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Tracie Skarbo was motivated to write by her father, who was her biggest supporter. “He was always behind me, rallying me on with my writing. I would always see him with a book in hand. He gave me a great appreciation for the written word, and the power and responsibility that writers have to shape those who read their words. He also taught me to respect nature and to value the beauty within it; my reflections on my environment are just an extension of this.” Skarbo was raised on Vancouver Island and is working on her next two books.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Learning At Home: Our First Term


Well the first term is over and from the results of my son’s first report card, we seem to have adapted well to the unfamiliar concept of home schooling.
I am the first to admit that when we started this program I was not sure how this journey would work out.  I was anxious about my role in my son’s education.  I had no formal teachers training, and was full of questions.  Had I bitten off more then I could chew?  How would I fit his school schedule into my regular busy day?  Would our relationship change with him home all the time?  If it did would it change for the better or worse?  Would we both be up to the vigorous schedule?  Most importantly would he accept me as his teacher? 
What was I getting myself into?
The beginning was definitely hard; we had to establish a pattern and a school work schedule.  I had as much learning to do as my son.  There were online courses, live feeds and movies on the internet for him to watch, textbooks, workbooks, art projects, reading, spelling, math, social studies and science.  The list seemed to go on and on!
My son was resistant at first and there was a power struggle between us.  I was not surprised.  Children often have the same feelings about change as we do.  He probed every direction for a weakness in my resolve, (his tummy hurt, bathroom breaks every five minutes, daydreaming and toys at his desk) but I knew that with every challenge we came to, we would persevere.  We had to.  We were committed for at least a year.  As long as I was consistent, and didn’t give in, I hoped that this would be the recipe for success and things would get easier. 
As time passed it did get easier.  Through trial and error and through observations I found out what kind of a student he was, and what methods were best to keep his interest and focus.  I also found out what subjects he liked, and which he liked to avoid.  The internet was a great source of ideas on how to get him to work on the things he didn’t like as much.  He gets bored easily I had to keep him on his toes and challenge him daily.
Both of us have grown throughout this first term, both as people and in our relationship.  There have been frustrated moments, flared tempers, stomping feet, and temper tantrums, but there have also been surprises, moments of discovery, renewed confidence and amazing successes. 
I won’t tell you that it is not a ton of work, because that would not be the truth, it is work.  In the long run though, if you were to ask him, or to ask me, we wouldn’t have it any other way. 

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

My Pulp Baby...

          There was a sharp brisk knock on my front door today.  I found, upon answering it, a man bearing a gift and good news.  I signed my name to the package he held and looked at the address of the sender.  A broad, wide smile broke through my quizzical gaze. 

          My pulp baby had arrived, swaddled in cardboard and screaming my name.  I held it up to the light as thrills of excitement and waves of satisfaction crashed over me and I couldn’t resist a dance of celebration in the kitchen.  My son came out of his room to question the noise and my java jig, and soon joined in.  Afterwards I showed him all the parts he was in, and where he could find his name.  His joy could almost be felt physically.

          This copy of the book is the first hardcopy and had travelled all the way from Tennessee, for my final proof and approval before its final stages on its way to shelves and the mass market. 

          Holding the book in my hands, touching its smooth cover and the texture of the pages, and reading my words in an actual published book brought on a potpourri of thoughts and feelings.  Some were quite surprising.  I felt happy, proud, nervous, anxious, and amazed all at the same time.  What else but amazement for a dream that actually transformed into a physical form?  I also felt exposed.  After all, this book was me between the pages, my thoughts, my emotions, even my photography on the cover.  Would it be liked?  Passed over?  Had I made the right choices in color and design?  Would readers enjoy the font?  All these questions went through my head as I went over each word looking for typos and other mistakes. 

          Upon reaching the last page of the sixty-poem volume, I sighed and thought of my Dad.  I thought about the fact that he had started the ball rolling in my childhood by instilling a love of the written word within me, and a dream of my own published book in his hands developed not long after.  He had been my biggest supporter, always asking for the next story or chapter.  I am saddened that he is no longer here to share in my celebration.  This is a bittersweet experience.  Even so, I like to think that even though he is no longer here physically, he still looks in on me from time to time and the next time he does he will be sitting on the other side of things, with a proud smile.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

5 Things That Make Me Happy...

5 Things that make me happy...

Lazy saturday morning moments.
Childrens' laughter.
Baked Brie with cranberry hazelnut crackers, good friends, and great conversation.
Dark chocolate, candle lit bubble baths and lazy Jazz (Yes that is to be enjoyed all together).
Sunsets over sand swept beach slopes.

5 Things That Make Me Giggle...

5 Things that make me giggle...

A cat brushing up on my bare toes.
My son and his silly moments.
People falling down..(only when I know they are ok).
My niece and her belly laugh.
Snowball fights.