A Homeschooling Bandaid for Public School Parents

Coronavirus strikes. Panic ensues. Schools close. Just like that, you find yourself a homeschooling parent. Congratulations. Welcome to the party.

The efforts to contain COVID-19 are sweeping the nation and schools are a big point of concern for transmission, for obvious reasons. Kids are germy, and notoriously bad at the things we all need to be good at right now: Covering coughs, washing hands, and not picking our noses or licking other people’s lolly-pops.

Every sector seems to be taking a hit, from the economy to the travel industry, and the words “black swan” are being whispered around the margins…

Author’s note:

Imagine my delight when my daughter responded to the question of what she might like to have for a holiday gift with: “Nothing tangible, but please write me a letter about my origins and who I am, so that I never forget. This year has been hard. I almost forgot. I need to remember.”

For several weeks, I ruminated on that request. This letter is the result. It occurs to me that, perhaps, more young women need to hear the same. With the gracious permission of my beautiful daughter, I share this with you.

Much of this is…

I write a lot of memoir. Most of it no one reads. The genre of creative non-fiction can have a lot of overlap with memoir and, to me, the true stories that are most worth telling are often personal ones.

If you haven’t heard of memoir, it’s basically the story of one’s own life, or memories. But not a huge blow by blow, “and then this was next…” style of writing. At least not when it’s well done. What not to tell is the hard part.

Well done, memoir feels more like collecting stones on the beach.

The beach is there, huge and multifaceted, a collection of many things. But we…

Budapest in spring wakes you a like a lover, one finger of sunlight dragged down a sleep warmed cheek, a sigh of lilac breath in your ear, and the rush of joy at waking full of excitement for what is new; and yet, deeply at home.

The Danube, everywhere I have encountered her, has danced; the Viennese waltz gives way to a Hungarian Csardas in the capital city. An elaborate labyrinth of interwoven shapes and moods. Boot heels making time while wooden flutes weave the melody between crinolined skirts whirling the air that ruffles the downy feathers on black felt…

Image Credit: Vincent Albanese

I’ve been thinking about growing up lately…

My own and everyone else’s. How very much I’m not there yet. How the only thing I know for sure, at 44, is that evolution is everything.

Two of my friends asked me to contribute to the Life Books that they’re building for their kids… so I wrote this… and when I re-read it I thought, “Huh, that’s at least as relevant to me as it is to the young people… maybe a few other people would be interested too….”

So… here it is:

The concept of “growing up” is a flawed one.

We are all in the endless “now” of our lives.

  • There is no past.
  • There is no later.
  • There is…

…and then, one morning, you wake up and realize that you are living the very best days of your life. Right now. The struggle of getting this huge project of life and family off the ground has passed and we’re on to the great “what’s next.”

What it’s really like to take a road trip to Maasai Mara

I have road tripped Central America, through the roller coaster of the Sierra Madre with a puking child.

I have driven the length of Borneo, in the dark, in the rain, through palm oil plantations, and Brunei.

We have spent six months in a camper van leaving no corner of New Zealand unturned. And we have driven and camped our way straight up through the Red Center of Australia, camping along the way.

I’ve criss-crossed North America through every state in the USA and all of the provinces of Canada. And survived not only the Hana Highway, but the dirt…

Nov. 12, Samburu, Kenya…

The airplane was small enough that, in a pinch, I think Ezra (16 years) with his current level of training, could have flown it.

I thought we’d set the low bar for landing strips and airports when we touched down to deposit the first two passengers in some dried up corner of Kenya. I was wrong. …


“School” starts tomorrow at our house. This is our first year with only one student. Hannah is in her last year at Queen’s. Fitz is accruing hours towards his Captain’s license. Elisha is finishing his first two college classes and working furiously so that he can take off on his Gap Year, free as a bird, in another three weeks.

We are down to one child.

Is he a child if I have to look up to talk to him?

Over the summer he learned to drive a car, take off and land a plane (we won’t talk about learning to do stalls. Moms can’t talk…

Brule Lake, Summer 1974… that’s me in the basket

My Dad is a teacher. He hasn’t taught in a classroom since I was a tiny child, but that’s not that kind of teaching that I mean anyway. He’s a teacher in his soul. He can’t help it. He was home schooling, unschooling, world schooling, road schooling, whatever you want to call it, my brother and me before any of those terms had been coined, and most of the time we were in organized school too.

I learned a lot of things from my Dad:

Jenn Sutherland-Miller

Contagious wanderlust. Writes to breathe. Dreamer of big dreams.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store