SAL-VA-TION: by grace

E-LEV-EN: children from 1984 to 2006

HOME-SCHOOL-ING: since 1990

DOWN-SYN-DROME: susie and gabe

GRAND-CHILD-REN: since 2010

FAITH-FUL-NESS: my steadfast rock, my biggest supporter, my leader, my friend, my love, my husband

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

New "Young Earth" Theory

The debate goes on: Is the earth hundreds of billions of years old or is it thousands of years old? Lisa has her own opinion. Today she made a list of the names and ages of the important people in her world. They were listed in order of importance to her. The first five entries were--


Things for Mom to do with Lisa: 1) Study Bible history, including a time line; 2) Define and work on practicing meekness and humility; and, 3) Spend some quality mother/daughter time to boost my ratings.

No More Tears

Lisa's defense against onions.

I tried it the next night, it works.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Our "Celebrities"

Last Thursday, the Miner's Cup game (Michigan Tech vs. Northern Michigan) was nationally broadcast on CBS Sports (Keith had a 69 yard reception and touchdown that included "a stiff arm sandwich" as the announcer put it, and Chet made a QB sack to add to the excitement for friends watching it on TV). And yesterday our local paper ran a story on Keith and Chet. I've copied the entire story here--including photos (but I had to substitute one of our own photos of Chet in action since I didn't have access to the one used by the paper):

They are alike in so many ways.

They both were gridiron greats at Rhinelander High School. They both have went on to play and start for Michigan Tech. They both are upper-echelon mechanical engineering majors. The list could go on and on.

For the White brothers, Keith and Chet, there is so much in common that it leaves one to wonder if there is anything much different about them at all.

One difference is that Keith is an established star wide receiver for the No. 24 ranked team in Division 2, while Chet is just starting to make a name for himself as an up and coming redshirt freshman safety.

But what else is different about them?

“Of all the things, I’d say their demeanor is quite different,” Cindy White, the boys’ mother said.

She mentioned that their personalities are prototypical of the positions they play on the football field.

“Keith is more calculating, just like a wide receiver might be. He goes about his business quietly and is a methodical, pure-thinker about most things,” she said.

And Chet?

“Chet is just the opposite. He does things on the run and in more of a spur-of-the-moment fashion,” she said. “Very much like a defensive back, he reacts and analyzes things quickly.”


The Huskies are off to a 2-1 (3-1 overall)
record in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic conference (GLIAC). This includes a nationally-televised 47-21 road victory in front of 8,672 fans this past Thursday night against arch-rival Northern Michigan at the Superior Dome in Marquette, Mich.

They possess a very explosive offense, averaging over 38 points per game so far. Keith just happens to be a major cog in the Huskies offensive attack. Through four games, Keith has 26 catches for 449 yards (17.3 average) and a two scores. This includes a 67-yard bomb in the first half against NMU.

Husky head coach Tom Kearly knows a thing or two about offense. He is a former offensive coordinator from Central Michigan, a program that has yielded several NFL players.

“Keith has been a four-year starter here and has deserved every bit of it,” Kearly said. “I think coming into this year he was No. 7 on our all-time receiving list. Before he is done this year, he will easily crack the top five and already may be there.”

In 2007, Keith earned All-GLIAC honorable mention as a wideout. He also tied a school record with nine TD grabs on the season.

Kearly was also quick to mention Keith’s off-field attributes.

“He’s also a fabulous student,” Kearly said. “I’ll say this, there aren’t many athletes as good as Keith that can also be polished in the classroom like he is, too. He’s in that 3.8 to 3.9 GPA range, and, as an engineering student, that is really saying something.”

Throughout Keith’s college days, he has been a tremendous student. Last year, he was selected to ESPN the Magazine’s Academic All-District first-team and has been named to the GLIAC All-Academic team every year since he’s been in college.

In 2006, Keith gained the Omar LaJeunesse Scholastic Achievement Award for having the team’s highest GPA among non-freshmen.


Through four games, Chet has seven solo tackles, eight assists and three sacks. He has gradually gained playing time as the season has went on and is starting to make a name for himself.

“Unfortunately, one of our starting safeties injured his Achilles’ tendon pretty bad,” Chet said. “That enabled me to get more reps in practice with the No. 1 unit and has eventually led to more playing time. I’m just trying
to take advantage of my opportunity and help the team in whatever way that I can.”

While being a redshirt freshman takes much patience, it usually pays off in the long run.

“I knew that I was going to go through the redshirt process before I even got here,” Chet said. “It takes quite a bit of mental strength to be able to go through it. But I know that by the time I’m a senior, that extra year will pay dividends and then some.”

Chet explained the main difference of playing in college compared to his high school days with the Hodags.

“The speed up here is the first thing I noticed. It is just so much faster than at Rhinelander. Even though I was aware of that, the actual experience was an eye-opener.

Kearly likes what he has seen thus far in Chet.

“His learning curve has been tremendous,” he said. “He’s getting more playing time because of the injury and is our main nickel package guy, but it’s not by default –– he’s earned it. Before he’s done, I foresee him being the great player that Keith is now, provided his progress continues at its current rate. I see no reason why it won’t.”

And how is it to have a big brother on the team?

“Well, Keith kind of got me in the door here, but after that it was up to me to prove myself,” Chet said. “Then I had people that kept asking me, ‘Are you better than (Keith)?’

“That novelty wore off after not too long, and I knew I had to create my own identity.”

In most cases, a kid feels lucky to become a college football player. But, if all indications are correct, it appears it works the other way around in that Michigan Tech is lucky to have Keith and Chet White.

So, what is a "nickel package guy" anyway?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Homeschooling Young Children

This post is in response to naturalmomma from xanga who asked me to comment on her blog but I don't have a xanga account so I'm posting this instead. I hope you find this! Jen or Kara, if you know who I'm talking about (or anyone can contact her to get the message through) please direct her this way. I could do more research to make contact, but I'm in time saving mode as I try to juggle homeschooling my 8th grader, 6th grader, 4th grader, and 1st grader; do "special ed" with my 2 1/2 year old; interact with my four high school students; attend the games of my high school and college sons; keep up with Aunt Susie; try to fit in my friends and extended family members; and maintain a growing marital relationship. I need a few short cuts.

Dear Xanga momma,

My first piece of advice to you is to Keep It Simple! Homeschooling--especially in the early years, should be a joy. It should be fun, and easy, and intriguing, and it should NOT be work. I think the biggest mistake I've seen people make over the years is to overstructure themselves. They either rely too heavily on workbooks and guidebooks, or they tie themselves to a method that they feel they must stick to in order to make things work.

The real beauty of homeschooling is being able to do what works for you and for your child/children. My favorite example of a successful homeschooling experience is the story of "The Miracle Worker". Anne Sullivan taught Helen Keller about as successfully as anyone has ever been taught. She started with basic communication and learning about the world around her and progressed as she expressed an interest and had the capabilities.

I start with reading--only when they are ready. I had one child read at the age of three (taught by an older brother) and several who didn't begin learning to read at all until they were over six. I have a friend whose daughter wouldn't read until she was nine, but within a year (after she announced that she wanted to learn to read) she was reading at a high school level. Reading is not a chore. Reading is a delight. Kids need to know and feel that. I introduced reading (I use "How to Read in 100 Easy Lessons" and the Christian Light Academy readers--both heavy on phonics) at around the age of 5 if they showed an interest. We spend about 5 or 10 minutes on the reading if they're interested. If they want to go longer I may let them but always stop when they're not interested. Sometimes they say they want to continue but I can tell they've had it and I offer an alternative activity or just say we need to do more later. If they don't want to do it at all, we don't.

In the meantime, we spend time at the library picking out fiction and non-fiction books as well as nature videos or real life videos at a kid level. At home we read books together, talk about the stories, make up ideas of our own, watch the videos, maybe color pictures or build things from blocks or play outside or, just plain play. Often they're on their own playing nearby and I interact as I can or as they want me.

As they get a grasp on the reading I have them read the familiar words in the books that we read aloud together. I don't like them to get frustrated. If they struggle with a word I just tell them what it is. I may tell them 50 times, but I'd rather have them take 50 tries to get it and not be frustrated than only take 20 times telling them to "sound it out" and be in tears half the time.

Then we add writing, just a few minutes a day unless they really love it and want to write. I had one daughter who learned to read by writing. As her brothers did their writing she wanted to write and I would print a word for her to copy. After a few months of copying simple words she figured out the sounds and patterns on her own and was hungry to learn more. That's when we got the easy reader out. No program, no schedule, no tutorial, just living.

Finally, I get a math work book (I use Bob Jones for grades 1-3) and use it for reading practice--as I have them try to read the instructions--as well as beginning math skills. I also let them go at their own pace with this. I try to have them do one page (both sides) a day but if they want to do more they can or if they just don't want to or are struggling with it we put it away. Some days they love it, some days they're not interested. It's seemed to balance OK in the end. I had one guy who LOVED math and was in the 3rd grade book when he was only six. He could barely write his name, though. That skill just didn't come as early. He's now one of my neatest writers. I love letting them work at their own pace. I had an 8 year old who just got stuck in math and did not get it. We put the book away for 6 months and when we started it up again he was ready and figured it out.

That's about it. Until the age of around 10 (about 4th or 5th grade) this is how we do school. It is very informal, very self paced, and leaves a lot of room for individual interests and time for siblings and appointments and laundry and meals--all of which the children are involved in learning about as well. They learn to sweep and vaccuum the floors, clear and wipe the table, make their beds, pick up their rooms, sort the laundry, put away clean clothes, and help prepare meals. They learn to behave in public, help load and unload a grocery carts, buy a book of stamps, check in at an appointment desk, and ask for directions. We talk about what we do, not because a program tells us to, but because we're just communicating. When we rake leaves we talk about why they fall off the trees. We talk about the names of the seasons, we use the terms deciduous and coniferous. Once we raked up a sluggish garter snake (cold and still), trapped him in an old aquarium and put him in the sun and observed the difference in his behavior an hour later.

I figure that my job is to awaken their interest in the world around them, give them the basic tools they need to discover it, and then do it with them. I'm not too worried about them being "behind" at the age of 5 or 7 or 9. When someone tells me they're behind I usually ask them, "Behind who?". Someone will always be ahead of them.

Most of all, let your young children communicate. We've all suffered through a five year old's retelling of a story or movie and have wanted to hurry them along or tell them we already know it. But, the telling is a valuable step to communicative writing. It is also a very important way for a parent to tell their child that they're interested in them and want to hear about what excites them. Parents complain that their teenagers don't talk to them. Maybe it's because they started to shut them out years earlier.

That's kind of a nutshell version of what we do and how we do it. It's not perfect, I'm not perfect, and the kids aren't perfect, but I guess it's been successful for us 'cause after 19 years we're still going!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Detective Work

If you have a smelly closet and

1) you have tried using a deodorizor, without success; and
2) you have looked for hidden stinky shoes, but there aren't any; and
3) you have tried leaving the closet door open, but it doesn't help

then you might want to investigate the possibility that the culprit (i.e.possessor of the clothes in the closet) is actually hanging up their clothes at the end of the day instead of putting them in the hamper. Upon further inspection, you may find seventeen (that's 17) soiled shirts on hangers that are overpowering your feeble attempts to expel the unpleasant odor.

One load of laundry, one more problem solved.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

First Day of School

I sent four students off for their first day of high school this week, three of them heading to the school for the very first time--my three seniors Dana, Light, and Mendo and my "little" sophomore Troy.

They all came home happy with their schedules (after a little tweaking) and it turns out all four have the same lunch hour and Dana and Mendo even have the exact same schedule! Could that have anything to do with Dana's being punished by Mr. Lintereur for talking too much and having her desk put in the corner? Two years ago when he told me what a quiet, sweet girl she was I told him that he was really only half right. Senioritis has loosened her tongue.