Trees of Transition

Planting seeds of hope throughout our world through sharing photography and thoughts on teaching, cooking, and life transitions.


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Bittersweet Shift

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The word to describe yesterday would be bittersweet: In the morning, the reality of my Dad possibly passing away soon hit home. I’m thankful for tears and the release they bring. Then I switched gears to party preparations for a party for my fiancĂ© passing a huge test that advances his career. I went over to his house, turned on a funny movie and got chopping: white chili, finished the red chili, fruit salsa… Continue reading

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Hope’s Swirls

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My family is going through a hard time with my Father’s health, and yesterday making this lemon pie calmed me down. Dad had wanted a piece the day before, so I took it to him. He was not up for eating any, but I’m glad I did it. Our family could use your prayers right now. Growing old is a hard transition, especially if a person hopes they will just be fine until they die.
Here’s a few more things that have been life-giving these days: Continue reading


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Nurturing A Little Tree Hugger

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This afternoon my 22-month old nephew and I were hugging the maple tree out back! I just touched the tree, then started hugging it and showed my nephew how, and he did it several times. (He loves hugging his dog, so why not the tree too?!?)

How can we help kids enjoy nature from the time they start walking:
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Through High School or to Traditional High School? That is a Homeschooling Gray Question

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Homeschooling’s Black, White, and Gray Series 1 Episode 5

Pushing through streams of United States high school students is a cultural experience. In a private school it looks like masses of dark blue uniformed students, arms full of books, trying to get to class on time. The girls are in pleated skirts, trying to get away with having them as short as possible, batting their eyes at the boys as they pass. The boys are trying to keep their football gear on top of the locker, and random students are trying to get their backpack out from behind the lockers. Voices, elbows, and weaving through the people to get to class on time makes up those four minute passing periods. The important social issues (catch up with friends or smile at that cute boy) at school tend to happen then or at lunch. The classes teach students more of the traditional subjects they need to know for life (or at least that is a goal; it’s up to the students if they get it). Does a child need to have this traditional “secondary school” experience to be able to function well in their society?

Of course, one can say the answer is “No,” because a child can learn how society functions through other experiences such as dance classes, sports teams, church groups, and other structured clubs.

The answer may be more gray than that: It depends on the child and what he or she needs in regards to learning styles and in regards to career goals.

Some children do best when surrounded with many other students. They lead the way in making up plays and group games when they are young, and become the student leaders in high school. Extroverted students do better (socially at least) when learning with other students around. If your high school student is more extroverted, considering placing them in a traditional school setting for high school could make them come alive! The people connections and the opportunities to work together will develop them and expand their world in a productive way.

On the other hand, if you have an introverted student on your hands, homeschool high school without a co-op or attending classes at a community college will be a self-paced, self-taught type of education, (depending on the curriculum and the parent’s familiarity with the subject.) Introverts can do better at home, but getting challenged to work in groups is a helpful life experience.
I had an introverted homeschool high school experience, and yes, I have some gaps from areas I wasn’t as interested in, so I didn’t push myself into them deeper, but the education was adequate. If I had known I wanted to be a high school English teacher early in high school, going to public school could have been helpful education.

The decision about going to a traditional high school should be made together with the student because for some careers, traditional high school would be a helpful training ground for going into that field. For example, I have been in the field of education the last five years. I have had some gaps in my knowledge of traditional schools and how students act that I would just know if I had attended traditional school, and knowing the social cues better would have been helpful to have. I’ve learned to fill in those gaps, but it has taken time and more energy than if I had just learned it by growing up through traditional school. (For example: How students are just at their worst for substitute teachers! And I don’t get this idea of trying to get by with the least amount of work possible. Don’t you want to learn?!?) If your homeschool student wants to go into a science field, it might be a good idea to look for a high school that has a more intense science focus or invest in laboratory instruments at your homeschool.

Encourage your student to explore different fields of interest and pick one that she or he loves, and then pick the education method that will help your child succeed the most in that field.

The answer to doing homeschool high school or not is a gray one that homeschool parents will have to think through and decide with their child’s best interest in mind.

By M. H. Campbell Copyright 2014


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He Calls Me “Mare-Me”

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Getting fired from my job sucked, but so much good has happened since then that I could gratefully say, “Thank you,” to those old bosses if I ever saw them again. Because of the flexibility of job hunting, I visited my brother, sister-in-law, and one year old nephew, Jack, about five times this fall. Since I’ve been around more, Jack recognizes me!

My sister-in-law told me, “He even recognizes you in photos! I showed him photos of family in a picture calendar, and when he saw your photo he said, ‘Mare-me!’ ” I even got to hear him quietly say it (he’s all boy, but sometimes he says his words very gently). This made my heart happy!

Seeing Jack’s smiles after he wakes up from a nap and having snugly time for a while is priceless. Seeing how he started talking and can say, “yes, no, ball, Mama, and Dada” so clearly now is amazing! He has been growing up, and I’ve been able to be around for parts of it. I got to be there during sleep training and going to all milk and no formula.

My sister-in-law is one of my heros–by how she delights in her job as a Mom, even though she is talented and could do other things, she chooses to nurture Jack, and can make some of the parts of motherhood that are very slow and hard, quite fun. She tickles her boy, loves him no matter what, and Jack is just blossoming!

I love seeing how my brother has so much fun with his boy, and Jack has great basketball skills for a one year old.

I can not put a price on these experiences–taking Jack to the apple orchard, celebrating Halloween with him, and making hand-print dough ornaments. The little guy that calls me “Mare-me” is such a gift.

By M. H. Campbell Copyright 2014

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I Appreciate How My Home School Mom Did This: Boomerang Learning (Especially on the Topic of Writing)

Home Schooling’s Black, White, and Gray Series 1, Episode 3

My Mom tells me that at age two I filled pages with squiggly lines because I already loved “writing.” My Mom modeled writing for me, and since her Mom was also a writer, the writing gift flowed down to me.
In our home school, Mom gave each of my siblings and I thick notebooks, which we decorated and turned into journals. This week I’ve been re-reading that journal, and it’s taken me back into the quiet home school life of when I was aged eight, nine, and ten.
I have journals that I started writing at age 8 and go to the present time. From about age 10 until age 25, I journaled about almost every day of those fifteen years, and I treasure those entries. Re-reading these journals gives me a stronger remembrance of my thoughts about being home-schooled, some of which I will share with you here and in future posts.
My Mom chose the type of parenting where she showed us how to do something (as much as she knew) and then, like releasing a boomerang, she let us go, and we would go out as far as we could, come back, touch base a bit more, and then go out farther the next time, eventually passing her skill level. With me she did this in the areas of sewing (she taught me how to use her sewing machine, and then let me sew!), cooking (I started helping her when I was two, and by age 12 I cooked a lot of our family’s meals), and writing. She still helps me with my writing at times, so we are still working together in that area. She catches mistakes and is an effective proofreader! The biggest thing my Mom has done as my writing teacher is being my encourager; she started when I was two and has never stopped.

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This is a drawing of my Dad chopping firewood from my first journal.

By M. H. Campbell Copyright 2014