Grade Like A Professional

I “liked” a boy when we were in the 8th grade. We became better friends in high school, and he wrote the sweetest words in my yearbook our senior year.

How did we meet? Kevin sat behind me in pre-algebra and graded my homework. Mrs. Parker began most classes by saying, “Pass your homework to the person behind you.”

Even though homeschoolers do not have thirty papers to grade each class period as Mrs. Parker did, we can learn from traditional teachers. (See Think Like a Professional Here)

Allowing siblings to grade each other’s papers can save time.  It is also a chance for the grader to practice humility and grace and learn themselves as they see their sibling’s work. Kevin was so nice that I never minded him seeing my mistakes.  I also thought he was a bit more lenient than Mrs. Parker.

How are you thinking like a professional?


A Cup Of Tea

Who will bring her a cup of tea?

That question was repeated multiple times as my aunt fretted about her daughter not having children or grandchildren to help her as she aged.

I have pondered my aunt’s concern since our conversation. Stores will deliver groceries. Restaurants will deliver meals. Ambulances will transport to the hospital. Taxis or Uber will make errands possible.

But who will bring a cup of tea? Usually intimate family and friends. Our expressions of love and concern can be the simplest acts.

Thank you to all who have brought me cups of tea over the years.

Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward.

Psalm 127:3

Planning For Sick Days

Even after I realized I should think like a professional—see here—I pushed forward and taught when I was sick. How could I stop homeschooling for a couple of days, let alone a week? I always felt behind, as most homeschoolers do.

Pushing on always delayed my recovery, which prolonged my misery and the number of unproductive school days. Each time I said it would be different next time. It wasn’t.

Paid teachers at traditional schools—notice I didn’t say real teachers—have substitutes and lesson plans for sick days. I might not have a paid substitute, but I should have had a plan that allowed rest and healing. Eventually, family circumstances required a plan.

My favorite was educational movies from the library and the How Great Thou Art art curriculum by Barry Stebbing. The easiest was a reading marathon. My boys could camp out in my bedroom and take turns reading aloud. Today, Kindle and streaming give last minute options.

A container of materials with a “Sick Days” label helps. It is also a constant reminder that sick days are a normal part of a parent/teacher’s life.

What is your favorite strategy for family illnesses?


Feeling Loved

Along the way, I learned that my sons did not feel the love I thought I was showing.

When the children were young, I read The Five Love Languages of Children by Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell. One night at dinner, our family discussed the languages—gifts, physical touch, acts of service, words of affirmation, quality time. My sons identified their love languages, which were consistent with my observations.

Armed with new information and a desire to implement it, my sons still didn’t feel loved at times. Why?

The acts of service I performed were what I would have wanted as a child. I gave the words of affirmation I wanted to hear as a child. (See Their Longings, Not Yours here.)

More importantly, my desire for my children to know they were loved kept slipping down the list while my desire to train them for their future kept creeping back to the top. The necessities of daily living and culture wars re-enforced this tendency.

My peers and I feared our children being unprepared for their future adult challenges. We should have feared the consequences of them feeling unloved.

Is your love being felt?

Family, Friendship, Parenting

As Much As You Are Loved

“You are not behaving like someone who is loved as much as you are loved.”

After my boys were in college, I heard this response to a child’s behavior. I forgot the source, but not the sentence.

Along the way, I decided that while the sentence is a powerful response to behavior, it is not helpful for change, unless followed by a second question. “Why?”

Why do people, especially our children, not behave like someone who is loved as much as they are loved? I have pondered that even more as grown children express their frustrations. I have two answers

We are either not showing love or they are not feeling the love we are showing. I suspect the latter most often.

Are you feeling loved?