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Many years ago I decided to travel to America. It was to be a short visit; a fortnight at the most. Australia had always been at the top of my list of places to visit but opportunity landed me at DFW airport toting one tiny suitcase and a snazzy duffel leaving my parents wondering what they were going to tell the neighbours about my sudden departure.  A handsome Texan, complete with Hawaiian shirt, had fallen in love with me at Victoria station in London and sent me an invitation with a plane ticket, to visit his home in Dallas while he was between rock and roll tours. 'Nothing ventured nothing gained,' I thought as I made my way through customs and into his waiting arms.

Twenty-a-lot years later I am an empty nester with a story, lots of stories in fact!   I am homeless an orphan and have moved back in with Mum...my Blue Eued Cowboy's Mum to be precise.  

Australia is still on my bucket list though I've made a few friends there through my show.  

My life in Texas has seen me raise four grown children now aged 28-22 who were my guinea pigs when I accidentally stumbled into the world of homeschooling. They willingly acquiesced for the fifteen-year lifespan of Wildflower Academy, the fancy name I affixed to my one room schoolhouse.

I became the mother of the year for allowing: snakes to co-habit with us and shed their skins in my bath-tub; raccoons to learn how to swim in our pool; baby squirrels to be bottle fed every three hours and abandoned opossums to cling upside down from my hands by their tails. 

With looming empty nest my Gent and I packed our bags and headed to London for a fashionable Gap Year.  We learned how to live as a couple having only ever had children on our minds and we found that we really rather liked it and are still mad about each other!

After returning to America, ousting our sons from our house, planning a wedding and selling our family home of 28 years we returned to my fair shores and sold the London flat.  

Hence the move back in with Mum...to wait on God to let us in on His plan for the rest of our lives.

When I'm not rushing around volunteering and walking in ancient woodlands, or around a Hideaway Lake in East Texas, I enjoy reading and thinking.  I write a personal blog, a Radio Show blog and guest write for Vibrant Nation.  I am the host of The Sociable Homeschooler on Toginet Radio.  

 

My gallant Texan and I share dinner dates at home each weekend, we reckon that our food is infinitely better than anything a local restaurant can set before us. We have the added fun of tasting while we cook, chopping veggies side by side, creating sauces and indulging in wickedly funny conversation. 

Who knows what this next year will bring? Tune in to my show, The Sociable Homeschooler, Fridays at 12 noon CT or 6pm GMT, to find out, first hand!  

"He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with his love, He will rejoice over you with singing"  (Zephaniah 3:17)

Window to the Wild: Simon & Lindsey McNeny

                                    

This week I am delighted to bring you a conversation I had with Simon and Lindsey McNeny who reflected with me on their past year and talked about the hard work they have been doing to get their company off the ground.  Simon is my son and a graduate from Wildflower Academy where he homeschooled under the tutelage of me!  I encouraged him to spend many hours at the local animal shelter assisting with routine vaccinations, bottle feeding orphaned raccoons, squirrels and opossums and bringing many of them home thus fuelling his passion for animals.  He also spent nine years volunteering at the local community theatre on stage and behind-the-scenes performing many musicals, plays and operas which prepared him to give educational talks to the public at local schools and co-ops.  Simon has a Bachelor’s Degree in Wildlife and Fisheries Science from Texas A&M. university and was a keeper at The Dallas Zoo where he looked after the hoofed stock, notably Okapi, Gemsbok, Bongo and Zebra. Lindsey is my daughter-in-law and was formerly a Supervisor for Natural Encounters, Inc., where she produced, choreographed, and performed animal shows all across the country at zoos including the San Diego Zoo (which won an award for Best Overall Production at IAAPA), Toledo, Philadelphia, Dallas Zoo and a free-flight bird show at the State Fair of Texas.   She also worked as a trainer and performed animal shows for the L.A. Zoo, Birds and Animals Unlimited “Animal Planet Live” show at Universal Studios Hollywood, and the Phoenix Zoo.   She has a Bachelor of Science degree from Siena Heights University.  Together they have founded a non-profit company called Window to the Wild and their goal is to increase awareness about wildlife and raise money to donate to conservation projects helping animals and the environment all around the world.   Bring your tea and join us this Friday to hear how the world is treating this young couple and particularly my graduated homeschooling son who is holding his own and hanging on to his dreams with his lovely wife!  Tune in to Toginet at 12 noon CT.

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Gloriously Unregimented: Carol Barnier

 

                                                      

My guest this week is speaker and author Carol Barnier.  You may have heard her on Focus on the Family where she’s spoken on a variety of humorous topics ranging from not being ready to be a Titus woman to why angels need a new public relations manager.

Carol has either written for or been written about in many magazines including Proverbs 31, Clubhouse Magazine, Parents Magazine, The Old Schoolhouse, Crosswalk, Thriving Family, Just Between Us, ADDitude Magazine & HomeLife.

Her latest book, Engaging Today’s Prodigal, deals with the serious topic of her journey away from God and into 13 long years as an atheist.  Other books include, The Big What Now Learning Styles, What if You're Not Martha Stewart? and Learning the How of Teaching.  

Carol may talk with humour about her first born son’s 13 surgeries, her own family’s many ADHD challenges, or her personal faith walk from being a God-denying atheist to the most grateful recipient of God’s amazing grace, whatever the topic, she speaks from the heart and her faith is solid stuff.

Carol knows why she knows what she knows.

Come along this Friday with a lovely cup of tea and be prepared to laugh out loud for real with Carol Barnier at 12 noon Central.

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Discovering the Artist Within: Lori Lane

                                                     

I am delighted to be welcoming as my guest this week Lori Lane, a homeschool veteran of 20 years and a Mum after my own heart!  Lori and her husband John have four sons ranging in age from 16 to 29.  Their three oldest sons, John Michael, Jeremy, and Jordan are all homeschool graduates.

Lori has a degree in Piano Performance and has won competitions, spoken at the National Music Teacher’s Convention and served on the panel for two National KTV Video conferences for private music educators across the country.

Lori is former director of Southside Private Musicians and Lane Music Development Centers in Greenville, SC, she has directed and produced many children’s choirs and stage productions including Fiddler on the Roof Jr., and Music Man Jr, The Diary of Anne Frank, Fabulous Fable Factory, Our Town, and My Fair Lady.

In the fall of 2000, Lori began the Artios Academy for the Visual and Performing Arts as an advanced level arts program for high school students. That program has now grown to include Artios Academy of Arts and History, Artios Preparatory, and Artios Conservatory.

In 2011, the Artios Academies of Littleton opened under Lori’s leadership. Lori now serves as Executive Director of Artios Academies overseeing and consulting with Artios Academy locations around the country.  Find out how you can start your own.

Lori, her husband, John, and youngest son reside in Colorado where Lori enjoys horseback riding, hiking, and skiing. That is, when she takes a minute away from developing courses, designing curriculum, speaking and writing for various websites and publications, as well as directing productions of the local community theater.  I told you was a woman after my own heart!

Oh…and of course homeschooling Jared, her last of four.  Bring a lovely cup of tea and join me on Friday at 12 noon CT to find out more about this busy woman and her Artios Academies.

 

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How Homeschooling Changed Us: Larry McNeny

 

                                                    

This week I’m talking to my blue eyed cowboy who has agreed to join us for a cuppa.

His real name is Larry McNeny and he toured the world with famous musicians ensuring they were in the right place, on stage, at the right time, not an easy task sometimes.  Larry worked with Stigwood. a management company, and toured with such greats as, Eric Clapton, The BeeGees, Three Dog Night, Firehouse, and Marvin Hamlisch, Linda Rondstat and the Pittsburg symphony.  He personally managed Andy Gibb and an artist and sculptor, whom he always refers to as, "quite famous."

Larry shared the homescholing years with me whenever he wasn’t out on the road as a Tour Manager for any number of impressive bands. His glamourous life got the children’s interest a whole lot quicker than anything I was trying to do with them!

Today we are going to be talking about homeschooling, empty nest, living here in Florida and how we have been affected by homeschooling.

Visit  www.roadcases.org to learn more about one of Larry’s latest projects.

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Reasonable Faith: Dr. Jay L. Wile

                                                        

 

My guest this week is Dr. Jay L. Wile best known in the homeschooling circles for his award-winning “Exploring Creation With…” series of science textbooks.

Dr. Wile holds an earned Ph.D. in nuclear chemistry and a B.S. in chemistry, both from the University of Rochester.  He has won several awards for excellence in teaching and has presented lectures on the topics of Nuclear Chemistry, Christian Apologetics, Homeschooling, and Creation vs. Evolution.

Dr. Wile and his wife of more than 25 years, Kathleen, homeschooled their daughter, Dawn, from the time they adopted her until she graduated high school.

Our family particularly enjoyed Dr. Wile’s book, Reasonable Faith the Scientific Case for Christianity, which we first read at the breakfast table in preparation for our herpetologist son’s entry onto a secular college campus.  We had been fore-warned that we risked our children’s souls by sending them to non-Christian college campuses; furthermore we were also warned by our priest that certain career choices were not considered good Christian choices, especially the science career our youngest son was embarking upon.  On finishing Dr. Wile’s admirable little book my son was so impressed by the truths contained therein he cited it in a paper, written for one of his science college professors.  The result was a request, from his professor,(hear his side of the story!) for the book and we’ve been giving copies of it away ever since!  Join me with your tea this Friday when Dr. Wile and I will be talking about fathers in the homeschool and other interesting topics that are bound to crop up!

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Recent Shows
Title Date
Window to the Wild: Simon & Lindsey McNeny
08-15-2014
Gloriously Unregimented: Carol Barnier
08-08-2014
Discovering the Artist Within: Lori Lane
08-01-2014
How Homeschooling Changed Us: Larry McNeny
07-25-2014
Reasonable Faith: Dr. Jay Wile
07-18-2014
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