This is a picture of the very famous Joshua Bell.

Here’s a story he tells:

His mom dropped him off every week at some university where he was supposed to practice violin. But the room he was supposed to practice in was right by the video game room, and he found himself going there a lot instead.

One day he was there and a kid came up to him and said, “Are you Josh Bell?” And Josh assumed the kid knew Josh was a violin prodigy, and they would talk about violin.

But the kid said, “You have the top score on all the video games here. So I wanted to see who you were.”

Josh says this is the moment he realized that he wasn’t practicing enough and he had better find more focus.

Here’s what sticks with me in this story: His mom dropped him off at a university to practice each week.

Who knows why they needed to go to the university, but that they went there reveals a lot.  I imagine she was a good mom; she figured out how to find him a place to practice and she arranged their schedule to get him there. And I imagine that after she dropped him off, she drove to get a pedicure somewhere off campus.

I imagine she read OK Magazine or some other tabloid, all of which I love reading because it’s the only place where there’s a true story about how moms run their lives. We don’t have the time or money to spy on other moms to find out what they are really doing, but tabloids do. It’s nice to know what other moms do.

I like knowing that Angelina Jolie’s kids each have two nannies, and a bunch of tutors for homeschooling. Extravagant, yes. But it tells me a lot about how she parents (not hands-on, but still very concerned for each kid) and it tells me how she ditches her kids. (Using a lot of cash.)

One reader of this blog has an amazing scheme: She homeschools the kids in the country during the week, and on the weekend she drives four hours back to the city to give the kids to their dad and she spends the weekend with her new husband who lives near her ex. I love this system. It makes sense to me and it’s a way to be very hands-on and ditch the kids with grace.

So much of homeschooling advice is about taking care of the kids, but we all know it’s important to ditch the kids. In fact, it’s probably more important to get help ditching the kids than help schooling the kids. Because kids will school themselves, if you give them space. But if you don’t give a mom space as well, she will go crazy.

It seems that regular school gives the mom space, and homeschool gives the kids space, even though neither system is perfect, it’s easier to get a little mom space away from homeschool than it is to grapple with the constrains of regular school. Which means that the key to successful homeschooling , really, is finding a way to ditch the kids that works.