3 Painless Ways to Get Your Teen Son to Love Poetry

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I have sons. My sons love poetry.

While I recognized that this was an anomaly among public schoolers, I had no idea it was unusual even amongst our homeschooling brethren. Poetry, it seems, isn’t considered relevant in these days of textese and emojis; it defies the practicality test, too. Why spend time rolling a string of pretty words in your mouth when everyone else is racing to get as few characters as possible onto a screen? Why engage a page of text that doesn’t get right to the point when there are eight billion other academic subjects vying for your attention? Why force your teenage son to read poetry when frankly, he hates it?

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Farmer Boy {lessons from life on the farm}

I love the Little House on the Prairie books. My favorite memory of time with my mother is of the two of us curled up on the blue couch in our formal living room (a special treat), sipping orange peel tea (an even more special treat), while she read The Long Winter aloud. Years later, reading Little House in the Big Woods to my little brood helped us survive our own long winter as we were transplanted into the Pacific Northwest. And just last summer, we were all enthralled by my husband’s voice as he brought On the Banks of Plum Creek to life for us in the beautiful cabin loaned to us while we waited to move into our barnhouse.

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Parenting: no guarantees

I remember the moment I realized that parenting wasn’t something that came with guaranteed results. My husband had just returned to work, leaving me alone for the first time with our week-old daughter. I had bathed her, fed her, and, in a flurry of optimism, placed her in her crib so that I might shower.

Within ten minutes, the entire exercise culminated with me crying, covered in delightfully fluid newborn poo, and my baby screaming as if someone was holding her finger in an electric socket.

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In His own words

About six years ago, I realized I had fallen into a trap. I had become an avid consumer of devotional materials… and a very poor patron of my Bible.

I spent a decent amount of time pondering theology and thinking on the meaning of God’s Word. But there wasn’t a whole lot of real reflection taking place because, to be honest, I wasn’t reading more than a verse or two at a time— and those verses had already been chewed for me.

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“We should always endeavor to wonder at the permanent thing, not at the mere exception. We should be startled by the sun, and not by the eclipse. We should wonder less at the earthquake, and wonder more at the earth.”– G.K. Chesterton

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Plan B

This morning, Mary Hannah will walk into a classroom and assume her place as an elementary education major.

It’s not what she dreamed she’d be doing. By her reckoning, she should be sitting for her board exams next spring, proving her competency in catching babies, not slogging through pre-requisites in the quest for a teaching certificate.

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War and peace

Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy.

O, Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love; For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life. —Francis of Assisi

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The cult of family

Recently, I shared a blog piece to Facebook. It wasn’t anything I had written, and honestly, the topic doesn’t matter. In the course of the ensuing discussion, however, an interesting (to me) theme developed that was finally succinctly summed up in a single phrase by a friend— the cult of family.

The idea, as I began to understand it, is that it’s a bad thing to be too family centered. (I’m not entirely sure who gets to define “too family centered.”) Apparently, large families are among the worst offenders. I’m guessing that the whole idea springs from the abuses of the Quiverfull movement, which are many, but I truly can’t be sure.

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To whom are you accountable?

Every state has it’s own legal codes surrounding homeschooling. It’s our job to give unto Caesar and be sure we’re compliant. This year, I’ve put extra hours into researching the laws in our state, checking and double checking to be sure that Mathaus has met the  requirements for graduation. (No worries there— he already exceeded them.) I take my administrative role seriously. I maintain thorough transcripts for my high schoolers, and I keep detailed portfolios and records for my younger students. If the state says I need to register with an umbrella school, I do it. If I have to provide a semester of state history, I do it. If I’m supposed to give a test once a year, I do it.

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