My Fitness

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Rae Stroud's Introductory Post

Hey Homeschool Family!

My name is Rae.  I'm the new membership director here at DCHSA.  Which basically means I am the one woman welcome wagon! ;-)  Essentially, the best job ever!  

I'm the product of a homeschool family.  That fact alone has the power to either encourage you greatly or terrify you immensely. ;-)

My family liked to travel, so homeschooling fit us perfectly!  Like a lot of homeschoolers, I went to college early and was done by 18.  Degrees/Certificates: Biology & Theology.  Which turns out, in the real world, translates into jobs you will love, with a salary you will not love.  Unless you enjoy living alone, eating poke salad for every meal, drinking tap water, & living in a van down by the river.  Then never mind, you will love it!  I say do it!

Things to know about me...
I'm Verbose (describe yourself in 1 word - that's mine... the struggle is real)
My memory is iffy at best.

-Books (cannot. help. myself.)
-Board games
-Farmers Markets
-My parents (the rest of my family too & in-laws...they all pretty much rock!)

Not loves:
-Laundry (we may or may not have a laundry pile that when separated looks like a mountain range that we affectionately refer to as "Mount Neverest" because it resembles a mountain and it never let's us rest)
-Cooking/baking (I do them out of necessity only)
-Finishing the last page of the last book in a series :-/  (Boo!)
-Commercials (Last year when my youngest turned 4 we had to shop at the "As seen on tv" store... for every gift :-/ Advertising genius' lodging them perfectly between educational programs)  which brings me to...
-Kinetic sand (To the best of my knowledge it exists solely to fill vacuum bags and leave reminders behind for days of all the "good times" you had playing with it... like "Fun" residue)

I am also very decisive.  For example, I firmly decided we would not have any pets... Therefore, we have 4 hermit crabs, 3 fat tailed geckos, 2 neighborhood cats, and 1,000,000 birds, whom are free to leave the yard but do not feel it necessary...  But then again, I also said I would never get married & I would never have children.  18 years of marriage & 3 kids later, there is strong testimony to my firm resolve.  Yep!  Once I make up my mind, it cannot be changed! ;-)   Solid as an oak... who turned into a rubber tree. :-/   

Funny how you think you have everything figured out as a teen and then God gets a hold of you and essentially saves you from yourself.  I remember honestly thinking as a teenager that if I ever would get married, I'd be a real catch!  In reality, turned out I was/am quite a fixer upper ;-) Yep!  I thought I was the most patient person in the world... and then I had children, whew!  Thought I didn't have any hot buttons, then we started homeschooling and I found evidence that I may be wrong on several of these previously held beliefs...  Experience changes you... homeschooling changes you...   

I remember being so enthusiastic! So excited! I got the Cathy Duffy '101 top picks' and dutifully filled out the quiz... I read about learning styles, teaching methods, educational philosophies, I researched, & researched some more.  I was ready!  My oldest son was 4.  I just knew he'd be reading in the '100 easy lessons'...  A year later, I remember feeling behind, panicked even,  when I caught a glimpse of a "Your baby can read" infomercial.  My son was 5.  Here,  we'd already tried the 100 easy lessons, which proved to be not easy at all.  We'd tried phonemic awareness drills, 'Ready, set, read!' and a multitude of other programs.  We had now moved on to hooked on phonics.   But after months we couldn't get past the yellow book and there was no interest in reading at all. 

 My good friend/neighbor and I had kids days apart and her son was practically reading better than I could and he was 5.  It was then, that I started learning my first lessons on the importance of not comparing your children with others, letting your children develop at their own pace, and chilling out!  I asked my friend if I could come over and if she would show me what she was doing, how she taught her son to read... she agreed... I  had convinced myself that the reason her son was reading was because she was a former school teacher and she was better equipped than I.  But as I sat in her kitchen, she pulled out the things she was doing, I realized that, in this case, it had nothing to do with method, nothing to do with the teacher, or the curriculum and everything to do with her son being ready.  She had taught her son to read from a book that cost 9.99, a set of Bob books, and a handmade chart...  No fancy curriculum, no flashy computer program...  I deflated sitting there as I realized that I had spent hundreds of dollars trying different methods, months and months beating myself up, convincing myself that I wasn't good enough, I was doing it wrong, and feeling a little defeated.  I walked home that day praying about what truth the Lord was trying to show me... That I was enough.  In fact, every bit of enough.  My son was smart.  Super duper smart!  It wasn't the curriculum, nor the method... it was simply me having to realize that some things are truly out of our control and maybe it was time to try the one thing I hadn't yet...  and that was to wait... 

I had read many books on learning/teaching to read.  I had consulted several moms I considered mentors in the field of homeschooling and over and over again they would say "Wait.  Just shelf it for awhile and pull it back out when he shows interest." For some reason that notion seemed unreasonable, irresponsible even.  But with nothing else left to try and for fear of damaging our relationship, I waited...  Until one day, 6 months later, I heard my son sitting on the couch talking away.  As I got closer I realized he was reading - the yellow book... all by himself!   YYYEEESSSSSS!!!!!  The elation I felt in that moment!  VICTORY!  All of those authors, those homeschool veterans, they were right!  Go figure!  I am so thankful to have learned that lesson early on. I am thankful for other Homeschool moms & dads who were willing to share experiences and wisdom.  I am not sure where I would be without others who were willing to support, willing to share, willing to advise, willing to open their homes and say  this is what worked for us, this is what didn't.  Reminding me constantly that every child is different and no one thing will work for every child or family. 

I suppose that is why when we moved here 2 years ago we launched a "FIND OUR PEOPLE" family campaign!  HA!  We were on a mission to find our new homeschool community, friends, support, and in a lot of ways, our new family.   It took us awhile but we found you!  We are so glad to be here, we are so thankful for the opportunity to get to know you all, and we genuinely hope we get to share in your homeschool journey as well!  See you all at the events!  

School on!  We're cheering for you!!! 

The Strouds
Zach, Rae, Bubba(12), Sissy (10), DaiseyMae (4)
DCHSA Membership Director(s)

If I could describe Rae in one word, I'd choose "Sunshine" because she always brightens the room.

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