Stripping apart bikes to build family

I recently stopped to watch my 17-year-old and 15-year-old sons strip apart some bikes to fix brake and sprocket issues.

Ball bearings were rolling across the floor as one leaned down to grab them. And later, inside, the other told me how some of the work had to be redone because, well, when they had finished, there were a few extra parts that shouldn’t have been extra.  Continue reading

Yes, there is a WRONG way to homeschool

I get asked quite a few questions about homeschooling. What curriculum is the best? How do you handle upper level math? What is the best way to teach a child to read? How do you teach multiple ages? Why did you choose this over that?

Along the way, I’ve realized that there’s a bigger question being asked, one that arches over all the smaller, more specific ones and is begging to be answered:

Is there a wrong way to homeschool?

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Please don’t pet the orphans

When the idea for this post came to me, I fought it. “Oh, no. I’m not touching that,” I shuddered. You see, while I don’t mind tipping a few sacred cows, there are some that guarantee such a backlash, such a visceral response that frankly, I don’t think it’s worth it to wade into the fray.

But the truth is, I have a dog in this fight. And somebody, somewhere has to stand up and say it:

Please don’t pet the orphans.

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Roller coaster day

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One of my favorite all-time movies is Parenthood, the old Steve Martin flick. I enjoyed it as a teen, and as a parent, I have new appreciation for the twists and turns of family life. I especially understand the Grandma’s roller coaster analogy now that I have a few more miles on my tires; life really is up and down and up and down.

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To my very weird teens

I know we’re different.

Just like you, I’ve seen the reactions, heard the mutters and gasps and whispers. I’ve watched you carefully steer conversation from risqué topics in groups, and I know that you’ve demurred, more than once, on a movie night with friends that ran afoul of our standards. I’ve seen you avert your eyes in public spaces, pass on offers of trendy free reads, and admit to your peers that no, you’ve never played that video game… or any video game without Mario involved, actually.

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Summer is in full swing here. I know it’s true, because the air conditioner kicks on more often than I’d like, battling back the sticky heat of East Tennessee. As much as I dislike the full turn in the weather, 0ur farm is loving it. Thunderstorms gave the ground a deep soaking a few days in a row, and both of the gardens exploded into action. We now have pole beans with four foot runners winding their way up stakes, yellow squash nearly as tall as my knees, and a fresh crop of weeds ready to do battle with our army of hoes.

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Studying Church History {it’s worth the time!}

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The high school years follow their own space-time continuum. The four years from kindergarten to grade three are achingly slow at points, despite being chock full of hours spent learning to read, to count, to spell, to multiply, to stay on task. But high school… high school flies past you at the speed of sound, broken up only by pesky questions like, “Do you have enough math credits to graduate?” “Are you ready for your driver’s exam?” and “Are you applying to college, trade school, something else altogether?”

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