By Tracy Lamperti,
Psychotherapist, Educator, Consultant
Part 1 in the Homeschool series
This is the time of year when parents all over are questioning their children’s education for the following year, particularly if their child is entering preschool or kindergarten.
Over the last 9 years of homeschooling, my husband and I have fielded our fair share of questions about the decision to home-school our children.
Here is our story.
It was August and our son was due to enter Kindergarten the next month. Based on his height, social skills and cognitive level, we were concerned. We met with the school and were told unequivocally that they could educate any child, no matter what the circumstances in the grade they should be in based on their age. Just so happened, we were attending a church with a pretty good size of families who were homeschooling their children; The Cape Cod Bible Alliance, if it is important to know. By the way, a church where MOST of the kids were going to public school, some private school and the smallest number, homeschool. In other words, CCBAC is not a church that shuns the “public establishments” or conventions. On the contrary, we are living in and with the community. OUR reason to homeschool were NOT based on “religious” reasons.
Anyhow, back to the story…I was concerned because I had a 5-weeks old daughter and a private psychotherapy and consultation practice. And, sorry Mom if you are reading this…but pretty much no family support for the decision to homeschool, from either side of the family.
Loving as my mother is, and adoring of her grandchildren, she quickly came on board and took on the art class requirements, and oversaw the schoolwork one full day per week. (Thanks for loving us Mom!).
However, three years later, I was very overwhelmed with so many responsibilities and we met with the principal about enrolling our son (he was just finishing 3rd grade). Our daughter was still not Kindergarten age. Our son was a year ahead because of skipping Kindergarten, had just been tested in all subjects and scored “post high school” in everything except for Math, and his social skills remained impeccable (NOT to my credit. He was born with a special temperament and character). We were told that he would be dropped back a year to where he was “supposed” to be. That was just not going to happen. We looked into private school and found the cost out of our reach and the travel time every day unfair to our whole family, especially our children, so we continued forward with HS.
Currently, our son is in 9th grade. He is enrolled in 3 core subjects at a fully accredited online high school where he has real, live teachers and classmates all over the world. His father teaches him Science, and always has, he takes Rosetta Stone Spanish and I oversee his other subjects. Our daughter is in 3rd grade. She takes all of her classes from a hard drive on the computer where her classes are pre-recorded. It is a nice complete package and I oversee all of her work and actually work alongside her with office work from my business or bills, shopping lists and menus or whatever, so that I can assist her whenever she needs it.
With all of my heart and mind, I can attest to the fact that homeschooling your own children is a huge task. It is filled with rewards and hardships. As a mother, homeschooling parent and psychotherapist…I am not shy about saying that homeschooling is not right for every parent, child or combo of the two. I am also not shy about saying that many fine and well educated students graduate from public school.
We all have a unique story.
There are many days that I question the decision to homeschool. For our family, we enter into a sort of reflective, evaluative mindset every April, reassessing the needs of our children, our family, ourselves, etc. to determine the best plan for the next year. The children are part of that to some extent but the power to decide has never been turned over to them. Not so far anyway.
I’m not sure how many weeks I will blog about this topic, but I plan to cover some basic questions that are asked of homeschoolers by family, friends, the school and the general public, like;
1. What about socialization?
2. Will you homeschool in high school also?
3. Can homeschoolers get into college?
4. How can you stand to be with your kids so much? Lol
Please mark your calendars for Thursday, March 20th at 6:30pm. Cape Cod Academy will be sharing Dislecksia: The Movie followed by a Question & Answer session with local experts.
Dyslexia is a developmental reading disorder is a reading disability that occurs when the brain does not properly recognize and process certain symbols. As with other learning disabilities, dyslexia is a lifelong challenge that people are born with. This language processing disorder can hinder reading, writing, spelling and sometimes even speaking. Dyslexia is not a sign of poor intelligence or laziness. It is also not the result of impaired vision. Children and adults with dyslexia simply have a neurological disorder that causes their brains to process and interpret information differently. Please join us at Cape Cod Academy for this very important topic!
Disclosure: Reviewer received a copy of this e-book in order to facilitate an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are the author's own.
I am a reader, always have been and always will be. When I was a kid, a book was always in my hands, my bag, or at least nearby. Reading was my escape, my way of visiting foreign ports, my chance at time travel, and a way to meet people facing choices I’d never imagined.
The best books are the books that stick with you, even when you put them down. They infect your conscious so that when you’re out doing every day activities you are thinking of the characters, seeing the world in a new way, or experiencing emotions that are a result of what you’ve read. These books change your view of the world.
I am in the midst of reading a series of books that are capturing my mind and my heart, they are based on Cape Cod and I thought I would share them with you mamas! This book is making me see the Cape in a new way, and feel the hope, grief, love, and excitement of the characters. I just completed the first book - This Is The House by Deborah Hill. Set on Cape Cod, the story follows Molly Deems from age 18 months through adulthood.
Born during the American Revolution, she and her mother face tremendous struggles after the loss of her father during the war. Molly’s mother had nothing and no one to help her and is essentially bought by a mean, vicious man and she and Molly must move with him to Barnstable. There her mother is abused and used as he pleases. To help her daughter escape a similar awful fate, her mother finds Molly a place as a serving girl in the home of a wealthy sea captain’s family in Yarmouth.
Molly is blessed with a kind and loving mistress, Elizabeth Ward, who teaches her to read and write as well as the skills to run a fashionable household despite Molly’s lowly status as a servant. Molly is bright and kind and good. She is a hard worker and succeeds in her role serving Captain Ward, his wife, and two sons - though she aspires to more. A great beauty she begins to attract attention as she ages and she knows if she wants to advance her station in life, she must connect herself with a man on his way up in the world. On Cape Cod the upwardly mobile men were the sea captains.
In the Ward’s house, she meets a young man, Elijah Merrick, about to take command of his first ship. Using her natural charm, beauty, intellect, and a little manipulation, she quickly wins his heart. There are many obstacles to their marriage - she’s a servant girl, her reputation is in question thanks to her mother’s position, Elijah’s old Cape Cod family will not accept her, and worst of all is her attraction to the Ward’s irresponsible, handsome son, Isaac.
I don’t want to reveal too much of the story because it is a joy to read and root for Molly and Elijah, her good hearted, loving sea captain. They are both complicated characters faced with choices and difficulties true to their historical time period. Their story shows the social mobility that was available to Cape Codders in a time when Cape Cod men were the premier captains and sailors in the country and the world was theirs to explore and make their fortune. These captains and their wives changed the face of the Cape, leaving the old one story rambling Cape homes for the large Captain’s homes we see dotting Route 6A to this day.
As I drive down the road, it is easy to imagine Molly and Elijah walking down that road, riding in their carriage as their fortune grew, and finally building their own two story, double chimney house. It was a joy to learn more about Cape history, the story left me hungering to research the past. Find out the details of the towns and families described in the book. Many of you Cape Cod Mommies will recognize familiar names (maybe your name!) as you read this book. We meet members of the Sears, Snow, Mayo, and other families that are still living here today. Deborah Hill writes about old feuds and what caused them, the division of towns and how they came to be. It’s a fascinating read, especially for those of us lucky enough to live here, a land still populated by captains and their sailors.
The author lived on Cape Cod and married into a family with mariner roots. She read the memoir of her husband’s Revolutionary War-era ancestor (Elijah Cobb) and included many elements of his story and the Cape he described into the book. Read it and tell me what you think. I’m about to start The House of Kingsley Merrick the next book in the series and am so excited that Deborah Hill has just released the final book in this trilogy – The Heir. This is exciting because the other two books were released in the 1970’s and fans of the series have been waiting ever since for the third book and here it is, hurrah! I hope to find the next two books as engaging as this first book, I will definitely report back
If you enjoy historical fiction, if you want to learn about Cape Cod after the Revolutionary War and during the early 19th century, or if you are just looking for your next good read, then go check out This Is The House, you won’t regret it!
Check out more info on the books here: http://www.deborahhillbooks.com/
By: Gary M. DellaPosta, CPA
Two tax credits are available for education costs - the American Opportunity Credit (formerly the Hope Credit) and the Lifetime Learning credit. These credits are available only to taxpayers with adjusted gross income below specified amounts (see Income Phase-Outs below).
How These Credits WorkThe amount of the credit you can claim depends on (1) how much you pay for qualified tuition and other expenses for students and (2) your adjusted gross income (AGI) for the year.
You must report the eligible student's name and Social Security number on your return to claim the credit. You subtract the credits from your federal income tax. If the credit reduces your tax below zero, you cannot receive the excess as a refund. If you receive a refund of education costs for which you claimed a credit in a later year, you may have to repay ("recapture") the credit.
Caution: If you file married-filing separately, you cannot claim these credits.
Which costs are eligible? Qualifying tuition and related expenses refers to tuition and fees, and course materials required for enrollment or attendance at an eligible education institution. They now include books, supplies and equipment needed for a course of study whether or not the materials must be purchased from the educational institution as a condition of enrollment or attendance.
"Related" expenses do not include room and board, student activities, athletics (other than courses that are part of a degree program), insurance, equipment, transportation, or any personal, living, or family expenses. Student-activity fees are included in qualified education expenses only if the fees must be paid to the institution as a condition of enrollment or attendance. For expenses paid with borrowed funds, count the expenses when they are paid, not when borrowings are repaid.
Tip: If you pay qualified expenses for a school semester that begins in the first three months of the following year, you can use the prepaid amount in figuring your credit.
Example: You pay $1,500 of tuition in December 2014 for the winter 2015 semester, which begins in January 2015. You can use the $1,500 in figuring your 2014 credit. If you paid in January instead, you would take the credit on your 2015 return.
Tip: As future year-end tax planning, this rule gives you a choice of the year to take the credit for academic periods beginning in the first 3 months of the year; pay by December and take the credit this year; pay in January or later and take the credit next year.
Eligible students. You, your spouse, or an eligible dependent (someone for whom you can claim a dependency exemption, including children under age 24 who are full-time students) can be an eligible student for whom the credit can apply. If you claim the student as a dependent, qualifying expenses paid by the student are treated as paid by you, and for your credit purposes are added to expenses you paid. A person claimed as another person's dependent can't claim the credit. The student must be enrolled at an eligible education institution (any accredited public, non-profit or private post-secondary institution eligible to participate in student Department of Education aid programs) for at least one academic period (semester, trimester, etc.) during the year.
No "double-dipping." The tax law says that you can't claim both a credit and a deduction for the same higher education costs. It also says that if you pay education costs with a tax-free scholarship, Pell grant, or employer-provided educational assistance, you cannot claim a credit for those amounts.
Income Limits. To claim the American Opportunity Credit your modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) must not exceed $90,000 ($180,000 for joint filers). To claim the Lifetime Learning Credit, MAGI must not exceed $63,000 ($127,000 for joint filers). "Modified AGI" generally means your adjusted gross income. The "modifications" only come into play if you have income earned abroad.
The American Opportunity Tax CreditThe American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOC) was extended through tax year 2017 by the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012. The maximum credit, available only for the first four years of post-secondary education, is $2,500 for tax years 2013 to 2017. You can claim the credit for each eligible student you have for which the credit requirements are met.
Special Qualification Rules. In addition to being an eligible student, he or she:
The Lifetime Learning CreditYou may be able to claim a Lifetime Learning credit of up to $2,000 (20% of the first $10,000 of qualified expense) for eligible students (subject to reduction based on your AGI). Only one Lifetime Learning Credit can be taken per tax return, regardless of the number of students in the family.
Electing Not To Take the Credit. There are situations in which the credit is not allowed, or not fully available, if some other education tax benefit is claimed - where the higher education expense deduction is claimed for the same student, see below, or where credit and tax exemption (under a Section 529 or 530 program) are claimed for the same expense. In that case the taxpayer - or, more likely, the taxpayer's tax adviser - will determine which tax rule offers the greater benefit and if it's not the credit, elect not to take the credit.
By: Rebekah Thomson, Pediatric Sleep Coach
After taking some time off to support my mother as she battles breast cancer, I’m very happy to be back on Cape Cod Mommies and very grateful to Michelle Donaghy and Brooke Nalle, my fellow Gentle Sleep Coaches who generously contributed to Cape Cod Mommies in my absence.
Today’s post will come as good news to many of us who are enduring one of the most intense winters in recent history and/or coping with our children’s early rising. We will be setting our clocks forward one hour on Sunday, March 9th, 2014 at 2:00 am. The start of daylight saving’s time assures us that spring is indeed on the way, even if it is still 21 degrees outside.
What does this mean for our children’s sleep? Generally speaking, it’s a good thing. Children who were waking up at 5:30am will now be waking at 6:30am, a far more civilized hour. However, those with late sleepers, may need to rouse their child so they don’t sleep the morning away.
What should we do in anticipation of the time changes? We’ve got two options. One is to do absolutely nothing. Just go with it. On Saturday night, put your child to bed at the usual time and allow her to wake at her usual time (though of course, the clock will read an hour later – i.e. 8am instead of the usual 7am). For the next few days, naps and bedtime may all feel a bit too early. For example, if your child’s bedtime is 7pm, you will be putting her to bed at the “new” 7pm, which is really 6pm. However, with a consistent bedtime routine and other good sleep habits, she will adjust within the week.
Alternatively, you can gradually adjust your child’s internal clock to the time change. Put her to bed 15 minutes earlier each night over the next few nights. For example, if her bedtime is 7pm, put her to bed at 6:45pm tonight, 6:30pm the following night, and so on. Naps and meal times will need to be adjusted in the 15-minute increments as well.
Regardless of what approach you opt for, exposing your child to morning sunlight (if you can find some!), a predictable and soothing bedtime routine, room darkening shades and/or white noise, and following your child’s sleepy cues will make the transition smoother all around.
Also remember that if your child was waking early due to another reason (nap deprivation, too long of a wakeful window between nap and bedtime, etc.), it’s likely that the early rising will return in a few weeks. If so, take a look at this piece I wrote for Cape Cod Mommies a while back. Hopefully it will help you identify and tackle the root cause.
Sweet dreams and happy (almost) spring,
Contact Rebekah Thomson for your Sleep Needs! Rebekah Thomson Counting Sheep Pediatric Sleep Coaching firstname.lastname@example.org (917) 455-3054
By: Suzanne Golden, M.S., CCC-SLP
Storytelling is an essential language skill. Storytelling not only allows children to convey information about themselves, but it also encourages creativity and imagination. Below are some great apps that are engaging, fun and promote building storytelling skills.
Rory’s Story Cubes
Developer: The Creativity Hub Ltd.
Available on: iPad, iPhone and Android devices
Description: Rory’s Story Cubes is the app version of the story-telling dice game, Rory’s Story Cubes. This app consists of 9 dice with 6 pictures on each dice. Shake your device to shuffle the dice and see where they land! Once the dice have settled, you can rearrange the dice to tell a story from the pictures.
Speech and Language Use: This app is great because it promotes creative storytelling while providing visual cues through the use of the story dice. Your child can tell the story by him/herself or you can take turns picking a dice to put in order to tell the story. With 54 different pictures, the options for story telling are virtually endless. As an extension activity you can save a picture of the story dice and have your child draw his/her own picture to go with the story!
Draw and Tell
Developer: Duck Duck Moose
Available on: iPad, iPhone
Description: Draw and Tell is a creative and interactive story and picture/video creating app! Choose between a blank canvas or premade pictures. Once you have created the scene, it’s time to record! Move around the pictures on your canvas and record your voice to tell the story. This app allows for endless scene/story combinations and creativity!
Speech and Language Use: The multitude of backgrounds, stickers and drawing tools allows for many opportunities to use language. Begin by talking about the setting of the story and choose the appropriate background. Scroll through the stickers to choose the characters and then brainstorm the story line. Once your child has set the scene, it’s time to record the script. This app promotes sequencing, vocabulary development and creativity!
By: Corinne Cameron
“We do on stage things that are supposed to happen off. Which is a kind of integrity, if you look on every exit as being an entrance somewhere else” ~ Tom Stoppard
What do you do you do when life is so jam packed and your plate is over flowing everywhere? Well you sit down and write a blog entry of course! This one will be shorter then the norm, as you if you follow me you know how long winded I am, and it’s a bit self serving. Before I get to my main point, I’ll fill you in on what I have been doing as of late.
In between producing and choreographing a show at Mashpee High School that opens in less than 2 weeks, getting ready for my own auditions, taking care of my dad and Remy, packing to move and trying to find a new house to buy, I have been meeting with various people from local community theater programs in order to do some profiles on them. Soon I plan to give some great places and activities for your children to do for the up coming summer. There are so many summer programs and productions that will be an awesome experience for them and very different then the normal day camp.
Children’s activities and sports are great teaching moments, not only build up physical or practical skills, but also building independence, self esteem and confidence. Children that participate in theater from a young age get a huge advantage with these skills. School Theater productions are historically known as a catch all, at times, for welcoming kids that may not feel they fit in any where else. Ok, that is not to say that these same programs can’t be filled with drama both on and off stage but they are welcoming nonetheless. However, getting them involved when they are young can build those self confidence skills early so theater is an activity they enjoy and excel at and not only used so they have a place to feel wanted. It makes it so they can feel comfortable trying other activities too and be right in the mix with all the other kids.
Here on the Cape we are so lucky to have such a booming community theater life! “Community Theater” has different meanings depending on where you live and also different levels of professionalism. Here on the Cape (and surrounding areas) its top notch. The various venues work very hard to bring great talent to the stage so you don’t have to leave the area to see incredible productions. Ok, I am trying to segue to my main point!
We have a newer community theater in East Wareham (technically), called Buzzards Bay Productions, a mere 10 minutes from the Bourne Bridge. They have been building up there program over the past couple of years and finally have a production where kids would be appropriate. As a side note, which I will have more details in a future blog, they will be having a summer program just for children this summer!
Tomorrow, March 2, 2014 starts auditions for “The Pajama Game” and children 5 and up are welcome to audition. Only a small handful of kids will be offered ensemble roles as part of two large musical and dance scenes. Teens that audition have the opportunity to be offered a child role or potentially with the adults as a factory worker. Dancers and tumblers are highly sought after for this production for those scenes. So….. If you have a dancer or a gymnast in your house that’s looking for another outlet in order to show their talents, have them come on down!
Also, for the more experienced dancers there are a few featured dance roles available. Ok, I know I focused on the kiddos but….. Have you ever thought of getting on stage yourself? Were you in your high school play but life got in the way and you miss the awesome community and freedom that comes with being under the lights showing off your talent? I am a firm believer that parents need to have creative outlets for many reasons but most importantly as to have some time away for some fun but also it’s great role modeling for the kids to see Mom and Dad pursuing a passion.
So with that I will leave you with this: If you want more information you can go to www.buzzardsplayproductions.com or the Facebook event page for auditions at https://www.facebook.com/events/224839211030346/?ref_dashboard_filter=upcoming .
4 of 4 LOVE Posts in our Love Series!
Couple’s Love and Touch;
The ONLY thing that differentiates the marital relationship from all others.
By Tracy Lamperti,
Psychotherapist, Educator, Consultant
During the process of courting (or whatever you want to call it in this modern day), couples are intimately physical with each other typically at a higher rate than one year post marriage. Why??
· People are younger and hormones are running higher in the early stage.
· The “attraction” between the two leads to the arousal process.
· Sometimes, usually the woman, feels that sex is an “expected” part of winning and keeping the man and she is more agreeable to engage even if she might not feel like it.
· There may be a greater likelihood of the young couple engaging in dinner and drinks or attending parties where there may be alcohol and even drugs, lowering ones inhibitions.
· Younger couples have more energy and fewer things competing for their time. I can remember pre-children, my husband and I sitting all afternoon watching the Red Sox game. Ah, remember that????
I doubt that it even crosses the guy’s mind, “Hmmm, I wonder if our sex life will always be this active. Not that the woman is scheming in her mind, “I’ll hook him and then deny him.” Not at all, they are just doing what new and young couples do.
A year post marriage, lots of things have happened, as described in the post last week (children, mortgages, two income job requirements) and over time we have a situation where it is lucky if physical intimacy/sex is happening once a month.
Often, she has adopted an attitude that, “He wants it more than me. He should consider himself lucky to get it. I don’t have to do it. I’m taking care of the babies, the house, working…..” She becomes frustrated about the demands on her.
He comes to feel chronically frustrated, even at a biological level, that the rules have changed and because he is met with all of these “really valid reasons” that she is not sexually available to him, he is left to feel frustrated even more.
The person with the lower desire almost always dictates the frequency.
The result, the couple is prone to ever increasing stress reactions to the situations in the life they are living and to each other.
Here, we get even greater complications with the woman clinging to her children. After all, they need this as babies and young children, yet they never ask of her what her husband is asking. Now we have triangles forming, all under the same roof. The men may escape to their jobs or their friends. Thus, the two are now disjointed.
Oh, and not to mention, a very curious difference with the sexes, their arousal processes are triggered by very different stimuli. AND, some may not be aware that biologically/physically, as a man goes without sex, he has a greater and greater need. Once the need is met, he has a period of satisfaction and reduced need for sex. As a woman goes without sex, her need, biologically/physically falls away, rendering her without the need. When a woman’s need is met, she desires for it to be met again. So for a woman, if you don’t use it, you lose it.
Case example, a man and woman who have gone 2 weeks without engage in the act, the man feels very frustrated and the woman feels almost a complete lack of interest.
I see many couples in my work who are engaged in chronic conflict and unhappiness. Those feelings are often mirrored by what is happening in the bedroom, or in trying to get to or stay out of the bedroom.
I also see many couples who are NOT in significant conflict. However, their relationship is more like a close friend or brother-sister relationship; sexless. But since they are seeing me, a therapist, there is a problem somewhere, and often it reflects a longstanding issue with marital intimacy.
Sexual intimacy is the one and only thing that absolutely differentiates the marriage relationship from ALL other relationships. You might love your “bestie” to pieces, but you don’t have sex with her. He might work day in and day out with a co-worker/partner but he isn’t having sex with her. You might tell your therapist some very deep things about yourself, but you aren’t having sex with your therapist. He may play darts with his friends every Friday, but they aren’t having sex.
Sex is completely unique to the marital union.
Some people wonder how often the average couple has sex. The answer can have a wide range depending on age, lifestyle, hormones, health problems, pregnancy/birth/nursing/children, libido and just how healthy the marital relationship is.
This link will take you to the survey of Passionate Marriage. You can get your own results and then find out about thousands of couples answers.
But if you just want some basic and pretty valid info about frequency, here we go.
Here, you see that couples having sex once or twice a MONTH and couples having sex once or twice a WEEK are about tied at 30%.
About 10% are doing it 4-5 times/week.
About 18% are doing it several times/year.
About 11% have NOT done it at all in the last year!
This amounts to about 60% of couples having sex once or twice a month or less. Take the survey though and see the results of all the answers. It will only take about 5 minutes.
Do you want to improve or enhance your marital intimacy?
· Have black out electronic times.
· Schedule “dates.”
· Improve your non-sexual intimacy time.
· Talk to each other about desires and how you can meet one another’s needs.
· Take care of your health if it is a factor.
· Recognize if you are using your children or your role as a mother as an excuse and do something about it.
· Think “fun.” Use your imagination. Let’s face it, some days it’s about survival. You stop at McDonalds for supper. Other days you set out 7 courses with the tablecloth and candles. Sex is the same way. Quickies have their place. But if the extent to which you are having sex is just “trading orgasms” as the Passionate Marriage survey puts it, rethink that.
· Get your body moving. Exercise increases everything good. The hormonal boost will help your libido.
· If it’s easier to run down your “to do list” than make time for your spouse, rethink that too.
If you are struggling in this area, please seek help with a qualified professional.
Tracy Lamperti is certified in Healthy Sexuality, Rape Crisis Counseling, Traumatic Stress, and a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors and has attended the following accredited continuing education, David Schnarch (world renowned sex therapist), Resurrecting Sex and the Sexual Crucible (30 hours total)
***Of course not all relationships fit the picture painted above. Some women have a higher sex drive than their husband. Some employees are having sex with their boss, etc…There are many different scenarios. The common dynamics are presented here for reference.
1 of 4 – Parents and Valentine’s Day
2 of 4 – The Importance of Touch
2 of 4 – Removing Barriers to Open Ourselves to Love
4 of 4 – Couples Love
Cape Cod Moms