Homeschooling, Parenting, Relationships

None of My Business

The most important advice I would give my younger writer self is what I’d give my younger woman self: What other people think of you is none of your business.

Anne Lamott, author

I’ve read this quote multiple times, and it still hits me the same way. “Of course” followed by “No way.”

I eventually have to remember that seeking advice and seeking approval are not the same. While I may need counsel, if I don’t need approval, then I don’t need to know if I have obtained it.

In the past, other’s opinions have paralyzed me or led me off course. Realizing that another’s approval or disapproval—of my parenting or my homeschooling or other aspects of my lifestyle—is none of my business is freeing.

These days, if I suspect my writing or actions will upset someone, I try to remember “What other people think of me is none of my business.”

Thank you, Anne.

Homeschooling, Parenting

Learning New Standards

Along the way, I learned that I was more outdated than I thought.

When I reviewed homeschool portfolios for my county school system, some parents showed me work that demonstrated their children were below grade level. It was usually accompanied with “My kids know much more than I did at their age.” Unfortunately, that didn’t mean they were excelling. 

I knew my childhood and education were not a gauge for current expectations. When my oldest was starting high school. I attended conferences and listened to cassette tapes about college admissions—no podcasts back then. We were on track with an accelerated education. However, by the time my sons applied to college, I learned we had been hanging on. Standards had risen exponentially in four years.

A wonderful education was received at this college.

What if I had known? Would I have pressured myself and my sons? Would we have lowered our college expectations? I don’t know. Either would have been detrimental and unnecessary because my sons were admitted to their first-choice colleges and received scholarships.

What I do know is that keeping up is hard. Discerning when it doesn’t matter is even harder.

Friendship, Homeschooling, Parenting

I’m Glad I Didn’t Know

There are many things I wish I had known and learned along the way. However, there are many things I learned along the way that I’m glad I didn’t know.

I’m glad I didn’t know:

People’s hidden agendas, or I might not have had the courage to enter those relationships.

How hard homeschooling is, or I might not have had the courage to start—and finish.

How quickly my health could decline, or I might have wasted time worrying.

How many incompetent doctors there are, or I might not have had the courage to seek medical care.

How much my heart would be broken for my children, or I might not have had the courage to have children.

And more.

I believe our memories are one of God’s best gifts. I believe not having complete information can be another good gift.

Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God. Corrie Ten Boom

Homeschooling, Parenting

Looking for Words or Letters?

Given that I am not fond of word search books, I surprised myself by returning to a Christmas word search game during one holiday. It was online, and I set a time limit to beat.

As certain words became harder to find, I looked letter by letter—all the “N”s for “Nativity” or all the “G”s for “Gift.” It took weeks to learn that this process was not expedient. If I leaned back in my chair and looked for the entire word, I had better results.

I have been thinking about this discovery. A lot. Do I make my journey—with parenting, homeschooling, or friendships—slower and harder by focusing on life’s “letters” rather than the “words?” Or do both have a time? Just wondering.

Do you focus on letters or words?

Homeschooling, Parenting

Writing Advice: Quasi Podcasts

I attended a Smithsonian American Art Museum Teacher Workshop because I liked the exhibition, Georgia O’Keefe and Ansel Adams: Natural Affinities. However, fifteen years later, I remember the writing advice more than the art. Whether your children have writing assignments, or you have reports, the following might be helpful.

Smithsonian workshop participants were given MP3 players for classroom use—cheap ones but still a free toy—and told to replicate an experiment in a Bethesda school. Those students wrote about works of art, recorded their work, listened, rewrote, and rerecorded. The steps were repeated until the students were satisfied with their quasi podcasts. 

The Smithsonian employee in charge thought it was “educational bubblegum,” and therefore, was surprised with the process and the results. Students heard mistakes that they missed when they read their work. This was especially true when a word was overused. By listening, students also quickly realized when more explanation was needed.

The school emphasized working in groups. One interesting result was that students were more willing to offer helpful advice when they listened to a peer’s work compared to reading a peer’s work. I wonder if it’s because listening is slower than reading.

Have you received unusual academic advice?