Allow me to (re)Introduce Myself!

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All I can hear is the first line of that Jay-Z song as I title this post! If you don’t know what I’m talking about, its cool. ūüėČ

For a while now, I’ve toyed around with the idea of changing my blog’s name to more accurately associate it with what I’m most passionate about. Writing is still my thing. Hence the reason behind the creation of this blog to begin with. But as my time as a blogger has evolved, I’ve found my posts to be less about my writing journey and more about my life in general. It’s only fitting to have a blog name that depicts that, right?

So allow me to (re)introduce myself…

Welcome to Able to Teach!

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Don’t worry, I’m still the same old Courtney.

Silly. Energetic. A lover of art and exploring new things. Excited about teaching and learning. In love with my three crazy kids aka my rabbits. Head over heels for my boo-thang, my main man, the Mr. to my Mrs. and Passionately committed to Jesus.

But as for this blog, I’d love for you to be crystal clear on what the content is you’ll be reading. And to date, its been about simply that, my motherhood experience and the crazy-fun homeschooling journey I’ve been on the past five years.

My passion is to teach my children. But more than that, it’s my desire to inspire any and everyone who’d ever say, “You know what, I think I am too!” So though the blog name “Able to Teach” is new to you, its been stirring in my heart for some time now.

So keep riding with me folks, we’re in for a good time!

Thanks for reading and following me thus far! I look forward to many more good conversations ahead.

Here’s to our newest journey…together!

Blessings,

Courtney

A Woman’s Worth: A Tribute to Black History…My History

I began this month¬†with a blog post sharing how my kids and I would celebrate Black History Month. That post opened with a scene set for a Black History Month assembly. After posting it, it was evident that story needed to finish unfolding. With no further ado, here is my tribute to black history…my history!


A Woman’s Worth: A Tribute to Black Historyblack-history-month-image

The sea of wooden chairs was packed to the max in an aging school auditorium. It was abuzz with giddy Kindergarten through 6th grade students anxiously awaiting the opportunity to recite the lines of their well researched and meticulously rehearsed Black History Month projects. Some gazed endlessly at hastily scribbled lines about Harriet Tubman’s fearless leadership in times of severe oppression. Others practiced their delivery about the wonders of Garrett A. Morgan’s traffic light and how he opened endless possibilities within the world of driving.

Suddenly, the lights dimmed and a hush fell over the crowd. The school’s beloved principal, Mrs. Williams, emerged from behind faded maroon curtains to the awe of her doting pupils. She seamlessly glided across sagging floor beams to the sound of her own heels click-clacking underfoot. The seasoned principal gracefully addressed the eager students with a polite greeting while raising her hands, indicating the students should follow suit. She then proceeded to lead them in the harmonic melody…

“Lift every voice and sing

Till earth and heaven ring‚Ķ”

As the measured¬†tune¬†continued, Aaron Turner mouthed the cherished words of the Black National Anthem. A song he knew all to well from sweltering Augusts spent on the porch of his grandmother’s¬†weather beaten¬†home. As the chorus echoed in the background, Aaron could¬†almost hear the honeyed tone of Grandma Helen’s voice singing in the choir. She had a gentle way of bringing everyone within earshot into rapturous praise at the climax of any song.¬†He paused for a moment and let this memory wash over him.

As the song came to a close, Aaron quietly took his seat and waited in apprehension for his turn to present his own assignment. Unlike in years’ past, this time, the sixth graders would go last as a sort of finale to the culmination of their time at the Edward C. Cox Elementary School. This drastic change created a real sense of excitement amongst the exiting class.

Following Principal Williams’ formal welcome, the program commenced without delay. No matter the presentation, it was evident every student put their all into the part they would play in the assembly. With every passing song, skit or monologue, Aaron sat further back into his chair. Though most of his schoolmates had no clue, he knew there would be a noticeable difference¬†in tonight’s audience. His usual cheering section was one member short. And quite honestly, because of this, his level of enthusiasm waned in comparison.

It seemed an eternity would pass before the last of the sixth graders would begin lining up to make their way backstage. There was no secret who would close out tonight’s performance as the order was predetermined by lottery the Wednesday before.

As luck would have it on that day, Aaron happened to draw the final spot. He would be closing out the show. All week long, he mulled over his decision to break from tradition with his final number. He didn’t have a recitation of one of Langston Hughes’ famous poems that would be sure to spark awe and intrigue. Unfortunately, the onlookers this evening would not be able to clap along to a rap about the significance of black history.

Nevertheless, the time came for Aaron to take center stage. Aaron felt the warmth of the spotlight on his face as he slowly took his place; the glare slightly blinding him. He hesitated when he arrived at the lowered mic stand. With eyes straight forward, he stood motionless as if he was staring down a lion ready to pounce.

Immediately, there was a sense of unease amongst the crowd. A shuffling of seats, a few cleared throats and awkward giggles coming from the fourth grade section (that were promptly shushed by concerned teachers), were the only sounds coming from that sandwiched auditorium.

Like clockwork, Principal Williams could be seen signaling to the stage hand to begin the all call in order to save Aaron from any further embarrassment. When suddenly, a muffled voice could be heard coming through the already turned down microphone.

The sympathetic principal motioned to the sound technician to steadily increase the volume and gestured to the middle schooler volunteering as the spotlight operator to soften it to a more hallowed glow.

“What value is in a woman?”, is what was now coming through the crackling speakers. Low gasps could be heard from the shocked performance goers in the front row.

“Is it in her hands or her work? Would it be if she married well and had children? Is it in her long talks or silent looks? Or is it simply in her calming presence when no words are needed?”

By now you could see the crowd was stunned by the looks on their faces.

Aaron continued, “Why tell you about a woman’s worth when I can show you? It’s here, standing right in front of you. Whenever you want to know the worth of a woman, you need look no further than her legacy.”

And with no warning, Aaron dropped to his knees, suddenly scrambling at the floor as though he’d dropped something and was struggling¬†to pick it up. Only he’d approached the microphone stand empty-handed. To anyone previously skeptical of Aaron’s preparedness for this presentation,¬†what would come next would completely change their outlook.

In a tired, almost methodical voice while still grabbing at the bare floor, Aaron went on. “My grandmother was raised on a 100 acre farm owned by her father in Cleveland, North Carolina. The sixth daughter out of Eugene and Ella Houston’s twelve children, Helen didn’t complain of her place in a crowded family but made her mark on this¬†life.” It was becoming clearer that his movements mimicked that of a young Helen Houston working on her family’s sprawling farm.

Aaron soon regained his stance, clasping his hands together as if in prayer. He loudly proclaimed, “To find her way in this world, she bravely embarked on a journey up north all by herself to meet a sister and aunt already settled there. If I had to move to the north all by myself like she did, I probably¬†would have stayed put!”

Low chuckles of agreement circulated through the crowd.

Aaron looked up, his concentration unbroken but now more aware of the audience he seemed to previously ignore.

He continued, “She was a small town girl on a mission. She was determined. After working for some time as a domestic, she promised she’d never work in another person’s home again.”

By this point, it was obvious Aaron’s momentum was building. His eyes flashed with more energy¬†as he went on. “My Grandma Helen gained a reputation for her hardwork and committed spirit. With this attitude, she easily moved up the ladder. First, as a laundress. She later advanced all the way to the position of Kitchen Manager¬†for an entire elementary school!”

Aaron was on fire, his voice rose and fell with every new declaration of his grandmother’s contributions to a life well lived.

Continuing on, he boldly proclaimed, “She always remembered¬†it was God who gave her all she had been given. My Grandma Helen made the most of her life and gave even more! Her husband and six sons knew what¬†it meant to¬†have her in your corner. Family, friends and practically strangers on the street loved and cherished her!¬†No visitor to Grandma Helen’s home ever left hungry. Her cooking…”, Aaron cried out as he licked his lips. “…mmmm…let me tell ya about her cooking! I like to think her food represented what was always inside her —¬†LOVE!”

Gesturing towards the direction of his visibly moved family in the audience, Aaron lifted his hands and boldly stated, “Grandma Helen was worth more than can be put in words! Her story is not old history to me because her life made a difference in mine. With her heart and hands, she¬†turned so little into so much! So,¬†to her I say, ‘Thank you Grandma Helen. You made me believe it doesn’t matter what I’ve been given but what I do with it!'”

And with this, Aaron dropped his hands, gave a slight bow and proceeded to exit the stage.

It was almost simultaneous what happened next. The entire audience erupted into jubilant applause, reminiscent of the crescendo of one of his grandmother’s solos.¬†There was whistling, clapping and cheers from every corner of the packed house. There were tears in Aaron’s mother’s eyes and his father swiftly emerged from the aisle, rushing to embrace Aaron before he could make it back¬†to his seat.

There was no doubt this night would go down as a stellar¬†tribute to black history. But more importantly than that, Aaron ensured a worthy woman’s mark would never be erased from his story!


** The art expressed in this short story imitates real life. I was blessed with a “Grandma Helen” of my own. The only difference being, I lovingly¬†called her Grandmom Turner. The life of my own grandmother, Helen Harriet Mary Jane Houston Turner, has left an invaluable impact on me that will last for the rest of my life! Although small in stature, measuring no more than 5’2″, her legacy was larger than life with a Sock-It-To-Me Cake to match!¬†It was shown in her fifty-eight year marriage to my grandfather, Samuel B. Turner, before he passed. And in their six sons and wives, two foster daughters, thirteen grandchildren and thirteen great grandchildren. Not to mention a host of other family and friends who affectionately called her mom, Grandmom Turner, Aunt Helen and Mother Turner. With my parents’ permission and the help of the unnumbered congregation who’s lives are all outpourings of the pen strokes of my grandmother’s life, I was able to tell her story. That is why I dedicate this to her. Though in 2013, she left this world one month shy of 97 years ‘young’, I know she lived her life on purpose. I, along with so many others, am proof of that. She has truly won her eternal prize! All I can say is thank you Grandmom Turner, I love you!

Our Month Long Celebration of Black Excellence – Black History Month 2017

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The sea of wooden chairs are packed to the max in an aging school auditorium. It’s abuzz with giddy Kindergarten through 6th graders. They anxiously await the opportunity to recite the lines of their well researched and meticulously rehearsed Black History Month projects. Some gaze endlessly at hastily scribbled lines about Harriet Tubman’s fearless leadership in times of severe oppression. Others practice their delivery about the wonders of Garrett A. Morgan’s traffic light and how he opened endless possibilities in the world of driving. Suddenly, the lights dim and a hush falls over the crowd. The school’s beloved principal emerges from behind faded maroon curtains to the awe of her doting pupils. She seamlessly glides across sagging floor beams to the sound of her own heels click-clacking underfoot. The seasoned principal gracefully addresses the eager students with a polite greeting and raises her hands, indicating they should follow suit. She then proceeds to lead them in the harmonic melody…

Lift every voice and sing

Till earth and heaven ring…

For all my 90’s peeps who came up through the public school system, I’m sure this took you back. Believe me, I know that you know this scene all too well!

Whether elementary, middle or high school students, community centers, churches and the like, the annual Black History Month performance has taken on many shapes and sizes over the years. But one thing is for sure, it’s always been marked by a sheer pride for the journey of the African American within this country.

February is upon us and if you know anything about me, you’d know I’m passionate about celebrating the Black Experience.¬†For this month in particular,¬†I don’t need an excuse to write about the people and culture that have touched every facet of human history. There’s no need for me to hold back in any way, I can be unapologetically black! ūüôā

I am elated to share with you my ever growing plans to celebrate Black History Month with my children! My goal is to take about 15-20 minutes each school day in February to learn about one of these influential people.

Without further ado, here’s the run down of our month long celebration of excellence in Black history!!

Week¬†1:¬†2/1-2/3 ‚Äď Firsts

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  • Tia Norfleet ‚Äď 1st AA female NASCAR driver…need I say more?

Watch her interview here! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=se3rcw40Mi8

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Then, we’ll watch “Rise of the Guardians” at the end of the week!

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Week 2: 2/6-2/10 ‚Äst#BlackGirlMagic

#BlackGirlMagic is the name of the game this week! We’ll celebrate the talented female athletes of color from the 2016 Olympics by reading ‚ÄúThe Golden Girls of Rio‚ÄĚ by Nikkolas Smith. We’ll also catch some¬†of their¬†amazing feats on¬†YouTube.

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Week 3: 2/13-2/17 ‚Äď The Sciences

  • James E. West ‚Äď Mic check, mic check, 1-2…1-2!! If not for James West, you would have no idea what I meant by that phrase. Lol

    jameswest.jpgHe, of course, invented the microphone! We’ll find out more here:¬†https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YDeKX8riaAc

    For those science heads wanting to delve a little further,  you can hear from the man himself about how his childhood fascination with electricity turned in to a career https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ig2t8upjtn0.

  • Mark E. Dean ‚Äď electrical engineer,¬†invented the connection between the computer and the printer. See his profile here:¬†https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d0zte09CtpY¬†

    Then, we’ll read about his invention in ‚ÄúWhat Color is My World?‚ÄĚ by Kareem Abdul Jabbar.

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  • I’m still working out the details but we’ll hopefully meet a local AA veterinarian and hear what a day in the life of a vet is like.

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Plus we’ll listen to this song from Story Bots that further explains what veterinarians do:¬†https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zWsN1EFGKkc¬†

  • Katherine Johnson ‚Äď NASA scientist, mathematician and hidden figure no more! We couldn’t let the high of the break out movie Hidden Figures pass us by without taking a look at the woman who inspired the movie. First up, we’ll be reading part of her story in “Women in Science : 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World” by¬†Rachel Ignotofsky.

Then, we’ll catch Hidden Figures at the movies at the end of the week!

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Week 4: 2/20-2/24 ‚Äď Music & Dance

  • Cab Calloway ‚Äď Star performer at the famed Cotton Club, bandleader and music pioneer. We’ll read ‚ÄúSwing Caf√©‚ÄĚ by Carl Norac and then watch a couple of his performances here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=esnDnIK2v1g

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dAMCCvvFd2E

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  • Ella Fitzgerald ‚Äď No matter the name she went by she’ll always be the First Lady of Song, Queen of Jazz and Lady Ella! We’ll read more about her in ‚ÄúSkit Skat Raggedy Cat: Ella Fitzgerald‚ÄĚ by Roxanne Orgill.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=49HlPaw8IV4

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  • Marian Anderson ‚Äď acclaimed opera singer

We’ll read her symphony in “When Marian Sang: the True Recital of Marian Anderson, the Voice of a Century”¬†by Pam Munoz Ryan.

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  • Josephine Baker ‚Äď Beyonce doesn’t have anything on Josephine Baker! Quite honestly, she could be considered the 1st¬†bonafide AA international superstar! We’ll read ‚ÄúJazz Age Josephine: Dancer, Singer–who’s That, Who? Why That’s MISS Josephine Baker, to You!‚ÄĚ by Jonah Winer.

And we just might learn to strut our stuff like her after watching this clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6BhNv7dRHQI

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  • Tap Dance Trio: We’ll collaborate our dance efforts and take a peak at the tap of Bojangles, Gregory Hines and Savion Glover to boot! First, with a reading of ‚ÄúRap a Tap: Here‚Äôs Bojangles, Think of That‚ÄĚ by Leo & Diane Dillon.

Next, we’ll watch Savion in action in this classic Sesame Street clip¬†https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ToLIHN1mhY

Lastly, we’ll see Savion and Gregory kick it up a notch on another lively Sesame Street clip¬†https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4hkhXIqVOw0

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Week 5: 2/27-2/28 ‚Äď Media

  • Jack L. Cooper ‚Äď 1st¬†AA radio broadcaster, We’ll see all about this pioneer’s life at the National Radio Hall of Fame here:

 http://www.radiohof.org/jack_cooper.htm

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  • Michelle London ‚Äď Currently a news reporter at NBC St. Luis and formerly a Content Editor at ESPN (and…did I mention she’s my very own cousin who I am BEYOND¬†proud to include on this list?!) We will watch a clip of our “Cousin Shelly” doing what she does best…tackle the news and anything else that comes her way!

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Last, but certainly not least, we will round out our tour through the corridors¬†of Black History with a look at the life of a woman whose resume speaks for itself…

  • Oprah Winfrey ‚Äď the 1st¬†AA TV show host, 1st and only AA billionaire in North America, philanthropist, a voice of our time and not a shabby actor if I say so myself!

We’ll read about her rise to fame in Carole Boston Weatherford’s book ‚ÄúOprah: the Little Speaker‚ÄĚ. And with the assistance of Cynthia Chin-Lee’s book,¬†‚ÄúAmelia to Zora: Twenty-Six Women Who Changed the World‚ÄĚ, we’ll get a glimpse of her impact in better shaping the scope of this world for African Americans.

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PHEW!!

What a month this will be! I am beyond excited and I hope you are too!!

No matter how you choose to celebrate Black History Month, I pray you find encouragement in the accomplishments of those who have gone before us. And if you don’t identify as a person of color, my hope is you will see and experience the joys of the diverse world in which we live with a little help from Black America.

There’s nothing better my friends!

Until next time, peace and blessings to you all.

Courtney

The Brown Kids’ Booklist: Stocking Stuffer Edition

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Hello my friends!

Can you believe the Christmas holiday is just around the corner? Where did this year go?¬† I don’t usually¬†consider myself a hater, but I’m not quite over the fact yet that we’ve had to exchange the squishy warmth of sand between our toes for the bunchy¬†bulk of winter coats and knee length boots. But alas, here were are.

It’s¬†not all for naught¬†really since Christmas is definitely my favorite holiday. I’m sure many of us have been engaging in the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping as of late. There’s plenty of cooking, baking and prepping to go around. And I know all too well the temptation to go all out with gift giving.

Even in this, a tradition has recently taken root with each¬†birthday and Christmas that rolls around for my nephews. No matter the toy-related occasion,¬†we are always sure to also give each boy a book featuring African American characters. I’m sure by now, my kids are already used to the passion I have in exposing them to characters who look like them. But I’m so glad for the opportunity to now¬†celebrate our brilliant blackness with my nephews as well!

In this same vein, I wanted to give a gift that will keep on giving to you, my readers, in this holiday season. So without further ado, here is another installment in¬†my ever growing Brown Kids’ Booklist. This time it’s the Stocking Stuffer Edition!

I hope you’re able to find some goodies and I look forward to talking with you soon!

Oh, and feel free to “borrow” my tradition for yourself this holiday season! ūüėČ

1.) Let’s Bake!: Ladi, Liz & Cam by Julia Lassa, Illustrated by Merve Terzi

This little cutie of a book is the second in the Ladi, Liz & Cam series. With Ladi a girl, Liz a lizard and Cam a chameleon…oh, and did I mention baking, what could possibly go wrong? This delightful story of friendship and reptiles is perfect timing to inspire some holiday baking!

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2.) The Swift Walker series by Verlyn Tarlton, Illustrated by Allejandro Chamberlain

Swift Walker’s speedy legs take him on adventures no kid would want to miss, while learning real life facts along the way! This series is everything you’d want in a textbook minus the boring text!

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3.) Dear Dragon: A Pen Pal Tale by Josh Funk, Illustrated by Rodolfo Montalvo

I remember the excitement of receiving my first pen pal letter when I was a young girl. Now as a parent, I get to witness the joy of my own¬†girls when they¬†receive letters from their pen pals. In Dear Dragon: A Pen Pal Tale you’ll meet two of the most unlikely pen pals to ever pick up a pen! This unique children’s book tells the story of George and Blaise, pen pals who have no clue one is a dragon and the other is a human! Read on to see what happens when they finally meet.

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 4.) The Princess Truly series by Kelly Greenawalt, Illustrated by Amariah Rauscher

Princess Truly is truly a princess! With magical hair and a personality to match, she’s the delight of all. She loves to read but especially loves to solve problems with the help of her pug, Sir Noodles. Princess Truly would be a fantastic addition to your home library. Trust me, your little princess will thank you later!

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5.) Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty, Illustrated by David Roberts

Ever grow weary of your child’s endless questions? Well, don’t dismay, Ada Twist, Scientist¬†has the answers! And when she doesn’t, she digs for more. In this fun-loving nod to female ¬†scientists who have gone before her, Ada Twist, Scientist is sure to be a winner with her curiosity. Trust me, it doesn’t kill the cat!

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6.) I’m a Pretty Little Black Girl by Betty K. Bynum, Illustrated by Claire Armstrong Parod

Betty K. Bynum’s I’m a Girl Collection has already won over countless girls everywhere! I’m a Pretty Little Black Girl is a welcomed addition to this series and it won’t disappoint. In it, readers are introduced to Mia, an energetic, friendly (and don’t forget pretty) little black girl shows us what confidence in simply¬†being YOU¬†can really mean! My girls and I loved this book and we know you’ll love it too!

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7.) I’m a Brilliant Little Black Boy¬†by Joshua B. Drummond and Betty K. Bynum, Illustrated by Brian McGhee

We can’t leave out our black boys now, can we? The story of Joshua in¬†I’m a Brillaint Little Black Boy ensures just that. Joshua has¬†big dreams to match his brilliant mind! He shows us that hard work, kindness and a great imagination can go the distance¬†in achieving our¬†aspirations.

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8.) Mary Had a Little Glam by Tammi Sauer, Illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton

What a fun take on the timeless Mother Goose rhyme, Mary Had a Little Lamb! In this glammed up remix,¬†Mary knows a lot about fashion and even more about style! So when she must help her now fashion forward friends find out what to wear for recess, she knows exactly what to do! Join Mary and a few of her other beloved children’s classic characters on this fashionable ride. You will be amazed at Mary’s keen eye for fashion!

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9.) Christmas Makes Me Think by Tony Medina, Illustrated Chandra Cox

Christmas is such an exciting time for children all over the world! The lights, the wonder and the presents makes it the best time of year. In this thoughtful tale, a young boy shares the same anticipation for what he will get and what he will do during this season of joy. But then, he begins to think about the people who may not have the same Christmas experience. Christmas Makes Me Think is a good reminder that for many, this time of year may not be as shiny or new but with love and care and a little thoughtfulness, we can make a difference!

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10.) The Snowman Shuffle by Christianne C. Jones, Illustrated by Emma Randall

Why not end with a little dance and jig to round out our Brown Kids Booklist: Stocking Suffer Edition? When I saw this book I just had to include it! If you know me, you know that I live for having fun. Well, with The Snowman Shuffle, you’ll be doing just that as we enter into this season of wintery weather. So get ready to move because you’ll be in for a good time!

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I hope you’ll make all these books a part of your home library collection this holiday season! They are well worth their weight in gold. Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Feliz Navidad, Happy Kwanza and the happiest of holidays to you all!

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Blessings,

Courtney

 

Guest Post for Growing Up Gorgeous – It’s God’s Grace!

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Hey guys!

I hope this dreary Tuesday finds you all well. Last week was quite eventful given the lead up to Thanksgiving. I finally feel like I’m finding my rhythm this week. After my turkey binge, I decided to make a good life decision and get back to some semblance of a work-out routine. I’m pleased to report that today I successfully resisted the urge to hug my sheets a few minutes longer after my alarm sounded. I completed a very tiring 19-minute yoga workout. <PHEW!> Court for the win! ūüėČ

With all the hustle and bustle of prepping, baking, cooking, teaching and cleaning last week, I failed to share something VERY exciting. Last Monday, I was featured as a guest blogger for my friend Christina Acosta-Martinez’ very cool organization, Growing Up Gorgeous! The Growing Up Gorgeous (GG for short) website is spot on when it¬†states, “[GG] exists to establish a community of diverse women in the South Jersey area¬†who support, exhort and encourage one another along the journey of motherhood.”

Let me tell ya, the wonderful women of GG mean it! When I attended their launch event in September I was blown away by the amount of love shown by women from all walks of life. There was a universal recognition amongst the attendees that mothers need encouragement. The warmth experienced by all was evidence that that kind of uplift can come directly from other women and mothers.

This is why when I was invited to write a blog post for the GG blog page, I was compelled to oblige. Participation in¬†telling God’s story for my life while also giving encouragement to others was something I could not turn down. So without further ado, here is my featured blog post for Growing Up Gorgeous entitled, “It’s God’s Grace“!

Thanks for reading and I look forward to talking with you soon!

Blessings,

Courtney

 

5 (or 6) Reasons You’re Able to Teach Your Child!

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Hey guys,

How are ya?! It feels like it’s been a while since my last post. I’ve missed ya! Once I came off my sugar high from Halloween this month has proved to be¬†busier than I anticipated. Does anyone else feel that way or is it just me? Anybody?…Anybody??…Okay, maybe it’s just me! HA!

Anywho, I wanted to check in and let you know I’m super excited about what this¬†blog is becoming. I made mention of this in a previous post but I’ve gotta say it again. At this point I probably need to update my “About Me” Page. Yes, I’ll be continuing to write about my children’s author aspirations but in the meantime it’s safe to say I’ll be writing a little bit of this and a little bit of that. Some posts it will be homeschool life, others will be parenting posts, some days may be updates about how my book(s) are coming along. Fair enough? Okay, good! Lol

Today I’m hoping¬†this post will¬†be short and sweet because dinner is on the stovetop and I’ve spent most of the day doing a bunch of random household items and a sista’s TIRED!

As you may already know, I’m a proud homeschooling mama…and I love it!

Equally, I’ve had many-a-conversation with current homeschooling moms. I’ve also spoken to moms who aren’t doing the home education thing right now but desperately wish to. And I’ve talked to plenty of moms who are completely fine with embracing the traditional 8 hour school setting for their crew. The funny thing is these three “types” of moms have more in common than they would think.

They all have a desire on some level to instruct their children. So if you fall into one of those categories, this post is for you.

Conversely, if you’re a lady but not a mom yet¬†or if you don’t have support from those around you¬†to¬†affirm your desire to teach your kids, this post is also for you. My passion is to encourage and empower moms and moms-to-be everywhere! No matter your season of life you¬†can play a vital role in the instruction¬†of your children.

So buckle in tight…here’s 5 (or 6) reasons why you ARE able to teach your child!

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1. For starters, you’re at least voting age – This means you’ve already accumulated a lifetime’s worth of knowledge which is way more than the little person in your care who has¬†your eyes or favors your grandpa’s smile. In your every day conversations over dinner, after they’ve played with their friends and while you do the dishes, don’t be afraid to pass on some of that knowledge!

2. Do you like to travel and do you have a library card? – If so, then you have the ability to experience the sights and sounds of this great big world. Did you know Theodor Giesel aka Dr. Seuss illustrated political cartoons during World War II? Yup, I can thank the easy-reader my oldest daughter once borrowed from the local library for all the random facts I now know about his life.

As the great hymnist once sang, “Take a look, it’s in a book – Reading Rainbow.” But seriously guys, I feel like my brain has accumulated more knowledge than I can account for so I know for a fact my kids are becoming baby geniuses!

3. YouTube – That’s right…YouTube! This one needs no introduction. Let me tell y’all, YouTube has become a mainstay in my weekly lesson plans. This year alone, we’ve been to a sugarcane farm in Senegal to examine¬†their irrigation system. Just last month, our¬†tour of a water treatment facility¬†in Canada allowed us to see the water purification process for how water goes from a river to your faucet. And on a more recent “trip” to Morocco, ¬†we¬†learned¬†how to create Henna designs on our hands. Simply put, YouTube has it all and so much more!

4. If YouTube is your jam then allow Pinterest to become your jawn! – First of all can the person who came up with Pinterest please take a bow?! Pinterest has saved me more times than I can count. This is especially true when my brain has been really fried and I couldn’t possibly¬†think up another cute craft to compliment our Solar System Unit. One time, we were able to transform q-tips, black paper and some glue into miniature x-rays to help us better enhance our lesson on the letter “X”. Trust me, using Pinterest very well may be one of the best decisions you make in your life!

And lastly…

5. Have you ever looked out the window while on a car ride? – This sounds weird. I know, its an annoyingly obnoxious question but hear me out. If the kitchen is your homeroom, let the car be your classroom. Whether you’re going on a short trip to the bank or on an hour-long trip to grab some yummy apple cider from Linvilla, get used to the idea¬†that the car can be a place where major learning happens.

Some weeks ago, I loaded the kiddies up with snacks, books and toys and embarked on a 2 hour trip to Crystal Cave. I actually HATE road trips and that day was no different. But, it turned into a pretty cool car ride. We were able to learn what the various highway signs meant in order to answer the question, “If we traveled WEST to get to the caves, which direction would we need to travel in order to get home?” And when I got really tired of talking, I pulled up PBSKids.org on my phone and let it do the teaching for me. All this to say, car rides can be a place where you are able¬†to teach even in the absence of desks and notebooks.

That’s all I got folks! Thanks for reading. This list could go on and on but it’s Saturday night and bedtime can’t come soon enough for these kids!

Oh yeah, I’ve got one more way in which I know you are able to teach your child. ūüėČ

You can do so by checking out my newly minted Facebook page Able to Teach! Didja catch how all throughout this post I’ve been slowly brainwashing you to visit my page by subtly mentioning the phrase “able to teach”?

*Insert evil laugh!*

But for real, I’m a testament to the fact that anyone is able to teach. I started my adult life with plans to own a private counseling practice. Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined where the winding journey of this life would lead me. This is why, if you want some mom-spiration for fresh ideas or to see my really cute kids doing what they do best…learning…make your way on over to my page!

Trust me, you’re able to teach and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise! ūüôā

Until next time my friends,

Courtney

Mother, May I?

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The sounds of children squealing and the blur of colorful fall jackets whisking over the pavement of the weathered but love worn school yard can be deafening. Its recess and its as if Christmas has come early for this group of eight and nine-year-old school children. Their day has been mostly filled with addition facts and state capital memorization so this timely break has brought a joy over them they can’t contain. In the middle of the yard, you see a line of children forming with the tallest girl in the fourth grade¬†standing on the opposite side. She’s the designated facilitator¬†since¬†her towering height over anyone else has secured her election as the matriarch of this school yard. And then, without warning, you hear these¬†barely audible words bellowing from the frame of a lanky girl in a yellow sweater in the midst of giggles and shrieks from her classmates :

“Mother, may I take two huge steps?”

“No, you may not take two huge steps.” Is the response of the taller girl. “But you can take two teeny, weeny steps.”

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If you were born in the 80’s, like I was, the stakes¬†in¬†the game of¬†“Mother, May I” from recesses of old were¬†astronomically high! Many a “BFF” relationship was severed over the very crucial decision making skills of the person assuming the role of the mother when eight and nine-year-olds were involved.

Its funny how now as a thirty *cough* something year old mother myself, I can still feel the beads of sweat rolling down my neck as I have to decide the number of proverbial steps, huge leaps, twirls and any other forward motion movements my children must make in this life. What’s even more scary is that in my case, getting to the other side of the yard to win the game is no longer the goal, real life has upped the ante!

As a homeschooling mother, I also feel the residue of this recess past-time as I go about making daily, weekly, monthly and even yearly decisions on what curriculum to use, what unit studies we’ll cover and how I can avoid going for broke in paying for it all.

I started this blog with the intentions of chronicling my writing journey as I pursue becoming a published author. This is still my plan. However, as of late, I have sensed it is starting to morph into a little more. And I’m okay with that. My passion for homeschooling is impossible to ignore. Not too long ago, I created a Facebook page dedicated to showcasing how we as moms are able to teach our own children. In fact, the name of the page is a dead ringer, its called Able to Teach. Check it out when you get a chance, you won’t be disappointed!¬†It’s my hope that any woman or mom desiring to teach their kids, no matter the capacity, will leave my page feeling uplifted and encouraged to do just that. In fact, this is why I come to you today with this post.

Mother, may I make a suggestion about what you can start doing now in order to be able to teach your children? What you’ll find refreshingly different in my list from any typical game of “Mother, May I”, is that today, you will hear what you can do!

So, without further ado…

  1. Mother, can you click?

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I’m not talking about a clique but I’m talking about a click, an actual click of your mouse. You can click to join a homeschooling Facebook group, scour Pinterest, view YouTube, search Google, or almost anything else you can think of. The beauty is¬†it’s all from the keys of your device. There is a TON of information out there. A simple search will yield countless Facebook groups you can join dedicated to homeschooling. What’s even better is these fine ladies have gone so far as to create specialty groups¬†highlighting almost any¬†homeschool interest that tickles your fancy. And if you can’t find it, then YOU can be the mother who creates it. These four years of homeschooling have been so enriched by all the resources, tips, tricks and ideas I’ve stumbled upon just by simply clicking a few tiny black keys.

2. Mother, can you thrift?

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I used to HATE going to the dank, dark, dreary, and some times odiferous establishment of ¬†a thrift store in my pre-kid days. Shoot, even in my post-kid days I’ve hated it at times! But now, oooh but now that I am a full-fledged homeschooling mama on a mission to not bankrupt my family, I’ve found a sort of hidden treasure when I go to these thrift stores. I cannot begin to tell you about all the gems I’ve discovered¬†when I’ve found my way into a¬†used item paradise. Seriously, if you overlook the book and DVD aisle you’ll be kicking yourself. And please don’t think for one moment that the balls of yarn crammed into¬†the back of that shelf cannot become an amazing art, science, knitting, or whatever you can imagine project. Thrifting has saved me so much money and I know you thrifty mommas will be able to say the same.

3. Mother, can you swap?

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Ahhhh, swapping! It’s like music to my ears. Swapping has become one of my best used secrets in my arsenal of tricks to keep the costs of home education down. This doesn’t have to be a big production either. And I’m not just talking about books! I usually shoot out a text or an email or hit up one of those Facebook groups I mentioned earlier (the local ones) to see if anybody is interested. Who knows if your Bob Jones K-5 Math text can be valuable to a mom looking to unload her Writing Without Tears books. You’ll never know until you ask.

4. Mother, can you join?

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Joining a local play group, co-op or field trip group might be just what the doctor ordered when it comes to boosting your efforts to socialize your kiddos as you homeschool. How does one find said group you may ask. Well, start with enlisting the suggestions from #1 but this time try to narrow your search for local groups in your area. Can you believe I found a pop-up archery group in my city just by¬†reading the thread from one of my local homeschool Facebook groups? We are also apart of a homeschoolers field trip group. Believe or not, but we found ours through attending a “How to Homeschool” workshop at our local library. Trust me, there’s so much out there right under our noses. We may just need to adjust our antennas.

And lastly,

5. Mother can you form?

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The whole joining a group thing sounds great and all; but you may ask, “What if I live in an area in which the homeschooling sea has all but dried up?” Well, I would look to form my own. For instance, I’m apart of several homeschooling moms groups on Facebook. Last school year, one mom suggested starting a book club for our daughters, which was such a good idea! We would achieve this through momma-chaperoned video correspondence between our girls. For some reason or another, this never quite materialized in the way I had hoped and I was kind of bummed. But its cool, I kept it moving by not letting the lack of what was available stop us from getting what we wanted. My daughter and I decided to start a book club of our own. This way, she could enjoy the books she loves but with the added benefit of doing it with friends she already has. So, on Saturday mornings, once a month, she connects with about two to three of her friends. These girls are actually in a traditional school setting but it doesn’t matter one bit when it comes to my daughter getting to read with her friends! Through all this, I’ve learned one valuable lesson dear momma…

If you already don’t have it, you can form it!

I am convinced this is not an all inclusive list of all the things you can do as you homeschool your children. The best thing about homeschooling is that you CAN do any and everything you want in order to best educate YOUR kids. Talk about empowerment! Its so exciting to be able to create, think up, borrow, use and re-use ideas of your own and of mothers you may meet along the way. This is probably one of the main reasons why I love homeschooling so much. The possibilities you have of presenting such crucial educational material to your children in the way that works best for your family are endless!

I hope you close this browser window today feeling inspired and empowered to be the mother you can and have always been!

Blessings,

Courtney