selected writing

Advice from a Homeschooling Veteran: Ditch the Schedule and Let your Kids Play, essay at Salon.
“Those whiteboards make my heart sink–they send me straight back 22 years.”

Columns at home/school/life magazine, Summer 2014 through Fall 2017
From first column, Wonder a Lot: “Every time I assumed I’d nailed it down, daily life with the kids would raise new questions. Were we unschoolers? Not exactly. Were we school-at-homers? Not really. Did I assign work for the kids? Yes, at first. Then yes, sometimes. Then no, not usually. Then no. Then yes, sometimes. Depending.” From Winter 2016, When We Were Young: “I marvel at that young mother in her little black skirt: how was she so sure of herself? Keeping her kid out of kindergarten, playing hooky with society’s definition of childhood.”

For the Love of Lemony Snicket, essay at Literary Mama.
“This is no small thing, to be picking up skills that college students lack, and to be doing so as a child while driving to the vet to have your rabbit spayed.”

The Girl She Means to Be, essay at get born! magazine
“I’ve never had to encourage Lily to dance; more often I’ve had to discourage her, as when she is jigging before the yogurt at Whole Foods, her clogs clomping up a racket. She dances constantly, continuously, as if she was never taught, as if her bones and muscles knew how all along.”

How to Homeschool (originally appeared as “The Never-At-Home Homeschoolers”), essay at Mothering Magazine 
“Don’t think about grade levels. Grades are for eggs and maple syrup.”

How Do Kids REALLY Learn to Write?
essay at Life Learning Magazine
“If kids live in a home where people talk, discuss and debate–especially on topics important to the kids–those kids will learn to express themselves clearly and passionately. And this verbal expression will carry over into written expression when the time comes.”

Series of guest posts, Rhythm of the Home
When He’s Here “I lecture him on the disadvantages of eating every meal out like a New Yorker and beg him to buy frozen fruit and make smoothies. He promises that he will, but not with the added handful of spinach that I recommend.”
At the Table  “I did not want my table to serve as a kitchen island. I didn’t want to clutter it with cooktop or sink. I wanted it to be an old-fashioned table: a place where an Italian grandmother (or I) might roll out pasta dough, and later gather the family to eat it.”
Talking Books  “Something shifts when kids begin questioning an author’s craft. For the first time they start toying with the notion that they might write the work better themselves.”
The Writing Process  “It’s hard to imagine why most of us were taught to begin school papers by submitting outlines. We were forced to decide what we’d say before the writing could show us what we really wanted to say.”

Be Your Own Best Teacher
 (originally titled Homeschooling My MFA), essay at Natural Life Magazine
“Oh, eventually I’d get back to the writing, but first I’d work thorough that contributor section, scanning for writers who weren’t English professors, who didn’t have MFAs. I needed to find those exceptions, the ones who proved I could eventually get published, since I lacked an MFA myself.”

Why Seth Godin and Other Education Reformers Shouldn’t Dismiss Homeschooling, guest post at The Innovative Educator
“Recently a dental hygienist discovered that my ten-year-old son is homeschooled, and she said to him, ‘So your mom is your teacher?’ He replied, ‘I’m my teacher.’ She smiled: how cute. I knew better; he believed it. And I believe it too. “

Knitting: A Love Story, essay on Cast-On podcast, Episode 41
“I’d discovered writing about knitting; I’d let knitting effect my writing. The two wrapped themselves around each other, seamlessly as intarsia, and I couldn’t resist their combined allure.”