I'm Joanne Calderwood, a former professional educator and a MOM of eight kiddos, the past seven years as a single Mom. My last young 'un just graduated from high school two months ago, so I no longer wear the badge of home educator. Admittedly, I'm not handling the empty nest thing very well. I miss the hustle and bustle of children, the noise, the grocery bills, the laundry piles. Okay, not the last two. But I'm digressing.
The mission of URtheMOM.com is twofold. First, to encourage parents in parenting, and second to teach parents to teach their kids to teach themselves which yields motivation and a sense of ownership for the student. I'm here to offer tools, tips, and tricks for raising self-motivated kids who work with excellence, and who are also emotionally intelligent, meaning they like and can work with each other and with others. Ideally, siblings grow up to be good friends as well. That's been my deep desire for my own children, and what JOY it brings me to see how they love and support each other as adults. Unless we're talking pickup volleyball or football in the backyard...STILL. lol
To the right you'll see a video that gives a bit of background about why URtheMOM.com is here. It's not perfect, but as my son Taylor reminded me earlier this week as I was pondering, nay sweating, over website design, "Perfection isn't the goal, is it?" Gulp. I love when my adult kids toss stuff back to me that I would use to encourage them as they were growing up. We're all still growing, aren't we?
The video ends as the camera crashes to the floor. Bahaha! Perfectly imperfect!
I began URtheMOM.com back in 2002, as a 38-year-old home-educating Mom of eight wild and wonderful kids, who at the time were ages 13, 12, 11, 10, 7, 5, 2, and a three-month-old. I was heavy into my UNDERWHELMED phase, underwhelmed with home education, that is. Still overwhelmed with the cooking/cleaning thing plus diapers and well, you get it. Life was still crazy, but I had discovered the secret to home school freedom for me and my students!
Through a freak of nature, and the grace of God, I had stumbled upon a method of parenting/educating that enabled my kids to begin working independently on their school work. They were given the freedom to work independently as long as they did so with excellence, which should never be confused with perfection. [Note to self]
Because I was no longer micromanaging them and had given them the tools they needed to succeed, each of my children became extremely self-motivated, and I so needed them to be! One of those tools for success was a planning system, now known as the Self-Propelled STUDENT Planners. They saved my life. We've been offering them to the public for many years, and it's been a joy to see how they've helped other students become self-propelled as well, literally saving the sanity of their mothers, and by proxy, of their fathers, too! Yes, a simple planner can revolutionize one's home school and ultimately change the atmosphere of the home.
Because I coudn't find a complete language program for my high schoolers that wasn't full of busy work and honest-to-goodness payback for the time invested in study, the professional educator in me designed a program called Language Alive that combined what I knew to be effective methods of learning and practicum. Reading and growth in language and writing occurred organically, yet via a schedule.
Time passed, and my high school students began scoring perfectly and almost-perfectly on their SATs, ACTs, and won academic awards and scholarships to their first choice colleges and universities. My last child just graduated from high school during COVID, and this week [July '20] she began classes at her school of choice! Yes, I'm officially finished with home education. I never thought this day would come, honestly. If you are in the thick of raising your child or children, I bet you've had your moments of thinking that your days of child-rearing will never come to an end, right?
My Season of Overwhelm
Backing up a moment. From 1995 until 2000, however, I lived in education overwhelm. Remember I said I used to teach school? I had been trying to bring the classroom type of teaching, heavy in micromanagement, into my home and micromanage all my kids who didn't happen to be all the same age, learning all the same things at the same time as children in a classroom do. After a few years of this craziness, I was plum wore out. Overwhelmed to the max. When you're ready to try a different approach because what you're doing ain't working, that's when change can really happen, right? For some reason, I only learn things the hard way, but I did learn, and I refused to micromange any more. I couldn't do it mentally or physically. And as they say, the rest is history.
Eventually my kids' success stories and the fact that they achieved success independently [from roughly middle school and beyond] began inspiring other parents to end the micromanagement craziness in their own home schools.
Shortly after URtheMOM.com came into being, exhausted Moms began to come to life again as they put the primary responsibility for education on the shoulders of their very capable students. I began receiving invitations to speak locally at homeschool conferences, then at bigger events, and then bigger events and so on. I found that parents really wanted to hear from my kids what they thought about being self-teaching, and most of my kids traveled with me at some point, happy to share their experiences as self-propelled learners. After my book, The Self-Propelled Advantage came out in 2013, I began traveling with my middle and high schoolers, doing SPA events ~ Self-Propelled Advantage Family Conferences ~ across the United States.
My dream to encourage parents to set their children free to learn independently was now coming to fruition, and home school freedom for parents and the children who love them became more and more prevalent. My heart is continually blessed with each email I receive, with each Facebook message from Moms and Dads testifying to the balance and yes, PEACE that filled homes once they began implementing mastery learning and self-teaching particularly.
Then family upheaval hit hard in 2013, and I became a single Mom. I remarried in 2017, and my second husband Steven passed away later that year. In 2016, I had shut down URtheMOM.com so that I could help Steven travel for his cancer treatments, and I could no longer process shipping demands. The time with him was priceless.
So here I am, back after a four-year hiatus, ready to focus on the needs of busy, self-sacrificing women known too commonly as MOMS. What's new? We're excited to be offering the Self-Propelled STUDENT Planners in digital format. Before long, I anticipate offering them in hard copies again.
The Virtual Language Alive program with tutoring has continued without interruption, although I was not recruiting students. By word of mouth, the program stayed as busy as I could handle. I love working with students as they grow and develop their language skills. I now have the capacity to accept twice as many students, so if you're interested in immersing your student in a fun and rewarding course, you can learn more HERE.
I wonder how things have gone for you and your family over the past four years. Hopefully you have experienced growth and balance together and as a Mom. If there is ANYTHING I can do for you, please contact me through that little icon down below, to the right. Or message me on Facebook, either the URtheMOM.com page or my personal page, Joanne Calderwood Trapp.
I hope you'll check back as I'll be announcing new products and opportunities to connect through Webinars and maybe even in person. GASP! Remember the good ol' days pre-COVID when we used to do such stuff? Thank you for reading to the end of my.....
[Sorry! Just wanted to end like the video ended, imperfectly.]