You Might Be From The Garden School If…


    By Elizabeth Veldboom

1) You know that “The Rock” is more than just an ex-wrestler turned lousy actor.

2) You have ever had nightmares about forgetting your lines.

3) You know that Latin is not a dead language. It should be, but somehow they keep reviving it.

4) The names “George Grant” or “Paul Johnson” have ever struck fear into your heart.

5) An “Opportunity” means more to you than an amazing chance coming your way. Rather, it is a strategic plot designed to get you to ponder an early demise.

6) You’ve ever had class at a Starbucks and/or Target.

7) The Morley knows all. Period.

8) You could make the Guinness World Records for the most khaki ever worn on a single person.

9) You have seen at least one thing blow up during a 40-hour presentation.

10) You have ever spontaneously burst out singing.

11) You compare every grandma you know to Nonny. Maybe even your own. Or really anyone.

12) You know who Nonny is.

Garden School teachers, parents, students, and grads–what did I miss?! What would you have put on this list? I’d love to hear what you come up with!

And for our readers from out of state: What out of this list caught your curiosity?! Let us know, and we’ll give you the story behind it!

Have fun, guys! I can’t wait to see what you come up with.


    Elizabeth Veldboom is a 2009 graduate from The Garden School, and a student in Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild. She has previously been published in places like Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Magic of Mothers and Daughters, and She has a huge heart for homeschooling families and would love connecting with you, so visit her blog anytime at




    By Shilo Bartlett

The list hanging on my desk today has about 15 things on it that need to get done. It stares back at me like a menacing cat in the corner, saying, “I dare you to try and take me on.” Its black ink has a dark feel. This is not a good list day.

Have you had a day like that? Where the things to conquer outweigh the normal goings on of your household by 2-to-1? That is a not so great day, right?

I have a solution!

There is more than one way to overcome this obstacle.

The first is to tackle the “cat” head on – just try and pound it into submission, one item at a time. This will result in what I will call “list exhaustion,” and will leave you feeling like you have fought with a tiger and lost. Scratches, bruises, mental fatigue, and diet problems always follow this route.

The second way to deal with the list is to take a ’round about route – i.e., circle the “cat,” don’t let it know you are coming, then pounce like a mad beast and ride the crazy ride. Hold on for dear life as you try and make the swirling stop. Can’t you just see it? You, riding a wild cat? Yeah, that’s one crazy way to take on “The List.” You slowly put aside your daily things, knowing you must attempt the leap at any moment, and then you just one by one knock them off while blowing what’s left of the normalcy of your day into the wind like the whirling dervish you are! This ends with another bad side effect just like the method above: headaches, children who will wonder if their parent has gone mad, and general disorder in your household.

There is, however, one more method of dealing with The List: Procrastination.

Yes, that is the method. This type of coping mechanism is one that has been proven throughout the ages as the most effective form of dealing with problems in your life that cannot be dealt with. This method requires nothing more from you than no effort at all. Yes! You look at that list waiting for you… staring at you… cowering like the cat in the corner… and what do you do? You don’t do any of it! You walk away and leave that cat to its own sad devices, and move on to living blissfully unaware of any problems, cares, or concerns of things left to be done. You move on with your life in great happiness that you have no worries, no chores, and no responsibilities. This method is the greatest yet to be applied by mankind.

Seriously though?

Procrastination is definitely not the method we should use in our lives with our responsibilities. I just like to amuse you with the ideas of what you could do with “The List” that all of us have in our lives. Sometimes it’s a daily list, other times it may be a list that you have had for years. Things that you would like to do with your life, things you know you should do for your children. “The List” can mean many things.

In my own experience, I have found that this List is like a mountain-a kind of challenge for myself. I have discovered, too, that there is a way to conquer every mountain or mole hill in a very successful way. You know the saying “Rome wasn’t built in a day”? Well, Mt. Everest is definitely not climbed in one day, to say the least. Climbing Mt. Everest is a practiced art they perfect to achieve the goal of conquering that mountain. They train, and train some more, and acclimate, and gain muscle, and build confidence on smaller mountains before they tackle the big one.

There is a key in that method which I believe will help in achieving the various goals and lists each of us have in our lives. Small victories-small chips away at small things-always lead to bigger successes. That list? It can be finished! How? Small, even, realistic steps. Once you have conquered that small hill, and stand on top of it? The bigger mountain looks smaller, right? Yes – it looks achievable. Then you take on the larger things.

If there is a “List” or “Mountain” in your life, maybe we can try going at it like the mountain climbers taking on Everest, and not like the cat wrangler above.

Happy Mountain Climbing!


    Shilo Bartlett is a super organized, over reaching, strong-willed mother of three. She loves having the hands-on time with her kids that homeschooling and The Garden School have allowed her. She grew up in the Colorado River Valley, and went to public school until 6th grade. Her mother homeschooled her and her three siblings through high school, and then she attended CMC graduating with a degree in Applied Science in the Veterinary Field. She has always read voraciously, and written throughout her life for many publications. Her family is her passion. Her driving motivation is to encourage a love of learning.

Recognizing (and Surviving) the Beginning of the Logic Stage: “Whaaat?”

    By Monica Cappelli

question-marks[1]Well, it had to happen sometime. My sweet, compliant, easy little girl is growing up, and I am no longer the epitome of reason in her eyes. As she approaches her first double digit birthday, the Logic Stage* of learning is quickly gaining upon us.

Below are two of the many, daily, and sometimes hilarious examples of what the beginning of the Logic Stage looks like at my house. Needless to say, not all “opportunities” will end in giggles, but these recent moments did!

1. While deciding what to watch during a Mommy/Daughter Mani/Pedi:

DD: Let’s watch SpongeBob. It helps me think. (Scary…she was serious and straight-faced when she said that!)
Me: No, no, no, no, no. NO! Please, I can’t stand that show!
DD: But it’s FUNNY!
Me: I think it’s disgusting, and repetitive. Not funny at all. No way can I enjoy my pedicure with SpongeBob on TV.
DD: But please Mom!
Me: Uh uh. How about Ella Enchanted?
DD: No, thanks, Mom.
Me: Or Nanny MacPherson?
DD: Mom, now you’re just being difficult.
Me: But you like Nanny! We both do!
DD: But I don’t want to watch it! You know. . . Jon, and Aaron, and Chrissy like SpongeBob. Only you don’t like it…
Me: Ahhhh, but they’re not here. So you can watch it when they come home…When all three are here together. (Even though I secretly know that will probably be next June!)
DD: But Dad likes it. And he’s here. So who’s more important: you- or DAAAD?
Me: Well, when it comes to pedicures – I am!
DD: Uhn uh. Dad is. ‘Cause he married you, and then you got the babies!
Me (choking): Whaaaat?

Your child will probably offer many such mind-boggling “arguments” as they transition from the grammar stage to the logic stage. They will enlist all kinds of faulty reasoning in an attempt to understand their world, and to bend it to their liking.

These are good times to model well a reasoned argument – if you can manage to contain your laughter. (I admit, her appeals to popularity [siblings], authority [DAAAD], and the great big straw-man [babies. Really?!] left me laughing too hard to marshal my thoughts). Eventually their arguments will mature, as they practice under your cheerful tutelage.

2. Picking up my rather dramatic little daughter one day after school:

DD: Where WERE you, Mom? I didn’t see you ANYWHERE! I looked all over the place!
Me: Well actually I was parked right across the street from school. (Okay, so I wasn’t standing patiently outside in the cold, like some of the native Colorado moms, but she knows my car – right?)
DD: But I didn’t SEE you!
Me: Ah, but I saw you. You followed that little puppy all the way down to the other end of the block. You didn’t even look for me! I had to go get you!
DD: But I couldn’t help it! He liked me, and he was sooooo cute! And did you see his cute little ears? They were soooo floppy!
Me: Yes, he was cute, wasn’t he? (You see, I, too, am easily distracted by puppies!)
But I need you to come straight to the car from now on, okay? I shouldn’t have to go looking for you.
DD: Okay. Sorry. Well, I’m hungry and I think you owe me an ice cream.
Me: Whaaaat? What are you talking about?
DD: Well you’re the responsible adult. And you weren’t being very responsible, were you? I was a block away and A STRANGER could’ve grabbed me! So you owe me an ice cream. (A very self-satisfied smile followed this little zinger!)
Me (cracking up): Sorry, kiddo. . . Nice try though! That might have worked if it was true and if I wasn’t on a diet! (She laughed and settled for the two-day old Wheat Thins which happened to be in the back of the car!)

Ahhhhh, parents! Let’s enjoy this rocky transition from compliant Grammar to challenging Logic. Here are a few strategies:

1) Enjoy the mental gymnastics.
2) Choose your battles wisely.
3) Keep it positive whenever possible – the goal is to train, not to conquer.
4) Help your child analyze the quality of questions, reasoning, and arguments witnessed at school, in the community, in books, as well as on TV and other media by asking questions like:

a. “What did you think about that?”
b. “Did they really prove their point?”
c. “How would you have approached that question?”
d. “Did his/her decision make sense, in your opinion?”

5) Be willing to be convinced when their arguments are well-reasoned.
6) Your counter-arguments should model the same reasoning and respectful tone you expect your child to employ.
7) And just for fun: Give in sometimes with a mutual giggle – acknowledge the ridiculous and tip your hat to their valiant ingenuity!

Please share a story about your child’s Logical Journey. How are you coping with your budding logistician?

*To learn more about the three stages in a classical education-Grammar, Logic, and Rhetoric-read Dave Miller’s post here:


    Monica CappelliMonica Cappelli is a wife and the mother of four wonderful children. Over the years her family has been blessed to experience home, public, private, and parochial schooling. This has given Monica an appreciation for the strengths and challenges of the educational choices available to families. A successful experience is possible in any of these situations with the support of community and prayerful, encouraging parents. Monica strongly believes that parental academic expectations and “leadership by example” in the areas of competence, autonomy, and service set the stage for a young person’s entrance into a successful, joyful, and productive adulthood.