home education series: stalled

Continued from


I’m at a standstill in this home education series. I have a ton of stuff I still want to say, but I don’t know how or what for or why. So I write pages of notes and talk my friends’ ears off and jump up and down to drive the point home and then I sit down in front of the computer and—nothing. It’s a slightly terrifying place to be. All this pent up energy and fermenting ideas (is there an explosion on the horizon?) but no way out. It’s making my skin crawl.

Yesterday I listened to Radiolab while chopping celery and peeling potatoes for the supper soup. It was a great show, but the part that was especially relevant was Elizabeth Gilbert speaking on the muse. The notion that there are ideas and inspirations whirling around the earth (like some sort of idea-ridden gulf stream current) in search of a portal through which to enter is intriguing, fascinating, and downright delightful. The thing is, the inspiration only come to those who are worthy; in other words, the people who are putting in the time. So I’m just going to keep putting in my time, thinking, typing rants in all-caps, reading, and wrestling myself into knots and maybe I’ll eventually be worthy of becoming a portal. In the meantime, here’s a bunch of homeschool links, resources, and tidbits to tide you over.

Some previous posts on homeschooling from yours truly:

*No Special Skills: my response to the common “Oh you homeschool? I could never to that!” comment. 
*Hats: on there not being a difference between parenting and teaching. 
*On the Subject of Grade Level: my kids are behind.
*Hypothesizing: kids learn when they’re ready.
*Stirring The Pot: yikes! It’s a full-blown rant! (And it hits the diversity issue smack on the head.)
*How It Really Is: why I homeschool my children.
*A Teacher’s Lesson: an unschooling experiment.
I just re-read these posts and suddenly I don’t think I have anything else to say. Maybe this is the end of this series after all? I’m not sure, but please don’t hold your breath.
From elsewhere:
*This is what happens when a kid leaves traditional education by Joe Martino. You’ve probably all seen Logan’s TEDx talk already, but here it is just in case you haven’t. (His cocky attitude is a bit off-putting—try to look past it. Mom, I’m talking to you.) Also, the article is succinct and the video by Sir Ken Robinson is quite worthwhile. 
*An interview by Penelope Trunk, an unschooling mother, on Pioneer Woman Homeschooling. And another one by IrishMum. I love hearing other homeschool parents talk. We’re all so different!
*The Mennonite World Review reprinted a post from the series. I’ve been hearing from other homeschooling families who are in “heady” Mennonite communities that don’t understand or even appreciate homeschooling. Fellow Mennonites and Mennonite homeschoolers: would our church community benefit from a more intentional conversation about this topic? If so, how?
*Homeschool Blues by comedian Tim Hawkins.
Some excellent books:
*Teach Your Own by John Holt. This was the book that inspired my parents to homeschool me.
*Unschooling Rules by Clark Aldrich. I read this book in one sitting at Barnes and Noble and then went back a few days later and bought it.
*The One World Schoolhouse by Salman Khan. This is not a homeschooling book. Then again, it is. (I don’t think Khan is aware of this, though.)
Do you have other good resources? Please share!


  • Unknown

    Hi, really enjoying your blog, fairly new to the home education world (September 2013) and on my hunt for some fellow bloggers to indulge in 🙂

  • Rebecca

    John Taylor Gatto's Dumbing Us Down turned my husband, in 12 short hours, from a homeschool doubter to enthusiast. Back in the 90s it was one of two homeschooling books that our library carried.

    • Judi

      So much for being observant. I didn't even notice someone had recommended the same book! 🙂 I checked it out from the library but I must say I wouldn't mind it being in our home library!

  • Suburban Correspondent

    I still remember, 20 years later, how inspiring Teach Your Own was! Of course, then there is the reality, 2 decades in…

  • Judi

    I have thoroughly enjoyed your homeschooling posts. I just finished reading "Free to Learn" by Peter Gray. Have you read it? I thought it was a good read.

  • Natalie

    Can't wait to read some of your past posts as I am a somewhat recent follower.

    This past summer, I read "Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life" by Peter Gray, and it almost convinced me to unschool our kids. It definitely was food for thought.

  • Rebecca

    Holy cats! I feel like I've struck gold. I cannot believe I never read your No Special Skills post. My kids were laughing their heads off. (I may have emoted just a wee little bit in my time.)

    I would love a Mennonite homeschooling conversation. I can't begin to picture it, though, because of the emotions you mention at the beginning of the No Special Skills post – am I sounding judgey? critical? know-it-all? nutsy? And schooling has become so inextricably tied with Doing Good that I'm afraid it'd be just about as easy to say, "That stuff about Jesus and the poor? We've decided that isn't true."

Leave a Comment