• introducing how we homeschool: a series

    photo credit: my younger daughter

    Over the summer a friend (no idea which one — sorry, friend!) suggested that I write a blog series profiling homeschooling families. With so many children being educated from home, she said, it might be helpful to hear from experienced homeschoolers. 

    At first I was hesitant. In the beginning when Covid hit and schools shut down, it bugged me to hear everyone refer to themselves as “homeschoolers.” For me, homeschooling was an intentional lifestyle choice rooted in freedom, not to be confused with being confined at home all day washing our hands nonstop. This parenting-in-a-pandemic thing was not normal for us, either. 

    The whole situation got my panties in such a twist that I even wrote an op-ed about it. Being forced to stay at home full time with one’s kids because of a pandemic is not homeschooling, I ranted: It’s parenting in the midst of a global crisis. And supervising school-mandated assignments is not homeschooling; it’s helping with homework.

    Nobody snatched the piece up though (sniff), which was probably just as well because then, a few weeks later, I was like, “Hang on. If anyone’s homeschooling, it’s these pandemic homeschoolers because they are, quite literally, doing school at home.” If anyone was misnamed, I realized, it was us, the pre-pandemic homeschoolers, aka the dinosaurs. (What should we be called? I’ve been pondering this for ages, and have no idea. Help me out, people.)

    And even while I was getting all worked up about our fringe lifestyle getting co-opted, at least in name, by the mainstream — Who would’ve thunk it! — I knew I wasn’t being entirely fair. The divide between schooling and homeschooling has never been clearcut. Schooled kids study at home with their parents’ help. They learn via all sorts of nonschool activities like clubs, community volunteering, jobs, and voracious reading, same as homeschooled kids. And homeschooled kids, in turn, often enroll in actual school courses.

    There’s no one right way to homeschool. 

    So here’s the thing: As Covid has drug on, more and more parents, worried about contagion and frustrated with the switch to virtual learning (and its accompanying many hours of screen time), have bailed on school — some just for the year, others maybe for longer. Some parents are even beginning to question the value of school, an institution they’ve always taken for granted. They’re starting to ask hard questions about what they want their children’s learning to look like, and to make changes accordingly.

    But should I host a blog series as my friend suggested? The more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea. Homeschoolers are a wildly diverse bunch, and showcasing a few of them might help make the transition to homeschooling easier for all these newcomers. If nothing else, interviewing a bunch of interesting people would be a heck of a lot of fun for me.

    And that, my friends, is how my new blog series — that I am oh-so creatively calling “The Homeschool Series” — was born. 

    If you’ve signed off of school-sanctioned learning temporarily (or indefinitely, or forever, whatever) OR if you’re considering doing so OR if you’re just curious about what life without school looks like, this series is for you. I’ve got a bunch of people queued up for the next few weeks and months, ready to tell the nitty-gritty of homeschooling.

    Stay tuned! 

    This same time, years previous: study stills, the quotidian (11.12.18), enough, for now, George Washington Carver sweet potato soup with peanut butter and ginger, butternut squash galette with caramelized onions and goat cheese, refrigerator bran muffins, sparkle blondies.

  • the quotidian (11.9.20)

    Quotidian: daily, usual or customary;
    everyday; ordinary; commonplace

    Sweet ‘taties and beans.


    They don’t like mushrooms; I made it anyway: with white wine, bacon, and leeks.

    Breakfast for one.

    You know you work in a bakery when you discover you’ve been carying around a disk of pie pastry in your purse for the last two days.

    Community organizing with a side of pie.

    Obsessively checking the results.

    Laundry-folding party.

    For the steers: farm compost.

    Happily hurling the eggplants.

    Sweetening up the beef.

    She can hardly contain herself.

    Our valley, our home.

    This same time, years previous: what we ate, of mice and men and other matters, unleashing the curls, the quotidian (11.7.16), the quotidian (11.9.15), for the time change, maple roasted squash, pumpkin cranberry cream cheese muffins.

  • wait for it

    Today, I joined the noonday silent vigil downtown. 

    For half an hour, we gathered: young adults, retired folks, teenagers, whole families, children. Spread out along the sidewalk around the courthouse, some people held signs and others just stood quietly, watching the cars pass. 

    A few drivers honked and waved, but most just ignored us. There was no heckling. Other days, I’ve been told, some people have pulled over to talk. Sometimes they push to find out which candidate people in the group have voted for, but we don’t talk about that. This group Hold the Line is nonpartisan. It’s about respecting the democratic process. It’s about counting all votes (in case you didn’t catch that from the signs, ha). 

    Yesterday when I was taking my turn at monitoring the ballot box, I had to keep telling people to wait while the machine processed their vote. The light has to switch to green so we know it’s been counted, I’d say. Married couples were the worst since they’d approach the box together and try to slip in their ballots in quick succession. Then I’d have to yell No no no! and explain the process yet again.  

    All the explaining felt cumbersome, and awkward. Standing there, whiling away the minutes (900 of them, to be exact), I racked my brains, trying to think of a better, more concise way

    And then I recalled the video clip a friend had sent me the night before.

    From then on, a gentle “Wait for it” was all I needed to get their attention and make them pause. 
    The process matters, people.

    Wait for it. 

    This same time, years previous: the quotidian (11.4.19), the quotidian (11.5.18), meatloaf, musings from the coffee shop, the quotidian (11.4.13), bierocks, piano lessons.