Thursday, December 27, 2012

Homeschool vs. Public School

If I told you I was homeschooled, how would you respond? Would you criticize me, or would you simply ask me questions and want to know what it was like? What if I told you I went to public school? You probably wouldn't think any differently of me, would you? If I told you that homeschoolers and public schoolers were actually a lot alike you would probably say I was crazy. Well, go ahead and call me crazy because that is exactly what I am saying: homeschoolers and those in public school really aren't all that different. Yes, there are differences, such as, how and where we do school; but even then we are still studying the same subjects and we’re both learning. We also have a lot in common; both public and homeschool students have social lives, participate in sports, have jobs, and both graduate and receive diplomas. How we go about doing all these things are slightly different though.
            Let’s start with school; both learn, study and use books. Homeschoolers have the ability to do their schoolwork whenever and wherever they want; whereas, those in public school have to be at school for a certain amount of time and they have to follow a set schedule. Those in public school have to be at school for eight hours; whereas homeschoolers can work at their own pace and be finished with school for the day in as little as an hour depending on how they work their school schedule. Homeschool students generally chose what they want to study and are usually interested in what they are studying in school as a result. Those in public school are typically told what they have to study and as a result, they aren't that interested in all their subjects. We all graduate and receive diplomas also! A lot of people think that homeschoolers have to get a GED in order to go to college, but homeschool students graduate and receive diplomas just like those in public school. Both homeschool and public school students attend school; it’s just more flexible and personalized for homeschoolers than it is for public school students.
            Sports are extremely important to quite a few people. A lot of my public school friends were involved in almost every sport the school offered. I also know quite a few homeschoolers who are extremely involved in sports. Public school students have the advantage when it comes to sports. “Why?” you ask? Because public schools have sports programs that they have available to their students. Homeschool students don’t have the same accessibility to sports as public school students. Homeschool students usually have to do a lot of research to find a team they want to play for if they are just starting out and don’t know somebody who is already playing for a team. It takes less effort for a public school student to get involved in sports than it does a homeschool student.
            I think both homeschool and public school students can agree that their social lives are extremely important to them. Some of my best friends went to public school and they had it pretty easy when it came to the social aspect of their lives because the school always had some activity going on and my friends were surrounded by other people their age. Homeschool students typically have to put forth a little bit more effort to have a social life. “Wait, homeschoolers have friends?!? How is that even possible!?” Yes, homeschoolers have friends. Most homeschoolers meet their friends through church, sports, homeschool group or other activity involving others their age. I met all my friends at church and they all went to public school, so if I wanted to get together with any of them we typically had to work it around their school schedule, then once I got a job we had to work it around their school schedules and my work schedule. Public school students can usually plan their fun activities around school functions; whereas homeschool students have to come up with a plan of what they’re going to do and when they’re going to get together.
            While homeschool and public school students are different from one another in many ways; they aren't as different as most people believe. They actually have a lot in common! Such as: both homeschool and public school students have social lives, participate in sports and attend school. It’s the execution of all those activities that are slightly different. I was homeschooled, and I loved it. I had so much more freedom in my studies and social life than my public schooled friends did in high school. Most people tend to think that homeschoolers are socially awkward, unintelligent (or smarter than everyone else) individuals who still dress like they’re living in the 1990’s and they spend all their time at home with their families and don’t have any friends. While that is true for some homeschoolers, that is certainly not the case for the majority of the homeschool population. I would challenge you to talk to a few homeschoolers and see how normal homeschool students really are. I think you might be surprised by what you would find!

I realize that most of you know that I was homeschooled and that a lot of you don't think this way about homeschoolers. This is what the pubic in general believes homeschoolers to be. This is the compare and contrast essay I wrote for my composition class!

Being able to decide how you want to school your kids is a Beautiful Thing that Americans have the freedom to do and I'm thankful that my parents chose to homeschool me! It has prepared me wonderfully for college! 

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Summers in Tennessee

Knoxville, Tennessee is absolutely beautiful. I have spent the summers of 2011 and 2012 working in a housing project with underprivileged, inner-city elementary, middle, and high school aged kids. “Why on earth would you want to work with a bunch of kids like that?” you might ask. My answer; because every child, no matter how terrible you might think they are, should be loved, and if they aren't getting that love at home, then they’re getting that from myself and the other summer staff at a place called Western Heights Baptist Center. I have worked at Western Heights Baptist Center for the summers of 2011 and 2012, and I am going back the summer of 2013. Both summers I have been blessed with amazing co-workers and my bosses are spectacular! The kids I have worked with both summers have been wonderful and they all challenged me in different ways. Some were extremely hard to love because they refused to open up and talk, and others were hard to love because they were just so needy. Both summers were wonderful but each summer was different; each provided me with its own set of challenges, victories and opportunities.

        My first summer in Knoxville I didn't really make any friends; the family I lived with had to drive me everywhere because I didn't have a vehicle so I went to church with them where everyone my age had their own group of friends and weren't very welcoming to a newcomer, and the people that were welcoming always seemed to be out of town.  I also didn't get to know my coworkers very well because I was several years younger than them and we were all extremely task-oriented and as a result, we didn't work on building the relationships we had with one another. Whereas my second summer in Tennessee was very different; I had a vehicle, therefore I was able to go to the church that I wanted to go to, and hang out with the people I met. My co-workers that summer were great also; we were all task oriented, but we meshed so well together, knew each other’s strengths and weaknesses, and genuinely enjoyed spending time with one another.

Both summers my job was to work with the kids and teens at Western Heights Baptist Center. The first summer my primary job was to work with the elementary kids and lead craft time. I spent a lot of time getting craft supplies together, and testing crafts to make sure that it was something all the kids would be able to do with minimal help. Then I would supervise, help and fix the crafts that the kids were making. In contrast, the second summer I had two primary jobs; Bible time for the elementary kids, and the middle school girls program. Getting Bible time ready wasn't too difficult; I had everything I needed, it was just reviewing the materials my boss gave me. The middle school girls program was a little more difficult for me to plan. One of my co-workers and I lead the program together under the supervision of our boss, she gave us the Bible curriculum to use, but we had to figure out how to make things run smooth, and activities to do with the girls.

        I worked with most of the same kids both summer; I worked with inner-city and underprivileged kids and teens and most of the same kids were there both summers. The first summer I spent a lot of time getting to know the kids and figuring out how to respond and react to them. I also helped with the middle/high school boys occasionally and had to figure out how to work with them. I had to figure out how to respond and react to kids who didn't trust me at all and come up with a solution to gain their trust and respect. Whereas my second summer, all of those things were set in place because I was working with most of the same kids and they all knew me from the previous year. The second summer was spent deepening the relationships with the elementary kids and middle/high school boys, but I also had to decide how to communicate with middle school aged girls who were obsessed with boys. (I was not like that at their age and had a hard time relating to them.)

          Both summers were spectacular and I loved every second I was there, despite the many challenges I faced. I learned a lot and value the time that went into developing the relationships with my bosses and the kids the first summer, and all the first experiences I had that year. One of the biggest things I learned my first year is that every child, despite how incredibly difficult they may be; needs to be loved. They may be unlovable and act like they don’t want you around and say they hate you. (I experienced that a lot my first year) They don’t mean it; they’re just trying to protect themselves from getting hurt. I had to relearn that lesson a little my second year as well. The biggest lesson I learned my second year was how to converse and relate to middle school girls. I don’t have any sisters, I have never been boy crazy and I have never been one of those girls who enjoy traveling in packs and giggles all the time. The middle school girls that I worked with were very sweet girls; but they were the exact opposite of me when I was that age. I had to learn how to converse with girls younger than me because I had only ever spent time with girls my age or older. Once I learned how to communicate with them everything went very well and I developed fairly good relationships with them.

           I would say that my second year was much better than my first. The main reason is because I knew what to expect; I had a vehicle, friends and the relationships with the kids was already there and I didn't have to work to regain their trust. I will be returning there the summer of 2013 and I hope to deepen the relationships with all of the elementary, middle and high school kids, as well as strengthen the relationships with my bosses. I can’t wait to go back for my third year and work with all of the wonderful people of Knoxville Tennessee again.

I am needing to raise roughly $700 for my trip this year. That money goes toward my travel there, gas and living in Tennessee and my trip back. Please be prayerfully considering the part God may have you play in my trip. I would greatly appreciate anything you would be able to contribute to my trip.

    God is going to use me to do Beautiful things in Tennessee for the summer of 2013, please consider helping me get there!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Summer's End...

     It's over. The summer of 2012 has ended for me and there are no words to express how sad I am. This summer has by far been the best summer ever. I had the privilege of working with some great kids and teens, I had the best co-workers ever, my bosses were amazing, I attended a great church, and I met some great people and developed some wonderful friendships with them! I learned a lot this summer! I learned that even in the middle of what I think is a huge problem, when I can't think straight, and when I feel like I've reached my breaking point, God is right there with me, giving me the words to say, comforting me, holding me and whispering in my ear, saying "I've got you. Don't worry, you're my daughter and I love you dearly. I won't let you fall, I'll get you through this problem, I'll give you words to speak when you don't have any words, I'll keep you safe, and when you feel like you're at you're breaking point, that's because you aren't trusting Me, you aren't relying on Me, you aren't resting in Me. Find your everything in Me because I died to give you everything. I love you." Pretty amazing, right? I have an awesome God, He is my Heavenly Dad. I imagine my earthly dad, how much he loves me, cares for me and desires to protect me. God is like that, times a trillion and He's perfect. Leaves me speechless. His everlasting love is a perfect and Beautiful Thing.

     After all the struggles I've had this summer I am even more convinced that God is calling me into social work. If I can handle everything that I went through this summer without a college education, I can't wait to see what God is going to do through me with a college education! There was one day this summer where I sat down in the office after a really hard day running things alone and cried, and I thought to myself, "this is going to be part of your job if you go into social work. Do you really want to do this? Do you really want to major in social work? You'll have to toughen up, can you do it?" I sat there for a good 15 minutes contemplating this and praying about it. In the end, I came to the conclusion that social work is what God is calling me to, and I was so overwhelmed with thankfulness to God for allowing me to go through that situation, and giving me a little taste into what I'm getting myself into, before I actually get into it. I serve an amazing Lord who cares about me, and the profession I want to go in to. The care that my Lord has for me is a Beautiful Thing!

     I made some great friends this summer and they are part of what made my summer so great. They were always there for me, no matter what. I met them my first week in Tennessee. I had been emailing with Wes (the community group leader) and he told me when their group met and so I arrived, not knowing anyone, wondering what I was thinking, showing up at some persons house for Bible study with a bunch of people I didn't know. I am so glad I went. I feel like I've known these people forever. They have challenged me and helped me grow. They have comforted me in difficult times, made me laugh when I wanted to cry, and they have all made my day more than once. They have become some of my best friends and I pray that the relationships that I have developed with them continue to grow. God blessed me with these amazing people and I can't wait to see what God is going to do in their lives and how He is going to grow the friendships we have with one another. I know I've said this before, but, friendship is a Beautiful Thing designed by God and I am so thankful for it!

     I am so sad that the summer is over, but I can't wait to see what God has planned next for me! I am going to miss all my kids, my middle school girls, my Knoxville brothers, my co-workers who have become my friends, my bosses, and my wonderful friends, but I know I will see them all again. Hopefully next summer. We'll see what God has planned for me. Life is a Beautiful Thing given to us by God and we should live our whole lives for Him!

(P.S. I will continue to post things on here, it just won't be as often as it was over the summer. Be patient with me and check back occasionally!)



Sunday, July 15, 2012

A Typical Week

There is no "normal" day for me. "Normal" does not exist, we have organized chaos. Every day for me looks different. So here is a little peek into what my week typically looks like!
Mondays are crazy, I get to work at 9 everyday and the elementary kids arrive by 9:30, and then program begins! The morning activities are different every day, Mondays we have Fitness and Nutrition. We have two wonderful ladies who come in and do this with the kids. Tuesdays and Thursdays are Market days at the Baptist Center and we take the kids on field trips during the mornings, so Tuesday's we go to swim lessons! 25ish kids who can't swim + water + 4 lifeguards = a very interesting morning, the kids love the lifeguards that are teaching them to swim. We started the summer with zero swimmers and we have at least 5 who can swim now! Wednesdays we do Science and Math with the kids that my co-workers Elizabeth and Josiah usually lead, then we let the kids play outside to give their brains a break from learning. :) Thursdays we take the kids away from the Baptist Center again and we go to Computer Labs where the kids play educational games and have Reader's Theater where the kids get a part in a story and read it aloud (I love Reader's Theater, it's always fun).
          Monday through Thursday the afternoons are all the same so this will be easy to take you through. :) We have mission teams that come in almost all summer and they run VBS for the kids in the afternoons from 12:30-3:30 Monday-Thursday, so my job during that time is to stay with one of the groups of kids, assist the mission team people and make sure the kids are where they need to be and make sure they're behaving. At 4:00 the middle and high schoolers come in and we have Bible study, supper, and we usually try to do something fun. My co-workers Savanah, Caitlyn and I lead the middle school girls Bible study and we love our girls! We have the middle and high schoolers from 4-6 then our day ends!

       Fridays are my favorite day of the week. Why? Because Friday is Fun Day! We take the elementary kids on a fun field trip and so far we have gone to Worlds Fair Park, Roller Skating, Children's Museum and a few other places. We also have fun day with the middle and high schoolers, but those are usually planning something fun to do at the Baptist Center, usually the Wii gets brought in and we just have fun with them! Then BAM! The week is over! Needless to say, the summer has flown by with my crazy (But good!) busy weeks!

 Brandon and I!
 Savanah and Elizabeth got some of the girls to push them on the swings. :)
 Some of my elementary girls getting ready to put on a little skit for Caitlyn and I!
 My group of kids for VBS this week.
 One of my middle school girls! Her name is Kiki!
 Some of my wonderful middle school girls and boys, one of my high school boys, one of the high school graduates and Josiah my co-worker!
Three of my elementary kids and one of my high school brothers going off the diving board at swim lessons!
So there is what a typical week looks like for me! Hope you enjoyed, it's not what I normally do, but it was a request by my Mom. :) Here are some pictures!

Saturday, July 7, 2012


Last summer I came to the Baptist Center to help me decide if God was calling me to work with kids in the church or inner city kids. I fell in love with the kids here and by the end of the summer I had come to the conclusion that God was calling me to work with inner city kids. Church kids know all the right answers to most church questions, and if they don't their Sunday School leader will tell it to them. They grow up in a loving home, and they have a good model of what Christ's love looks like because they see it in their homes and churches all the time.
     What about inner city kids? The majority of the kids I work with live with one parent who may or may not be loving. They don't all know who God is, or why Jesus came to earth and died for them. Love is foreign to some of these kids, and because I belong to Him, I have Christ's love in me, which means that I should have plenty of love to pour out onto these kids.
     I came back to Knoxville because I love these kids, and I want them to know that. Kids need people in their lives that they know love them, and for a lot of the kids and teens I work with there are probably very few people in their lives that love them they in the way that they should be loved. I grew up in a family that loved Christ and each other very well. I have been shown much love, both by my family but even more by Christ. I long for these kids to know the love of Christ and it is my duty as a Christ Follower to show it to them.
1 John 4:19  "We love because He first loved us."
1 John 4:12 "No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and His love is perfected in us."

Love is a Beautiful Thing, given to me by God, because He loves me, I am able to love others.

These are just three of the many kids I get to love on every day!

Saturday, June 30, 2012


Nope, there is not a boy, that is not was this post is going to be about. Sorry if I got your hopes up! :D This post is about my high school boys here in Knoxville who I have kind of adopted as my brothers. I love and miss my little brothers ( Cyle and Cole), but having these boys here in Tennessee makes me miss them a little less. Don't get me wrong, I miss my brothers a lot, just not as much as I would because I have these boys to pick on me, make fun of me, protect me, defend me and fight for me just like Cyle and Cole do (they pick on me more than Cyle and Cole do) and I do the same to them just like I would to my real brothers.
      The young men here have shown me that even though they've grown up in a really bad part of town, they know how to be gentlemen. These boys have been there for me all summer, and I am extremely happy to have them in my life. Without them I wouldn't have much to laugh at! They can tell when I'm upset and will come give me a hug, do something stupid to make me laugh, or they'll ask me if they need to beat someone up, and I do the same for them minus the beating someone up. The past few weeks have been extremely difficult. From dealing with fighting elementary kids, disrespectful little middle school boys, being sick, and a million other little things, they always found a way to cheer me up and make me feel better, no matter what I was going through.
      They are a respectful group of young men who are defeating the odds that are against them and I pray that God continues to work in their lives and would shape them into His image. I am extremely thankful that God has placed men and women in these boys' lives to be positive role models. God is going to do Beautiful Things in their lives!
 Some of my "brothers" are in this picture. This is the best picture I could find!

Monday, June 18, 2012


This summer is totally different from last summer. Why? Because I have friends this year. Last summer I had no friends, part of it was because I didn't want to make friends only to leave, be forgotten, and possibly never see them again. This year, I have friends! The thought of loving these people then leaving them and being forgotten still scares me a little, but I need friends. The fear of what would happen if I didn't have friends far outweighs the fear of making friends then being forgotten once I leave. I took a risk by going to a small group gathering where I knew absolutely nobody, but it definitely was a risk worth taking. I now have new friends who will speak truth into my life, I can speak truth into theirs, we can share each others burdens, rejoice with one another, take communion together, watch basketball together and just be part of each others daily living. I love that! People are wanting to get involved at the Baptist Center where I work, and are wanting to join me on mission there and I just feel like this is where God wants me. God's hand is all over this summer! He has blessed me with some amazing new friends here in Knoxville, a wonderful church community to be apart of,  great co-workers, and fun kids to challenge me daily. I know that leaving here at the end of July is going to be one of the hardest things I will ever do, but I also know that God has a plan, and my prayer is that part of His plan involves me moving to Knoxville, working at the Baptist Center, and becoming heavily involved in the church community I am in right now. God is doing some pretty Beautiful Things in my life right now, and I can't wait to see what else He will do!
Praise God for friendships and community they are truly a very Beautiful Thing designed by Him!

(P.s. Sorry if this seems all over the place, random or sloppy. It's 1am!)