Growing into Adulthood

by Dawn Oaks on October 15, 2014

Like most parents, Gary and I have desired that our children would grow into responsible and honorable adults.  We have not always known how to accomplish that and even now question if we are headed in the right direction, but have found guidance from listening to our instincts and gleaning from those that have gone before us.

When we have considered different areas of our life, we have found no example of consciously going backward in order to go forward.  When a baby learns to crawl, its next natural step is walking.  I have never seen a baby that has learned to crawl to voluntarily decide to just give up crawling to sit in a crib or baby carrier all day.  In looking at career development, I don’t think in the years that I worked in Corporate America that I ran into a manager that requested to go back to an entry level position before heading to the Senior V.P. Office.  That is why it seems so counter-intuitive to encourage development in our kids through childhood and then allow them to veer into a period of laziness, under-accomplishment, and disrespect that our culture has come to label as “being a teenager”.  Where did this come from?

Our family uses the Word of God to make as many decisions as possible and gain insight when things don’t seem cut and dry.  Nowhere in the Bible do we see evidence of a God ordained period called adolescents.  This alone has caused us to pause in working through our family’s perspective on those years when our children are transitioning from childlike behavior and thinking into adulthood.

Zech Buck Edited

In the end, we have concluded that as human beings we generally form our expectations of ourselves more times than not by what others expect of us.  For this reason, we have chosen to expect our children to continue progressing toward adulthood in a consistent manner.  It is a training up time to try on adult level responsibility and thinking gradually in preparation for having families of their own to lead at some point in the future.

Our son, who is pictured above, just went hunting this past weekend.  He is fourteen years old and has come to love the outdoors and hunting.  However, it is not just the thrill of the hunt or the challenge of getting a 10 pt buck.  Zech has come to understand the power he has as a man in being able to literally feed his family.  When he has a successful hunt, we see his confidence soar.  He proudly field dresses and then assists in butchering the meat to put in the freezer knowing he has had an active role in taking care of his family much as his father does.  In preparing for this time, many valuable lessons have been learned about discipline, respect, and responsibility.

Similarly, his sister is also seeing the rewards and achievements associated with not just settling for a lackadaisical attitude during her teen years.  This past summer she found out that she was not going to be able to go back to the volleyball team that she has played for over the last several years.  She was greatly hurt, disappointed, and a bit at a loss.  As she adjusted to this new reality, we challenged her to not only make a lateral move to a new team, but to make a vertical move.  We encouraged her to use this experience as a springboard for greater things.  And that is exactly what she has done.  She has found another high school level team to play for, but exceeded her own expectations by becoming certified as a line judge for NCAA Women’s Volleyball Matches.

Line Judge Collage

Like her brother, she has come to find that this new adult role fits her well.  In her journey so far, she has discovered that many are shocked by her presence at such a young age among the officials at college matches.  Her professionalism and maturity have gained her the respect of not only her fellow colleagues (who are all adults), but also the coaches and players.

We are so incredibly proud of our children and their accomplishments.  They are really catching on to the rewards they experience both internally and from others as they reach beyond our culture’s ever lowering expectations of young adults and rise above to greater things.

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Helping Your Child be an Essay Rock Star

by Dawn Oaks on October 10, 2014

My daughter and I just recently had an opportunity to try out the online writing courses offered through Fortuigence.  Our time during this review period was devoted to working through the Essay Rock Star Expository Essay Writing Course and are anxious to share with you our experience.

What We Received:

During this product review, we received a copy of the Essay Rock Star Expository Essay Writing Course.  It is designed for students in grades 8-12 and retails for $57.  This course utilizes the company’s 5 step process of essay writing.  The course is self-paced so that it can be assigned to your child in a way that fits well into your weekly lesson plans.

There are no textbooks to purchase or additional materials to gather.  The entire program is online with a very user friendly interface.

Fortuigence Classroom Screen

How We Used It:

After logging in, our daughter would enter the classroom by clicking on the tab by that name from the upper menu.  The graphic above shows what she would see after entering the classroom.  On the left sidebar, it shows which step of the writing process she is on.  In the sidebar is also a checklist of which assignments have been received and reviewed by the instructor of the course.

At the beginning of each step, the student watches a short video about the specific things that pertain to this phase of the writing project.  Immediately following is some additional text with things to look for as you write, samples of what should be expected, and any graphic organizers or tools that will be helpful.

After the material for the lesson is reviewed, the student clicks on the arrow next to the assignment to get more information on what they specifically need to do.  A window is provided for the students to type their assignment directly into this textbox or they can choose to upload their assignment from a variety of file types.  Our daughter did both depending on the assignment and had no trouble with either option.  If the student is unable to complete the assignment in one sitting, she can save what has been accomplished and then return later.  When the student is happy with what they have accomplished, the submit button is clicked.  The checkmark in front of the assignment in the left sidebar will turn gray to signify that the assignment was successfully submitted.

Within 24 hours of submitting each assignment, the teacher sends feedback to the student via email.  Withing that email, the student will either be asked to rework part of the assignment or be given the green light to proceed to the next step in the writing process.  Once the student is cleared for the next step, the checkmark next to the previous assignment turns red.

At any time during the course, there is also an option for the student to click on the text that will allow them to ask the instructor a question.  Like the assessing of the assignments, the turn around on responses from the instructor is very timely.

Our Thoughts:

The Essay Rock Star Writing Courses get the seal of approval from this homeschooling parent.  The process for successful essay writing is very structured and well mapped out.  However, within that structure the students are encouraged to be creative in the topics they choose to write about and the perspective to share.

There are a lot of writing programs available to homeschool families, but very few provide the access to a live teacher.  This was by far the best feature of this program compared to others.  As a homeschool parent, I know that I want my child to be a solid writer, but do not always feel that I know what should be expected from them at different stages of their education.  The instructor from Fortuigence has this knowledge.

In watching the interchanges between Lily, the instructor, and my daughter I saw how powerful Lily’s words of encouragement and genuine interest in my daughter’s work were in motivating her to reach beyond what she nor mally would have done in a typical writing assignment.  It was an enlightening moment for me in better realizing how I can see the value in my child’s writing beyond just the requirements of the assignment.

I would highly recommend the Essay Rock Star Writing Courses from Fortuigence.  It’s value becomes even greater for those students who are really wanting to refine their writing in preparation for college writing assignments.  Many times our writing is the first impression that others form of us – why not shoot to be a Rock Star Essay Writer?

In addition to the Expository Essay course we used, Fortuigence also offers Essay Rock Star courses for Persuasive Essays, Textual Analysis, and Personal Statement Essays.  Check out the link below to see what our other crew members have to share about all of the courses offered through Fortuigence.

Click to read Crew Reviews
 Crew Disclaimer

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Fix It! Grammar ~ Product Review

October 1, 2014

We recently began using the Fix It! Grammar program from the Institute for Excellence in Writing with our oldest daughter who is preparing diligently for her college entrance exams. Because Fix It! Grammar is a complete Grammar program, we thought it would be a wonderful way to review for the English section of the ACT […]

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Parenting Resources and Give Away

September 29, 2014

Some of you may recall that we shared with you about the Christian Parenting Handbook about a year ago.  Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller have now come out with a new parenting resource specifically for families with teens and preteens.  As part of the team of bloggers that are helping to launch The Family […]

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Transforming Your Day in Just 7 Minutes

September 17, 2014

There are some products that I review that writing the review feels is challenging. That is not the case with the 7 Minute Life Daily Planner published by the 7 Minute Life organization. I am really excited to share how life changing this resource can be whether you are a business executive, blogger, or stay at […]

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A Christian Response to the 9/11 Anniversary

September 11, 2014

Like many of you, I can close my eyes and see the images of aircraft being flown directly into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and hearing about American Airlines Flight 93 going down near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.  My mind went to so many of my high school classmates whose family members where part of the […]

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Adding Audio Drama into Your Schoolday

September 10, 2014

Classic “living” literature gets a big thumbs up from our family. When you add in the sound effects and tonal inflections that are possible through audio drama, it takes something great and catapults it into the sphere of fabulous. This was exactly our experience as we had the opportunity to review Under Drake’s Flag produced by Heirloom […]

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When Life Just Gets in the Way

August 25, 2014

Life just sometimes gets in the way.  You all know what I mean, but when you step back and really think about that statement it almost seems ridiculous.  But we have all been there. We can spend hours planning and strategizing about how life is supposed to be.  As soon as circumstances outside of our […]

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Wizzy Gizmo Audio Drama ~ Product Review

August 21, 2014

Our family loves storytelling and the more vivid the story the better. The kids were amazed and inquisitive when they first saw the Walton family gathered around the family radio to listen to special programs that included comedies as well as radio drama. They experienced audio drama at an early age themselves through our Christian […]

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Homeschooling High School – Day 1

August 11, 2014

This week we will be joining the Schoolhouse Review Crew in its Back to Homeschool Blog Hop.  Over fifty fellow bloggers will be posting on all different topics related to kicking our school year off right.  Our theme here at the Double O Farms is all about homeschooling high school. Every new year of homeschooling can […]

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