Eighteen years ago, I had this brand new, sweet and healthy, blue-eyed, chubby little girl. After her first round of vaccines she stopped growing. At four months old I was told to start solids early to try to get her to gain weight; that just weakened her immune system and she got sick. She was diagnosed with Failure to Thrive soon afterwards. At this point she was so tired of throwing up after each feeding that she would nurse as little as possible and suck her fingers instead to avoid it.
On my own accord, I had began weeks earlier trying to change our families diet for the better to fix some issues. I took away dairy, then wheat, but it wasn't until I took out gluten that I noticed that the baby stopped throwing up after nursing. It only took three days of that and it was gone. After my daughter was no longer reacting to the food I ate, I worked several months to wean her from sucking her fingers and taught her to be a good little nurser. She was able to maintain her weight and slowly gain weight, she was weight checked every month and continued all her scheduled "well" visits. At a year old, she was only sixteen pounds, but she had good muscle tone and was content. She didn't start to gain weight at a more normal rate until I stopped vaccinating her after eighteen months old. She had a growth spurt years later, when I started detoxing her body of the vaccines.
At the same time my daughter stopped throwing up, I also noticed that our new gluten free diet had cleared my two year olds infant acne that he had since he started solids. This started the long journey to where I am today and the decisions I make about food, medicine, doctors, child- rearing, education, etc.
Over the years I have gone through times that I doubted what I had learned and I tried to just forget about it all, but there was always a physical or emotional side effect from someone making me go back to it. Believe me, it is not easy to be the odd one out, never fitting in, and having very little support.
So before you try to educate me with the latest research, please consider that I have already done the research and have seen the results myself. You can find research out there to support any outcome you would like to believe, but how do you know what is real? I live with the results everyday. Please don't try to dis-prove me, all you end up doing is discounting the last eighteen years of my life, with or without realizing it. We all try to do what is the very best for our children, I am no different. Please respect that and the things I do and I will do the same for you. I am all for knowledge and research, but do your own research, or at least research where the research is coming from. You'll be surprised at some of the sources and who funds specific research. I trust what I have learned from my own experiences as a mother and as a volunteer who has helped many new mothers. I've seen the results myself, not in theory.
The education system in America is broken, it must be. How is it that a child, a highly intelligent child, that just graduated high school with a true thirst for knowledge and whose main desire is to go to college to learn more, is unable go? And the reason being that, said child can’t go because the parents are new to the game, don’t have the prestigious contacts and the finances to send the child. How do we expect to build a better country if most of the people in the higher education system are there because they were told to go there, not because they want to be there?
As a parent, what do we want for our children? Ultimately we want them to be happy, right? And what do the experts say that makes up happy? Doing what we love. So it can be said that finding what you love and developing it your whole life would cause someone to have a happy life. Right? So what do you do when you have a child whose passion is learning? Well, you foster that passion like you would for the the child that has a passion for music, or soccer, or horses; you do what you can to make sure the child experiences all kinds of learning and continues to develop that passion.
This fostering of passions does not apply to only one child, but to all your children. Well, what if you have nine, like we do? Do you only do this for the first few? No, of course not. Well, at least, I thought not. But now I have to reevaluate. You see, it is my first child that has this passion for learning and now that he has graduated high school and I can’t give him the one simple thing he desires (to continue his education), I am thinking maybe we went about the whole thing wrong.
Maybe we shouldn’t have allowed him to explore his world to the extent he wanted to. Maybe we shouldn’t have let him just read the encyclopedias and dictionaries. Maybe letting him study a subject to his heart was content wasn’t a good way to go. We knew early on that this child was very intelligent. Using words well before his first birthday, singing recognizable tunes at a year, knowing his colors and counting soon after a year. By eighteen months he had over a 300 word vocabulary in two languages and had been speaking full sentences for months. I was told at that point I could easily teach him to read, but I didn’t. I waited until he decided he wanted to read. Which when he decided that, it was only a couple months before he was off and reading real books. But maybe that was the wrong approach.
Because he was so far a head and had this natural thirst for knowledge, we decided to homeschool him so he could develop this passion as far as he wanted. Maybe that was the wrong thing to do. When he took his first standardized test ever, he was not prepped or shown how to do well on it. He just took it and received a 97 battery (CAT test, 4th grade level, given at the end of what should have been 3rd grade). Maybe I should have prepared him, given him practice tests, shown him what to expect. Taught him concepts instead of letting him understand and learn them all himself.
When he asked for more formal schooling because he felt that other kids were starting to know more then he did, I found a hybrid classical school (two day a week) for him to give a try. With no formal schooling they put him in a grade based on his birthdate and a lower grade math. He did beyond well. On the Iowa testing that year he scored 13+ on all but maybe one area. He took the next year to do a few years of work so his grade would better reflect his level. Maybe I shouldn’t have let him do this. Maybe I should have let him stay where he was, or maybe I should have put him in a “real” school at this point.
Now he is ready for the high school years and we go with an accredited homeschool co-op, knowing full well, he wants to go to college so transcripts would probably be a good thing for that. He, of course, excels. His worth ethic and genuine interest in ALL of his subjects is nothing but commended by his teachers. He discovered his knack for speech writing and reciting those speeches, as well as his love of drama. The next year, the same, he continues to excel. Starts the year off with the PSAT, no prep and scores a 186. He decides at the end of the year to take the SAT so he can dual-enroll his junior year. He takes the SAT with no fancy prep course, studies for a week. Once again, as with all his standardized testing, no prep, he does well (1910 overall, 740 in writing). His junior year, he dual enrolls for science (college physics, receives an A) and designs his own English course as he continues to take classes through his accredited homeschool co-op. Starts the year with the PSAT, no prep, except for previous standardized tests, and gets just over a 200, qualifying for the National Merit Scholar honor. He applies for GHP (Governor’s Honors Program) in Communications and won at the high school level and represented our local public high school at the state competition. At the end of the year he takes the SAT again (increasing his overall to 2140, 740 now in Reading too) and a week later, with just that week to study, the ACT (31 overall, with a 36 in English).
At the beginning of his junior year he decided he wanted to attend a more intensive high school for his last year or two of high school. He had his goal set to get into one of the most prestigious in America, Philips Exeter Academy (PEA) in NH. Yes, a forty-six thousand dollar a year, high school. No he did not get in, most likely because they would have had to foot the bill, they knew very well that our family of ten (at the time) could not afford their school. But they did offer him a nearly full scholarship to attend their summer school that summer. Which we drove him to and once again he excelled. He took three classes, receiving passing grades in all and two with honors. He tried out for and received a role in the summer play and also participated in a sports program while there.
For his senior year, since PEA did not come through, we enrolled him in a local college prep high school. He signs up for four AP classes since he never had access to them before, as well as environmental science, public speaking, drama, chorus and tried to continue his weight training program on his own at school (which was stopped by the school within a few weeks unfortunately). He also decides to take two SAT subject tests at the beginning of the year (no prep, of course), one in English (710) and one in French (670) Not only did he excel in school and enjoy learning in all his classes, he also got to compete against other students from other private school in drama, chorus and model UN. He got a major role in the school play. He got to use his French for teaching kids at an international school, as well as participate in a French immersion weekend. He was inducted into the Thespian society, received an award for have over a 3.5 overall GPA. But did he graduate with honors? No. Should he have? You decide.
So here I am. I have this kid whose passion is to learn. He wants to go to college for Economics, a course he feel in love with his junior year. His love for it strengthened at Philips Exeter, where he received honors for it. He wants to work in the government, as a diplomat or what have you, and I can’t even send him to college. Although he fits the main description for most of the prestigious colleges, a true love of learning, he can not get into most of the colleges he has applied to. He can not compete with other high school graduates who have had eight or more AP classes, who are in the honor society, who have been trained to get good grades on the SAT, who have the connections and most importantly who have the MONEY. So I have to sit by and watch my son watch all his classmates from PEA and this prep school get into colleges he would like to go to and some he wouldn’t, with big scholarships that most of them don’t need and some of them DON’T EVEN CARE or appreciate. It breaks my heart to watch this.
We were so relieved when he would finally have some guidance for college, as we obviously knew nothing. The college counselor at the high school obviously didn’t know what to expect with my son’s past experiences. He didn’t get into most of the colleges he applied to and the back-up school, he still remains on the waiting list. He wanted to go out of state; we were not told that would be nearly impossible to afford, so the colleges he did get in to are impossible to send him to. A $36,000 a year scholarship doesn’t mean much for a college with a $70,000 a year cost, for example. Since completing school my son has started applying to local public and private schools, giving up his dream for an out of state liberal arts school that excels in economics. Of course, he has gotten in with no problem, but all the merit based scholarships that he would have received are gone for the public ones and the private ones are still too expensive, even with the scholarships. The Hope scholarship will cover all of tuition, yes, but tuition on a public school is a fraction of the cost of everything else. And the Hope scholarship only covers a small portion of the private schools tuition. The bill will still be over $10,000 and my son can only qualify for a $5,500 unsubsidized loan. Our only option seems to be to do a gap year and see if he can qualify at these state schools for some merit based scholarships to help reduce the cost so he can pay the rest with an unsubsidized loan. A GAP YEAR for a kid who just wants to go to school and learn, truly, that’s all he wants.
So did I go about this all wrong? Was letting him experience all ways of learning a bad thing? Should I have put my child in the school system all along? He would know how to take a test and get an even better grade. He would have all the classes his classmates had access to. He would have all the honors he deserves. His college counselor would have been better able to gauge where he could go to school. BUT would he have this genuine love of learning, the desire to really want to continue his education? That thing that all the top colleges are supposedly looking for. Or would he have the same indifference towards college as most of his classmates?
I did my best to foster his passion, is that wrong? Now what?
So we finally did it, moved from the cookie-cutter neighborhood to this:
It’s been an interesting journey and will continue to be for many years…
Stay tuned… Hope to share our stories with you soon. If we can’t get away from the babies long enough to write a blog, we will try to share pictures as we try to plant a garden, raise some chickens, etc, etc, etc. It is a funny site to see the ten of us trying to become farmers…
FYI: It’s free to join now so I figured, “why not?”
There’s a new direct sales company launching in October My friend Caty (the
research queen) researched it and sent me this info. …It’s all
ORGANIC, green fed beef (that’s also kosher too!), organic raw cheeses,
organic probiotics, organic probiotics CHOCOLATE etc…….!! Its actually
Jordan Rubin’s company- he sold garden of life for 75 million and started
this company by purchasing a farm in missouri….. His MOUNTAIN spring
water is all in BPA free bottles and also created a probiotic water for
those who can’t do dairy….in 1 day 1500 people have joined. For those who
join right now its FREE before they launch…..once it launches it will be
an initial fee ( from my understanding) then the plans will begin $40 and
highest is $200…….( business plans) This is a great way for all of us to
earn FREE ORGANIC GRASS FED foods!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Also those who sign up
BEFORE the launch will receive special royalties from the company!
If you are interested you should listen to the next webinar which will be on
MAY 24TH @ 8:30 PM.
Also there is a PRELAUNCH to try all the foods on JULY 11-13 IN west palm
beach ( also doing some in missouri etc….)
If you want to see and read about all the new products, I can send you a recruitment link on the link.
Check it out and join, it’s free and maybe you’ll be able to get a discount on some good stuff. That is why I joined…
On a good note the London Autism Rally was a huge success. See the video here.
Thank you Joan Campbell for your hard work.
Hope you are all enjoying the fantastic weather. We are in S. Florida and it has been unusually cool for this time of year and I love it.
For local folk, I will be at St. Andrew Episcopal Church in Jensen Beach on the 25th of April. They are having their first Earth Day celebration. I will be there along with many other great folks vending. Come on by.
I will also be at Nutrition S’mart on the 23rd of May doing a lecture on the benefits of eating gluten free.
Where does the time go? I am still cleaning up the mess from Christmas!
Last week I had a garage sale and it was wonderful. What a great way to clean up and make a few bucks.
I tend to give away more things than I sell because I believe we should recycle, and reuse. I would rather give it away than throw it away. Also when the sale is over, I pack up the van with what is left and drive over to Good Will.
Ok, I also bring some things back into the house after I realize, “I could use this”
I do less self gratifying shopping too. Sure it feels good to pick up something cute for myself or the house, but now I ask myself,” do I really need this? ” Not only will we save money by shopping smarter but we can help lessen the load of our already overflowing landfills.
So clean house, have a garage sale and shop less. You will find that once your house is cleaner, you won’t mind staying home so much. I used to get out ( and shop) because I hated looking at my mess all the time. Now I can sit back with a good book or cup of tea and not feel so creeped out. Clutter in your home usually equals clutter in your life.
Many of you have heard about the 3 families who recently lost their fight in vaccine court but we rarely hear about the ones who win. The media doesn’t like to upset their sponsors who are mostly pharmaceutical companies. But many do win in court. . Below is an article about a recent WIN, followed by a US Today ad, sponsored by Generation Rescue, letting it’s readers know about the court decision.
I just subscribed to YES magazine and I love it. In this month’s issue there is an article called ‘A World of Grace’ The link below is an excerpt from that article about all the different ways we say Grace in this world. You may enjoy reading it. No matter what our culture or religion, we really all want the same thing.
Can’t get your family to eat the now recommended 7-9 raw fruits and vegetables?
For eight years I have been approached by people trying to get me to buy the perfect vitamin/supplement/ cure all. Although I believe some supplementing is necessary for medicinal reasons I believe we can and should get our nutrients from our food. However, in today’s world, we simply are spending less and less time in the kitchen. We are looking for a fast fix and many healthy meals take time to prepare; time Americans no longer have. I finally found a product I love and believe in. ( never buy anything without researching it first) It is Juice Plus. This is NOT a vitamin. it is a whole food supplement. JP contains 15 raw fruits, and vegetables plus 2 grains dehydrated and put in capsule or chewable form. It is a great way to get those essential phyto-nutrients that studies prove fight cancer, heart disease, etc. .
Visit my website and read the studies on Juice Plus.
If you are interested in the Children’s Health Study, please email me privately. For each adult order, Juice Plus will provide a free supply for a child age 6-15. All you need to do is fill out a questionnaire every 6 months on your child’s health.
Happy March, Happy Spring Cleaning and Cheers to Good Health.
We started our quest to live a healthy lifestyle a long time ago. We have been researching health since 1999! It all started when our second child was diagnosed with Failure to Thrive. She just stopped growing after her “well baby” visit.
Since then we have discovered so many things that are unhealthy and we have gone from your typical American, moderately healthy family to a total counter-cultural family. We have our babies at home, we breastfeed, we visit alternative doctors and use alternative natural remedies, we eat an organic, whole foods diet, we only have non-toxic cleaning and personal products in our home, we believe in child-led learning, we don’t watch television, we are proud parents of ten children and we bought ourselves an earth-friendly home on a chunk of land. We are slowly learning to grow food, raise animals and live more simply. Most people consider us weird, but we prefer the term unique and informed.
How did we come to all of this? Well, lets say we did a lot of research and trial and error. Along the way we have learned lots of interesting things. We have discovered that things that you may think are healthy are not and vice-versa. We have come across some great products that we have been using for years and some others that are not so great. We have some great resources we would like to share with you on your journey to a healthier lifestyle.
To see how our journey progresses through the years start with our first post and continue to the next and so on. To see how we came to or feel about certain things do a search for what you are looking for. Remember this is a work in process, so we may have not gotten to your topic of interest. If not, please email us and ask.
Also, please understand that we don’t get to blog as much any more, but hope to be able to someday soon. Family first!
Thanks for your interest in our blog!!
Have a great day!
Email Amy and Simon with questions and comments at: firstname.lastname@example.org