Welcome to Learn Explore Adore!

I believe that each child has a different method of learning. I believe that listening to a child and observing their behavior is the best way to discover how they learn.

My parents both placed a high value on education. My father was a public school teacher for 33 years. Despite his dedication to public school, he agreed that a non-traditional private school was a better fit for me. After spending 9th grade in private school, we opted for homeschool via mail-in packets.

My husband and I are autodidacts who love reading, learning, and travel. We are doing everything in our power to teach our children to feel that same love.

Learn Explore Adore founder Candace Tarkeshian

Who am I?

Besides being the founder of Learn Explore Adore, I’m known for quite a lot of things. Usually, my public speaking appearances focus on things like raising gamers and geeks, video games, and my disability advocacy. I’ve been a PTA President at a Title 1 school.

My photography has taken me to far off places to do things like documenting the lives of 147 sloths in Costa Rica. My curiosity got the better of me and I asked a few friends how they would describe me.

“Mom, geek, activist… Candace Tarkeshian dedicates┬áher time and effort into living a well-rounded life full of adventure, fun, and education. She prides herself in the knowledge that she has cultivated and various areas of our societies shortcomings… She has proven no topic is too tender, and no challenge is too great that she won’t take it head on.” – TenishaNicole

This is the kind of thing that melts my sarcastic little heart. Coming from a super Mom like Tenisha, that’s high praise. She is a fellow mother struggling to help her child not just cope with disability, but to thrive through it.

“You are so full of knowledge especially for those of us who suffer from some of the same issues. You are amazing!” – Denise M.

Denise is my bestie’s Mama and we can talk for HOURS! She knows she can talk to me about medication changes and side effects without meeting judgmental stares. I love her.

Candace prepares to bungee jump in New Zealand

That’s another side of me. I’m a bit of a thrill seeker. My personal brand of thrill tends to be mismatched with expectations, but when the opportunity arises, I will absolutely sign on to bungee jump off of the Harbour Bridge in Auckland, New Zealand. My favorite thrills involve hunting down Michelin star chef’s menus and exploring areas that are off the beaten the path – literally. I got in trouble in Costa Rica for taking a worn down path that I found. When I returned, I found out that path is the “Viper Path”. It was overgrown because it wasn’t safe. Vipers were dropping out of trees! What can I say? That’s me. You’ll get to know me more in the coming days through my posts. Make sure you subscribe so you don’t miss a single Learn Explore Adore adventure!

 

Getting to know the Learn Explore Adore family

My kids and their friends give me all the motivation I need to create exciting new curriculum. My two eldest are my homeschoolers, while my little guy is enrolled in an online private school for preschool.

PeanutBrother studies PB & Abe in Animal Kingdom. 2013.PB and Abe pose for a photo during a tour of St. Maarten. October 2013.

 

We’ll call my youngest B.

My 4 year old has been learning at an accelerated pace since he was born. Work is needed to improve his pronunciation, but he’s ahead in most other areas. Socially, he keeps busy with his friends and loves to try new activities. B is a phenomenal swimmer, a novice gymnast, and an enthusiastic Lucio main with a slight Doomfist addiction.

He loves Upstart and you can’t beat a state funded program that provides you with free access to a private school’s 15 minutes per day top of the line preschool! To learn more about his online school, check out Upstart by Waterford. When he’s not doing his online studies, he joins in our homeschool and road school fun. His Learn Explore Adore experience weighs heavy in the direction of “explore”.

Siren models, circa 2016.

Siren is up next.

Nothing about her would lead you to believe that she’s only 14. Tall, gorgeous, well spoken, intelligent, wildly talented in the performing arts; our Siren catches people off guard. Gaming and modeling take up a good chunk of her free time and she works hard to stay ahead on her school work.

Developmentally, she’s advanced. Socially, well… that’s where we hit some snags. People assume that homeschool cannot provide a child with adequate social skills, but we experienced the exact opposite. Bullying and peer pressure were mishandled at Siren’s assigned middle school and the results were devastating. She fell in with a crowd of popular girls and the pressure to self harm nearly led her down a path that she didn’t want to go down. We were lucky that we caught it in time. Truthfully, if we weren’t such a close family and if we didn’t spend so much time traveling together, staying in close quarters, we might have missed this.

Homeschooling has brought about a beautiful change in Siren. She’s got a boyfriend and she spends more time focused on her friends. Social Anxiety is a diagnosis that she will have to work around, but now she has tools and opportunities for accommodations that help her social life thrive.

 

Zoey hugs PB Zoe, a portraitLearn Explore Adore family on a Disney World bus. 2013.

Zoey needs no pseudonym.

I did offer, but she declined. At 16, she’s the oldest and more than able to make decisions for herself. Art flows from her and her smile will light up the darkest perspectives. Zoe loves animals. She genuinely enjoys helping people. In short, she’s a good person, through and through. Autism, Asthma, and severe Eczema make things a little unpredictable, but our family knows that unpredictable is not bad. Zoe is the very epitome of the Learn Explore Adore spirit.

I am a social butterfly. Zoey is not. Learning how to let Zoe be Zoe has shaped who I am as a person and has definitely helped me understand the merits and advantages of homeschool. Public school worked okay for her, but it was never truly great. “Okay” devolved into fear that I had never known when she hit high school. A full week of hospitalization helped us get back on a path to good mental health, but the challenges Zoe faces are more easily addressed at home. Homeschool suits her as well as almost any learning method we’ve tried… save for road school. Road school might be the next thing we try.

Posts about Zoe:

Our Epic GED Journey

 

PB dressed as Stitch from Disney's Lilo & Stitch, being held by Dad aboard the Disney Fantasy. October 2013.

Abe is my other half in more ways than one.

He’s my husband, my best friend, my co-pilot in parenting, and my travel companion. His imagination and intelligence soar beyond my own. Though neither of us put much weight in astrology, something about being Geminis born all of 8 days apart feels meaningful. Our love has inspired those around us. Nothing we do is small. Everything we do is fueled by our support of one another.

People often mistakenly think Abe is quiet when they first meet him. I disagree. Knowing him as well as I do, for as long as I have, I know what’s really going on. He’s deliberate. Calculating the best contributions he can make to a situation is second nature for him. You’ll see. Over time, he’ll post a few things here and, while those posts may not show up soon or often, they will be well thought out and helpful.

 

We’ll update soon with the members of the Learn Explore Adore extended family.

Don’t forget to subscribe so you don’t miss that update!