Decisions, Homeschooling, Parenting

Showing Up

Races are unpredictable. Even after consistent training, sometimes, a runner’s best long-run strategy is dropping out. (See here) Other times, their best strategy is simply showing up.

2021 Colorado Half-Marathon Start Line

Whether I was running the parenting marathon or the homeschooling marathon or the care-giving marathon, there were days when showing up at the start line was the best I could do.

Elite runner Des Linden made history at the 2018 Boston Marathon by showing up—and continuing to show up—mile after mile. Des told another American runner that although she had started, she would probably drop out. It wasn’t her day. Des offered to block the wind—or anything else—to help Shalane Flanagan win.

The icy weather was epic. Given the forecast, race organizers increased their medical assistance along the route. For 26.2 miles, Des showed up until she broke the tape at the finish line—the first American to win the women’s Boston Marathon in 33 years.

I might not have broken a race tape on the days I simply showed up, but I like to think I made a difference.

Which is the best strategy for your current race? Showing up or dropping out?

Decisions, Homeschooling, Parenting

Thinking About Dropping Out?

Failing at something doesn’t make one a failure. It means you are learning.

Molly Siedel 2020 Olympic Bronze Medalist

September, October, and November are busy months for distance runners, including my husband. Not only does he run—while I wait at the finish line—but he also follows the stories of elite runners, which means I follow their stories.

Finish Line Reunion

If we can’t watch a race, we eagerly await its results. Sometimes, the results are disappointing and bring questions.

Why didn’t Galen Rupp finish the 2018 Boston Marathon?

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to finish … due to having problems breathing and hypothermia … I am hopeful to race again.

Galen Rupp statement

Rupp won the 2018 Prague Marathon a month later.

Why didn’t Molly Seidel finish the 2022 Boston Marathon?

I gave it my all and it wasn’t good enough…. (mile) 16 it was clear there was no way I could keep running without really injuring myself … I can’t wait to eventually finish this dream.

Molly Seidel Instagram

Given the commitment and training that distance running requires, I admire runners who accept unforeseen events, and then, press on.

Overwhelmed? Injured? Dropping out to race another day?

Book Recommendations, Homeschooling, Parenting

What Makes You Say That?

Until I took the course Teaching Critical Thinking Through Art,* I asked my students “Why?” Afterwards, l changed my question to “What makes you say that?” and I received more responses.

Children gave ready answers to “What makes you say that?” instead of hesitating over “Why?”

“There has been a fire,” one student stated after examining a print of Romare Bearden’s The Piano Lesson.

“What makes you say that?”

She pointed to something I had not noticed—black spots on the green wall.

What makes students respond more powerfully to “What makes you say that?” compared to the simpler “Why?”

Does the first imply the student has evidence to present? Does the latter imply a need to defend? I decided I prefer to be asked, “What makes you say that?” because it implies a willingness to listen.

For more information about this question, see chapter six in Making Thinking Visible by Ritchhart, Church, and Morrison.

Which is your preference? “Why?” Or “What makes you say that?

*See here.

Books, Memories, Parenting

Reading to Readers

When my boys were beginning readers, a mom with children in college expressed a regret.

I wish I had continued reading aloud to my children, even when they were in high school.

Marilyn Rockett, Author of Homeschooling at the Speed of Life

I loved reading to my boys, so it was easy to take Marilyn’s regret to heart that day. During the middle school and high school years, we read together although audio books sometimes were a read-aloud substitute.

I read aloud for the love of sharing my favorite books with my favorite people. I didn’t fully realize we were receiving a heritage of common memories.

This past year, my youngest son called with details of a scene and asked if I remembered the book from fifteen years ago. Of course, I did. How could I forget the memoir Belles on Their Toes by Gilbreth and Carey? I was not surprised that I remembered the last book I read aloud to the entire family, but I was surprised that he did.

It turns out my sons remember even more about our books—not only their plots but where we were at the time they listened.

Any favorite read-aloud memories?

Friendship, Homeschooling, Parenting

What Covid-19 Affirmed

Right now, in my area, the Covid-19 risk is decreasing. As I watched the media coverage the first year of Covid-19, I saw celebrities discover:

Managing life at home requires skill. Lots of skill;

Not traveling whenever or wherever you want is an eyeopener;

Homeschooling is hard. Very hard;

Untrained moms and dads can homeschool;

Cooking three meals a day for weeks and weeks requires creativity;

Not having a daily hair stylist means your hair is not perfect and takes more time than you have;

Not having a make-up artist means your make-up is not perfect and takes time than you have;

Caring for children 24 hours a day is exhausting;

Slowing down brings joy;

Your children want you more than the stuff your money bought them.

Thank you, Rich and Famous—especially morning news anchors—for your honesty. You may have lived a radically different life from mine pre-Covid-19, but in some ways, you were like me all along.

What did you learn watching others adjust due to the pandemic?