Archive for the ‘Homeschooling’ Category

Some time in the fifth grade, I wrote to the Chamber of Commerce in Fresno, California.  Only I don’t know even the gist of the assignment or how I ended up with Fresno.  None of which matters now anyway.  I just remember that somebody in Fresno wrote me back.   

And I wonder now if  ‘seventh heaven’ can even describe my elation properly.

That my daughter wrote to the governor this morning is well, a bit more than I ever did.  Or ever asked of her.

But after seeing the governor’s picture online, and learning a smidge about the office she holds, my daughter touched the screen and said, “I want to meet her.”  Which was when she pulled out a piece a paper and asked how to spell the governor’s name.

And then didn’t look up for the next twenty minutes…

As she put her heart into her pencil and scrawled sentence after sentence…

Until it looked like this.

By which time my daughter sat back down and sharpened her colored pencils for a quarter hour.  And then lost all track of time as she drew a detailed picture of Governor Gregoire looking out the window of the capitol building.

We folded both pieces together and sealed them in an envelope addresed to the governor or whatever soul opens the mail.

And with that done, my daughter squealed, “I just hope she writes back.”

Oh, friend…

so do I.


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It started with a little voting.

I raised my hand for Chutes and Ladders, and my daughter hers for Twister.  I was all in for egg salad, and my daughter shrugged and said she was, too.  We both voted the dog should stay out.  And at three o’ clock with her brother around, we all voted to ride bikes.

We had the hang of this.

Which was when we went deeper…ahem… and talked about government leaders and how government leaders get to be government leaders.  By which time I asked if she knew who our leaders were.  Only she didn’t. 

But when she did, she merely nodded, looked away for a moment, then asked with voice of intent, “has a woman ever been president?”

Pardon the creeping smile.

“Not yet,” I answered.

By which time she said with certainty, “I want to be the president.”

And, well, I couldn’t help myself.

And burst into a full smile with teeth.

She already had my vote.

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A couple of months ago when we’d forgotten the color of our daughter’s eyes, we banned reading at the table.  It seemed the best way to get reacquainted.

Only yesterday before she could slip from the table to the couch, the book that was in our daughter’s hand snuck up to her face.  Whereby the rest of us no longer existed.  For the next twenty pages or so.


Only forget reading for a moment. 

On occasion our daughter also gets a song in her heart and, well, the child must dance.

That this is ‘groovy dancing’ certainly had to be explained to me.

The cat, too.

Here’s some more grooving going on.  Uh, nevermind the partially painted back drop.  Or the fact that the cat can’t make sense of the head shaking either.

Because it’s becoming obvious that the kid in the pink fleece with the spaghetti stained face just might hop around to a different drummer.

Unless that’s her brother’s distinction.


It must be her brother’s.

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Two years ago I’d bought a Hooked on Phonics reading kit thinking we’d use it to teach our daughter to read.  Only I stuffed it into the same closet that also holds my wedding dress, my high school letterman’s jacket and all things I considered precious from middle school, and, well, we never saw the thing again.  Until yesterday…when I dug in that closet for the carpet, and behold, our Hooked on Phonics reading kit.  A mild surprise.

That our daughter had entered the reading world before the reading kit entered the house is beside the point, if there is one.  That she lit up like a set of Christmas lights with all its bulbs working when I found the kit, is something else.

Namely her own agenda.

Which, in three seconds, became: to teach her brother to read.  Amen.

That my husband has sounded out letters with our son each evening–rain, shine, snow or clouds…certainly laid the foundation for what I stumbled on in the living room. 

Here’s my daughter with the Hooked on Phonics reading book saying the name of each letter and its sound.  And there, sitting as close as velcro, is my son repeating after her, “‘w’ says wuh…”

Which may not be miraculous in itself.  Except I’m the bystander…

The bystander with a front row seat to the coolest thing–one of my kids teaching the other to read.  I’ll be..

I’ll be darned.  That’s what.

I just never knew how engrossing  ‘a’ for apple could be.

I’m assuming  it has something to do with the teacher.

Here my daughter’s reading the simple sentences that correspond to the pictures and my son is pointing to the pictures she’s reading.  Nothing remotely fancy. 

Only my son can’t get enough.  So he’s jumped back on the couch and is repeating each word she says. “Rat. Fat. Pat.”  And liking it.

Because there’s just something about learning…

from his six year old sister with her right knee in his gut…

as she sounds out each word for him…

and shows him how fun reading can be.

My goodness…may I not melt away in this moment. 

Or, shame…forget it ever happened.

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Santa will be down one letter this year.  And I hope he understands.

It’s just that I can’t part with the one my daughter wrote for herself and for her brother on the same sheet of white typing paper.  The one that begins,

“Dear Santa,

this it my Christmas list:”  And ends with the newest spelling of  ‘thank you’ followed by eleven necessary exclamation points.

Here’s the full version:

If you’re confused by number seven (the giant stuffed clowed–meant cloud), that could be because there’s no such thing.  Until I personally sew one and stuff it.  And…I think it’s safe to say, there’s, uh, no such thing.

That my six year old would scrawl something to Santa on her own only makes me smile. It’s like turning in extra credit when you already have an ‘A.’  

A bit of  insurance. 

We’ve never signed our kids’ gifts anything but “from Mommy & Daddy.”  But I get it.  Sort of.  If there’s the possibility that some fat guy in a red suit might visit our house with a bunch of  presents, well, she’d like him to come prepared.

In the meantime, she’ll keep singing “O Come All Ye Faithful” and teaching her brother the words to “We Three Kings.”  Cause she knows– ain’t nothing tricky about God. 

And that…

well that’s assurance.

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