As a teenager, I encountered the persuasive power of writing well. My parents and I disagreed about whether or not I should attend a family event or a track meet, and, instead of arguing with them, I wrote them a letter. They were convinced and let me choose. Writing provided a canvas on which I could explore complex, controversial, and confusing ideas; I often felt as if I were holding an idea up to the light and rotating it to see the different angles and perspectives through my pen.
I sought different perspectives, dropping out of college for a time to hitchhike through Canada and live and work at a monastery on Cape Breton Island. As part of my return to Drew University to complete my degree in English, I studied abroad in South Korea and spent a summer hitchhiking, camping, and bathing in rivers throughout Europe with my (now) husband. I realized that I loved words, ideas, and teaching even more than travel and obtained my Masters Degree in Teaching and Curriculum from Harvard University in 1996.
As a young high school English teacher, I taught my students how to write thoughtful, persuasive letters to their parents. Some even wrote back! As we began homeschooling, our own children learned early that writing a letter or proposal was often the best way to get our attention. In our family, we’ve had everything from a PowerPoint presentation on why we needed to get chickens (we now have chickens) to a written geometric proof from our (then) 15 year old on why he should be allowed to watch a certain movie. I’ve posted theses on Frozen upon our front door, thought-provoking graphs on our walls, and posts on Minecraft in our homeschool group — all of which provoked multi-faceted discussion. I learn so much from the fresh ideas and energy of young people. Writing is not dead or formulaic or just for school; it is alive!
I’ve been homeschooling for 16 years and have two homeschool graduates in college. We have one son and twin daughters still learning at home. At our homeschool co-op, I’ve taught a variety of classes including, this year, high school physics. I also run a middle school engineering lab, teach Sunday school, and tutor. I look forward to exploring ideas through the power of writing with your sons and daughters.