Once upon a time Carol would have told you that it was all about her son. He entered the world as a constantly moving, hyper-charged, non-stop ball of energy. He endured a difficult and protracted medical ordeal involving 13 surgical procedures before he was 3 1/2. It was clear he was very bright. But his pace and frenzy was difficult for many to deal with. His journey into kindergarten did not proceed smoothly. When Carol and her husband couldn’t bring themselves to medicate this ADHD child, particularly in light of his already long medical history, Carol found herself homeschooling. Wow…that was not at all in the initial plan.
Over time, she learned that all of the traditional methods she knew and cherished from her own childhood were a recipe for disaster with this very different child. So through much experimentation, coupled with a belief that this child’s energy was a gift, she developed strategies and teaching methods that worked with his need for constant motion.
Years later she put the knowledge gained from this experience on a website called Carol’s Web Corner. The goal was simply to share experiences and methods that had worked with her child. But almost instantly, she knew something unique had happened. Letters began pouring in from all over the world.
People were hungry for a view of their child that was positive…that recognized the delight that they saw in their own children…and that didn’t start with a premise that this child was defective.
The many requests for more information eventually led Carol to write her first book entitled, How To Get Your Child Off the Refrigerator and On To Learning, published by Emerald Books (YWAM).
The Apple Falls Close to the Tree
Somewhere along the line Carol realized that her son might be as distractible as he was because his father was also pretty “high strung”. And come to think of it, so was her own Dad, her son’s grandfather. And yes, after a serious bit of reflection. . . so was Carol herself. <Yeah…I know. No one surprised but Carol.>
So instead of trying to take all the square pegs of her family and shove them into the world’s preferred round holes, she is constantly on the lookout for ways to see the delight in the distractible. Things that others regard as mistakes, defects and things to be changed, Carol looks at with an eye toward the missed gifts and hidden advantages.
Carol’s second book, If I’m Diapering A Watermelon Then Where’d I Leave the Baby, chronicles her own journey of distractibility, shares unique coping strategies she’s found, and promotes a view of oneself as uniquely gifted rather than broken. Carol is now a regular speaker at women’s groups, state home schooling conferences, and is a popular radio guest.
Carol’s third book, The Big WHAT NOW? Book of Learning Styles, overcomes the weaknesses of many existing books on learning styles that devote 98% of their text to identifying learning styles, then spend the remaining 2% telling you how to apply this knowledge. They are long on diagnosis and short on prescription. Carol Barnier knows from her own experience and from interactions with educators all across the country that while people are certainly interested in the “why”, they are in urgent need of the “how”, or the big “what now?” They need perfectly clear and practical information that can be applied tomorrow. In The Big What Now Book of Learning Styles, parents and teachers will find an emphasis on “what to do about it”.
So Why Did She Start Sizzle Bop?
Carol’s own thoughts. . .
When I would attend a support group meeting for homeschooling families, there were very few, if any, families with a kid like mind. And if you’ve never had one yourself, here’s the problem. . .
Everyone thinks this kid is broken.
In need of more discipline.
I knew better, because God had made me the parent of this child and gave me the ability to discern that something else was at work here. As I traveled the country and spoke, I found like-minded souls, with similar views and struggles. I so often wished we were closer geographically. We needed each other.
Enter—the era of cyber-connection.
I realized how fortunate we were to exist in an era when we could indeed connect and create an understanding community, even though separated by thousands of miles. So I created Sizzle Bop, knowing that even if I only connected with a few dozen moms, we nonetheless needed each other. But, turns out, lots of folks, from all over, had felt that same need.
That’s why Sizzle Bop grew to over 5000 members from South Africa to Canada, from Australia to Japan, from England to Pakistan. While the bulk of our members are from the US, we consider ourselves immensely blessed to have an international community.
This and That about Carol
If you ask Carol where she’s from, she seems to stammer a bit. She was born in Germany to a military family. When she was 15, her military father retired and became a pastor. Since neither of these professions lends well to a childhood rooted in one location, the most recent count shows Carol as having had 28 different addresses, from Washington DC to Alaska, Alabama to Connecticut, and many more in between. These are not complaints; to the contrary, more than two years in virtually any location has her itching for a move.
Why did she start writing and speaking?
She would love to share that it was a dream since childhood to be a writer. It sounds so purposeful, even noble. But it’s closer to the truth to say she fell into it. She gave birth to a very ADHD child. Once she learned some valuable things about how he learned and thought, she felt they were worth sharing, but only via a sweet and humble little website. And, as can sometimes happen, one thing led to another (the website led to books which led to speaking invitations) and a new career path was formed. To her surprise, she found she had a lot to say about a lot of things. But as Shrek says, “Sure, he talks. It’s gettin’ him to shut up that’s the trick.”
Random Weird Stuff About Carol
She’s short. No really. She doesn’t even break 5 feet tall, which means there are actually amusement park rides she’s not allowed to go on. It also explains why one of the audience surveys she once received read, “Good speaker, great information. It’s just too bad she sat down the whole time.” (Note: I was standing. Honest)
She lived for three years in a town called Killbuck (which she regularly explains “is next to Shootgoose” for the uninitiated and gullible in the crowd). It’s a place in Amish country—wonderful experiences.
As a little girl she was once photographed standing with a Marine in dress uniform in front of the Statue of Iwo Jima for a postcard.
Once upon a time, she was a college music major. As a result, she sings, writes music, has played 10 instruments including the trombone, the playing of which requires that she catch the slider bar with her toe for some notes. Her arms just aren’t long enough. <sadly, this is true>
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