Jan 232016

We homeschool so that we can encourage the children’s love of reading. The only problem is that sometimes the children get very quiet, and we think they’re doing their assigned “school work,” and then we find them curled up in a corner with a book.


We homeschool so that we can encourage the children to learn a wide range of new things. This week, Madeline learned how to whistle. (There are scholarships for this, right?) The only problem is that she won’t stop whistling.

We homeschool so that the kids can have time to pursue their passions. The piano keys gather no dust because Sammy plays the piano on the way to get his math book, on the way to print his lab assignment, on the way to fold his laundry, on the way to check his email, and on the way to dinner. Whenever he gets out of a chair, he automatically walks to the piano. It’s as if he can’t help it. The problem is that he starts playing and composing and soon forgets all about the math, biology, and laundry.


We homeschool so that we can pick the best curriculum and the best resources for each individual child. All those textbooks and all those resources take up space in the house. The problem is that some days our house looks like a library and an office supply store exploded and then cats took over.


We homeschool because we don’t buy into the notion of “quality time.” We believe in quantity time that’s high quality. The problem is that sometimes quantity time means we get on each other’s nerves. Most of the time our small house feels cozy, but sometimes it just feels small.

This week, I had to repeatedly hunt down my students and pry them out of hiding places and take away their novels until they completed their math assignments. I had to ask Sammy over and over and over and over to get off the piano and get on with biology, and the laundry, and the English paper. I took several breaks from rearranging the avalanche of binders and books to lock myself in the bathroom to escape the whistling (and the nearness of people).

The week is winding up, and I’m frustrated and tired. I’m convinced we didn’t accomplish enough. There’s ALWAYS more to do. I feel the weight of all the things that didn’t get finished. There’s SO MUCH to learn . . .

. . . which is why the kids need to love to read so they can be lifelong learners.


I have to keep the big picture in focus even when the view right in front of my eyeballs is getting a bit blurred.

The problems I had this week aren’t problems at all. The only “problem” is that the kids are doing exactly what we set out to do!

So, I guess this week’s problems are really the story of our success.

It’s all about perspective, isn’t it?

Nov 162013
Stanley 2.0

We’ve moved a lot, so we have friends all over the country, which means that when our little friends around the country are in about the second grade and it’s Flat Stanley time, folks think of us. I’m flattered. They think we live in an interesting enough place that their second grader wouldn’t be embarrassed […]

Feb 012013
I Shall Not Hate

  I Shall Not Hate: A Gaza Doctor’s Journey on the Road to Peace and Human Dignity By Izzeldin Abuelaish Read this book if: you are alive you are a human being you ever think about other human beings you think human beings are important you share a space (such as a planet) with other […]

Jan 292013
One Thousand Gifts

I will spend twenty minutes looking for my favorite pen when a substandard pen sits idly by. (Pilot Precise V5 Extra Fine Point just in case you’re wondering.) It’s crisp, it’s legible, but most importantly, it’s waterproof, so when I add yet another missing article adjective, or make yet another notation that the subject and […]

Nov 152011
How do you spell struggle?

TGIF? Not around here! The combination of my exhaustion and the kids’ Friday-induced-ADD was volatile. I’m not sure how it happened, but somewhere between the word “much” (spelled mutch) and the word “does” (spelled boes) I lost my cool. For the three thousandth time I had to correct the “b” and “d” thing. I just […]

Sep 172011

I impose rules on myself. For instance, I have a rule that once I begin reading a book, I need to finish it. It’s not of biblical proportions, but it’s a good rule. Without the rule I may never have gotten past page 198 of Jane Eyre, which I quite enjoyed – after about page […]

Jun 012011

Night, in its brevity and simplicity elicits a tortured uneasiness that forces me beyond my comfort zone. The book opens in 1941 with Elie Wiesel as a thirteen-year-old telling of his relationship with his mentor, the lovable, if awkward, Moishe the Beadle. Six pages into the book Moishe is crammed into a cattle car with […]