Tuesday, October 7, 2008


“Hi Nita. How are you doing?” I started my conversation, not knowing how to tell Nita that I needed to drop off my kids at her house at least half an hour early for their Spanish lesson with her.

I was feeling frazzled because I had to be at my company office for training at 1:00, but the work I was trying to do from home in the morning wasn’t working. The database wasn’t accepting my images, and I didn’t even know how to link an image in the new software program I’m learning. I had to go to the office to seek help – before my training.

Nita sounded rather stressed out herself. Nita homeschools her three children, who are about the age of my three. She helps me out by teaching Jacob and Alexandra Spanish twice a week.

“Well, it’s not a good day,” she admitted.

I could tell that by the tone of her voice.

“Things aren’t going well. It’s Peter. Again. I’m so frustrated that I’m considering sending him to the public high school next year.”

I’d heard that before, but Peter has been homeschooled all his life. He is now in tenth grade. Somehow Nita has managed to keep on homeschooling him despite some rocky periods.

“Or maybe a military boarding school,” Nita continued, venting her frustration. “He’s just not doing his work. I’ve taken away his iPod, his computer, I’ve taken away his privilege to use the phone. I’ve grounded him so he can’t go outside. I’ve taken away his books. He’s not even allowed upstairs because he goes up there and doesn’t do his schoolwork. I’m so annoyed and discouraged – he’s not doing his work!!”

I can’t say that I was glad to hear it. Not at all. But I sure empathized. My kids haven’t gotten to the point that they didn’t do their work; they sometimes do it more slowly than I’d like, turn it in days late, end up reading a book on horses instead of the Holocaust, or take homeschool less seriously than “real” school.

But I could sure relate!

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What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.”
— Albert Pike, Scottish Rite Freemason (1809-1891)