March 7, 2014

I kept hearing the words of Jesus. "The poor will be with you always." What a drag. Because, if you know any poor people, you'll know that they are annoying. They lie - to you and to themselves. They keep making the same stupid mistakes over and over again. Like buying cigarettes instead of medicine. Or watching season three of The Good Wife instead of getting her taxes done. Oh wait, that's me. Read more

January 25, 2014

After waiting several seconds for the kids to guess how he had done the card trick, Professor Francis Su, a friend of ours and the President of the Mathematical Association of American, said, “When you don’t know the answer, when you aren’t sure what to do, do SOMETHING.  If you do nothing, you’re never going get it.  But if you do the wrong thing, you can learn from it.” Oh, how I wish I could help my children internalize that... Read more

January 24, 2014

After sharing for a bit, we sat for a moment in silent gratitude for the kingdoms of ancient Africa, for the work of Dr. King and others who gave up their lives for justice and peace, for the parents who make our class possible, and for the kids who worked so hard to make the day possible. And then we ate. Read more

January 24, 2014

For many kids, there is a kind of longing evoked by experiencing a time when you could make something beautiful and useful, and understand all of the technology you are using to make it. When you gathered the clay yourself, built many of the tools you used yourself, built the kiln yourself, and shaped, glazed, and fired every piece yourself. It's a way of appreciating resources and work that is hard to capture today, when so much, even what we think of as raw materials, just show up on the FedEx truck two days after we click a button on the Amazon site. Read more

January 16, 2014

I’ve written before that one of the most common reactions people have to hearing that we homeschool is, “Oh God, I could never spend that much time with my kid.” I usually reassure them that it’s not that bad.   That’s it’s like when they were babies.  It’s overwhelming at first, but that you eventually settle in.  Which is all true.  But also kind of a lie. There are days, like most of last week, when being around the boys... Read more

January 15, 2014

We’ve been asking the kids for several weeks, “Is this your best work? Invariably, they say yes and invariably the true answer is no.  And invariably, I find it disheartening. The humanities class I co-teach worked with a teacher at the MFA for three weeks to paint covers for the folktales they are writing.  They were making Tinga Tinga-style paintings, and it was a blast.  But they didn’t have time to finish them in the three weeks, and when Zach... Read more

January 13, 2014

Jeff and I took Ezra out for dinner tonight to have a state-of-the-boy talk.  Pizza, gelato, and lots of focused on attention from your parents.  What’s not to love? We talked about school, friendships, faith, family, and school.  When I asked him how he thought school was going this year, he said, “I’d say it’s the best year yet.” “Why?” “Well, we’re up to fourteen kids now.” That’s the number of kids who come over on Monday’s to take classes... Read more

January 10, 2014

The secret to a good day of homeschool is the Field Trip.  (cue angels and harps) The field trip is to a tough week of homeschool what sex often is after a big fight: it reminds you that you like each other and that things are probably going to be okY. (These lines are from a post during our first week of homeschool, but they hold equally true in year four.) This was our sixth field trip with our Ancient... Read more

January 9, 2014

If I told you how many many edges and how many vertices were on a soccer ball, could you tell me how many faces were on it? No?  Neither could I before a few weeks ago. The boys take a math class taught by MIT grad students.  When they had to miss one week, I asked the instructor to send me the problem for the week and we got together with our homeschool crew to work on it.  The question... Read more

January 8, 2014

I’m feeling discouraged today.  Maybe it’s because we got an evaluation back that leaves me despairing that my son will ever have the skills to make it the world.  Maybe it’s because writing what we do every day is boring me.  Maybe it’s because I realized today that with all the other kids I teach, I am generally kind and gentle.  With my own, I am critical and anxious. Ugh. So here goes… Zach worked on his poster project with... Read more

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