The Heart of Home-schooling: Learning Chapters

Dear Friends,
If you had asked me, when I was 15, what I was doing for school. I would have said, confidently, that I was home-schooled. If you dug a little deeper, asking what curriculum my mother was using to teach me, I would have probably mentioned two things: Saxon Math and lots of reading.

As a middle-school and high-school-aged student I was a voracious reader. My library card was rarely allowed to cool off between the heated workouts of validating my latest literary withdrawal. Great, leaning stacks of books, pages bright with intriguing pictures or boldly sporting columns of enticing print, were carried to the van to be taken home and pored over late into the night.

My mother never complained. Not once. She was intuitive enough to know this was how I would get my education. She watched, amused, as my interests lead me through African tribal customs to all-things medical to the dress-code of every previous human generation to astronauts in Houston to how to make silk to the life of Beatrix Potter and so forth.

That is the way I learned history, geography and science.

But what about the rest?
The other subjects?

Well, I also liked to write. Something in putting down ideas on paper solidified them in my mind. It helped me see the flaws or truth of my reasoning, helped me to remember things.

So I wrote.

Wrote about what I read.
Wrote my own stories.
Wrote letters.
Wrote songs and poems.

In writing I learned much of writing, grammar, logic, spelling. I "tested" out of each study unit by writing essays on the subjects I had read about. That way mom knew what I had learned from those tomes that, invariably and inadvertently, never got returned to the library on time.

In that way she oversaw my education, if not in the most conventional means, then at least in one of the most successful and meaningful ones.

And she paid for it.
Oh, yes, she paid…

  • In the frustration over chores I didn't accomplish because my nose was deep in the pages of a book far too gripping to lay aside.
  • In hysteria about my inordinate way of sprinkling of commas about every which way.
  • In the frantic, and sometimes unfruitful, searches for some misplaced book or other.

So, in the end you could say my learning process was well worth a dime.
Because, when you think about it, my sweet mother paid for my education in overdue fines; ten cents a day.

Checked Out in NE


  1. Dearest Literary Learner,

    Yes, you have summed up the core of your education very well. Rightly so, as the 'Reading, writing and 'rithmatic taught to the tune of a....library click...'? was a huge part of those wonderful busy years. It was worth it all, especially since now I am reaping the benefits 100-fold.

    I really enjoyed this post. It made me recall two Mary E. quotes: 'Books Fall Open, We Fall In'.

    'The Love Of Learning, The Sequestered Nooks, And All The Sweet Serenity Of Books' (Mary E.)

  2. How much we book lovers love books!! To fix the commas, read "Eats, Shoots and Leaves". You learn that plus a lot of other things, while the dishes are waiting to be washed and the kids are wrecking the house.

  3. It's amazing how our ways of learning come back to haunt us in the end. I rarely complain about library fees... I love it that my kids are reading (and usually it's somehow my fault that the book is late!) The whole learning process is fascinating to me, that some learn some ways, others learn another.

    I meant to ask... do you home school after kindergarten? Hope your boy is enjoying his learning. :)


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