Author Archives: Tara Brelinsky

About Tara Brelinsky

Tara K. E. Brelinsky is a home schooling mother of 8 living children, with 6 more heavenly ones. She works as a freelance writer and speaker. Married to her childhood sweetheart, they own/operate a restaurant and care for a menagerie of animals (in addition to all those wonderful kids). She publishes on her blog, Blessings in Brelinskyville, as well as on Wind & Flame Blog. Her work has also appeared in Shalom Magazine and Seton Magazine, in addition to various online sites. Her talks can be heard on The Homeschool Educator podcast.

When Good Parenting Doesn’t Equal Good Results

Last Thursday, I found myself engaged in a parent-teacher conference of sorts. Since we’re home schoolers, parent-teacher conferences generally look like me getting pulled aside by a fellow parent so they can inform me of some disappointing situation my offspring has engaged in or facilitated.

This was one of those conversations. Continue reading

rosalini's pizza & sub restaurant

We Bought a Restaurant & We Home School, Too

For most of my marriage, I’ve been a stay-at-home mama and home school teacher. My spouse has been the sole bread-winner. When we purchased a restaurant in December of 2015, I assumed that the effect of our decision would be confined to my husband’s employment only. I never dreamed that our choice to buy an eatery would have such radical repercussions on our whole family life, including our home schooling. Continue reading

fighting for marriage

I Like My Drinks On The Rocks, Not My Marriage

How diligently I’d searched for just the right hair clip to draw back my auburn locks. Although no one was likely to notice my barrette with its pale peach-colored rosettes hidden beneath my flowing, white veil, I spared no energy in my search for it. The tiny fabric flowers continued the theme of my wedding gown which was adorned with clusters of silk roses. As a young woman, preparing for my nuptials, every detail seemed incredibly important.

What care I’d taken in preparing for that whole day. From the superfluous purchases, like finding the perfect shade of blush to compliment my complexion, to the necessary arrangements, like choosing matching gold rings, a great deal of time and attention went into making our wedding day perfect.

I did my best to prepare for the day, but I wasn’t quite as thoughtful about equipping myself for the life ahead. As a blushing young bride, I never dreamed of the heartaches, disappointments, frustrations and losses that we’d face in the years to come. READ the rest HERE

teaching kids to read

Teaching Kids to Read Can Do More Harm Than Good

 

My sister called to ask me for recommendations for teaching my 5 year old niece how to read. An old friend announced a few days earlier that his daughter had gotten accepted into transitional kindergarten. Someone else was touting the awesome school they’d just enrolled their toddler into.

While all of these parents want the best for their children, they’re being duped (by an education system that derailed a few generations ago and a cultural psyche that touts more as better) into believing that a focus on early academics will produce brighter students in the long run.

The trouble is that repeated studies and experience prove the opposite to be true.

An educator herself, my sister recognizes the deficits pervading her kindergartner’s lesson plans. Lists of sight words are the primary tool being used to raise her daughter to the status of reader. My niece is definitely one smart cookie, but memorizing pages of words at the tender age of 5 isn’t really her thing. And at 5 years old it shouldn’t have to be. READ more HERE

random acts of kindness

Motherhood’s Random Acts of Kindness

 

We’d just finished showering, the two-year-old and me, when I reached for the towel bar. Unfortunately, since I hadn’t planned in advance for our dual exit from the hot, steamy shower into the frigid, meat locker that is our bathroom in winter, my hands met with one dry towel and one damp one (left over from my husband’s solitary shower a few minutes earlier).

In a split second decision, I grabbed the dry cloth first and wrapped it around my little one’s pink, naked body. Then I proceeded to use the chilly, wet towel on myself. Working in high speed, I figured I could whisk away enough water from my limbs to stave off hypothermia.

Once this step was accomplished, I was forced to tip-toe across the icy tile floor to get from the bathroom mat to the laundry room rug (because again my morning brain hadn’t thought to have our clean clothes laying at the ready.) READ the rest HERE

12 days of christmas ideas

Why We Celebrate the 12 Days of Christmas

 

For years, at about 3pm on Christmas Day my kiddos would hit the wall one by one. After a long Christmas Eve followed by a too-early-rising, their energy stores were depleted and just past midday they’d drop like flies: a snoring pre-schooler on the couch still clutching his new light saber, a drowsy teen sprawled out on the floor amidst her books.

Additionally, I often noticed an air of disappointment creeping in once the last gift was torn open, the evening meal digested and the boxes hauled out to the trash. Honestly, I sensed it in myself almost as much as I detected it in my family members.

READ more about the 4 ways we’ve reclaimed the Twelve Days of Christmas on Raleigh Moms Blog.

when words hurt children

Sticks and Stones: How Verbal Abuse Hurts Children

“What are you, an idiot?”

“Stupid”

“Dummy!”

“You #%&^$!”

It wasn’t the first time his parents had resorted to a litany of name calling. It seemed to be their routine form of communication: an insult here, a slight there, a sprinkling of profanities, a rude retort or a less than flattering moniker. Honestly, I’d been disgusted from the start, but on this day I could no longer silently stomach the verbal assault his parents were launching rapid-fire in his direction. Continue reading

lady thinks i have too many kids

An Open Letter to the Lady Who Thinks I Have Too Many Kids

 

Rounding the back bumper of our 15 passenger van, we began our routine for loading up the crew. The chatty teens readily made their way to the rear seat while our younger daughter buckled in the toddler.

Dropping the stroller down to the closed position, my husband instructed our 9 year old ball of boy energy to move the bottles of water and take his seat next to his 7 year old cohort. While our feet were dog-tired from the full day of walking around the fairgrounds, the kids’ energy levels seemed to be drawing off of some endless reserve. Continue reading

why we home school

How Do You Do It?

 

Whenever I tell someone new that we home school, I take a deep breath and wait for the inquisition. Inevitably, they ask, “How do you do it?”

Be it the curious customer standing behind us in the mega-store line or that distant cousin at the family reunion, enquirers have probed my mental stability to be making such a choice by asking me for an explanation. Should one of my students happen to be in close proximity, the investigator often feels compelled to quiz little Jude or Malachi on their ABC capabilities and grasp of the American system of democracy. I’ve learned to be ready. Continue reading

out of the box home school schedule

Thinking Outside of the Box: Home Schooling Year-Round

 

One of the many blessings of homeschooling is that it allows families to think outside of the box. Whether it be an un-schooling approach or a non-traditional method for inspiring learning, homeschooling parents have a wide latitude when it comes to finding the best fit for their individual family.

Growing up, I attended both Catholic and, later, public institutions of learning. While there were definite differences in the subject matter being taught, as well as the environment I was being taught in, all of them followed the same calendar model: the school year commenced in September, ended in June and was followed by two solid months of summer break. Continue reading