“You should write about this in your next column,” my nine-year-old daughter said.
She was huddled together with her three sisters and our two neighbors, attempting to walk in lockstep across our backyard while cupping their hands to shield a monarch butterfly from the wind whipping through our little valley. They’d discovered the monarch minutes earlier, clinging to a blade of grass in the field. It kept trying – and failing – to fly; whether it was newly hatched or had a problem with its wings, we weren’t sure. The huddle of monarch rescuers was attempting to get the butterfly onto a flowering plant by our front door, where it would be more protected from the wind.
It was a lovely scenario, to be sure: an example of communal compassion. But here’s what really struck me: My daughter was suggesting that I write about it. My daughter, who next month will enter double-digits when she turns ten, is now reading my columns and offering feedback.
It’s just another example of how we’ve moved up to the next stage of childrearing.
Click here to continue reading this week’s “Faith in Vermont” column in The Addison Independent.
One afternoon earlier this month, my daughters and I gathered around our kitchen island for a snack. I began asking my eldest daughter about a book she was reading. After a few one-syllable responses, she was tired of my questioning. Looking me right in the eyes, she said:
“’Every man his own priest,’ Mommy.”
She was quoting the followers of Martin Luther (“The original, not King, Jr.,” as my daughters are fond of saying.) During the Protestant Reformation in 16th century Europe, Martin Luther started a movement that changed many of the practices of the Catholic Church and put the Christian faith more firmly in the hands of the people. “Every man his own priest,” was the rallying cry of those who advocated translating the Bible and making copies more widely available, so that people could read and interpret it for themselves.
In other words, my daughter was using a cheeky historical reference to tell me: “If you’re so interested in what I’m reading, read it yourself!”
One year ago I started homeschooling my two oldest daughters, who are now in 2nd and 3rd grades. As much as I’ve taught them over this year, they’ve taught me more. One of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned is just how much children love history.
Click here to continue reading this week’s latest “Faith in Vermont” column in The Addison Independent.
Husband: I was thinking we could go to Berkeley for the second half of my sabbatical. We have family and friends there, and I could do research in my old department at UC Berkeley.
Me: Sure, that makes sense.
Husband: And we’d enroll the girls in school in Berkeley for the spring?
Me: Oh no, I’ll just homeschool them while we’re out there.
And so, over burgers at Park Squeeze in Vergennes in the spring of 2014, some very major decisions were made very quickly.
Click here to continue reading about our homeschooling adventure in this week’s “Faith in Vermont” column in The Addison Independent.