Category Archives: Grandparenting Issues

Episode 83. Homeschooling. Why? How?

  • There were about 3.7 million homeschool students in 2020-2021 in grades K-12 in the United States (roughly 6% to 7% of school-age children). There were about 2.5 million homeschool students in spring 2019 (or 3% to 4% of school-age children) [note 1]. The homeschool population had been growing at an estimated 2% to 8% per annum over the past several years, but it grew drastically from 2019-2020 to 2020-2021.
  • The home-educated typically score 15 to 30 percentile points above public-school students on standardized academic achievement tests. (The public school average is the 50th percentile; scores range from 1 to 99.) A 2015 study found Black homeschool students to be scoring 23 to 42 percentile points above Black public school students (Ray, 2015).
  • 78% of peer-reviewed studies on academic achievement show homeschool students perform statistically significantly better than those in institutional schools (Ray, 2017).
  • Homeschool students score above average on achievement tests regardless of their parents’ level of formal education or their family’s household income.
  • Whether homeschool parents were ever certified teachers is not related to their children’s academic achievement.
  • Degree of state control and regulation of homeschooling is not related to academic achievement.
  • Home-educated students typically score above average on the SAT and ACT tests that colleges consider for admissions.
  • Homeschool students are increasingly being actively recruited by colleges
  • 69% of peer-reviewed studies on success into adulthood (including college) show adults who were home educated succeed and perform statistically significantly better than those who attended institutional schools (Ray, 2017).

Research Facts on Homeschooling

Tina Smith grew up in a small Midwest town, one of 10 kids born into a Catholic family. She married in 2003, became a foster mom in 2004, and became a homeschool mom in 2011. Both her son and her daughter have graduated from high school and in two weeks will further their studies at the local community college. Tina joins us today to share what she learned during her 11 years as a homeschool mom.

Virginia Homeschool
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Episode 82. Breastfeeding is Best for Babies & Moms. Learn Why.

Welcome to Episode 82 of the Adventures with Grammy Podcast. I am your host, Carolyn Berry.

Today’s episode is all about breastfeeding. Our guest is Dr. Amaka Nnamani, a pediatrician and the author of the children’s picture book titled Ziora’s Quest: Mommy’s Milk Rocks about breastfeeding written from the perspective of a 6-year-old little girl.

Dr. Nnamani practices medicine in Hershey, PA. She is a passionate breastfeeding
advocate. She is the Chapter Breastfeeding Coordinator for the PA American Academy of Pediatrics and the moderator for the DR. MILK Facebook group — an exclusive online community for female physicians that breastfeed and/or are interested in learning about lactation. She was one of the AAP’s Section on Breastfeeding abstract reviewers this year for the AAP’s National Conference and Exhibition (NCE) which will be held in October. In addition, she received two grants aimed at improving breastfeeding rates especially in the young and black community. She also is a member of the Pennsylvania Breastfeeding Coalition and recently completed a Breastfeeding Policy course organized by the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO).

My children’s book will be released August 27 to coincide with National Breastfeeding Month.

Contact information

La Leche League International

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Episode 81. Beekeeping is a fun activity for young and old

Welcome to Episode 81 of the Adventures with Grammy Podcast. I am your host, Carolyn Berry.

Today’s episode is all about bees — honey bees and how to keep them. Whether you live in the city or the country, beekeeping is an activity that many grandparents and grandchildren enjoy. Our guest today, Covey McConnell, will share information about why beekeeping is important, how to get started and how to stay safe.

I have known Covey for many years. She went to school with my older son and his wife, and Covey and I taught at the same high school several years ago. She teaches science — chemistry and genetics — and says beekeeping always has fascinated her.

Please help me welcome Covey to the Adventures with Grammy Podcast.


Beekeeping Associations


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Episode 80. Audio Theater Entertains Young & Old

Welcome to Episode 80 of the Adventures with Grammy Podcast. I am your host, Carolyn Berry.

Sarah Beth Goncarova is today’s guest. She is an American writer, composer and visual artist known for poetry, children’s adventure novels, and writing for film and television.

Her company, CLAY GROUSE KIDS, is a groundbreaking indie press and animation studio that specializes in creating books, read-aloud videos, and audiobooks that inspire creativity and curiosity.

Its mission is to help all children, including emerging and reluctant readers, become better readers by creating books that kids want to read, see, and hear over and over again!

Her webtoon series is “Adventures with Abba, and her children’s chapter books are “The Secret Code of the Heartbeat Drum” and “The Curious Case of the Creepy Cave.” Her children’s picture book, “Super Sleuth,” will be available for preorder next month. Her book “Harnessing Light” won the 2020 N.N. Light Award for Poetry. Sarah tells her books through her website and offers signed copies.

As a visual artist, Sarah has been the grant recipient of the Puffin Foundation and Barbara Deming Memorial Fund. Her visual work can be found in the digital archines worldwide, including at Danube University in Austria, the Brooklyn Museum, and Rutgers University Special Collections. She has been a practicing visual artist for more 20 years.

She graciously shared with us the audio version of her book: The Curious Case of the Creepy Cave, which we will broadcast for you today. Gather your grandchildren around. You are in for a delightful treat!

Before I introduce you to Sarah, I invite you to visit my website,, and sign up for my newsletter. Thank you in advance.

You need not take notes; you can find each link we mention in the podcast in the show notes!

Let’s give Sarah a hearty welcome!

Upcoming Animated Series:
@Amazon: Sonia’s Song
Latest Interview: Abba on

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Episode 79. The Mindful Grandparent

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Born into a plain-dressing, plain-speaking Mennonite farm family in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, today’s guest, Shirley Showalter, grew up to become a college president, a foundation executive, the author of two books, and the grandmother of three.

The values her family and church instilled in her as a young girl are ones Shirley still holds dear: generosity, kindness, and empathy. In the Mennonite community, she says, “a child in need was everyone’s problem to solve, not only the parents. If I saw a ‘plain person’ in a long dress or wearing a bonnet or a plain suit on the street, I would never have hesitated to ask for a ride, for information or even for money. All through my childhood I was being trained to be that same kind of beacon of kindness for others.”

That beacon of kindness shines brightly in the recently released book, The Mindful Grandparent: The Art of Loving Our Children’s Children, which Shirley co-wrote with Marilyn McEntyre. It’s a guide to helping grandchildren live with intention and be attentive to others, to nature, and to the diverse, beautiful, and troubled social world around them. The Mindful Grandparent covers wide-ranging topics such as cultivating curiosity, giving meaningful gifts, helping children explore difficult topics, building a grandparent team, honoring adult children’s boundaries, and managing technology.

Before we welcome Shirly to the podcast, please take a minute to look at the links in the show notes and learn how to be a guest and how to receive my newsletter.

Now, please join me in welcoming Shirley Showalter to the podcast.

Episode 78. What Does it Mean to Be a Grandparent?

Welcome to Episode 78 of the Adventures with Grammy Podcast. Today’s guest is Dr. Abigail Stephan. She earned her doctorate a few months ago from Clemson University after successfully defending her dissertation, Examining Intergenerational Relationships in the Family. I along with other listeners of this podcast contributed to her research.

Abby will give us insight as to why the grandparent-grandchild must be intentional and have space to be spontaneous; why parents must provide opportunities for grandparents and grandkids to interact; and why bidirectional learning creates strong memories for grandchildren. She also gives us insight into the complexities of the modern family system.

Welcome, Abby, to the Adventures with Grammy Podcast.


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Episode 77. Sweet Treats Make Grand Memories

John Zeno Louizes is a third generation candymaker and the Head Honcho at Zeno’s Boardwalk Sweet Shop. He took over the family business in 2003 and has grown it to include four candy retail shops and three ice cream shops. The brick-and-mortar stores are in Florida, but a bustling online candy store means the confections are available nationwide.
John, who began working at the store when he was 11, says, “My goal is to make sure we do the best candy making in the world and have fun doing so.”  John and I chat about the candy business and why candy and ice cream stores are great places for grandparents and grandchildren to make sweet memories.
Be sure to visit the store’s website to watch videos of John and his crew making candy and ice cream.

Episode 76. Is Entrepreneur Life for You?

Connie Inukai has reinvented herself three times. Act One was teaching technical writing at the University of Maryland and at Johns Hopkins University for almost four decades. Act Two found her writing books, caring for two young grandchildren, and inventing a product specifically for retirees. Currently in Act Three, Connie has created Write Your Selfie, a program to help people write their life stories with pictures.

She says passion has no expiration date! And she is living proof that second-act entrepreneurs can succeed. The key is to be passionate about what matters most to you.

Before I jump into my conversation with Connie, I invite you to checkout my redesigned podcast website. I am super excited about all the features. You are welcome to listen to the podcast via your favorite app, or you can listen directly from my website: The link is in the show notes!

I hope you enjoy my conversation with Connie.

Episode 75. Connect with Your Teenage Grandchildren

When grandchildren are young, a sweet treat or new toy is enough to inspire their unconditional love. And then they become teenagers. Suddenly it’s not so easy anymore, for you or for them. Where Two Worlds Meet: A Guide to Connecting with Your Teenage Grandchildren is a new book that gives grandparents a roadmap to stay connected and deepen their relationships with their grandchildren. It is an action-focused guide to help grandparents understand life through their teenage grandchildren’s eyes. The authors, Jerry Witkovsky and Deanna Shoss, are joining me today to discuss their new book. Mr. Witkovsky spent 47 years working alongside families, 18 of which he served as general director of the Jewish Community Centers of Chicago. As a residential camp director in Wisconsin, he introduced the first grandparents weekend in 1970 and invited grandparents to experience the liveliness of their grandchildren in a camp environment and participate in camp activities. The grandparents shared their life stories of their life around the campfire and opened their world to their grandchildren. Deanna Shoss is a long-time marketer, intercultural author, researcher, and founder/CEO of Intercultural Talk, Inc., a marketing firm. She hosts the weekly live stream show, Intercultural Spark. Amazon link: Website:
Where Two Worlds Meet

Episode 74. You can help end gun violence

Welcome to Episode 74 of the Adventures with Grammy Podcast. I am your host, Carolyn Berry.

Today’s podcast is a different format from the usual guest interview. I, alone, will be speaking, and the topic is my views about gun control, specifically the guns used during school shootings.

If you are a hard-right, gun-toting person who believes high-velocity guns and ammunition designed to inflict mass carnage on people should continue to be legal, this episode is not for you. Sadly, if the riddled bodies of little children don’t change your mind, I know nothing I say will do so either, so don’t listen.

My audience for today’s episode are those grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, and the public at-large who are tired of politicians extending their thoughts and prayers to the victims and the families of those killed at Columbine, Sandy Hook, Uvalde, Buffalo, Boulder, Atlanta, Dayton, El Paso, Virginia Beach, Virginia Tech, Thousand Oaks,  Pittsburgh, Parkland, Sutherland Springs, Las Vegas, Orlando, Roseburg, Oak Creek, Tulsa and elsewhere.

Thoughts and prayers mean nothing without action.

I know the power of people who join to make things happen. Think soccer moms. Think parents of children with autism.

If you are as enraged as I am that day after day the news is filled with reports of the slaughter of innocent people who should have been safe learning in their schools, praying at their houses of worship, shopping at their neighborhood grocery stores, and performing their duties in their work environments, then you can make a difference.

If you are as irate as I am that Congress has not passed legislation to minimize these killing fields, then you can make a difference.

If you are as furious as I am when you hear politicians say, “Guns are not the problem. Mental health problems are,” then you can make a difference.

Please continue to listen and I will show you how.

There is no doubt the lack of mental health services in the United States is a huge problem, but Guns ARE the issue I am addressing today. In particular, the AR-15, which is designed as a semiautomatic version of the military-grade M16. In fact, the AR-15 first was marketed to the military as a lighter weight version of the M16. It is the AR-15 … gunmen used in the most recent attacks in Buffalo, Uvalde, and Tulsa.

During the next few minutes, I will give you nine facts, I will ask you to think about five things, I will ask you to do five things to protect our children and grandchildren, and I will give you four resources. Don’t worry about taking notes. Links to the resources and support of the facts I cite are in the show notes.

Since I will be mentioning lots of numbers, the complete transcript is in the show notes as well.


  1. The gunman who massacred 19 young children and two teachers and wounded 17 others in Uvalde took more ammunitioninto Robb Elementary School than a US soldier takes into a wartime battle. Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steven McCraw said the gunman fired 142 rounds at the children and around the school.

He legally bought two AR-15 rifles and more than 1,600 rounds of ammunition in the days after his 18th birthday at a cost of about $4,000. Some reports say he saved money working at Wendy’s. Other reports say he bought the guns and ammunition on credit

Salvador Ramos took more ammunition into Uvalde elementary school than US soldier takes into battle | The Independent


  1. Since the massacre in Uvalde May 24, 2022, there have been 21 mass shootings throughout the U.S. as if June 3, 2022.

  1. According to Gun Violence Archive, from January 1, 2022, to June 3, 2022, 18,346 people have died from gun violence, which includes 222 mass shootings and 12 mass murders.

Of the more than 18,000 killed    , 695 were children ages 17 years old and younger.

During that same period, 15,389 people were injured from gun violence. 1,724 of those injured were 17 years old and younger.

The Gun Violence Archive defines mass shootings as any incident in which four or more people were shot but not necessarily killed, excluding the shooter.

Heartbreaking Photos From the Uvalde School Shooting and Its Aftermath |

  1. Most models of the AR-15 were illegal in 1994 when Bill Clinton was president. That ban lasted until 2004, then it lapsed. The National Rifle Association and other forces thwarted the renewal of the ban.

The rise of the AR-15: Why America is defending a ‘weapon of war’ | The Independent

  1. Bernie Sanders said during the assault weapons ban from 1994-2004, mass shootings went down 43%. After it expired, mass shootings tripled.

The rise of the AR-15: Why America is defending a ‘weapon of war’ | The Independent

  1. Experts estimate private Americans own more than 19 million AR-15s, and the high-powered rifle makes up only a fraction of the overall US gun market.

American schools and public places have become ‘battlefields’ says Biden in call for action on gun violence | The Independent

  1. Texas has some of the most relaxed gun laws in the whole US.

Last year, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott relaxed gun laws even further allowing most Texans to carry handguns openly in public without any training or a permit.

Long guns, such as the weapons used in last week’s attack, already could be carried without a permit.

Salvador Ramos took more ammunition into Uvalde elementary school than US soldier takes into battle | The Independent

  1. Abbott blames the mass shooting in Uvalde on mental health issues.

He said, “We as a state, we as a society, need to do a better job with mental health. Anybody who shoots somebody else has a mental health challenge. Period. We as a government need to find a way to target that mental health challenge and to do something about it.”

In April, he announced he would be moving nearly $500 million from state agencies to fund Operation Lone Star, a Texas-Mexico border security initiative jointly being conducted by the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Texas Military Department.

Of that nearly $500 million, $210.7 million was from Texas Health & Human Services, which oversees public mental health programs.

If Gov. Abbott believes mental health is the root cause of mass shootings, why did he slash funds from that budget?


  1. According to historian Heather Cox Richardson, a poll shows “huge support” for gun regulations. It showed that 88% of voters support background checks on all gun sales, while 8% oppose such checks.

84% of voters support preventing gun sales to people who have been reported to police as dangerous by a mental health; only 9% oppose it.

77% of voters support requiring guns to be stored in a safe storage unit, while only 15% oppose such a requirement.

A national database for gun sales gets 75% approval and 18% disapproval.

Banning assault style weapons like the AR-15 has an approval rate of 67% of voters while only 25% disapprove.

Republicans appear to be doubling down on their support for expanded gun rights, trying to convince gun owners that the regulations under which we lived until 2004 will somehow end gun ownership altogether.

 May 27, 2022 – by Heather Cox Richardson (


Here are 5 Things to Think About

  1. My question is why would someone disapprove? If universal background check and red flag laws create barriers to someone owning a gun, then they must be a person who should not have one.
  2. I am a retired teacher. I practiced active shooter drills with my students. Even though students and teachers knew the drills were practice only, we still felt afraid.

Active shooter drills hurt children emotionally, especially since mass shootings occur at least once a week in the United States.

Experts recommend talking openly with your children and teaching breathing techniques to calm their fears. Within the next few weeks, a guest on this podcast will address how to help your children and grandchildren.

Here is another statistic to think about, and it is shocking.

  1. Patrick Sharkey, the William S. Tod Professor of Sociology and Public Affairs at Princeton University, studied the public’s anger and sadness about mass shootings.

His research shows the public’s anger and sadness fade after four days … FOUR DAYS

He says that “doesn’t mean we forgot about the shooting or no longer cared. It just means that we returned to our lives, that the horror of what had happened had moved away from the forefront of our consciousness even as the sadness and anger lingered in the background.”

FOUR DAYS and the raw emotions fade.

How long are Americans sad and angry about mass shootings? Four days. – The Washington Post


  1. The fourth point to think about is a 2019 research report from Harvard Business School. It shows gun-related bills increased at the state level following mass shootings. However, and this is what I need you to think about, with few exceptions, the legislation relaxed gun restrictions. I will repeat that: the research shows that In Republican-controlled state legislatures, mass shootings have led to a large increase in legislation designed to loosen gun restrictions.


Because constituents and organizations who want fewer gun restrictions write letters and donate money to politicians. In other words, money talks.

Microsoft Word – The Impact of Mass Shootings on Gun Policy v29[1].docx (


The fifth thing to consider is that 18-year-old adults, especially males, are not mature enough to own guns. The human brain’s prefrontal cortex does not mature until a person is about 25 years old, which often leads to impulsive behavior. Males, especially, do not understand the consequences of their behaviors. Therefore, young adult males are far more reckless and prone to violence than their counterparts in other age groups, and their leading causes of death include fights, accidents, and driving too fast. An expert who will explain brain function and impulsivity more fully will be a guest on an upcoming episode of the Adventures with Grammy Podcast.


What can we do to keep our children and grandchildren safe.

There are five simple steps.

  1. Call your congressional representative – senate and the house.
  2. Call attention to your state and local representatives

Tell them to

*Ban high-velocity assault weapons and the ammunition that goes with it

*Strengthen background checks

*Pass red flag laws

*Raise the legal age to purchase guns to at least 21. (I personally think it should be 25.)

  1. Write letters to editors
  2. Respond to people on social media with facts.
  3. Vote during EVERY election. We cannot be complacent.

Here are resources:

!. Wednesday, June 8, 2022, at 10:00 a.m. ET, Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, the Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, will hold a hearing to examine the gun violence epidemic in the United States.

The link to watch it is in the show notes.

The Committee has been examining gun violence in the United States for several years, and in 2019 launched an investigation into gun dealers that sell guns used in crimes.  On April 28, 2022, the Committee released preliminary findings from its investigation, showing that a small number of gun dealers—particularly those in states with lax gun laws—have sold thousands of guns used in violent crimes.

On May 27, 2022, the Committee sent letters to five leading manufacturers of semi-automatic rifles for information related to the manufacture, marketing, and sales of their weapons, to understand how these guns are fueling the gun violence epidemic and to inform gun safety legislation.

The hearing will examine the urgent need for Congress to pass commonsense legislation that most Americans support. This includes legislation to ban assault weapons and bolster background checks on gun purchases, while respecting the rights of law-abiding gun owners.

Speaking at the hearing will be a pediatrician from Uvalde, Texas, and the parents murdered Uvalde student Lexi Rubio, and a fourth-grade survivor of the Uvalde massacre.

Following Uvalde and Buffalo Mass Shootings, Oversight Committee to Hear from Parents of Victims, Survivor at Hearing on Gun Violence Crisis | House Committee on Oversight and Reform

  1. Sandy Hook Promise | Facebook




Added June 6, 2022

Opinion: Here’s the reason people tell me they want to buy an AR-15. And it’s simply ludicrous – CNN