I’m Not That Mom

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Despite Eleanor Roosevelt’s advice to the contrary, I still have a bad habit of comparing myself to others. With age and the small gains in wisdom it brings I manage to do it less and less, but it still happens.

As I supervised my children and a few of their friends at a recent church activity, I overheard a mom talking excitedly about her pregnancy. She smiled and brought me into the conversation, letting me offer her my congratulations. I then went back to helping the kids locate beads, hole punches, and the ever elusive scissors. 

She continued to talk about the excitement surrounding this pregnancy (her third) and how she and her husband had a large number of business trips planned over the next month. Not only is this woman a great mom, but she’s also a successful and sought after scientist who travels the world. She cares for an ailing family member. She is heavily involved in church life. She is always smiling.

She does a lot in this life, and I admire her. She is that mom.

In short, she is absolutely nothing like me.

She has a million plates in the air and they all seem to be spinning flawlessly. She admits that her life gets crazy, but as I said, she’s always smiling. 

I, on the other hand, have about two to three plates in the air on any given day, and half the time I’m dropping at least one of them and cursing or needing to go hide in the bathroom for three minutes so I can get myself together.

My biggest plate is the parenting/homeschooling one. And, for me, it’s big. We should really call it a platter. It’s heavy and slippery and sometimes awkward. It takes up a lot of my emotional, mental, and spiritual energy. Some days, it takes up all of my energy. It’s joyful work. Emphasis on work.

We all know that homeschooling is hard and that it can be demanding. A good homeschooling day that ends with happy children and a love of learning is a thing to be celebrated, and yet so often I hear a deeply self-critical voice asking, “What else are you doing?” 

Do you know this voice? 

“So and so has a successful business and still manages to homeschool. Why can’t you make any money?”

“So and so has far more children and responsibilities than you, and yet she is always pulled together and still plans exciting date nights with her husband. Wasn’t your last date before your kids were born?”

And, my personal favorite:

“Spaghetti for dinner, again? Haven’t you heard of the homeschool mom who writes the famous cookbooks and has her own television show?” 

That voice.

It is the voice of our cultural obsession to do more, be more, have more, and show more. The voice urging us to keep up and not miss out. 

That voice can tear us down in our spirits. Saddest of all, that voice can lead to genuine self hatred and self alienation. In trying to be like other people, you might just forget who you were in the first place. 

But the best way to talk back to that voice is to start accepting yourself just as you are. If you are a sparrow, be a sparrow. If you are a finch, be a finch. Stop apologizing for how God made you. That voice hates it when you stop apologizing.

I am not that mom. I am not an impressive entrepreneur, a world traveler, or a CEO. I’m not a great multitasker, and I don’t have an endless supply of energy. God bless that mom. Good for her for being her.

I am just myself. I’m a dedicated and loving but flawed mother and homeschooler. I’m a wife. I volunteer as I’m able to one cause that is close to my heart. Just one. I make time for a couple of meaningful hobbies, one of which is writing. I think deeply about things, especially how I raise and educate my children. I’m an introvert.

Homeschooling is a lot, and maybe, just maybe, I’m doing enough for my unique family and circumstances at this chapter of our lives. The last time I checked, my children and husband did not want that mom to hug them and listen to them. They just wanted me.

Maybe I’m enough. 

And maybe you’re enough, too. 

 

 

Homeschooling Spirited Children

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It was our first official day of homeschooling. I excitedly held up the homemade curriculum I had worked on the night before. “We’re going to play a little alphabet game,” I said in my best mock Kindergarten teacher voice.

My then five-year-old instantly frowned. “I’m not doing that,” she said flatly. We proceeded to argue for the next fifteen minutes, finally settling on an assignment that she found palatable. After we had put the books away for the morning, it hit me that homeschooling was going to be a lot harder than I could have imagined.

My children are passionate, smart, loving, and frighteningly perceptive and observant. They are kind and honest. They have wonderful vocabularies and imaginations. They are funny. One child is often boisterous and talkative, while the other child is more reserved and fairly quiet. One child leans toward extroversion, while the other tends to be more introverted. They are a joy to their grandparents, their great aunt, and of course, their parents.

They are also a challenge to homeschool. 

You see, my husband and I are the proud parents of not one, but two spirited children. 

For a thorough definition of this personality type, visit author Mary Sheedy Kurcinka’s parenting site.

In a word, spirited kids are intense. They love a subject or they hate it. They have strong opinions on everything from what you’re serving for dinner to the weather outside. They don’t hold back in expressing their feelings. Ever. They have often have iron wills and resist any coercion or bribery. They are also often extremely sensitive to your every word and gesture. Correcting their school work is a minefield; someone or something might blow up.

After one particularly bad morning of yelling and tears, I considered putting a sign on our door that says, “Please don’t call the cops. We are just doing math.”

If your child has ever thrown their pencil across the room after making one mistake on their work or if you secretly wonder whether you should go ahead and send your child to law school since they are so good at arguing, negotiating, and never backing down from their case, then you might have a spirited kid, too.

My husband and I often remind each other that apples don’t fall far and that we are both spirited people ourselves. I am highly sensitive and introverted with plenty of my own quirks, and my husband is the life of the party with his vivacious humor. Four strong personalities in one small house make for an interesting and sometimes exhausting mix.

There have been many, many days that I haven’t felt good enough, brave enough, strong enough, or just plain enough to do this homeschooling thing. On those days I try to listen to the little voice in my heart that says, “Do it anyway.”

I don’t have it all figured out, but things have gotten a little smoother over the years. We still have bad days, but I’ve learned what (usually) works in our school environment and what doesn’t. I’ve also struggled and stumbled towards more patience and understanding of my beautiful, feisty children. 

Here are a few tips that help our family to homeschool our spirited brood:

Stop comparing yourself or your family to others.

I don’t have Suzy Q’s laid back, compliant kids that do math without being asked or who put themselves to bed at 7 p.m. I probably never will. Our normal is reminding our kids that, yes, we have to do some math practice today. Again. Our normal is working with kids who never, ever appear tired and who can’t fall asleep easily. 

I am raising and homeschooling my own quirky, wonderful, strong kids and not someone else’s kids. 

Be as strong and persistent as your kid.

Math needs to happen in some fashion, even if your kids don’t like it. Chores need to be taken care of, even when we don’t feel like it. Don’t let your child’s intensity in resisting make you back down from something that is important. Let them have lots of choices and pick your battles (or ideally avoid them altogether) but be clear that some things are simply not theirs to decide. Think leadership instead of control.

Try a timer for hated subjects.

My oldest child thrives using a timer for math, her least favorite subject. She loves seeing the light at the end of the tunnel (“Only five minutes to go!”). The timer also helps me to make sure I don’t go over her threshold with a lesson. Be cautious here, though. My youngest child dislikes the pressure of having a strict time constraint and gets stressed out by the beeping timer.

Be creative in structuring their days.

Variety is essential when homeschooling spirited children. While I’m not bragging (okay, I am), these children tend to be very bright and creative. Pulling out the same bland workbooks day in and day out won’t cut it. You will have a revolt on your hands! I try to alternate days of heavier book work with days of more hands-on activities and play. I’m also becoming a big fan of educational games like Professor Noggins cards and various board games. 

Decide on an acceptable minimum for practicing the three R’s, then be sure that your kids are getting plenty of play, outdoor time, and appropriate stimulation. When attitudes are bad and motivation is lagging, I like to pull out the ol’ zoo /museum/nature park cure. 

Celebrate your unique children!

My husband and I celebrate the fact that we have spirited kids. We don’t worry about our kids following the crowd or being unable to think for themselves. In fact, once our kids make up their minds, not much can deter them! What a wonderful trait to have!

Our children force us to set a good example for them since they will never miss the hypocrisy of “do as I say, not as I do.” Our children’s strength of character, sensitivity, and passion teach us new ways to see the world.

Never apologize for your children’s intensity or think it reflects flaws in your parenting. Your child’s God-given personality is a gift to be nurtured and cultivated. Spirited kids may often be the opposite of “easy” in parenting and homeschooling, but they are worth every moment of effort and dedication that you can give them. 

 

 

 

Breaking Chains in Homeschooling

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As our final read aloud of  2018, my kids and I enjoyed reading Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. The story has all the perks of classic literature–rich usage of symbolism and metaphor, complex sentence structures, and challenging vocabulary. If you can believe it, no one in a Dickens’ novel ever once says, “LOL!” My kids knew the basic story, so they were able to get what they needed from the text even when Dickens’ writing got very, well, Dickensian.

After the swell and noise of the holidays died down, I began to ponder the symbolic device of Jacob Marley’s ghost’s chained figure. I had also been thinking about the atmosphere I wanted to create in our new homeschool semester, and soon these two trains of thought began to connect. Marley’s chains were most decidedly his greed and his disregard for the needs of his fellow beings, and Scrooge was also similarly chained to his stinginess and isolation.

The metaphor of chains is a great one; who isn’t at least sometimes weighed down by bad habits, old wounds, or just unhelpful patterns of thinking? We often call it “baggage.” So I asked myself if there were any chains in our homeschool life that needed loosening.

One of my big struggles as a homeschooling mom is comparing our homeschool to the public education system. This is one of my chains. No matter how much Peter Gray or John Holt I read, it still bothers me now and then that our days just don’t often look much like a public school day. I know the constant fears and comparisons only rob me of joy in the task of educating my kids, and they also take up a lot of mental space that could be used for creativity, spontaneity, and openness to my children’s interests.

Learning might be hard work, but unlearning is so much harder. Year by year, I have had to work to unlearn the methods and ideologies of public education, and I’m nowhere near “untaught” yet. I’m not even going to argue that those methods and ideologies are wrong; it’s just that my family has chosen a totally different path. Instead of walking that path with confidence, I often look over my shoulder at the other path. And, of course, I worry.

But chains are best broken slowly, link by link, and that’s my plan for the new year. Slowly, I need to challenge and break the assumptions that so many of us blindly hold about education. How many of the following beliefs sound familiar?

  • It can’t be considered school if the kids are enjoying themselves.
  • Quantity equals quality (that is, 50 math problems are always better than five).
  • It doesn’t count if the kids don’t fill out a worksheet or take a test to prove they have learned something.
  • Learning has to be standardized, and all kids should learn the same things at the same ages/times.
  • Kids have to be sitting still and have to be quiet in order to learn.
  • Children shouldn’t question why they need to know something.
  • The point of school is to get good grades, get into a good college, and make lots of money when you grow up.

Please don’t mistake me. I do strive for a measure of order and structure in our homeschool, and learning goals are important to me. However, none of these things requires a public school environment to accomplish, and I’m not doing myself or my kids any favors by trying to force a public school “feel” on our days at home. I still cringe to remember that I once tried ringing an actual school bell to let my kids know that it was time to sit down and hit the books. Yeah, that one worked really well.

So this semester, over and over as needed, I’ll be saying to myself, “It doesn’t have to look like public school, it just has to look like learning.” No bells, no super strict schedules, no “learn this now or else.” Just a gentle moving forward in each major subject area in the ways that work well for my kids and for me.

Whether my kids learn from a great read aloud, a field trip, cooking, working at our own pace through a math book, or simply observing and questioning the world around us, it’s the learning that counts, not the schooling.

Here’s to a new year of throwing off the chains of old, unhelpful ideas and embracing courage and freedom.

Conquering Homeschooling Worries

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If worrying was a sport, I’d have a black belt by now. Over the years, I’ve worried circles around my pregnancies, parenting choices, and the ingredients in our breakfast cereal. As a homeschooler, I must make daily choices about how to structure my children’s education outside the framework of institutional schooling. Such choices provide plenty of fuel for my worry prone mind to burn. 

We homeschoolers think we have such good reasons to worry. After all, we’re educating our children…at home! We might as well be performing open heart surgery or manning a spacecraft! 

In all seriousness, of course, we are taking on a big responsibility. Homeschooling requires a great deal of faith, and it can take time to develop this faith in our children’s God-given ability to learn and in our own strength to meet the challenges that often arise in homeschooling. 

Over the years I’ve learned that worry is, actually, a choice, and it doesn’t have to be our constant companion in homeschooling.  Just as we can choose our curriculum and our homeschooling style, we can also choose peace over fear. 

Here are three common homeschooling worries and some thoughts on how to let them go.

Worry #1: We Aren’t Doing Enough

Homeschool parents everywhere can probably identify with this vague, nail biting anxiety that hovers over us as we go through the school day with our children. We craft lovely, organized lesson plans and schedules, only to realize that we might accomplish barely half of what we planned on a really, really good day.

We look at the clock and imagine that the public school kids down the street have been working diligently at their desks for hours while our family has only managed to eat breakfast, enjoy a read aloud, and work out a few math problems.

We seem to forget about all the hours we ourselves spent in class as kids when we passed notes, doodled in our notebooks, or simply daydreamed as we prayed for the bell to ring. The institutionalized schooling mindset does not die easily, even after we’ve rejected much of its ideology. 

One of best antidotes to the “we’re not doing enough” worry is to clearly define your educational goals for your children. Do you want to raise independent thinkers? Passionate readers? Does a spirit of exploration rule in your household? Once you know what you want for your kids’ education, you should ask yourself whether you are doing the right things to support those goals rather than enough things or simply forcing your kids to log in a certain number of hours each day doing busywork. 

Recently, I had felt like we weren’t putting in enough time each week towards our science studies. Then, we got to the insect unit of our science curriculum and began to study butterflies. We purchased a mail-order kit of caterpillars and watched metamorphosis unfold. My kids were fascinated and excited as we savored this project over three weeks. Releasing our butterflies was one of my favorite homeschool moments so far, and I know my kids will remember it for many years to come. Since I want to encourage a love of nature within my children, this project was far more valuable than trudging through science worksheets that held little meaning for my kids. 

Try to follow a formula of “passion, progress, and perseverance.” Spend lots of time on kids’ passions with books, classes, experiences, and so on. Aim for progress in the basics (math, reading, grammar) by doing a little bit every day. Persevere in areas that are more difficult for your child by implementing regular, short practice sessions that end before you and your child become frustrated. This method maintains a sense of discipline and hard work in the homeschool environment without forcing hours and hours of busywork on kids.

And just keep going. You’ll be doing enough.

Worry #2: Socialization

I imagine that every homeschooler on the planet has fielded concerns from family or friends over the issue of socialization. Our culture espouses the belief that children learn social skills best from other children, preferably other children of the same age. How else will children know what music to listen to, what internet videos to watch, and how to be liked by the crowd either in real life or on social media? 

Yet do these skills really constitute socialization? Socialization involves many subtleties and values that are usually best conveyed by responsible, loving adults who have more life experience than children. Call me crazy, but I would much rather my children learn how to carry on polite conversations or how to be respectful towards people of all ages, colors, and creeds from their parents and extended family than from schoolmates.

To me, true socialization is a gradual process of learning how to live peacefully and respectfully with and around other people in our increasingly diverse world; narrowly focused, cliquish interactions with same-age peers will not be likely to give kids an advantage at getting along socially in the wider world.

Kids definitely do need some time to play or just be social with children from outside their own household, but the vast majority of homeschoolers provide such opportunities for their children through church, co-ops, or simple playground visits. If you’re making an effort to get your kids around other children somewhat regularly and your kids seem happy, then they’re most likely doing just fine.

And let’s not forget that a strong sense of identity and security within a family unit is a huge factor in a child’s self esteem and overall well being. Kids who spend lots of time with parents and extended family will hopefully grow up knowing how special and loved they are. Perhaps these positive experiences can, to some degree, make our children more resistant to the peer pressure, stress, and mental health crises that seem to plague so many young people today.

For an interesting perspective on the topic of children and peers, I recommend reading Hold On to Your Kids by Gordon Neufeld, Ph.D and Gabor Maté, M.D. 

And finally, let the critics in your life carry on a conversation with your (usually) articulate and polite homeschooled child. That will likely put everyone’s worries to rest.

Worry #3: The Future

Worries about the future are universal, especially for parents. A quick internet search can provide thousands of articles pouring over the parenting conundrums and fears we face today: Should we free-range parent to help our kids build confidence, or is hover parenting more appropriate in our supposedly violent and socially fractured times? Are our kids getting enough STEM education, and will it even matter since robots will take everyone’s jobs anyway? Will it be possible to get through even the most modestly priced college without a mountain of debt accumulating for children and/or their parents?

I don’t have the answers to these questions, and I do have concerns for my children’s futures in a troubled and rapidly changing world. However, I have to lean on faith here and put most of my energy into the present. We know that life has never been easy, and our children will face challenges no matter how much we try to protect them and prepare them for adulthood.

Homeschooling can’t insulate our children from all the harsh realities of the world, but it might just give our kids the advantage of having spent their formative years in a low-stress environment where family connections, lifelong learning, and moral development are core values. 

Like many of the homeschooling families I know, my family makes financial and material sacrifices to homeschool. In doing so, we don’t model a material form of success for our kids. Rather, we’re trying to live out our values  and principles and doing the best we can with limited means. We aren’t keeping up with the Joneses, but rather forging our own path. Even at their young ages, my kids understand that our small home and modest vehicles give us the freedom to live and learn the way we want. They understand that more stuff doesn’t always equal more happiness. They don’t see education as a fast track to an economic rat race in which the winner receives the nicest, newest stuff.

Home education lets our kids know that it’s okay to question the status quo and choose an alternate route for education and life. While the future is not mine to see, I can only imagine that the ability to think for oneself and to live modestly will be helpful skills in any economy.

Most importantly, in the battle against worry we have to commit to focusing on gratitude for today. I am grateful that homeschooling is legal and better understood than in years past. I am grateful that I can cuddle with my children every morning for our read aloud. I’m grateful that, like most homeschoolers, we’re stubborn and we don’t give up. So pour a cup of tea, take a deep breath, and let confidence and peace guide you in your homeschooling journey.

 

 

The Courage to Homeschool

One of my favorite quotes comes from Ralph Waldo Emerson: In Self Reliance he states, “Whoso would be a man must be a nonconformist.” I can remember the inspiration I gleaned from those words as a young college student. As an offbeat, formerly homeschooled person who preferred spending time with her husband and cats to keg parties, I found a lot of comfort in them.

In twenty-first century language, I might restate Emerson’s gist as “Whoever wants to become a full person and live an authentic life must possess the courage to be different.”  In no other area of my life does this hold more true than in homeschooling. And yet, it is in this very area that I find summoning the courage to be different and also confident so very difficult. 

Homeschooling is radically different from the way the majority of the world lives and pursues educating children. It requires that the homeschooling parent spend a great deal of time alone with her children, parenting, teaching, and constantly making important decisions with minimal or no input from other adults. For these reasons, homeschooling can easily become lonely and stressful.

Sure, I can look to homeschooling friends and blogs for support and inspiration, but we homeschoolers are a mixed bag of free spirits with wildly varying styles, philosophies, and schedules. We’re like scattered islands that all belong to the same country but may have stark differences in culture. We all stand under the “flag” of homeschooling, but that might be where our similarities end. Largely, we’re on our own, trying to figure it out as we go.

When things go well in our homeschool, I’m just fine. “Look how great this homeschooling thing is going!” I say to myself. But the minute we struggle or someone criticizes the way we educate, I get a little philosophically wobbly. “What if the system could do this better? What if I’m not doing enough? All the other homeschoolers are doing it this way, but we’re the only people I know who do x,y,z.”

The public school system’s flaws and failings are no secret, but saying what I don’t like about traditional, institutional education doesn’t take a lot of courage. We all know that finding fault is easy, but finding solutions is damn hard work. We homeschoolers can’t just reject public schools; we have to create a viable alternative that can nourish our children’s minds and hearts in the absence of institutional structure. Moving toward a new vision of education and life is what takes real courage.

Many days I’m just shaking in my boots over this whole homeschooling thing. However, when I come out on the other side of those fears and peel away each insecurity, each nagging worry, I see that conviction is still there. Certainty, no. Conviction, definitely.

My heart and soul want to do this. This is the path that entices, that frightens, that challenges me to question every thing I thought I knew about learning and life. This is the gift I want to give my children–the gift of something unique and uncharted. I want them to view learning as a lifelong process, not as a grade or a standardized test score.

I want them to grow up and think for themselves about what is worthwhile and true in a world fraught with consumerism, competition, and egotism. I want them to have the time and space to learn who they really are before peers and the media can tell them what they should pretend to be. Maybe they will be so accustomed to being themselves that it won’t be so difficult for them to resist laying down their beautifully unique selves at the false alter of “fitting in.”

My children will see me mess up plenty in the coming years as their mother and teacher, but I hope they will also see me trying to bless them with a life outside of the walls of institutional learning and prepackaged lifestyles. I hope they will see me trying to be brave enough to be a nonconformist.

 

Welcoming the Fall Semester

forest-868715_1920It’s only late July, but the back to school buzz is in the air. The stores are stocking pencils and backpacks, and the local schools are reminding everyone that school begins next week. Even an independent, slightly rebellious homeschooler like myself has to face the facts: summer won’t last forever.

It’s time to get to work.

Work can pull you out of bed in the morning and give you a purpose, or it can make you groan and want to hide under the covers. This summer, my kids and I got a lot of experience with the former. We did meaningful work with shelter animals, we worked on reading and times tables in a relaxed and fun way, and we read books that made us laugh.

I worked on, quite simply, trying to become a better parent. A parent who plays a little more and worries a little less. A parent who means what she says when she says it. I even worked on resting and being okay with wide open days. I worked on simply shrugging when my kids said they were “bored.” “It’s good to be bored,” I often replied.

And it was.  My kids dressed up as their favorite book and movie characters and played around with stage makeup. My oldest daughter made homemade lip balm and worked up the courage to sell it at church. We started a flower garden, and the kids made fairy houses. They practiced the work of childhood.

And, quite magically, much of the work that used to induce groans and complaints got a little easier, and I marveled at how (finally!) household chores and routines were no longer family landmines. We have a ways to go, but we’re all getting a little better at doing what we need to do without making a fuss about it, at least most of the time — Mom included!

So, the challenge for this school year is continuing to enjoy meaningful work while disciplining ourselves to make the best of work that isn’t necessarily our favorite. As Charlotte Mason explained, this is all a matter of habit. Mom gets up early and has the house and her person in order because it’s her habit. We do our math work without complaining because it’s our habit. We exercise our bodies outside because it’s our habit.

And when those doubting voices creep in about why on earth we’ve chosen this crazy, hippie idea of teaching our own kids, when we’re exhausted and demoralized and lonely, when we’re humbled by a learning challenge or the collapse of well-laid plans, we simply keep going. We get up, change what isn’t working, and move on in our homeschooling.

The habit of moving forward is the most important work of all.

A happy fall semester to everyone!

Reflections On Our School Year: Regret, Hope, and Scrapping My Plans

If there was one quality that our school year centered around this year, it was this: flexibility. Over and over again, I was required to bend, twist, and leap around my own expectations and plans in order to create the kind of education that my kids needed while meeting each family member’s needs for self-direction, joy, and rest.

This year, in the name of flexibility, I chose to embrace field trips and real-world experiences in our homeschool over rigidly adhering to my beloved schedule, which usually revolves around a good deal of book work.

We explored state parks and historic sites. We raised crickets and plants. My older daughter desperately wanted to volunteer at our local animal shelter, and I set aside my fears over dog bites and heartbreak and said “yes.”

I will admit that I started off the year in typically rigid fashion. I adhered to the curriculum I had chosen, even when my kids were clearly miserable and not thriving with the given format. I pushed my youngest when I should have pulled back. But, eventually, I realized the error of my ways and began to hand the reins to my kids from time to time. I began to trust that I didn’t have to force learning to happen. We still did traditional academic work, but I began to see how much my kids could learn outside of my perfectly planned, academic boxes.

The animal shelter ended up being a tremendous source of joy, learning, and yes, heartbreak for our family. We gave love and elbow grease, we realized our limitations in helping so many animals, and we developed a tremendous amount of respect for the workers and rescue groups who slug it out day after day trying to make animals’ lives better.

My kids, my husband, and I experienced profound loss as we realized that we could not provide the right environment for a newly adopted dog with aggression issues, no matter how much love we had to give. Upon the advice of our veterinarian, we sent our beloved friend into a rescue situation where she would be homed properly. Having always had a “pets forever” ownership mentality, we felt like we had failed this special animal, but the dangers were real. Our hearts are still aching.

There is no curriculum for learning to deal with sadness, guilt, and regret.

There is also no curriculum for teaching hope and resilience, but we are learning nonetheless. Despite our family’s devastating feelings of loss and “what ifs,” we’re headed back to the shelter to do our best to help as many as animals as we can. There are cats to pet, dogs to walk, and cages to be cleaned. We are considering fostering, despite the tremendous emotional risk involved.

More than mastering the multiplication tables or phonics (though we’re definitely working on those!), my kids have learned that life can be incredibly hard and disappointing, but we can’t just give up and stop trying. We can’t judge people or animals until we really get to know them and their stories, and there is always more to learn.

Mastery is a myth. Life requires constant learning and that magic word: flexibility.

Here’s to a hopeful, healing summer.