The Laughter of Learning

shutterstock_120737467Homeschooling a whole mess of boys is a huge challenge. And I say this knowing full-well that I can only grasp the reality of that statement tangentially; my beloved, patient wife bears the real brunt of its truth.

Something that makes it measurably easier, however, is the willingness of the older boys to help their younger siblings with schoolwork. It’s easier because “many hands help make an enormous task lighter, even if the hands are pretty small.” And because of exchanges like this, which help lighten the load immeasurably.


MARK, blondish and earnest, sits hunched over in the middle of the sun-splashed living room floor. He is surrounded by books, pencils, apple cores, stray Lego pieces, and DAVID, who is refreshingly eager when it comes to schoolwork, but never, ever still. They’re working on one of David’s geography lessons.

How many continents are there?

DAVID (enthusiastically):

MARK (thoughtful):
Well, I guess so…

…if you don’t count Atlantis.

Ah, those Susanka Boys. They’re absolutely steeped in Book Learnin’. Steeped, I tell you! …they’re just not always steeping in precisely the books they’re supposed to be learnin’. And that’s just fine with me, because sometimes what you’re learning is nowhere near as important as who you’re learning it from. Or with.

Attribution(s): “Classroom Image That Can’t Be My House Because One of the Students Is Wearing a Dress, But Is Otherwise Frighteningly Accurate” provided by Shutterstock; “Mark and David” provided by me. And Mrs. S.

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About Joseph Susanka

Joseph has been doing development work for institutions of Catholic higher education since graduating from Thomas Aquinas College in 1999. A grateful resident of Wyoming, he spends his free time exploring the beautiful Wind River Mountains, keeping track of his (currently) seven sons, being amazed by his (currently) lone daughter, and thanking his lucky stars for Netflix.