A New Adventure...Grad School, Again!

Hey all! Sorry for being quiet on the blog and on social media this past month, life became a little extra busy! 

I started my Masters in Math Education (5-9) November 1st and that has been consuming every mom break moment I have. Do we even have mom/dad breaks? I decided to go through Westerns Governors University and so far I am very pleased with things. I needed something that I could complete on my time, when I have time :) 

How did I come to that decision of Westerns? Keep on reading :)

I am a busy mom of 3, wife, a teacherpreneuer with a Teachers Pay Teachers store and many more hats that I could list for days. My husband works in the natural gas field and his hours during the week are long and never on a true schedule. I am go-to parent for running to hockey practice, dance practice, gymnastics (which we travel 1 1/2 hrs to and fro to once a week), school drop off and pick up and anything else between all of that. I wouldn't trade it for anything, but some days are super packed!

I absolutely LOVE being mom, but have been feeling like I have been losing a little bit of my identity lately. Anyone else been there? I have been out of the classroom for 2 years now and thought maybe now is the time to venture back to school. I tried 3 years ago when I was pregnant with our 3rd, juggling 2 toddlers and working part time. It worked for a semester, barely and then life got too crazy for me to invest time and money into school at that time. So I quit and said I would venture back one day.

I have a Bachelors of Science in Health Education and then I added a Middle School Math Endorsement a few years after I completed my Bachelors. I felt I gained a solid education with both areas of study, but also felt I lacked confidence when teaching math. I took math classes and how to teach math, but never really explored the curriculum of middle school math. I feel gaining my Masters will hopefully help confidence and help me feel more credible with colleagues within a math team. I never felt I wasn't credible with my colleagues when I was working, but had moments of self doubt because I didn't have that title of a specific degree, just an endorsement. WHICH, I feel is just as valid as any 'degree' ...but feel I need more. I want to feel I have just as much to offer during an interview process as others going for the same job. 

I had debated to go down the Curriculum and Instruction route, but feared if there would be a job opening when I was done. I see that area within schools being cut, and would my time be wasted going down that route? I want to eventually go down that route, but thought I needed a step before to get there. Thoughts on the cuts of C&I or does your school have the opposite and NEED to fill positions?

I needed to do some 'soul searching' and decide what I wanted to do. That is the worst part for me, I feel my ideas get long and I want to do soo many things and all those things are not possible sometimes. I needed something that could honestly work around my families schedule. We also live in a very small town in Wyoming that is farther away from an on-campus experience than I can travel or make work with our family lifestyle right now. A friend of mine suggested to look into Westerns Governors University, they offered both programs I was interested in. I began my Google searching, that was intense. I had heard of them, but was it a legit school, was it credited, was it worth my money, will I be found as valid vs going to a large university?? All my answers led me to YES! 

I feel an education of ANY form is legit, valid, worth your money and more! 

I decided to start the path of looking at both programs I was interested in; C&I and Math Education with Westerns. I was unsure if I would be accepted into the Masters Math Education (5-9) program, because of what my endorsement was in. The enrollment counselor was unsure and had to get it approved from a bigger power than her. I was not interested in going past middle school math, middle school is my jam. I love the curriculum, the exploratory side of the math and the age of the kiddos I get to teach. I was approved to the Math Education program and now needed to make the decision!

I had that gut feeling of which direction I needed to go, you know the feeling I am talking about?! I decided that the quickest route for me to gain my Masters in the time frame and budget I set was to go the Math Education (5-9) route. I am a little over a month done and have completed 3 classes, 3!! I have been busting my butt and working hard to make every time spent on school, worth it. I am investing money into this and I get to set the time frame of how quickly I get to complete this honestly. Why not bust my butt for a year and knock this Masters out and SAVE myself a little money along the way?! And have it DONE!

I am loving the process so far, though it is an adjustment from a traditional classroom setting, it has been enjoyable! The mentors, teachers and the school staff itself are so uplifting and encouraging! I will post again of the journey with details of my experience, but if you have any questions about Westerns Governors University or the program I am in, please do not hesitate to reach out! Comment below or email me at kholland2007@gmail.com :) 

Please share your experiences of online education!! When did you find time to complete a lesson, class or more?! How did you juggle work, family and school? 

I am very fortunate during this time I can be stay-at-home mom, very thankful for all the hard work my husband does day in and day out; including late nights, early mornings, weekends and any time in-between all of that :) Our decision for me to stay home came down to childcare trust, childcare prices and money I came home with after childcare was taken out ...zilch! How is childcare prices in your area?

It all came together the last few months and felt it was the right time for me to take this next time for me and my education. During this time, I also run my TpT store, which I will stop right here and say, THANK YOU! Thank YOU for all your support of my Learning Made Radical store - the earnings I have gained from that are paying for my Masters right now! I have not had to borrow money or dig into our savings for one penny! I have been able to pay my first term with TpT! I am so unbelievably grateful and so thankful for all of you for that! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

Glad you are still reading this, a long winded post that ended up being WAY longer than I was anticipating, ALMOST done :) 

Teachers Pay Teachers has been an outlet for me over the last 2 years. I unexpectedly had childcare fall through the month before school started a few years ago and we could not find anyone we trusted with our then 4 month old baby, almost 3 year old little girl and 5 year old son. And three kids in childcare, YIKES! I decided at the time to fill the gap of not being in the classroom and finding something to help me feel just a little 'adult' like during the day. That is how Learning Made Radical came about!

Fun tidbit if you didn't know - Learning Made Radical is named after my kids - Learning (Liam) Made (Maci) and Radical (Reid), an extra special meaning to me I hold dear! 

It has been an amazing, yet very challenging journey so far. I have learned just HOW MUCH it takes to create a resource, share it with you all and hope it works for all of you like it did for me, and my close friend who looks over my work when she gets a chance ;) I do not have a classroom to 'test' my resources on per say, but I am very fortunate through this journey to have met some amazing people I get to call friends who have been a second eye to my work. These friends have been there to bounce ideas off of, give suggestions, tips, helpers of teaching how to's, my feedback gurus and an amazing support system through this journey!! Thank you Golden Triangle ;) 

But the journey of creating the resource is important to me, I was that teacher struggling to find resources for my classroom and TpT saved me, weekly, heck daily! We had just created a new curriculum and the school I was at would not be purchasing a full set of resources until we went through the curriculum for at least a year. I was a newer teacher, new curriculum, no solid resource to follow and I wanted to be 'creative' along the way too! Thank goodness I stumbled upon TpT, I was able to navigate through that year without losing my sanity fully, just partially ;) 

I wanted to be that 'resource creator' that helped a teacher like who I was at the time I was teaching - a teacher, mom, dad, husband, wife, juggler of life that wanted to spend their free time WITH their family, not just sitting in the same room of their family searching for resources on their phone or computer to use the next week or next day in the classroom and not being WITH their family. 

With all of the above said, the platform of my store was created when I looked at my family!

I wanted to create resources that were print ready, engaging and creative for teachers! Heck, fun too! Who doesn't want that?! 

I also wanted to create simplistic type resources, not 3 concepts put into one activity. I have at least one resource of one concept before I combine two concepts into one activity.
Example - Exponent Rules, the FIRST things I created because I struggled at the time when I was teaching to find one rule at a time resources. I created all exponent rule activities separate and then combined 2 rules and more together in an activity. 


The biggest reason behind my resource creating is I want to SAVE a teacher time, time! That time they SAVED from purchasing resources from my store, they are enjoying with their spouse, children, family and friends! 

Learning Made Radical is more than just a store to me, it is so much more and I hope you see that too after reading :)

I can't thank you enough for all of your support, love and encouragement! I know this post ended up being WAY longer than I was expecting, but needed too!

Stay tuned, more to come on my journey of completing my 
Masters in Math Education (5-9)!!! 


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