patricia zaballos


Forever obsessed with how people learn, my essays on the subject have appeared in Salon, Literary Mama, Life Learning Magazine, Mothering Magazine and elsewhere. For a few fun years I wrote a column for home/school/life magazine. Also, a guide for parents, Workshops Work! A Parent’s Guide to Facilitating Writer’s Workshops for Kids, because I’m the world’s most ridiculous cheerleader for workshops as an engine to make kids want to write. I’m currently at work on an essay collection that explores how much freedom kids have lost in the world, their educations, and their daily lives over the past thirty years–and how as a mother I pushed against that culture while also unwittingly letting it shape me. 

reformed educator

A former third-grade public school teacher, I went on to homeschool alongside my three now-grown kids for twenty years. Leading them into that wilderness, I pretty much thought I’d be the guide–I’d been a teacher, after all!–but my kids quickly upended everything I thought I knew about learning, teaching me to trust them and to follow their leads. I’ve written many, many posts on child-led learning and helping kids retain their creativity, with a particular focus on helping kids love writing, including the still viral-ish How Do Kids REALLY Learn to Write? On the child-led learning page I share my family’s story and have organized some highlights. Come find me on TikTok and Instagram where I yammer on about this stuff. 


A believer in the notion that blogs are not dead, that they are, in fact, the last patch of internet not overrun by algorithms, I’ve kept Wonder Farm chugging along since those pre-Instagram days of 2008. Feel free to get lost in the archives. These days I write a newsletter-style post most months that might appeal if you’re a parent, educator, caregiver, writer, or book lover. Please subscribe! Meanwhile, my husband and I are empty-nesting in this house among the redwoods with the long kitchen table, which we built 26 years ago here in Oakland, CA. If you wonder why I call my blog a Wonder Farm, here’s the once upon a time.