journey.

The first, is The American Story: 100 True Tales of American History by Jennifer Armstrong. I will give it the acronym of TAS.

The second, is We Were There, Too! Young People in U.S. History by Phillip Hoose. I will give this one the acronym WWTT.

We started out with me reading The First City and People of the Longhouse outloud from TAS.

Then Madison read Who Was Queen Elizabeth? And You Wouldn’t Want to be an American Colonist!

I read The Lost Colony and Pocahontas of Virginia from TAS and Tom Savage: Living Two Lives from WWTT.

Then Madison read Blood on the River: Jamestown, 1607. She couldn’t put it down!

I am also reading to her out of Great Colonial America Projects You Can Build Yourself.

I am amazed by the Build it Yourself Series. After looking through The Great Colonial America book, I checked out all of the books from this publisher from our library to look through and ordered several on Amazon. It includes informational text, vocabulary with definitions and fun hands on projects. It was like striking gold!

She also read Colonial America: An Interactive History Adventure.

I read Saints and Strangers: Bound by Hope out of WWTT and The Wanderers out of TAS.

Madison read Dear America, A Journey to the New World. The Diary of Remember Patience Whipple. This series are books that are diaries of events throughout history written in the perspective of a 12 year old girl. They also have a version for boys as well.

We are continuing to read out of Great Colonial Projects and will start the projects next week.

Our other subjects are going great as well! Madison finished up Wordly Wise Book 4. She is on lesson 19 in Teaching Textbooks 7. She has mastered 3 digit by 3 digit multiplication and long division. She has memorized her speeches for speech and debate and is looking forward to the mock tournament on April 2nd. She continues to work on earning badges for American Heritage Girls everyday. She is in the 90’s for and will retest for spelling soon. 

She is learning Latin slowly and is continuing to move ahead in EPGY. We are working through the states using the Little Passports State packets we have. We are currently on Rhode Island and she remembers the capitals from each state we have covered off of the top of her head. She has 4 division facts to master in XtraMath and then she will have mastered all of her math facts. (Thank goodness!!!!) Madison also has taken up learning how to code on Kahn Academy and I ordered Science curriculum from Real Science Odyssey. Madison’s art teacher introduced her to Zentangle and it looks really cool! I ordered Madison a Kids Zentangle book and I can’t wait to get it.

Madison had a blast building a stick fort with friends at park play date this week. They used roots to tie the branches together! She loves all of her extra classes and activities she participates in throughout the week.

She is currently motivated and on top of her game. I am looking forward to summer camps so I can have some ‘me time’ to catch up on projects that I would like to complete around the house.

We were blessed to be given a trip to Disney World for our 10th Anniversary at the end of February/beginning of March, so we all enjoyed a week of a much needed vacation. Pictures to come!

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True Colors

I came across a song recently that I loved ‘back in the day.’ It really made think. It may seem very cheesy, but the song True Colors by Cyndi Lauper made me think of my daughters. 

We only have one shot at raising our children. Lately I have been making Madison do worksheets with our curriculum that she has already mastered. I tried getting her to read a book and she tried and didn’t want to. I asked her why she was making this hard and she told me that if she was learning something new that she’d read it, but that she already knew what was in the book.

I’ve already stated over and over again that she learns faster than I can keep up with on her own. It’s my job to provide her with the tools to do that. And when I fail to do that, I stop and revise. Again.

So, now I’m going to do that again. She’s young enough and far enough ahead that I feel I can.

We will continue with Nessy, teaching textbooks, Wordly wise and EPGY. The rest of her learning will come from reading books and hands on activities. Real life experiences. No more worksheets this year. No more needless repetion. 

We will dig deeper into what she is interested in. 

She’s made another jump that is beyond curriculum that I can find that isn’t common core and that she thrives doing, so we will pursue how she has always learned best. 

I am grateful for the support of my husband and my dad who ‘get it.’ I understand it’s hard for me to wrap my head around how she learns, let alone anyone else. I guess we’re fortunate she tests well. If she didn’t then I would really doubt the path we are going to take. 

I do trust my gut instinct and it’s funny how the memories that pop on Facebook remind me of the times I didn’t. The times I believed in those that thought they knew when they didn’t have a clue.  And I didn’t listen to my gut instinct at that time. This reinforces that I do truly know what is best for my child. I should know this by now without any reinforcement needed. There are many times I did not trust my gut instinct and the outcome was less than favorable. Especially when it came to the influence of others on my child. I will never make the same mistake twice. 

I will say that this time when I decided to change things up, it was much easier. 

I am SO grateful for those who told me in the beginning that things would change, and I would need to adapt and that was ok and normal. God bless them. I count my blessings for their words everyday. They have no idea how much they have impacted our homeschool journey in such a positive way. 

My main goal in homeschooling is that my daughter loves to learn and is happy. Regardless of her level or test scores, if I achieve those two things I have succeeded. ā¤ļø

Unidentified Gifted ChildrenĀ 

What happens to unidentified gifted children when they become adults? What happens when they donā€™t understand why they are different? Why they canā€™t identify with their peers? Why they ā€¦

Source: Unidentified Gifted ChildrenĀ 

Caring for My Environment

Madison is working on her Caring for My Environment badge today for American Heritage Girls. She took a hike and picked up trash along the way. Many of the items were recyclable so she placed them in our recycle bin when we got home.

Madison would also like to encourage everyone to recycle at home. She made this poster to share her message.


It is important to take care of our environment so that it is a beautiful place to live for generations to come!



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