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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

Homeschooling & Education

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Inward Strength to Withstand Stress

I was never one to watch Star Wars, but the fictional Jedi Master Yoda apparently dispensed his wisdom throughout. If ever there is a need for wisdom, it’s for our generation that has been ruled by mindsets such as, “If it feels good — do it”, “Go with the flow”, stemming out of an even…

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My Adult Merit Badges

I was never a girl scout. Adventuresome, yes. Athletic, yes. Lots of field trips and fun, cooking, crafts and friendships, yes. But, merit badges? No. Think of all the fun that could have been! I went to the girl scout site. It appears that the awards are called “badges”. My dad and brother were part…

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Research Paper Checklist

On the younger side of the spectrum, we have three high schoolers from tenth to twelfth grade. They need to improve on their basic research and response papers. The fact that they came from Russia at later ages and that we continue to retain their Russian can work against them at times. But we work…

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Specs for Petya’s Scholarly Presentation

The day has come: Petya’s first scholarly presentation. He’s done other lectures on a smaller scale, but this is going to be for real. Serious. Juried. More PhDs than ever in attendance. Yikes.  Public speaking in general is bad enough. The almost 20-year-old works in his field part-time, great for the future resume, and pursues…

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Monday Mottoes – #155

“I think I can, I think I can,” said the Little Engine That Could. Perhaps you remember something from your childhood echoing that 1963 inspirational cartoon (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yx9xO98kcBU). Nowadays, cartoons seem to have different messages, yet that encouraging word will never grow old. Today, so many give up after engaging in any initial exertion. Their tenacity,…

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And We Try Again… Mashenka’s Future

Take Two. Or Three. Or Four or whatever we’re up to at this point. Mashenka came back for more help from me. Her father’s urging proved beneficial. Of course, I could just go up to the 18-year-old and tell her, “Look, you’re bright, you’re personable, you could have a lot going for you in your…

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The Paralysis of Analysis: Mashenka’s Future

Our daughter’s “custom-made future” that I wrote about less than two weeks ago has bitten the dust. We had a good talk, I gave her a simple gameplan, what else she might research and possible next steps to take. No pressure, nothing forced upon her, I imagined I was following her expressed interests. And then…

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Learning All We Can

My cousin was maybe 20 years old when she arrived in America. She and I had been born one day apart, the daughters of twin brothers. He worked in the Old Country, whereas my father lived in the US. Tanya had dual citizenship and while she was visiting, decided to get her driver’s license, much…

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Mashenka’s Custom-Made Future

Her eyes gazed into mine as we sat on the couch together. Mashenka, our 18-year-old daughter, was facing her senior year in high school with absolutely no idea of what to do with the rest of her life. Graduate high school – yes; beyond that – blank canvas. She had enough people praying for her…

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Pressing Through Procrastination

I’m on a balanced-time diet and it’s not so simple. Just as it would be easier to eat only one’s favorite food, it’s easier to do what we want, when we want. For now, I need to have no more room for excuses, no tyranny of the urgent sabotaging all else. So I’m biting the…