Trees of Transition

Comfort for people going through life transitions by sharing thoughts, photos, cards, and recipes.


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Learning Self-Concept

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The helpful book Teaching With Love and Logic by Jim Fay and David Funk has helped me understand myself and the students I work with greatly. Here are a few quotes:

“We respond to covert messages much more than we ever do to the overt” (Fay and Funk 126).

“The basic rule is: Unconditionally accept the worthy person, even while rejecting the questionable behavior” (Fay and Funk 129).

“Learning from consequences is a struggle that can cause pain, but surviving the struggle is a great self-concept builder. We learn that we are capable” (Fay and Funk 131).

How these authors mix stories with action steps on how to relate to students and manage people better makes me feel I can do this. Whether you are a teacher or parent or work with children somewhere, it is a helpful book.

It took me over a year to read this book through because it was helpful to read a bit, put it into practice, think about it for a time, and then get back to it. Now that I’ve finished it, I get to loan it to friends who have seen me reading it, but I’m so thankful for the self-awareness it taught me.

Check it out!

By M. H. Campbell

Copyright 2015


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A Mother-Hen Hug

The students looked back and smiled when they saw me sitting in the back of Friday chapel time. Yesterday I attended worship at the school where I teacher assisted last year, and when I walked into the room where last years’ students were writing, I got mobbed! “Miss Campbell!!”

A red-headed girl got up first, threw her arms around my waist, then a boy, and in the end probably 17 kids were all around me hugging me and each other. Arms interlocked, jumping, hugging happiness expressed through smiles and saying the words, “Miss Campbell!!” with such joy. This brought more healing to my heart. I have taught students well, and will teach them again.

Picture a mother hen surrounded by her many chicks. The teacher soon had the kids back in their seats, writing again, and I stopped and talked with the kids at each table. Their bright eyes bring happiness, and it was so satisfying to see the progress they are making. Investing in children’s lives is SO worth it!

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This is an example of an Aunty hug 🙂

By M. H. Campbell Copyright 2014


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Gutsy Pioneers: Parents Who Home School Their Children

Prairie Path.3.26.12

Home Schooling’s Black, White, and Gray: A Series on Home Schooling and Life-Long Learners  Series I Episode II

Home school parents are a unique breed; they are similar to people who choose to be missionaries. It’s a strength of will, a vision for their children and the people they desire to influence; it’s a pioneer spirit.

The pioneer mindset means that these people are willing to start something new and blaze a trail across the plains where no one has gone before. It takes guts to start something new, to start a whole school system that educates children for life! From growing up in a home schooled family, and from other observations, many home school parents don’t have a huge strategy for education with benchmarks, objectives, and goals. (Having all this structure is an advantage of public and other established schools.) What home schools do have are parents who desire to deeply influence their children’s beliefs, passions, and hopes, and by teaching the kids at home, the parents have that chance.

People may say to these parents, “Doesn’t it seem a bit presumptuous to assume you know what your child needs to know to succeed in life?” Well, a parent WOULD (or at least should) know the most about that child and what is best for them, right? Yes, having other adults positively influencing their children is important, but if the parents are healthy, wise adults, they can teach their children much of what is needed to live a successful life.

Sceptics may think: Aren’t these parents arrogant in going against the established school systems and starting their own educational institution? Well, WHO started all those established schools? Schools are started by people with vision, strength, and a desire to mold children into who they are created to be. Home school parents have that same vision as the famous educational leaders, such as John Dewey, of imprinting beliefs and molding the hearts and lives of children. Home school parents are reformers who start the reforming in their own families; they desire change and influence and invest in the humans they are supposed to invest in the most: their children.

I had the advantage of being home schooled from Kindergarten through high school, and then I’ve been trained as a certified secondary English teacher and have worked in public and private schools for the last six years. I see the advantages and disadvantages of home schooling and traditional schooling; throughout this series I will be talking about both.

I received an adequate home school education from two pioneers: Anne and Rick Campbell. Recently I interviewed my parents to hear again why they chose to home school their four children. When asked, “Why did you home school your children?” my Mom answered: “We learned about the idea from Dr. Dobson and Focus on the Family. And then God told us to do it, so we did.”

My Dad’s answer to “Why did you home school your children?” was: “Because educators were withdrawing prayer and the Bible from public schools. It was important in my life, and I wanted it to be important in your life.” I had thought it was because they wanted to teach us the Bible as part of our education, and that was part of their reason (and out in the country there were no private schools nearby). I love the Bible, so my parents accomplished their main goal of Campbell Christian Academy.

Home school families are pioneers, especially back in the 1980s when home schooling was less common. I am glad my parents chose to home school me; my up-bringing had more of a pioneer-flavor than most with living on a farm with sheep to care for and vegetables to raise, but that’s another story for another time.

If you are on the fence about if you should home school your children, ask yourself, “What vision do I have for my children? Will teaching them at home help bring about that vision?” Only you know the answer, but if you have the guts to grab your straw hat and shot gun and head off toward the west, you are probably one of those gutsy pioneers that will greatly influence the world.

By M. H. Campbell   Copyright 2014


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Series I Episode I: Beginning with Forgiveness and Thankfulness

Home Schooling’s Black, White, and Gray: A Series on Home Schooling and Life-Long Learners 

Series 1 Episode 1

Most junior high girls like to giggle about boys and lay out at a pool party, but not me. I didn’t know what it felt like to have crush until I was fifteen, and I wasn’t crazy about being in a bathing suit. At one pool party I attended in junior high, I splashed with the girls for a while, but then picked strawberries for an hour because the hostess offered strawberries to anyone who wanted to pick them. I baked some amazing fresh strawberry pie with those berries. I treasure the freedom and creativity being home schooled gave me, but it did not make me normal. But why should I be normal?!

Home schooling has a lot of white, but there is black as well, and some gray. Through this series of blog posts, I will be looking at the mediocre, the ugly, and the beautiful parts of home schooling. I do not mean to step on anybody’s toes, but I need to be honest and truthful. Being lovingly honest can bring healthy change; I desire to bring life through my writing.

Educating humans to be what they were created to be is a life passion of mine. I believe in giving students the freedom and structure needed to develop into healthy, robust, loving adults who will do more in the world than I ever will! Home schooling is one method of doing this, but it may not be the best pathway for all children; that is up to the parents and children to explore. However, home schooling molds students into people who may be more in-tune and willing to stand up for their uniqueness in this world full of cliques and conformity.

After attending traditional college, I came home and went through a time of evaluation and sadness. I let myself admit that being home schooled wasn’t perfect; I admitted that there were some dark-sides to home schooling. Since then I’ve worked through most of the anger I had once I realized some of the unhealthy parts of home schooling and have come into a time of acceptance and challenge.

Recently one morning while walking down a gravel road in Lincoln Marsh, it hit me: I CAN graciously critique home schooling, but I must begin with a confession of forgiveness and of thankfulness.

I forgive my parents for the gaps I had in my education; they did the best they could with the resources they had. No school is perfect. Period. Even home schools. I am so thankful for the faith and freedom they instilled in me. I learned how to learn, so I get to fill in those gaps now!

I thank my parents for sacrificing so much time and energy to pour into me and my siblings. My Mom has a Masters of Education and a Masters of Divinity, so she WAS qualified to home school me and my siblings. She could have done many other activities, but she desired to have the Bible be central to our education, so that’s what she did. I thank my grandparents for funding many textbook purchases and encouraging us in whatever creative project we were working on when they stopped by, be it comic books or silly children’s stories.

Thankful is where I am at in regarding my upbringing. Thankful for so much individualized love and nurture that my parents poured onto me. Thank you, Mom and Dad.

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Copyright 2014 By M. H. Campbell

 


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Adjusting to Expectations: Why some people seem to “have it” and can managing kids well…and others are still developing that skill!

School has been in session for over a week, and it’s amazing to behold how fast children learn. Students are learning subjects, such as the continents in social studies, but they are also learning how they should act in the classroom.

Recently I was reading a Boundaries book by Dr. Cloud and Dr. Townsend, and I can sum up one section of what they were talking about through saying, “You get what you tolerate.” In this context they were talking about dating, but I’ve been thinking about it in regards to the classroom.

I’m noticing that students need affirmation and want to please adults who give them authentic praise, and we do get what we tolerate! If we let students be disrespectful, they well be.

My fellow teachers and I expect the students to listen to us the first time, we praise them when they do it, and if they choose not to listen, we don’t let them get away with it (through either correcting them or giving them a consequence for their actions). No one likes getting threatened or shouted at, and those actions do not foster lasting change. Lasting change comes from relationship.

I had thought it was just some people had more charisma and authority than others and could manage students better, but everyone can learn the skills of having high expectations, keeping people accountable for their actions, and giving positive reinforcement! It just takes having the courage to be consistent with your standards, confront negative behavior quickly, and knowing when to reward and encourage.

Yesterday a student that has had trouble keeping control of his body showed me how he was changing: Another student had forgot to bring a spoon in order to eat the meal her parents had sent. The boy offered the other student one of the spoons he had brought for himself. Seeing this action showed that this student was living up to higher expectations!

Prairie Path.3.26.12


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“This Made My Month!”

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At the zoo camp I led this summer, a four-year-old drew a picture of what she liked best from that day when we talked about birds. We had met a zoo keeper with Echo, a great horned owl, and this four-year-old had sat way off to the side, but during the question time she asked questions. As I surveyed the kids drawings as they were finishing up, I asked the four-year-old about her picture of a person with a bird: “Is that you?” She answered, “No, it’s the lady with the bird!” (The zookeeper with Echo–and as I looked I could recognize that it was that zookeeper with red hair and the owl had big eyes just like Echo). Her simple drawing brought a smile to my lips. I snapped a photo of the drawing on my phone, and I tracked down the zookeeper after camp to show it to her. Her eyes lit up when she saw the portrait of herself with the bird she trains. She said, “This made my day, no, my month!!”

I didn’t know showing someone a photo could make her so happy. The picture made me smile when I saw it because of the whimsical lines that captured a section of reality. The picture showed the zookeeper and me that this four-year-old had learned something. We had passed along some knowledge. At the end of the camp when we asked the four-year-old what her favorite animal at the zoo was, she answered, “The owl!”