Episode 35- Transitioning from Public School to Homeschool

Thinking about homeschooling? Or maybe you started homeschooling recently after pulling your kids out of public/private school. Maybe you are wondering if your transition is natural or you feel alone? Lori and Kathleen talk about their experience with the transition, such as leaving behind old ideas about what education really is. Grab a cup of coffee and join us for this episode that was listener requested!

Episode 35 (2)

Untitled design (1)

Untitled design (2)

Show notes:

I met Lori at the Mom’s Tea I hosted once a week where we drank coffee and cried. This was a place where Moms could talk about what was going on in their lives. We mostly said, “me too”.We did studies together, but often went off on tangents.

The lessons: Everyone needs a support system.

It’s okay to cry.

Find someone who has been homeschooling for a while.

Your ideas about what education looks like may change.

One of the myths about homeschooling is that your kids will always love it.

You don’t have to replicate the public school.

What’s your Homeschool Style?

Don’t go to a curriculum fair alone! Go with a seasoned homeschooler!

Find out what your child needs and then base your choices on him, not what everyone tells you is the best.

It’s okay to go back to the beginning and teach foundational things that your kids missed.

Find your own family style and personality.

Don’t get stuck in the comparison trap!

Get your kids asking questions!


Why should you sign up for ETC Parent Training?

Empowered to Connect, Dr. Karyn Purvis, Dr. David Cross, trust based parenting, these are not household terms in Wild Wonderful West Virginia. In fact, many adoptive/foster families have never heard of any of these terms, so it’s not surprising when I ask adoptive/foster families if they want to sign up for ETC Parent Training, they look at me as if I have three heads. I would too. Why should anyone sign up for parent training when they are already a parent and have been for quite awhile. Why plop down money for books and set aside time for homework in an already chocked full schedule?

When Mom came home and told us five kids we were moving to a farmhouse in the country, I constructed a mental picture in my head based on the Waltons. A large white farm house on the top a hill. When we pulled up to the tri colored, mustard, blue and red boxy, dilapidated structure with the overgrown yard, my illusions were shattered. the house boasted a Pepto- Bismol pink mantle and layers of faded wallpaper, not my ideal. My mother saw something we kids didn’t. Beauty. Value. Potential. she saw the eighty acres as a refuge. My mom believed in restoration. Now, I do too, and if you adopt/foster, you’re a family builder.

My parents knew the value of hardwood floors, the hundred year old construction and the fresh air for growing children and veggie gardens. Mom took our family habits and government and sifted through it. Some stuff got chucked, like the television, other things were added, family devotions around the oval oak table. It was a new way of living.

What’s the point of this wordy meandering? Adoption/fostering is like the farmhouse family journey. We believe it will be a certain way. We have expectations. We have as set of parenting beliefs that don’t work with children who have had trauma. They’re like those layers of wallpaper, we have to peel them back, examine them under the light of our current circumstances and determine what our goal is.

When my family moved to the farmhouse, Mom had a set of goals. In order to meet those goals, she had to make some changes. We adoptive/foster families need to do the same. Those layers of wallpaper may be our child’s past or our own. We need to peel them back and work on restructuring.


Traditional parenting doesn’t work with these kiddos. Just like the lifestyle Mom wanted to leave behind, we need to be willing to leave our suppositions behind. Punishment doesn’t work. Yelling just breeds anger. Time-out backfires. Logical consequences fall flat.

If you are reading this and you see yourself or your child you should consider ETC parent training. Maybe you’ve tried everything and your child’s behaviors are spiraling out of control. Or maybe he is well behaved, but distant, there is no connection, you feel as if you are just going through the motions. Your vision of that wonderful parent/child relationship has turned Pepto-Bismol pink. Do you feel as if you have lost the parenting gene? Probably not. What you may need is a reshuffling and restructuring of your parenting theory. I did.

2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. -Romans 12:2

We parents must renew our minds and our families will be transformed. We must have tools that work. If you don’t want to keep fighting the same battles and making no progress. I understand. Been there. Done that. Then I studied, learned and renewed my mind. ETC Parent training is taught by regular ole adoptive/foster parents like me who have lived it, tired it and found success, not perfection. We are in the trenches with you. You won’t just learn some theory from some lofty perch. ETC training gives you twenty-five tools to use help your child (and you) connect, grow and heal. It is an investment, not just another sharpie mark on the calendar.

If you are interested, contact Kathleen Guire by emailing PositiveAdoption@gmail.com.

Want to know more about the training? Click here.


Should You Attend the Empowered to Connect Conference?

Remember that old commercial, “Silly Rabbit, Trix are for kids!” That rabbit never gives up, he keeps trying to capture his share of the sugary cereal.

That’s the same scenario that plays out when people see the banner, post or tweet about the Show Hope’s Empowered to Connect Conference (April 8th and 9th) They think, “Silly me, that conference is for foster and adoptive parents!” It’s not just for for adoptive/foster families. It may be for you:


If you counsel  families and children….


If you are a teacher…

If you are a judge….

If you are a psychologist, teacher, therapist, have a special needs child, have a specialization in child development, work with children on the spectrum or work with children on a daily basis, this conference is for YOU.

If you are scratching your head, wondering what T.B.R.I. (Trust Based Relational Intervention), watch this intro video and share!

If you are interested in attending the Show Hope Empowered to Connect Simulcast and you live in the Fairmont, Clarksburg, Bridgeport, Morgantown (WV) area, you can find more info here. If you would like to attend and live elsewhere, click here to find a location near you. Hope to see you April 8th and 9th at the Empowered to Connect Conference!

*For CEUS, make sure you register here. This is a separate registration than regular attendance and MUST be done online.

Why Read Aloud? (part four)


I’ve been doing a series on Wednesdays entitled  Why Read Aloud? If you missed any of the series, you can start here.

We learn about relationships through literature

All the World

I assigned the high school Shakespeare book club I host an essay writing assignment, Why is Shakespeare still relevant today? We read some of the papers aloud last Friday and they are amazing. Each is diverse and unique and answers the question according to the writer’s personality. There were comparisons between Julius Caesar and The Walking Dead (a zombie show) and references to young teen love and respect of parents (Romeo and Juliet), “off with his head” (Alice in Wonderland, but actually first in Richard III), brothers banishing siblings (As You Like It)and morals and values through thought provoking passages. I could go on, but the common theme? The problems Shakespeare addressed concerning relationships are the same problems we face today.

“I believe that Shakespeare is as relevant today as when he was writing. To begin with, his topics and themes are based on circumstances and events that happen in the modern world. Shakespeare’s dramas and comedies center around love-triangles, brother-to-brother fights, children and parents disagreeing, quarrels between religious sects, and friendship. Everyone around the world today has at least heard of one of these or themselves been involved. It can be beneficial to a reader of Shakespeare to discover how the characters handle their situation. Elanor Roosevelt once said: “Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself.””- Mary Grace Tillman (Shakespeare book club student)

Wouldn’t you rather learn or have your children learn about young teen love and the disastrous outcome of not being obedient by reading Romeo and Juliet by Shakespeare, Kristin Lavransdatter, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, or fill in the blank?  Each one my students recognized the lessons on relationships in the Shakespeare plays so I am sure they apply the same sort of thought and study to other sorts of literature they are reading. Isn’t that wonderful?  If we could glean even one lesson about relationships from literature, wouldn’t that help us? Wouldn’t it help your children to learn about relationships from reading a book instead of Mom and Dad preaching it to them day and night?

One of my favorite books when I was young was The Secret Garden. I loved watching Mary change from a spoiled little girl to one who had empathy for her cousin, Colin. Her character changed. She put the needs of her cousin above her own and with a bit of earth helped him have hope for the future. Because of that hope, determination and fresh air, he was able to walk to his Father and another relationship was restored.

It is important to read aloud, listen to audio books or at the very least discuss literature in order for these lessons to be discovered. Reading a chapter in which the main character makes a choice that gives him negative consequences is not enough. It can quickly be drowned out by daily activities and be forgotten, yet if it is discussed and applies to life, it will more likely be remembered.

I love A Jane Austen Education:How Six Novels Taught me About Love, Friendship and The Things That Really Matter by  William Deresiewicz. Here is a man who took  that to heart and hammered out the lessons he learned on paper for everyone else to partake of.

What is your favorite book concerning relationships? What did it teach you?

“It is not time or opportunity that is to determine intimacy;—it is disposition alone. Seven years would be insufficient to make some people acquainted with each other, and seven days are more than enough for others.”
Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility

Make sure you check out this wonderful resource- The Reader and The Book. So many wonderful reviews available at your finger tips, so if you are just getting started reading aloud, you have some wisdom to glean from. I jumped around the site a bit and I was pleased to see so many children’s books we own and love and the same goes for the adult selection of reviews.

Linking up with Kristin Hill Taylor for Three Word Wednesday. Join us!


Continuing Education and Fostering and Adopting

“How do you handle lying?”

“My son is stealing every day, what should I do?”

“My kid is so angry all the time, I can’t seem to get him on the right track!”

These are just some bits of conversations I have had with adoptive/foster parents. Kids getting kicked off the bus, suspended from school, kicked out of kid’s church. I could say, “Been there. Done that,” and sometimes I do, but that is not enough. Adoptive/Foster parents need real tried and true info to help them on their journey. We parents need to understand where the behavior is coming from, what’s going on inside the child’s brain, and what we can do to help foster attachment as well as moral and physical development.

What happened?

If you adopted a cute cuddly baby or toddler and he suddenly starts behaving in off the wall ways, you may be asking yourself, what have I gotten myself into and what happened? What did I do wrong? I used to ask myself this on a daily basis. When rotten behavior burgeoned its ugly head and morals seemed non existent, I cried, disciplined and when traditional parenting didn’t work, I delved into research. That doesn’t make me super woman. I am definitely not a super hero. What it did for me was bring me out of denial. I was denying that there was anything different between them and my bio kids because I felt like it meant I loved them less. It didn’t. That was a lie. The other lie that was difficult to battle was “you’re not being fair!” from the bio kids. I had to approach dealing with behaviors differently in my adopted children and it was evident that I was doing things differently. I wish there was a magic wand I could wave over my bio kid so they could understand I am parenting two different backgrounds, a set of kids from a secure foundation and another with no foundation of family. You can’t base fair on two different circumstances to begin with. It wasn’t fair that my adopted children had traumatic beginnings. Let me get back on track here, education is the key for parenting children from hard places.

A New Perspective.

Out with the old. In with the new. That is the perspective we must take in parenting children who have had trauma in their lives. Adopted/foster kids don’t come with a clean slate that we can write on. They come with a chalk board full of past. We must acknowledge that and focus on child rearing that meets them where they are, not where we expect them to be. For example, we expect an eight year old to act his age, yet if he has had a traumatic beginning, he may only have an emotional age of three or four. He may lie, because in his mind, he believes you will believe exactly what he tells you because his brain is only developed to the stage of a three year old. Four year olds think you only know what they tell you.

It’s a difficult thing, this re-shifting of parenting. It’s a bit easier if you think of your children as half their physical age and measure their brain development rather than their shoe size. If they have poor impulse control, they are using only the downstairs brain, it takes time and consistent parenting to help these kids move to the upstairs brain. Kids who have not had the opportunity to explore truth and fiction may struggle with the two, not matter their age.

Raising children from hard places helps me understand the portion of scripture referring to renewing my mind. When raising these children with cognitive dis-regulation due to early trauma, it takes a constant flow of education, a renewing of the mind in how to meet these kids where they are mentally, physically and spiritually.

. Check this video out for help in handling lying.


Gifting a set of tickets (non professional) for the Show Hope Empowered to Connect Simulcast today!  How do you enter? Share this post on Facebook and tag The Whole House (you must tag to be entered!) For more info on the simulcast including how to order tickets, find it here. Drawing at 9pm!

Linking up with these ladies:



Why Read Aloud? (part three)


Granddaughter Cecilia ran through the children’s section in Barnes and Noble and headed straight for the stuffed animals.

“Cecilia, honey, put that down, we are here to look at the books,” her daddy said as she picked up a stuffed animal.

She did and went straight for the shiny, big books with sparkles and Elmo on them. She went for the eye-candy and familiar characters. When it came time to leave the book store and the Grandparents (Jerry and I) were ready to make a purchase for her, we chose a book that her mama had loved, not one that she had picked.

One mistake parents make (guilty) is not introducing children to new read alouds. We let children direct the selection and what gets read aloud to them or purchased at the book store. This can backfire. The books, if not well written and illustrated are stale and boring. We parents can quickly assume that the child just doesn’t like books. That is usually not the case. The child just hasn’t been introduced to the proper diet of books.

The day after Jerry and I purchased Miss Suzy for Cecilia, Amerey texted me , “Cecilia loves the book, we read it three times last night and five times this morning already!”

We don’t let children make all the choices when it comes to their nutrition, why should we let them make all the choices when it comes to their literary diet? It’s okay to choose for them. They may not ALWAYS like the selection, but they will be introduced to some variety. In general, kids just don’t know what is available, so they go to the same thing over and over again, peanut butter and jelly or Elmo and Sesame Street.

If your child isn’t used to listening to anything being read aloud, be prepared for him not to last very long listening. Don’t take this as a sign that you should give up altogether. When you introduce a toddler to a new food, you don’t give up the first try, do you? It’s normal for a toddler to reject new foods and ask for the same foods every day, yet parents know to keep trying a variety. The same is true with literature. If you can get a child to sit still for a few pages of a book, do it, the next day add another page or try another genre of literature. Don’t give up!

There is no such thing as a child who hates to read; there are only children who have not found the right book. —Frank Serafini

Check out The Whole House tomorrow when I am gifting a set of couple’s tickets to the Empowered to Connect Simulcast held on April 8,9!

Book suggestion for today:

Linking up with Kristin Hill Taylor. Join us!


Why Read Aloud?


Why read aloud?

I’m (Kathleen) beginning a series on Wednesdays entitled “Why Read Aloud?” and I have a long list of topics beginning with seven reasons to read aloud (which may take seven posts). Audrey is posting about reading aloud on Tuesdays. Thanks for joining us!



Audrey, Amerey, Hunter, Jerry, Ania and I sat in the common room in the orphanage (Children’s Home) in Sulejow, Poland. The Guire family lived there for a month while we awaited the adoption of a sibling group of four. I pulled out our current read aloud, Johnny Tremain.

“I sat down to read with Audrey, Amerey and Hunter. Jerry sat down with paper, markers and Ania. He made a giant ‘A’ on a piece of paper and showed it to her.

“This is an ‘A,’ Ania say ‘AAAAA.’”

She looked at the pretty paper and the giant “A” and dutifully repeated, “AAAAA.”

Jerry drew a beautiful red apple. He showed Ania the picture, “Ania, this is an apple. Apple begins with A.”

Ania admired the beautiful apple by examining it from two inches away, tilting her pumpkin head down as if it were weighted, then she leaned back and repeated, “AAAAAAA,” more reverently than the first time.   

She adjusted her okulary (glasses) and pulled up her jumper and tights with one squeaky, grunting, heaving motion as Tata Jerry made dotted lines on the paper. He then showed her the “A is for apple” paper a third time and pointed out the strange lines, “This is how you make an ‘A,’ Ania, see?”

“AAAA,”  Ania replied as she appraised the paper again.

“You can make an A like this,” Jerry inserted the pencil in her hand and guided her tracing effort.  Her nose grazed the page, her ponytails painted the paper as she strained to focus and control her chunky hand. A wobbly letter ‘A’ remained on the paper when she raised her head.

She regarded it proudly as she repeated, “AAAA.” Jerry leapt from his seat to share his earth-shattering success with me.

“Ania just learned an ‘A,’” he reported joyfully, “I think I’ll teach her the color red now.”  He turned to gaze at his star pupil, who had magically produced her brand new kindergarten safety scissors and chopped the “A is for apple” page to bits!

“Pocosch, Tata!” she yelled. She smiled at her pile of bits of red apple paper, “Di me carton, Tata!” [Give me paper, Daddy!]. And so, Ania’s American education began, one bit of colored paper at a time. “- Positive Adoption; A Memoir


  1. We learn the language from hearing the language

Ania didn’t speak English and the Guire family spoke some rudimentary phrases in Polish with a great deal of assistance from our interpreter. She was being introduced to English on letter at a time and through listening to the read aloud. In the evenings, we did round two of read alouds with all the children. Gregory’s favorite was How the Grinch Stole Christmas, we listened to it over until he began to repeat phrases.

Reading aloud is a great way to learn a new language, but it is also how we learn our native language. We learn a turn of a phrase, context, vocabulary and all through hearing the written word.  Reading aloud activates the brain.


“Children whose parents reported more reading at home and more books in the home showed significantly greater activation of brain areas in a region of the left hemisphere called the parietal-temporal-occipital association cortex. This brain area is “a watershed region, all about multisensory integration, integrating sound and then visual stimulation,” said the lead author, Dr. John S. Hutton, a clinical research fellow at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.” –www.blackenterprise.com


The brain is being activated in the left hemisphere, it is logical, literal (it likes words), and linear (it puts things in sequence and order) ( Read The Whole Brain Child for more info on this).

When a child hears more sophisticated language then he can speak, it stimulates the left hemisphere of the brain. His vocabulary grows. The more he hears, the more he knows.

Since children acquire language primarily through the ear, the words they hear are central to their ability to understand and use words in speech and create meaning from words in print. If children don’t regularly hear new words in new contexts, they will not be able to add them to their mental storehouse of words. Moreover, children will be limited in their abilities to read and write based on the number of words and language structures they have in their minds (Orr 2000). “-www.education.com

Why read aloud? To grow the left hemisphere of the brain, increase vocabulary, learn words in context, broaden verbal abilities and most of all, connect with your child (which also grows the brain, but that’s another post). So, grab a book, a comfy spot and read!

Reading suggestion for the day:


Linking up with Kristin Hill Taylor for Three Word Wednesday! Join us!




Adult Coloring Books or So I can think

I colored furiously, my crayon going back and forth and way out of the lines. I looked at my neighbor’s perfectly colored picture and broke down in tears. The teacher came back and knelt down next to me. “Kathleen, do you know how to color?” How to color? What? 

I was four years old. I didn’t know there were instructions in how to color. My parents were both educated people with  Masters and Doctorates between them. Our home was full of music, books and lots of discussion. Not much coloring. I had started school early at the finagling of my mama to stay with my sister (and Irish twin) eleven months my senior. My fine motor skills had not caught up with the five and six year olds in my class.

After a quick tutorial on how to color, kind teacher had another student proficient in the art give me a practice session in the hallway. I was amazed. Turns out, it was all about coloring in circles and outlining. I was hooked on coloring.

Fast Forward to adulthood and homeschooling my children:

When I began reading aloud to my children, I discovered a wonderful coloring resource- Dover Coloring books– which range from coloring wild flowers, Shakespeare scenes, history, nature, flags….you name it!


Adult coloring books are all the rage right now!  The Guire family isn’t following suit, but continuing on the path of coloring while we learn. Why should you color? Daughter Ania has been using her adult coloring book while listening to college lectures “so I can think,” she says.

Adult coloring 3

Why should children/adults color while listening to school lessons?

  1. Coloring gives the body something to do while the brain listens and relieves the stress of trying to pay attention.

“A lot of my fellow graduate classmates bring these coloring books into the classroom setting as a tool to focus more on lectures,” Citerella said, explaining that more professors are beginning to welcome this behavior. “For my internship, I find the clients who are fidgeting and cannot sit still ask for coloring the books in order to concentrate on group discussions”- Theresa Citerella, an art therapy student at Lesley University in Cambridge, Mass. (via The Therapeutic Science of Adult Coloring Books How This Childhood Pastime Helps Adult Relieve Stress)

2.  Coloring, given the right materials, reinforces what the student is learning.

Whatever you are studying, you can find a coloring book that relates to it. Studying the Civil War? Order some Dover coloring books on the subject. My girls love the fashions of the time while the boys appreciated the battle related books. Introducing your children to Shakespeare? Let them color some scenes from the well known plays while you read to them (I suggest starting with Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare for Children for an introduction to plot lines, I read from this to my high school Shakespeare book club before we read the actual play aloud). Here is a great coloring book to accompany the reading: 

Color in a Dover coloring book about the Civil War while reading about it! 

3. You (the teacher) do not have to keep stopping to tell your children/teens to stop fidgeting while you are reading.

If kids are coloring while you read, you probably won’t have to stop and tell them to sit still as often. This ties in with reason number one, but I think it needs its own point. We adults often expect children to sit still for long periods. I can’t. Right now, while typing this, I am getting fidgety. I want to go outside and walk because I have been working in a chair  for far too long. I schedule my days to include many moving around and getting the blood circulating times. Kids don’t know how to verbalize this need so they fidget.

Just a warning- make sure all of your colored pencils are sharpened before you start your lessons or you will be in competition with a pencil sharpener.

*Today The Whole House is giving away an adult coloring book to relieve some of your stress!

How do you enter? It’s simple. Share this post on Facebook and tag TheWholeHouse.  If you don’t do Facebook, just comment on this post to enter. Drawing a name from all who share at 9pm.

Make sure you join us tomorrow for a new series on feminism!

Happy New Year!

Happy new year! Thanks for joining me today for a short post!

I’m giving you a New Year’s gift, a  Kindle copy of Positive Adoption A Memoir (Click on the photo for more info on the book.)

book cover

And … inviting you to join me for an online book study of Positive Adoption A Memoir.  Join me for the seventeen week study  (one week per chapter) starting Monday, January 18 and ending Monday, May 9th. I will post the study questions on the group page Monday mornings. I will be available online to chat about them Monday evenings from 8:00-9:00, so don’t panic, it won’t take a big chunk of time. Just an hour a week or less if you choose. You are welcome to answer the questions at any time of the week or post on the page! So, pick up the gift today, the Kindle copy of Positive Adoption A Memoir !

How do you sign up? Just comment on the Positive Adoption Facebook Page and say “I would like to join the book study” I will invite you! Sign up today!  


Kathleen Guire