RegisterSearchFAQMemberlistUsergroupsLog in
Military Families
Goto page 1, 2  Next
 
Reply to topic    Kolbe Academy Forum Index » Parent Interaction View previous topic
View next topic

Military Families
Author Message
Celeste Cuellar



Joined: 11 Aug 2006
Posts: 139

Post Military Families Reply with quote
I know that a number of Kolbe families are military, some here in the States and some overseas. As a former soldier, I thought we should have a place to help all of you connect.

It would also be great for everyone to be able to see the personal side of the military and to pray for our troops and their families on a more individual basis.

I joined the ND National Guard while I was a senior in high school. Went to Basic at Ft. Jackson, SC and then to AIT at Ft. Benjamin Harrison, IN. Several years later, I went active Army and spent a year learning Korean at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, CA.

I've lived in Texas (Goodfellow AFB); Hawaii; Misawa, Japan; and Camp Lejeune, NC.

My husband has four brothers who served, one sister-in-law, and one nephew. I have four young cousins, a nephew, and our son-in-law, formerly or currently on active duty.

I know there are Kolbe families in Germany, England, Italy, Greece, and Japan.

I hope this will give you an opportunity to get to know one another.

God bless.
Celeste


Last edited by Celeste Cuellar on Thu Apr 03, 2008 10:31 am; edited 1 time in total
Mon Mar 10, 2008 9:54 am View user's profile Send private message
jandjr5



Joined: 06 Feb 2008
Posts: 77

Post Checking in from Japan Reply with quote
Happy Easter! I thought I would introduce my family. We are currently living in Misawa, Japan. My husband is here as a DoD Civilian. We have also lived in Baltimore, Maryland; Yakima, Washington, and Ankara, Turkey. Our DEROS from Japan is currently June 09. We live off base and are members of St. Jude's Parish at the base chapel.

We have been homeschooling with Kolbe's assistance for almost 9 years now (I can't believe it has been that long!!) Our oldest child graduated from Kolbe's high school program last summer, and after a gap year working one semester on a traveling youth ministry team in the States, and now back in Misawa working as the Catholic parish coordinator, will start college at the University of Dallas this September. Currently, my husband and I are teaching grades pre-school, 1, 5, and 10. Our 6th child is due in June.

When we arrived here, there were no other Catholic homeschoolers, but another family arrived last summer and may become a Kolbe family soon. Their presence is an answer to prayer.

I'd love to hear from other military families how you manage PCS time, especially if you have done this with an infant. And especially the administrative part of homeschooling. This is my weakest area. I love to teach, read, discuss, explore ideas. Not so much the grading/recording of grades. Hence, Kolbe's EES has been a lifesaver for high school. (Thank you Celeste!) We have been lucky enough to always have avoided an overseas PCS with an infant, but if our June 09 DEROS holds, we will be moving with a one-year old, possibly to another overseas assignment. So any PCS-related advice would be very welcome.

Also, if anyone has experience homeschooling on military bases in England, Germany, or the Denver, CO, area, it would be nice to hear about them. All of these are possibilities for our next assignment.

Thank you and God bless!

Judy Riordon
Thu Apr 03, 2008 5:55 am View user's profile Send private message
ReneeSuz



Joined: 23 May 2007
Posts: 5
Location: Garmisch Germany

Post Reply with quote
Hi, I'm Renee - married to Scott (active duty Army) and we are currently stationed in Garmisch Germany.
During "our" military days, we've been stationed at Fort Hood TX, Fort Stewart GA, St Louis MO, Redstone Arsenal AL, Charlottesville VA, Heidelberg Germany, Seoul Korea, McDill AFB FL and here..... in just two months we are pcsing to Alabama - same location but different job for dh.

I have pcsd with an infant. When dh first came on active duty we pcsd to Fort Hood Texas from Williamsburg VA (by way of CT/PA) - eldest dd was only 3.5 mos old. When we pcsd to GA, eldest ds was about 15 mos old, when we pcsd to IL (dh worked in MO but we lived in IL) middle dd was about 16 mos old...when we pcsd to Charlottesville, youngest dd was under 1 year old....
but this one is the BEST: when we pcsd to Germany the Army would not give us concurrent travel so dh went ahead while I moved with my five children fron Charlottsville VA to Milford PA to live in her basement apartment. Then when housing was available I got on a plane in NY direct to Germany with five children: my "big" girl was not yet 9yrs old, then I had a 7yo ds, 5yo dd, almost 2 yo dd and an infant of 7 months.... my children were never so good in all their life. We got stares and glares getting on the plane but compliments upon landing....
ask away with any specifics.....
this move to AL should be our last as dh retires in 2011
Thu Apr 03, 2008 7:27 am View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
jandjr5



Joined: 06 Feb 2008
Posts: 77

Post Reply with quote
Wow! Thank you for writing, Renee. I am constantly reminded of how blessed we have been to always have been able to PCS together. Your story confirms this once again. What a great job you and your kids did on the plane to Germany! Any tips for keeping the baby calm and occupied? I am good at nursing during takeoff and landing, but the long flight from Japan to wherever we end up going has me a little concerned.

Germany is a possibility for us in 09, so I am wondering how the homeschooling has been there. I know homeschooling is illegal in Germany because a German friend pointed this out to me. I am assuming that you are able to continue because of the SOFA agreement there? Do you live on-post? That might help, too, since it would be less obvious to German neighbors. Unfortunately, because my husband is a civilian, we sometimes do not have the ability to move into base housing, or are not offered suitable housing for our large family.

That happened here. We would have been offered a 3-bedroom apartment in a tower building. Happily, even though houses in Japan tend to be small, there is very good off-base housing here because of the Air Force base. We found a 4 bedroom house with a living room large enough to accommodate the school table and computer armoire and a large closet that fits all the preschool materials along with a child-sized table. Bookshelves are all over the house, but that just makes things more interesting Wink

Thanks again for sharing your experiences.

Judy
Sun Apr 06, 2008 7:07 am View user's profile Send private message
Celeste Cuellar



Joined: 11 Aug 2006
Posts: 139

Post Housing in Misawa Reply with quote
I had no idea you wouldn't be offered a bigger home Judy. I guess things at Misawa have changed since I was there, because they didn't have that tower housing then. We lived in a nice sized three bedroom in one of the older, but roomier, WWII houses. My daughter and son-in-law are currently in a four bedroom at WAFB in MO, and they only have three children. (Number four is on his way in August!) I know they're concerned about housing when they PCS to England late this year. In fact, my daughter and the kids will come and stay with us while he goes over and finds a house and waits for the van to be shipped. We've already been asked to take vacation and fly over with her and the four children. Better odds!!

If anyone has experiences to share about England, I'd love to hear!

Celeste


Last edited by Celeste Cuellar on Tue May 13, 2008 3:02 pm; edited 1 time in total
Fri Apr 11, 2008 9:47 am View user's profile Send private message
jandjr5



Joined: 06 Feb 2008
Posts: 77

Post Re: Housing in Misawa Reply with quote
You would be surprised at how much the base has changed, Celeste. When the cherry blossoms bloom, I'm hoping to get time to take some photos and post them on our blog. I'll let you know if I get it done and you can take a look.

The housing problem is partly because John is a civilian. Even though he works for the DoD directly--not as a contractor--we have a lower housing priority than the military members, which is only fair. But it does make for some interesting housing situations when we are overseas. Smile Right now, the problem is compounded by the fact that many of the older buildings have been condemned and are either being demolished or completely remodeled. The garden-style apartments in the North area have been gutted and will be completely redone, and similar work is planned on main base. As a result, people are being moved from one place to another on base, even when they have PCS dates within a few months. It's been a bit crazy.

Where are your daughter and son-in-law going to be in England? We sponsored one of John's colleagues and his family when they PCSd here from England last summer. But I'm not sure if they were on one of the major bases or at a smaller place. I can check, though. They lived in a house in town near the base that was affordable within the housing allowance and had room for them and their three children (ages 11, 9, and 7). They enjoyed living in the town because of the opportunity to walk to the shops and church and getting to know local residents.
Tue Apr 15, 2008 8:24 pm View user's profile Send private message
momofhobbits



Joined: 27 Sep 2007
Posts: 568

Post Greetings from Greece Reply with quote
Hello Everyone, we too are a DoD Civilian family. We are in our third year with Kolbe. The kids have been homeschooled since birth, but with a mixture of CA charter academies, classic, and eclectic years along the way. We are currently in Greece, and it is our first and probably only overseas tour. My dh was active AF during the gulf years, then he was BLM Wildland and then we finally landed at Edwards AFB where we had remained until we decided to take the once in a lifetime opportunity for the kids to learn a culture outside our own. We were shooting for Italy, but God had other plans and when he was offered the job at NSA Souda we took it. Pat has eight years to retirement and we are currently discerning where God would like us to be. Do any of you know anyone at Arnold, AFB or what the Catholic community is like around that base? We would not have base privileges so I mean the outside community not the base chapel.

Judy, would you mind sharing a little of what your high schoolers are doing/did while they were abroad? Did you follow the Kolbe plan closely, what diploma did they get etc. I have one that will be 9th this fall and her sister right behind her the following year.

Oh that reminds me; FYI we have been married 17 years, we have dd's 14, 12 1/2 and 4 and ds's 8 & 6

Thanks for all your great posts.
KELLY ROGERS
Wed Apr 16, 2008 4:31 am View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
jandjr5



Joined: 06 Feb 2008
Posts: 77

Post Reply with quote
Hi Kelly,

We have primarily used Kolbe for high school. Our oldest ds, who graduated last year followed the Magna Cum Laude program. We were only overseas for his senior year, so he took Spanish I in the States with a homeschool support group. We also did an annual play (usually Shakespeare) and biology lab with our support group. When we got over here, he switched to Rosetta Stone for Spanish 2 and took drama at the DoDDS high school. He was on the drama team and had a great time traveling to Tokyo for their big competition. My husband also enjoyed it, as he was able to go along as a chaperone.

For all the children, we hired a Japanese teacher, who comes over once a week and teaches language and culture. She is able to tailor the lessons to the different grade levels, and our older three have learned quite a bit of Japanese.

Their music lessons have been harder to continue. The boys were both taking guitar in the US, but we weren't able to find a teacher here. They continue on their own as well as they can. Our 10th grader played guitar at church last year at the base chapel, but there wasn't a director for the youth this year, so he doesn't have that opportunity anymore. Our younger children take piano, and that was a bit easier. Here, a Japanese piano teacher comes to our home! You can imagine how I love that--no driving to lessons and no interference with the little one's naptime. Our loves classical music and has traveled extensively in Europe, so brings the children many interesting brochures and information about composers from her travels. She is also wonderful about sharing Japanese culture and will often bring a little sample of something related to the Japanese holiday of the month.

We are blessed with a very active (although secular) homeschool group on base. They plan monthly field trips, often to Japanese places of interest, and we try to go on as many of those as possible. When we go with the group, there is usually an English-speaking guide, which is very helpful to me, since I haven't learned much Japanese yet.

Our second-oldest ds, now in 10th grade, is shooting for the Summa diploma, so we are following Kolbe exactly and adding in Japanese for him. After he finishes Latin II this year, he plans to use Rosetta Stone for more intensive Japanese study in grades 11 and 12, while still participating in our weekly class for conversation practice and culture. He is more sports-minded than our oldest, and ran on the DoDDS cross country team last fall. He is playing soccer for them this spring. We have been pretty creative with school planning to accommodate the sports travel--splitting weeks and making good use of the review week to finish up any residual papers and other assignments. Although DoDDS says they give the kids time to study while traveling, my son says that the cross country team was better about it than the soccer team has been, so that may depend on the coach. My husband has also chaperoned for sports travel.

Ds is interested in architecture, so by next year, when he will feel very comfortable with Kolbe's reading/writing load, he plans to take art and possibly an AutoCad (computer) class at the DoDDS school.

The Youth Center on base offers driver's ed, which our 10th grader will be taking over the next couple of months. The Japanese driving age is 18, so he won't be able to drive off base, but will have the opportunity to drive on base when he passes the course.

Both boys are Eagle Scouts and are active in the troop on base, our oldest now as an assistant scoutmaster.

Our children were very challenged in keeping up with Kolbe's courses in 9th grade. This limited the outside activities they could participate in during that year, but as you can see, they add(ed) things in each year to tailor their education to their specific interests. And we still traveled as a family and enjoy local festivals and sightseeing, so ds still got the cultural exposure, even if he didn't participate in many extra-curriculars last year.

The travel opportunities are really what make living overseas during high school special. I have noticed that the kids we meet here, especially those who have lived overseas for several years, have a very broad world view and a much better understanding of their place in the world, especially when compared with kids we knew back in the States who had only lived in one city all their lives.

That was probably way more information than you wanted, but I hope it was helpful. If you have specific questions, please feel free to ask.

God bless,
Judy
Wed Apr 16, 2008 5:29 am View user's profile Send private message
jandjr5



Joined: 06 Feb 2008
Posts: 77

Post Reply with quote
Duplicate post deleted by author


Last edited by jandjr5 on Wed Jun 25, 2008 7:03 pm; edited 1 time in total
Wed Apr 16, 2008 5:30 am View user's profile Send private message
momofhobbits



Joined: 27 Sep 2007
Posts: 568

Post How do you do it? Reply with quote
Judy, my biggest stumbling block is having the time to give each child the individual time he/she needs.

It appears you have an even bigger span of ages than mine. How do you alot your time with them?
Thanks for all the great advice
KELLY
Sun Apr 20, 2008 9:29 am View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
jandjr5



Joined: 06 Feb 2008
Posts: 77

Post Reply with quote
Hi Kelly,

Well, often, to keep up I have to stay off the computer--lol--sorry I missed your follow-on question.

The quick answer is that we do it with prayer and planning. LOTS of prayer! Before our new baby was born, I had a set-aside prayer time each morning and would go over the day's plans and just give them to the Blessed Mother to help me. Now, I'm trying to figure out how to get that prayer time back. Maybe during the earliest morning nursing time.

That just shows that it's always a matter of looking at what's going on in your family, figuring out what's most important, and scheduling it. Then, being open to readjustment when it doesn't work. It sometimes looks great on paper, but doesn't work in real life.

During the summer, I look at the upcoming year's course plans and put together weekly plans for the kids. My husband made a planner for us in Excel, which he updates each year with our school schedule. I should tell you that he plans the math and science for our high schoolers, so it's nice that we can both enter the daily plans into the computer, then print out the individual schedules for the kids to follow. It makes the days go much more smoothly when the kids all have a list of what to do that day.

They have work they consider "independent work" and other "work with Mom." The independent things they do when I'm working with another child. I give each child a certain block of time in the day to do the Mom stuff. I figure their time blocks out by seeing who works best at what time. My 5th grader is best first thing in the morning. The 1st grader and I work together during the toddler's nap time. My high schooler prefers to read in his room or work on the computer in the living room/school room during the day, take a break for sports or social activities in the mid-late afternoon, and discuss reading and papers in the evening after the younger children are in bed.

The thing I am weakest on is keeping up with grading, and every year I try a new approach to that. It's my least favorite thing, so I tend to put it off. This summer, I am playing catch up for the year, and that is not fun for me. It's an incentive to schedule grading time each week so I can keep up during the school year--especially for my high schooler, who really needs to have his grades submitted in a more timely fashion.

That's a long, drawn out way of suggesting that you look at your family's needs, your priorities, and with lots of prayer, make a schedule for your days and for the year. Then be open to changing things if they don't work. (And hopefully, you will pay better attention than I did and catch what needs to change--for me, a grading plan--sooner).

God bless your efforts!

Smile Judy
Wed Jun 25, 2008 6:55 pm View user's profile Send private message
momofhobbits



Joined: 27 Sep 2007
Posts: 568

Post We Hope to see the Pope Reply with quote
Does anyone recognize that title from the Little Angel Readers? Well, I don't have to hope any more. I promised news of this trip to Mary but since it is of general Catholic interest I am making it public.

On June 29th, 2008 my daughter and I were discussing "escaping" to Italy. I have four other children and needed some special time with my teenager. We went by the airport to see if it would be possible to get a space available flight any time in the near future. It turned out we could fly into Naples, Italy but we would have to return from Siciliy five days later. I immediately went home and started looking at how much we could pack into those five days. I definitely wanted to go to Lanciano (Home of the Eucharistic Miracle) and my daughter really wanted to go to Pompeii since we would pass right by it on the way to Sicily. I went on the Vatican website just to get ideas for the trip and the first thing I saw was:

THE HOLY FATHER WILL LEAVE TOMORROW (JULY 2ND) FOR HIS SUMMER RESIDENCE AT CASTEL GANDOLFO. DUE TO THE TRIPS TO THE US AND AUSTRALIA HE HAS CANCELLED ALL AUDIENCES FOR THE SUMMER. HE WILL SAY THE ANGELUS FROM THE BALCONY AT CASTEL GANDOLFO ON JULY 6TH AND JULY 27TH.

I couldn't believe it, we knew if there was any chance we could see the Holy Father in that intimate setting we HAD to try to get there. We would be arriving in Naples Friday morning and if we went to Lanciano on Saturday we would be in Rome Saturday night and able to be at Castel Gandolfo Sunday for Mass and the Angelus.

THAT was our plan.

THIS was God's:
The plane was 36 hours late arriving from the states so we left Crete down two days of six.
When we finally found the bus in Naples that would take us to Lanciano, we realized it would get us there after the church closed for the evening (on Sat. night). So we would have to stay over try to see the Miracle and then catch a bus to Castel Gandolfo by noon. In other words we had to make a choice: Eucharistic Miracle or Pope Benedict.
This was not easy for me as I have been witnessing to many non-Catholic Christians here and I wanted to somehow strengthen my faith in the Real Presence. For my daughter it was easy, we receive Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament every Sunday (We unfortunately do not have daily mass.) but this was THE POPE, close-up!

So, we got on the economical train (SLOW) and arrived in Rome at 8 PM. Everything religious is closed at this point. All churches are locked tight and we are informed (I am shocked to say.) that there is no vigil mass in Rome on Saturday nights. So, Anna and I walked and bussed all over Rome that night and she got a picture of herself at the locked door of the Vatican Museum and in an absolutely empty St. Peter's Square. Try that during the height of tourist season.
We went to bed eagerly awaiting the next day. The day went off without a hitch, perfect bus, train, etc. We arrive at Castel Gandolfo just in time to get in the line with mostly nuns and youth who have also made the trek up the mountain for the Angelus. After about an hour they let us in to the courtyard. It is a very small courtyard about the size of a typical high school gym. We were near the front of the line, so we were able to maneuver for a great spot almost in the center of the yard. The next hour was AMAZING. As we waited with the other pilgrims I cannot begin to describe my CATHOLIC pride. The Holy Father arrived to shouts of BENEDETTO, BENEDETTO from a large group of seminarians that had come from South America. The angelus was beautiful as we all celebrated as one. Then the Holy Father spoke in more languages than I can count. Unfortunately the speakers bouncing off the courtyard made his speech unintelligible in all of them. I did read the text of his speech later on the Vatican website. We left the courtyard feeling incredible, and we jumped on the train back to Rome.

We jumped on a bus and headed outside the city to the Catacombs of Saint Callixtus. We literally just made the last tour of the evening. It was wonderful and we are really glad we made it. We jumped back on a bus trying to get back to Rome, but had to go out of town to get back. About 5 minutes from the Catacombs Anna started to look really sick and I realized she was VERY dehydrated. I asked a man on the bus if we could get water at the next stop. I was unsure because we were out in the agricultural area 15-20 minutes outside the main part of Rome. He said yes, that there was a small bar near the bus stop, so we got off. Anna got her water and when we went back to wait for the bus, we noticed a big structure that looked like a monastery in front of us. We of course went up the hill to see it and it turns out that it is a HUGE pilgrim site for the Italians. It would take to long too tell all about it here, but if you are interested in this amazing place that few tourists in Rome ever hear about look at this website: http:\\www.santuariodivinoamore.it/en.html

After staying way too long at the monastery and buying some gifts for back home, we went back down the hill to the bus stop where we had an amazing 45 minute wait for the bus with ten sisters from a village above the city. Once on the bus, we had trouble with the ticket machine, (The ride was so bumpy the machine the machine kept turning on and off.) a man walked over and very strongly held the machine long enough for me to get our tickets. It turns out he is a Lebanese Marionite Seminarian studying in Rome and he is interested in coming to the US after he finishes his studies. Well, we just happen to be friends with a Marionite community that runs a parish in Los Angeles, so we gave him our email on the metro as we were jumping off at our hotel stop. (He had directed us from the bus to the metro and we had talked on the way. He has since emailed and is in contact with our friends in the states.)

We fell into bed dreaming of the next day in Rome and all the sites we would see, The Vatican, The colliseum etc.
We rose had a nice breakfast, and upon checking out of the hotel were informed that overnight a strike had begun and we would not be able to get bus or train service for at least twenty-four hours. Goodbye Rome.
To make a VERY long story short, God did not want us to do anything else, that was to be our trip to Rome. THE HOLY FATHER, THE CATACOMBS, THE MONASTERY and the incredible religious we met along the way.

He wanted no other events to fuzz our memory of Italy.
We ended up taking a plane to Sicily (Very expensive but the only way to get there in time to make our military flight back home.) and then just staying at the base until we left for Crete.
Amazing, don't you think?
Sorry it ran so long, but it was too cool not to share.
KELLY ROGERS
Mon Aug 11, 2008 9:13 am View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
mdetaos



Joined: 15 Aug 2006
Posts: 145

Post Reply with quote
Kelly,

WHAT a story! Thanks for sharing it - I've been watching... Such delightful and meaningful memories for you and your daughter. Thanks for that tip to the "hidden" monastery. I will file that away for future use, hopefully.

Mary
Mon Aug 11, 2008 10:42 am View user's profile Send private message
jandjr5



Joined: 06 Feb 2008
Posts: 77

Post Reply with quote
Wow, Kelly, that's an adventure you and your daughter will remember for a lifetime! I love hearing Space A stories and yours is one of the best. Thanks for sharing. Very Happy Very Happy
Judy
Mon Aug 11, 2008 6:43 pm View user's profile Send private message
jandjr5



Joined: 06 Feb 2008
Posts: 77

Post Club Beyond Reply with quote
Hello,

Our head chaplain on base (not Catholic) told us that he wants to bring an ecumenical youth program called Club Beyond here for all the 7-12th grade youth, Catholic, Protestant, and unchurched to participate in. We are hesitant, especially after reading the website and noticing the focus on "accepting Jesus as your Savior". But maybe I am worrying too much? We would still have our Catholic youth program in the break-out sessions where we could do damage control.

Does anyone have experience with this program from a US or overseas base?

Thanks!
Judy Riordon
Sun May 23, 2010 1:14 am View user's profile Send private message
Display posts from previous:    

Reply to topic    Kolbe Academy Forum Index » Parent Interaction All times are GMT - 8 Hours
Goto page 1, 2  Next
Page 1 of 2

 
Jump to: 
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group
Protected by Anti-Spam ACP