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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To Buy or Not to Buy–Essential Items for a Baby Registry 


A friend (who loves simplicity and does not put up with clutter) gave me a list of essential items to have for taking care of a baby! 

I am 5-months pregnant, and I’m still figuring out what we need to get, so seeing this list is reassuring because it seems doable.

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Stop and Listen


Last night before we had a picnic with friends on the Biltmore Estate, they gave us a parenting tip that a wise nurse told them after their daughter was born:
“Listen to your child.”

This seems simple, but in our speedy culture, many people forget to do this; the child usually knows what he or she needs, and there will be much more peace  if we just stop and listen and help meet that need. 

I’m going to remember this to use with our Baby!

Have a peaceful evening.

-Mary Hope


Copyright 2017


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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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Fighter Pilot Dream Gets Queasy…

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Homeschooling’s Black, White, & Gray Series 1 Episode 9

The career guidance test question asked, “Would you like to be a fighter pilot?” My choices: Yes or No. I thought, “I would like to be a fighter pilot once at least…but I don’t want to kill anyone…” So I marked, “Yes.” This might have messed up the results of the career test a little bit, but it felt empowering to mark, “Yes!”

When I received the results back, they were helpful in thinking about my future. I still mainly wanted to be a wife and a mother, but it gave me more self-awareness. In traditional schools, you take aptitude tests to help you figure out your career, but in homeschool, it’s up to the parents or the students to go after taking these tests. It’s a good idea to take at least one career aptitude test.

My parents helped me sign up and take those tests. They didn’t make all of us kids take them, but if we showed interested, then we could. I took the Career Direct test (and it is still around: http://www.careerdirectonline.org/). My parents and I still laugh about my wanting to be a fighter pilot.

What did I want from being a fighter pilot? Adventure, seeing new sights, and speeding through the heavens comes to mind.

Last weekend I got a little taste of being just a regular pilot, and it was different than I thought…
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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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Gutsy Pioneers: Parents Who Home School Their Children

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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