Thursday, October 29, 2015

Celebrate Harvest Instead!

Let me encourage you to take your kids to this on Saturday! This is an awesome way to celebrate Harvest in a more positive way! This family is a Christian family that has a farm in Glendale Maryland. I love how they are using God's blessings to bless others!

Saturday, October 17, 2015


talking and playing with toys
playing in the rain
I have found that many people who visit the school use the name "haven" when describing it.  We in no way want to paint a picture that our school is this heavenly place where nothing wrong ever happens and all the students are saints.  However, it is a safe place.  The school community works hard to create a space where peace and harmony reign.  It has not been an easy process, but it is happening.  The students vary.  Some are advanced, some are behind, some are healthy, some have health challenges, some are cool, some are not, some are outgoing, some are shy, some have been bullied and....NONE have been THE bully (they're not allowed). We were blessed to receive a student this year with some  health challenges at just 5 years old.  A regular school was a scary option for his mom, so she brought him to our little space.  Then we have students who are just too advanced for the traditional program.  At our school they are not called nerds, but leaders.  They can go wherever their minds takes them.  If they want to complete Algebra I and II in the same year, then have at it!  I think the very nature of a democratic/free school allows for children to be whoever they are, however they are and within our school they can be that within a Biblical framework.  It's shocking to some when they first come.  An adjustment period usually has to take place, but the moment I see the new student use their words to express themselves and they begin to voice their opinions in a way that benefits the entire community, then I know growth is happening.  As I always say, "We do not live for ourselves, but for the good of the whole school community."

Saturday, October 3, 2015

A Very Broken System

Ok, so most of the stories of the students who come to school would make you cry. The terrible things they've gone through at the hands of students, teachers, and administration. All from different schools. All from different districts. Some public, some private. The story is the same. Many times moms crying in my office as they recount what their child has gone through. Many times moms and I up at night talking on the phone about the wounds I see. The thing is I didn't plan for this to be a school for the wounded. I just was trying to create a school that I wanted my kids, family and friends to be able to go to. Instead, I am seeing a consistent pattern within traditional schools that breaks my heart. For example, got a new student last week. Very sweet boy, but whenever he thought someone was trying to hurt him, he would retaliate physically even if the person
wasn't trying to hurt him. His mom kept sayin how non-violent he was. So a group of us (me and students) got together and we all talked. I made this statement, "I don't think John is mean, I just think that maybe he's been hurt so much that he feels he always has to protect himself." The boy puts his head down (he's 8) and says, "Yeah, I've been bullied so much, that I don't trust anyone." Then all the kids chime in with, "Me too! I've been bullied a lot too!" Then they proceed to show each other bruises and scars they got in school. After a while, I say, "Well, there is no bullying here. We don't have bullies here." A high school student walks by and says, "YEP! No bullies here!" I then say, "We may not always agree, and we may get upset with each other, but we do not bully here." A student is not the only kind of bully. A teacher who labels a child and refuses to help the child overcome their limitations is also a bully. Our school is not perfect. We are still growing and developing, but the goal is to be a safe place for every child to grow and be who God created them to be. I've heard stories of how black teachers often mistreat black boys...not just white teachers folks, but BLACK teachers. The struggle of the black boy is so prevalent. I see it! One student came to me with an IEP as being adhd when the only problem is that he never learned to read and his behavior was a way to mask it. So we have him in a class by himself for reading and writing and he loves it. Listen folks, I did not realize how bad it was at first. I've been a part of the system. I often saw things I did not like, but it has not been until I have stepped out of it and have begun to meet individual students from all of the surrounding counties (even
Montgomery county!) that I see something is HORRIBLY WRONG!! One more story: An 8th grader started on Monday. We noticed she would only interact with the 1st to 3rd graders. I pull her aside and I ask why she won't hang out with the older kids. She puts her head down and says, "Older girls are mean. They don't usually like me very much." She starts to cry and continues, "They would talk about me all the time." I ask her mother what's up and she says, "Girl if you only know the pain my child has gone through. The day before she started here she had an anxiety attack. We had to rush her to the emergency room. The hospital staff told us that they'd seen cases like this and they asked the girl if she had been bullied. The girl said she had." Why is going to school making kids have to go to an emergency room???!!! I'm sorry I'm going on and on folks. Please forgive me. But seriously!! Something is wrong!!! My school is too small to fix this. I can only have a small number in order to give each child the individual attention they need, but what can be done on a greater scale????? Schools public and private that follow the same old wack system of educating children have got to change. Something has to change and I so wish I knew how!!!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

A Support Group for Working Parents Who Homeschool

WHAT?! (Working Homeschooling and Thriving) meets tonight (THURSDAY, October 1) at the school.  If you are a working parent who also homeschools, please come and join our monthly support group!  7:00 pm at The Living Water School!