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It took me twelve years to recognize my step-father as my Dad — and I wish it had happened a lot sooner

Since I've spent just under half of my life as a child of a single parent, I never thought I'd be able to pinpoint the exact day I finally got a Dad of my own. I grew up with my Mom, two brothers, and my (maternal) Grandma. I had a few male role models throughout my childhood — mostly family members like my Uncle, Grandpa, and my younger brother's dad — but they came and went without trouble and I wasn't too concerned with why they didn't stick around. After all, they weren't my father — they had their own lives and their own things to do… which didn't include raising me.

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The importance of discussing WHY you're homeschooling your kids with them

Yesterday while I was tending to a plumbing problem my kids were doing their homeschooling. My older son was in my line of sight quietly reading in his bedroom. He looked up from Lord of the Flies to ask me when I read the book (he knew from a prior conversation that I'd read it). I said it was about three years ago, or maybe four. He asked why I didn't read it in school. I called my eleven-year-old upstairs and said I had something to explain they should know. My kids have never been to school and they don't really know how it all works, ranging from the daily goings on of the students and the big picture issues.

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How my favorite Banned Book shaped my adolescence and adulthood

My point is that I love to read, and there's something slightly extra delicious about knowing you're reading a book that has been, or is currently being, challenged in some way. Since I know we're nearly all bookworms in some form or fashion around the Empire, I thought it'd be fun if a few staffers picked our favorite Banned Book and talked about why it's important to us. Without further ado… dig in!

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A middle school teacher's thoughts about teenagers and Banned Books Week

On top of using banned books as enticement to read, I find them an amazing conversation starter. In discussing why a book was banned, conversations about politics and societies and freedom of speech and value systems and personal freedom and religion and appropriateness spring up in classrooms where before there were only crickets. I always walk away from these conversations impressed by the thoughtfulness of adolescents.

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No, that's not my daughter: how being a sister prepared me for motherhood

Sometime in 8th grade I went to the store with my mom and my youngest sister, AJ. I remember people watching the three of us walking through the store with quizzical looks. They would look first at my mom, then to me, then to AJ, then back to me. Finally, as we made our way through the checkout, the cashier looked at me and said "Your daughter is so cute," then back to my mother and finished "You are a lucky grandma!" I stared, my 14-year-old self feeling completely embarrassed and horrified, as my mom calmly answered, "Actually, I'm the mom. They are both mine."